Friday, May 25, 2012

Jesus is not Interest Relief...

I have a student loan, it sucks.  Every month a large organization requires me to give them money in order to pay a debt that I owe them because they gave me the means by which I could gain a bunch of knowledge that I thought would be useful to me in my day-to-day activities and make me more powerful and important to the rest of the world.  Turns out I was wrong.  It has not really helped that much to have gained all this knowledge (although, I could and would make the argument that it was worth it because I met my wife there).  Nevertheless, each month I would be required to make this payment so that I would be right with the organization, keeping them from sending me threatening letters and phone calls, destroying my credit rating, and  eventually requiring the sacrifice of my first born son (only in very extreme cases).
HOWEVER, in the amazing mercy of our supreme leaders, the Canadian Government came up with this thing called interest relief.  It means that for those of us who don't have any way of paying those student loans right now - because a B.A. is useful for nothing in the real world - you can put your student loan on hold, they will pay the interest so you don't gain more debt, but the student loan people are OK and don't threaten to burn down your house or send a plague of locusts to eat your garden (sorry, exaggerating again).
Trouble is, the debt never goes away.  I still owe these people, always will until that debt is paid for.  Honestly, this debt is not impossible to pay off.  With some hard work and determination, eating Mr. Noodles, downsizing my lifestyle and getting a second job, I could probably knock it out in a couple years.

I had another debt too - different kind of debt - one I inherited from a long lost relative of mine.  Turns out we all have this debt. It comes from a guy and girl who thought it would pay off for them if they got some extra knowledge.  They thought it would make their pretty sweet set up just a little better.  Jeepers were they wrong.

Anyway, the boss man came up with a little system, kind of like debt relief, relief so the debt could be managed because the penalty for this debt was pretty serious, as serious as a heart attack, litterally.  A bunch of guys, kind of like debt specialist or collections agents (depending on if they were legit or not) would do some stuff on behalf of the rest of the people, stuff that seems weird to us with animal blood and sacrifices and festivals, but it managed the debt at least until next year when they'd do the whole thing over again.  In the mean time, their were lots of rules people had to follow, things they had to do and not do, to try to not add to that debt.  Stuff that seems weird to us; no eating bacon, no working on Saturday, no wearing wool/linen blend clothing (which I guess makes good fashion sense) and 610 more if you care to read them, and then care to keep them.  I bet you break 20 of them before the end of the day (even if you only break one, those collections guys were coming after you anyway).  Unless you were and Israelite, by the way, this debt relief wasn't really open to you, your debt was a life sentence (more accurately a death sentence).

However, a new debt management specialist came on the scene about 2000 years ago.  He had a new plan.  It's a better deal all around.  It's almost too good to be true, that's why so many people don't sign on the dotted line.  It goes something like this; no one, ever, in the history of humans, since our first long long lost Granny and Gramps who earn the first debt, has ever lived up to the debt relief plan, and no one is able to, not even the big 10.  It was never really the point anyway.  The point of the the debt relief plan was to point us to the perfect thing that God offered us the first time, life with Him, and that He was going to do something to return us to debt free living.  The first people chosen for interest relief (Israel) got a decent deal, at least they had some way to manage the debt, but we got a "debt paid in full" deal.  That's way better.

Jesus debt management plan was debt destruction, He went directly to the source of debt, wrote a check in his own blood and cashed it in.

Imagine this call from the student loan office.  "hello Mr. Cook, your debt has been payed, you won't need to send anymore checks, sacrifice any more goats and you're now free to put Bacon bits on anything you like.  This guy Jesus sent us the payment.  And by the way he said if you tell all your friends, he'd take care of their debts too.  Welcome to a life of debt free living Mr. Cook."

So if I got that call, I probably wouldn't argue with them about it.  I'd probably stop worrying about sending checks every month.  I wouldn't be held accountable any longer to all the rules and agreements under the first debt relief plan.  If the debt were paid for, I'd be free from obligation to that agreement.  Jesus didn't just pay the money I owed and the interested I've accrued over the years, he actually went to the source and destroyed the thing that caused the debt (sin) and beat the effect that debt had on us (death).  The best part is he's willing to offer that plan to anyone who'll ask him for it.  Free of charge.

The Bible (post Jesus new debt management program) is full of things that tell us we are free from the law (the old program), free from performance (looking like we've got it all together) and free from condemnation (punishment for not being perfect).  If you want to see how free we are, read Paul's letters again and see how many time he tells you, you're free from the law, free from the power of sin, free from religious obligation and totally free to live in the reality that Jesus has set you free to live by the power of his spirit, not by you're own hard work.

I like this one...

1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4 NLT)
Jesus isn't interest relief, he's payment made in full.
(p.s. if anyone wants to send a check to pay of my student loan, please message me, I'll be eternally thankful.)

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