Daily Devotional


“He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14 (HCSB)

A number of years ago my parents gave me a loan to help me buy a car.  It came at a time when I wasn’t making a lot of money, but every month I sent them my monthly payment.  Like so many of us, I was chipping away at my debt a little bit at a time.

Then one Christmas my parents handed me an envelope, and said: “Here, we want to give you this as a gift.”
I opened it up, and inside was the pink slip to the car.  Just like that, they had erased my debt, and I’ll never forget how I felt at that moment.  I was overjoyed and overwhelmed by their generosity – I was speechless.  I felt an enormous relief, like all the weight of that debt had been lifted off my shoulders, and I was filled with gratitude and appreciation for my parents. 
I knew they had made a sacrifice for me by absorbing my debt, and it was an amazing demonstration of their love for me.

I also realized I couldn’t do anything to add to their gift.  It’s insulting to try to pay for a gift, and I didn’t have the ability to pay anyway.  The only thing I could do was be thankful and receive their love.  Just like that – my debt had been erased.  It had been paid-in-full by someone other than me as a demonstration of grace that I didn’t deserve.
I often look back on that day as an object lesson of what Christ did for me on the cross. I’ve been walking with Jesus for 30 years now, and if I’m not careful I can take the cross for granted.  Of course, I know that Jesus died for me, and I love him for it.  But sometimes I lose the awe and wonder of his sacrifice for me.

That’s when I remember the feeling I had when my parents canceled my debt, and I say to myself… “Oh yah, that’s how I want to feel about Christ every day because he canceled something far greater than a car payment.  He canceled my reservation in hell.  He erased my sin and took away the eternal punishment I deserve.”

When I remember that, I think… Oh God, have mercy on me.  I treat my sin too lightly.  How could I possibly forget that it was my sin that nailed you to the cross?  God forgive me for losing the awe and wonder of your sacrifice.

Do you know what the very last word was that Jesus uttered on the cross? In the Gospel of John, it’s the Greek word tetelestai. Just one word that means… it is finished… it is complete… it is fulfilled. Or my favorite translation… it is paid-in-full.

That’s what merchants and bankers used to stamp on top of their business documents when a debt had been paid – tetelestai – it has been paid in full! And that’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. He finished the work of our redemption.  He paid the debt for our sin. He took our certificate of debt and nailed it to the cross, with the word tetelestai written in his own blood – paid in full!
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
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