During my church’s most recent Praise Service, our very amazing church choir ministered Keith and Kristin Getty’s The Lord is my salvation. It was lit. Check out the entire service right here. You’re welcome!
The chorus of the song is:
Who is like the LORD our God?
Strong to save; faithful in love
My debt is paid and the victory won
The LORD is my salvation.
Absolutely beautiful song about how amazing God’s gift of grace for our salvation is. It got me thinking about all the great songs that talk about our debt(s) being paid.
So I hope this piece encourages you to pause and reflect on these words every time you sing or hear them from now on.
I would like to share my reflections as prompted by this lovely song and the Word of God.
- What is/was the debt?
- Given time, could you eventually have paid it?
- Who paid it?
- What was the cost to Him?
- Why did He pay it?
Much like at/with Christmas, many of us are guilty of losing the wonder of the Gift(s) we’ve received in God. So much so that these Gifts – [the love of] God, [the grace of] Jesus, [the fellowship of] the Holy Spirit – that we receive only because of GRACE seem to be matters of course to us.
The reason for this, in my opinion? Zero (or very little) reflection on who we are – undeserving, how we came to receive the Gift – by grace, and the reality of the impossibility of paying the cost by ourselves.
These are a few of the things we ought to be reflecting on as we sing songs like The LORD is my salvation.
- What is/was the debt?
SIN. A tiny, little 3-letter word of monumental proportions.
In the parable Jesus told about the servant who couldn’t pay his debt to his master and yet wouldn’t forgive his fellow servant who owed him, this servant’s debt is a metaphor for sin and his fellow servant’s debt is a metaphor for things people do that offend us.
- Given time, could you eventually pay it?
For this, let’s consider this parable, The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant [Matthew 18: 21-35], and what was owed in both instances in terms of value and payability.
Our guy owed, according to verse 24, 10,000 talents. We’re told in a footnote that 1 talent was the equivalent of 20 years of a day labourer’s wage. 20 years x 10,000 = 200,000 years of work. All the best with paying that! His friend, though, owed 100 denarii. Again, we’re told in the footnotes that 1 denarii was the daily wage of a day labourer. So this other guy owed approximately 3 months of his salary.
Back to our guy… 200,000 years of work. Even if he spent his entire life committed to paying this debt, it would hardly make a dent. If his family decided to take on the debt, how many generations of the entire family paying this same debt would it take to even actually make a dent in what this one guy owed?
Unpayable. That’s what that debt was.
Fact: Nobody has the amount of time or resources it would take to pay the debt of sin. Nobody – not even family – could help you pay yours because each person has to deal with their own weighty debt.
Another futile way to attempt to meet the requirements for having this unpayable debt paid is obedience and adherence to the law, as given by God. But here’s the deal: the standard of the law is obedience in its entirety all the time [James 2:10].
By this standard, partial adherence is no adherence at all. Galatians 3:10 NIV says, “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is anyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law’”.
There is certain doom of failure with reliance on the law because it must be heeded in its entirety always… consistently… continuously… So, relying on the law to save you is like choosing to hang your life on making every shot regardless of your skill with a basketball, without fail, from any and every point on the court, always. Remember, though, that even all-star players have been known to miss lay-ups, the splash brothers aren’t 100% from the 3-point line and the most explosive dunkers don’t always walk away from a dunk attempt with their 2 points.
And this is why no matter how good you are, your good-ness doesn’t measure up to the standard of goodness required for salvation from sin.
“Clearly, no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith’” [Galatians 3:11]
This is what the GRACE of God saves us from – inevitable and certain failure under the law’s impossible demands. Until we realize how utterly incapable we are of meeting the law’s standards, we won’t fully grasp what it is that the grace of God has saved, is saving, and saves us from and we won’t truly appreciate the grace of God for what it is – a MONUMENTAL gift, a gift of absolute freedom and liberty.
- Who paid it?
Galatians 3:13 NIV – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…”
1 Peter 2:24 NIV – “He Himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;…”
1 John 2:1-2 NIV – “My dear children, … we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Ephesians 1:7 NIV – “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
- What was the cost to Him?
Galatians 3:13 NIV – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV – “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”
1 Peter 3:18 NIV – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
Pause for a second and take note of the very descriptive words used to tell us what the Son of God had to go through for us to be called children of God. Let these be a reminder to You that though the Gift of God you received was free, it was not cheap – certainly not for the Man whose sweat was like drops of blood [Luke 22:44] and who cried, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” and yet went through with it because He desired more than His wellbeing that His Father’s will be done.
- Why did He pay it?
First thing to consider under this question is this: Did He have to? No.
“But God demonstrates His own LOVE for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” [Roman 5: 8, 10 NIV]
Why would someone go so far out of their way as to die for an enemy?
For the God we serve, LOVE was all the reason for His great and awesome sacrifice.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved.” [Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV]
So the next time you sing a song about the debt Jesus paid or about the Cross, let it lead you to open yourself up to reflection about what that really means, it will definitely remind you to be more grateful to God and hopefully place a burden on your heart to share the Great News about a Saviour who delights in making the dead [in sin] alive and forgiving and cancelling debts [Colossians 2:13-14].
The Amplified Bible renders Ephesians 2:8-9 like this:
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favour drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgement and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for His salvation].”
God doesn’t only give salvation; He IS salvation – the reason for it, the Gift of it and the assurance of it!
Enjoy and be blessed by Keith and Kristin Getty’s The Lord is my salvation.