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Sep 05, 2021

An Outstanding Debt

Passage: Romans 13:8-11

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Romans

Keywords: law, church discipline, neighbors, nature of god, debts, real love


Our world has dumbed-down love to mean anything you want. God, on the other hand, has rooted love in his nature and, as a result, His law. So when He calls


An Outstanding Debt

Romans 13:8-10

September 5, 2021


INTRO:  Just about everything about the kingdom of God is 180-degrees opposite from the kingdoms/systems/cultures of this world. For example, our culture largely agrees with the Schlitz commercial that quoted Joseph Schlitz famously saying, “You only go around once in life so grab all the gusto you can!”  That philosophy is basically saying, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die” combined with “Grab what you can in life and consume it on yourself and your own pleasure.”  How does that differ from what Jesus said?

  • Luke 12:19—the fool who said, I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drinkand be merry.”’  Interesting that most alcohols are made with grain!
  • Matthew 10:39--Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will findit.

This morning’s proclamation from God to us about life is no less opposite from what our world has taught us and is selling us right now:

Romans 13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

            Everything about this passage is contrary to the way the world is coaching us every day to live.  Whether we’re dealing with debt, talking about love or discussing law and order, this passage will either place you in direct opposition to the culture we live in OR it will convict and challenge you that you are in direct opposition to the way God calls you to live. 

            So, with that happy and entertaining reality now before us, let’s ask God to conform us today to His heart and character while delivering us from our flesh and culture. 


Romans 13:8--Let no debt remain outstanding….

1.) Debt is not your friend; it is an enemy to be shunned. 

            I’d like us to start today by recognizing all the different ways our culture encourages us to live “in debt”—indebted to other people by living beyond our current level of God’s provision for us, be it your monthly SSI check or your annual wage. 

[Solicit examples:

  • Buying our transportation on credit—monthly car payments
  • Housing: if you are buying a home, it’s probably got a mortgage.
  • Credit cards: anyone own a credit card?  Ever not paid it off at the end of the billing cycle? 
  • Others?]

On a national level, the U.S. has THE largest Federal Debt in the world dollar-wise, some $20-trillion!  China and Japan are 2nd and 3rd behind us but both the U.S. and Japan have a higher debt-to-GDP ration than China does.  So, if you’re uninformed about economics, debt looks like a great way to produce a wealthy country, doesn’t it? 

            But the Bible is very consistent about its negative view of either countries or individuals living off or debt.  Let me give you just 2 examples:

  • Deuteronomy 15:6—Speaking to the new nation of Israel about what their future in the Promised Land would be like if they followed and worshipped only Yahweh, God promised, “For the Lordyour God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.”
  • Proverbs 22:7—"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Paul is echoing that teaching when he says, “Let no debt remain outstanding….”  While this is not a passage focused on financial management or teaching, the fact that he begins this way talking about loving others is instructive. 

ILL:  My parents were raised during the Great Depression when people actually starved in America because of the financial collapse that began in 1929 after WWI.  While they shared that defining experience, they did so from different perspectives. My mother came from a well-to-do Chicago family.  So her father was able to build a beautiful home in Sarasota, FL in the middle of the depression for a relatively low price because he had cash to spare and hadn’t lost his shirt in the market crash of ’29.  My father, on the other hand, came from a modest family that had also stayed out of debt so at least wasn’t digging out of a whole during the depression.  But since both of them saw the disastrous effects of the Great Depression, they raised us to be very fragile and to hang onto everything…from out-of-style clothing to used screws.  And having just moved again, I can testify that when a child is fully taught, they will be like their parents!