On a recent plane trip the crew offered for sale snacks, digital entertainment units, and drinks. I was a little surprised to learn that they no longer accepted cash for these transactions- debit or credit cards only. It got me thinking about currency and the economic systems that are in place around the world. If I were to go to the IRS and attempt to pay them in yen or pretty beads, they would tell me that form of currency is not acceptable for any tax debt which I had incurred. By the same token, if I were to go into the local Von’s and attempt to pay for my groceries by using rubles, lira or pesos, they would tell me the same thing, those would not be a suitable monetary measure. And if I were to make a trip to Mexico the cab driver would not be willing to accept euros, francs or pounds. Only acceptable currency would pay the debt, all other kinds of currency would be unacceptable.
This got me thinking about what Christ had done on the cross, He actually paid a debt that He did not owe. He paid for my sins, and He did it with the only acceptable “currency,” His life. The Old Testament gives us a clear understanding of the sacrificial system required to establish union with God. Mankind is sinful, and in order to be brought into union with God, the shedding of blood is required. This is why the Hebrew people needed to offer animal sacrifices, and as they did, their sin was covered, and a holy God was then able to dwell in their midst.
The book of Hebrews tells us the sacrifice that Christ offered was even better than that of sheep, goats or bulls, and His gift to us was free. The payment of Christ gave us the ability to come into union with God by taking our sins completely away, not just covering them up. John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” And because Christ was sinless, and lived a life in perfect submission to the Father, He is the only sacrifice worthy of taking away our sins, the only currency worthy of paying the debt. Hebrews also makes it clear that the debt needing to be paid was for sin, and the only acceptable currency was blood. “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).
Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” Some people may object that there is only one way to God, but the truth is, God is not trying to keep a bunch of people out of Heaven. He’s trying to bring all fallen mankind into heaven, into a relationship with Him. So, actually, He is throwing us a lifeline to reestablish fellowship with him.
No one is able to dwell in the presence of God unless they have been washed clean by the price Christ paid. Your works won’t work to get you into heaven. No amount of money will work. No ancestral pedigree, no vocational resume. No assertion in your mind that you are divine, a mini-god, or any other religious discipline will get you into the kingdom of Heaven. God will not accept any other currency any more than the DMV would honor chickens, or washing dishes as payment for their services.
As we near the Easter season, remember that we are celebrating life, but the life we are celebrating is eternal life through Christ. Easter is not a time of vacation, eggs or rabbits, but a good time to reflect on the price paid on our behalf. There is nothing we have to do but receive it; it is a gift.
Wow! Let that sink in this Easter.
He is risen. The debt is paid!