"Why should I fear? My debt is paid if only I believe." I heard these words as I was listening to Spotify recently. I don't know who sang it but that is just as well. The phrasing of this statement grabbed my attention. Is it really the case that our debt is paid "if I only believe"?
If the gospel is good "news" about something that has happened, can it really only be a reality if I "believe" in it? Is that news or simply hope or even just wishful thinking? Last night I watched a movie with my family in which one of the actors says "it doesn't matter if it's true or not. What matters is that you believe in it!" Okaaay...well, I believe that I have a million dollars but if I act like it, the creditors will soon prove otherwise. What is the nature of this "belief"? The Gospel is news wether you like it or not, know it or not, or misunderstand it. The Gospel is about something that has happened. Jesus has been raised from the dead and He is now Lord of the universe. That is the good news. Whether or not you believe it, it is the truth. That's what makes it "news". So why would this singer suggest that her "debt" (assuming that her debt is that of an unresolved guilty conscience) is only paid if she "believes"? Well, it does little good to know that the prison door is unlocked if you refuse to push it open and walk out of the prison. So in this way, the statement is correct. When you act on the news that you have heard, the consequences of the new reality are brought home to effect your life. If you are wrestling today in any way with a guilty conscience, know that Jesus has absorbed the punishment for your sin in Himself and He invites you to go free in His forgiveness of your transgression and to receive His life-giving, renewing power in the Holy Spirit. Acknowledge the truth about your wrong-doing and the truth of the resurrection and you will find that whatever you feel that you owe in view of your sin, has already been paid. This is news, this is good and this is true. Repent and believe the Gospel!