By Allen White
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
Paul starts this chapter actually talking about financial obligations. “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7). Financial obligations should be paid off. If you struggle in that area, then let me recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
Paul goes on to say that the only debt that we should continue to make payments on is the “continuing debt to love one another.” That’s the one debt that should never be paid off.
Debt and love are a funny pairing. If we feel indebted to someone, then the motive for love stems from obligation. It doesn’t seem freely given. It seems more like those little green Martian toys in the Toy Story movies who are eternally grateful to Mr. Potato Head for saving their lives. Their gratitude comes in handy in Toy Story 3 (I won’t spoil it for you), but their debt of gratitude doesn’t seem like love.
So, we’ll take “debt” as a metaphor here. We know that Jesus paid our debt (Luke 7:36-50). If we take the idea of debt too far, then our love would stem from legalism and our relationships would resemble a chart of accounts. That doesn’t seem warm or fuzzy.
The gist of this is that we never reach a place where we have sufficiently loved another believer. We can’t say, “You know I spent all of that time talking to them five years ago. They should be good.” They’re not, and neither are you.
Do you see any deficits in your love relationship with other believers? Do you have insufficient funds or could you be hording? Fortunately, your Father has an unlimited account. You can draw from Him.
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