According to this article, two children racked up a whopping £3,200 bill on their father’s iPhone.  That puts my own children’s bills into perspective. We once had to pay for a fire extinguisher to be re-filled. But that’s a story for another day.

The big phone bill story puts me in mind of my ‘bill’ with God.  It’s a bill I can never hope to pay. But it has been paid for me. “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15 NIV11-GK). His death as a ransom has set me free from my debt to God.
What impact can this have on me?  Three thoughts:

  1. Humility. God took the initiative to pay my debt. He had a plan for this before time began, and he carried it out through Jesus two thousand years before I was born. “No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:7 NIV11-GK). My debt is paid because God loves me, not because I am in any way deserving.
  2. Gratitude. God’s bill to me never gets any bigger now that the bill has been settled. Grace is extended to me in advance. I can live in freedom, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Ephesians 3:12 NIV11-GK). Such freedom brings a joy that motivates me to avoid sin, since I want nothing to come between me and my God.
  3. Grace. God offered grace to me, in turn I can offer it to others. The parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 warns me to treat others as God has treated me, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35 NIV11-GK). Surely I can forgive those who sin against me when I reflect on my own great debt.
So there you have it – three responses to being ‘forgiven’ my bill. I hope the boys’ father can forgive them. At the very least it will make for a fun story at some future embarrassing event such as their wedding!
Malcolm Cox