We Are But God’s Debtors

But no sophistical reasoning, no fine-drawn infidelity, can contravene the fact or release him from the truth that, the creature must be the absolute and sole property of the Creator; that this involves his responsibility; and that as a responsible being “every one of us must give account of himself to God.” Such is the natural debt you owe to God, my reader. You owe to Him as your Maker every member of your body, every faculty of your mind, every power of your soul. To Him you must give account of your body, how you have used it; of your talents, how you have employed them; of your soul, how you have cared for it; of your rank, wealth, influence, time, how you have laid out all for God. Do you acknowledge the debt? Do you recognize the claim by a holy, cheerful, unreserved surrender? God has power to assert His claim, and He will assert it for time and for eternity.

But we are God’s moral debtors. The existence of a moral government implies the existence of moral law; and the existence of law implies the existence of moral obligation on the part of the subjects of that government. Every human being is a subject of God’s moral government, and is under the most solemn obligation–an obligation enforced by rewards and punishments the most holy and inflexible–to obey. God, as the Great Ruler of the universe, has a right to prescribe rules of action to His creatures, and to connect those rules with promises and threatenings. Let it be borne in mind that His enactings are not simply commands, but in the strictest and highest sense, laws.

Commands and laws are two different things. It is true that every law involves a command, but every command does not involve a law. A command must be rightful in order to be a law, and not merely rightful, but he who issues the command must have authority so to do, and those to whom the command is given must be bound to obey; on these conditions only does a command become a law. Hence we learn what sin is. Sin is a deviation from the law of God. In the language of jurists this would simply be called a crime, but in the language of Scripture it is called sin.

“Sin is the transgression of the law.”

The Lord’s Prayer

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