Debt is a very heavy burden and carrying the load can cause depression. It can strain relationships. If financial analysts label the escalating student debt load a crisis – how must the students feel as they embark on their future carrying such a heavy weight! When someone says they are drowning in debt – you know it’s serious. How can anyone be optimistic about their future carrying such a load? Most think only of financial debts but this post will also tackle the issue of one’s spiritual debt.
The latest student loan debt statistics for 2019 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become… There are more than 44 million … who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. (1)
With a much smaller population, Canada’s students collectively owed over $28 billion in student loans to all levels of government in 2018. (2)
Morehouse College Graduation
Commencement addresses happen at colleges and universities every year at graduation time. Par for the course they say.
In Atlanta, Georgia it was another hot day for the 396 students graduating from Morehouse College. It was the College’s 135th commencement service. Wearing their caps and gowns they respectfully listened to billionaire investor Robert F. Smith – a former graduate of the college.
Dwytt Lewis, 21 was one of the graduates listening to Mr. Smith’s speech. Did he have mixed emotions as he listened? Yes, a milestone in life and the beginning of a new phase in life; but weighing heavily on his heart was the $150,000 of student loan debt he owed as he entered the real world.
Commencement Address Announcement
Smith, dressed in academic regalia to receive an honorary doctorate, signaled during his speech that he “was going to put a little fuel in their bus.” Did he mean anything more than delivering a positive-thinking, up-beat word of encouragement with some sound advice from an alumnus who had become America’s wealthiest African American billionaire?
Lewis’ mom was sitting in the audience and was listening to Robert F Smith when he said:
“This is my class, 2019, and my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.” (3)
Disbelief and Excitement
“We’re looking and around and saying, ‘Are we just hot or did he say this?'” Lewis said. “Picture your last 45 seconds of being an undergraduate student, you get a full ride.”
Dwytt Lewis’ mother texted him and asked: “Did he say he’s paying off your loans?”
“Yes, man, God is real, dude,” Lewis texted back to his mom.
Lewis’ mom was in disbelief over Smith’s generous gift to her son. Dwytt Lewis told the media later:
“I’m still speechless.
“It seemed to take a moment for the immensity of what he had promised to sink in. Then the place erupted, as the senior class, all male and mostly African American, shook hands and hugged one another in glee.
“We’re all in robes, hot, the sun was beaming on us,” said Ernest Holmes, who said he had about $10,000 in loans that his parents were going to tackle. “We’re holding our papers up, trying to block the sun out of our eyes. Everyone jumped up, cheered. People were crying. It was just the most amazing thing.” Mr. Holmes said he would soon start work as a software engineer for Google in Mountain View, California.” (4)
High Act of Grace
News of Mr. Smith’s gift stunned the higher education world on Sunday. John Silvanus Wilson Jr., a Morehouse alumnus who was the college’s president from 2013 to 2017, called it “an extraordinary investment” that was “simply an act of high grace.” (5)
There’s another kind of debt that’s heavy to bear and hangs like a dark cloud over one’s future. Some lay awake at night tossing and turning – haunted by their secrets in the past. Different metaphors could be used. Some say it is a ‘mountain of sin’ blocking every ray of sunshine and so high, it could never be successfully conquered. Others call it a heavy burden like a dead-weight – oppressive and depressing causing them to sink-down in despair.
Some think of their sin and guilt as a cancer eating away inside them. Their fun is fleeting. Their success is shallow. Their progress is plagued by the constant awareness of their sin-debt. Their reforms to become a better person are stumbled by persistent setbacks caused by sin. Their blue skies are abruptly over-taken by the dark cloud. How can they be optimistic about their future when their sin-debt hangs over their head?
Is that you?
Full Debt Payment Made
The Bible has far better news for you than Robert F. Smith had for the 396 students. I’ve known people to cry for joy when they discovered the one ‘act of high grace’ that transcends all other gracious and kind and philanthropic acts the world has ever known. The amazing announcement is made repeatedly throughout the Bible. There’s no need for you to text anyone to see if you read it correctly. God has made it unmistakably clear in His written Word.
Even the highest valued currency in the world could never pay down your debt of sin or mine. Using a financial analogy, we owe so much to God, we are literally unable to get out from under the debt-load of our sin. Every failure, every wrong-doing, every sin adds to our debt-load. We all come up short when it comes to the holiness God demands.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 NLT
The big story of the Bible is that God has intervened in the human family to provide full debt-relief for all. It’s even better than debt-relief. It’s total debt-removal. You can face tomorrow and your future with total relief from the debt of all your sin. That’s the big news from the Throne of God. To ignore the opportunity to have your debt wiped-out seems reckless.
Here is what the Bible says in anticipation of what Jesus Christ would do in 33AD, near Jerusalem on a rugged cross:
Surely, he (Christ) has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4–5
Debt is a Personal Matter
A real Christian who appreciates that Jesus paid their sin-debt in full, can read the above Bible verses this way:
Surely, he (Christ) has borne my griefs and carried my sorrows; yet I esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for my transgressions; he was crushed for my iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought me peace, and with his wounds I am healed. Isaiah 53:4–5
That’s incredibly good news! Jesus wants you to personally come to Him for full debt-relief and total peace. Here is what He said to people with varying degrees of debt:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 CSB
The Offer Includes You
Are you wondering if you were intended to be one of the beneficiaries of this amazing act of grace? What does the word ‘whoever’ mean?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV
The Bible says that God desires that no one would sink down into eternal despair under the weight of their sin. 2Peter 3:9
Not Gold but Precious Blood Paid the Debt
The Bible says that when Jesus poured out His blood on the cross, He was paying the price for all – for every single person. 1Timothy 2:6
The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1John 1:7
Yes! Wipes out, clears off, purges all the sin on our personal record.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 NIV
Peter, one of Christ’s apostles wrote these words to real Christians who had their sin-debt wiped out:
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 1Peter 1:18-19 NLT
Graduating students at Morehouse College wanting to benefit from the high act of grace announced by Robert F. Smith must be transparent about their student loans and debt. They must respond to the available offer. They must claim it personally to come into the good of the generous gracious act. If you are going to benefit from God’s kind gift of grace, you too must respond personally to have your sins removed from God’s Record.
Would you like to have your sin-debt eliminated? If you would like to discuss this further click here to email your questions.