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  • Chad Werkhoven

Romans 13:8-10 - Good Debt

Normally paying off debt is good... but not always!

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Read Romans 13:8-10

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 107

Q. Is it enough then

that we do not kill our neighbor

in any such way?

A. No.

By condemning envy, hatred,

and anger

God tells us

to love our neighbors

as ourselves,

to be patient, peace-loving,

gentle, merciful,

and friendly to them,

to protect them from harm

as much as we can,

and to do good even to our enemies.



One of the best feelings in life is to finally pay off a long standing debt. Once the debt is satisfied, you can spend the money you had been using for payments for whatever you want.

We often apply this same principle to our relationships. If someone does you a favor, you're indebted to them until you reciprocate. Once you're even again, you can use your time however you'd like.

The Bible has no room for such an attitude. Since loving others is the fulfillment of the law, and love "is not self-seeking" and "keeps no record (1 Cor. 13:5)," you'll never completely fulfill God's law. You'll always be seeking to reflect the holiness of God that the law points to in the lives of those you have relationships with. In that sense, be glad to let this debt to one another never be paid in full.

As Jesus teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount, the Law is much more than a collection of do-nots. In other words, although not killing people who cross you will keep you out of trouble with the civil law, you will not have fully complied with the sixth commandment until you "love your neighbor as yourself."

Dig Deeper

One of the major truths of the Bible comes near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus indicates that the righteousness of His disciples must surpass that of the Pharisees (Matt. 5:17). We understand this doctrine two ways.

First, praise God that Jesus has already fulfilled your coventantal obligation to perfectly abide by God's Law. In this way, everyone who trusts in Christ alone has the all surpassing righteousness that God requires from those He's in communion with.

Secondly, the grace that included you in the righteousness of Christ also equips you to live out all of the implications of God's law. In this way, you're personal righteousness must surpass the Pharisees. Whereas they were content to just follow the letter of the law, you must make every effort to not only avoid breaking the commandments, but also look for ways to love those around you in every situation you face.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who calls us to love others the way that He loves us;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will see opportunities to love your neighbor as yourself and have the desire to follow through;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 3 John


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