David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them. (1 Sam 22:1-2, ESV)
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt 9:9-13, ESV)
I know what it is to be in debt. I also know why it’s bad to be in debt. But I also know that Jesus’ eternal values differ from our temporal ones. The American ideals of self-sufficiency and independence are what make it so hard for so many people in this country to come to Christ. They say, “I don’t need your crutch, I can do it on my own.” But the debtors, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned, the broken, those are the ones who know they can’t do it on their own. They know, like Paul, that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom 7:18, ESV).
He put no confidence in the flesh, though this is the same guy who said in Philippians 3 that he had reason to boast in the flesh. Christ brought him to the end of himself and destroyed his self-confidence. The acknowledgment of our own spiritual bankruptcy is the most crucial step in coming into a life of surrender to Christ. This is the meaning of Hosea 6:6.
Unlike temporal debts, our eternal debt can never be worked off. Surrender is the only way. We make ourselves bondservants to our loving Master, permanently, giving up all rights to our selves, “forever” (see Deut 15:12-18). But then he calls us sons.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. (Rom 8:12-19, ESV)
The covenant has been transgressed (Hosea 6:7), but the Father will restore our fortunes regardless (Hosea 6:11). The inheritance which Adam squandered will be ours again, forever!