Sermon #50                                         Series: Matthew
            Title:                 THE SIN DEBT
Text:                  Matthew 18:21-27
            Subject:             Sin As A Debt That Must Be Paid
            Date:                 Tuesday Evening -May 23, 1995

Tape #               R-53




            Sin is set forth in the word of God under a variety of pictures and metaphors. Sometimes it is described as a loathsome disease, such as leprosy.  Sometimes it is compared to bondage, slavery, or imprisonment. Frequently sin is represented by death and compared to an obnoxious, rotting corpse. And sometimes sin is compared to a debt that we owe.


            Read Matthew 18:21-27.


            In response to Peter’s question about forgiveness the Lord Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king who graciously forgives the enormous debt of his servant. It was our Savior’s purpose in this parable to teach Peter and each of us how to forgive one another. He shows us that both the pattern and the motive for forgiveness among believers is the infinite, incalculable forgiveness of our sins by God. In Chapter 6, he taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (v. 12). Now he teaches us that our sins are debts cancelled and forgiven by God, and that as we have been forgiven, even so we ought to forgive one another.


            The title of my message tonight is The Sin Debt. I want to show you how that God has forgiven us and how he will freely forgive all who seek his mercy in Christ.


Proposition:  Everyone of us are debtors to God, debtors whose account must one day be reckoned up by God and settled.




            I want to show you seven things in this message.


  1. We are all debtors to God.
  2. This sin debt must be paid.
  3.  We have no ability to pay our debt.
  4.  The only way our sin debt can be paid is by a Surety.
  5. Christ, our Surety, has paid the sin debt for his people.
  6. If we would obtain forgiveness for our sin debt, we must sue for mercy.
  7. The God of all grace, against whom we have sinned, is ready, very ready, because of his infinite, free love, mercy, and grace, to forgive the sins and cancel the debts of all who call upon him.


I.  We are all Debtors to God.


            The “certain king” in this parable represents the Lord God. We are all debtors to him. There are certain, moral obligations due to God from all his creatures. We are all debtors to the Almighty.


A.  Creatures owe a Debt of Obedience to Their Creator.


            All that God required of Adam in the Garden was obedience. Certainly, the Creator deserves that much!


            God is our creator, our Preserver, our Provider, our Benefactor. “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” He is “The living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Every breath of our nostrils is the gift of God. We live upon his bounty. All of us owe our lives to him. As our Creator and Benefactor, God demands two things from us. His law is not extreme.  His demands are not unreasonable. They are perfectly righteous demands (Matt. 22:37-39).


  1. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Ex. 20:3-11).
  2. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Ex. 20:12-17).


In a word, we all owe the Lord God a life of perfect righteousness, a life of perfect obedience. He requires it. Failure to render such a life unto him is the incurrence of a very great debt.


B.  Not only have we failed to obey him, we have further indebted ourselves by sin, by The Willful Transgression of God’s Law.


            What a debt sin is! It is increasing everyday. It is a debt of infinite proportion, beyond calculation, a debt that will go on swelling as long as we live, unless it can be removed from us by some power greater than our own. Sin is a debt with tremendous consequence!


·        “The wages of sin is death!” (Rom. 6:23).

·        “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!” (Ezek. 18:20).


1.      Spiritual Death!

2.      Legal Death – Condemnation!

3.      Physical Death!

4.      Eternal Death!


C.  Saved Sinners, Those Who have been Pardoned and Forgiven of All Their Sins by The Grace of God through The Blood of Christ Are Debtors who owe a Mighty, Deep Debt of Gratitude and Love to God.


            There is nothing in my text about this debt; but I simply cannot fail to remind your hearts and my own of it. Let us never forget it. Let us ever be keenly aware of it (I Cor. 6:19-20).  II Cor. 8:9; Rom. 12:1-2


“When I stand before the throne, Dressed in beauty not my own

When I see thee as thou art, Love Thee with unsinning heart,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know, not till then, how much I owe.


D.  Sin is that which makes Men and Women Debtors to God.


            These days debt is not so shameful and embarrassing as it use to be. Most people today seem to think, “The more I owe, the more I own,” ignoring the word of wisdom, which declares, “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Pro. 22:7). Still, debtors and sinners have much in common with one another.


1.      Debtors are very likely to get more deeply into debt.


One of the terrible facts about sin is that it breeds so quickly and profusely. You can never say to sin – “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further!”


2.      Sin, like a great debt, causes uneasiness in people where they are aware of it.  If a man has a spark of honesty about him, he cannot rest when he knows he has debts he cannot pay. Even so, a sinner awakened by the grace of God to see his debt to God begins to be greatly disturbed and troubled by sin. He cannot find rest for his soul because he cannot pay his debt.

3.      Debtors and sinners alike shun their creditors – When a man is in debt and has nothing to pay, he tries to hide from his creditors. So men and women in debt to God try to hide from him.

Illus: Adam and Eve – Fig Leaf Religion.

4.      The sinner, like debtors in earlier times, is in very great danger – The law of the land these days says, “You do not have to pay anyone you owe, unless you want to. Instead of paying your bills, if you like, you can file bankruptcy.” It was not always that way!

Illus: Matthew 5:25-26


E.  We are all debtors to God; but Some Have Greater Debts Than Others.


            In our parable, one man owed “ten thousand talent” (10 million dollars), and another owed “an hundred pence.” (about 15 dollars!). The indication is obvious. We have all sinned; but we have not all sinned alike, or to the same degree. Therefore we are not all debtors to the same extent. Some sins are greater than others; and the consequences, both in this world and in the world too come, are greater.


·        John 19:11

·        Matthew 11:20-24


Every sin is an infinite, immeasurable evil, deserving of eternal ruin. Any sin will destroy the soul forever! Yet, there are some sins that have a special venom in them, a special vileness of offence to God.


            NOTE: Degrees of punishment in hell is clearly taught in the Scriptures. Punishment is always in exact proportion to the crime committed. But the Word of God does not teach degrees of reward in heaven. Heavenly glory is the inheritance of grace. Sinners go to hell by their own merit and are rewarded according to his wages!


            But do not imagine that God measures sin by man’s yardstick. It will surprise you to read the Book of God and discover who God says are the greater condemnation.


1.      Those who are placed in Positions of Greater Trust and Influence But Neglect or Abuse It – (James 3:1).

2.      Those who have been given Greater Light but Refuse To Walk in That Light (John 15:22, 24).

3.      Those who Hear But Refuse To Believe the gospel of Christ (I John 5:10).


Unbelief, the willful rejection of God’s mercy and grace in Christ, is the most glaringly hideous evil in the world!


·        “He that believeth shall not be damned!”

·        “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18).

a.      You make God a liar by your unbelief!

b.      You deny your sinfulness by your unbelief.

c.      You deny God’s righteousness by your unbelief!

d.      You blaspheme the Holy Spirit by your unbelief!

e.      You despise the grace of God by your unbelief!


Unbelief! “That is the sin which, above all others, drops the black wax upon (your) death warrant, and sets the seal of divine wrath there.” – C.H. Spurgeon.


            NOTE:  Not even the sins of Sodom can be compared to the sin of unbelief (Matt. 11:23-24).


            Do you see what debtors we are to God? We are sinners. And our sin involves us in a very great debt.


II.  This Sin Debt Must Be Paid – (v. 25).


            Some disposition must be made of our debt. You may try to ignore it; but God will not.  You may deny that your debt exists; but the debt still stands. And it must be paid. God is just. Our obligations to him must be met, or we must suffer the consequences forever in hell. God will deliver the debtor to the prison to suffer at the hands of his tormentors forever in hell. Our sin debt must be paid!


·        Romans 6:23

·        Ezekiel 18:20


III. But We Have No Ability To Pay Our Debt – “He had not to pay!”


            You’ve got to see this. You will never seek forgiveness until you realize that you have nothing to pay. We are all insolvent debtors.


·        Repentance cannot satisfy your debt.

·        Good works cannot erase your debt.

·        Not even the sufferings of hell can satisfy the infinite justice of God!


A.  God demands righteousness; but we have none (Isa. 64:6).

B.  God demands satisfaction, atonement for sin; but we cannot give it.


1.      Silver and gold cannot ransom our souls (Ps. 49:6-8).

2.      Sacrifice and offering cannot purge away sin (Ps. 40:6; Heb. 10:1-3).


We are all bankrupt debtors before God. The sooner we realize it, the better. We have “not to pay.” Nothing with which to pay our debt.


IV.  If Our Sin Debt is Paid, The Only Way It Can Be Paid Is By A Surety.


            There is no other way for our sin debt to be liquidated. If the sin debt must be paid and the sinner has nothing with which to pay, then someone else must pay it for him.


            Illus: A Co-sign on a Note.


            A surety is one who makes himself liable and responsible for the debts of another, for debts that he himself did not make. Someone else made the debts. The surety pays them. And the one who made them goes free.


            The only possible way for sinners to be saved and God’s law be honored, the only way God could ever save us and still be consistent with his justice and truth, is through a Surety.


·        Proverbs 16:6

·        Psalm 85:7-13


Unless there is someone able and willing to pay our debt, we are all absolutely without hope, doomed forever! But, blessed be God, there is such a Surety!


·        Compare Genesis 43:9 and Hebrews 7:22!


V.  The Lord Jesus Christ, The Son of God, Our Surety Has Fully Paid The Sin Debt For His People.


            A long, long time ago, in St. Petersburg, Russie, a young man in the army of Nicholas the Great was addicted to gambling. He had gambled so much that he had lost everything he owned and had accumulated  a very great debt, which he could not pay. He had come from a good family. But he brought shame upon his family’s name by his deeds. At last, he reached the end of his rope. Completely hopeless, he sat at a table and added up his debts. When the overwhelming sum was known, he wrote these desperate words across the bottom of the page – “Who is able to pay all this?” – Exhausted and hopeless, he fell asleep at the table where he sat.


            As he slept, the Emperor walked through the barracks. When he saw the paper on the table, the great debt, and the question – “Who is able to pay all this?” he leaned over and wrote one word – “Nicholas!”


            Even so, when I saw my debt, I cried, “Who can pay my debt? Who can atone for my sin?” And I heard these words echoe through my soul -


“Jesus paid it all! All the debt I owed!

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow!”


A.  The Son of God disposed of my sin debt by paying it off completely and in full – (Gal. 3:13).


Complete Atonement Christ has made

And to the very last penny paid

All that His people owed!

Since Jesus my discharge procured

And freely in my room endued

The whole of wrath divine,

Payment God cannot twice demand,

First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,

And then again at mine.


VI.  If We Would Obtain Forgiveness for our Sin, We Must Sue For Mercy (v. 26).


            There is a time coming when the King of heaven shall “take account” of all men.


A.  God must reckon with us regarding our debt, either by his grace through the gospel, or in his wrath on the day of judgment.


B.  Blessed are those sinners whom God calls to account now by his grace and compels to sue for mercy.


VII.  The God of All Grace, Against Whom We Have Sinned, Is Ready, Very Ready, Because of His Infinite, Free Love, Mercy, and Grace, To Forgive The Sins And Cancel The Debts of All Who Call Upon Him. (v. 27).


            In our parable, it looks as though the King is moved with compassion and forgives the debt in response to the debtor’s plea. That is how forgiveness is first viewed by us. But, in reality, the sinner’s suit for mercy is the result of God’s mercy, love, and grace. But I do like the way verse 27 reads. What a picture of our God!


·        “Moved with Compassion!”

·        “And Loosed Him!”

·        “And Forgave Him the Debt!” The whole thing!