How fitting that Tax Day falls on the calendar in the same season as Good Friday and Easter.
The day our accounts are investigated and the burden of our debt is weighed makes many of us worry about paying off what we owe while others grumble about the authority that demands payment. That day when “each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) I know it is hopeless for me. I certainly can’t cover the debt. Only one sin is cause for punishment, even one idle word will be held against me. (Matthew 12:36)
“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3)
No wonder people caught under the weight of financial disaster fall prey to the whispers of swindlers and false promises of relief from the burden—just as many let themselves be drawn to the lies of inadequate systems of works righteousness or denial of reality.
Thankfully, we have an Advocate who is trustworthy and whose methods are true. In his perfect obedience, his account of righteousness fills up and washes over all those who believe in him. Jesus forgives the debt, as the king in the parable (Matt 18:21-35) does for the servant who is unable to pay off his account.
Our king is able to forgive even more than our acts of transgression, which he wipes away—I can literally watch the account go from a mountain of transgressions to zero the moment I trust in Jesus. He also takes our empty account of obedience and good works and fills it with his life of obedience. Our ledger entry looks just like that of a perfect Son of God, because the one has been substituted for the other. And the power of the Holy Spirit makes us able to add glory unto glory through our continued obedience and sanctification.
The king in the parable mentioned above showed mercy and forgave the debt against him, and he called for like behavior from his servants. Jesus commands the same.
On this day that we mark the debt that is paid, that our account of acts against the holy God is emptied and replaced with the fullness of Christ, let us remember the forgiveness of a very holy God toward us. Let us show the same to others who have accounts against us so that we may gain a brother and entertain God’s presence in our midst. (Matthew 18:15-20)
Originally appeared on April 14, 2017, as a 5-Minute Friday post (prompt: EMPTY).