Many years ago during a very short assignment when I was in the Army, I loaned $800 to a “friend” who promised that she would pay me back before getting sent to her next duty station. But as the date for her departure grew closer, it was becoming clear that she had no intention of paying me back. I asked her repeatedly about when she was going to pay her debt, and her responses always made me feel horrible for asking, as she always expressed her disappointment in my doubt of our “friendship.” The very day of her departure, she wrote me a $25 check and promised that she would send me the rest upon arrival to her new assignment.
And in the memo line of that $25 check she wrote, “PAID IN FULL.”
Naive, young, and trusting her, I promptly deposited the check at the bank. Weeks passed by and I had to call her and ask where the money was, but none of my calls were answered or returned. I finally went to my commanding officer, who referred me to the Army’s Legal office.
To make a long story short – By endorsing and cashing the check that had written on it, “PAID IN FULL,” I had in fact acknowledged, that it was just that – PAID IN FULL. She knew what she was doing, and I was unable to collect on the other $775. For years, I just figured it was a lesson learned. But now, I look back and learn a completely different lesson from it, and it has to do with the Easter Story. Here’s why…….
When Jesus was on the Cross at Calvary, He said, “Tetelestai!” which in Greek means, “It is FINISHED!” In other words, PAID IN FULL !
Jesus came down to earth, to live in an earthly body just like yours and mine. He knew hunger, thirst, pain, heartache, and even betrayal! In fact, He knew all of these things better than us. He was beaten and crucified, and gave up His life for us at Calvary on the Cross.
But He did this because it was the ONLY way for you and I to be reconciled to the Father, and even ABLE to spend eternity in heaven. He PAID THE PRICE! There IS nothing else we must “do!” but believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, His sacrifice there at Calvary, confess that you are a sinner in need of His saving grace, and accept the FREE gift of Salvation!
Why do we want to keep trying to PAY our way into heaven? Why? Volunteering at the soup kitchen 8 days a week, going on mission trip after mission trip after mission trip, writing checks to our favorite charities, paying for services to be held for a specific person, doing good deeds, belonging to the right activities club, attending the right church……. You canNOT do enough “good stuff” or even “be good enough” to EARN what Jesus did for you and for me. He said it was paid in full, and He meant it. He cannot “collect” our deeds as payments towards His free gift anymore than I could collect from the girl who took off with my money.
Once the bank and the lawyer informed me that by there was NOTHING I could do to collect on that debt, I had to put it behind me. That was 25 years ago, and I can PROMISE you, I have not spent even an hour trying to collect on that debt. PAID IN FULL meant just that – PAID IN FULL! Our good deeds should be a manifestation of a joyful heart, not as a good deed trying to EARN what we will NEVER have the means to pay for…
It’s time we started thinking like the bank. PAID IN FULL means PAID IN FULL !!!