This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Matthew 6:12, 14-15
— What debt or burden most jeopardizes your future success and wellbeing? Explain.
— How does the debt of sin jeopardize each person’s future success and wellbeing?
— Beyond “God said so,” why would God require Christians to forgive others?
Food for thought:
Much has been written and discussed around the issue of student loans. With the rise in the cost of higher education has come a corresponding rise in student loans to cover those costs. Many recent and current college students face the daunting task of repaying substantial student loan debt. For a significant number, considerations of starting a family or purchasing a first home are relegated to the back burner in light of monthly loan repayment amounts.
With this backdrop, many student voices have cried out with requests or demands for relief from their loans. And many politicians have answered with their own thoughts or proposals regarding varying degrees of student loan forgiveness.
But our most significant debt burden is not student loans — or credit card, auto, personal or even mortgage debt. Our greatest debt is our sin debt, and none of us has a way to pay off what we owe. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, part of His ensuing instruction focused on debt relief — “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12, KJV). Our deepest debt is not financial; it is spiritual, and without forgiveness, that debt will wreck our lives.
In this study, pastor and author John MacArthur identifies two effects of our sin debt. First and most obvious, it condemns a person with a damning curse for eternity. Secondly, by shackling them with unrelenting guilt, our sin debt robs persons of the fullness of life they desire and God intends for them. Only one bailout plan will get us out from under these suffocating debts — God’s forgiveness.
But the bailout is tied to an expectation. Forgiveness received must be forgiveness extended. The one unwilling to forgive the sin debt against another hasn’t received the forgiveness of one’s own sin debt. If there is no transformation in our own willingness to forgive sin debts against others, that stands as clear evidence we have not received the transformation from forgiveness of our own debts. God’s debt bailout plan has already been enacted. Have you availed yourself of it?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.