Friday, February 27, 2009

My debt to pay? - No way!

What does what I’m about to write have anything to do with flying an airliner across the sky? I don’t know, but I feel compelled to give something, to make up something, so here goes. I make my livelihood flying a passenger jet around the Northeastern US sky. The airplane is worth tens of millions of dollars, and I couldn't begin to guess how much money the fuel is my jet burns per year is worth.

But I don’t own the plane, or lease it. I don’t have to pay for the fuel either. I have absolutely no debts or obligations to my employer to pay for the airplane or the fuel. That’s simply the way it works.

That’s absurd Craig, of course that’s the way it works, what’s your point?

Well, the most important part of my last post really wasn’t about cake, CAK, or work, it was about God’s incredible amazing Grace. I could write more, much more about it, but for now there is one pebble in my shoe that I have to get out. It's off my foot and and I’m tipping it over.

In God’s grace we don’t have a debt to pay back to God, period. This isn't a repeat, hang in there with me now!

There are unbiblical and unscriptural lyrics in a very popular praise and worship song from the nineties. Maybe you’ve heard it on the radio, many artists have performed it. You’ve probably even sung it in church, if you’ve attended a contemporary service. The song is ‘Lord I lift your name on high’: from the chorus:

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift you name on high

The fact that a popular song misinterpreted and misapplied God's Holy Word shows how insidious and easy it is for Christians to have a works based view of their relationship with God.

I propose we change the lyrics simply to:

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt’s been paid!
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift you name on high

You may say 'yea, that's great and all, but show me some scripture to back that up with, Craig'.

From the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible, Paul's letter to the Colossians, Chapter 2:13-14: "13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Here's another good one, from 1 Timothy 2, NLT version: 2:5-6: "5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone."

We should do good works for God's Kingdom, of course, but out of gratitude and Love for what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. There, I feel better now, I can walk (and fly) easier now.

And I'll be flying, and pretending to fly, a good bit in the next few days. I have a four day trip starting the evening of Sunday, March 1st, then during the second week of March I'll travel to Charlotte and have a PC (Proficiency Check) in the simulator. What fun!

Actually, a PC is fun, but stressful. It's fun when it's over and I my training partner, and instructor can reminisce, but also because it guarantees learning something new. Meeting the challenge a PC presents is satisfying, in a tortuous and stoic kind of way that I enjoy.

I'll try to share more about my next trip and PC. Until then, I'll be 'crossing the sky'. And God will be too.


Mom said...

I get a lot out of reading your blog. It is a great blessing to know that you have grown to be a "spiritual" man. May God continue to reveal Himself to you through His Son, His Word, and His Spirit.

I have always thought that the phrase, "died, my debt to pay" referred to the fact the Jesus Christ died to pay my debt. Debt = Sins

My nature was conceived in sin. In fact, since the fall of Adam and Eve, we are all born into this state of being. The B-I-B-L-E says that "the wages of sin are death." I define that kind of death as complete, eternal separation of God.

But, since Jesus paid the debt of sin, I am saved from having to do so. God sent Jesus to bring us back to Him.

'Captain Craig' said...

Thanks Mom! I appreciate it. I can see how the lyrics can be understood as 'my debt to pay but Jesus paid it for me', just the first person use in singing it has always struck me funny. I agree with all your comments too.