Yahoo News, March 25, 2011, reported that an Ohio man received a $16.4 million dollar cable bill. Daniel DeVirgilio of the Dayton, Ohio area attempted to make a payment on his cable bill to Time Warner, but was rejected because the company calculated his past due amount at more than $16 million dollars. His bill usually runs about $80.00 per month. DeVirgilio stated, “Had I known this, I would have bought Showtime.” (news.yahoo.com).
The king of all billing mishaps happened to Jon Seale, a Texas man, who received notice that he owed a 17-figure sum that totaled almost 2,000 times the national debt. The total amount was: 23 quadrillion, 148 trillion, 855 billion, 308 million, 184 thousand, and 500 dollars! Another billing mishap happened to Josh Muszynski, a New Hampshire man, who was charged 23 quadrillion dollars after buying a pack of cigarettes at a gas station. It seems to me that that would be a surefire way of getting people to stop smoking.
Even though both of these debts are enormous, they pale in comparison to the greatest debt. The greatest debt we will ever owe is the debt we incur when we sin against God. This is a debt that we can never repay. It is a debt that would cause our eternal ruin. If our soul is the most precious thing that we possess, then losing our soul would be the greatest loss we could ever sustain.
God’s Word declares, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Pet. 2:24). Remarkably, Jesus paid the debt for us! This thought is captured in the American Folk Hymn: He Paid A Debt.
He paid a debt He did not owe.
I owed a debt I could not pay.
I needed someone to wash my sins away.
And now I sing a brand new song
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
Peter emphasizes three important things. First, Jesus provided the sacrifice for our sins and so made forgiveness possible. Second, He suffered in our place. We deserved the punishment that He suffered for us. Third, He died that we might live. He gives new life spiritually and the promise of eternal life in the world to come.
The greatest debt that any individual will ever know has been paid by the Lord Jesus Christ. We must obey the truth in order to secure the salvation offered through Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:22-23).