An Obligation To Discharge, A Duty To Perform and A Debt To Pay
Friday, July 18, 2008
Both to Greeks and to barbarians (to the cultured and to the uncultured), both to the wise and the foolish, I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay. 15 So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:14-16 AMP
The old man, Saul, did much damage to the church in his quest to do what he thought would please God. When God arrested him on the road to Damascus, changed his heart and his name and called him into the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, the new man, Paul, threw himself into this call with the same zeal that he had displayed when he had previously persecuted the Church!
And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one prematurely and born dead [no better than an unperfected fetus among living men]. 9 For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, who am not fit or deserving to be called an apostle, because I once wronged and pursued and molested the church of God [oppressing it with cruelty and violence]. 10 But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me.
1 Corinthians 15:8-10 AMP
When God opened Paul’s eyes, he saw his sin and was intensely grateful for God’s forgiveness and the righteousness he received in believing in the Lord Jesus. You can imagine how terrible he must have felt when he realized how arrogant he had been and how much damage he had done and yet God showed him only mercy. How appreciative he must have been that God could forgive someone like him and use him for His glory! He was deeply humbled by God’s grace and forgiveness and strongly motivated to do everything God told him to do with all that was within him – no matter the cost.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Philippians 3:2-9 KJV
All the things that Saul had thought were so very important, all the things he was so very proud of, Paul counted as dung. Paul counted no longer on the flesh and his works and put all his confidence in Christ Jesus and the righteousness which is of God by faith. Now he lived to please God and not himself. Paul made a commitment to Christ, to fulfill God’s call and to give his all for the Gospel and for the Kingdom of God! Even though he went through horrendous persecutions and hardships (2 Corinthians 11:22-28), he never lost sight of God’s purpose for his life and the debt of gratitude he owed the Lord for saving him.
Paul says that he had:
-an obligation to discharge
-a duty to perform
-and a debt to pay
A debt is something that is owed or that one is bound to pay to or perform for another. A duty is something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation. An obligation arises from a sense of duty. It is the act of binding or obliging oneself by a promise or a contract. An obligation is an agreement that is enforceable by law. It is an indebtedness - a favor, service or benefit for which gratitude is due. It is the state of being under a debt, as of gratitude, for a favor, service, or benefit. Paul voluntarily chose to obligate himself to God’s service because of his gratitude to the Lord. He committed himself completely, expecting nothing but a “well done” at the end of the road.
Many Christians do not feel the obligation to the Cross that Paul felt. Maybe they are lukewarm, or they have the fear of man in them. Either they don’t have a revelation of what Jesus has done for them personally or they are just flat ungrateful. They attach little or no value to the price He paid for their salvation. Of the woman who wept and anointed Jesus with precious perfume, Jesus said, “She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” (Luke 7:47 Message Bible).
Christians, if they have not already done so, should realize how much they owe the Lord and stop living for themselves alone. We should all start to really appreciate the price Jesus paid for us and commit ourselves fully to God’s plans and purposes. You and I are no different than Paul. God has been so good to us! We have eternal life! We are not facing an eternity in hell! We too have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay! Let us purpose today to always be grateful to the Lord for the great things He has done for us and to get up and fulfill the Great Commission with the same heart and passion as Paul!