I am Debtor (Rom 1:14-16)
There are many struggles in the missions field, so why did the Apostle Paul go into the missions field? Why did he say that he is a “debtor” (Rom 1:14)? How did he have this zeal and passion for the missions field?
1 The fact of being a debtor
A debtor is one who has an obligation to return something he owes. In Romans 13:8, the Greek verb “owe” comes from the same root word as the Greek noun “debt” or “debtor.” Thus, Paul is saying that we must not owe any man anything, but we are to love to one another. This debt of love is the experience that he had received of Christ. We become a “debtor” the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we have experienced the fullness of Christ’s love, and we have been justified by faith through the grace of God, we are then “debtors” to God’s love. It is our obligation and duty to pay back the love that we have received from God (c.f. Rom 15:1). Are we aware that we are “debtors”?
2 Who we are debtors to
In Romans 1:14, Paul said that he is a “debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” Being debtors to God is to be debtors to the people around us and we are to show Christ’s love to them. It does not matter who these people are, whether they are cultured, learned, etc. Paul is “debtor” to them all. He does not pick and choose. Whoever God brings to his life, he is indebted to them.
Thus, we must be ready to go to whoever the Lord sends us to. Whatever our ministry, we minister to people. We are debtors to the people that God has placed in our lives. Do we see the needs of these people around us? And their need for the gospel?
3 How we can pay this debt
We pay the debt we owe by sharing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with others (Rom 1:16). We must not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. We must have no doubt nor fear with regards to the gospel of Jesus Christ, because there is power in the gospel. It is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16). It can free a person’s blindness to sin, and his bondage to sin.
Have you experienced this power of the gospel unto salvation? If yes, then have you paid back this gospel debt?