The Christian -- a Debtor
Romans 8:12
Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.


1. To all times.

(1) To the past. To such who have preceded us we owe the purity of the Church. Shall we not, in some degree, repay the immense debt of our obligation by seeking to make the future also debtors to us, that our descendants may acknowledge that they owe us thanks for preserving the Scriptures, for maintaining liberty, for glorifying God?

(2) To the present. We are living in a most marvellous age. We have around us appliances for doing good, such as never before. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers, and, perhaps, far greater.

(3) To the future. Who can tell the fearful consequences to future generations if we now betray our trust? Sow well, for others must reap. You are fountains for coming generations; oh, be careful that your streams are pure.

2. To all classes. There are some that always get well paid for what they do, whose claims, therefore, need no advocacy. I will only mention one class — the poor. Charity to them is a debt, and God requires us to remember the poor. The rich are indebted to them, for while the one hoard wealth the other make it. But in the case of the believing poor, their claim upon us is far more binding. When I think how the poor toil day after day and receive barely enough to keep their souls within their bodies, and how frequently they serve their Church, unhonoured and unrewarded, I cannot but say that we are their debtors in very large degree. We little know how many a blessing the poor man's prayer brings down upon us.

3. To our covenant God; that is the point which swallows up all. I owe nothing to the past, future, rich, poor, compared with what I owe to my God. We are all born God's creatures, and as such we are debtors to obey Him. When we have broken His commandments we are debtors to His justice, and owe him a vast amount of punishment which we are not able to pay. But in the case of the Christian, Christ has paid the debt. I am a debtor to God's love, to God's power, to God's forgiving mercy, and are we not His sons, and is there not a debt the son owes to the Father which a lifetime of obedience can never remove? Remember again, we are Christ's brethren, and there is a debt in brotherhood.


1. A lesson of humility. If we be debtors we never ought to be proud.

2. How zealous we should be for our Master! Though we cannot pay all, we can at least acknowledge the debt, and, if we cannot pay Him the principal, yet to give Him some little interest upon the talent which He has lent to us, and those stupendous mercies which He has granted to us. If we all believed this, how much easier it would be to get our Churches into good order! I go to one brother and say, "There is such and such an office in the Sabbath school; will you take it?" "Well, sir, I really work so hard all the week that I cannot." There, you see, that man does not know that he is a debtor. I take him a bill to-morrow morning, and he says, "Do you come begging?" I say, "No; I have brought a bill." "Oh, yes," he says, "I see; there is the cash." Now that is the way to act. Conclusion: Be just before you are generous, and especially before you are generous to yourselves. Take care that you pay your debts before you spend money upon your pleasures. If it is robbing man to spend the money in pleasure wherewith we ought to pay our debts, it is robbing God if we employ our time, our talents, or our money, in anything but His service, until we feel we have done our share in that service.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

WEB: So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

The Believers' Obligation
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