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Jesus frequently used money as a metaphor—in 13 out of 39 parables according to one source. Among its uses, decisions concerning money represent resentment toward God, forgiveness from moral debt, and divine generosity.
The Money Metaphor Once More
Assume you can have only one account at the Bank of Morality. You can have the account in your name or in the name of Jesus, as a co-signer. You choose how you will be identified.
The account in your name would go something like this: sometimes you’d have a positive balance of moral assets, sometimes negative. When positive, you’d feel pretty good about yourself. You might even look down on others who were in the negative. You would undergo stress at times, fearing you’d somehow compromise. When you did begin to lose your ground, your stress and anxiety would increase considerably. If you lost too much ground, you’d suffer insufferable guilt—and that’s too much guilt to be sure.
The account in Jesus’ name would go something like this: everything you need would have been paid for (note the past tense). His account offers no pride for being righteous, nor guilt for past sins. It is his account, not yours or mine. We are purely beneficiaries. Receiving the gift of a completely new identity is a humbling thing. It is also a peaceful, joyful, loving thing.
Need forgiveness? Done, first from before time in the heart of God and later in history made unforgettable while Jesus was on the cross. Need redemption? Already done. Need better behavior (also called sanctification)? It’s yours! Really? Yes, the Account Holder has already lived a perfect life and will live it again, in you, step by step as you trust him. The entire account is yours by faith. Faith or trust is the only thing you are asked to contribute and even that’s a gift! No room for boasting, plenty of room for gratitude.
One can piece all these things together easily by reading the letters of Paul and others in the New Testament. But one statement from Paul says it all: “But it is due to God that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30). In Jesus’ account there can never be a negative balance. It’s all too good to be true in this world, but it is standard fare for the kingdom of God.
What, then, are the downsides of signing on to the account of Jesus? First downside: it’s invisible. Being invisible, it takes faith, something many of us discount in favor of our feelings. One will never have faith without listening to the revealed words of God and allowing the Spirit of God to reveal their meaning. This happens to me over time, not over night. Second downside: there’s no boasting, no pride. Any sense of one’s importance must be replaced by one’s sense of being loved. No more judging others, no more taking credit for one’s successes—everything shifts to relying on Jesus’ accomplishment. When, on the cross, he said, “It is finished”—he meant it in the broadest sense. The redemption of humanity was finished.
The upside of the second downside is that when pride and boasting are ruled out, guilt and fear also disappear. One is defined no longer by one’s track record but by the success Jesus possesses as a redeemer.
Which will it be, this day and every day? Are we so significant that we somehow are too bad or too weak for Jesus to save? Must we open an independent account just in case he fails or in case he needs assistance?
God bids us to be redeemed not redeemers. Let’s trade in our worry and anxiety for gratitude and thanksgiving. Close that independent account, you, fellow beneficiary of the life of Jesus!
This post was first published on: Dec 6, 2023 at 16:48. If this article is significantly updated, the publication date beneath the title may change in order to bring current posts to the top of the directory.