The Apostle Paul explained his desire to preach the gospel in Rome in these words: I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise (Romans 1:14). In what sense did he owe a debt? The kinds of people named -- the civilized and the uncivilized, the educated and the uneducated -- had not done anything for Paul that required him to return a favor. It would make sense for Paul to speak of his debt to the Jews for the instruction in the Scriptures they gave him. Even more logical would be for Paul to say that he was indebted to God (a sense taken by many modern translations who put the verse in terms of being under an obligation). How could Paul owe both those who were part of the Roman empire and those of the tribes beyond its borders who spoke unintelligible languages?
We owe a debt when we possess something that belongs to another. If someone loans me money, I owe him money or its equivalent in return. When I receive electricity from the power company, I owe them payment for having possessed and used what was theirs. Whenever we possess something that belongs to another, we are their debtor. In this sense, when we are given something to pass on to someone else, we become debtors. We owe them what is theirs.
As Americans, we usually see the gospel in terms of personal salvation. The individualism of our culture causes us to miss the global or universal aspects of the gospel. As someone recently put it, the gospel is not what Jesus has done for me but what He has done for all. My story is just a small part of His story. My testimony confirms the truth of the gospel which is for all peoples everywhere. After all, Jesus is not just the propitiation for my sins but for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Anyone who believes in Him has eternal life (John 3:16).
The gospel is more than a personal possession. It is a treasure meant to be shared. It belongs to others also. I am not to hoard it to myself. Since it is meant for others, I owe it to them. I am in their debt until I have shared it with them. I am debtor to them because I hold what is theirs. They may be near or far, like me or unlike me, but I owe them what is theirs.
In the U. S., one's credit score has become very important. The higher one's score in his or her credit report, the lower his interest rate and the easier it is to receive further credit. The way to a higher score is by faithfully paying off one's debts. Recently I asked myself the question, "I wonder what my credit score is with God?" Let's pray that we will be faithful in paying our gospel debt by seeing that the nations get the gift God has given us not only for our benefit but also to give to them.
The Purpose of This Blog
In response to the challenge by the Southern Baptist Convention that churches take on the task to share the gospel with unengaged unreached people groups, the missions team of Harmony Pittsburg Baptist Association felt the need for a way to focus prayer on the task. This blog is intended to facilitate prayer for those contemplating their role in fulfilling the Great Commission. This on-line prayer guide may prove useful to those exploring a call to missions involvement as well as to those who have sensed a call to pray for those who will go to the front lines.