We live in a society consumed by debt. Everything is available for "No payments now!" or "0% interest for 5 years!" Gone are the days when we save our money and simply pay cash for things. Instead, we put it on a credit card and worry about paying for it later. Most of us live with debt. We may have a house payment and/or a car payment. We may have medical bills to pay or educational loans. Some may be under the burden of credit card debt. For many of us, debt is unfortunately an all too familiar part of our lives. Each debt represents an obligation that we have. We are obligated to repay the money that we have borrowed.
It is easy to understand the financial debts we face, but have you ever stopped to consider the spiritual debts that you have? Let me ask it another way. What are the spiritual obligations which we must fulfill? What is our spiritual duty?
In Romans 1:14 Paul writes that he is "under obligation both to Greeks and to Barbarians." (ESV) Paul's term for 'obligation' can also be translated 'debtor' or 'one who is in debt.' The Barbarians Paul mentions are simply non-Greeks. So, when Paul writes that he is under obligation to both Greeks and non-Greeks he is including all of mankind.
So, what is this obligation that Paul speaks of? Paul mentions it in the very next verse. "So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome." Notice the first word of this verse, 'so.' This is an important word. It connects this verse with the previous one. Paul is saying, "Therefore, as a result of my obligation, I am eager to preach the Gospel." Paul felt obligated to preach the Gospel.
Notice Paul's attitude about his obligation. He was eager to preach the Gospel. He did not dread his obligation. It was not drudgery to him. It was something he looked forward to doing. There is excitement and energy in his words. He was eager to fulfill his obligation.
What about us? It is important to recognize that you and I are under the same obligation as Paul. 1 Corinthians 6:20 reminds us that we were bought with a price. Our sin carried a high price. In fact, it was a price which we, in our won strength, could never pay. Miraculously, Jesus Christ paid the price of our sin with His vicarious death on the cross. He took care of our sin-debt for us. Now, as a result of His death, we are under obligation to Him. We, like Paul, have an obligation to preach the Gospel.
Let us have an attitude like Paul's. Let us be eager to fulfill our obligation to Christ. let us not procrastinate or delay. Let us be filled with excitement and vigor as we eagerly complete our task.
We are obligated to preach the Gospel. This is the debt we owe Christ. This is the obligation we have and the duty we must fulfill. Lord, help us be like Paul and be ready and eager to fulfill our obligations.