Did You Give God An IOU? :: By Nathele Graham

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

You know what an IOU is, right? It’s a promise you make when someone has done something for you, and you can’t repay them for the kindness right then. You give an IOU, meaning that you appreciate what they did for you and at some future time you will repay what is owed. Depending upon how much integrity you have, you will repay your debt as soon as possible, or you will ignore the obligation entirely.

When you came to Christ, like every Christian who ever has lived, you understood that Christ paid a debt for you that you could never pay for yourself. He paid for your redemption from sin and gave you eternal life. Unless you really understand the debt He paid, you can never be grateful enough.

God created all things, but these days there is a very satanic push to question God’s truth. It’s really a no-brainer. If you think evolution is true, you believe that nothing exploded and created everything. Maybe you think a vacationing group of aliens stopped on earth to have a picnic and we evolved from the crumbs they left. Really? It’s amazing what can be imagined when people try to deny God.

You might ask, “Where did God come from?” That’s a good question, but you have to realize that God exists outside of time. When Moses saw the burning bush, he went to explore, and a voice from the bush gave him directions to approach Pharoh and ask him to set the Israelites free from slavery. Moses asked what to say if asked who sent him on this mission.

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).

That seems a little confusing, but the truth is that God is eternal. He always was and will always be. He created heaven and earth and filled it with marvelous animals and plants. He created man and put him in a garden that provided for all his needs. God was pleased with His creation, and he cared for it. It was a perfect existence. There was a danger there, though. That danger was for Adam to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If he ate that fruit, he would die. To protect Him, God gave Adam the command to not eat that fruit. Just one command. He had plenty of food from all the other trees, so there was no need for disobedience. Then Adam realized all of the animals had a partner and asked God for a helpmate. God gave him Eve.

How long did this life of contentment and perfection go on?

Scripture doesn’t tell us, but things did go wrong. Eve chose to listen to the voice of deception, and Adam chose to listen to Eve. It turns out that God was correct, and they lost their place in Paradise. The serpent spoke words from Satan and convinced Eve that God was a liar and that she should eat the forbidden fruit. He focused on the one thing that God said not to do, and made it look very tempting. Eve was deceived. When Adam saw that Eve had made a choice to defy God, he made his own choice. He joined Eve in death. They didn’t fall down dead right then and there, but their immortal bodies were now mortal. They could no longer live in the Garden.

Adam’s sin has been passed down through the ages from one generation to the next. That sin has caused evil, death, and grief to be a part of life ever since. Sadly, when something bad happens to us, quite often we blame God. We ask why God allows death, illness, and other bad things to happen. Blame Satan, not God.

That sin separated humans from God. Sin will always be a debt that we have no ability to pay, but through the ages, God has opened the way for people to be reconciled to Him. God exists outside of time, and to human perception, it took ages for His plan of redemption to be fulfilled. Throughout time, Satan has been hard at work to continually deceive people into sin. The same lies he used with Eve he uses on people today. He had lied to Eve about the forbidden fruit; He twisted God’s words. God had told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

What about today? Do you think that God is the one trying to ruin your life by telling you not to sin? Do you listen to satanic lies of the world and embrace sin? Disease riddles your body because you yield to the temptation of sexual impurity? Your liver is filled with disease because you choose to be a drunkard? The mind-altering drugs you take into your body have caused you to be demon-possessed? Still, you blame God for allowing your choice to sin to cause you trouble. That’s what sin does.

“The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a).

The death caused by our choices to live in opposition to God’s truth will bring physical death. The liver disease caused by alcoholism will cause your body to give out. The AIDS caused by homosexual activity will destroy your body and take your life. When you embrace sin, there are consequences. We can’t blame God for the choices we make. The sin of rejecting the forgiveness that comes from Christ will bring eternal death, but that’s a choice you make.

Jesus paid our sin debt. We owe Him more than an IOU.

God has never turned His back on His creation. First, He chose Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel. It was through Abraham’s seed that the greatest blessing has come to all people. Abraham was told to leave idol worship behind, leave his pagan family, and go to a land that God would show him.

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1.

Abram, whom God renamed Abraham, had to leave the temptation of idol worship behind and move away from the people who would draw him back to sin in that pagan culture. God hadn’t stopped loving humanity, and he was putting His plan into motion. Abraham would be the father of a great nation through his son Isaac. God showed Abraham the land that would be his, and his generations to come, forever.

“And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD who appeared unto him” (Genesis 12:7).

This land still belongs to Abraham’s descendants to this day. There are many disputes over it, but God will never revoke the ownership of Israel. The voice of Satan is being followed by people today who are trying to destroy Israel, and Israel is hated among many nations. Any Christian who is against Israel doesn’t understand Scripture. Bible prophecy tells us that the nation of Israel won’t be destroyed or removed from their God-given land.

God’s plan of redemption would take years to complete. First, the Law was given. This was a visual aid to understand how much God hates sin but loves people. There were animal sacrifices put in place that would cover sin. They couldn’t take sin away, but for a moment, the sin was covered. Never, ever was human sacrifice acceptable. Only the shedding of animal blood was a way to cover the sins of people.

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

Animal blood was only a temporary covering. God’s plan was for a perfect sacrifice, once for all. That sacrifice would come through the shed blood of God Himself. Many Bible prophecies told of God being born in Bethlehem and becoming the perfect sacrifice to take our sin away.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will save you from eternal death, not works of any kind. He paid the debt of sin that Adam incurred.

That brings me to my question, “Did you give God an IOU?” We’ve seen that sin entered because of Adam’s choice to sin and that God still loved him. We’ve seen that the Law of Moses was a way of teaching about sin and that shedding animal blood covered it. Animal blood cannot take sin away, but only the pure blood of God can take away sin.

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Jesus was the perfect Kinsman Redeemer. His mother was human. Mary was a willing servant of God but nothing more than human. In that way, Jesus was a Kinsman of humans. Human blood is tainted by sin passed down through Adam. That’s why human blood can never be shed to take away sin. That would be like using a dirty, greasy cloth to clean up a grease spill. It just wouldn’t work. Jesus was conceived by God the Holy Spirit, so there was no sin in His blood; He was fully God and fully human.

In the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that the wages of sin is death, but there is more to that verse. “… but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). If someone gives you a gift but you choose to reject it, that gift does you no good. God has given you a gift, so don’t reject it. Accept Christ’s sacrifice to bring you eternal life.

When you realized that you are a sinner and need Jesus for salvation, did you give God an IOU? Did you accept His payment but decided to pay Him back sometime in the future?

Forgiveness of sin should be a life-changing experience. The sin you thought brought you pleasure should no longer be embraced. Jesus died for you, and He paid your sin debt. Jesus paid a huge price for you. Have you accepted His free gift of salvation but choose to hold on to your sin? That’s giving him an IOU. You want the benefit of God’s grace while you continue sinning. Do you intend to eventually stop lying, gossiping, and living in open opposition to His word? Will you someday stop having one-night stands? Now is the time to turn away from the sin that brought the wages of death and turn to Christ who gives the gift of eternal life.

If you care at all about Scripture, you just might look at prophecy and see that we are rapidly coming to the end of chances to repay the IOU. Time is running out. The final seven years of life as we know it are about to be a reality. That reality will only be faced by people who have rejected Christ for salvation.

If you’ve decided to live life by the ways of the world, then you need to accept Christ now. Let Him change you from a sinner bound for Hell to a sinner saved by grace. If you claim to have accepted His gift but have given Him an IOU instead of changing your life, it’s time to repay Him in the only way you can. That’s by living your life to honor Him. He didn’t give you an IOU. He paid your debt in full.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham


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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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