Vol.III No.I Pg.4
February 1966

A Christian Pays His Debts

Robert F. Turner

In past issues we have used this page for Bible Outlines, and articles about Bible study. Now, in Volume 3, we will devote this space to articles on Christian living -- or, if you are allergic to that particular adjective, we'll call it A Living Christian.

A living Christian pays his debts. He pays them with money, or whatever it is that he owes. Lacking that, he makes a satisfactory arrangement with his creditor on a substitute basis -- perhaps he "works it out" or pays with other substance of equal value. He squarely faces his just obligation and his conscience will not allow him to ignore, forget, or use any unjust means of "side-stepping" it.

Rom. 13:8 reads, "Owe no man anything -- " and commenting upon this bro. Whiteside wrote, "If a man pays promptly according to contract, he owes nothing. 'Render to all their dues' -- pay what is due."

Years ago someone asked David Lipscomb if one should make his wife a "freeholder to hold property against his indebtedness." Bro. Lipscomb replied, "It is sin for any man to make arrangements with his wife or any one else to avoid paying his debts -- that is, to defraud his creditors; and all fraud to avoid paying debts -- is dishonest. A man who owes others and is not able to pay ought not to give money to the service of God. God likes clean offerings, and will accept no other kind." (Queries and Answers, 127)

While yet a very young preacher I heard bro. N.B. Hardeman say that if we (a group of young preachers) did not learn to live within our means and pay all bills promptly, we could never serve the Lord successfully. I have seen his statement proven many times -- with fine Bible scholars and wonderful speakers loosing their influence and wrecking their lives because they ate Canadian bacon on a hog-jowl salary. Preachers are not the only ones that need to find their proper place on the hog.

I further agree with bro. Lipscomb that "there is no point at which the cause of Christ suffers more than in the dishonesty and indifference of church members to act honestly and uprightly and to be faithful in paying their debts, or in trying as far as able to pay them. Then the church treats these cases with indifference, honors men that do not pay their debts, and the cause of God suffers. A revival of honesty is greatly needed among Christians" (Ibid., p. 127)

Credit buying is not, within itself, wrong. But it requires skillful and cautious use. The "easy-payment" plan has triggered many foolish purchases, and led foolish people far beyond their means. No, I am not an economist -- I'm trying to be a faithful preacher. When one buys beyond his means he opens the door for many temptations. The "bind" may cause him to compromise his convictions, slight his obligations to the Lord, or cheat his neighbor. A free, independent man must be an honest man, pay his debts. He must shun all indebtedness he may not be able to pay -- promptly, fully.

"You Can't Get Nuthin' Fer Nuthin'."