Debt Restructuring is a process by which a firm unable to pay its debts in a timely manner makes alternative payment arrangements with its creditors. This process may allow the company to continue operating rather than entering bankruptcy proceedings and liquidating (Accountingtools.com). A debt restructuring may involve delaying debt payments, forgiving some portion of the debt, or swapping some for shares of the firm’s common or preferred stock. Debt cancellation, however, is an act of relieving a debtor of a debt obligation, and it is sometimes referred to as debt forgiveness. Individuals, companies, and Nations usually subscribe and appeal for debt cancellation when they can no more meet their repayment obligations.
Several reasons have been given in defence of applying for debt cancellation or at least a restructuring. Amongst them are; External market shocks, unforeseeable occurrences such as Global pandemics, natural disasters, earthquakes, Wars, and some of the nuances of the World’s Geo-Politics. Others have also argued strongly that good household, organisation, or Nation management is what usually insulates them from the humiliation of being brought to the knees begging for debt cancellation. They contend that reckless spending, excessive borrowing, and its misapplication as if there’s no tomorrow is the primary cause of debt distressed nations, companies, and individual households.
Borrowing or staying in debt for long almost always costs money and turns out to be more expensive than anticipated due to the interest rate and possible fees. When it becomes habitual, one will likely overspend without the necessary value for money considerations when shopping. The individual, company, or Nation’s credit rating also dwindles, making it more difficult and expensive to get future credit. Without diving deep into the merits and demerits of the above debate, there comes a time when individuals, companies, and Nations become distressed and heavily indebted to others. The pride and sense of existence of those in debt are always eroded to humiliating levels. Indeed it is a state no one should wish for, even their bitterest rivals or enemies. That is the state of those who, as of now, have not subscribed to God’s debt cancellation program through Christ Jesus finds themselves. Hopelessness in despair draws on their faces as they traverse the corridors of this miserable world ruled by their creditor, the devil. As though not enough with the debt of the Adamic sin, the devil keeps luring them into all manner of sinful desires, and pleasures, thereby increasing their indebtedness to him to distressing levels. Life without Christ has, therefore, denied many the ability to control themselves, thereby rendering them slaves of all manner of evil passions. To the extent of even not being attractive anymore to the devil and its world systems that plunged them into such debt levels, a higher power, authority, and a more authentic creditor happens to be the only hope for a possible bailout for such people.
To curb these phenomena and to foster a good and healthy relationship between the Israelites, God instituted a debt cancellation program under some conditions. In Deuteronomy 15:1-2, He said, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelites. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelites or brother because the Lord’s time for cancelling debts has been proclaimed.” To prevent some from being wicked to their neighbours, God continued in verse 9, “Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: ‘The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,’ so that you do not show ill toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.” Such was the orderly and brotherly manner with which creditors and debtors in the household of faith were required to relate for peaceful coexistence.
Unfortunately, not all debts are easily cancelable or written off in a manner as prescribed above, especially if Satan is a party to any debt restructuring exercise or consideration for its cancellation. This write-up aims to discuss how God paid off the humanly irredeemable debt humankind owed Satan to enable them to enjoy an outright debt cancellation. Lessons will also be gleaned for the kind of life expected to be led by all who subscribe to God’s debt cancellation offer through Christ Jesus.
God created humankind to serve and relate with Him. Unfortunately, Satan enticed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with some of his merchandise, making them and their offspring perpetually indebted to him. Humankind’s original or principal debt owed Satan is, therefore, traceable to the act of disobedience of God’s express word about the forbidden tree. The menace of anarchy, chaos, unbridled greed, environmental and moral degradation, wars, wickedness, anguish, pain, diseases, and misery we see today is just the interest that keeps piling and accruing on the principal. Apostle Paul could not have put it any better when he said in Romans 8:20-22, ” For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
Threatened by God’s introduction of Christ into the world around 2,023 years ago, the devil sought to dash every hope of relieving and weaning humankind off their indebtedness to him. On mount Quarantania this time, He visited Christ, also known as the second Adam, and exhibited some of his wares to Him. The devil intended to woo the second Adam, extend some credit lines to Him, and make Him indebted to him as he did to the first Adam in the Garden of Eden. Christ would have none of that. He defeated the devil with God’s Word in his first attempt, and by the time He finished with him, He drove Satan away, saying, “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 4:1-11). It was, therefore, not surprising that Jesus spoke about Satan in John 14:30, “Here comes the Prince of this World, and I do not owe him anything.”
Is that not a great feeling to be able to speak as Jesus spoke? When you have a clean sheet regarding debt? Unfortunately, humankind did not have the luxury of making such pronouncements, more so to the hearing of the devil. Until Christ, humanity had been downgraded to a “D” or junk status by the spiritual counterparts of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the world’s credit rating agencies. Our debts had made us unattractive and a laughing stock. The devil, humankind’s creditor, showed no mercy, nor was God’s mercy accessible. The Old Testament described it this way in Ezekiel 16:5, “On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked at you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born, you were despised.” About our tragic past, 1 Peter 2:10 says, ” Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
The yoke of sin had become an albatross around the neck of all humans from a day old to the well-stricken in years. Romans 3:10-12 summarised it, saying, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is not one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Debt had, thus, swallowed humanity up, and we virtually had lost our sense of existence and pride. This, manifesting at times as demon possession, drove some to live in solitary places like tombs and cages. “And when He stepped out on the Land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.” (Luke 8:26-29). According to verse 29, The “unclean spirit had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.” Yes, humankind’s indebtedness to the devil was real and that serious!
To keep a working relationship with Israel, God instructed the Priests to offer all manner of sin offerings. None of these offerings, mainly the blood of bulls and goats, were adequate to cancel humankind’s debt owed the devil by the Adamic fall. It may best be described as a debt restructuring, postponement, or deferment of a sort. About the various sin offerings directed by God in the book of Leviticus, Dr Michael S. Heiser said, “The Old Testament sacrifices could not provide release from spiritual and moral guilt. They merely allowed people to participate in a temporary and ultimately inadequate system while teaching them about God’s nature. Only Jesus’ greater sacrifice could solve the real problem of our moral guilt before a holy God.”
Hebrews 10:4-7 reads, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings, you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God.” The value of humankind’s indebtedness was the equivalent of the atoning death of God’s only begotten son in the person of Jesus Christ. It, therefore, did not lie within the purview of humankind to engage the devil in any negotiations, let alone open up the discussion on a possible debt cancellation from his end. No amount of positive confessions, demonstrations, strike actions, picketing in the corridors of the devil, or press conferences for public sympathies and advocacy by Civil Society groups was going to change humankind’s debt profile owed him and how it had been restructured. Spiritual indebtedness cannot be paid off with Civil Society advocacy or any freedom fighters movement.
Reminiscent of the devil’s wickedness, he has restructured some of humankind’s debt in the form of curses so that it pops up at specific unexpected periods in a person’s life, lingering on for many generations. In January 2023, when vulnerable groups like some pensioners in Ghana disagreed with the Government’s mode of restructuring debt owed them, they picketed around the Ministry of Finance offices with their chairs and daily medications. In a matter of days, the Government quickly reconsidered its stand to meet their concerns. The devil, however, does not buckle under such civil pressure, no matter the vulnerable groups involved. Indeed, as we speak, he has taken hostage of some children, youths, the working class, the aged, and even the downtrodden or downcast by blindfolding them from accessing the free debt cancellation program as rolled out by God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Even though obeying the devil’s voice made humanity indebted to him, ignoring him does not necessarily free them from their debt. To pay off humankind’s indebtedness to the devil, God released His only son into the world as a sacrifice so humanity can enjoy a debt cancellation regime, this time from God and not the devil. It is, therefore, God who has cancelled our debt. So, on that faithful good Friday at Golgotha, there was a debt settlement between Jesus and the devil and its cancellation between God and humankind. What a crucial encounter in the life of all humanity!
Through Christ Jesus, God settled humankind’s eternal indebtedness to the devil while reconciling them unto Himself. That is what the good Friday deal or accord was all about. It was, therefore, not unexpected that darkness covered the entire world for three good hours (Luke 23:44). Jesus paid the debt and freed us from its obligation to enable all who believe in Him to enjoy debt cancellation. The devil did not cancel our debts. Christ has fully paid them off on behalf of all who believe in Him. One miserable thing, however, that can happen to a believer is to be continually living as a debtor to the devil. The devil and his agents would always be happy for the freed of Christ to stay in that ignorance because it feeds to his propaganda and advantage. Knowing the potential of what a well-informed born-again child of God can do against his Kingdom, the devil is busily pushing a falsehood that one is not necessarily free from his grips after accepting Christ.
About our freedom from the bondage of sin and curses, Jesus Christ was unequivocal about that in John 8:36. It reads, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” let us, therefore, not succumb to the devil’s bullying tactics of intimidation and suppression as people still indebted to him. I remember boarding a public transport after school closed in grade 6. I did not know that one of my father’s friends, who had already taken his seat at the front cabin, had spotted me and even paid my fair for me to the conductor. As the vehicle set off and the conductor, or as we call it in my local dialect, “Trotro mate”, started collecting his fares from those onboard, he stretched out his hands in my direction and said, “Yeesss” to wits, what of yours? Not knowing the man who had already paid my fare to the same conductor was closely monitoring events on the vehicle’s passenger side. As I gave out my money, I heard a deep voice from the front cabin asking the conductor why he was still asking me to pay. Then the man shouted, “James, I paid yours and mine together, so keep your money.” You can imagine the relief and excitement, and sudden joy that drew all around me. At least I was glad; I could buy something with the little savings I had made the next day in school. With embarrassment drawn all over his face, the bus conductor could not even have the courtesy to apologise to the man or my good self. That is precisely what the devil is doing to many believers of today in the journey of this life. He keeps on stretching his dishonest hands at us, asking us to pay for what has been settled by Christ on our behalf on the calvary cross.
Are you asking why the devil keeps bothering us we debts we don’t owe again? Unfortunately, that is his preoccupation. He came to steal, kill and destroy. In living godly lifestyles, he keeps whispering to us, “It is not possible to live without sinning.” About curses, he keeps bullying us with our ancestral past and transactions which Christ has paid off anyway. Concerning diseases and infirmities, he is always in the habit of intimidating us to distract us from reaching our God-given potential.
Meanwhile, Matthew 8:17 says, “This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Regarding fear, and to fit his game plan, he keeps scaring believers with the fear of the unknown to render them immobile, spiritually numb, timid and docile. According to Apostle Paul, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. ” (2 Timothy 1:7). We must, therefore, boldly assert our liberty in Christ Jesus wherever we find ourselves with Kingdom principles and values unto His glory. (Romans 8:15-17).
The total surrender to Christ Jesus cancels every debt a person owes the devil. After that, believers must avoid accessing further credit lines from the devil’s shopping mall through sin. Like the indescribable feeling of inner peace to individuals, companies, and nations whose debts are cancelled, people can testify if a person’s debt is paid off after encountering Christ. Concerning the demon-possessed in the Gadarenes region Jesus healed, Mark 5:15-16 records, “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well.”
The freedom and liberty enjoyed by the soul and spirit become evident even in one’s physical appearance. Such is the reality of our newly found faith in Christ Jesus, so let’s do everything to protect it jealously.
Similarly, Jesus met a man the Bible described as an invalid for thirty-eight years sitting on a mat. He called him to take up his mat and be free from that sickness, and immediately the man was healed. Finding him later at the temple, Jesus warned him, saying, ” See, you are well again. Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14).
Hebrews 10:26-27 warns that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” In other words, there is no more debt cancellation for those who recklessly pile on debts by indulging in sinful lifestyles. “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss, they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:4-6). To avoid being caught up in another self-inflected debt-distressing moment with no hope of any other bailout, all who have once enjoyed a debt cancellation regime from God must keep a close walk with Him by allowing the Holy Spirit to rule every day of their lives.
The devil says, “You owe me your life when you follow my instructions”, And God says, “I give you eternal life when you believe in Jesus Christ, my Son.” Whereas the former extracts from us, the latter offers eternal life. Which way will you go? The devil for further downgrading your debt profile with him or God for debt cancellation? I beg you to surrender your life to Christ today if you are unsure whether your debt has been restructured or outrightly cancelled. The Lord Jesus can appear any moment from now, so let us do the needful by fleeing every form and appearance of sin after our debt has been cancelled. Stay blessed.
Written by Pastor James Orhin Agyin