An old village shopkeeper, with many of her customers in debt to her, would carefully mark upon the back of her shop door how much each one owed. There in white chalk, as well as upon her memory, was written the name of each purchaser with the exact amount owing beneath it. Name and debt were riveted together in the old woman’s mind, and could only be separated by due and full payment of all that was owing.
Among the shopkeeper’s customers was a lady whose conscience sorely troubled her on account of the debt of her sins, and who dreaded the opening of the books when small and great shall stand before the great white throne, and be judged according to their works (see Rev. 20: 11, 12). She knew that her sins could never be erased from God’s book by her own means, and that unless they were blotted out she would be eternally lost.
“Why do you mourn thus over your sins?” asked her friend. “Why don’t you believe what God says respecting those who really desire forgiveness? Hasn’t He told such that the debt is paid? You never trouble about the chalk marks upon the shop door after the money owing is put down. In the same way can you not rest in what the blood of Christ has done in paying the debt of sin, and satisfying the demand of divine righteousness?”
“I will go to the shop and see what the shopkeeper has against your name” the friend continued “and will pay what is due. She will then rub out the chalk marks so that when you next go to the shop she will tell you that not a mark stands against your name, and you will gratefully believe her. Yet in this work to clear your debt you will have no part, except the satisfaction that flows from believing your debt is paid.”
“Now as with the debt at the shop, so it is with the terrible debt of your sins over which you mourn, and for which you have nothing to pay. Justice is satisfied, for the blood of God’s Son has been shed for the sins of His people, and not one sin is left against their names. The Lord has paid the price of them all in His own blood. Thus we who believe in God, can and do rejoice in freedom from the debt of sin. Furthermore, it is God’s own joy to tell us that our names are no longer connected with our sins, but written in heaven.”
God graciously owned the illustration from her every–day life, and the lady believed, henceforth rejoicing in God her Saviour. Such a simple gospel––but able to cleanse us “from all sin” (1 John 1: 7). Do you believe it?