"Amount Received in Full"

Our Gospel service on Sunday evening had been a time of great blessing. The Spirit of God had used the word to the salvation of souls, and my host, who was never happier than when men and women were turning to the great Saviour, went to his office on Monday morning a most happy man.

He was a wholesale provision merchant, and there came to see him that morning a woman, who had a sad story to tell. She was one of his customers, and had got heavily into his debt. He had allowed her to have goods because he believed her story that she had a property that she was intending to sell, when she would be able to clear off all she owed.

Now she had come to tell him that she had deceived him, and was at the end of her tether, that she was in fact a bankrupt. She made a weeping and complete confession, hiding nothing. After consultation with his cashier who was a Christian man and a preacher of the gospel of God's grace, she was called into the private office, and what she witnessed there amazed her. The cashier opened the safe and took out the money box — it was in the days of golden sovereigns before the war — and counted out of it the amount of the debt. The merchant counted the money, and took the bill that stood against the woman, and stamped it, and wrote across it "Amount received in full, " signed it and handed it to her.

She was a grateful as well as an astonished woman, and my friend explained to her that that was what God wanted to do with the debt that she owed to Him.

Let me explain. Sinners are spoken of in the Bible as debtors to God, and as all have sinned, all are debtors. Some have sinned more than others, and the Lord Jesus recognized this when in the parable He spoke of the debtor that owed fifty pence and the other that owed five-hundred pence. There was no difference between them, however, for neither had one penny to pay. Not a sinner on earth can atone for one of many sins that he has committed against God. All are alike in this respect, they have nothing to pay.

It would be a most melancholy consideration if the Gospel which God is sending into the world did not proclaim the fact that He desires to frankly forgive every debtor, to pardon every sinner. And He can do it, because He can write across every dark account of indebtedness — "Amount received in full."

Again I must explain. My merchant friend found in his own cash box the money that enabled him to clear his debtor's debt. It was a noble deed and nobly done, and I never came across a case that illustrates God's way so well.

Even then it falls far short of what God has done. Out of heaven's treasury He gave His best. He gave His Son, His only begotten Son! He gave Him to meet all the righteous demands of eternal justice, and it was His love that made Him do it. "God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). His blood was shed for us, and no creature, neither angel nor man, can tell the value of the blood, the efficacy of that sacrifice. But God knows it, and because of its value He can forgive with an eternal forgiveness everyone that comes to Him, confessing their sinfulness as that woman confessed her debt to my friend.

To some who had come in this way to God, the aged Apostle John, who had leaned his head on Jesus' bosom wrote: — "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His Name's sake" (1 John 2:12).

My friend's cash box was more than equal to the woman's debt, and where sin abounds God's grace does much more abound, and those who come to Him may have the full assurance of God's own forgiveness. That woman went away at peace and happy about the debt, and deeply grateful to her creditor. And if anyone had challenged her, and said, "How do you know that the debt is cancelled?" she could have shown them the bill signed by the creditor over his own words, "Amount received in full." So God tells us in His own word, upon which we can rest without a doubt, that "all that believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13:39).