A Long Trail of Debt

November 13, 2022

David Sorn

We all have a long trail of spiritual debt hanging behind us. Find out how Jesus sees it and what He is willing to do about it.

A Long Trail of Debt

November 13, 2022

David Sorn

We all have a long trail of spiritual debt hanging behind us. Find out how Jesus sees it and what He is willing to do about it.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Colossians 2: 9-15


Hey! Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here

I was out of town a few weeks ago on a little getaway with my wife and while we were out of town, we went to church.

Because I love to GO to church.

Because you see, I never get to GO to church.

And the week we were there the pastor was talking about money.

And it started off normal enough, and then about halfway through, he said, “And now, let’s talk about debt”

And the room got quiet.

Like, “you can hear a pin drop quiet”

And sitting there that morning, it just hit me in a different way …as I felt the intensity of the people of the room.

Because debt is…painful.

For a lot of us it starts when you’re young, and then our trail of debt just gets longer and longer.

And we think, how will this ever end?

I read the other day that 25% of Americans now believe that they will NEVER be able to pay off their long trail of debt.

And you know the Bible talks a lot about debt (some of it financial), but mostly about our debt of sin.

The fact that our lives, tend to create this long trail of debt.

A long list of sins against God

And the Bible says unless something is done about that, our lives will be hindered in just about every way.

But, there is hope.

And we’re going to see some amazing answers in our passage today

Everybody grab a Bible

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Colossians 2:9-10

As a church, we’ve been studying the letter of Colossians in the Bible

And last week, we saw that the author, Paul, wrote to the Colossians about Spiritual Maturity

And this week, he’s writing about our spiritual debt.


Let’s read

(Colossians 2:9-10) – NIV

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

It’s Jesus Over Everything.

(Title Slide: A Long Trail of Debt)

But what does Paul start with?

He says, in Jesus, all the fullness of the Deity (that means God) lives in bodily form.

He says this because, as I said a few weeks ago, some of the Colossians mistakenly thought Jesus was just like a super powerful angel.

By the way, when you see “powers and authorities” written in the New Testament, it’s always referring to the spiritual world (to angels & demons)

So Paul is saying, “No, Jesus is not just a powerful angel. He’s over every angel…every power, every authority.

“Jesus, IS God. And, he was a man. The fullness of God lives in bodily form”

That’s Jesus!

And then Paul goes onto say something quite profound.

He says the FULLNESS of God IS in Christ, and that IN Christ, you (the believer) have been brought to FULLNESS.

Fullness & Fullness

And so the ONLY way that humans can find fulfillment, can find fullness, is to find it in Christ.

If you’re feeling empty, and looking for fulfillment

You won’t find it in a spouse.

Because your spouse wasn’t meant to be that for you.

If you’re looking to find fulfillment in your career, in pleasure, in your social media following, in your family….

You won’t find it there.

Because you were made to find it only in the fullness of God…the one who can pay for your sins…in Christ.

And see, for so many people, their debt of sin is holding them back from finding fulfillment in Christ.

This is where our passage is heading and teaching:

When your “spiritual debt” is paid

1. You can find the fulfillment that you long for (vv.9-10)

Paul is going to say in a few minutes, that the way we first get right with God is to let Him pay for our sins, our debt.

And the clearing of that debt allows us to find a fulfillment like we never knew.

It makes sense if you think about financial debt.

You can put a new boat on your credit card, or re-model your kitchen on credit, but it’s hard to enjoy it all when you know in the back of your mind, that there is this long line of debt trailing behind you.

But imagine if one day, someone came along and paid all of your debt?

Do you just feel lighter even thinking about it?

How would that change your fulfillment in life?

And see Jesus wants to do that for you, but on an even deeper level with your spiritual debt.

And to the people here that are already following Jesus…

…I’ll say that you won’t experience that rightness, that fullness with God until you more deeply internalize this truth that Jesus has paid off your spiritual debt.


And our debt of sin affects not only our experience of life, but our ability to change our life.

We’ll see that in the next 2 verses

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Colossians 2:11-12

(Colossians 2:11-12) – NIV

11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

(Title Slide: A Long Trail of Debt)

Now, if you’re just starting with the Bible (as some of you are as we see people come to Christ every week), some of these words and phrases may feel a bit confusing, so let’s unpack it and make sense of it. This is a Bible-Teaching church.

So look at verse 11.

Paul says, “You were circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands”

If you’ve never read the Bible before, that sounds really weird.

But let me fill you in, so it’s less weird.

See, the first part of the Bible (The Old Testament) is the story of God’s interactions with the Jewish people…before the Jewish Savior (Jesus) came.

And He came not only to save the Jews, but now people all around the world who would believe.

And in this Jewish Old Testament, we read that God gave their forefather, Abraham, a sign of his special covenant with the Jewish people: And it was the sign of circumcision.

And every boy (who would grow up to be the head of their family in their culture) would be circumcised when he was 8 days old

And it was a symbol, that not only were they God’s people, but that they would do whatever it took to remove the fleshy part of their faith.

In the Bible, the word “flesh” always means this:

Flesh = Our natural and selfish bias that doesn’t want to live for God, but instead for ourselves

In fact, multiple times throughout the Old Testament, God tells the Jewish people that circumcision is a symbol of what he REALLY wants: the “circumcision of their hearts”

Deuteronomy 10:16 – ESV

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.

He’s saying, “Most importantly, take off that part of your heart that is your selfish nature”

(Title Slide: A Long Trail of Debt)

But what happened is that most people didn’t do that, they just went on with religious ceremonies

And they got their babies circumcised at the tabernacle, or the temple, and later the synagogue.

Kind of like, today, people go and bring their babies to be baptized, but nothing is happening throughout their lives in their hearts.

And God says, “You won’t find me that way”

“And you definitely won’t find the power to change that way”

“Because first, I need to first cut off that trail of debt”

“And second, I need to first cut off that part of you that prevents you from changing.”

When your “spiritual debt” is paid

1. You can find the fulfillment that you long for (vv.9-10)

2. You can find the power to change that you long for (vv. 11-12)

See, when a person believes that Jesus Christ died in their place and paid their debt of sin…

…Jesus does a truly miraculous thing that allows us to change.

This is verse 11.

Where it says that believers in Jesus are circumcised not with human hands.

When you believe in Jesus, God comes in and HE severs this selfish part of your heart (called the “old self”) that previously dominated our decisions …and kept us in bondage to sin.

That’s why it says in 11, “Your whole self ruled by the flesh is now put off”

And that doesn’t mean we’re perfect now.

Sometimes that old piece of our heart calls out us and us and says, “Bring me back!”

“Remember the old days?! They were good! Right??!

But because Jesus, in the circumcision of your heart, has severed your flesh’s total dominion on your life, you don’t have to be conquered by it anymore.

And you have access to a new power over sin, addictions, habits that you never had before: The Holy Spirit.

(Title Slide: A Long Trail of Debt)

And this is critical if we’re going to rightly understand God and the power to change.

There are too many people out there (both outside the church and IN the church) who don’t understand the power Jesus can give us over our sins, our addictions, and everything else.

Too many people believe that the answer to life change is to:

“Try harder, just read more books, if you listen to this podcast your life will change, tried a different diet, go more natural, use a different essential oil, a different breathing technique”

I even know plenty of people who attend churches, that are looking for life change to come through these external remedies

And that’s because they only ever hear messages about how to be a better parent, or a better friend, or to have better balance in their busy lives.

And they too even leave church feeling like they’re never good enough and if they just try harder, maybe their life will get better.

But none of those things will truly change you.

Because you are walking with a long trail of debt behind you, and until you ask Jesus to remove it…

…and until you really look to Jesus and say, “My heart is yours…take it…do your work! Sever the old self!”

Until you do that, you’ll never really know change.

…You’ll never really know change.

Because the Bible says over and over again that we change from the inside out, not the outside in.


Let’s keep reading. Here is where it all comes together.

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Colossians 2:13-15

(Colossians 2:13-15) – NIV

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Here we see the 3rd teaching of this passage

When your “spiritual debt” is paid

1. You can find the fulfillment that you long for (vv.9-10)

2. You can find the power to change that you long for (vv. 11-12)

3. You can find the forgiveness that you long for (vv. 13-15)

Okay, I want to teach you now a spiritual truth that is so incredible, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it will sound perhaps offensive at first

But you can’t hear the good news of it unless you hear the bad first.

And if you’ve heard this before, listen oh so carefully because these are the very things that Christians say they know, but so often forget, here, in the heart…especially in the lowest times of their lives.

So hear it, and brand it in your heart.

(Title Slide: A Long Trail of Debt)

Paul says here in verse 13 that we start “dead in our sins”

And the truth is that we sin from the beginning, and our long trail of debt just grows longer and longer.

And so the Bible says we are spiritually dead.

We’re like the walking dead.

With no power to save ourselves and remedy our trail of debt.

And listen the culture out there can’t give a coherent answer to this predicament of sin that we all deal with.

Sometimes our culture says, “There’s no such thing as sin, just live how you want”

But you know that’s not true, because the next moment, our culture vehemently calls out the sins of those in the public eye who have broken some sort of moral code.

So it’s not “live how you want” because they can’t “live how they want”

Or sometimes the culture says, “There is sin, but God will forgive me because I’m a good person”

And yet, in our darkest nights, when we remember those choices we made (the ones where we would flee in shame if anyone else in this room knew about)

…in those moments, we question, “Am I really good?”

Could God, really forgive, me?

And even for the Christian, we still have those nights where the devil comes in, and starts to relentlessly remind of us of our sins …over and over, does he not?

In those dark nights, the devil comes in, and here’s what he says:

“Guilty! Guilty! You’re all guilty!

Look at your sins on this list! Look at them!

They go on forever!

Do you KNOW how many lies you’ve actually told? It’s in the 10’s of thousands already!

Every greedy thought you’ve ever had is on here!

Every lustful look at pornography…

You better believe that affair is on here!

The drunken nights, what you said to your parents, to your kids, to God!? It’s all on here.

This trail of debt goes on…FOREVER.

And you’ll never pay for a list this long…except for…in hell!

God’s Word says that when the devil speaks, he speaks his native language, lies.

But the problem is his so many of his lies are half truths.

And we get stuck listening to that voice in our heads because we have sinned, we have done those things, right?

But the most important question is, not what does the devil think, but: “How did Jesus, the Son of God, respond to my sin?

Hold the Bible in your hands right now.

These are the words of life…

Whether you’re hearing it for the first time, or just need to hear it again in your heart.

Because some of you have been speaking to your heart about your sin like the devil speaks about your sin

But hear the truth!

Look at the first part of verse 13

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.

That means that Jesus Christ first saw your list (all of this)

He saw it. He read it.

And it was AFTER that, that he came to offer you life, to make you alive.

Let’s keep reading the truth.

He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us;

That’s this!

This is the charge of legal indebtedness

This debt of our sin stands against us and condemns us in front of God.

These sins on your list are the evidence that you have legally, in God’s high court, sinned against the King of Kings.

But what does the Bible say?

It says for those who believe in faith, Jesus has cancelled it!

He cancelled your debt of sins!

How??? How did He make this right?

Not how most people think.

So many think that to get right with God that they need to start doing good things:

Come back to church, start doing good deeds

They think God is like “Elf on a Shelf”

They think that if there was a “good deeds list” over here, then if that “good deeds list” just gets longer than our “bad deeds list,” then we’ll earn the gift of salvation.

But no, that’s a pathetic version of God.

God’s real love is infinitely more beautiful than that.

His love and His Word say that He saw the length of your list, and saw you when you were dead in your sins, and even then, he was willing to cancel your list through the cross!

And the cross is necessary!

Somebody must pay for this long list of sins.

Justice must be served.

If your neighbor runs his lawn mower into your fence and knocks it down…

You can say, “It’s okay, I forgive you”

But somebody always incurs the cost of the incident.

If you’ve forgiven them, you’re still going to have to go pay the cost of a new fence.

And likewise, sin always incurs a cost to be made right.

And so Jesus, looked at your list (grab the paper) and he saw all of your sin, and he cancelled it, by nailing it to the cross (nail it to the cross).

This beautiful concept still echoes through the ages

You can still see this at some old cafés today

When you pay for your meal, they take the copy of your meal ticket and the paper goes right on the spike.

It’s done. Paid for. Finished.

In the old banking systems 200 years ago, they’d drive a nail right through the bank note once it was cashed.

Done. Paid for. Finished.

No more indebtedness.

And on the cross, Jesus let your long trail of debt be nailed to Himself.

Done. Paid for. Finished.


And to the Christians in the room, I pray that the Word of God seeps deep into your heart today.

And that you remember this.

And that you remember that this act of Jesus disarmed not only the power of enemy (as verse 15 said), but it disarmed the enemy’s arguments.

So the next time, those evil thoughts come back, and you think, “See, you’re disgusting. An embarrassment. God doesn’t love you.”

You say to that enemy, “In the name of Jesus, you shut your mouth!”

“The Word of God in Colossians tells me that my Jesus has made me alive, and cancelled my debt, and nailed it to the cross”

“It is done. Paid for. Finished”

“I am forgiven. I am loved. I am a child of God”

“And I will walk in THAT truth”

And to those of you where this is making sense for the first time…and hitting your heart with joy and amazement.

I want you to know that you can make a decision to have Jesus forgive your debt, your sin…no matter how long that trail of debt is in your life.

He’ll pay for all of it.

And part of what that means is that you don’t have to pay for it.

Instead of you paying for it in hell, because He paid the payment on the cross, you’ll spend forever with Him in heaven.

But it starts with a decision.

With you telling Him, “I believe that. For the first time, I really do”

“And I want to leave my old ways behind, and I want to make you my Savior, and my leader”

“Come and lead me”

If you need to do that today, I’m going to give you an opportunity to do that after we worship God in this last song.

And so take this last song to think about it and reflect on His love for you.

Let me pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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