The Apostle Paul said in Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything beyond what is agreed, but love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law of good faith (Rom 13:8 TGV).
The NIV Version of this scripture says, "Love fulfills the Law - Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another."
The King James Version of this scripture says, "Owe no man anything, but to love him."
The King James Version has been construed by some to admonish believers to never borrow money for anything, at any time or for any reason, due to the fact that they would then owe someone something.
Well, let me ask you a question: If I promised you that, "before this time next week I will buy you some specific thing that you want," then don't I owe what I promised from the moment I promised it? The answer is "Yes."
I `owe' it to you to keep my word and fulfill that promise, just like I would `owe' you any money that you loaned me. On the other hand, I don't `owe' it to you in a bad way until after the payment or repayment becomes past due.
This same principal applies to every good faith promise, agreement, appointment, contract or covenant.
The moment you make a promise or an appointment or enter any kind of agreement or relationship - you `owe' someone something. In fact, there are implied obligations in every good faith relationship of every kind.
Even if it is as simple as an obligation to love one another enough not to harm the other party or make them less than whole.
If God promises you healing, then He owes you that healing from the moment you accepted His offer and converted it into a contract.
So is God against us making promises, financial or otherwise, or is He just against us making promises that we can't, or won't, keep?
At this writing we are personally "debt free" and our ministry is also "debt free" and I suggest that as much as possible, that everyone, especially in this economic environment, get and stay financially "debt free." Not because of scripture, but because of the compound interest working against you. But, simply stated, this scripture is `not' advocating being financially "debt free."
What it is saying is, to pay what you have agreed to pay, according to the terms you agreed to in your good faith agreement; because - good faith works by love, and keeping your word is an act of love that fulfills both the law of love and the law of good faith.
In other words: Don't allow any debt to remain outstanding, beyond that which was agreed by contract, with the exception of your perpetual, contractual obligation to operate in unselfish love towards one another, which is the only way that good faith and good faith contracts of any kind can successfully work.
The real focus of this passage then, is NOT "debt is bad" but rather, debt - outstanding beyond that which was agreed - is what is bad.
i.e. It's not about borrowing - It's about keeping your commitments.
This scripture is admonishing us to keep our word and fulfill our part of every good faith relationship. For failing to do so is a breach or a sin against whomever you owe.
Being late, not fulfilling or only partially fulfilling what you have agreed to, is `owing' someone in a bad way - because it is in breach of the agreement. It is not walking in love and it harms both the relationship, your good name and your reputation.
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