In Matthew 18:21–35, the Lord Jesus likened God’s gift of salvation to the forgiveness of a debt. A slave was called in to settle a debt with his king, to whom he owed ten thousand talents. A single talent would have been equivalent to around fifteen years’ wages for a day laborer like this slave. That means it would have taken him more than 650 years to earn enough to pay his debt! Of course, Jesus’ point was that this was an exorbitant amount of money, a debt no one could ever pay no matter how hard he worked. And yet this man’s king had called him to accounts. We can imagine the sense of trepidation and helplessness that gripped that man under the weight of such a debt, and we see him falling to the ground and begging his king for patience. The merciful king responds not merely by working out a reasonable payment plan, but by dismissing the debt altogether!
This, Jesus teaches us, is what salvation is like. The debt that we have all incurred as a result of our sin is an exorbitant amount, a debt that none of us could ever repay even if we lived for centuries upon centuries. And the response of our merciful king is to release us from our debt and forgive us—not by treating sin lightly and simply dismissing it, but by receiving full payment from our Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). When the King comes to us, His slaves, to settle accounts and sees the enormous debt which we owe, He looks to the death and resurrection of His dear Son and declares, “Paid in full.”
Those of us who desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ and to be imitators of God know that we cannot pay for another’s sins. The psalmist tells us, “No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him—for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever” (Psalm 49:7–8). But one way we can extend mercy and grace to others after the pattern of our Lord is by meeting their physical needs in their most desperate of circumstances.
That’s where the Open Arms Pregnancy Center comes in. The OAPC ministers to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies by offering pregnancy testing, ultrasound exams, education, prenatal instruction, Biblically based parenting skills classes, and material resources. Often, the daunting expenses of medical bills are a contributing factor in the decision to take the life of an unborn child. And whereas other licensed medical clinics would bill these clients for gathering medical history and for the physical, pregnancy test, ultrasound, radiology scan, and counseling—a debt that many people facing unexpected pregnancies have no means to pay—the OAPC is able to declare to them that their medical bills have been paid in full. In a world where very few people are accustomed to receiving something for nothing, what a wonderful testimony to provide clients with a practical, tangible illustration of the free gift of God’s grace to us in Christ.
But of course, that ministry doesn’t just happen. When young women and men ask how Open Arms can provide these services at no cost, they explain that their services have been paid for by people who deeply care for their well-being. That’s where you come in. We would love to invite our Grace Church family to raise funds for the OAPC by seeking sponsors for this year’s Walk for Life/5k Run. The walk will begin at CSUN and proceed to the Open Arms office for a tour and refreshments, then a short walk on Reseda Boulevard back to CSUN for food, music, and celebration. It’s a fun way to make a profound impact, as we support those who defend the lives of the most helpless in our society.
Consider Walking for Life on October 19. In doing so, you can become a vital part in helping Open Arms continue to provide care that is paid in full.
Local Outreach Pastor
Local Outreach Elder
Grace Community Church Staff Pastor
Grace Evangelism Leader