Matthew 18:23-26 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
One of the great lost secrets of this age, is a secret whose effects are so widespread that no human life is exempt. Its funny because it seems the rest of creation hasnít lost sight of this secret. Its the reason a dog comes home with his tail between his legs, for the secret is that there is a Day of Reckoning, even a dog knows it will have to pay when it does wrong and its master punishes him.
I donít know how the Day of Reckoning became a secret, but I expect Satan had something to do with it. For it is Satan who keeps pointing out to us how the evil prosper, and seemingly are never caught, or if caught, are not punished, or if punished, punished in such a way so as to make it seem that crime pays. And after saying this, Satan says, here are some ways for you to prosper, considering what youíve seen, its really no risk, is it?
And therein is the lie, for there is much we havenít seen; the biggest thing of all, is the Day of Reckoning. God will judge all men according to their deeds. Satan is reckoning that he can keep this day of reckoning a secret; or if not a secret, to whisper in our ear, God is love, so therefore God wonít ever punish anyone but will forgive everyone. And again Satan lies; not in saying that God is love, for this is most certainly true. The lie is that God wonít punish, that sin doesnít matter.
How do we know it is a lie? Simply in this, that if sin didnít matter, then God didnít have to send His only Son to suffer and die that our sins might be forgiven. But God sent His Only Son to suffer and die, because he is both a loving God, and because he is a just God. Justice demands that someone pay the wages of sin, and that is exactly what Jesus did for us. And since we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God, our life is forfeit, and not just our life, but all that affects us, our money and good, even our family. We know that God is a just and jealous God, who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the 3rd and 4th generations of those that hate him. Its one thing to be responsible for your own sins and to bear the consequences, but to have your sin cause pain and suffering to others, well, thatís another reason why we want people to remember that Day of Reckoning, to hear God, to follow him, and to obey.
How then can we be ready for the Day of Reckoning? Well, many try to life a good life, and hope that will be enough. But the command of God is not to try your best, nor is it to be better than most. The command is "be ye perfect." There is not way we can make up for even the smallest sin, and one might think that there is no way that we can be ready for the Day of Reckoning. And indeed, by ourselves we are lost, for by ourselves we cannot be ready. But God has not left us by ourselves. God has sent His Spirit to call us to salvation, to enlighten us in Godís Will for our lives, to bring us to faith, and by grace through faith to bring to us the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus. We can be ready for the Day of Reckoning in Christ Jesus, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Seeing the central importance of the forgiveness of sins, Christ also teaches us, that we should forgive as freely and as often as God in Christ has forgiven us. Why? In part out of gratitude of the magnitude of the forgiveness God has given us, and the debts he has paid on our behalf. The other part of the reason why we forgive, is the recognition that God loves all people, and would have all share in the forgiveness that Jesus died to buy for us. We forgive others because God has first forgiven us. We forgive others, because God has first loved us. We forgive others in order to lead them to Christ and the forgiveness that prepares all people for the Day of Reckoning.
And even in forgiveness, we are reminded of the Day of Reckoning, for God plainly tells us that if we will not forgive, neither will God forgive us. So our Lord teaches us to pray forgive us, as we forgive others, confident that on seeing how much we need forgiveness, and how much God has forgiven, we will in love be able to forgive others, and so show the love of God at work in the world, a light ever leading all nations to the cross of Christ and our salvation.