Theft Royal (Exodus 20:15)

God owns everything. It’s all His stuff. This is the basis for human ownership, the only basis. God entrusts man with dominion as a steward. Man is a small “k” king. God takes from Canaan and gives to Israel. The true test of ownership isn’t if you took, but if God gave. If dualism or polytheism is true, then the strongest wins, and so it shall be in creation: might makes right. If atheism is true then the chaos remains. No God, no ultimate ownership, no reference point. Winner take all. If you’re smarter, faster, sneakier, meaner, or tougher, it’s yours. It’s no coincidence that atheism and communism rhyme and travel together, married couples like poetry and gallivant, and these two are definitely wed and in love.

But if God is, then ownership can be. All is His, and He thus has the right to freely distribute and entrust as He will. God is no egalitarian. To some He gives much, to others He gives little, but to every son of Adam He gives lavishly. He makes His sun to rise on the just and the unjust. Hell on earth is short of the hell of hell we deserve.

This means that all theft is sin against God, and all sin against God is theft. All theft is against God because it’s all His stuff. Queen Elizabeth has given certain items to the British Museum on long term loan. Should a thief steal them, he’s not only stolen from the museum, he’s stolen from the Queen. But that is not as high as the crime goes, for a majesty greater than even the British Empire at its height could muster is involved. An infinite majesty is involved in the theft not only of earth’s sovereigns, but also of her peasants. Indeed, God may very well count the penny entrusted to the lowly serf the greater treasure, and thus robbery of that penny as the greater crime.

All sin against God is theft. God is due, and He is due all. Sin incurs a debt you cannot repay. You may be able to repay the human victim. You may even be able to pay the double, quadruple, or quintuple the law specifies, but you can’t repay the debt you owe back to God. Do you carry extra time in your back pocket? God is infinitely worthy of worship now. Should you worship him perfectly now and forever forward, you would only be rendering unto Him what is His due then. Can you reverse time? Do you have some infinity in the bank? Because that is how worthy He is.

Sin is a debt only man is obligated to pay, but only God can pay. Glory be to God, He did. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 1:13–14 ESV).” Dead men can’t pay back debts, but, because Jesus paid our debts, we can be made alive.

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