Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The Apostle Paul considered himself under obligation or a debtor to preach the Gospel to all people which is also the Great Commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature….” This concept of being a debtor, one who owes, or one who is obligated, is a hard thing to reconcile for those who claim they are under grace and are under no obligations. Keep in mind that the Apostle Paul who wrote this in Romans is the same Apostle who was given the grace message or the Gospel of the grace of God to testify of Acts 20:34. He did not owe anything to the people as though they had done him a favor of some kind and he felt obligated to return the favor. He felt under obligation because of all the Lord had done for him by His grace and for his calling. He reaffirms the Gospel is for all people regardless of race, culture, or nationality.
I believe that when a person receives a revelation of the true grace of God (1 Peter 5:12) they come to realize they are a debtor to Jesus for all that they are and have. 1 Corinthians 4:7 says,”For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” What do we have that we didn’t receive? We cannot glory or take credit for what we have as if to boast about our faith, our achievement, or our works. We owe all that we have and are to the grace of God.
This attitude of being a debtor is a key to being a grateful person. The opposite is to be ungrateful or unthankful. Ingratitude is thanklessness; it means to be oblivious to benefits; and forgetful of benefits. Ungrateful people seem to carry a chip on their shoulder that someone or life owes them. It is rooted in pride and the proud man never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Ingratitude is one of the ugliest and most arrogant human dispositions people can have. In contrast to the Apostle Paul’s attitude of being a debtor he mentions in the same chapter the connection of ingratitude in Romans 1:21, 22 which says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Ingratitude or unthankfulness was the seed of darkness that corrupted the ancient world beyond the point of receiving God’s remedy. It extinguished the light of God in their lives and paved the way to their becoming fools.
We cannot pay for our salvation or any of its benefits but what more does God have to do than what He already for us in Christ? He doesn’t owe us but we are indebted to Him with a debt of lifelong gratitude and thankfulness. We can never stop thanking Him or ever thank Him enough.