The Cleared Ledger
Romanov: “It’s really not that complicated. I got red in my ledger, I’d like to wipe it out.”
Loki: “Can you? Can you wipe out that much red?…Your ledger is dripping, gushing red, and you think…”
I usually refrain from pop culture references — they usually fall very short. And this one … being a whole six years old … maybe it is already in the dust bin of classics. In any case, I think that this one spells out a Biblical truth that most “positive movies with Christian themes of redemption” (which usually have the character redeeming his or her self, as this one eventually does, which really isn’t a Christian theme), miss.
Here is the scene:
How does one “wipe out that much red”?
The question, coming from the villain in this story, makes it sound like the voice from the devil himself discouraging the sinner striving to “wipe out the red”, that it is impossible. But, truth be told, this is “on the money” as they say.
The voice of truth is really this: “You cannot wipe out that much red!”
That is not the devil’s truth. It is God’s truth!
That is the place to which the Apostle Paul brings the sinner in the opening chapters of Romans, to where we, under conviction and proven guilt, hear those wonderful gospel words:
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:21 – 26).
So speaking of the ledger, let’s get back to Romans chapter 4, where we learn about the Christian’s settled account.
Romans 4:3 – 8
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
In this Scripture passage, we see the Apostle writing by inspiration of God, using accounting terms:
“Red in the ledger”, if you are at all familiar with banking, means a negative balance. It means debt. Businesses that run “in the red” are not doing well. In the movie clip, the villain makes a reference to “dripping … red”, also to indicate blood-guiltiness, like saying “your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15). This is in fact true of us, for the indictment against mankind closing in chapter 3 states thus:
Romans 3:15 – 18 — “Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
But as we have progressed to chapter 4, we learned that the God of the universe grants His righteousness:
- without the law
- by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe
- by grace
- through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
Since we are on the subject, “redemption” is also an accounting term.
As we learned about Abraham, he believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness. By “counted”, the thought is that God made a deposit into Abraham’s “bank account”. It was not a righteousness that came from within him, but a righteousness that was put to his account, and it was put their by God. This thought of accounting is illustrated in Paul’s epistle to Philemon, when imploring Philemon for him to forgive Onesimus, the apostle writes:
Philemon 1:17 – 19 — “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.”
That is rich in accounting language as well, is it not?
Well, the deposit that we have received because of the grace of God by faith of Jesus Christ is reckoned, or counted, or put to our account, by grace. If it were because of our works, God would owe it to us. God owes us nothing. We are only standing in ourselves as guilty, condemned and cursed under the law. But God in His grace makes a deposit to the account of every believer in Christ Jesus that we could say has an infinite quantity. It is the righteousness of God. It is given to the one that “worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly”, by the very One that does the justifying.
And notice who it is that God justifies: He justifies the UNGODLY. That is exactly the place that we find ourselves, and God has expressly declared us so. But just like Abraham, the same God that declares us ungodly, being those that are declared guilty before God, makes an infinite deposit of righteousness to our account, so now we have the very first credit written in our ledger. To be clear, this righteousness did not come cheaply, but at great cost.
2 Corinthians 5:21 — “For [God] hath made [Christ] to be sin for us, [Christ], Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
We have the other side of the ledger too, the debt side. When debts are written in the ledger, they must be repaid. They are debts owed to the infinite God, and must be infinite. He will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). Yet, knowing the infinite God, the One that will by no means clear the guilty, David (with his hands “dripping, gushing red”), could say:
Psalm 32:1 – 2 — “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity…”
What does it mean to be forgiven? The debt is cleared. Erased. No longer owed. How is this possible, if God will by no means clear the guilty?
It is because Christ was made sin for us, and by our sin being put to His account, He carried our debt and cleared it. He paid it in full!
“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
It should be noted also, that while David had his sins “covered”, he, and none in “time past” under the “old testament” had the forgiveness of sins at that time that we enjoy. The proof is this:
Hebrews 10:1 – 4 — “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
Year after year the priests would have a “Day of Atonement”, but it was only a covering. The debt was in forbearance, and year after year another atonement had to be made to renew the forebearance agreement. But now, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10), sins are forgiven and notice that the Lord will not impute sin to you when He declares you righteous. The entire possibility any of us in Christ piling up any more debt is impossible. The “debt page” of our ledger is closed … no more red ink. Ever.
Romans 8:33 — “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
So, Natasha, (and all of the rest of you), you CANNOT wipe out that much red. But God CAN and HAS provided His way for everyone, in that Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, so that the red in our ledgers can be wiped out, so far gone that they will be remembered no more. As one day, when God will put the His new covenant into effect with the houses of Israel and Judah, and be merciful to their unrighteousness and remember their iniquities no more (Hebrews 8:12), so we now, when we believe have a complete forgiveness … through His blood.
Ephesians 1:7 — “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…”
FEIGE, K., et al. (2012). Marvel’s the Avengers. Burbank, CA, Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
Charles Miller View All
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.
I love the reference. It catches the attention and makes me want to read further! This post is absolutely wonderful! Keep up the good work!
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