A Salvation Analogy – Debt and Gift Cards

My friend cetroyer and I were having a discussion about salvation. I told him that one of my friends had asked me to describe why salvation was such a big deal. My best analogy was about gift cards. However, cetroyer pointed out that gift cards are a reward — something above and beyond. Cetroyer then proceeded to provide what I thought was a better analogy. I have combined both our analogies in what I hope is a good explanation of salvation.

The Debt Begins

A long time ago, a husband and wife were set up in a nice little house run by their landlord. However, the husband and wife caused much trouble and the landlord was furious. He bound them to a debt so high that the couple had no chance in a lifetime — much less a thousand lifetimes — to pay the debt off.

In order to pay off this debt, each of the couple’s children (and there were many) had to help pay off the debt. However, the debt wouldn’t ever go down because of the interest. No matter how hard the children tried to pay off their parent’s debt, the debt wouldn’t budge.

The Debt is Paid

The landlord felt sorry for all of the children. After all, they weren’t the ones who caused the debt. However, they were the ones having to help pay it. The landlord, in his great mercy, decided to write out a check and write off the debt and any future debts that the children might come under.

However, some of the children didn’t realize that the debt was paid off. Some of the children kept paying it. Other children refused to believe that the debt had been paid off.

The Gift Cards

For each of the children that had acknowledged that the debt was paid, the landlord gave each of them gift cards worth different amounts. The landlord said, “Make sure you spend all of it. The gift cards each have a different expiration date, so make sure you spend it wisely.”

Some of the children spent all of it immediately before the expiration date. Some of the children didn’t spend the cards at all. Some of the children used the gift cards to pay off debts that should have already been paid for. And some spent the money wisely, and actually had a positive return on investment.

The Analogy Explained

The debt that is explained in the analogy is the debt that man is under with regards to sin. God — in his great love and mercy — sent Jesus to Earth to cover our debt (our sins) so that we would be made pure in God’s eyes. It is up to us, however, to acknowledge and believe that this debt has truly been paid through the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

The gift cards are the spiritual gifts that God has given us. Only after salvation can we really use these gifts to minister. Some choose not to use the gifts. Some use their spiritual gifts wisely and produce much fruit.


What do you think about this analogy? Can you think of another one to explain salvation?


  1. A few thoughts:

    God didn't bind us up in debt, we bound ourselves in debt (through Adam and Eve).
    It isn't only the parent's debt (Adam and Eve), although we are all in debt through them ("they weren’t the ones who caused the debt"…we aren't innocent). We also incur our own debt from the day we are born.
    True, "only after salvation can we really use these gifts" seeing as they are only given after salvation. 🙂


  2. Thanks cetroyer for the feedback. That's a good point that although we have inherited the debt, we've also made our own as well.

    The reason I had the "they weren't the ones who caused the debt" in there is because we really didn't. We were born in sin, but we didn't cause the curse. I wasn't trying to imply that we are innocent, however. I'm not sure how to word that better.

  3. Hello Ronald and cetroyer,

    I like the analogy. It makes it easier for people to understand… sort of like Jesus' parables.

    Grandpa and I are newbie bloggers. Come by sometime … we're working on adding more content and learning all the little extras that make a blog work. Any advice is appreciated!

    Many blessings!

  4. Thanks for the comment Grandma (I feel a little strange typing that :)).

    I really like analogies, but they are hard to think of and break down at some point. I appreciate that you liked ours though.

    I wish you the best with your blog. One thing I have observed about some of the best bloggers is that they are very relational and humble. Their blogs don't necessarily get the most traffic, but the readers are very loyal and the content is terrific.

  5. Welcome to the site, Grandma. 🙂

    That is a sticky point, Ronalfy. You are right, none of us are Adam or Eve, so in that fashion none of us caused the curse.

    On the other hand, saying we didn't cause the curse lends to thinking that we would be born innocent, or at least neutral.

    Look at Hebrews 7:4-10. Those verses make the point that when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, Levi tithed as well, even though Levi wouldn't be born for several generations.

    Then look at Romans 5:12-21. Here we are shown as guilty because of Adam's sin. In the same fashion, we all sinned through Adam's sin and that is why God is righteous in condemning us. In that way we did cause the curse.


  6. cetroyer,

    That is quite interesting how the actions of one person are the actions of kin yet to be born. This explains why we are all guilty through Adam's sin. It also explains why one man's actions (Jesus) can save the human race. I'm not sure how to get that across in an analogy though. 🙂

  7. Great read. Real eye-opener

  8. We also incur our own debt from the day we are born. In the same fashion, we all sinned through Adam’s sin and that is why God is righteous in condemning us. That’s a good point that although we have inherited the debt.

  9. That’s a good point that although we have inherited the debt, we’ve also made our own as well. That is quite interesting how the actions of one person are the actions of kin yet to be born. Thank you for the idea.

  10. Think you better do some research on inherited sin as a concept a doctrine made up. Sin is a con by the church to gain control over weak minded people who think they’re worthless, and enjoy the comfort of believing in a sky daddy that will make it all better one day. Funny how that ‘one day’ only comes after we die isnt it.

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