Have you heard the expression ‘Jesus paid it all’ or the ‘wrath of God was satisfied’? They are Hymns, contemporary songs and bumper stickers it is very popular amongst the evangelicals. That Jesus took God’s eternal wrath and paid for all my (past, present and future) sins on the cross. I do not need to do anything, His blood covers me I am justified, I just need to believe that all my sins have been paid for and I will be saved. On the Judgement day, God will not see me but will see Jesus blood instead and will declare me righteous. The problem with this is that the Bible does not say this, there is no verse that says Jesus paid for my sins. So how do people come to this conclusion?
First, let us look at whom they say Jesus Christ paid price to before we go any further. We must first understand what the problem is if we are going to deal with this issue properly. This is just a summary of the argument they give. Since the fall, and having disobeyed God, we have rebelled from His good order and holy decrees. The condition of man is in captivity to sin and corruption from death. Therefore, we are all slaves to death and children of wrath. We cannot rescue ourselves let alone each other because as sinners we are worthless. For God not to punish and forgive us a legal penalty or debt must be paid. So that we can be ransomed and avoid His wrath in the eternal fires of hell. Since we could not ransom ourselves God sent His Son to pay our legal penalty and punished Him in our place instead. Thus, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and ransomed us from God’s punishment.
So whom did Jesus pay?
Some say Jesus paid Satan for our sins so that so that he could release us from his captivity. However, the Bible does not say that God paid Satan the ransom. Do you think God would trust or strike a deal with Satan? Unless they think that God tricked Satan into allowing the people go. If Satan wanted Christ’s blood as payment, why was he trying to prevent it by discouraging Jesus not to go to the cross? Lastly, Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan not to pay him.
To the law
Some say that Jesus Christ paid the law. God has rules and laws if you break those laws then you must make amends by either serving time (eternal punishment in hell) or pay the fine or penalty in order to make restoration. Therefore, Jesus came to pay the law because we could not do it. It required a perfect being whose blood is worth more than ours in order to fulfil the debt and satisfy the wrath of God. The law is a representation of who God is, so did God pay Himself? Unless we understand that, the law is some external cosmic authority that God Himself is under it. The law demands a righteous life, which Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character.
We have sinned against an eternal God who is infinitively angry with us. But because He loves us so much He sent Jesus and He came and stood between the Father and us to plead for our lives with His blood. However, it was not enough, as Jesus still needs to continuously plead with Him. To others Jesus needs the help of His mother Mary, His disciples and Saints. The Bible says that the Father, Son, and Spirit are on our side working together for the salvation of mankind not against one another. If He is for us then who can be against us? God so loved the world that He sent His only Son in order to save us. His Son so loved the world that He gave up His life for us. The Spirit so loved the world that it comforts, encourages, and transforms us to be like Christ. There is nowhere in the Bible that suggest that God requested a payment from anyone or that they are against one another.
Some say Jesus paid sin because the result of sin is death but because God loves us, so much He could not see His loved ones dying forever, Christ came to die because He knew He would resurrect. There is nowhere in the Bible that insinuates that sin needs to be paid. Sin can never be satisfied because all sin does it kills, takes, and keeps it never gives. If Jesus came to pay the penalty of sins then He would have had to die the eternal death.
So what happened?
We were created in the context of a war over doubts about God’s character, which began in heaven. Humanity was gifted with life, the ability to procreate, and dominion, along with a world teeming with beauty and life. Humanity was trusted by God to reveal the truth about His character. As God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come into the unity of love and create beings in their image, so too humanity was created male and female, in God’s image, to come together in the unity of love and create beings in their image. When mankind was created the angels already existed according to Job 38:3-7. It was supposed to be a lesson to the watching universe according to 1 Corinthians 4:9. If Adam and Eve had stayed loyal and had children in a world without sin. The intelligent beings would have looked in and learnt that God is love then the lies of Satan would have been exposed and God’s character would have been vindicated.
But Adam and Eve betrayed that trust and misrepresented God. They disobeyed the truth about God and believed the lies of Satan. Their choice destroyed the trust in God and God could not trust Adam and Eve anymore that is why He threw them out of the Garden of Eden. Mistrust destroys relationships and sin entered into the world separating us further from God and the entire creation. Humans and creation began a life of living out side of God’s law of love. Sin is a serious problem mankind could not fix the damage, or undo what they had done. So, instead of having children that were their image that was like the image of God. They began having children in their image of sin and not in the image of God. Humanity as a race we were doomed and only heading for self-destruction. They needed someone to save them we needed a saviour.
Most Christians believe “sin” means breaking certain moral rules established by God, as recorded by the Bible writers or doing bad things. On the sermon on the mountain Christ taught that sin is not the act but the condition of the heart that leads to bad acts (lust in the heart, hate in the heart) we realise that the acts of sin are conditions of a sinful heart and mind. Sin is “the transgression of the law” the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government. That is why sin is lawlessness.
I believe that if we are to understand if Jesus paid for sins then we must understand how God’s law works. The question we must ask is God’s law natural or imposed.
God’s law is the natural law of love the fabric, which binds the universe, was created and the basis of His kingdom. It treats everyone the same regardless of who, what, where, when you are. A good example is the law of gravity it has inherent consequence if one breaks it. You do not need an arbitrator to impose punishment or demand legal payment. If you fall, pushed, tripped or throw yourself down it treats everyone the same you will feel it once you hit the ground. God is the Creator, Builder, Designer, and His law is the law upon which life is constructed to operate, on all levels, physical, spiritual, relational, and moral. If you deviate from this design, you take yourself out of harmony with how the Designer constructed life to exist, and if God does nothing, then you face the consequences, which is death.
Imposed law is arbitrary set of rules, regulations, and laws made by men. The deviation from them requires ruling authority to monitor and persecute those who are found guilty so that they can be punished. That means this law only applies to you if you are caught. For example if you do 50 in a 30-mile zone and you are not caught then the law is ineffective. However, once the police or speed camera catch you then you are in trouble and must pay a fine and some of your points on your licence.
If we understand God’s to be imposed law then, Jesus’ substitutionary death was not to save us from our sins, but to pay an imposed legal penalty. In His eternal wrath God used His power to execute Jesus on the cross, punishing Him for each individual act of sin ever committed. Isaiah prophesied we would misunderstand God’s actions when he said, (Isaiah 53:4) “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted”. If we see God’s law as natural law then, Jesus’ substitutionary death was to bring us back into trust, harmony and relationship with the law of the Creator, Builder, and Designer which life is constructed to operate on.
PART 2 IN NEXT POST