paid in full

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Roman 5:8, NIV)

Yesterday’s daily water closed with a promise that we would explore Jesus’ sacrificial death further today since we need a Savior, because we cannot save ourselves. When sin entered the world — and we chose our own life targets as opposed to God — God could not have anything to do with sin, but that doesn’t mean that as our heavenly parent he loved us any less. He also couldn’t just allow his holiness to be corrupted by allowing sin, so he came up with a plan to defeat it. To use the verbiage from yesterday’s daily water, God decided to pay the wage associated with sin…death…so we could receive the gift of eternal life. When Jesus died on the cross and declared, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), he referred to the final payment on the sin-debt humnanity incurred. This payment wasn’t just for that one moment, but all time. And when Jesus was resurrected, well, that was the exclamation point in history that sin and its grip over humanity was defeated. Now, for those who are in Christ, God doesn’t see your sinfulness, but the righteousness of Jesus. 

As we look at today’s verse, I want to pay special attention to the tenses used. Paul wrote that Jesus died for us even while we were still sinners. This is critically important to understand — God did not wait for you to get perfect before giving you access to him! God entered into our mess to show us the way out and then clean us up for eternity, washing us in the blood of Jesus.

We live in a positive reinforcement culture, and that’s a good thing. As we potty train Mia, knowing there is a prize for doing her chores in the right place at the right time is a wonderful motivator for appropriate behavior. But this is not what God does for us in Jesus. He doesn’t wait for us to get right first and then come to him, he says to come to him and he will make us right. After all, it isn’t our righteousness, but Jesus’ righteousness that counts. Your character and conduct can’t save you, but Jesus’ does. Jesus’ perfect obedience to God and death on the cross paid the sin-debt you could never pay to give you the gift of eternity you could never earn. Now when God looks at you, he doesn’t see your sin, but a sign that says, paid in full, written in the blood of Jesus. 

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

This is God’s free gift he yearns to give you. After all, God gave Jesus, because he couldn’t stand the thought of eternity without you! Will you accept it? Tomorrow we will look further at how to do this; so until then…

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for sending Jesus for me. I know I cannot save myself, yet find it hard to comprehend how you could send Jesus to die and pay my sin-debt even while I’m lost in my own sin. I accept…thank you! I pray and praise you in Christ’s holy name. Amen.