Jesus and His debt on the cross

I’m discussing salvation with a Protestant right now, and he’s accusing me of saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough to pay for our sins. This was in response to me saying that we are not entirely off the hook JUST because Jesus died for our sins. We have to pay for them as well. How do I go about explaining this to him? Any Bible verses?

Thank you so much!

First off, if we take this person’s position to its logical conclusion, then no Christian would ever have to go to jail, pay a fine, return stolen goods, or suffer any other temporal penalty for their misdeeds.

Anyway, here is a good passage that shows God still punishes His children for their sins, but it is purifying and leads to justice.

Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord; neither be thou wearied whilst thou art rebuked by him. 6 For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. 9 Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh, for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits, and live? 10 And they indeed for a few days, according to their own pleasure, instructed us: but he, for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification. 11 Now all chastisement for the present indeed seemeth not to bring with it joy, but sorrow: but afterwards it will yield, to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice.

Your thread is poorly titled.

Jesus HAD no debt on the corss.

Yes - I heard it said that:

“Christ paid a debt he did not owe,
because we owed a debt we could not pay.”


There is much in the Bible that points to our being held accountable for our sinfulness. The first verse that came to my mind was"
Col 1:24 -
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church


You’re partially at fault for the response you are getting. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross was 100% (and infinitely more) sufficient to atone for our sins, and the sins of all mankind. What you mean to say is that we are responsible for the temporal punishment due to our sins. This is why we must do penance, and why there is Purgatory. Indulgences can also remit some or all of our temporal punishment.

Temporal punishment is not the same as guilt. Our sins are cleansed away entirely by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. However, the damage to our souls is what still needs to be healed. That damage is healed by penance, indulgences, and Purgatory. All Christians need to do penance in this life, not to atone for their sins, but to heal their souls, and draw closer to Jesus and unite with Him our sufferings and penance. This is precisely what we are called to do in the Sacrifice of the Mass! We are a Holy People, a Royal Priesthood, so we unite our own sufferings with those of our High Priest Jesus ( by the agency of His Ministerial Priest.)

Evangelical Protestants have no understanding of Penance, Suffering, or its value, nor do they bother themselves about offering a perfect sacrifice to the Lord God, now in our daily lives, through the Mass and the Eucharist.

I think it is going to be difficult for you to make this person see.
it is hard to change somebody’s belief more so when they base their beliefs against the Catholic Church.

you can explain every way you can, they wont listen because if they know is a Catholic teach, their ears will close. but you can try.

i would first ask questions, lots of questions, make him/her explains how she came to this conclusion. ask for all the Bible passages, i mean all of them on Salvation. let the person explain their belief based on those passage. most likely they will run, they dont like to be asked questions.

“Without truth, charity ends up in sentimentalism. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled arbitrarily. It is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth. It falls prey to the emotions and contingent opinions of the individuals, an abused and distorted word, to the point of signifying the contrary.” BXVI **

I think that wisdomseekers response is very good and accurate.

One thing that occurred to me is to talk to this person about what it means to believe in - have a saving faith in Christ.
Will a person who has saving faith in Christ continue to willfully sin?? Or is such aone displaying a “False faith” by claiming a saving faith while ignoring Christ’s call to repentance and obedience to His commands to Love God and each other.

There answer should be no, that a person who is truly saved will try to avoid sin.

Then ask what such a one should do if they find they have sinned?
Should they not repent anew? Should they not feel sorrow for their failure to live up to what Christ commands?

Such a line of discussion (I’m assuming the person is an OSAS believer) should lead into trying to know whether one is truly saved. In other words, if one is truly forgiven by their faith, or if they remain in sin because of their “false faith”.


Since physical death and temporal suffering are consequences of original sin, ask your friend if Christians suffer or die in this world, and then ask your friend why, if Christ paid all penalty for sin, do these penalties remain?

He/she will have to redefine words, change the subject, or concede that eternal punishment is avoided by the Christian, but not temporal punishment.

Thank you all so much! Very helpful! Pretty much in a nutshell here is what he believes:
"if we are forgiven our debt
we have no debt
and therefore
at the judgement seat
we are free
account is good


“Christ died for our sins, He steps in, our debt is paid for, we are now debtless, and Christ is our Lord, we are sons of God, to heaven we go”

You are very right Ambrose. I shouldn’t have said “payment” What I was trying to get at was that we had to satisfy God’s justice…

To this fine answer I would only add a simple example. let us say you drive a nail incorrectly into a piece of Wood ( Sin ) you then remove that Nail ( Christ’s sacrifice) there still remains the hole, the damage wood that needs repair ( our soul ) Penace is that wood putty, that sanding of the wood that is required to remove the remaining blemish left in the wood from our errant nailing.

Afterall even Christ returned to us to show us the Holes left my Mankind nailing him to the cross. just ask Thomas.

There is always going to be consequences for our sins. Just because Jesus died to pay off our sin debt doesn’t mean that we are totally free as you are trying to tell this person. For example, just because Jesus died to pay for my sin of lying doesn’t mean that I don’t have to pay the consequences of my lying when the truth is found out.

Only if you honestly believe that Protestants think men’s punishments are the same as God’s punishments.

Your minimalistic friend is technically correct. All we have to do to go to Heaven is to receive the sacrament of Baptism, in which we participate fully in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and avoid mortal sin thereafter. Even if we should commit mortal sin after Baptism all we need to do is receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, a partial participation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation will ameliorate the eternal consequences of our past sins and after death the fires of Purgatory (an afterlife participation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross) will ameliorate any remaining temporal consequences of our sins before we enter Heaven. Those who do only this will go to Heaven but they will be the poorest and least in the kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus Christ allows us the privilege of ameliorating the temporal consequences due to our past sins in various ways in this life and avoiding the fires of Purgatory in the afterlife before we enter Heaven, including the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the performance of acts of penance, such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Works of charity performed in the state of grace will also merit us treasure in Heaven.

Question -

If the position of the friend of the OP is that our sins don’t matter once we have “accepted Jesus” then how do we go about building up the Kingdom of God? What “Change” is there in us for the world to see?

If we become Christian and continue in sin, what example do we give to others?
If we become Christian and continue in sin, how will the world be improved?
If we become Christian and continue in sin, how can se stand before Christ at Judgement and say we obeyed the great commandments of Love (Mt 22:36-40)?


That’s because Protestants have a wrong (unbiblical) view of the cross. They believe the Father punished Jesus with the punishment we deserved, entailing the Father damned His Beloved Son to hell in our place:

That’s not at all how the Atonement took place, nor what Catholicism teaches. To get a better idea, here is a debate against a Protestant on the Atonement:

I recommend *The Salvation Controversy *by James Akin, especially chapter two: “Temporal and Eternal Salvation.”

Akin is a convert to Catholicism who, being a former Protestant, understands both the Protestant and Catholic position quite well.

One of the things he points out is that the Bible states that love and faithfulness on our part atone for iniquity (Proverbs 16:6). How could we atone for anything if Jesus paid the price for everything?

I also recommend this book

Jimmy also says that we certainly can’t atone for our sins as christ did. Catholics believe in temporal and eternal punishment we can’t atone for eternal but most certainly can atone for our temporal punishment and he gives many many verses to support this very catholic teaching

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