Scriptural support for "Jesus paid our penalty"?


#1

I am having a conversation with someone about the meaning of Christ’s passion and death. The word “penalty” comes up a lot in that conversation, but I can’t find locate a supporting reference for this in scripture. I might be bad at basic google search. I can usually find what I’m looking for, but I can’t in this case.

I’m looking for where it says in the bible that Jesus paid our penalty. I’m under the impression that it isn’t possible for Christ to do that because:

  1. for my sins, my penalty would be eternal separation from God.
  2. Jesus is God.

Thus, he couldn’t be eternally separated from God to pay my penalty.

So, a bible reference to support the “paid the penalty” theology would be very helpful to me right now. Thanks!


#2

Here are some references to the Catechism, which include Biblical citations. The term “expiation for our sins” is used. A bit different from penalty, it means atonement or reparation. Jesus was not penalized, but he sacrificed and died for all of our sins that we might have the opportunity to accept his gift. We can freely accept it or freely reject it.

“For our sake God made him to be sin”

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake."402 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."404

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.407

19 “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (I Cor 15:3).

620 Our salvation flows from God’s initiative of love for us, because “he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (I Jn 4:10). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19).

621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: “This is my body which is given for you” (Lk 22:19).

622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28), that is, he “loved [his own] to the end” (Jn 13:1), so that they might be “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers” (I Pt 1:18).

623 By his loving obedience to the Father, “unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfills the atoning mission (cf. Is 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will “make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” (Is 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19).

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a4p2.htm


#3

Jesus redeemed us. Redemption has to do with how debtor’s prisons operated.

*Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23)*

A debtor could be thrown in prison for not paying his debt. Someone else had to redeem the debtor - pay the price - and thereby purchased the right to take the debtor out of prison. the debtor would then become the redeemers slave or servant. The debtor had the right to refuse to be redeemed by someone he did not like or did not know and stay in prison hoping for a better deal or better person.

***He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. *(Matthew 18:30)

Jesus purchased us for a price. The price was his life. We have the ability to refuse his redemption and walk away.

-Tim-


#4

I think the question is Catholic concept of penance. If Jesus paid the price, a Protestant would say there is no need for us to make reparations after confessing our sins.


#5

I think that this adds much more depth to the passion than “paying a penalty.”


#6

Thanks for this. I totally agree with the concept that Jesus paid a price for us. That’s what happens when we love one another in our own lives. What I find problematic is the concept that Jesus bore the burden of all the penalties due to my sins (and everyone else’s) as if there was a legal transaction taking place. It doesn’t make sense to me, and I don’t see any biblical basis to back that up.


#7

I agree. The concept of saying that Jesus already took care of the issue creates a disconnection between us and God. Reparations yield grace that will 1) help us to see the problems of our sin, 2) help us to increase our appreciation the offensiveness our sins, and 3) give us the strength to strive for increased holiness. There is great depth in that.


#8

:slight_smile: Amen. :slight_smile:
lovely responses.


#9

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

See also Is 53:5, Ro 3:23, 6:23, 1 Tim 2:6, 1 Pe 2:24, 1 Jn 4:10, in addition to the verses others have already listed.


#10

Yes, I do very much get that there is a connection between the passion and death of Christ and our sins. Our sins do offend God, and the passion gives witness to this. God, however, is also loving us through the passion. Jesus didn’t find the passion enjoyable, but through his love for us, he chose to do it. It is through the passion and death of Christ that brings about the forgiveness of our sins.

My point in this tread is to look for any justification that Jesus “paid the penalty” that would justifiably be administered to us sinners. It isn’t possible for Jesus to separate himself from God - so it really isn’t even possible. I’m looking for scriptural references that will show that I’m of base on this assertion.

See also Is 53:5, Ro 3:23, 6:23, 1 Tim 2:6, 1 Pe 2:24, 1 Jn 4:10, in addition to the verses others have already listed.

Is 53:5 But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.

To this, I say, “AMEN.” No mention of paying a penalty though.

Ro 3:23-24 all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

AMEN! No mention of paying a penalty, however.

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

AMEN! I’m so glad to have this undeserved and most unearned gift!

1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all.

AMEN! However, Christ giving himself as a ransom is not saying that he paid a penalty equal to a sentence that we would be required to serve if we were not given the grace of Christ’s redemptive death.

1 Pe 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

AMEN! I don’t see the connection to penalty, however.

1Jn 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

AMEN! Again, paying a penalty is different than expiation.


#11

I’m not sure how that works in your conception, given Php 2:6-7, Mt 27:46, and, well, the whole ideas of the Incarnation and the Trinity: while (from an orthodox perspective) Jesus is God, Jesus is also *separately *himself.

To this, I say, “AMEN.” No mention of paying a penalty though.

I’m sorry, but I am a bit perplexed by how this works for you, too. Heb 9:15 refers to Christ’s redemption of us, i.e. the payment of our penalty, Is 53:5 to Christ’s paying our penalty, Rom 3:23+6:23 to the penalty being ours to pay but of his having taken it, 1 Tim 2:5-6 to Christ’s paying the “ransom” (i.e. penalty) for us, 1 Pe 2:24 to Christ’s having suffered for our sins to free us (i.e. paying our penalty), and 1 Jn 4:10 to Christ’s having expiated our sins (i.e. having removed the penalty - see also Numbers 5:8). You refer later to “a penalty equal to a sentence that we would be required to serve if we were not given the grace of Christ’s redemptive death”, but that idea is explicitly stated in the Hebrews, Isaiah, Romans, and 1 Peter passages. There is another discussion of it in this section:

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Heb 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

In a comment to someone else, you say, “What I find problematic is the concept that Jesus bore the burden of all the penalties due to my sins (and everyone else’s) as if there was a legal transaction taking place.” Are you talking about Christ’s remission of our sin, mentioned in the passages above, or are you talking about an instantaneous, singular remission of all sins which exonerates a Christian of everything which s/he might ever subsequently do, i.e. the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine? If you mean the latter, then no, it is not in Scripture, for very good reason.


#12

How would I explain to a Protestant that we must make reparations for our sins, when clearly Christ “paid the price?”


#13

The Trinity - the three persons are all one in being. Are you saying that Jesus did in fact separate himself from God for all eternity to pay the penalty?

I’m sorry, but I am a bit perplexed by how this works for you, too. Heb 9:15 refers to Christ’s redemption of us, i.e. the payment of our penalty, Is 53:5 to Christ’s paying our penalty, Rom 3:23+6:23 to the penalty being ours to pay but of his having taken it, 1 Tim 2:5-6 to Christ’s paying the “ransom” (i.e. penalty) for us, 1 Pe 2:24 to Christ’s having suffered for our sins to free us (i.e. paying our penalty), and 1 Jn 4:10 to Christ’s having expiated our sins (i.e. having removed the penalty - see also Numbers 5:8). You refer later to “a penalty equal to a sentence that we would be required to serve if we were not given the grace of Christ’s redemptive death”, but that idea is explicitly stated in the Hebrews, Isaiah, Romans, and 1 Peter passages. There is another discussion of it in this section:

The word penalty does not appear in the text at all. It is inferred. The concept of “paying the penalty” is very different from ransom and redemption. The word redemption was a great analogy for early Christians. When a person was put into slavery, they could be purchased for a price. And, a person could go to the slave owner and pay that price. If they turned around and set that person free, that was call “redemption.” The person was stuck in their situation, and there was no way for them to get themselves out of their situation. Another person came along and, through their sacrifice, they redeemed that person. That is such a different way to look at the gift of salvation than “paying a penalty.”

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Heb 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

As I said earlier, I get the connection between our sin and the passion, suffering and death of Jesus. I see nothing here that says he paid a penalty. I am coming to the conclusion that all notions of paying a penalty are inferred, and simply isn’t in the text.

In a comment to someone else, you say, “What I find problematic is the concept that Jesus bore the burden of all the penalties due to my sins (and everyone else’s) as if there was a legal transaction taking place.” Are you talking about Christ’s remission of our sin, mentioned in the passages above, or are you talking about an instantaneous, singular remission of all sins which exonerates a Christian of everything which s/he might ever subsequently do, i.e. the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine? If you mean the latter, then no, it is not in Scripture, for very good reason.

Well, that is what I was trying to say in my initial thread, but I often fail to be clear as I desire. I hear people saying exactly that - that Christ paid the price and now the judge is owed nothing. For me, I say the grace of salvation is due to Christ’s sacrifice, and it is a grace for which I have not and cannot merit. But, I strive to grow in holiness and to suffer for the sake of others in order to take up some portion of that cross. That attitude has led me to a deeper relationship with Christ.


#14

There is temporal punishment for sin. Temporal means on earth while we are still alive. All sin has consequences. I have many scars and the murderer on the cross next to Jesus still had to die for what he did.

But the murderer on the cross next to Jesus made it to heaven. That’s the point. Jesus makes that possible because he is the sacrifice which expiates our sins.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Scripture is crystal clear that Jesus bore our sins. His bearing of our sins does not release us from the consequences of our sin before we die.

-Tim-


#15

Yes, it does not necessarily release us from consequences, but in practice I find that accepting the cross brings greater knowledge of my own sinfulness and the desire for repentance, which is of benefit in itself. And also gradual consolations and release from some of the nastier punishments like regret and shame. In short, peace for one’s self and others around us.

We are so blessed to have healing in Christ.


#16

Yeah. My personal example is abuse of food. I’m not super overweight, but not exactly in the healthy range either. Once I repent and stop abusing food, I remain overweight. Even thought I’ve been forgiven of my past sins that led to this situation, I still must work to remedy my situation brought about by my own actions.

But the murderer on the cross next to Jesus made it to heaven. That’s the point. Jesus makes that possible because he is the sacrifice which expiates our sins.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Scripture is crystal clear that Jesus bore our sins. His bearing of our sins does not release us from the consequences of our sin before we die.

-Tim-

Amen to that! It isn’t like we could get to Heaven on our own.

So, TimothyH, I’m curious. Why do you not list your religion?


#17

Truth!

In my case, I find that I must have healing from Christ before I can have a good and proper relationship with food. I’ve tried it my way too many times, and I’ve given up trying it my way. I only made progress in this area after I turned myself over to Christ and asked for healing. A blessing indeed!


#18

I don’t think that you could explain that in a way which most Protestants would hear, especially using a term like “reparation”.

I would suggest showing them this:
1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance. (I.e. the Catholic Church does not teach works-based forgiveness or salvation)

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. (I.e. the Catholic Church does not teach fear of Hell as the means of becoming right with God.)

1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.” (I.e. acts of outward penance are expressions of love for one’s neighbour, not legalistic requirements.)

To be frank, a great many Catholics overlook the value of the Catechism, despite the enormous amount of thought which has gone into that document, the wisdom which it contains, and the effectiveness with which it explains and defines many aspects of the Catholic faith about which Catholics and non-Catholics alike have misconceptions.


#19

Thanks for this - much appreciated!


#20

The three persons are one essence, but still three persons, and Jesus was separate from God as the Incarnation, but did not remain separate.

That is such a different way to look at the gift of salvation than “paying a penalty.” …] I see nothing here that says he paid a penalty. I am coming to the conclusion that all notions of paying a penalty are inferred, and simply isn’t in the text.

Ah, right. The use of those words just depends upon how one renders the text in English: I could employ exactly that phrase “paying the penalty” to translate part of Heb 9:15 (απολυτρωσις), and part of 1 Jn 4:10 and Num 5:8 LXX ('ιλασμος); I could likewise use it for a paraphrase of the other passages mentioned. Don’t get too hung up on English phrasing, because it’s all just translation.

As for the ideas, though, the one to which you are objecting is Penal Substitution, which is a particularly Reformed Protestant view, as opposed to Satisfaction Theory, which is more Catholic. Both are based on what the Bible says, but they consider it from slightly different perspectives (and there are other views, too).

Personally, I lean in the direction of Recapitulation, largely as a result of the Greek Fathers in the Philokalia.

I hear people saying exactly that - that Christ paid the price and now the judge is owed nothing. For me, I say the grace of salvation is due to Christ’s sacrifice, and it is a grace for which I have not and cannot merit.

OSAS is a doctrine which assures people of their safety, but also one with some frightening logical implications.


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