Jesus Paying Our Debt To God
October 14, 2013 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I just saw this quote and wanted what your understanding of it is:

The servant who had defrauded his master had nothing with which to make restitution. The sinner who has robbed God of years of service has no means of canceling the debt. Jesus interposes between the sinner and God, saying, I will pay the debt. Let the sinner be spared; I will suffer in his stead.  {Review & Herald, December 14, 1911 par. 16}


How one understands quotations like this depends on which “law” lens the mind is filtering the quotation.

If one comes to the question already believing God is like a Roman dictator, imposing laws without inherent consequence and therefore is required to police breeches in the law and impose penalties, then one reads quotations like this and construes legal payment conclusions – that are not actually stated.

But, if one starts by first knowing God as Jesus revealed Him to be, understands His character of love, realizes God is the Creator, and His law is the protocols upon which life is built, an expression of His character of love, then one reads quotations like this and comes to an entirely different conclusion.

Through the “law” lens of love, one realizes mankind was created in the context of a war over God’s character, which began in heaven. When mankind was created the angels already existed. (Job 38:3-7) 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 God’s 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. And what lesson would have been revealed if Adam and Eve would have stayed loyal and had children in a world without sin? Would they have abused, dominated, or enslaved their children? Or would they have given of themselves to protect, educate, love, and bless their children?

The Bible tells us we are a lesson book, a theater to the angels. (1Cor 4:9) What would the angels have learned if Adam and Eve stayed faithful? They would have looked in and said, “Oh, I get it. God didn’t create us to wait on Him, but is giving constantly of Himself for our health and happiness!” The lies of Satan would have been exposed!

But Adam and Eve betrayed that trust and misrepresented God. Their choice damaged the Spirit Temple along with this entire creation. Mankind could not fix the damage, reverse the injury, or undo the slander to God’s character by their misrepresentation. Thus man owed God, not a legal debt but a moral debt, a debt of trust, a debt of love, a debt of wasted opportunity and resources. Jesus set the record straight, revealed the truth about God, developed a perfect human character, fulfilled the purpose Adam was created to fulfill, and through Jesus the creation will be restored, thus canceling the debt by healing the damage and fulfilling the purpose for the creation of man.

God is so beautiful! I invite you to meditate on the beauty of His character and be changed ever more fully into His likeness!

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, international speaker, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DLFAPA), Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA), and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association (FSPA). He is President and Founder of Come and Reason Ministries and has served as President of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.