Eternally Paid in Full

March 12, 2010 at 9:04 am | Posted in Eternity | 12 Comments
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In the Book of Philemon, the Apostle Paul acts as a guarantor on behalf of a runaway slave, Onesimus. Onesimus illegally ran away from his master, Philemon, and wound up meeting Paul. Paul led him to Jesus Christ, and Onesimus was saved. Paul, who was in prison at the time, sent Onesimus back to Philemon with a letter.

Paul’s promise to Philemon in this letter is an illustration of the role that Jesus Christ, the Great Guarantor, plays in the salvation of Christians on a far grander scale.

If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it…

Philemon vv. 18-19

Before I was “born again” to new life in Christ Jesus, I owed a debt to God I could never pay. My sins had violated His holy law, and no amount of good works or anything else could make up for it. The Lord Jesus, on the hill called Calvary, paid off my sin-debt in full with His blood.

Such a transaction is difficult to describe, first of all because of its enormity and greatness, and second of all, because of the overpowering emotions it evokes in those who have been saved. I would probably not agree with every point of theology held by the Puritans, but you have to give them credit for this: As one preacher said, they thought great thoughts about God. Here is a passage from Puritan preacher and theologian, John Flavel, that some have called “The Father’s Bargain.” It imagines a conversation between God and Jesus in the councils of eternity as the Son agreed with the Father to do what Paul promised to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus: to pay his debt in full, no matter how great.

Here you may suppose the Father to say, when driving his bargain with Christ for you:

Father: My Son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls? And thus Christ returns.

Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shalt thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer thy wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.

Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.

Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures (for so indeed it did, 2 Cor. viii. 9. “Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor”), yet I am content to undertake it.

John Flavel

Please do not tell me that God will start charging sins to my account, now that I am saved… after Jesus Christ paid for them so thoroughly and so completely.

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  1. […] Saved at All (I Timothy) Get Over Yourself, Because You Can’t Get Over on God (II Timothy) Eternally Paid in Full (Philemon) The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Titus, Hebrews) Eternal Security Does Not Have an […]

  2. […] man was begging alms because he was poor. We were all poor in relation to our inability to pay the debt we owed God – the sin […]

  3. […] These witnesses are in glory now. One instant after their very first glimpse of the glory of their Lord, they realized how foolish it was for them to have wasted any time whatsoever bickering and squabbling over who may or may not have wronged them while they were here in this world. It no longer matters to them in the least whether someone took something that rightfully belonged to them, or whether someone said something hurtful about them that wasn’t true. Those common worldly occurrences do not hinder their joy one bit. All their tears and regrets have been wiped away. When they appear before God for judgment, His beloved Son steps into their place, and says, “Father, this one has trusted Me – His sin was put to my account, and I have paid it all.” […]

  4. […] I believe that the scapegoat was a symbol or a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ. I could be wrong, but what I do know for sure is that my sin has been carried away by Jesus. He has paid for it in full. […]

  5. […] sacrifice? Didn’t Jesus die for the sins of the whole world once and for all? You better believe He did! But in Ezekiel we have descriptions of burnt offerings, trespass offering, sin offering, peace […]

  6. […] John Flavel That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. […]

  7. […] If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; […]

  8. […] all been in Onesimus’s situation. We all owed a sin debt we could never repay. Isn’t that a wonderful picture of what the Lord did for us on the Cross? And the promise and security we have as believers? […]

  9. […] eternal life for all who would believe on Him by taking our sins upon Himself on the Cross, paying for them fully as He died, then rising from the […]

  10. […] purchase salvation. Jesus sought us, and, in a sense, He “sold everything He had” – He gave His all – He died – to purchase His […]

  11. […] Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. […]

  12. […] of sin is the “second death:” conscious torment in the lake of fire. Christians have escaped that consequence through the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, even Christians must […]


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