Whose Sin Did Jesus Pay For?
Fundamental to the Christian faith is the teaching that Jesus Christ paid the full price for our sins on Calvary. Just before His death, Jesus said, “It is finished”. (John 19:30) What Jesus said was actually an accounting term that meant “paid in full”. Christians everywhere rejoice in the assurance that all their sins and iniquities have been forgiven through Jesus’ shed blood.
However, the Watchtower teaches that Christ’s sacrifice did not pay for all our sins, but only for inherited, or Adamic sin.
Only a perfect human, someone not under the Adamic death sentence, could offer “a corresponding ransom,” one corresponding perfectly to Adam. (1 Timothy 2:6) By voluntarily sacrificing his life, this “last Adam” could pay the wage for the sin of the “first man Adam.” - The Watchtower, February 15, 1991, p.13
Jesus was a perfect human just like Adam....He could therefore sacrifice his perfect human life to pay for Adam’s sin.What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p.7
Furthermore, since “the wages sin pays is death”, and “he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin”, (Romans 6:23; 6:7), the Watchtower teaches that we pay the price for our own personal sins when we die in order that we may be re-created with a clean slate.
Is this what the bible teaches? Did Jesus only pay for Adam’s sin? Was Christ’s mission limited to atoning for inherited sin only? And do we pay the penalty for our personal sins when we die so that we can start life again with a clean record? The New World Translation has the answer.
1 Peter 2:24 - “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness.” Did you see that? It says Jesus bore not just Adam’s, but our own personal sins? Why? So that we can be done with sins and live righteously. Folks, the only way to live in a righteous standing before God is to be forgiven now of all our sins. Waiting till death for our sins to be cancelled is useless. Jesus’ sacrifice completely paid for all our transgressions 2000 years ago.
Isaiah 53:5 - “But he was being pierced for our transgression; he was being crushed for our errors.” Again, this prophecy from the Old Testament clearly states that Messiah would suffer for our own personal sins and errors.
Galatians 1:4 - “He gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from the present wicked system of things....” Nothing here about Jesus dying for Adam’s sin, but for our own sins.
Hebrews 1:3 - “....and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places.” This verse says that after Jesus paid the full price for all our own sins, He could then rest while knowing that sin’s penalty has been paid in full.
Many more verses can be listed here. Some of them are Colossians 2:13-14; 2 Peter 1:9; Romans 4:25; Hebrews 7:27 and 1 John 2:2.
Consider again the Watchtower’s reasoning. They say that Jesus paid for Adam’s sin on Calvary and we pay for our own sins when we die. Therefore, when we are resurrected onto the Paradise earth, we will be resurrected in a sinless condition. Now, think about all the faithful Witnesses who, according to the Society, will be considered worthy enough to live through Armageddon. They will escape catastrophic death and live right into the Millennial kingdom. But since they have not experienced death, their personal sins will not have been paid for. Therefore, how will their sins be paid for? They will be living in God’s kingdom in a sinful state. How can this predicament be solved?
It would be incomplete to end this article without presenting what Romans 6:7 (“For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin”) actually means. Lets read the verse in context from verse 1 onward. I’ll pick out selected verses. Verse 2 says, “....Seeing that we died in reference to sin....”. Verse 4 says, “Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death“. Verse 5 says, “For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death....”. Verse 6 & 7 says, “because we know that our old personality was impaled with [him], that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin. For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin”.
Is the death we experience, that is spoken of in this section, a literal, physical death? Or does the author mean that our sinful, unregenerated nature has died?
The good news of the gospel of Christ is that all who repent and put their faith in Jesus’ finished work are declared righteous. Our sinful flesh died with Him. He took our personal iniquities and gave us His personal perfection. (2 Corinthians 5:21) We are no longer slaves to sin. We can rest assured that our sins have been forgiven and won’t be taken to the grave with us. Let’s praise God that Jesus paid the price for us!
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