Did Jesus Really Pay It All? How the Perfect Wrongly Believe They Are Enemies of Christ
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.
Belting-out this classic and traditional hymn, hundreds jam-packed a local church for their annual Good Friday service to celebrate and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Contemplative Christians pounding their chests and raising hands—some with bent knees and others with heads bowed—filled the room.
As I stood amidst those singing through the service, a sense of unity fell over me. Collectively with one voice we worshiped Christ who hung upon that wretched tree for me, for you, for his love of all. As all stood to sing this classic hymn, I found myself singing a very different set of word to the popular chorus. All those around me were singing a subtile but significantly different set of words.
Jesus Paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin has left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.
With these lyrics, an important statement is made. Christ paid the debt—every infraction, stray thought, sinful desire, and evil action. All is now owed to Christ. There is nothing I can add to what he paid and I now belong to Christ.
But here is where things went astray. “Sin has left a crimson stain”? With this version of the song, many were implying that they are still sinful—that they remained marked by sin. But If Christ truly paid it all, sin no longer dwells within the person. We have been made perfect, washed white as snow.
The hymn is correctly sung “Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.” “Had left”— a pluperfect or sometimes called the past perfect in English. This construction is used to describe a past action or event that, though completed, has reverberations into the present. He washed it white as snow—a perfect construction implying an event that has been completed wholly and entirely.
We are no longer marked by sin! We have died with Christ. Dead people don’t sin. And since we were sinful but now no longer, we must not approach God as sinners but as those already made clean, whole, pure, and white.
The vail was torn. That impenetrable barrier between God and man was torn down when sin was removed. We now may enter boldly into his presence. Paul speaks of this boldness, saying,
“If God is for us, who is against us?
He did not even spare His own Son
but offered Him up for us all;
how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.” Romans 8:31-33
If God no longer sees us as sinners, no longer condemns us, and wants to give us all good things, who are we to disagree? There is no accusation great or small that can be lain at the feet of those in Christ.
You are holy. Therefore, since you are holy. Be holy.
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