Paying the Debt

John 19:30

30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Last night some friends of mine and I were talking about the phrase “it is finished” and what it truly means. We agreed that there is so much to that phrase, as it was spoken as Christ’s last words on the cross, that it is difficult to comprehend fully. I’m feeling led to share my thoughts on it, in pieces. Funny how that happened just as I completed my last series yesterday.

My study bible says that the word used in the original text, tetelestai, is an accounting term which means “paid in full”. It was the word written or stamped across a receipt when the price had been paid that was annotated on it. It is the word signifying the debt has been paid and no longer exists.

What debt you ask? The debt of our sin. There are many phrases we have heard explaining sin, but I feel this is the definition that we focus on most. Howso? Because we spend our lives trying to “do good” and “make up” for our wrongs. We try to outweigh the bad deeds with good deeds in the hopes that we can do good enough. That’s the point though, we can’t. (

God’s law is perfect and we are imperfect. The void of imperfection is what separates us from God. Christ filled that gap, though. He paid the debt that needed to be paid in order to restore our relationship with God that was lost in the beginning.

Now, since the debt has been paid, what are we to do? If someone pays your debt, say, at a restaurant, do you thank them for it and accept it? Do you force yourself to throw up the food you ate? Do you try to pay the bill as well? Sometimes I argue with the person, trying to get them to take back their money, or at least let me help in some way.

Christ says no. He wants us to enjoy it. He wants us to accept his payment for us and live free of the burden. Are you still trying to foot the bill?

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