Q. A good friend and I were talking a while ago, and he brought up the subject of Jesus’ sacrifice. He said that while he believes Jesus died for our sins, he doesn’t believe Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. He said in order to pay the penalty for our sins Jesus would have to suffer eternal hell. This is something I had never heard before. Is he right?
A. Spending eternity in Hell is not the penalty for our sins, it’s the consequence of being unable to pay the penalty. The penalty for our sins is the life of a sinless person, the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18).
As soon as Jesus gave His life for us, the penalty for our sins was paid in full (John 19:30). What’s left for us to do is to believe that because Jesus died for us, God has forgiven our sins and saved us from the penalty we owed Him (Colossians 2:13-14).
Therefore people don’t go to Hell to pay the penalty for their sins. They go to Hell because they didn’t decide to let Jesus pay the penalty for them during the lifetime they were given to do so (Hebrews 9:27). Even after an eternity in hell the penalty for their sins will not be paid, because Jesus is the only one who could have paid it.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there’s no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).