This blog’s title is not a typo. Some may have thought I meant to quote the hymn that says “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” I love that song. And I do believe that because Jesus paid my sin debt with His life, I owe Him my own. But I would argue that the reason we owe Jesus our very lives extends further back than the cross. That reason being that Jesus Christ made us in the first place.
When many people think about our Creator, they don’t think of Jesus. They tend to think of some sort of nebulous, fuzzy, incomprehensible, generic deity. A Christian may do a little better and rightfully run to, what I deemed in an earlier post, the most important verse in the whole Bible, Genesis 1:1.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)
That’s good start. But the Scriptures actually tell us more than the raw fact that God created everything. It gives us more information about who that God really is. The apostle John says,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 ESV)
Shortly thereafter, John identifies this Word as Jesus Christ. It is interesting that John is not content to merely say that the Word was “with God.” I suppose if he did, there could be some confusion about who Jesus really is. Some might say Jesus is a super-being, but a created being nevertheless who then in turn made all things. If John had stopped at the phrase “the Word was with God” we could come to the conclusion that in the beginning you had “God” and “someone else.” But John doesn’t stop there. John goes on to say something totally outrageous. “…and the Word was God.” John is telling us two things. 1) There were multiple persons there at the “beginning.” 2) These persons should be equally considered “God.”
We will do no more than dip our toe into the marvelous doctrine of the Trinity. We may go deeper in a future post. Suffice to say for our present discussion, John sees Jesus as both “Creator” and “God.” John, under the inspiration of the Spirit, is expounding upon and shedding further light on Genesis 1:1.
This is not the only Scripture that speaks of Jesus as Creator-God. Marvel at the following verses as you let them sink in:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV)
Hebrews 1:2 also speaks of Jesus’ role in creating the world and the following verse says,
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
Ponder that for a moment. Jesus not only created everything but He continues to sustain and hold together the entire cosmos through the power of His word. Every atom, every molecule, every planet, and every star would fall apart and cease to exist without His all powerful word. Jesus made it all. Jesus made you.
If Jesus has made you that means you ultimately do not belong to yourself. You belong to Him. If He made us, then when we rebel against Jesus and challenge His authority and question His word or pick and choose which of His teachings we like and which we will discard it is not just odd. It’s twisted and perverse. Isaiah says it’s like clay rebelling and talking back to the potter.
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? (Isaiah 29:16 ESV)
Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Thus says the LORD,…. will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. (Isaiah 45:9-12 ESV)
When man responds to God in this manner it is a stench and an offense to God. When Jesus Christ tells us that He is the only way to heaven, when He demands our allegience above and beyond even our own families, when He says that we must honor Him as we honor God, when He says “Follow me”, and we stiff-arm Him and choose to go our own way it’s as bizarre as a clay pot pushing back against the potter. In Isaiah, God’s dismay comes from the fact that “I made the earth and created man on it.” He reminds us that “…it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” The natural response for man would be to respond in gratitude towards the One who made Him and humble himself to the purposes of his maker.
But none of us have responded rightly to God. All of us are little arrogant claymation figures shaking our little clay fists at the Potter who gave us being in the first place. And the crazy thing about it is that the Potter is not some sort of wicked tyrant. He is a Creator who once said this of a rebellious people,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)
God is a good God who wants to shower blessings upon His people. But our arrogance and insurrection against a good and holy King has earned us the death penalty which is fully experienced in Hell. Yet God, the benevolent potter, is still bent on blessing. This is why the apostle John tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)
Jesus Christ, who is none another than God. None other than the One who, “In the beginning” created the heavens and the earth, does the unthinkable. He becomes one of us. He becomes human. Jesus becomes human so He can pay humanity’s sin debt. On the cross He suffers death and Hell for us so that all who trust in Him don’t have to pay that debt themselves forever in Hell. But it’s important to see that the fact that “Jesus paid it all” becomes all the more sweet when you recognize that “Jesus made it all.” The very Creator whom we have mocked, rebelled against, and ignored, came down personally as a man to suffer and die for the ones who so offended Him in the first place. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Often when we think of what God did in salvation we tend to think only in terms of God the Father being offended and angry at our sin. And we see Jesus almost like a neutral third party or someone who doesn’t share the same intense hatred for our sin as the Father. We see Jesus as the warm, loving, nice guy who needs to calm His dad down and bring two warring parties to the table.
Now, certainly Jesus is to be regarded as the Mediator between God and man. His work brings about the reconciliation between two estranged parties. But when we forget that Jesus is God Himself, with all the same attributes and all the same character as His Father, we lose something important. Remember, God the Father and God the Son are so in lock-step with one another that when his disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus says, “I already did. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” This is huge. Because it means that Jesus does what His Father does, He loves what His Father loves, He says what His Father says, and He hates what His Father hates. And what Jesus hates big time is our sin. And Jesus agrees with His Father that sinners should be put to death. But thanks be to God that though the Father and Son share in their intense hatred for sin, they also share in their intense love for people.
So the next time you sing that old hymn, remember who you are really singing about. Remember that the same One who paid it all, made it all.
Grace and Peace,