In my series on restitution”Why Restitution today is Unscriptural” that I said to begin, this is the first from the six I’ll be posting here.
The law of Restitution was freely taught in the Old Testament. Its actually an Old Testament practice, a practice for judaizers not for believers in Christ.
Jesus came to fulfill the law (restitution inclusive) and he sure did a great job. He is the fulfilment of all our restitutions. He is the payment for our wrongs. Only blood can pay for sin (Heb.9:22) so if you must restitute it must be by your blood.
Jesus and Restitution
All through Jesus’ life and ministry you will notice that he never taught or encouraged restitution in any way. Instead he did otherwise. I will discuss Zacchaeus case in this series. I explained profoundly what really happened there in my book “Should a Christian Restitute?”. Let’s see examples.
The sinners who came to him (Lk.15:1-2;Lk.7:34):
Did you notice Jesus never for once ask any of those sinners who came around him to restitute? They were sinners so if for anything Jesus would have told them to restitute if it was that important. He never preached it to anybody, never practiced or encouraged it directly or indirectly.
See how The Amplified Bible describes this sinners around Jesus:
“NOW THE tax collectors and [notorious and [a]especially wicked] sinners were all coming near to [Jesus] to listen to Him”- Lk.15:1
Despite their state Jesus didn’t ask them to restitute so that God will accept them or to prove their repentance.
The prodigal son (Lk.15:11-32):
The prodigal son (preferably the prodigal father) left his fathers presence and love for long. One day he decided to return.
Note that Jesus shared this story to respond to the allegations of the Pharisees. He wanted them to see God for who he really is. So the father in this story is God, our father.
When the son returned home with his rehearsed confession of sin as the beginning of his restitution. The father didn’t even give him an opportunity to. The father was in a good place to ask him to restitute for his wrongs to make amends and prove his repentance but he never did.
This story proves God is not after anybody restituting or doing penance to clear their wrongs. Jesus’ blood alone can do that.
The woman caught in adultery (Jn.8:1-11):
This woman according to the Pharisees and Scribes was caught red handed, in the very act. She was lawfully indicated.
They declared to Jesus what her restitution was supposed to be according to the law of Moses – to die by stoning. But they paused and asked Jesus what was his stand on this issue. They knew what the law said but they didn’t know what the Spirit (grace) is saying. They knew what Moses said but they didn’t know what Jesus is now saying. While the law said a woman like this should restitute by her life, the Spirit if grace is saying forgiveness.
The sinner woman (Lk.7:36-50):
This woman was a sinner and known around as one. When she encountered Jesus the Pharisees may have expected him to scold her with religious canes and demand she make her ways straight by restituting. Pay or bribe her way by her restitution into the kingdom if God. Isn’t this what the religious people of our day still expect from people?
Jesus did non of their desires and that was why they bitterly hated him. He received her unconditionally. She was forgiven unconditionally. She wasn’t asked to go and restitute before or after her salvation.
The publicans and soldiers (Lk.3:12-14):
Jesus had a golden opportunity to ask the publicans and the soldiers to restitute but he did not. The publicans and soldiers were seen in Israel as the worst of sinners. They were abhorred in Israel.
The publicans said to Jesus, “Master, what shall we do? This was an opportunity to tell them to GI and pay back four fold or five as the case may be all they have stole, unjustly acquired or whatever. But hear Jesus’ response, “Exact no more than which is appointed you”.
They had exacted more than appointed from the people but they were not told to go back and repay but to do it no more. So in simple terms Jesus was saying, forget the past, old things have past away (2Cor.5:17). But don’t go back to it again.
The soldiers came and asked the same question. Again he answered, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely: and be content with your wages”. Note that he did not say go do penance or restitution, even though there was reasons to ask them to.
Looking closely at Jesus’ responses here, does it mean Jesus didn’t know about the law of restitution? Is it that he deliberately ignored it? Or is Jesus simply saying, restitution does not matter again today?
If we could pay for our wrongs through penance or restitution then Jesus wouldn’t have come and if we can do it today then it means Jesus’ sacrifice is in vain (Gal.2:21).
Why do we emphasis something that Jesus himself didn’t see any reason to emphasis. If it wasn’t important to Jesus it shouldn’t to us. Jesus is the end of restitution (Rom.10:4). Jesus ended the law (restitution) we are today free from it.