Penal Substitionary Atonement: The Double Jeopardy problem

In my last post I ended by posting a portion of Matthew 18 wherein Jesus taught about how God will deal with us(or his disciples in that context) if they do not forgive their brothers/sisters for their sins.  I made it a point to say that in Jesus’ story the man who owed a great deal of money had his debt reinstated after being initially forgiven… and this is how God will treat us.

The portion of text again is Matthew 18:21-35(NKJV)

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

So what’s my point?  Well, double jeopardy is my point. Lets define it so you know the problem.  Double jeopardy is defined(from )as:

A second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal or conviction or multiple punishments for same offense. The evil sought to be avoided by prohibiting double jeopardy is double trial and double conviction, not necessarily double punishment.

PSA promotes that once the person’s fine/debt/sin has been paid by the Messiah’s death/blood they are eternally “forgiven”–or at least their debt has been paid in full. I know some of the texts used to promote this, but we’ll deal with those later.

My problem is the above text of Scripture clearly denotes a man who was forgiven(or had their debt paid per PSA) once before may have that debt re-instated to have to pay the full debt off again.  This is exactly what this block of text teaches and I don’t think it’s possible to show any other possible interpretation.  Yes, there are certainly a number of other things we can draw out to teach from the text–but what I’m focused on is that reinstatement of debt.  God can re-instate someone’s formerly forgiven debt for not forgiving their brethren.

How can PSA answer this type of clear text without double jeopardy coming into play?  Will God charge a man again for a punishment which the fine has been paid already by His Son?  Can you have a debt paid off and then somehow reject the payment?  How does that work?  If you were at a bank and you paid off your mortgage… your bank couldn’t turn around a couple months later and reject the legitimate payments and say you still owe the mortgage debt, could they?  Would you accept that?  And I don’t think it changes the example even if someone else pays off your mortgage.  The point is your bank cannot hold you accountable for a debt you already paid off.  That would be swindling!

So please answer this full text and teaching in Matthew 18 by the Messiah for me.   Those who promote PSA… how can God reinstate a debt he already had paid off in your view?  And then, how can God do that without having double jeopardy?

Next we’ll hope to deal with the cup the Messiah was to drink… was it wrath or something else?




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