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By Paid in Full


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Two years ago, as I was trying to come up with a name for our nonprofit, I felt that God was suggesting tetelestai. It is the Greek word for “it is finished.” This word occurs in John 19:28 and John 19:30. These are the only two places in the New Testament where it does occur.

On the cross, the gospel author says “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” Two verses later, he uttered the word (tetelestati),…“When he had received the sour wine Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

The word tetelestai was also stamped or written on business documents and receipts in the days of Jesus. It was meant to evidence that the debt or bill had been “paid in full.” This connection between receipts stamped with the word tetelestai and what Jesus did on the cross was not lost by the Greek-speaking readership; it would be an unmistakeable reference that Jesus died for their sins. (bible.org) Nor should it be lost by us. The stamp could have looked similar to our logo:

My good friend, Pastor Clifford Jones, who studied Greek at the Angola Seminary in prison and who leads Light My Way ministry at Sonrise Church in Hillsboro, discouraged me from using tetelestai as the name for the nonprofit. He said, “Judge, nobody is going to understand the meaning and it’ll be confusing! Why don’t you just call it ‘Paid in Full?” Good advice Clifford! So I called it Paid in Full Oregon.

Not only does the name evoke the price Jesus paid for our sins, but it also brings to light the fact that our students at the Corban extension in the OSCI prison are paying, in full, the debt they owe to society for their mistakes.

This Easter season, I hope that Paid in Full Oregon will be on the hearts of our friends and supporters. As I have mentioned before, our budget for 20/21 is $300,000. Would you please consider helping us meet our budget so we can stamp it “paid in full!”? Thank you so much for keeping our 25 students in your prayers.