When we look at how God paid the price so that our forgiveness is ensured, we must not get the wrong sense of God along the way. We should not think of the payment only in economic terms or we will wrongfully conclude that God delights in suffering as must be satisfied by blood. Rather, we must recognize that God insisted that Jesus pay the price because of the reality that our sin brought to the world. Thomas Hopko says it this way:
“He ‘paid the price’ not to God the Father in the sense that God delights in His sufferings and received ‘satisfaction’ from His creature in Him. He ‘paid the price’ rather, we might say, to Reality Itself. He ‘paid the price‘ to create the conditions in and through which man might receive the forgiveness of sins ad eternal life by dying and rising again in Him to newness of life.” (See Romans 5-8; Galatians 2-4)
Before Jesus paid the price the reality of sin and death was inescapable. The reason for the cost is the reality not God’s heart. God is not an angry God who needs to be satisfied by blood. Rather God is a Holy, Loving God who wants to save mankind from our destructive choice. There was no other way for the Reality of Sin to be rectified than through the blood of Jesus Christ. The reality of His suffering says more about sin and how horrible it is than it does about God. As usual, when we look to accuse God, we end up taking the focus on the truth of our sin.
Now that Jesus has paid the price, He offers forgiveness so that a whole new reality is possible. This new reality is even more mystifying than the other. The new reality is that Jesus the Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world. There was only one way to do it and Jesus did it. There is only one way to benefit from what Jesus did and that is to have faith that though a sinner your can receive forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
It is difficult not to take our forgiveness for granted. The season of Lent that focuses on repentance and ultimately forgiveness through the cross brings us to greater love and reverence for God our Father. The love He showed by asking His Son to die on the cross so that He could send His Spirit to live in us and transform the Reality of sin is overwhelming.
At first I am overwhelmed by the enormity of my sin. Later I am delighted by the massiveness of forgiveness. This leads me to embrace the God who offers such forgiveness and love. I cannot begin to comprehend the problem of sin. I can accept that God has provided a remedy through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Paul described it this way in Colossians 1:13-14: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
In truth the Reality of Forgiveness is mind boggling! I can’t explain it. I’ll never deserve it. I’ll always need it. I can’t breathe in heaven’s glory without it. It’s a reality that is greater than all the problems of my life.