I know I am wading into water that has a huge drop off point a very few feet from shore but here goes…
If you think of God in terms of a financial system you might start at talking about what equals what.
In our current economy $1.50 equals (medium slurpee, souvenir key chains, 6 bell pepper bedding-out plants, a referee whistle, etc)
In God’s economy sin equals (sour consequences, exclusion, brokenness (gross word), and ultimately death (spiritual and physical)). In other words if someone wanted to pay God for sin they would have to give God life. And obviously that life could not have any sin itself otherwise that life would owe God another life – follow? So alone comes Jesus and offers his life as the payment for sin. Great! But wait? How does that really work? What did Jesus actually do?
You see in our current economy $1.50 can buy one medium slurpee not two. It also can’t buy a slurpee and a key chain.
And in God’s economy Jesus’ perfect life can pay for death but can it pay for the consequences and all the other stuff? Well it seems clear that it doesn’t. (ex. Jesus can pay for the sin of premarital sex for instance but his death on the cross has not yet reversed the processes of pregnancy.)
But is this spiritual economy actually fair? I mean let’s take someone hideous like Robert Pickton. Here’s a dude that kills people but let’s just say that Bobby over here encounters Jesus and makes a request to God to have his sins atoned for through Jesus. What’s God gonna do? Forgive him? Is that just? I mean to put it in a real crass way does Mr. Pickton over here get to play the ‘get out of jail free’ card on his last turn and then everything is wiped off?
The short answer we have to take is yes.
God’s mercy and grace are huge and so his righteousness and justice. So God exercises mercy and grace in forgiveness of the things that his justice and righteousness demand payment for. So then the smart kid at the back of the classroom puts up his hand and asks, “Okay so basically our sinful behaviour does really matter. As long as we can put up with the consequences and brokenness we’ve at least got our lives back – and look how much more beautiful Jesus’ sacrifice is if we just sin even a little more.”
Shoot I’m stumped. Is there actually such a thing as justice if God just openly forgives (counts as uncommitted) the sin we or anyone does? Do we have the right to demand justice for evil perpetrated against us or others? We could never begin to pay the debt for our own sin but what role do our actions play in the whole redemption scheme?
One of the things that I am sure of is: I really underestimate the price of redemption. What an incredible price God paid. Maybe I don’t value redemption because I am actually not redemptive enough myself…
Interested in reading more on this topic? Here are some of the things I read recently to get me thinking.