Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. [Matthew 5:4 ESV]
God has told us what our sin has cost Him. Yet, He has not revealed the complete extent of His investment in us. He has revealed His investment is heavy. He has also told us He is under no compulsion to pay the price. He is not obligated to us in any way or fashion. We must fix this idea firmly in the thinking of our hearts for us to grasp personally the intimate knowledge how much He loves us. We need to understand what is at stake before we should even attempt to answer the question “what does sin cost God?” That He would send His Son to redeem those sold into slavery of sin is enough evidence to know He is serious about having a relationship with each of us and involved in every detail of life.
When God creates He sets His creation into motion according to perfectly logical laws which determines how the creation works and which cannot be violated by any created power. God, and only God, has the authority to suspend the laws of creation. This does not mean He has absolutely determined all of history and each action and thought of every person who has ever lived. He knows what will happen and works all things which will happen toward His ultimate design and purpose. Let us not confuse two separate yet wholly integrated laws. Creating us for relationship has given us the power to follow His will with our whole self, or rebel against His will with our whole self. Placing us in a universe with physical laws does not mean we are as automatic as the creation these laws govern.
Nor has He abandon His creation to let it run by itself but sustains creation continuing to work and mold and fashion according to His perfect design. We can deduce the physical laws of the universe and predict with some certainty how parts of the universe will work and know those parts we don’t understand must also adhere to specific laws. If the laws were not there the universe would not hold together.
Since the physical is a reflection of the spiritual we can know the spiritual realm must also operate by its own logical laws. When God created Man, He set in Man the law, or image, of His very Self. Man is thus a physical expression of the spiritual reality of God. Since God operates according to the divine logic of Self, and Man has His image, then Man must also operate within the law of the divine. This law transcends the spiritual and physical realms. We call this law the moral law of God.
God’s moral laws are absolute yet He has given Man the ability to violate these laws. Unlike the physical laws of the universe which cannot be broken by anything we do the moral laws of God can be violated. However, God’s law is still absolute and the consequences are still absolute no matter the law be physical or moral. Should a man think the moral law not apply to him he will suffer the results of breaking that law. Following or rebelling against His standard demands we recognize His standard. Violating His moral law has results equally disastrous as believing we can violate His physical law.
Our rebellion against God’s moral law does matter both physically and spiritually, in the thinking of our hearts and eternally. Fix this in your thinking. Every law which comes from God cannot be violated. Physical laws cannot be violated without experiencing the natural consequences of trying to break those laws. Moral laws cannot be violated without the spiritual consequences of breaking those laws.
Jesus quotes from the Mosaic Law when He answered the question “what is the greatest commandment?” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” [Luke 10:25-27 ESV] Jesus uses the word agapao for “love” which is understood as Godly love. Jesus tells us the highest, most inclusive commandment is to love God with our entire being just as God loves us with His entire being. God’s love, an integral part of His person and character, is the foundation of His moral law. We are to love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves because He loves Himself and loves us. God’s love for Himself is not tainted with sin so we must not think of it as when we see or know people who love themselves more than others in a self-serving and self-righteous way. He is perfect and His love for Himself is perfectly attuned with His love for His creation.
What was at stake when God created Man? He created a being capable of loving Him with a deep reflection of the same kind of love He has for Himself. When Man rebelled against Him it was as if a piece of God was torn away from Himself. A being created with the nature to love God like no other being, to love God with the very love God has for Himself, decided to have nothing to do with God.
Yet, He is God and we are not. He is God and I am not. Where I am unable to love Him, incapable of loving Him, not wanting to love Him because of my sin nature, He still loves me. For He cannot deny Himself or the moral law which is Himself. This does not mean He will not judge and cast away from His presence those who hate Him. It does mean even His just judgment is an act of love which perfectly fits who He is. It also mean if there is any way to redeem a destroyed relationship He must do it all.
What are the stakes? God created Adam in His image to love Him and serve Him by caring for His creation. It is not His reputation which is at stake. He made Adam, and us, unique. It is not His love for us for He will love because it is His essence to love. But it is also His essence to judge according to righteousness and truth. He is both holy and good. We are the stake. He did not create us to then cause us to cease to exist or to wantonly separate us from Himself. He created us for eternal relationship and gave us a nature to love Him in return. Because our nature has been bent by sin He must work to recreate, not fix or redo but make new, our nature. He has declared sin is judged by death. All who sin must die. Death is separation from that which gives life. Therefore, spiritual death is separation from God. God’s justice demands sin not exist in His presence while God’s grace and mercy, working perfectly with His justice and His entire being, makes a way for those sentenced to death to die. And live eternally with Him.
We do not need to understand the laws of the physical universe to abide by them. It is vital we understand the moral laws of God. Doing so builds intimacy with God.