The Cost of Forgiveness – We Can Only Imagine

Biblical Perspectives in Everyday Life

Every time we sing the song, Here I Am to Worship, I choke up on the “bridge” that says, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross.”1 That perspective is so true. Try as I might I will never know in this lifetime what it cost Jesus to go to the cross.

As believers, we may think of what He left to come and live among us – the grandeur of heaven, His majesty, the adoring angels, and, yet, while on earth He communicated with God the Father through prayer. We will never know what it cost Him to live among us, as one of us, and be the perfect sacrifice given as redemption for our sins. We can imagine it, but we will never fully know it in this life since we “see in a mirror dimly.”

Corinthians 13:12, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

It is an incredible fact that God, who spoke the perfectly run universe into existence, would lay down Himself on our behalf. These few verses reveal snapshots of His love, provision, and sacrifice for us.

Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Philippians 2:5-8, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Corinthians 8:9, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

He, the Ruler of time and eternity, took upon Himself the form of a bondservant, taking the punishment for us who were the slaves of sin. We, who have no hope of pleasing God by ourselves, can be clothed in Jesus’ righteousness and can boldly approach God because of Christ’s righteousness.

Jesus became “poor,” so that we who are spiritually bankrupt could become “rich.” We are not lavished with an abundance of material things; but, as our Preeminent Brother (Hebrews 2:11), He allows us to share in His inheritance. He has already given us everything we need to be fulfilled in this life (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Hebrews 2:9-12, But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

Peter 1:3-4, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

I really do not know, though I try to imagine, what His sacrifice actually cost Him —“to see my sin upon that cross” with the decree “Paid in full.” I can only imagine what He endured in order to cancel the awful debt I owed but could not pay!

Recently I read a poem in the devotional “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon. 2 Although written in “olde English,” the poem reminded me of the line from “Here I Am to Worship”—

When I stand before the throne Dressed in beauty not my own; When I see Thee as Thou art, Love Thee with unsinning heart; Then, Lord, shall I fully know— Not till then—how much I owe.

Someday we will know…


1 Here I am to Worship by Chris Tomlin.
2 Morning and Evening, June 30 morning devotional, Charles Spurgeon, Hendrickson Publishers, 1993, 4th printing.

The Cost of Forgiveness—We Can Only Imagine © 2009 WordTruth, Inc—
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers