Remember this song?
I’ll give you jewelry and money too
That’s not all, all I’ll do for you
Oh, if bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
(Sam Cooke – Bring It To Me)
Great song, but lousy concept. Because you can’t buy love. The Beatles almost had it right with “Can’t buy me love…” But, even in that same song they sang:
I’ll give you all I’ve got to give
If you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give
But what I’ve got I’ll give to you
(The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love)
Bribing someone to love you is illogical on its face. And yet, the default posture we humans adopt before God is this: I’ll pay whatever You want if You will love me. That is the core idea behind all man-made religions. Here’s an example from the Old Testament book of MIcah:
6 With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (Micah 6:6–7 – NIV84)
God already and always loves us like a father. Imagine if one of your children got the idea you didn’t love him and offered to pay… It’s offensive, isn’t it? God does not need for us to pay Him with any of His possessions. So then, what does He want? This:
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 – NIV84)
God wants us to stop hurting one another and ourselves. He wants us to live with a humble awareness of Him, Who gave us life, Who made this world and Who knows how to live in it.
One last thought. Eventually a payment was made for sin, the most costly one suggested above – the sacrifice of a firstborn Son. But it was not a bribe, but a punishment that balanced the scales of justice.
And it was God Who paid.
Because He loves us that much.