Well, actually, He did. But He doesn’t force people to accept that forgiveness. God is a relational Being, and He created relational people, not robots.
I wonder, though, if God’s gift of reconciliation also works the way it does because it is the way most glorifying of Himself. That, after all, is the purpose of the universe: the manifest expression of all the greatness and goodness and completeness of Him.
Jesus gives us a word-picture of two people who owed debts of to a creditor — one twice the debt of the other. If the creditor forgave both debts, Jesus asks, who would love the creditor more? Would it not be the one who was forgiven more?
A parallel idea, though not identical, could perhaps be observed in God’s administration (through Jesus, who is Himself God) of His mercy. He tells Moses in Exodus 33:19, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”
Now, I have to admit, that is difficult for my arrogant mind to swallow. It doesn’t exactly emanate fairness — or any kind of rational system, for that matter. I don’t like it when things don’t appear to make sense. But the fact remains that I don’t understand everything, I don’t have the breadth and depth of wisdom to determine what is fair, and I don’t even have the power to decide if what is fair is what is right. Because what is right is from God, and He is the Essence of it.
But therein lies the beauty of the thing. It is the mystery of God’s grace, which is a natural outgrowth of the mystery of Himself. In it He is glorified, and in it we are satisfied (thank you Pastor John for that elegant articulation).
So back to the parable. If everyone received unconditional grace (God loves everyone unconditionally, but His saving grace is given to those He chooses on His own merit), everyone would be happy and everything would be fair.
Well, maybe. But consider the mindset of such a (free) humanity. Are they likely to be grateful and humble and meek? Are they likely to pursue their Creator with diligence and passion? Are they likely to contemplate God in awe and reverence, to tremble before Him in amazement at who He is and how He has given Himself freely in full knowledge of their hideous defamation of Him?
Now, instead, consider a small group of ordinary people…ordinary, except for the fact that these people have been restored in essence to humanity’s original, intended state. They have been granted reentry into God’s presence as a free gift, bought at a priceless cost, given to them for no reason of their own doing. How will they respond? How will their lives look different?
Which of these will love their Master more?
Food for thought…