At this point, many people ask the question, "Why couldn't God just forgive?"
An executive of a large corporation said, "My employees often do something, break something, and I just forgive them." Then he added, "Are you trying to tell me I can do something that God can't do?"
People fail to realise that wherever there is forgiveness, there's a payment. For example, let's say my daughter breaks a lamp in my home. I'm a loving and forgiving father, so I put her on my lap, and I hug her and I say, "Don't cry, honey. Daddy loves you and forgives you."
Now usually the person I tell that story to says, "Well, that's what God ought to do."
Then I ask the question, "Who pays for the lamp?" The fact is, I do. There's always a price in forgiveness. Let's say somebody insults you in front of others and later you graciously say, "I forgive you" Who bears the price of the insult? You do.
This is what God has done. God has said, "I forgive you." But He was willing to pay the price Himself through the cross.
- Josh McDowell in his book, More Than a Carpenter (pages 115-6)