When I sin against my neighbor, I subtract something from him; I subtract what he would have received, had I acted in love towards him, that is, had I acted in a way in accordance with God’s will for him. In this sense, I diminish him. That is my debt towards him now.
God’s own nature, which is love, is also diminished by the amount of that debt. What we do to others, we do to God. (Matthew 25:40)
When God forgives me, God accepts that diminishment. Love accepts its own diminishment. My obligation for what I’ve done to God is dismissed, and God is diminished.
Christ died for the forgiveness of all sin. What does that mean? It means that the divine in Jesus – that which was incarnate God, the Son of God – accepted His own diminishment to the point of extinction. The Son of God – God’s creative Word, the creative power of Love – accepted His own death.
It was Jesus who was resurrected on the third day, not the Word who was with God in the beginning. It was Jesus who was glorified, Jesus who sits at God’s right hand, that is, who is the power of creative love.
And the reason for all this? So that God’s love may be shed abroad in our hearts. (Romans 5:5)