The Depravity of Entitlement

I have heard numerous times that Jesus' death determines our value, and that we are as valuable as the price paid for us. One example was that no one would pay $100,000 for a $20,000 car because the car isn't worth it, therefore the blood of Jesus wouldn't be spent on people who were not worth it. This means that those Jesus died for must possess a high value because of what He was willing to pay for their salvation. If this is true then the statement would logically take us beyond a high value and says that we possess an equal value with the blood of Jesus.

I couldn't disagree more. I see the scriptures making very little of us, and instead making very much of God and his grace towards undeserving, unworthy, and rebellious people. The gospel is not "to the praise of His glorious logic", but rather "to the praise of His glorious grace." If Grace were deserved it is no longer grace.

If we reverse the logic of the statement "the price paid for us determines our value," then we must ask, what if God had not purchased our salvation? The degenerative logic could be concluded like this: If we are worth what Christ paid for us then it seems rational to suggest that it was owed to us and that it would be irrational to destroy us.

If the actual worth of a car is $100,000 and the price tag is $100,000 then it would be logical and rational to purchase it for that price. If it is rational to purchase it at that price then its purchase is no longer gracious, but merely rational. The car has a reasonable hope to be purchased because it is in fact worth $100,000; If it is worth it, then surely at some point someone will buy it and it doesn't need to be called "grace" for them to do so. To go a little bit further, It would be wholly illogical and irrational to smash the $100,000 car into tiny pieces and light the pieces on fire. (Psalm 50:22; Mark 9:48)

With this way of thinking we make God's benevolence towards us rational and his wrath towards us irrational. It also seems to make sin an external affliction that is disconnected from our actual value rather than the internal disease it is that completely destroys any value there could be. It was not that we were tarnished or held captive for a price, but that we had become altogether worthless and like a filthy unredeemable rag. We were dead, not half-dead; we were ruined, not valuable.

Of our value the scriptures say:

as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11  no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” - Romans 3:10-12 quoted from Psalm 14:1-4, 53:1-3

Concerning what we deserve the scriptures say:

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - Romans 1:29-32

Concerning the internal nature of sin the scriptures say:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. - Matthew 15:19

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? - Jeremiah 17:9

The scandal of the gospel is that we were not worth a thing and because God is love (rather than because we are lovely) He gave his Son. God's love is the cause, not our loveliness. Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? - Matthew 5:43-46

The gospel is scandalous because it is God Himself entering His own creation in humiliation to die for sinners, not for those who are valuable, but for those who are worthless. He certainly loves us, he certainly ascribes value to us, but all of it is grace. He is loving, therefore he can pour out love on his unlovely enemies. He does not need us to be lovely in order to die for us, rather his motivation is "to the praise of His glorious grace." If grace is deserved then why would the redeemed praise it at all? If it was rational for Christ to die in our place then what creatures would praise him for simply doing his duty? Even to say the gospel is like someone paying $100,000 for a $20,000 car is still too narrow of a gap between God and man. It is that we were ripe for judgement and hell without value that makes the perfectly timed grace of God so praiseworthy.