Another friend (yes I have more than one!) is very touchy about using the words “price”, “debt”, “cost” etc. This is because it can be seen to be in reference to the traditional view of God holding a grudge, that we owe a debt of sin, that there is punishment due for sins, etc.
But this is not the case. All these words have legitimate use in the Christian story, in reference to Christ’s sacrifice, but only as meaning that sin is a cause and effect thing, not that God is so offended he demands a sacrifice to appease him.
I think it can be seen more easily if we consider that we are ultimately in God’s universe, not he in ours. I mean the ultimate universe, rather than the observed physical one. If we were to intrude into his world, we would dissolve in smoke, because we, as physically created beings, are incompatible with him. There is the story about Moses hiding in the cleft of the rock (a reference to Jesus?) or he would be killed by God’s presence. The ark of the covenant was not to be touched because it was “holy” and so on. [Moses came down from the mountain with a bad case of “son-burn”.]
“Our God is a consuming fire”. Fire is the sign of the Holy Spirit, of God. When he comes again, it will be in flaming fire and the physical created universe will be destroyed, because of incompatibility with him, his world, his nature. This is not because he wants to “punish” people, but because it is inevitable that when he “wraps things up” and claims his spiritual crop, which means Christians, what is compatible with him will be “saved”, but what is not will be destroyed.
So it is not vindictive retribution. It is the inevitable consequence of refusing to allow God to guide them into the “path of righteousness”. So there is no grudge, it is just a reality that people choose for themselves when they refuse his son as a means of saving them. If they were drowning and he turned up as a row-boat, they would climb aboard. But because they refuse to recognise they are metaphorically drowning in sin, and are not bothered by it enough to look for an answer, they will not climb aboard the “ark” that he is.
Having dealt with all sin for all time, God can truly claim to have done all he could to save people, he does not hold grudges, he does not hold people’s sin against them, THEY do that all on their own.