I’ll handle a couple of responses at once here…
First, yes I can easily see how someone might be offended that a wealthy benefactor swoops in and pays of their debt for them, but that feeling of offense doesn’t nullify the free will of either party, at least in my mind it doesn’t. One of the things we (and I mean we here, including me) often miss in these sorts of discussions is that Free Will cuts both ways. If we can freely chose to do something, then God also has that same free choice to do as He wills. Indeed, I would argue that God’s omniscience and omnipotence makes Him the only being that can truly do whatever He wants.
When arguing against “Name It and Claim It” theology, we so often say that God is not a vending machine. He is never under any external compulsion to do or not to do anything. That also applies to Justification. If God wants to see someone as justified before Him, then He can do that under whatsoever terms He likes. That may sound like I’m arguing for Calvinism, but I’m not. That works under Arminianism and under Catholic/Orthodox theologies as well. What we’re in disagreement about isn’t whether or not God can forgive sin but under what circumstances and by what means He will forgive.
Second, as has been pointed out, another thing that often gets left out of these discussions is the Protestant view (well… views…) on Sanctification. I think this happens for two reasons:
1 - Protestants separate Justification from Sanctification. The later may (or may not be) a necessary consequence of the former, but those two things are, nevertheless, two completely separate concerns for Protestants. Catholics and Orthodox see it completely the other way round: Justification and Sanctification are fully integrated into a single whole to the extent that it’s impossible to talk about either one without talking about the other. If Catholics/Orthodox are guilty of not understanding that Protestants make a hard distinction on these points, then we Protestants are at least as guilty as not understanding that they make a hard non-distinction between them. That non-distinction is as important to their understanding of salvation as our distinction is to ours and I think we just don’t get that sometimes.
2 - Culturally, Protestants have done a, frankly, awful job of living out that distinction, Evangelicals and Mainliners alike. We have, in my opinion, lived though a generation’s worth of the plagues of “easy believism,” “cheap grace,” and “seeker sensitivity” that has left us bereft of any real sense of Sanctification, at least in our public pronouncements. Sure, privately, the vast majority of Evangelical churches will talk about Sanctification and the idea that, if you really claim to name the name of Christ, then your walk had better match your talk; but publicly? No. A great many Pastors will never talk about those things from the pulpit because “we don’t want to scare anyone off.” That’s changing, little by little, but there’s still an awful lot of Pastors and Christians who, in an effort to not be seen as “one of those Christians” make the Gospel into nothing more than “Just say the Sinner’s Prayer and that’s all you have to worry about.”
Just my two cents…