I have never quite understood why God needed to be appeased by a human sacrifice, especially His own Son! This was the way of the Old Testament gods. Can God only love me fully after sacrificing His Son to satisfy His sense of justice and soothe His anger? Is the emphasis of Scriptures on God’s wrath toward us or His love for us? Does God hate the sinner or the sin?
Was the Cross God’s attempt to persuade us to follow His Son’s example to trust God to overcome the power of sin in our lives or was the Cross mainly for substitution reasons – God demanded death as a penalty for our sins to appease His sense of justice and as a way to escape Hell? Any biblical passage in isolation can be used to defend either point of view. I am not denying Jesus’ death in some ways substituted for the consequences we deserve as a result of our self-centeredness, but I believe the Cross is so much more about God’s love than His wrath and how we can have victory over sin.
The Cross is not a revelation of God’s revenge but His compassion. The Cross is not to change God’s attitude toward us but our attitude toward God. The Cross was not to pay some penalty but to provoke repentance for our gain. God is not concern with the guilt of our sins but with the restoration of the relationship. God does not need to be reconciled to us; we need to be reconciled to God. God’s focus was on the power of sin over us, not our sins. God did not need to be appeased and His Honor restored before He could love us.
- The Cross is an invitation to a friendship with the Creator and all the grandness that includes and not merely to escape Hell
- The Cross visibly demonstrates the destructiveness of sin and that forgiveness is never without a cost
- The Cross displays God’s wrath not against the sinner to hurt them or justify Himself but against sin that controls us
- The Cross gives God moral authority and credibility with humans, for God knew that He must go to incredible lengths to convince us
- The Cross is the undeniable proof that God loves us more than we can imagine and hopefully moves us to love others as God loves us
- The Cross is an act of a loving God, not an act of appeasement from an angry God, so we might feel free from guilt and have our longing for forgiveness satisfied
- The Cross enables us to know God sees us as Christ, as our sins are nailed to the Cross, so we can be comfortable in His presence
- The Cross expresses God desires not for a legal settlement of our guilt but for a restored, personal relationship
- The Cross encourages us to enter a relationship with God which is our only hope to break the power of evil over us
- The Cross demonstrates that we must trust God, as Jesus did, than believe in Satan’s lie as Adam and Eve did
- The Cross was Jesus’ attempt to influence us to follow in His footsteps to trust in God, than our own wisdom, to save ourselves
- The Cross was because God loved us and not so He could love us
- The Cross was not God’s desire for vengeance but reconciliation, so we might turn from ways of harming ourselves and others
- The Cross was not God’s abandon of Jesus but Jesus feeling the full force of sin as we might in dark moments – “God, why have you forsaken me”
- The Cross was not to satisfy some need in God at the expense of His Son but to satisfy a need in us at His expense