Why can’t we just concentrate on teaching about how God is a God of love? The answer is that if you take away the cross you don’t have a God of love.
In the real world of relationships it is impossible to love people with a problem or a need without in some sense sharing or even changing places with them.
Think…of emotionally wounded people. There is no way to listen and love people like that and stay completely emotionally intact yourself. It may be that they may feel stronger and more affirmed as you talk, but that won’t happen without you being quite emotionally drained yourself. It’s them or you. To bring them up emotionally you must be willing to be drained emotionally.
John Stott writes, “The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We…put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God…puts himself where we deserve to be.”
If that is true, how can God be a God of love if he does not become personally involved in suffering the same violence, oppression, grief, weakness, and pain that we experience? …only one major world religion even claims that God does.
To understand why Jesus had to die it is important to remember both the result of the cross (costly forgiveness of sins) and the pattern of the cross (reversal of the worlds values). On the cross neither justice nor mercy loses out – both are fulfilled at once. Jesus death was necessary if God was going to take justice seriously and still love us.
From The Reason for God, Chapter 12, The (True) Story of the Cross, by Timothy Keller.
Don’t take my word for it, read the book, don’t wait for the movie.
Have a little hope on me, Roger