unchurched (or for the one who has been "too churched," for that
matter), we can tend to gloss over the actual, technical mechanics of
the salvation of souls. Words like "propitiation" and "atonement"
seem hopelessly old-school, guaranteed to frighten away even the most
earnest of seekers and label us among the modern cynics as
old-fashioned and dogmatic.
But those salvation mechanics, of course, are at the heart of God's
dealing with man. We fail to grasp both God's incredible zeal to
defend His great and righteous reputation and our incredible flouting
of that reputation when we live in our sinful ways. God is glorious,
and He makes His gloriousness available for us to bask in; and when we
choose to glory in other things, we offend Him greatly.
The reconciliation of God's vigor to uphold His Name and God's tender
love for the very people who besmirch that Name is that great
transaction on the cross, when God's own Son, Jesus of Nazareth, took
upon Himself the punishment due us. In that great transaction, God
demonstrated both the cost of offending His righteousness and the cost
He was willing to pay to save us to Himself.
And, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, God was "pleased to bruise
His Son." The Son the Bible says God loves to the nth was the very
Son God was pleased to bruise. You see, this transaction was not
something God was forced into, something He resigned Himself to,
something He begrudgingly did. God found pleasure, even in bruising
His own Son, because it was the zenith of His defense of His Name and
His compassion for a people who, while before had marred that Name ,
would forevermore praise it.
Others have explained this great transaction more eloquently than I,
but I think I've gotten the gist of it here. And if you find this all
hopelessly antiquated or even offensive, I'm sorry to hear that. But
that's the gospel truth.