Sometime back I wrote a blog on the Atonement. Since then I came across this prosed wellspring of truth:
"For many with a hurtful understanding of Christianity this is vitally important. For them the cross is something terrible. It shows them a cruel God who accuses and condemns us for something we cannot help and then murders his own son to appease this bloodlust...[but]
God does not need the cross to forgive us or love us. Jesus forgave and loved people before the cross. But some of us needed the cross to be able to really accept that forgiveness. God does not need the cross to love us: God has always loved us. But many of us needed the cross to really grasp that. God does not need the cross to be reconciled to us. But many of us needed the cross to be reconciled to Life, to break the cycle of rivalry and to heal our estranged authority image.
"The cross speaks to us at the point of our need. And while these are not God's problems, but our alienation, still for us that alienation is very real. So to the one wracked with guilt God says through the cross, `I take the blame. I pay the price.' To the one who is locked in self-hate God says through the cross `I love you so much I would give my life defending you.' To the one in rebellion to life God says through the cross, `See me here. I am not a threat; I am love.'"
"On the cross God in Christ took on our sin. That means he at once bore the weight of the harm that we have done, and also bore the pain of the victims. This was not, as [Penal Substitution] would say, God punishing the human Jesus, but the incarnate Jesus revealing the compassionate heart of God to us. On the cross we see that God suffers with those who suffer, and always has. God carries the pain of every victim of rape, incest, torture and starvation. As Christ cries out `my God my God why have you forsaken me' God shows his solidarity with every person so overwhelmed with doubt they don't have the will to believe anymore."
from The Rebel God by Derek Flood