For a good number of years my dominant image of God was that of a Judge who presided in a heavenly courtroom and demanded payment from his human creation for breaking his law. The God I imagined was bound to the law and intolerant toward sin. God demanded punishment—by death. So God sent Jesus, God’s unique Son, to die, so that God’s justice would be satisfied, and God would be free to release the rest of humankind from the penalty and punishment they deserve for having transgressed God’s law and offended God’s justice.
But then, at some point on my journey when I gave myself permission to question and even doubt, I began to wonder why God’s unique Son would have to die such a cruel death by execution in order to satisfy some broken law, particularly since God is the one who makes the law in the first place. God can change a law anytime God wants to, I reasoned. So why would God require this sort of tit-for-tat, quid pro quo justice that would demand the sacrifice of a human life? I began to wonder how this arrangement was that much different than what primitive peoples did when they offered up human lives and, later, animals to appease the anger of their gods?
These questions led to more questions. So I started down that “slippery slope.” In one sense it was and continues to be a liberating ride, sort of like the kid who finally gets up enough nerve to ride the roller coaster and afterward wants to ride it over and over again. But in other ways it was and… [Read more…] about Real Christians Forgive