But how should we look at the sacrifice that God has made in Christ for the justification and thus for the salvation of mankind, and in connection with it also God's wrath for those who reject this sacrifice, perhaps even despise it (John 3:36)?
For many Jehovah's Witnesses and as many [so-called*] Christians of other communities are so familiar with Jesus' sacrifice teaching that they often think little about the greatness, reason, purpose, origin and goal of this sacrifice. The knowledge of this is, as it were, part of their Christian everyday life, as is the doctrine of repentance (repentance), prayer and forgiveness. A Christian author once wrote: "We should repent our repentance and pray for our prayers!". A curious sentence? What does the author want to say?
He wants to express that while we acknowledge the need for repentance, we also repent in the awareness of being sinners. But our repentance is often routine, habitual or superficial. It does not really go deep. If we could and would look at sin as God sees it, we would be afraid of it, and probably also of the "thin-skinnedness" of our repentance.
That is why he thinks that we should repent of our weak, insufficient repentance before God. And our prayers? Even Paul shows how inappropriate our prayers to the Holy God are; we need the intercession of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit to make our prayers acceptable before God (Romans 8:26-27). Therefore, the author mentioned above says that we should pray to God because of our prayers, that He may accept them in grace in their deficiency. Is the man not right?
It was customary to speak of the »dear God« to children; that is understandable. But with growing up we as Christians should learn that God is not »dear God«, but that he is love. He is not a »dear old man« to whom one throws a nice word in passing. No! He is a Holy God! Do we still have any idea of what this word means? It shows itself to us in what he did in his love for his creatures to free them from the condemnation of sin to death, for the reward that sin pays is death irrevocably (Romans 6:23)! He sent his Son to take away the burden of sins and iniquities from men, and to take upon Himself the punishment of death, which is clearly established for these people.
Sometimes the question has already been asked here: "After all, God is love and he is omnipotent; why does he not simply forgive people who want to repent and serve him?" In this question it becomes clear that the respective questioner has not thought about God's holiness and justice. According to Scripture, God's position on sin is unambiguous! He has nothing in common with it, will not tolerate it, but will not overlook it either.
There is no carpet under which God would simply sweep away the sins of repentant people. Sin simply overlooked, simply forgiven, is incompatible with God's nature and righteousness. But he also knows that no man can come before him as righteous, as Paul made clear to the Romans. Yet even the prophet Habakuk said, "The righteous shall live by his faith" (Habakuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). By his faith, certainly; but the righteous? How should a man be righteous before God? Impossible! Not by his own achievement!
But God sent His Son in His love, and the Son in His love fully agreed with the mission and mission to save sinners. He knows that this would involve a terrible death, the reward of sin. But he took all this upon himself, carried everything up to his torture wood. Not only did he bear the sins of men, such as a burden that can be taken away when it becomes too much; according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, he was made a sin for us!
He became a personified sin, so that we may now stand before God in His righteousness, yes, that we would become God's righteousness in Him! This is hardly comprehensible to our minds, the depth of the love of God and Jesus, the greatness and preciousness of the sacrifice that was brought here. Jesus, who was never separated from God, he became sin, and God, the Holy God, turned away from sin on Golgotha; therefore Jesus cried: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? This was not an expression of regret or even repentance, but an expression of pain over a condition which he had never experienced, which meant the greatest suffering for him, even though he knew that he would be resurrected justifiably by his Father on the third day.
God's attitude to sin remained and remains unchanged; but through the sacrifice of Jesus accepted in faith, we may now call God Father, is and will be forgiven. Who wanted to add anything to this sacrifice?
Any addition would be a reduction. That is not a cheap mercy! God gave the highest and dearest thing he could give for it, and he gave it out of love. And through him, through Jesus, we have forgiveness. And also this forgiveness is not a cheap forgiveness! It was paid dearly. Heinrich Heine is said to have once said: "God gladly forgives; that is his profession". (Today one would say: This is his job.) The first part is true: God likes to forgive, likes to be merciful. But it is not his job, it is his love for people that drove him and Jesus, and Paul rightly says that we should now also live for the one who died for us (2 Corinthians 5:15).