We had another discussion on The Reason For God this past Sunday in our Christian Ed. In chapter 12, Keller goes into some detail (although he does admit there is much more he doesn’t elaborate on) on the need for the cross.
Many in his circles, which may or may not be those in your circles, have a problem with a loving God requiring a bloody sacrifice. And the sacrifice of His Son on top of that? Why couldn’t he just forgive us if we’re sorry?
Instead of simply stating immediately that God is also fully Holy, which He is, Keller begins with the common ground of love. In other words, “Since you already believe that God is a loving God, let me show you how the only way to really be loving (forgive sins/reconcile people) is the cross.
The chapter beautifully fleshes out how forgiveness always requires suffering for the one offering forgiveness, and that real love involves a costly exchange.
The loving costly exchange has been depicted in movies and literature throughout the years. One example Keller mentions is the exchange scene in Tale of Two Cities. We spent a few moments thinking of some examples as in Gone Baby Gone, Man on Fire. But one thing we noticed was that most of these exchange scenes involved a “bad” or normal person giving themselves for someone who was innocent.
It wasn’t until after our discussion that we came up with a few examples of a “good” person giving him/herself for an unworthy guilty person. Gone in 60 Seconds depicts a semi-reformed car thief willing to give his life for an undeserving and ungrateful brother. That’s getting closer.
My personal favorite exchange scene-though it is hard to take-is To End All Wars, where an innocent man gives himself up to die in the place of a murderer. These kind of exchanges more closely parallel the exchange of the cross, where Christ died for people who were at the time his enemies (Romans 5:8).
Can you think of any more exchange scenes that depict a “good” guy giving himself for a “bad” /guilty guy or gal? These are fewer in number for obvious reasons, but I’d love to know more out there. Please comment if you have any which come to mind.