Plainly stated the gospel is thus, Jesus died; for our sins. Foundational to any articulation of the Gospel is understanding the substitutionary atonement. We must see that the penalty and conclusion that stood before every depraved human being–death and destruction–was taken by Christ. This exchange perfectly bears witness to the extravagant love and the unmitigated justice of God. People are saved. A penalty is paid. This is the Gospel. It’s simple.
Fresh thinkers with hip postmodern agendas currently challenge such simplicity. Some submit that the substitutionary atonement is no more than a form of “cosmic child abuse.” Proponents of this thought suggest that God tortures his Son, Jesus, by making him suffer and die on the cross. This in fact negates the aspects of justice and love, leaving the message of the atonement a hollow maltreatment.
This case against the simple form of the Gospel can not be accepted. Among other things this treatment is born out of a misunderstanding or perhaps a complete lack of a theology of suffering. The pervasive doctrine of suffering in Scripture is always connected to rebirth, ultimate reality, and the glory of God. It is for the glory of the Father and by the will of God that Jesus became sin for us. Through suffering we are made clean. And if our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us, imagine the glory that throbs from the right hand of the throne of God because Jesus died for our sins.
Savor the simplicity of the Gospel message, but allow your spiritual taste buds to crave its notes of complexity…