Understanding The Atonement
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is presented in all four Gospels, and occupies considerable space in the overall narrative. How could the life, let alone the death, of one man 2,000 years ago be the salvation of the human race? The biblical explanation is that the crucified one was the Son of God, acting and suffering in cooperation with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. This is the primary answer to 'the scandal of particularity'. The death of this one person has universal, inclusive and cosmic significance, because in him the Creator acts and suffers. Further, there is the special relationship between Christ and humanity: he was 'with' us, and he was 'for' us.
The grandeur of the cross lies in the fact that here the incarnate Son of God offered himself in our place, bearing the penalty for our sin. The cross achieved expiation, propitiation, reconciliation, justification, redemption, forgiveness and victory. No single one of these tells the whole truth, nor do all of them together exhaust the meaning of the cross. Macleod shows that these concepts are interrelated and interdependent, and that together they give a coherent picture of the wonderful salvation wrought by Jesus at Calvary.