Friday, July 25, 2008

His death is intelligible

"If I were sitting on the end of a pier on a summer day, enjoying the sunshine and the air, and someone came along and jumped into the water and got drowned 'to prove his love for me,' I should find it quite unintelligible. I might be much in need of love, but an act in no rational relation to any of my necessities could not prove it. But if I had fallen over the pier and were drowning and someone sprang into the water and at the cost of making my peril -- or what, but for him, would be my fate -- his own saved me from death, then I should say, 'Greater love hath no man than this.' I should say it intelligibly, because there would be an intelligible relation between the sacrifice which love made and the necessity from which it redeemed. . . . The key to the whole of New Testament teaching [is], . . . as we look to the cross, He bore our sins, He died our death. It is so that His love constrains us."

James Denney, The Death of Christ, pages 177-178.