Out there in Anglican-land there are many salutary efforts to redouble our efforts to understand such things at the Thirty Nine Articles and the Atonement. Matt Kennedy, over at Stand Firm, wrote a longish answer to a short Article (number III) of the famous Thirty-nine. It is a mixed piece and wanders far from the one sentence given as a starter. Still, I have to give him credit for taking the whole matter on at all and am well aware that criticizing him is a lot easier than taking on the 39 myself. I am by the way not particularly interested in doing so at just this moment.
However I would be remiss not to point out one particular remark of his concerning the cross. (Highlighting mine.) I comment on it here rather than at Stand Firm because a fairly large number of its readers seem to think I am no longer a Christian and I don't particularly need more accusations of that sort at the moment. Matt said:
"But while this eternal blessing and benefit of the cross is commonly acknowledged, what is often forgotten is that the cross stands as a stark and fearful warning that God, in his justice, does not leave sin unpunished. The infinite cup of God’s wrath that the infinite God in Christ willingly drained to the dregs on the cross remains full, it is brimming with judgment, for those who are unwilling to repent, cry out, and seek refuge and salvation in the Son. "
I believe Matt mis-wrote: The cross stands as a stark and fearful warning that the State and any religion with which it is in cahoots does not leave any contrariness unpunished. I am under the impression that the cross is first and foremost an instrument of oppression whose power was taken from it by The One who would not let death be the final oppressive certainty. The Cross of Christ is never, never, never in itself a warning of God's intended punishment or God's general intentions to hold us accountable. To think otherwise is to condone crucifixion or its more modern equivalents as required by God for good governance.
It's 11 at night. I have had a difficult day, learned great things from good people, found limits to my own willingness to trust in the future, came through it and am at rest. I found the Cross a constant companion, but never a fearful warning.