Book Review: The Theology of the Cross
If you're ever struck by a desire to read this book, read the first couple of pages in each chapter. If you're fool enough to read the whole thing, you will receive an excellent tutorial in what it means to "belabor a point." His points are good, but there are only enough of them for a pamphlet. As a book, it suffers dreadfully.
However, there were two points of his that were particularly profound:
Page 15: "At the very heart of even the most noble unbelieving humanitarian is the yearning to carry out his own will for his own reasons. He does what he does because he wants to."
When I teach about good works, I put it in context of a college course. I explain, "If you turn in a paper for a class which you are not taking, will you still get credit?" This is a good explanation of why that works--they are doing it on their own account, under the Law, rather than on Christ's account, under the Gospel.
Page 25: "We certainly would not say of something merely human, which to our eyes appears perfect, that it was therefore easy because it seemed perfect.... How foolish then to assert that Christ's submission and his cross were easy because they were carried out perfectly and without sin."
I myself have questioned that, and I am glad that there is an answer. It is so easy to say, "Well of course Jesus lived a perfect life! He was, after all, God!" Like achieving the speed of light, perfection is infinitely difficult, so it does require all the strength of God.