Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God, the view that says the reason God forgives us is that he is so kind and loving. This idea has no place in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us and reinstate us in his favor is the tremendous tragedy of the cross of Christ. It is “through his blood” that our sins are forgiven. To put forgiveness on any other ground is blasphemy.

Forgiveness is easy for us to accept, but it wasn’t easily won. Forgiveness cost God the agony of Calvary. It’s possible for us to forget this and to take everything God gives us with the simplicity of faith—to take forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit and our sanctification without recalling the enormous price he paid to make them ours. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace, a miracle wrought in the atonement. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God that erases the atonement. The revelation of God is that he cannot forgive without the cross of Jesus Christ. If he did, he would compromise his holiness and contradict his nature. God’s forgiveness is natural only in the supernatural domain.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is slight. Sanctification is simply the expression of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. The thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin. The apostle Paul had this well awakened in him, and he never got away from it. When you, like Paul, realize what it cost to forgive you, you will be held as he was: in an iron grip, constrained by the love of God.

Wisdom from Oswald

Much of the misery in our Christian life comes not because the devil tackles us, but because we have never understood the simple laws of our make-up. We have to treat the body as the servant of Jesus Christ: when the body says “Sit,” and He says “Go,” go! When the body says “Eat,” and He says “Fast,” fast! When the body says “Yawn,” and He says “Pray,” pray! Biblical Ethics, 107 R