The cross [...] is the perfect statement both of God's wrath against sin and of the depth of his love and mercy in the recovery of a damaged creation and its damagers. God's mercy, patience and love must be fully preached in the church. But they are not credible unless they are presented in tension with God's infinite power, complete and sovereign control of the universe, holiness, and righteousness. And where God's righteousness is clearly presented, compassionate warnings of holy anger against sin must be given, and warnings also of the certainty of divine judgment in endless alienation from God which will be unimaginably worse that the literal descriptions of hell. It is no wonder that the world and the church are nor awakened when our leadership is either singing a lullaby concerning these matters or presenting them in caricature which is so grotesque that it is unbelievable.
The tension between God's holy righteousness and his compassionate mercy cannot be legitimately resolved by remolding his character into an image of pure benevolence as the church did in the nineteenth century. There is only one way this contradiction can be removed: through the cross of Christ which reveals the severity of God's anger against sin and the depth of his compassion in paying its penalty through the vicarious sacrifice of his Son. In systems which resolve this tension by softening the character of God, Christ and his work become an addendum, and spiritual darkness is complete because the true God has been abandoned for worship of a magnified image of human tolerance.