Recently, I completed the draft portion of my dissertation on John Stott’s understanding of evangelism and social responsibility. The process of researching Stott was immensely fruitful. His classic, The Cross of Christ, is one of the most influential reads of my life.
Addressing the theological importance of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross, Stott reminds his readers of God’s holy demand for justice. Stott recognizes the centrality of the cross in God’s redemptive and forgiving plan. He writes, “The crucial question we should ask therefore, is a different one. It is not why God finds it difficult to forgive, but how he finds it possible to do so at all” (90). The answer of course is Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. “Christ died for us. Christ died instead of us” (149). Ultimately, Stott emphasizes Christ’s death as our means of union with Christ and becoming God’s righteousness.
This classic is a must read for anyone seeking to understand Christ’s cross and his atoning work.