We know that in mutually loving relationships, both parties must be active agents, able to contradict as well as affirm each other. If person A is never allowed to express a contradictory opinion to person B, then person B has a power relationship with person A, but not a personal one.
Now, if you choose to believe only those things in the Bible that you agree with, in what way do you have a God who can contradict you? Only if your God can say things that upset you will you know you have a real God and not a creation of your imagination. So an authoritative Bible . . . is not the enemy of a personal love relationship with God. . . . It is the precondition.
Timothy Keller, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, p. 113
The Cross is not simply a lovely example of sacrificial love. Throwing your life away needlessly is not admirable — it is wrong. Jesus’ death was only a good example if it was more than an example, if it was something absolutely necessary to rescue us. And it was. Why did Jesus have to die in order to forgive us? There was a debt to be paid — God himself paid it. There was a penalty to be born — God himself bore it. Forgiveness is always a form of costly suffering.
Tim Keller, The Reason for God (New York, NY: Dutton, 2007), 193.
HT: Of First Importance