The Paradox of the Cross
Atonement, the Person and Work of Christ:
"In the cross of Christ we have humanity's final rejection of God, and in that cross we have God's final rejection of humanity's sin. But in the cross we have behind it all the holy will of God to take upon himself human sin in rejecting God, and to take upon himself his own rejection of humanity, so that he makes the cross the most positive act of the divine love. The cross not only opposes the human will to isolate itself from God and so to reject God, but so takes that rejection, that sinful refusal by humanity upon himself, that God directs toward humanity the amazing act of assumption in which, in pure grace, he gathers men and women in spite of their awful wickedness into fellowship with himself and refuses to let them go.
"The cross means that God does not let any positive decision to reject man fall upon man at all, for that positive act of rejection he takes entirely upon himself and directs toward humanity only the positive act of acceptance. Now this positive act of acceptance, of free forgiveness, of gratuitous justification, on the grounds of God's vicarious act and not in the slightest on the ground of human worth, is also the complete condemnation of humanity. It tells men and women that in themselves they have no worth, that they are not accepted at all for what they are in themselves, but are accepted only on the ground of the overflowing love of God poured out unstintingly upon them, and on the ground of the fact that God in his love chooses to take their judgement and rejection upon himself, in order that they may be gathered into the fellowship of the divine life. That if you like is the paradox of the cross: that the divine assumption of our judgement is our most complete judgement, and yet it is in no sense a rejection of humanity, but its very reverse, an entire acceptance of man for Christ's sake, in the blood of Christ.
"Let us be clear what this means. It means negatively, that there is no positive act of rejection or judgement extended toward any human being, but only the act of acceptance. It is an act of pure, incredibly loving acceptance, through God's taking upon himself entirely our rejection. Therefore if a sinner is reprobated, if a sinner goes to hell, it is not because God rejected them, for God has only chosen to love them, and has only accepted them in Christ who died for them and on the cross consummated the divine act of love in accepting them and in taking their rejection upon himself. If anyone goes to hell they go to hell, only because, inconceivably, they refuse the positive act of the divine acceptance of them, and refuse to acknowledge that God has taken their rejection of him upon himself, so acknowledging that they deserve to be rejected" (pp. 156-157).