“Now the life and death of Christ are historical facts which are, practically, universally admitted, but the “word of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18, R.V.), i.e., the scriptural explanation of His atoning work is purely a matter of Divine revelation, and is to be received with uncavilling humility and rested upon with peaceful assurance, simply because it is made known to us on the authority of God. Reasoning thereon is utterly vain, and speculating thereabout is profane. Moreover, as we stated in the opening chapter, all attempts to illustrate from supposed analogies in human relations dishonor God and grossly pervert His Truth. The atoning work of Christ is unique. It stands alone in its solitary grandeur. There is nothing in all history which in anywise resembles it. When a preacher attempts to “simplify” the mystery of the three Persons of the Godhead by some illustration from “nature,” he only exhibits his own foolishness, and helps no one. So too every effort to explain the Atonement with what is outside Scripture, is only turning from light to darkness. Divine mysteries cannot be understood by means of those things which come within the range of our physical senses.
“It has been rightly said that “accuracy of terms clarifies thought,” to which we may add, Accuracy of thought is essential to right views of any portion of the Truth, and right views of the Truth are honoring to God. Therefore, no effort should be spared in seeking to attain unto the utmost possible precision of language when seeking to set forth the things of God. Many a reader has obtained only a cloudy view of a subject because the writer confused effects with the nature of the thing he was dealing with. For example, assurance of salvation is one of the fruits of faith (as well as a gift of the Spirit), yet it has often been regarded as an essential element of faith itself. In consequence, because they lacked assurance, some real Christians have been plunged into what Bunyan termed the Slough of Despond, because they imagined they were not saved at all. In like manner, many writers on the Atonement have carelessly jumbled together some of its leading effects and fruits with the nature of it.”
(A.W. Pink, The Satisfaction of Christ: Studies in the Atonement, Chpt. 5, “It’s Nature,” reprint 2001)