'First ... Why was propitiation necessary? The pagan answer is because the gods are bad-tempered, subject to moods and fits, and capricious. The Christian answer is because God's holy wrath rests on evil. There is nothing unprincipled, unpredictable or uncontrolled about God's anger; it is aroused by evil alone.'
'Secondly ... Who undertakes to do the propitiating? The pagan answer is that we do. We have offended the gods; so we must appease them. The Christian answer, by contrast, is that we cannot placate the righteous anger of God ... But God in his undeserved love has done for us what we could never do for ourselves.'
'Thirdly ... How is propitiation to be accomplished? ... The pagan answer is that we have to bribe the gods with sweets, vegetable offerings, animals, and even human sacrifices. The Old Testament sacrificial system was entirely different, since it was recognized that God himself has "given" the sacrifices to the people to make atonement. And this is clear beyond doubt in the Christian propitiation, for God gave his own Son to die in our place, and in giving his Son he gave himself.'
Stott quotes, Charles Cranfield: 'God, because in his mercy he willed to forgive sinful men, and being truly merciful, willed to forgive them righteously, that is, without in any way condoning their sin, purposed to direct against his own very Self in the person of his Son the full weight of that righteous wrath which they deserved.'