Why was Christ’s death acceptable? It was because it was true love in action, it was the nature of God on display for all to see.
Any reality or “sacrifice” must relate to this – that the restoration of God’s nature in man must represent the suffering that this nature will undergo when it meets non-love in conflict.
And this conflict must be the true reality of the suffering of love, not some legally connected theory that seeks to mathematically connect righteousness to law keeping, or concept keeping.
It must be the sensitivity of the very nature of God, that He is Spirit, and truth, and reality. And this reality is affected by forces not of Him; forces that seek to disrupt, and maintain that which is anti-God.
Hence “The offence of the cross”. Those who have the most to lose in terms of “face”, pride, social standing (like the Pharisees) – those who perhaps run businesses and stand accepted as the more intelligent amongst us – these are the ones who would rather see the simplicity of Christ become lost in intelligentsia jargon that destroys the simplicity of the gospel message, even changing the simplicity of words such as “church” or “Jesus” to something else in order to promote complication, in order to maintain their isolation from the emotion of it all.
It is the complication of doctrine that destroys the intended message, the message of the heart. It is complication that avoids facing up to the reality that the corrupted heart of man can only be healed by the de-corrupted nature of his, yes, “representative”. [but the heart cries substitute]. And it is this recognisable love that instills in man a like response.
I see nothing wrong with theological exploration, though that be fraught with danger for the one doing so. The more complete the picture we obtain from scripture the better. But when this exploration amounts to nothing more than a last ditch stronghold of the abuse of truth and the very nature of God himself, this becomes totally unacceptable.