"Christ did not redeem and save man by sitting in majesty on His heavenly throne but by hanging on the shameful cross.
Just as redemption is impossible without Christ's blood neither can the church exist without it: "The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" Acts 20:28. The church is taken out of the dying Jesus' side, as Eve was brought from Adam's body. Christ did not redeem and save man by sitting in majesty on His heavenly throne but by hanging on the shameful cross, under the tormenting hand of man's fury and God's wrath. Therefore the person who wants his sins pardoned is directed to place his faith not only on Christ, but on the bleeding Christ: "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" Romans 3:25.
Faith, then, becomes active when it rests on Christ crucified for pardon and life. There are many acts of the soul which must precede this, for a person can never truly exercise this faith unless he first has knowledge of Christ and relies on His authority. Only then can he say, "I know whom I have believed" 2 Timothy 1:12. Most people are reluctant to trust a complete stranger. Abraham did not know where he was going, but he knew with whom he was going! God worked with Abraham to teach him the knowledge of His own glorious self-- who He was-- so that His child could rely on His word, assenting to the truth of it no matter how harsh and improbable and impossible it seemed, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" Genesis 17:1.
God also wanted Abraham to recognize his own emptiness and inadequacy. He means us to see what we deserve-- hell and damnation. But He also intends us to recognize our own impotence and how little-- indeed, nothing-- we can contribute to our own reconciliation. I join them together, because one arises out of the other. Our sense of emptiness comes from the deep apprehension we feel as we see God's fullness and our own insufficiency.”
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617