From something I posted over on the Lutheran-Orthodox Dialog...
The Reformation's essential insight might be summarized as "but this [wrath, the opus alienum of God] is not the deepest truth about God; the deepest truth about God is that He is for you and loves you in Christ." The East seems to be saying, "It's not only the deepest truth, it's the only truth!"
The thing that makes many Lutherans nervous about the Eastern approach, I think, is that they fear that it makes Aslan a tame lion. We all know He is NOT a tame lion. And His love with which He loves us IS a consuming fire.
I was thinking of how Voyage of the Dawn Treader helps us get at this. Do you remember when Eustace had turned into the dragon, and in the water the Lion rips through the dragon's hide with his claws to set Eustace free?
There's terror there, alright. It is the terror because we have grown rather comfortable in our dragon's skin and the thought of having it painfully stripped from us terrifies the daylights out of us. But it is Love that extends the nails and Love that rips through the skin and Love that causes us such pain in order to set us free.
When one reads St. Ephrem's Spiritual Psalter it becomes clear to me that the East knows that it is LOVE who is doing all this, but that it is still terrifying and hurts. In other words, the thing that the West fears if you lose the vicarious satisfaction language (that Aslan becomes a pussycat) is far, far from the case.
What is most striking to me of late is that in the West it seems we have made the cross be what it was not - we have tried to see in it God's wrath at human sin (and I think that very well may be a projection) instead of
seeing the horror of what it really is: human wrath directed at God's love. But glory be to Jesus, in Him is a love as strong as death, yes, stronger! Stronger than our hatred! Stronger than our rejection and fears! A love that pardons us in the moment that gathers together into one the very meaning of all human sin: the telling of God to get out of OUR world and leave us alone. His answer is: No, I will not leave and leave you alone, for I am your life and you can't make me hate you! I love you, I forgive you.