As I read the book of Numbers, I see a toughness in serving God that we don't often see praised. When the Israelites were revolting (again) against God, and one of them publicly flaunted his immorality with an evil woman, a young priest named Phineas thrust a javelin through both their bodies, and in this way stopped the plague. God highly praised Phineas (Numbers 25:6-13). Could I have done it?
Redemption available and redemption applied are two different things. God provided the Passover lamb, but each Jewish family needed to pain their doorposts with the blood for themselves. The lamb's blood didn't save them by just sitting there in the bucket. If Christ didn't provide redemption for everyone, than God could not offer salvation to everyone (which He does) and not be a liar in so doing. As isaiah said, all we like sheep have gone astray; each one of us has gone to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all. The "all-we" who went astray = the "us" whose iniquities were laid on Christ. You aren't lying when you say to an unbeliever, "Christ died for your sins." In fact, you sound just like Paul, who taught that very thing to the unbelieving Greeks (1st Cor. 15:3).
Some Christian traditions are strong on the theme of inward transformation, which is a good theme. But for God to transform us, He first has to forgive us, because sin is the barrier between Him and us. God wants to forgive us. For God to forgive us, He needed a basis for forgiveness. God in His integrity can't just say, "Oh well, don't worry about it", and hand-wave our sins. That's why Jesus Christ died -- to give God a full and valid ground to say to someone, "I forgive you." And that is the connection between the death of Christ and inward transformation. Christ's death eradicates the guilt-barrier between man and God, so that God's Spirit can enter a man and begin to radically transform him for the better.
"Sin cannot destroy man's rationality altogether, for then he would no longer be capable of sin." -- Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologicae, 1a2ae.
Preacher-writers like to narrow the purpose of the church down to the area they are good at, and like best. But to define the local church's function as primarily evangelism is as limiting as defining it as primarily worship, or primarily edification. The church is multi-faceted -- Christ has commanded the church to do a great many different things. The preachers who are strong in one of those given areas seem to like to criticize other churches that are strong in the other areas -- worship pastors complain about our lack of verticality, Calvinistic Bible-teaching pastors complain about the lack of exposition in the pulpit, evangelists like Rick Warren or Andy Stanley complain that we aren't attracting the lost. This is why we should build our view of the church on the total testimony of the Bible, not as an intellectual extension of our own passions and gifts. Of course Andy Stanley thinks we should be all about evangelism! That's what he does. A good, rounded model keeps you from being a reactionary.
I didn't realize until doing sermon prep today that the ten spies who spied out Canaan lied to the people. Canaan was most certainly not a "land that devours its inhabitants", and I bet there weren't any giants, either. They brought back a big bunch of grapes on a pole, then told everybody to ignore it. Reminds me of that old Groucho Marx quip, "Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?"
According to the Bible, secular governments are required to enforce order based on how God defines "good" (Romans 13:4), not on tradition, or on whatever's popular at the moment. Otherwise law becomes nothing but brute force controlled by monied interests, and we end up with violent injustice. But if we keep on rebelling against Scripture, conscience, and reason, God will act on His own. Dear Lord, clean up the Western nations, and silence the arrogance of humankind!
God's sovereignty in relation to sin and Satan is a difficult topic. However we understand and teach it, we must take great care not to throw doubt on God's honesty, or His promises in the Bible.
Our view of sin and Satan affects how much glory we give to God for the salvation of a soul.
God's sovereign plan and His moral heart are both real. Read the book of Habakkuk. It was God who raised up the cruel Babylonians to attack Israel, as a punishment for Israel's sins (Hab. 1:5-11). It was also God who pronounced woe against the Babylonians, for their cruelty (Hab. 2:6-20). Chapter one reveals God's sovereign plan, chapter two expressed His moral being. Don't listen to any who teach that God is only sovereign but not loving or righteous. I know that sounds impossible, but there are some preachers out there who turn God's invitations and warnings into empty phrases. And don't listen to any who say that God is only love and righteousness but that He is not "really" in control of everything. This latter idea is probably more widespread. Both are true about our Lord, both are real, but different Scriptures reveal different parts of God to us.