Friday, July 5, 2013

Propitiation

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  ~1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~1 John 4:10

In our ongoing series for Communion Sunday, Big Words – Deep Truths, Nathan preached on the word “propitiation.” On the day we remember the body and blood of Jesus being given to save sinners, you couldn’t have picked a better word to spend time meditating on and getting a better grasp of. First, think about the definition Nathan gave us:

Propitiation is Jesus absorbing the diverted wrath of God the Father towards sinners upon Himself as a satisfying sacrifice resulting in the Father’s favor upon believers.

Even a cursory reading of the Bible will reveal God does not sweep sin under the rug. It is all too evident God will punish sin in every form and will not overlook any who are guilty of violating His holy Law. What the word propitiation reveals is that even for those whom God saves, their sins are not simply excused, but punished in the suffering and death of a substitute… Jesus.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures ~1 Corinthians 15:3

Now that is the Gospel! That is the Good News! Because Jesus received the full wrath of God for sins committed by those whom are saved, God is now free to pour out instead His love and grace without measure. As believers, we are no longer counted as enemies of God, but children who have been adopted and received fully into the family without prejudice. As Nathan pointed out last Sunday, that truth means God is no longer angry with believers and does not punish them when they sin. Why?

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ~1 John 2:1

The work of Christ now on behalf of believers is that of an advocate. He is in Heaven and every time a believer sins, He pleads on their behalf the eternal ongoing effects of His death and its satisfaction for their sin. For the believer that means no need for fear of God’s angry punishment for sin. God’s grace in this matter is not a free ticket to sin though as the Apostle Paul points out…

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? ~Romans 6:1,2

What propitiation of all past, present and even future sin should mean to the believer is freedom from fear of judgment and freedom to pursue righteousness and growing in it. Warnings against sin in Scripture acts as a guard against a cavalier and presumptuous attitude and the truth of propitiation guards the believer from despair and worry. Rejoice in the good news that your sin and the wrath of God against it have been fully satisfied forever if you have been Born Again, just don’t keep that good news to yourself.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” ~Luke 24:45-47

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