Propitiation – It Is Finished

Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God

Trust and Obey – Part 5

The Gospel of Christ : Propitiation – It Is Finished

While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

 “ Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, AND THAT HE WAS SEEN BY CEPHAS, THEN BY THE TWELVE. AFTER HE WAS SEEN BY OVER FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN AT ONCE, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek. 36:26–27)

 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by his blood, to shew his righteousness, because of the passing over of the sins one aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the shewing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).

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Propitiation and Atonement

 In our look at this very important core of our Christian witness – propitiation, I will like to first of all clarify the relationship between propitiation and atonement as it seems that the two are sometimes being taken to be the same.  Using atonement in place of propitiation as seen in some modern versions of the bible renders the death of Christ a perpetual sacrifice which it is not. Propitiation was a one time event.

 Propitiate: to conciliate, appease. Propitiation:

 The act of propitiating. Latin propitius, a disposition of favour (one can think pro-pity, a setting forth of pity or mercy). The Greek word translated propitiation in the New Testament is hilasmos, which is a means of appeasing, a conciliation.

 To appease: to bring peace or calm, to satisfy or relieve.

 To atone: to make amends or reparations for an injury or wrongdoing, to expiate.

 In layman’s terms, atonement is the bringing together of two parties that were initially at odds, and propitiation is the idea of making correction for something that may have caused the two to be at odds.

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Let us take for example, at the case of a man whose wife empties out his savings and runs away. After a period of separation they decide to settle their disagreement (propitiation) and get back together as one (atonement). In this scenario, bringing the wife and husband together is atonement (reconciliation) and the provision for taking care (appeasement) of the sinful act of the wife (or husband) – the “money problem” is propitiation. I guess one of the first questions here would be “how much of the money has she got left”? And for that question to be asked, the husband and wife have to come together one way or the other.

Depending on the state of mind of the husband (or how broke he is), the person resolving this conflict will first of all have to be very well sure that the “money problem” is resolved (Holy God: righteousness, truth and justice) who provided (lamb slain from the foundation of the earth). A comprehensive package that addresses the covetousness of the wife (or as the case may be, the stinginess of the husband and/or other factors that might have caused the situation to occur) must be put in place – these (man’s debt from his sinful nature) are what the Gospel of Jesus Christ addresses through His death, burial, and resurrection. The whole idea here is that, Jesus makes atonement for us by bringing us into fellowship (atonement) with His Father through providing propitiation, which was done by Him dying on the cross to pay the ransom price that our sin demands and that caused us to be at odds with Him who is absolutely righteous.

 ATONEMENT

 

Obsolete : reconciliation

The reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

“That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

To supply satisfaction for:

Expiate – to put an end to; to extinguish the guilt incurred by.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures”. (James 1:17-18)

Atonement is a concept in which obstacles to reconciliation with God are removed; through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:19-22)

 Atonement (Before Jesus Came)

Man is (at default) separated from God due to the sin committed by the first man Adam and he (man) have had to contend with the consequences of Adam’s actions:

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

In the old testament days, the Ark of the Covenant was the place where the Lord had the sacrificial blood poured out, for the forgiveness of Israel’s sins. The blood was sprinkled on the atonement cover.

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 25:17-22)

This was blood of animals which had to be sacrificed time after time

Atonement (At Calvary)

Man was reconciled to God at Calvary. This was made possible by God sacrificing His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (once and for all) unlike the continual sacrifices made in the old testament.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:19-22)

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

When Jesus made Himself a sacrifice at Calvary, He paved the way, cleared out all the impediments – all the blockages that kept man away from God. He then signified the end of this task when He:

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1-4).

He did not just ‘cover’ our sins, He totally removed them:

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

One of the strategies of Satan is to make sure that at least he can rob us of our joy if he is unable to steal our salvation by reminding us of our past sins; we will always do ourselves a lot of good to have it in mind that Jesus did not only forgive our “small sins” but “ALL sins”.

PROPITIATION

Propitiation points to what God has received from the death of Christ, whether or not a sinner trusts Jesus Christ. The Holy, Justice, Righteous nature of God has to be completely satisfied and this was done on the cross.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” (1 John 5:6-7)

Propitiate: to conciliate, appease.

Propitiation:The act of propitiating.

Latin propitius, a disposition of favour (one can think pro-pity, a setting forth of pity or mercy). The Greek word translated propitiation in the New Testament is hilasmos, which is a means of appeasing, a conciliation.

To appease: to bring peace or calm, to satisfy or relieve.

To atone: to make amends or reparations for an injury or wrongdoing, to expiate.

“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)

Propitiation is the work Jesus did on the cross to appease and satisfy God’s wrath so He would be able to pardon sinners who trust in Christ. It is God’s way of making amends for our sins. This He does by a process in which the guilt or innocence is transferred from one person (Jesus) to another (man). The guilt or the bad actions of one person is attributed or imputed to another. So that when it comes to punishment, the person who is the substitute bears the brunt, and that the person substituted goes away free. This way God made reparations for our sins by transferring them to Christ’s account as He hung on the cross at Calvary. The absolute sinless life of Jesus Christ makes this transaction possible as His innocence is transferred to those who believe and follow Him.

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 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.” (Hebrews 9:14-17)

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)

In our next post please look out for Redemption (Ezekiel 36:25-27) the second component of Regeneration.

You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.
The Bible tells us in John 3:16-17. ”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You might pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

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