Propitiation, Propitiation! Read all about it!

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

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

Propitiation is a word that we seldom (if ever) use in our daily conversations and is only found three times in the KJV Bible. However, it is a very important word and we certainly need to understand what it means to us as believers in Christ.

“Propitiation properly signifies the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift.”
[1] Propitiation describes the means whereby the wrath of God is properly appeased so that He may express or exercise His love and favor toward humans—through Christ—without violating His Glory.

Some people really struggle with God being angry or full of wrath toward man or man’s sin. They believe that because God is love He cannot also have a component of wrath in his being. However, God is also holy,and the holiness of God cannot ignore man’s sin, nor can the justice of God ignore the necessity for the wrath to be appeased. Read the OT and you cannot miss the wrath of God. God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps 7.11).

Now you may say, why can’t God just get over His wrath? God’s wrath is not based on selfishness, greed, irritation, or any other human like reaction. It is a holy indignation toward all that violates His law and thus His Glory. It cannot be ignored or suppressed without compromising the very character of God. Instead the Son of God was the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4.10).

So then propitiation refers to the act of Christ receiving the wrath that was intended for me, a disciple of Christ, such that I can now experience love, compassion, mercy and grace; instead of punishment, suffering, wrath, and separation from God. It was my sins and your sins that need to be covered or atoned for; therefore, He is my propitiation. In the OT, sins were usually put away from the offering of a sacrifice. This served as a temporary solution and pointed to the work Christ would do on behalf of the believer as our propitiation.

God’s character and glory are inexplicably linked so much so, that His glory would be lost or diminished were He to do anything other then punish man in order to appease His wrath. Only because Christ was without sin was He able to be an acceptable substitute. Thus the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is directly linked to propitiation, but we shall save that for another short blog in the future.

Aren’t you glad my debt and your debt was cancelled—propitiation—from beginning to end through faith in Christ?

[1]Wood, D. R. W., D. R. W. Wood, and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. Includes index. electronic ed. of 3rd ed., Page 975. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962.

1 comment:

  1. You can find the complete answers to atonement in a kindle book called Renegade Gospel The Jesus Manifold by Jamey Massengale.
    1. God is the creator completely soveriegn
    2 My separation from God is due to my knowledge of good and evil because i use it to judge god i.e. why do the innocent suffer etc. is an accusation in interrogative format.
    3 If God is omniscient I cant do other than what God KNEW i would do before He created me and He created me as He did; therefore God is responsible for my sin
    4 If God is responsible for my sin then God should die for my sin
    5 In Jesus God did die for my sin or Jesus as god died for all sin ( which is by the way the ultimate statement of soveriegnty, where God says in essence “I do it all” cause effect and resolution.)
    6 However Jesus the man did not sin nor was He under original sin so He didn’t deserve to die, but being God as man, now by the rule of equity, all men are equal to God, syllogism: Jesus is a man and all men are human therefore Jesus is human and Jesus is God therefore all men are in Jesus equal to God in their HUMAN/GOD rights.
    7 Therefore since only God as the “potter” had the rights of life, liberty, and property; and since Jesus transfers to all humans like Himself those rights, we don’t need a law saying by fiat “thou shalt not kill”, because all men now have the right to life; I know I violate that right if I kill a man. Thereby the law is fulfilled in right-eousness, or “the having of the rights of God”.
    That’s it in a nutshell and it explains a lot of ambiguous statements Paul makes. I haven’t quoted much scripture for brevity’s sake but I find the Jesus manifold completely supported from genesis to revelation. It affirms the homoousion, it satisfies the complete taxonomy of sin(ontologic, deontic, and relational), and it satisfies all of Abelard’s criteria: 1. it’s logical 2. It’s not arbitrary if God is omniscient, therefore actions are predestined, and love demand’s it to satisfy the human cry of injustice. 3 It’s intelligible being stated capable of syllogistic treatment in plain unambiguous language. The implications to a multiverse for an omniscient God require He know everything in all possible universes, this single incarnation would then only be required in this one to satisfy it’s precise constraints, as it exists within the multiplicity of universes in God’s consciousness.
    I apologize if the first part is ambiguous as to the idea of multiverse. Only in science fiction and thought experiment is a multiverse with divergent timelines considered. This universe has the timline it does because of physical constraints that cannot be changed if human life is to exist as it does(see Anthropic principle). There are approximately 20 such constraints that are so precise the universe would cease to exist as it does if they varied even one plank measure. Those multiverses actually possible would be defined by changes in those constants. Therefore there can be no other universe which would value the atonement as this one does(anthropically); however these constants do not forbid interactions at the quantum level, and may derive their stability from these interactions. In that case the incarnation in this universe has it’s meaning only in this universe but would have implications to all other possible universes.