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The Provision of Propitiation

Content Author: 
Reagan, David
1 John 2:1-2 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Please consider four things about God’s provision of propitiation.

First, propitiation is universal. It is offered to all men. And   he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. You know what? When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He offered to satisfy the wrath of God against every man, woman and child. 1 Timothy 4:10 states, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” He is potentially the Saviour of all men; He is specifically and especially the Saviour of those who accept Him by believing on Him. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men! When He died on the cross, He suffered everybody’s hell all at once. He has suffered that judgment. He offers that salvation to all men; it is not held back from anyone. It is offered to you as it was offered to me! Oh glorious day when I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Saviour. Salvation is offered to all men!

Second, God’s propitiation is offered because of love. 1 John 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” There have never been any instances in the history of mankind where man loved God before God loved man. The only reason we love God is because He loved us first (1 John 4:19). God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Do you see what motivated propitiation? It is motivated by God’s love.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Though angry at sin, God could see each of us through that dense fog of sin and say, “That is a soul that will be somewhere eternally and I love that soul despite their sin; I love them so much that I will send my own Son; I will let them beat Him, mock Him, spit on Him, nail Him to a cross, and then I will let Him become sin for them. I will even turn my back on my own Son and turn my presence away from Him when He becomes sin because I cannot look upon sin. I am going to let Him suffer the hell of all those people because I love them.”

Third, propitiation is offered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In Romans 3:25 we read, “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.” It is the shed blood of Christ; it is His death on the cross that offered propitiation. I want to take you to Isaiah 53.

Jesus died for your sins and my sins, but He also died to satisfy the wrath of the Father against you. Isaiah 53:3-4 says, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Consider what this passage is saying: “We thought God was angry with His Son; that He was smitten of God. God was pouring His judgment out on the Son, but it was our sins that killed him.”

Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” When Jesus suffered on the cross, He became sin. He suffered and experienced the wrath of God on Himself. It was not because He had ever done anything wrong. No, Jesus was pure and holy and sinless. But His blood paid the price for our sins.

But not only did the blood of Jesus Christ pay for our sins, it is through faith in His blood that we receive the gift of propitiation. God set the Son “forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25). The sinner must believe that the blood of Christ satisfied the wrath of God against our sins and trust in that blood payment. It is no wonder that the old hymn says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Fourth, propitiation satisfied the wrath of God against sin. Isaiah 53:10 says, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Jesus Christ accomplished God’s purpose. Isaiah 53:11 says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” According to this passage, the Father saw the travail of His Son’s soul and was satisfied.

Propitiation means the satisfaction of God’s demand for judgment. It requires the pouring out of wrath upon sin. God knows that judgment must be applied. This is the only way that His righteousness can be satisfied. Judgment must be poured out upon the sin of that sinner, but Jesus said, “Father, put it on me.” God then saw the wrath placed on the Son and the Father said, “That satisfies me; justice has been done. Righteousness has been taken care of. Now I can receive that one who is a sinner because they are in my Son.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” It is as if Christ is in one place and you are in another. Christ puts your sins on Himself and pays the judgment for those sins. Then, He says to you, “Take my righteousness,” and He clothes you in the robes of His righteousness. Now when you stand before the Father, you do not stand in your own rotten rags. No, you stand in the very righteousness of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift!

How does this come about? Romans 3:25 reads, “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.” The propitiation of Jesus Christ satisfied the anger of God against your sin. That provision comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You find all through the Bible that we come to God by faith. Listen to Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

You must come to a point where you realize that you are a sinner, that the wrath of God is on you, that there is no way for you to stand before a holy God, that nothing in you can take care of your guilt, and that you must have His salvation. You cannot live well enough; you cannot keep the Ten Commandments. Baptism or church membership will not help you. All you can do is look to the One who paid the price on the cross and fall down before Him and believe in Him and the payment He made on the cross. You can say, “Lord Jesus, I believe You paid the price for my sins and right now I want to trust in You; I want you to save my dirty, filthy soul.”

I am not giving you exact words. It is not the words that save you; it is the act of looking to Jesus in faith for salvation. I am talking about what comes from your heart. It is like the story John Bunyan told in Pilgrim’s Progress . When Pilgrim came to the foot of the cross, he had been bearing a burden that had gotten heavier and heavier as he realized the depth of his sins. But when he kneeled at the foot of the cross and trusted in the One on the cross, the burden fell off his back and rolled down the hill.  Pilgrim never had to carry the burden around anymore. Pilgrim came to the cross and he looked up. This was a picture of him trusting in the Saviour; in His death on the cross, His burial and resurrection.

Over forty years ago, in 1963, though I was only a child, I felt my burden of sin and realized that I needed a Saviour. Did I understand the doctrine of propitiation? Of course not. But I understood that God did not like sin and I understood that I was a sinner. I knew that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and I came and asked Him to be my Saviour. I trusted in Him that day. Over 40 years ago that burden rolled away. I have had many different kinds of burdens since that time, but I have never had that particular burden come back because it was taken care of at the cross. Has there been a time when you came to the foot of the cross?

Let me illustrate propitiation in this way: imagine you are on earth and you have displeased God; God is up in heaven and in His anger He throws a ball of fire at you. You look up into the sky and see the ball of fire coming closer and closer and you cannot hide from it. It is aiming right for you. It is as big as a mountain and it is coming at you. You cry out at the last minute saying, “Lord Jesus, I need you.” And, at that very moment in time He appears and steps right in front of you, and that ball of fire representing the wrath of God the Father hits Him with all its might. He suffers tremendously and goes through terrible trials and suffers your judgment for you, but you stand there safe and secure because you have been received into God’s family! He says, “Come my child; you are mine now.” What a wonderful blessing!

Has that happened in your life? Has there been that time when you looked to Jesus and told Him you wanted to trust in Him? Do you believe in His death, burial, and resurrection? Do you know the guilt of your own sin and realize that it makes you fit only for hell? Would you come to the Saviour right now, tell him of your sinful state, and ask Him to save you? Would you trust in Him as your Lord and Saviour right now? Would you trust in His blood for the propitiation of your sins? Do not delay. Trust in Him today. Bow your head right now and call on Him in prayer. Confess your sins to Him. Tell Him that you believe in His death, burial, and resurrection. Express your faith in Him. Ask Him to save your soul. Tell Him that you want to follow Him and be His child. If you will come to him in faith with all sincerity and believe on the Lord Jesus, He will save you in a moment of time. He will satisfy the Father’s demand that justice be served. He will make you a child of God. What are you waiting for? Do it. Do it right now.

David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 17:18

A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.