Propitiation

  • 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;

Propitiation is the act of God, motivated by His immense love, whereby He accepts the blood of Christ as the complete and satisfying sacrifice for all human sin, thus establishing a means of reconciliation between God and man. While the offering of the blood of Christ was a sufficient propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2 v.2), the complete benefits of His sacrifice are available only to those who by faith accept this provision for sin. The first occurrence of the Greek word for propitiation in the New Testament is in an expression used by Peter, sometimes translated as “God have mercy on you” (Matt. 16 v.22). Ironically, it was only because mercy was not extended to Christ in His suffering that propitiation was made for Peter and for the world. Those of us who have benefited from this expression of God’s love ought also to love one another (1 John 4 v.10-11).

  • 1 John 2 v.1-2: 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.

Propitiation is here an atoning sacrifice. Jesus bore in His body the punishment due us for our sin; in so doing He propitiated God, satisfied God’s just demand that sin be punished. Thus Jesus is both the advocate for sinners (v.1) and the sacrifice for their sins.

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