The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“…and he is the Propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” I John 2:2
+ To Satisfy +
The word Propitiation is only found three times in the Bible, (Romans 3:25, I John 2:2 and I John 4:10).
Propitiation speaks of that which satisfies the Justice of God. It contemplates our liability to wrath and the deliverance from wrath through Jesus Christ becoming our substitute for sin. The mercy of God is described (found) in the word Propitiation. Propitiation is to satisfy, to make favorable, or to appease an offended party.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10
According to Ephesians 2:1-3, we are all by nature the children of wrath, (that is, we were subject to wrath from birth). For, we read in Romans 5:12, “wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Even our Lord said during his earthly ministry in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” From Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:23, the Bible is very clear that whole human race is subject to the wrath of God. In Romans 3:23 we see, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
We must understand that God’s Law has been broken and justice must be brought forth. Even in our society when the law is violated, justice is carried out. When a person is guilty of a crime, the judge cannot just let the offender go free, for he must be punished. God’s justice is the same way. The wrong doer must be punished. According to Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death,” and Numbers 14:18, the guilty will not be cleared.
To clearly understand the subject of Propitiation we must consider how the Holy Spirit has translated the Greek word Hilasterion, for “propitiation” in Romans 3:25, and translated it “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat was located in the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Tabernacle and temple. According to Exodus 25:8, the tabernacle of sanctuary was built so that God could dwell among the nation Israel. The mercy seat according to Exodus 25:17-22 is where God met and communed with his people (the nation Israel). This mercy seat was a covering for the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Mosaic Law. It was placed between God and the broken Law which represented judgment. This mercy seat represented God’s throne according to Numbers 7:89; II Kings 19:15; Psalms 89:1 and Psalms 99:1, and the two cherubims above it symbolized the holiness of God. The cherubims were concerned with the safeguarding and upholding the holiness of God. Now, without the mercy seat, the cherubims would look down on the broken law of God and His holiness would demand death to the sinner. But, this seat of justice is transformed into a mercy seat, so God can deal in mercy instead of judgment. For the blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat covering the broken Law and thereby God’s wrath is appeased. In Exodus 12:13, God told the nation Israel on the night of the first Passover, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”, (it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul according to Leviticus 17:11). In I Samuel 6:19-20, over 50,000 people died because the Law was exposed to the people without the blood, for without the blood on the mercy seat, the throne of Grace becomes a throne of Judgment.
Now, the Lord Jesus Christ according to Romans 3:25 became our Propitiation, or we might could say our mercy seat. That is, he became the meeting place between God and man. In I Timothy 2:5, he is called our “mediator” and in Acts 4:12, the Bible is clear that there is no other name whereby men can be saved. The mercy seat became a perfect picture of Jesus Christ and his mediatorial work at Calvary.
According to Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ as the High Priest offered his blood as the satisfactory payment for sins. In verse 10-11, we see that when Christ died for sins, God’s justice was completely satisfied once and for all. God Almighty is totally and completely satisfied with his Son’s work at Calvary. He who was once offended is now satisfied.
Romans Chapter Three
We will now consider the context of Romans chapter three where we find the subject of Propitiation. Notice in verse 25, that God “set forth”, (foreordained) the Lord Jesus Christ to be a propitiation. That is, God’s purpose from eternity past was that Jesus would go to Calvary's cross to die for the sins of the world, (I Peter 1:18-20, Titus 1:2). We also see in Romans 3:25 that Jesus Christ died “for the remission of sins that are past”. This is a reference to the Old Testament Saints because the sacrificing of animals could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:1-8). Also Hebrews 9:15 clearly states that Christ died, “for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament”. We also find that the “forbearance of God” is spoken of in Romans 3:25. This forbearance of God is referring to the generations of the past (Old Testament), when God did not visit men with wrath, but was longsuffering with them in view of his Son dying on Calvary’s Cross. The apostle Paul said in Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent”. Here we see the patience of God with the nations in the Old Testament, (Acts 14:16). In Romans 3:26, God declared or publicly made known his righteous judgment when he judged sin openly at Calvary in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please notice that God is “Just and Justifier” of those who believe on Jesus Christ as Savior. God is able to be just and at the same time justify the sinner because of Christ’s sacrifice. The believing sinner’s justification has been righteously accomplished in Jesus Christ. If God had saved men without the death of his son, his righteousness would have been violated. God’s love provided the ransom, but his Righteousness saw to it that the sacrifice was made at Calvary.
If God is completely satisfied with the accomplishments of his son at Calvary for the payment of sin, then we also must be satisfied with Him and trust Him as our Savior, believing that he did pay for all our sins. According to Isaiah 53:10-11, God is satisfied with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, for He raised him from the dead to show the total acceptance of his son’s work at Calvary.
Please understand that we need mercy, not justice. If justice was carried out, we all would end up in Hell; but God, who is rich in mercy, gives eternal life to all those that believe.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523