The Gospel in One Word - Part 2
We are furthering our look at PROPITIATION today, and how accurately it describes the gospel. As we put forth yesterday, propitiation is indeed at the very heart of the gospel if we are preaching an accurate gospel, and it is absolutely essential that we preach an accurate gospel, not altering it to suit our needs or to make it more palatable. We are not commanded to get responses, but to share the truth.
What we must recognize in the concept of propitiation, and what many decline to acknowledge or accept, is that the gospel satisfies, or pacifies, the wrath of God due our sin, thus God can be just and the justifier of those who have have faith in Christ.
The wrath of God due our sin must be dealt with. I realize it is not in vogue these days to talk about the wrath of God, nor to elevate our sin to the point where it is worthy of God's wrath. But both are Biblical truths. And a proper grasp of propitiation rightly and fully deals with both. In the gospel God did not simply set aside our sin, which He does, as Ps. 103:12 and Is. 1:18 tells us, but it goes further, as in the gospel the wrath of God is satisfied as well, and that is how God can separate sinners from their sin rightly.
Look at Romans 1:18 for instance. It points to God's wrath against sin being revealed. In the rest of Romans 1 we see God "giving sinners over" to their sin as an expression of this.
Look at Romans 2:1-16 where we see the same thing, and we see the certainty of the "day of wrath" and revelation of the righteousness of God, rendering to every person what they deserve, with wrath and indignation coming to the unrighteous.
In Romans 3 we continue to see the reality that all mankind are "under sin" and thus stand exposed to God's wrath due this sin, see verse 9.
What we begin to see when we put this together is that all mankind in their natural state are due the wrath of God because of their sin, apart from the gospel. Apart from the gospel, mankind are enemies of God, sinners. See Romans 5:8-10. According to Romans 5:9, what we are being saved from in the gospel us indeed the very wrath of God due our sin.
The natural question becomes how does the gospel accomplish this, allowing God to be just and the justifier of those who place their faith in Christ? This brings us to propitiation.
The answer is that in the work of Christ, the gospel, the wrath of God has been satisfied, or quenched as God placed this on Christ in the crucifixion, see Romans 5:10. For everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin, Jesus truly becomes their substitute who took God's wrath in their place.
Again, in the gospel God doesn't just act like you hadn't sinned, like it never happened, sweeping it under the rug per say. Instead, God crushed His Son Jesus Christ in the place where sinners deserved to be crushed, see Is. 52:14 thru Is. 53. The innocent, Christ, dies in the place of the guilty, sinners. Christ took the wrath and punishment that sinners deserved. God executed the punishment He said sin deserved, death, except He did this in Christ and not the sinners who actually deserved it.
Thus, again, God remains righteous as He declares sinners to be righteous, because the punishment was executed on Christ in our place, as our substitute. God remains righteous. Sin demands death, and Jesus died in our place.
God's anger towards sin is pacified thru the work of Christ as our substitute. God's anger is an expression of His righteousness, see Hebrews 10:30. Even here if we are honest we have a hard time seeing God angry, yet this too is due our inadequate view of our sin and the holiness of God. But this too must be dealt with in order for God to remain righteous as He forgives sinners. The Law as it deals with sin must be maintained, which demands death, and thus it is thru the death of Christ that sinners can be forgiven. See Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death, and thus God upholds this in the work of Christ.
Propitiation satisfies all of this, thus being at the very heart of the gospel. Sin demands a penalty, death, and that penalty was paid by God Himself as He crushed Jesus in the place of sinners so that God could rightly forgive sinners. Satisfying God's wrath and anger due sin, thus God remains righteous as he forgives sinners and declares them to be righteous.
Tomorrow we will look further into some specifics of this, but until then, mediate on these truths and contemplate the gospel in a fresh new way. More than simply acting as if we never sinned, as if no penalty was paid, but instead placing upon Jesus all of the wrath that we deserved as sinners, even death. Jesus was substituted for sinners. The penalty due sin was paid in full thru the work of Jesus. Thus sinners can be rightly forgiven and justified, declared righteous. Your salvation may have been free to you, but it was paid in full by God thru Christ. Propitiation.
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