The Gospel in One Word - Part 3
As we have been piecing together a right view of salvation and the gospel, and how it is more than just acting as if we never sinned, but actually dealing rightly with God's anger and the necessary and required punishment of death due our sin, showing that God's righteousness is at stake in how He deals with our sin, we continue today by looking the specifics of how propitiation takes place, how God can be righteous even as He declares sinners to be righteous.
As we have said, if you want to read more about all of this, JI Packer's book "Knowing God" is a great resource among many others. It has helped me immensely in my grasp of this and even in these devotions.
Three facts we must maintain in propitiation:
Propitiation is the work of God Himself. Here is another place where Christianity is different from all other religions. In most if not all other religions, man is required to appease the deity, almost bribe the deity into doing what the person needs or wants, thru works. And yet in Christianity, the wonder of it all is that God Himself offers the sacrifice on behalf of the sinner. God pays the penalty we owe in order to reconcile us to Himself. Think about that for a moment. Try and for a moment grasp this grace.
Man didn't take the initiative here to reconcile the relationship between himself and God. God Himself did this. To His glory. For our good. As we could never do it on our own. Grasp this grace and marvel at it. God Himself quenched His own wrath against us as sinners. God loved and gave. Not vice versa. Man didn't initiate nor accomplish propitiation. Divine initiative and love. Be amazed.
Propitiation was accomplished thru the death of Christ. This is why the blood matters so much. Sin required death on the part of the sinner. Signified by blood. See Lev. 17:11 where it says "..it is the blood that makes atonement". This was the lesson in the OT and the sacrifices. Sin requires death. Jesus was our representative, our substitute, who died in our place. He who knew no sin died in our place as our payment. Be amazed at this grace. Gal. 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us". Substitution. Christ died in our place, penalty required was paid thru God crucifying Christ. Christ bore upon Himself the iniquities of us all. Therefore God can rightly forgive us and remain righteous in doing so.
Propitiation reveals God's righteousness. Romans 3:21-26 paints this picture clearly. Reveals God's righteousness. Even for the OT saints. God postponed their judgment thru faith and the sacrifices that one day the true sacrifice would come. God followed thru on this promise, paid the debt thru the work of Christ. Therefore God is free to forgive anyone who places their faith in Christ. Because God's righteous hatred towards their sin has been taken by Christ. Again, God is righteous. Didn't just act like we never sinned, but instead punished Christ in our place. Righteousness displayed.
See the grace of God here, the righteousness of God here, the fact that we could never nor would never accomplish or orchestrate salvation this way. Can't be works, must be grace.
In the gospel God accomplished for us what He demanded of us. See this amazing grace. Worship this amazing God. Make sure this is in our gospel we communicate to the lost world around us. Propitiation.
We will continue this on Monday as we look specifically at the death of Christ and its necessity.
In the gospel God accomplished for us what He demanded of us. See this amazing grace.