THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (38)
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST AS OUR PROPITIATION
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of Christ as our Propitiation”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness …Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. e present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 1:16-18; 3:19-26)
Propitiation is the biblical doctrine embodying the concept that the death of Christ fully satisfied the demands of a righteous and holy God in respect to judgment upon the sinner. It means reconciliation between an offended God and sinful man, by the Blood of Christ! Propitiation is the act of gaining the favor, good will of or making things right with someone, especially after having done something wrong. It is changing enemies into friends. Close synonyms of propitiation are: peacemaking, satisfaction, reconciliation, apology, fulfilment, restitution, appeasement or contentment.
The word propitiation appears only three times in the New Testament (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). This doctrine relates to the doctrine of the wrath of God. Propitiation is a big Biblical word that generally means satisfaction. There are two persons: God and man. Man has offended God. Propitiation means that by a Blood sacrifice, the offence is taken away; God is pacified; the guilty man is not just forgiven but restored to fellowship with God. God’s wrath has been appeased and His honor vindicated. Because God is a holy God, His anger and justice burns against sin. He has sworn that sin will be punished with death. God said, “If I punish man for his sin, man will die and go to hell. On the other hand, if I don’t punish man for his sin, My justice will never be satisfied.” The solution? God said that He would become our Substitute. He would take the sin of mankind upon Himself in agony and blood—a righteous judgment and substitute for sin. His wrath burned out on the cross when His only Son died as man’s Propitiation for sin. This is love! This is Grace! The offended God sent His own Son to die so that there will be peace! The death of Christ served for the vindication of God’s justice and at the same time it is a way for man to escape from the punishment, guilt and consequences of sin. Based on Christ’ sacrifice, God now freely justifies the believer who accepts this reality by faith!
Propitiating means covering what is offensive, so restore friendship. It is the idea of friendliness where antagonism would be natural. That is why it is the work of Grace! All provisions for this friendly relation as between God and offending man find their initiation and provision in God and are under His direction but involve the active response of man. God had all the while been merciful, friendly, “passing over” man’s sins with no apparently adequate, or just, ground for doing so. Now in the blood of Christ sin is condemned and expiated, and God is able to establish and maintain His character for righteousness, while He continues and extends His dealing in gracious love with sinners who exercise faith in Jesus. Propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving harshness. Forgiveness is not an easy thing for God! At the Cross, God was vindicated in His Holy Anger and Love for sinners! Christ is our Propitiation!!!
To apply the doctrine of propitiation is to become like Jesus, a Peacemaker! “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9). As you see, it is possible to be happy in this world of sin. If you seek happiness, you will never find it. But if you seek God, if you desire to become a peacemaker, you shall become extremely happy (blessed). This is one of the beatitudes, words spoken by our Lord. These words are impossible for the natural man to believe and obey. You need to be a child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit to be able to obey these words. To be ‘blessed’ it means to be happy, to be congratulated. The Jews thought that the Messiah will come as a warrior to free them from the bondage to the Romans. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. They did not expect that. That is why they rejected Him. Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
Why are there wars in this world? Because of sin! The problem is always internal! Men are greedy and love pleasure. They do not love God. They fight with one another because they fight God. God is jealous and angry when His children love the world. Humble yourself! Repent! You shall receive grace to have peace with God and with one another. Become a peacemaker! The great need today is for peacemakers. If all of us are peacemakers, there shall be no more quarrels, no more wars! A peacemaker is actively involved in making peace and keeping it! No hot tempered, impatient, rebellious person can be a peacemaker! A peacemaker is not a passive person always avoiding troubles. He is not just quiet or peaceful! He loves the Prince of Peace so much that he is ready and prepared to take risks, to minister peace in the midst of troubles. In a way, he is attracted to troubles because these are the fertile soil to plant seeds of peace, for the glory of God! He desires first to make peace between men and God, thru Christ. Secondly, he makes peace between men. It is always in this order. Troubles are great opportunities for peacemaking and evangelism! To be a peacemaker involves sacrifices. It is hard work! It is also dangerous! Self must be denied and crucified. You must be completely neutral. You cannot think of your reputation, of what you gain or lose by settling two enemies. The peacemaker lives at the foot of the Cross. His primary reason for living and working is to bring glory to God thru his life or death. Practically, the peacemaker has learned to control his emotions and especially his tongue. He knows how to wisely use even silence for the glory of God.
One of the best examples of a peacemaker is Joseph. He was hated, betrayed and sold as a slave by his brothers. They did this because of his dreams. They were jealous. He suffered in Egypt as a slave and a prisoner. Many years passed. One day, he was called before Pharaoh, the greatest man at that time. He asked Joseph ‘Can you interpret my dreams?’ “Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Gen 41:16). Joseph gave all the glory to God! He had enough reasons to be a bitter, angry man. But thru his pains and sorrow, yielding to the Holy Spirit, he became spiritually wise and patient. He became a peacemaker. Thru this ministry and anointing of a peacemaker, Joseph became the prime minister to Egypt. Peacemaking was his promotion! During famine, his brothers came and bowed to him. The dream came to pass. Joseph wept, not of anger, not of regret. But because God’s dreams given to him as a young man, have finally come to pass. He was now a happy, blessed man! What a wonderful Gospel!
May God change you to become like Joseph, an ambassador of the Prince of Peace. In Nigeria, many people quote this (foolish) proverb: ‘See me, see trouble’. I cancel that! This is my confession: ‘See me, see Peace!’ in Jesus’ name! Worship the Lord!