The Elect’s Propitiation: Jesus Christ The Righteous
When most religious people speak about the death of Christ, their words reveal they have little or no respect for the holiness, justice, or the grace of God. They speak of Christ suffering, bleeding, and dying for ALL MEN AND WOMEN WITHOUT EXCEPTION, including those who at present are suffering eternal torment in hell. They would never admit it, but they accuse the true and living God of something our own legal system would never allow: DOUBLE JEOPARDY!
Their doctrine (teaching) declares Christ suffered the penalty of sin for every man, i.e., ETERNAL CONDEMNATION – “The wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23), and then God turns around and punishes some people for the EXACT SAME SINS Christ suffered for at Calvary.
This kind of theology unwittingly charges God with injustice.
Actually if this were true, God is found to be the cruelest of all because He would have NEEDLESSLY punished His Son who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heaven’s” (Hebrews 7:26).
When you point out this reasonable argument, they immediately say: “The difference between the sinner who is in hell and the one who goes to heaven is that one BELIEVES, and the other doesn’t BELIEVE.”
Let the Apostle Paul answer this foolish statement – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness (THE HOLINESS OR SATISFACTION TO LAW AND JUSTICE REQUIRED TO ALLOW A SINNER TO CONTINUE IN GOD’S PRESENCE) come by the law (by any sinner’s obedience or faith), THEN CHRIST IS DEAD IN VAIN.”
Surely when we speak of the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary for those He represented, we venture onto holy ground and must with great care seek to honor every attribute of God’s redemptive character as both a “just God”, who will not overlook the least of sin in the best of men, and “a Savior”, who delights to show mercy and grace in a way that is consistent with His holy nature. The Apostle John wrote of Christ’s work at Calvary as a PROPITIATION – “And He is the PROPITIATION for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
John didn’t write that Christ was trying to be the “propitiation” (satisfaction to both the penalty and precept of God’s holy law) for every man, woman and child. Rather, He clearly declared Christ “IS” the “propitiation for OUR SINS.” (Those He represented or THE ELECT).
When we read of propitiation in the Scriptures, it always involves perfect satisfaction and reconciliation through an appropriate sacrifice. The Greek word for “propitiation” is used three times in the New Testament, and in every case it always declares Christ and His righteousness ALONE as the hope of our being propitiated (declared legally righteous and holy) to God – (Read Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10)
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection weren’t an attempt by God to make men savable, if they fulfilled certain conditions, even INCLUDING FAITH. It was His actual accomplishment of the justification of EVERY ELECT SINNER who Christ represented by His obedience unto death at Calvary. May we always honor this glorious work of Redemption with our words and our works!
By R. Warmack