Christ The Propitiation
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…”
Men have always tried to earn peace. Pagan belief was that the gods must be appeased before peace and prosperity would again reign in the land. If human or animal sacrifice had to be made, this was but a small price to pay for the desired calm. Someone was offended and someone had done the offending – it was that simple. Men, who had done the offending, must do something to satisfy the offended one (at least until the next time he is offended, and then start over again).
The glorious Gospel of Christ declares there to be a satisfaction and reconciliation which has truly established forever a peace between God Almighty (the offended One) and those He has forever loved (the offending ones).
Because sinful man cannot provide a satisfactory appeasement (that is, in perfectly keeping God’s Law, the expression of His character), he is under the condemnation of holy justice.
God Eternal set forth the Lord Jesus Christ (God in human flesh) to be the propitiation (the satisfaction, the mercy seat) for those He purposed in eternity to justly redeem. The guilt of God’s elect people was divinely charged to Christ and with that guilt He died in their place. Christ’s perfect righteousness has been imputed to all believers and there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.
The offended One provided Himself a sacrifice to satisfy His own demand for justice.
“Oh to grace how great a debtor … daily I’m constrained to be.”
By Marvin Stalnaker