My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)
We live in a time in history when there is an abundance of information everywhere; Google, Wikkipedia, radio, television, computers, phone apps, multiple social media and other sources, yet despite this abundance of information there seemingly is a widespread lack of real knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom, of course, comes from God! “For the Lord gives wisdom; out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright…” (Proverbs 2:6 – 7 NKJV)
It is disheartening that so few people and organizations have any true knowledge or wisdom, but then, it is not surprising because of the great lack of the knowledge of God's Word and the knowledge of the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
The greatest expository preacher of the 20th century, according to many, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd- Jones said in his work on “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" that “the most obvious feature in the life of the Christian Church today is, alas, its superficiality." (D. Martyn Lloyd -Jones Studies in the Sermon on the Mount circa 1959)
Not only are our many sources of information superficial, but many church services are also superficial. Even the so-called “news" stations which give around-the-clock “news" have no real “news" of any value. What is frequently used is not real reporting of facts at all, but rather a reference to “feelings" and pictures obtained in many cases from social media! Such programs are almost totally without any analysis or in-depth reporting. This is also true of many so-called “seeker friendly" church services. These services are often designed to appeal to the pagan intellect as “entertainment" rather than a spiritual or worshipful experience for Christians. It seems to be popular today that many churches rarely sing any of the great hymns of the faith, and if they do, the hymns are “jazzed up" to “rock music" and frequently one cannot distinguish the 30 or so minutes of so-called “worship music" from a rock concert. Frequently these “warm-up sessions" are loud, boisterous, and lacking in biblical content! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in his introduction to his work on studies in the “Sermon on the Mount" that “one main cause of this “superficiality" is our attitude to the Bible, our failure to take it seriously… It is our textbook, it is our only source, it is our only authority. We know nothing about God and about the Christian life in a true sense, apart from the Bible.” (D. Martyn Lloyd- Jones: Studies on the Sermon on the Mount page 10 circa 1959) It is my hope that the reader of this article may come to know the only true God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “No man can come to the Father except he come by Jesus”. (John 14:6). Scripture gives us the fact that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. We will take a look at the fact of this propitiation; the meaning of this propitiation; and the implication of this propitiation.
- THE FACT THAT JESUS IS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS
The Apostle John in his first letter declares that he is writing to the recipients so that they (and us) may not sin, but if we do, Jesus is our advocate before the Father. John has declared his “bona fides" in the first chapter of his letter. Declaring that “that which was from the beginning", (the internal living Word of God), “which we have heard, seen, and hands have handled,… We declare to you!" John wants his readers to know and understand that what he is telling them is not a “fable". It is not “made up”, but it is true! The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin! He is the eternal Son of God! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all! John is declaring to us and to all who receive this letter that Christ is the propitiation for our sin and that Jesus has completely satisfied or “paid the penalty" for our sins, to take away our sins which have separated us from the Lord God. Jesus has indeed “paid it all"! It is finished according to His declaration! That is a fact. Jesus is the propitiation for our sin and also for the sins of the whole world!
II. THE MEANING OF PROPITIATION
In Romans Chapter 3, God's Word declares without equivocation that “there is none righteous, no not one." (Psalms 14:1 – 3) The Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit states without equivocation, “therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, or by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believed: for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus." (Romans 3:21 – 26)
The verses in Romans Chapter 3:21-26 set forth what D. Martyn Lloyd- Jones says is the great central doctrine of the atonement! He says, “… In many senses there are no more important verses in the whole range and realm of scripture than these two verses" [25 and 26] (MLJ Commentary and Exposition on Romans Chapter 3:25 and 26 page 95) Here in this passage of scripture, we see God solving two great problems: 1) how can God be righteous and also forgive man's sin? 2) how can man be forgiven by God? Scripture sets forth the fact that God hates sin and will punish sin. In the very first Chapter of Paul's letter to the Church of Rome, God had declared that His wrath is revealed now “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Romans 1:18) What is disclosed in the Third Chapter of Romans in verses 25 and 26 is that God has set forth Jesus to be the propitiation of our sin – God has poured out His wrath on His only begotten Son at Calvary! The great and grand news is that the wrath of God that should have come upon you and me because of our sins fell on Jesus. He is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8)
God set forth Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for our sins by His blood through faith in Jesus Christ, to declare God’s righteousness, because of His divine forbearance, God passed over former sins. In other words, Jesus Christ is the propitiation not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. In order to demonstrate His righteousness, God has passed over the Old Testament sins, and Jesus Christ is the propitiation, or complete satisfaction, for their sins by the blood of Christ. The blood of bulls and goats could “purify the flesh" when the high priest entered into the holy of holies, once a year, but this had to be repeated year after year, for, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." (Hebrews 10:1-4). “But [Jesus Christ] after He had offered [Himself] once as a sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12)]
God laid all of our sins on Christ at Calvary! Even the sins you and I have not yet committed, have already been dealt with at the Cross of Calvary. All sin is forgiven by the precious blood of Jesus! “What can make the FOULEST clean? Nothing but the blood of Jesus." On Christ alone is all sin forgiven.
Jesus has indeed paid it all. In this is set forth the fact that God is not merely ready to forgive us, but that God has vindicated His own character at the Cross. He has solved the problems of being both “just and the justifier" of those who believe in Jesus! He can do this and does do this and declares His righteousness because God has punished the sins of ungodly sinners in His only begotten Son on the Cross! Therefore he can forgive us freely!
- THE IMPLICATION OF PROPITIATION
Because Jesus has paid all, that means that all to Him I owe! God has vindicated His own character and is both “ just and the justifier” of him who believes in Christ Jesus. He is just and righteous to forgive you and me. He calls us to come to Jesus. There are no further roadblocks, no further hurdles, no further hindrances. Look at the fact that Jesus is the propitiation of your sins and also for the sins of the whole world and consider the great hymn which Isaac Watts wrote which says in part:
“When I survey the wondrous Cross, on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”
Survey that wondrous cross on which Jesus the prince of glory died and paid it all. He is our propitiation by His blood. Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones says, “this is the most tremendous, the most glorious, the most staggering thing in the universe and in the whole of history… God was declaring publicly once and forever his eternal justice and his eternal love". (MLJ Commentary on Romans page 108)
Now may the blood of Christ who is the propitiation of all of our sins, cover all of our sins, past present and future and may we survey the wonders Cross and surrender our will for the Lords will and place our trust in Christ alone for our justification.