10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
– 1 John 4:10 (ESV)
Propitiation – the act of satisfying a legitimate debt &/or offense; a means of conciliation; an act intended to gain or regain favor.
- Example: The boy offered to clean the house for his mom in propitiation for breaking his mom’s favorite dish.
- Biblically: Propitiation is satisfying the justice of God through a perfect atoning sacrifice for sin.
Have you ever willingly taken the fall for someone? To be specific, I’m not talking about sticking up for someone who was wrongly accused. Rather, I have in mind a situation where the person was caught red-handed and is obviously guilty. Have you ever stepped in to let that guy off the hook? Honestly, that would be a tough proposition for me. There is a strong measure of justice in me that believes that we all need to be held responsible and accountable for our actions.
Now let’s consider our own moral condition. Have you ever chosen to blatantly sin? If you’re gasping at the thought, perhaps you can consider the last time you drove. Did you willingly and intentionally disregard the speed limit? Wow… shame on you! Now imagine you make the same choice again, but this time you get pulled over. The good officer of the law happens to be one incapable of giving warnings and can only render consequence based on the very letter of the law. To make matters worse, the speed you were traveling mandates a huge fine that you just can’t afford to pay. As time passes, the offense deepens and the consequence worsens to the extent of jail time. As the court date looms, you truly desire to pay the debt; but you just don’t have the means. Then, on the day you stand before the judge, Pastor Brett walks in and pays your fines. He sacrificially offers propitiation to the courts on your behalf. In this sense, Pastor Brett was your means of appeasement. He was your means of propitiation.
Ok so why offer this elongated illustration? Because this Sunday, we are learning how Christ being our propitiation saves us and gives us strength to fulfill God’s call in our lives. This week in Exodus 12, we will see how Israel was saved from the tenth plague through the propitiation of a perfect sacrifice. Please take some time to read this chapter and consider how God rendered justice over the Egyptians yet extended grace to those who followed His instructions for propitiation. Finally, consider the verse above and contemplate the way in which the Passover points towards Christ being our means of propitiation.
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Loved & sent with you,