THE CONCEPT OF PROPITIATION

Scripture Reading: Jonah 1:11-16

“So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.” (Jonah 1:15)

We not only see the principle of substitution in this verse, but we also learn the principle of propitiation from it. Propitiation involves the active wrath of God. It is the means by which God expresses His anger over sin. Once Jonah was hurled into the sea, the sea ceased from its anger (raging).

Le’t be totally honest. We don’t like the idea of God’s wrath. But to ignore it is to ignore God’s holiness and justice. Failing to understand the wrath of God also prevents us from grasping the depth of God’s love and the extent of His grace. God’s holiness and justice require a penalty for sin. We fail to understand the grievous nature of sin, what an offense it is against God’s perfect holiness. Because God is a just God, sin must be punished. We cannot escape this fact — “He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7).

But here is the good news of the gospel — Jesus became the propitiation for our sins. “And (we) are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24,25).

Jonah was punished for his own disobedience. Jesus was punished for the disobedience of others (the principle of substitution). He became the atoning sacrifice so that all who believe would never have to experience the condemnation and wrath that our sins deserve. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Can you see how deep Christ’s love is for you? Do you see the extent of God’s grace that has been lavished upon you? God sent His own Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus bore the punishment we deserve. The wrath of God has been satisfied by the sacrifice Jesus made. Now we are free from condemnation!

Loving and Gracious God, I stand amazed that You sent Your own Son to be the propitiation for my sins. He bore Your wrath in my place. Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my sin and for paying the price I rightly deserve to pay myself. Thank you that I am no longer under condemnation!

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