Propitiation: Christ Making Peace With God

The English word propitiation comes from a group of Greek words that are used in the New Testament eight times. The noun in Greek is used two times in 1 John and is the word “hilasmos,” which means “satisfaction,” but can be translated generically as “atoning sacrifice” as the NIV translates it. 1 John 2:2 states, He Himself is the propitiation for our sins and 1 John 4:10 states, In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin. Good works could never satisfy God, it had to be a perfect sacrifice and Jesus was that perfect sacrifice to turn away the just anger of God (Titus 3:5).

This was part of Christ work on the cross to remedy our sin. When Adam fell in the Garden, our communion with God was disrupted. There was a massive wedge that came between us and God. Nothing could ever remove that wedge except Christ’s death on the cross. The verb form of the Greek word is “hilaskomai,” again meaning “to satisfy” or “to appease.” Hebrews 2:17, In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Jesus is the High Priest who makes peace between us and God by His own sacrifice (Colossians 1:20). He makes propitiation and God accepts the offering of Himself on our behalf and thus His wrath is turned away.

Another word in the family of words is “hilaserion,” which is just a slight variation and it is found in Romans 3:24-25, 24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness. This is one of the most theological passages in the entire Bible. Focusing on propitiation, the way to understand this is that God had stored up His anger and wrath against sin since the beginning of the world (Romans 1:18; 2:5). When Jesus was placed in the cross, He became the object of the Father’s intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin (Isaiah 53:4-5). At the cross the fury of all that stored up wrath was unleashed against His own Son (Matthew 27:46). Therefore, His wrath would not be poured out on us who believe (Romans 5:9). When we truly believe in Jesus and His work on the cross, God’s righteous demands against sin are wonderfully satisfied to the fullest extent. Every barrier has been removed by His blood and now there is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1). Now we can have true and lasting peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ. Without this aspect of the atonement, God could not show mercy to us because the claims of justice would not have been met. God would still be angry at sin. Let us sincerely thank the Lord for all that He has done for us and live for Him.

Scripture Reference

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

24 being justified as a gift aby His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth 1in unrighteousness,

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 

Deliverance from Bondage

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


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