What Is Propitiation?

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 KJV)

It never ceases to amaze me and ignite my spirit when I see someone open their heart and life to Jesus for the first time. To find forgiveness of sin and the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit to enable them to turn from their old ways and learn to walk in newness of life. Jesus’ willingness “to be the propitiation of our sins” is the only thing that makes new life in Christ an option for those willing to repent and believe.

Mark 1:15 records Jesus’ first words as He began His earthly ministry when He said: “’The time promised by God has come at last!’ He announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!’” Repentance means to turn from your sin and begin to walk in a new direction as you learn to follow Jesus. Believe means to place your full trust in Jesus, as you’re freed from the shackles of your sin, with faith and commitment to live a life of righteousness and obedience to your new Lord.

Propitiation is Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life as a means of making atonement, to pay the penalty for our sin, and to suffer in our place on the Cross. Jesus’ sacrifice paid the penalty for every sin that would ever be committed by anyone who would at any point in history, prior to His return, repent and place their trust in Him as Savior and Lord. There seems to be some confusion as to what that means.

Some believe and teach that when we’re saved, every sin – past, present, and future – is cleansed and we’re sealed in our new life in Christ forever. In my mind and heart that seems to flow against the current of Scripture.

Jesus is God, so He knew, even as He hung on the Cross, every person who would ever yield their life to Him. He paid the penalty for every sin all of us collectively would ever commit. But not one of my sins, or yours, was forgiven until we sought His forgiveness. And even then, as I understand Scripture, what was forgiven were all our sins to that point.

In 1 John chapter 1, John writes in no uncertain terms that Jesus is eternal life. He doesn’t give eternal life; He IS eternal life. To know Him is to have life, to NOT know Him is to NOT have life. What is the evidence of His life in us? “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”  My understanding is “all” in this context means “all for which we’ve sought forgiveness.” Why would I believe that?

The same thought expressed in 1 John 1:7 is continued in verse 8: “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” When we become a Christ follower, are we immediately “cleansed,” in the sense that we no longer have to deal with any “wickedness” in our lives?

Let’s pick this up tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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