What Is Propitiation? (Part 2)

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.” (1 John 2:1a NLT)

We’re picking up here where we left off yesterday.

I can’t speak for you, but after following the Lord for nearly 60 years, my sin is more intolerable to me than ever before. I long to walk more closely to the Lord in every second, trusting His Spirit to protect me and keep me from anything that is unlike Him.

Our unrighteousness/sin is cleansed, and we come to Christ as a brand-new species of being, one that has never existed before. But that doesn’t mean our struggle with sin has ended. There’s a sense in which it’s just begun. Yes, of course, we’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ, so the Father doesn’t see our sin, but only Christ’s righteousness, but does that give us liberty to continue to ignore sin in our lives? Not according to Paul.

Romans 6:1 says: “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” And if we’re not to continue to sin, how should we deal with our ongoing wrongful desires and actions? Forgiveness and cleansing are triggered by confession.

John spells it out for us in 1 John 2:1-2a: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He Himself is the sacrifice (propitiation) that atones for our sins…” To me, if every sin – past, present, and future – has been forgiven, what’s the fuss? Why should I concern myself with something with which Jesus has already dealt? Because paying for something and receiving something are two different things.

Yes, of course, His atonement paid the penalty for all my sin, but that payment isn’t “activated” in my life until the debt is made. Forgiveness isn’t needed until the sin is committed. Cleansing isn’t needed if every sin to this moment has been forgiven.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Part of the confusion seems to stem from a misunderstanding of what sin is. According to Scripture, sin is a known violation of a directive of God. In other words, it’s something I knowingly and intentionally DO that God says not to do. Or it’s something I DON’T DO that He clearly says to do. Sins of commission and omission.

In this season of my life, I don’t sin “more or less” every day. I keep very short accounts with God, so when I realize I’ve disobeyed Him, I seek to be made right. I appropriate the grace for His forgiveness of that sin in that moment.

Why is this a big deal? Because there are too many professing believers who, in their carnal mind, see no reason to not sin. Why should they? It’s already been forgiven, right? WRONG! Forgiveness has been appropriated and when needed is available, but God isn’t going to ignore blatant disobedience and habitual, unconfessed sin for which there’s no evidence of repentance.

The writer of the Hebrew letter says in 10:26: “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies.”  

In the words of the author of the Hebrew letter: “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) I believe those words are written not only to pre-repentant sinners, but post-professing “believers” who ignore God’s grace and treat it as if it’s a license to follow THEIR will rather than GOD’S will. To me, it closely borders the sin against the Holy Spirit for which there is no forgiveness.

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed  

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