In this Post: What Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Learn the meanings of some big but power packed words like justification and propitiation.
Hello dear ones, I wanted to share with you what I’ve been studying the past couple of weeks. We should always keep in our hearts and share the power of Jesus’ death & resurrection. Still, it is a special time of the year where Christians are a bit more focused on what the Lord has done. Just as we focus on his birth more so in December or some in Fall (both for us). I’m excited :). This is our second year of celebrating Easter for a month. Before we focused on mainly Passover and Christ’ resurrection was a quick celebration on Easter Sunday. Lent (a 40 day countdown to Easter) has really helped us center in on the Resurrection AND the cross.
Here is the link to our trip to Antiquity last year and all we learned about the history of the cross etc:
Passover/ Lord’s Supper post from last year:
A post about Jesus’ death:
Before we start I want to share with you some important words. They are big but packed with truth. They express word pictures that need to be seen.
- Propitiation~ the act of appeasing or pacifying someone’s anger.
- Redemption~ the act of buying back as a purchase or ransom.
- Justification~ the opposite of condemnation, being declared legally righteous (like in a court of law).
- Reconciliation~ the act of restoring a relationship or renewing a friendship.
I have heard most of these words. My Dad was a preacher who loved the King James Version. But honestly I never understood propitiation. I want to simply share with you what I’ve been learning about these words and how they relate to what Jesus did on the cross. I’ll be quoting from scripture the KJV and “The Cross of Christ” by John Stott.
May these word pictures increase your love for and awe of Jesus. 🙂
Propitiation seems foreign to Christian belief at first. Pagans propitiate (appease) false gods. One may try to appease the wrath of Zeus with a cow or something. Does the God of the Bible really have wrath that needs to be appeased? Let’s find out but you will be pleasantly surprised how God’s wrath and propitiation differs from that of pagan deities (false gods).
(PS: I’m sharing snippets of scripture to keep this from being longer than it is. Please take the time in your own studies to read the context of these verses. You can even read online at: http://bibleresources.org/ )
“18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”
“8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,”
So we know God hates sin and it stirs his anger. Is God one to fly off the handle like gods of Greek mythology? Are we to constantly make offerings to propitiate for our sin? NO. This is how the God of the Bible’s propitiation is different.
“8The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
- God’s anger is always right and just. It is provoked by evil alone. What arouses God’s anger is different from what arouses man’s anger. He is completely righteous in his anger. We are often not.
- God himself makes the propitiation. Get this: He made a way to appease His own anger for our sakes. That’s where the cross comes in. In other religions it is the human that tries to appease the god. The Bible on the other hand is clear that humans can not do anything to compensate for our sins. God initiates. He himself became the sacrifice when Jesus died on the cross. Even Old Testament offerings were a gift from God.
- God loved us before his wrath was appeased not just after. God’s love is the source of the atonement (payment for our sins).
1 John 4:9-11
“9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
“The Greek words lytroo (usually translated “redeem”) and apolytrosis (“redemption”) are derived from lytron (“a ransom” or “price of release”), which was almost a technical term in the ancient world for the purchase or manumission of a slave. We have been “ransomed” by Christ, not merely “redeemed” or “delivered” by Him.”
~ The Cross of Christ by John Stott
“45For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
We are helpless to redeem ourselves. Christ became our ransom and redeems us from:
“7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
“12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:“
- The Curse of the Law
Galatians 3: 13
“13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Galatians 4 :5
“3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
- Vain Conversation/ an empty way of life
“18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”
But Wait! There’s more to this redemption than what we see on earth. We are freed from guilt and judgement but we await the “day of redemption” when we shall be made perfect. Now we are still sinners though we are seen as righteous because God sees the blood of Jesus covering our sins. Jesus Christ himself is our righteousness. One day we will never sin and we will have glorified bodies not tainted by the curse on this world. No more death! Hallelujah!
“Meanwhile, the indwelling Holy Spirit is Himself the seal, the guarantee, and the first fruits of our final redemption. (See Luke 21:28; Eph. 1:14; 4:30; Rom. 8:18-23)”
~The Cross of Christ by John Stott
I had told you why we have to be redeemed and what from. But what is the price of our redemption?
- The Precious Blood of Jesus Christ
Scroll back up to 1 Peter 1:19 and read those lovely words, breathed (inspired) by God.
John Stott asks “If the church was worth His blood, is it not worth our labor?”
Order in the court! The human race is on trial. We are all found guilty of sin and none of us are righteous. Wait, why are some being declared “not guilty”? Their works no matter how good can not justify them? How can this be? They have trusted in Jesus and God himself justifies them. Jesus stood in the great court room on your behalf and took your death sentence.
Dear Christian, God has put His righteous standing on you. Jesus himself is your righteous standing before God! Praise Jesus!
We can not justify ourselves…neither before or after repentance. You can never be good enough to make yourself “not guilty” before God. The cross of Christ (meaning what Christ did) does this for you. Do you accept? I pray you won’t reject this great gift of God’s love.
“20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
“30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Oh that’s like sweet music. I love those verses. By the way, I believe free will and predestination are both true in light of God’s omniscience. But that is a topic for another day when I have the motivation to explain something I can’t fully explain (kind of like the Trinity. It is called Faith isn’t it ) ;).
“When God justifies sinners, He is not declaring bad people to be good, or saying that they are not sinners after all; He is pronouncing them legally righteous, free from any liability to the broken law, because He Himself in His Son has borne the penalty of their law-breaking.”
~The Cross of Christ by John Stott
“8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
So we read Paul say that we are justified by Faith (Rom 5:1) but see we are also justified by Christ’ blood. How do these go together. John Stott says it well and my mind is blown a bit.
“Grace and faith belong indissolubly to one another, since faith’s only function is to receive what grace freely offers…we are justified by God’s grace and by Christ’ blood. Faith is the means by which we are united to Christ.”
~The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Whewhy! I feel my inner redneck coming out. Seriously, I’m posting all of this in one post. It took me a week to go through this study. It’s some heavy stuff!
The result of Justification is a beautiful relationship with Jesus full of benefits that we enjoy by faith!
Remember what this word means? To restore a relationship. God and man were not always enemies. Once God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. Before the curse and the fall of man, God and Man were close and man knew God. Sin wrecked that relationship. Jesus came to reconcile us to God…to restore our relationship. So the cross is about more than appeasing God’s wrath and setting us free from sin….it is to bring us to God. We must remember all of these things are important and a part of Jesus’ work on the cross.
“Justification is our legal standing before our judge in the court; reconciliation is our personal relationship with our Father in the home.”
~The Cross of Christ by John Stott
“10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Blessings of reconciliation
- Reconciliation which comes after justification, brings peace.
John 1: 12-13
“12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
“14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
- Access to God
“17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
“16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;21And having an high priest over the house of God;22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
We see through these four words that Christ became our substitute. Everyone struggles with sin…even Christians. We see this in Paul (apostle and writer of much of the New Testament).
“18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
We also see this in many other Men of God like Moses, Abraham, the disciple Peter, and David. They were clearly sinners and sinned during their relationship with God. Still God justified them. This only makes sense in light of what we’ve learned. We know that God justifies us. He makes us “not guilty” not because we are perfect but because Christ took our punishment & his blood covers us always if we’ve accepted Him.
Here is a saying that I have found true: The cross of Christ is not held by time. It is fixed in eternity. Christ’ work on the cross covers the sin of those who looked forward to the coming of messiah in faith, those who lived at the time of crucifixion, and all those after Jesus died and rose. We in 2013 look back to the cross. We must remember that God is eternal and knows all things. He and his work is not constrained by time. The power of the cross was planned before the world was made!
Revelation 13:8 (The context is end times and people worshiping the beasts but we also see that it mentions the Lamb which is Jesus, being slain before the foundation of the world)
“8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
1 Peter 1:19-20
“19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”
If God saw as a sinners then we would be toast. By the blood of Jesus we are “legally” not sinners. Just as we are “legally” adopted into God’s family and seen as sons, though we are not originally sons of God but rather of the world. So we are no longer seen as “Sinners” though we sin. We are considered Saints not because we are good enough but because we are righteous through Jesus. Without this view, our status before God would be off and on again based on our works….covered by the blood, then not covered by the blood. I tell you, you would not stay under the blood at all by your own works. God puts you there. You receive.
Does that mean that we should freely sin? Not at all. True faith is a living faith and our love for Jesus will bring about good fruit. Though some go into prodigal states, I truly believe Jesus always brings back His own whether on their knees or sadly in a box. I have seen people sin away their testimony and we see this with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts. Their “light” was physically put out. They dropped dead before they could do more damage to the body of Christ. God knew their hearts were wicked and who knows, maybe they would’ve gotten worse if left alive.
Romans 6: 14-18
14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness”
Scroll back up to Romans 7:25. We see that Christ is also the one who helps us daily overcome sin. This is not something we can try to do on our own. It is only possible by abiding in Jesus.
John 15: 5
“5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.“
So can we say a rote prayer and be saved? Are there certain words that will do the trick?
- We see in John 6: 44 that God must draw us.
“44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
- We have learned that God himself propitiates his wrath, redeems us from sin and the curse of the law, justifies us by His blood, and reconciles us to Himself.
- We also know that once he does all this we can only live right if we are abiding in Him. Further study shows abiding means spending time with Jesus (by reading His word, prayer, & worship).
So it seems God does everything. So are we just walking along one day as a sinner and bam we’re hit by God and forcibly made into Christians? I don’t see that in scripture at all. I see that He chooses us his foreknowledge of our willing hearts. Scripture says we must receive by Faith.
God has done all the hard work for us. We just have to receive the gift. It’s simple.
Only a true and working faith will receive all that Jesus offers. We see that the work on the cross is about more than escaping God’s judgement (that’s plenty believe me!). It is also about restoring a relationship with God. You don’t just say “Thanks Jesus for getting me out of Hell. I’ll see you in Heaven. Bye now.” When you have truly been drawn and received God’s grace your life will be flipped upside down. The Holy Spirit will come to dwell with you as proof of salvation and to seal you to God. Jesus will be with you forever and that’s going to change some things. But oh what an abundant life! Eternity is worth dying to self in this life. Think of forever and the life that awaits. Life with Jesus is beautiful in this world and the next. It can be hard for sure on this curse ridden planet but still, life with Jesus is better than life without him.
“16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Acts 10:42-43 (Peter speaking of Jesus)
“42And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
“12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Some get caught up on whether they are truly believers and how can they truly know if God has drawn them.
It’s not that hard. First off, you know. There is a change and you meet a real person. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you and you have a relationship. This relationship is proven over and over again as you grow in God’s word and get to know Christ better. At first it may be a bit awkward and you’re not always going to feel His presence. But the more you abide with Jesus the more you discern His Spirit.
- You meet the Holy Spirit (part of the three in one, Trinity that is our God). So you actually meet God (spiritually).
“16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
- You start to bear fruit. You’re not going to pop up with a full bloom apple tree over night. It’ll take time and lots of pruning but you’re on your way.
What is that fruit?
“22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Matthew 7:20-23 In this verse we see that our fruit is evidence we are saved but it is not what saves us. Knowing Jesus saves us.
“20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
So to put this practically. The Lord introduces Himself to us and show us we’ve got a death sentence for being sinners. We’ve broken His law. We’re also slaves to sin and orphans. We have no relationship with God but He wants one with us.
2 Peter 3:9
“9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Jesus through the Holy Spirit shows us that He has paid the penalty and has made us free of all charges. He has bought us back from the devil and we don’t have to be slaves. God, the Father has chosen to adopt us into His family. Do we accept? Do we believe all He has said and will we acknowledge it before the world (confess it)?
If our faith in Him is true then we are sealed by the Spirit and we are born again (changed from the inside out). We have a new master but also friend. We are led by the Spirit. He is a gentleman that leads us (doesn’t force us) and He can be grieved when we choose sin over Him. Jesus has done all this for you. Do you accept Him? Do you Love him?
I hope so. You don’t have to be a slave to sin any longer. If the Spirit is drawing you and convicting you please don’t reject Him. My prayers are with you dear ones.
1 John 2:1-2
“1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13
“13But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”
And I end with another big word: Sanctification.
To be made Holy. Dear Christian, you are now a Saint because Christ has sanctified you. You are Holy before God because you are in Christ. And we are continually being sanctified because we are still in the flesh, this cursed physical body. One day we will meet Jesus in the air and even these fleshly bodies will be sanctified as they are completely changed. I can’t wait to see you there!
Well, what a night….it’s almost 5 am. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write all this. It’s a lot to chew. I hope you haven’t choked. If so go back later and take it in slow bites ;).
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover