Thursday, October 21, 2010


He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2, ESV)

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loves us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:10, ESV)

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17, ESV)

Propitiation is the turning away of God’s holy wrath by the providing of an offering. The New Testament uses the Greek words ιλασκομαι, and ιλασμος. These words carry the idea of averting the wrath of God.

Contrary to what people think, part of God’s glorious character is His wrath. The idea of God’s wrath is deeply rooted in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament God’s wrath is referred to some 585 times. God forgives sin and that forgiveness includes the turning away of God’s wrath from the one who is forgiven.

Romans chapter one makes it very clear that God has unleashed His wrath toward those who are unrepentant and outside of His family. The Bible makes it clear that man receives a just reward of punishment because God’s wrath is directed toward sinners.

What is amazing to us as believers is that God Himself  provides the means of turning away His wrath from us. God demonstrated His love in the fact that He provided His unique Son to be that which turned His wrath away from us. The very purpose that Jesus was born of Mary was to become the offering, the only offering that would turn away the wrath of God from the sinner.

Wrath, anger, and indignation are integral parts of the glorious and magnificent character of God. These character traits are exhibited and directed at sin. God’s love seems to spontaneously arise from His character; However wrath is generated by the wickedness of those whom God has created. All opposition to God’s Holiness and righteousness evokes the wrath of God.

Please be aware that the wrath of God is not so much as an emotional frame of mind nor is it a “knee-jerk” reaction such as anger. God’s wrath is a settled opposition to unholiness and unrighteousness. This is why we see the wrath of God in its effects upon sin and sinners. 

We find particularly in the New Testament the call to repentance and faith in the means of the turning away of the wrath of God and from the wrath which is to come (I Thessalonians 1:9-10.) The good news for man is that Jesus Christ, a lamb provided by God, who took upon Himself the sin that offended God’s holiness and righteousness and suffered the wrath of God averted God’s wrath from those who in faith repent.

Propitiation – a great word!


Michelle said...

I love to hear pastors speak of propitiation. In my lifetime...I haven't heard it enough until I started listening to folks like Paul Washer.

I've been brought to tears before when I meditated on Jesus Christ taking on the wrath of God that we deserved...that true seperation from God that He had never experienced.

Thank you for your words this morning!

Seams Inspired said...

Another excellent post, Gregg! :o) I had to go look up the word, so I could pronounce it: pruh-pish-ee-ey-shuhn. Your post brought a question to my mind: Do you think we've yet to experience God's wrath as those who lived during the Old Testament times? I'm not so sure we have, but feel it's inevitably coming sooner than we realize. Just curious to others' thoughts on this. Thanks for the great vocabulary addition! :o) Happy Thursday!

Persis said...

Thanks for this post, Gregg. This is good news! No wonder we will be singing "Worthy is the Lamb" for all eternity.

Scott said...

I've never understood how folks could ever comprehend the atonement without this word and its counterpart: expiation. Just read the OT practice of atonement, read about the TWO animals involved in that, one to be slaughtered to satisfy God's wrath (propitiation) and one, the "scapegoat", chased out of the camp as a symbol of the sins of the people being removed (expiation). Then realize, this is what Christ has done for us!

Great Word! And a great word from you, Gregg!

Cathy M. said...

I agree with Scott. I never understood propitiation and expiation until I heard R.C. Sproul teach on them via his excellent podcasts. I remember asking a pastor once, "why isn't the teaching of doctrine heard more?" He (and his wife) were quick to answer that they were taught in seminary not to teach doctrine, because people can't understand it and it divides. BTW, they were both graduates of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the mid-1990s. Hmmmm...

Kansas Bob said...

Gregg - I think that you would enjoy the dialog (especially in the comments) on this alternate view of the word:


People often want an old grandpa in the sky god that loves everyone and never judges sin. This false god is worshiped by many in our so called Christian churches today. The word tolerance has replaced the word repentance. The wrath of God will soon fall upon all who teach and believe this false gospel and His judgment will be totally righteous.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 96:13 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Gregg said...

Michelle - You are so welcome. This is such a great theological concept that we have allowed to go by the wayside. We need to think deeply on the fact that God who was terribly offended by our treason and sin, provided the offering that would avert His wrath toward unholiness and transgression. It should be tears, tears of joy and amazement! Thanks for your comments.

Larri - You are welcome! I am glad you looked up the pronunciation, I should have included a key. No, we have not experienced the wrath of God as they did in the OT and thank God the church will be spared the wrath of God in the NT.

Persis - you also are welcome! Yes, will sing of His worth, Revelations states no one was worthy but Him.

Scott - thanks for your kind words! Your comment was great. I don't know how people can miss it either. Some are so insensitive that they don't want to admit that God has wrath or that it needs to be averted. They have so spun out on grace that they cannot see the over all picture of God hating sin, being angry, hateful, and at emnity with sin and sinners. Thank God, Jesus was infinently qualified to avert the wrath of God.

Cathy -I am amazed that an intelligent person would say that doctrine cannot be understood and that it is not to be taught because it divides. That prof should be thrown out. All theology or doctrine is, is teaching! We must have truths to be taught in order to know God.

KB - I checked it out. He has missed the mark and is wrong. I will follow along to see what he says, but I won't convince him, so why enter the fray. It wasn't a very good post.

bumbu pecel bali said...

this is good post...

i like this...

please can you visit here..

tengs very much...