The artwork was taken from the book: Death by Love by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears. I highly recommend this book to go deeper into the freedom found in the cross. You can find it here.
In a follow-up to my Easter day message [I Kings 8:62-66], I would like to deeper into the Biblical term of “propitiation” [Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; I John 2:2 & 4:10] and the Biblical idea of “expiation”. [Note: that propitiation is in the Bible and expiation is not a word in the Bible yet the idea is clearly in Scripture as we will see]
Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person [God] and being reconciled to Him. Once the wrath of God is appeased, we are then reconciled.
Propitiation in Scripture is the word to show us how Jesus diverts God’s wrath from you and me and placed it on Jesus on the cross. This is how a holy righteous God can love us and turn His wrath away from us. This is not done because we obey or because we’re good people…this is done through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:9 says this: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him [Jesus] from the wrath of God.” Do we see this? We avoid the wrath of God because of what Jesus did!! We have been justified [past tense] and we shall be saved [future tense] because of what Jesus did. We will see below that the idea of blood being an important part of reconciliation is not a new idea, but a completed one at the cross!
We deserve His wrath due to our sin but because of the work of Christ, we are set free and no longer condemned! We can live a life free from fear, guilt, wondering if we’ve “worked hard enough” and more! God is not a "child abuser". His wrath is gone.
Expiation means “to cover sin” and/or “to cleanse sin.” Through expiation—the work of Christ on the cross for us—the sin of all those who would ever believe in Christ was cancelled. Expiation emphasizes the removal of guilt through a payment of the penalty. We are clean! As the hymn Jesus Paid It All says:
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
As discussed during my Easter sermon – the idea of propitiation and expiation is seen in the Old Testament “Day of Atonement” or known as “Yom Kippur”. The priest would deal with sin on this day for his people. This was where the people of God were made clean. But how? The people brought 2 healthy goats to the priest and he would lay his hands on the head of the first goat and slit his throat as a substitute, dying and spilling blood for the people. The blood would be sprinkled on the mercy seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place. The wrath of God was satisfied by the spilled blood of the goat. Here we see the idea of propitiation. Next with the second goat, the priest would lay his hands on the goat and confess the sins of the people, laying them on the goat. Then he would send the goat into the wild to be lost and hence the goat would be taking the sins of the people away…making them clean. Here is the idea of expiation.
So what does this all mean? It means that on the cross, Jesus paid for the wrath due you and me and He gave us a clean and sinless life. We can stop living in fear of God’s wrath and leave the guilt of our sinful lives behind! We can really believe “It is finished” and be set free. We can rest in His finished work. We can stop trying to please Him because He is pleased by Jesus and His work on our behalf. He has set us free.
When we look deeper into the cross we see a Savior who left no stone of sin unturned where the wrath of God will no longer go and no child of God with a drop of sin on his soul. We look to the cross and we see Jesus!