Judge striking gavel in courtroom

A Love That Is Totally Undeserved


The word “propitiation” (pronounced pro-pitch-e-ation) means that the wrath of someone who has been unjustly wronged has been satisfied. It is an act that soothes hostility and satisfies the need for vengeance. Providing His only begotten Son as the propitiation for our sins was the greatest possible demonstration of God’s love for man. To understand God’s wondrous provision of propitiation, it is helpful to remember what He has endured from mankind. From Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden to the obvious depravity we see in our world today, human history is the story of greed, hatred, lust and pride — evidence of man’s wanton rebellion against the God of love and peace. If not done with a desire to glorify Him, even our good deeds are like filthy garments to God (see Isaiah 64:6).

God Cannot Overlook Sin

Our sin deserves the righteous wrath of God. He is the Almighty, the rightful judge of the universe. He is absolutely holy and perfect. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Because of these attributes, God cannot overlook sin, nor can He compromise by accepting sinful behavior. For God to condone even one sin would defile His holiness, like smearing a white satin wedding gown with black tar. Because He is holy, God’s aversion to sin is manifested in righteous anger. However, God is not only righteously indignant about sin, He is also infinitely loving. In His holiness, God condemns sin, but in the most awesome example of love the world has ever seen, He ordained that His Son would die to pay for our sins. God sacrificed the sinless, perfect Savior to turn away, to propitiate, His great wrath.

Christ Died For The Ungodly

Christ died for us while we were in rebellion against Him. For while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly at the right time.

“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

Romans 5:7-11

Who can measure the fathomless depth of love that sent Christ to the cross? While we were the enemies of God, Christ averted the wrath we deserved so that we might become the sons of God.

In my next article, I’ll be discussing the Christian’s response to the reality of propitiation in our lives.


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