Friday, March 29, 2013

Propitiation: agony, mercy, life

About 2000 years ago, my Savior was arrested and tried and executed in a most heinous and public way. Many people have written about Good Friday in more theological ways than I can. They can evoke the spiritual significance in a deeper way than I can.All I can do it share how I feel about Him, My Jesus, the Living Water.

You see, I am like a woman at the well, living her whole life as an unrepentant sinner. I even exulted in my sin, having pride that I was living a life I wanted. I lived with a man who was not my husband and believed myself coolly relevant with the times by dispensing with that old piece of paper. I was a sinner through and through and I saw nothing wrong with myself at all.

And then I met the savior. His gorgeous light immediately shamed me. I then knew how depraved I was and how much I deserved the anger of God. As the Holy Spirit grew me in sanctification, I more and more realize what a monumental and eternal thing Jesus did beginning Good Friday...or beginning three and a half years before ... or beginning thirty three and a half years before ... or beginning since the foundation of the world. (1 Peter 1:20).

We have always been sinners, since the Fall (Genesis 3). And God has always had a plan to redeem a polluted and depraved humanity to His clean breast since, well, always.

It involves Propitiation, my favorite word.
CARM defines it: "This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that he could pass "over the sins previously committed," (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2)."
  • "Propitiation properly signifies the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift," (The New Bible Dictionary).
  • "Propitiation signifies the turning away of wrath by an offering," (Baker's Dictionary of theology, p. 424).
  • The act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person, (dictionary.com).
  • "The act of appeasing the wrath," (Webster's dictionary, 1828)."
I completely deserve God's anger, wrath, and eternal punishment, but Jesus stepped in to my place! Why? Why? How can God be that good? Why does He want us?

For His glory. The most amazing act in the universe, after Jesus taking on all God's wrath - willingly- is God redeeming a polluted humanity to His breast. I cannot get over that and I don't think I will ever come around to understanding it. Jesus as the propitiation ...what a savior we have! I love, love, love Him!

Spurgeon said of the propitiation, on Good Friday- March 29, 1861

"First then, the text says of Christ Jesus, “WHOM GOD HAS SET FORTH TO BE A PROPITIATION THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD.”
The words, “set forth,” in the original may signify, “foreordained;” but according to eminent critics, it has also in it the idea of setting forth as well as a “foreordaining.” Barnes says, “The word properly means to place in public view; to exhibit in a conspicuous situation, as goods are exhibited or exposed for sale, or as premiums or rewards of victory were exhibited to public view in the games of the Greeks.” So has God the Father set forth, manifested, made conspicuous the Person of the Lord Jesus as the Propitiation of sin. How has He done this? He has done it first by ordaining Him in the Divine Decree as the Propitiation of sin."

"Sinner, listen, and if you have already accepted that which the Father has revealed, let your joy become full. Why? WE SHOULD LOOK TO CHRIST, AND LOOK TO CHRIST, ALONE, AS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS, AND TAKE CARE THAT OUR FAITH IS SIMPLE, AND FIXED SOLELY ON HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD."

He did it, not us! Spurgeon goes on,

"Now, my Hearers, the sins of God’s people are taken away by the blood of Christ, and not by any repentance of their own. I say that our sense of need does not take away our guilt, nor help to take it away; but the blood, the blood, the blood alone, pure and unmixed, has forever washed the people of God, and made them whiter than snow! So, poor Heart, if your soul is as hard as a nether millstone; if your conscience seems to be seared by long habits of sin; if you cannot force tears from your eyes, and scarcely can get a groan from your heart—yet you are groaning today because you cannot groan, weeping because you cannot weep, and sorrowing because you cannot sorrow—hear you, then, this Gospel message! God the Father has set Christ forth to be your Propitiation! Not your tender conscience; not your groans; not your sense of need; not your law-work; not your deep experience! He is enough without any of these—have faith in His blood and you are saved!"

Friday is here. The agony, the shame, the forsaking. The loneliest moment in the universe for all time, when Jesus said "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”" (Matthew 27:46)

Our spotless lamb, never having been apart from the Father in fellowship and sweet unity, separated from Him during that awful period when He became sin for our sakes.

"This day is called Good Friday—may it be a good Friday to some of you! Perhaps I have some here to whom I have preached these last seven years, and yet you have remained unsaved. I am clear of your blood if you had only heard but this one morning sermon, for God witnesses I know not how to put the plan of salvation more clearly than I have done! “God has set forth Christ to be a propitiation through His blood.” I bid you look to Christ bleeding, to Christ sweating drops of blood, Christ scourged, Christ nailed to the Cross, and if you believe in Christ’s blood, He is the Propitiation of your sins. But I can do no more than this; it is mine to preach, it is mine to pray, and mine to plead. Oh may God the Holy Spirit give you Grace to receive, to accept, to yield to this blessed proclamation of free mercy!" ~Charles Spurgeon

What a glorious Savior we have! He reigns forever!!!!!!!!!!!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart. When I think of all that Jesus suffered for me there are no mere words to describe the emotion that I feel.
    "what a savior we have! I love, love, love Him!"
    These are perhaps the most elequent words I have read from you ~someone whom I have regarded as a word smith~ :)
    Have a blessed and Holy weekend~ Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen and Amen, Elizabeth!!!! I would have no hope without Him. GRACE! GRACE! GRACE! To God be all the Glory!
    Happy Resurrection Day!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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