PROPITIATION: means Satisfaction, or To Satisfy
In heathen circles it was a word that meant “to appease the gods.” The biblical sense of the word speaks of that which satisfies the justice of God.
Romans 3:23 says that we are all sinners. Sin is the breaking of God’s laws or missing the mark of God’s righteousness. Therefore, we have all offended God’s justice. This is not something that God can simply overlook.
Even in our society, we have a set of standards which we call the law. When one of these laws is broken, we have a judicial system that requires vindication for the crime committed. We call that justice. A judge cannot look at the evidence, see the person is guilty, and say, “Well, we love you so we are going to let you go scot-free.” No! Our laws state clearly that certain crimes are to be punished by certain penalties.
God’s justice is the same, only He treats all sin alike. God’s justice must be vindicated. The penalty for breaking His laws must be satisfied (propitiated). Death (which is separation from God – or Hell) is that penalty which God’s justice demands. As guilty law breakers we cannot do anything to correct our wrong. However, according to Romans 3:25, it was JESUS CHRIST who provided propitiation, and that propitiation was through His blood. The first part of the verse, in speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, reads:
“WHOM GOD HATH SET FORTH TO BE A PROPITIATION THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD…”
Redemption is man-ward, but propitiation is God-ward. Jesus Christ provided redemption in behalf of mankind. He purchased man’s salvation. At the same time, Jesus Christ provided propitiation in behalf of God the Father. Christ’s death on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s Justice.
The Greek word for “propitiation” is also translated “Mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat of the Old Testament temple was the place of propitiation. The mercy seat was located in the holy of holies in the Jewish temple. First, their temple had the outer court where the people gathered. The inner court was where the daily sacrifices were offered. Located in the inner court was the temple proper. The front and larger section of the Temple was called the holy place. Divided off by a large curtain was a special part of the sanctuary called the holy of holies. It was here that the High Priest entered only once a year, with the blood of Israel’s sin offering. The High Priest sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat of God for an atonement for the nation’s sins. By sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat, God’s justice would be appeased for another year. All of this pointed to Jesus Christ, who–as the High Priest of mankind–offered His holy blood as the satisfactory payment for all of man’s sins. When He did, God’s justice was completely satisfied once and for all.
Isaiah 53:10,11, in prophesying about Christ’s death on the Cross; says:
- “YET IT PLEASED THE LORD TO BRUISE HIM; HE HATH PUT HIM TO GRIEF: WHEN THOU SHALT MAKE HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN, HE SHALL PROLONG HIS DAYS, AND THE PLEASURE OF THE LORD SHALL PROSPER IN HIS HAND. HE SHALL SEE OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL, AND SHALL BE SATISFIED: BY HIS KNOWLEDGE SHALL MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY; FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES.”
If God the Father is satisfied that Jesus Christ has provided the full and complete payment for the penalty of our sins, then so should we. Christ left nothing undone or incomplete. This is why salvation is through faith and faith alone.
Some people don’t believe it is enough just to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. They think there must be more to do. NO, the Scriptures make it clear that Christ has done it all. Now we learn that God is fully satisfied by the work of Jesus Christ. Knowing this, we had better be satisfied with what God says is enough or we may just find ourselves opposing God.
Since God is completely satisfied once and for all with the payment of sin, then I can rest assured that there is no sin left unpaid that can send me to hell, once I believe.