Propitiation: God was Satisfied

1 John 1:1-2

November 1, 2009

Jerry A. Collins



PROPITIATION: The acceptance by the wronged party of a compensatory payment, by virtue of which his anger against the one who has injured him is soothed.


1. Appeased in so far as the wronged person is brought by the compensation, which settles the account to the abandonment of his wrath against the offender. So that the two can come to a state of friendship with one another.


2. The wrath of god is often confused with that irrational passion we so frequently find in man and which was is commonly ascribed to heathen deities who needed appeasement or else there would be further arbitrary punishments.


3. We have to face the fact that in the nature of things there must be eternal recoil against the unholy on the part of the all-holy God. The wrath of God is a reality to be reckoned with.  Though men sin and draw down the wrath of God upon themselves the consequences of his wrath, yet God does not delight in the death of a sinner. He provides ways in which the consequences of sin may be averted. God may be slow to anger Ex 34:6; Num 14:18; Ne 9:1`7; Pss 86:15; 103;8; 145:8; Jer 15:15; Joel 2:13; Jon 4:2; Na 1:3; but that does not mean he will not get angry.



Two words are orge and thumos used to make the point that wrath is not so much a sudden flaring up of passion which is soon over as a strong and settled opposition to all that is evil arising out of Godís very nature.


1. Romans 3:25  In this section the argument is that all men are under the wrath of God with all that means but that now a new way appears. The blood of Christ effects propitiation so that those who are of faith no longer need fear the wrath. Whereas originally sinners were liable to suffer from the outpouring of the wrath of God, Christ has suffered instead of them, and now they may go free. This action is essentially substitutionary.


PT: Jesusí death is the final sacrifice, which completely satisfied Gods demands against sinful people thus averting His wrath from those who believe. He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. God was forbearing because he anticipated his provision for sins in the death of JC. This is evidence of his grace not injustice.


2. Hebrew 2:17  Here the true humanity of Christóhis incarnation is said to be necessary so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things of God. There is no specific reference to the wrath of God. Since he is a merciful high priest it implies sinners needed it for some reason. The things pertaining to God emphasis the god ward aspect rather than man ward.


PT: In this section (2:9-18) are 7 effects of the incarnation. Here is the sixth one, namely, to place Christ in the role of a high priest. The difference is, a priest of Israel could offer a sacrifice but it was never a propitiation satisfying Gods holiness. But the incarnation allowed Christ to sacrifice himself as a satisfaction to God. Christ offers mercyóan unmerited non-punishmentóto the world of humans being, faithfulóconsistently obedientóto his calling.


3. 1 John 2:2  If we sinners need an advocate with God then obviously we are in no good case our misdeeds prevail against us and we are about to feel the hostility of God to all that is sinful. Under these circumstances we can speak of Christ turning away the wrath of God.


PT: So adequate is Jesus Christís as Gods atoning sacrifice that the efficacy of his work extends not merely to the sins of Christians themselves but also to the sins of the whole world. In saying this John was clearly affirming the view that Christ genuinely died for everyone. Not that all will be saved but rather anyone who hears the gospel can be saved if he so desires (Rev 22:17). In context believers are reminded that the magnificent scope of Christís atoning sacrifice assures his advocacy as the righteous one on their behalf and is consistent with Gods holiness. 


4. I John 4:10   It is to God himself that we owe the removal of Godís wrath. Christ himself is the propitiation who turns away gods wrath. A wrath, which we need no longer fear.


PT: Gods love was not a response to manís love but an initiative on Godís part. By it the Son became an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Nothing less than Godís love in Christ is the model for the love Christians should have toward one another.



1. What is meant is not some irrational passion bursting forth uncontrollably but a burning zeal for the right coupled with a perfect hatred for everything that is evil.


2. If there is such a divine hostility to evil it is obvious that something must be done about it if man, sinner as he is, is ever to be accepted before God.


3. It is the combination of Godís deep love for the sinner with his uncompromising reaction against sin, which brings about what the Bible calls propitiation. Since God would not leave man to suffer all the consequences of his sin, Christ suffered. His death was really our death in a vicarious and propitiatory sense.


4. God himself is propitiated and He provides the way whereby men may come to him. He initiates the very means by which we are delivered from the wrath we deserve.


5. We see two great realities;

A. The reality and seriousness of the divine reaction against sin and,

B. The reality and the greatness of the divine love, which provided the gift which should avert the wrath of God toward men.


6. If men die in their sins then they only have the divine displeasure to face. Propitiation was essential so that we would not have to own up to our condemnation and face the just wrath of God.


7. Unless we give real content to the wrath of God and unless we hold that men really deserve to have God visit upon them the painful consequences of their wrongdoing, we empty Godís forgiveness of its meaning. If there is no ill desert God ought to overlook our sin. We can think of forgiveness as something real only when we hold that sin has betrayed us into a situation where we deserve to have God inflict upon us the most serious consequences.


8. If we empty wrath of its sting, that God should take action against the sinner, there is no room for grace. If there are no dire consequences grace loses its meaning. There is nothing that is undeserved yet the Bible declares that there is. The scripture is clear that the wrath of God is visited upon sinners or else that the Son of God dies for them. Either we die or He dies. Rom 5:8 says, But God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.


9. It is possible for unsaved man to be good. Good in the sense that good deeds and moral judgments can be done. But he is still under divine wrath as a sinner. The problem is that while man can do good or be good, man cannot be holy. Without holiness no man can see God. Propitiation removes the divine disfavor legally, making it possible now for one to become holy and thus acceptable to God.



A. We cannot avoid the reality of sin as we share the gospel with people.


B. The sin problem is the most basic human problem. Ignore it to our peril.


C. God is not a child abuser but Jesus willingly propitiated God His Father not because of the uncontrollable, capricious anger of His Father but because He willingly gave His life a ransom for many.