Friday, July 9, 2010

Sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins


“Sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10)

In one simple phrase we read the full depths of the gospel in Scripture. The bad news and the good news all rolled into one small, profound statement. The apostle John is writing about love, God’s love and our response to God’s love. He is trying to show us, as Christian, how we ought to walk in a manner of love for God and others. John gives us motivation: God “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

John says, “In this is love.” The phrase that follows will be the ultimate consummation of love. God “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This is the love that motivates any one to love who is able to love. I say able because those who are not changed by the love of God through the work of the Holy Spirit cannot truly love the way God loves. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Love is a major topic in our society but most of the love spoken of is not a love compelled by the gospel. Love does exist but it is not the self-sacrificing love of Jesus Christ. True love has to be viewed through the reality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. “In this is love” that God “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Does this mean Christians love perfectly? No!! If Christians loved perfectly we wouldn’t need to be reminded of the gospel every second of the day. This is the reason Christ was crucified because we have no idea how to love God and others. Christians are commanded to “love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.” This is the goal of the Christian life to love God with every part of our lives but we fail and fail miserably. This is why the gospel is good news. The word “sins” indicates a failure to love God whole heartedly. But God, by his amazing grace, shows his children their sin so that they may repent and run back into the arms of their loving Savior. The unbeliever might fail to love another human being and may even seek forgiveness saying they are sorry but they totally disregard that they have offended their Creator. The reason God “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” is because there was no other way for sinner to be reconciled to God and others.

Our failure to love God stems from our sinful nature. God, being holy and perfect, is unable to sweep our sin under the rug of the universe. But in this is love that God “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God lovingly sent his perfect Son, the God-Man, Jesus Christ to bear the wrath for our sins upon the cross. The word propitiation means “wrath bearer” and that is exactly who Jesus Christ is for those who repent and trust in him as Lord and Savior. As sinners we no longer have to live in fear of death because in God’s amazing love we are offered the free gift of eternal life in Christ. We can be fully forgiven of sin and clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness to have reconciliation with our Creator.

Amazing love! How can it be?
That Thou my God should die for me.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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