God Paid For the Full Price of Sin in Advance: Propitiation
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Every single one of us, no matter how holy and awesome we seem, has sinned at some point. Like I said the other day, the punishment isn’t about what the sin was, but the glory of the One Whom it was against. With that, none of us can be justified to say that the wrong things we did against God were the right thing to do. Nobody can say that we did the right thing or that we are right when they see the bad things we’ve done and the Holy and Glorious God of the Universe.
But God can.
In His mercy and forbearance, God passed over former sins. That is a big deal. That means that there were a lot of sins that went unpunished. That might even mean that things that look like punishment (like Sodom and Gomorra) weren’t the actual punishment, but that the punishment was something much worse.
While God passed over former sins, He stopped when it came to Christ. As our Passover Lamb, Christ was the final and complete redemption and sacrifice for all of the sins of the whole world. Past, present day, and future sins were all heaped on Christ on the cross, so that anyone that looked to God for salvation in the past, present, or future would be saved by Him.
God put forward Christ as a propitiation. That is a word we don’t use because we don’t do sacrifices. A propitiation is the bill you pay for your parking ticket or the bond you pay to get out of jail. It’s the conversation you have with your kids’ coach to give them another chance and overlook their sloppy ball-handling.
The propitiation is also the same word in the Greek that the book of Hebrews uses for the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant is the Mercy Seat. Not like a chair, but like a county seat, the place of the authority for the county. God put Christ forward, into the world, like the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. As the authority of Mercy, the holiest thing in the world, Christ gives us purity, salvation, and righteousness.
The Holy Beauty of a completed sacrifice sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant is a crayon drawing of the glory of Christ’s death and resurrection. Now we have the free gift of being made right by Christ by God. He has done it all.