We saw that Christ’s death on the cross man-ward is called redemption. It is paying a price to buy us out of the slave market of sin and that price is so great we never have to be sold again.
But also Romans 3 talked about propitiation. Now that is a word a little harder word to understand. You do not use the word propitiate, or propitiation, so years ago I learned this. Whenever I come across a word or phrase that I just cannot grasp, I try to find another word or simple phrase that means the same thing. But it has to mean the same thing without losing any of the significance.
For example somebody says, “God is omnipotent.” Now what does that mean Omni – all; potent – powerful. It means God is all powerful. Omnipotent just does not speak to me, so I use a term “He can do it.”
Every time someone says, well God is omnipotent; I think “He can do it.” What does omniscient mean? Omni – all; scient – knowing. God is all knowing. So then I say “well He knows it.” He can do it; and He knows it.
And then there is a concept of God, He is omnipresent. Oh boy, I do not use that word. Omni – all; presence – here. And so I use the term “He is here”. So when I talk about omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence… “He is here, He can do it, and He knows it. And that communicates to me.
With the word propitiation, I believe the word that speaks to me and most people that does not lose any meaning, it is a substitute for propitiation is the word satisfaction.
In other words when it says He was a propitiation for our sins, you can say He, Jesus, was a satisfaction for our sins. Now what does that mean? The work of Christ on the cross man-ward is redemption. The work of Christ on the cross God-ward is propitiation or satisfaction.
You say, “well what do you mean?”
When Jesus said, “It is finished” His death on the cross paid the price to completely propitiate or satisfy the holy, just, righteous nature of God. God could exercise His love without setting aside His holiness. God could exercise His righteousness because it was satisfied.
So you might say, in human terms, when Christ died on the cross He paid the price for our sins and satisfied the holy, just, righteous nature of God.
In human terms you could say, God was set free to deal with us in love. We could approach Him and His love to save us. His very nature did not have to destroy us.
Why? Christ died for that. It was paid for. God solved this problem. He could approach us with His love to save us, why, because His very nature of being holy, just, and righteous was completely satisfied in Christ’s death on the cross.
So why did Jesus have to die?
He had to die to propitiate, or satisfy the holy, just, righteous nature of God. Then He needed to die to pay the price to buy us out of the slave market of sin.
You say, “Josh, I do not really get that.”
Well then the next two segments I am going to give an illustration for each one of these concepts that I believe will drive it home to you what it means.
1. What is Christ’s death on the cross man-ward called?
2. What is a simplified word of equal meaning for the Romans 3 word propitiation?
3. What do these terms applied to God mean: omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent?
4. When Jesus said, “It is finished” and died what did this mean?
5. What is God’s nature?
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Find resources to live, defend and share your faith in our online store. Our favorite ones for this topic of Resurrection are:
The Resurrection and You Booklet (10-pack) ($29.90) — When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, all seemed lost. But everything changed three days later when he rose from the dead! Then Jesus made some amazing promises. His resurrection would change every aspect of our lives and futures
This 64-page booklet is ideal for initiating conversations with neighbors, friends, and family about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Evidence for the Resurrection ($14.44) — Josh and Sean McDowell will lead you through God’s original intention in creation, how that intention suffered a damaging blow, and his incredible solution for once again restoring relationship with man and woman. They present a thorough but accessible exploration of the many compelling and abundant evidences that Christ conquered death and the grave.
And they challenge you to answer the question: If Jesus rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, what does it mean for me today?
Evidence that Demands a Verdict ($22.49) — Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, PhD, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.