God loved us so much, you might say, He stood up, took off His royal robes, and set them across the back of His judge chair, and He came down in the form of His Son Christ Jesus, and instead of standing before us as our judge, He stood next to us as our Savior. And He took the penalty upon Himself. He took the holy, just, righteous wrath of God upon Himself. And when Jesus said “It is finished” all the requirements of the law and the nature of God were satisfied. He was set free to deal with us in love.
That is propitiation — what Christ did on the cross God-ward.
Let Josh’s story illustration speak to you as you relate to Christ’s sacrifice and what that means to you.
Why did Jesus have to die?
We saw that He not only died for us for redemption but he also died for God the Father to satisfy – propitiate His holy, just, righteous nature.
The work on the cross man-ward is redemption.
The work on the cross God-ward is propitiation, or I like to call it satisfaction.
But what does that really mean? Let me try to illustrate it for you.
This story happened a number of years ago. I read a newspaper account in Los Angeles, California.
Just north of L.A. there is a stretch of highway that goes through a county where they are very strict on speeding, and the little village there makes a lot of money on it. And this young lady, and I would estimate she was probably about maybe 18-19 years old, was picked up for speeding.
Well in that segment of that highway when you are picked up for speeding, you are ticketed and taken right to the court 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week the court is in session. And so she was taken to the court.
She sat in the court for a while and when it was her turn and her name was called she went forward and stood before the judge.
The judge read off the citation and said, “Guilty or not guilty?”
Well she was caught, as we say in English, red-handed.
And so she said, “Guilty.”
And the judge brought down the gavel and said, “I find you guilty.”
(And I am not sure accurately here of what took place; but it was either pay $100 fine, or spend one day in jail, or so many hours in jail.)
The judge brought the gavel down, “guilty.”
But then an amazing thing happened, probably never happened before or maybe one or two other times in the history of American courts; but the judge stood up, took off his judicial robe, laid it over the back of the chair, walked down around the front, stood next to the young lady, took out his billfold and paid the fine.
The whole court was stunned. What was the explanation? The explanation was this.
The judge was her father.
And now here is the situation.
The father loved his daughter probably more than anyone else in the world; but he was a just judge. But he was a just judge. (Think of that, a just judge.) And therefore he could not say “I love you so much, I know you did not mean to do it. You are forgiven this time.” What would everybody in the court yell out? I would have yelled out. “I want justice.”
So matter how much he loved her, because he was a just judge he had to fine her $100 or put her in jail for a day. But he loved her so much he was willing to set aside his judicial robes, and come down and stand next to her as her father instead of seated before her as her judge; and he took the penalty upon himself. So no one could say “I want justice.” The law, the requirements of the law, was met.
You might say that you and I were brought before God and He brought down gavel and asked “Are you guilty or not guilty?” and I said “Guilty, I am a sinner”.
And God brought down the gavel and said, “I fine you — the wages of sin is death.”
But God loved us so much, you might say, He stood up, took off His royal robes, and set them across the back of His chair, and He came down in the form of His Son Christ Jesus and instead of standing before us as our judge, He stood next to us as our Savior. And He took the penalty upon Himself. He took the holy, just, righteous wrath of God upon Himself. And when Jesus said “It is finished” all the requirements of the law and the nature of God were satisfied. He was set free to deal with us in love.
That is probably one of the best illustrations I have seen of what it means to be propitiated, i.e., Christ paying the price to satisfy the holy, just, righteous nature of God.
Why did Jesus have to die? Because God is a holy, just righteous loving God.
For whom did He die? Yes, He died for you, for me, for everyone, for the elect, and He also died for God the Father.
If you do not understand this, you will almost always do what you would call “water down” sin. You will never look at sin as truly being sinful and that will effect almost every decision you ever make in your life.
God loves you so much He did something about it.
What will you do?
RETURN TO LIST | REQUEST PRAYER | KNOW GOD NOW
1. Whom did Jesus die for?
2. What did the work on the cross accomplish for man and for God?
3. What is another word for propitiation?
4. What happened to the young lady who was speeding and got a ticket?
5. When Jesus said “It is finished”, what did He mean?
6. What did God do as a result of His love for you?
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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.