Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

No word is more important to an accurate understanding of Calvary than propitiation. Pronounced “pro-pi-she-a-shun”, this New Testament word has deep Old Testament roots.

The holy wrath of God requires justice for every spiritual crime (i.e., sin). Every single act of human unrighteousness and ungodliness is a capital crime. Sin violates God’s holiness, and justice must be served. Hell was prepared for this very reason, and no plan of salvation for the devil and his angels was ever devised (Hebrews 2:16).

Not so with humans. From the riches of God’s love, grace, and manifold wisdom, a plan of salvation was devised. At its crux is Christ’s cross of propitiation, the full satisfaction of God’s holy wrath for humanity’s sin. Jesus tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9).

Sin is not “forgiven” by God turning a blind eye to it. Sin is forgiven by God making Him who knew no sin to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). The righteous, legal demands of God’s wrath were met by the Lamb of God, the One called Immanuel.

Once Christ’s sacrifice of propitiation at Calvary was completed, God then placed Him who had suffered for us at His right hand to be our merciful and faithful High Priest. Therefore, we now have a choice: Heaven or hell.

Without propitiation, there is no choice.

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Author: jchowning

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