Last year I started digging deeper into God’s word, as if I wasn’t already into it. I studied similes and metaphors and even definitions. I was struck by how little I was getting out of a verse when I glossed over it with only a working knowledge of the meaning of a word. And I even have studied Greek and Hebrew meanings.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
Easy enough, right? He took our place at the cross so we could be saved. Now, what propitiation really is…abatement, acceding, accommodation, adjustment, alleviation, amends, assuagement, blunting, compromise, concession, easing, grant, lessening, lulling and mitigation.
That’s a lot of synonyms. And while they all have reference to changing places with us, they all show the He was taking what we deserved not only spiritually, but literally. Isaiah 53 is a prime example. He wore a crown of thorns so that we could have the mind of Christ. And receive His peace. Peace of mind is priceless. His stripes or wounds for healing.
He took lashes for our sufferings. All these words have a meaning that includes an exchange Him for us. He wanted to abate our pain, assuage means to calm, and quiet. He compromised His body, He became sin for us to be blameless. He want to ease our lives in a fallen world, a king can give you something like land, a grant. Are we taking Him for granted? I was when I did not know the severity of His sacrifice. I had to tell myself that because He was God as well it must not have hurt Him as badly. But He was a man, and that flesh well, He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He felt it. Every lash, gash, nail and cruelty.
I had respect for His sacrifice, I had understanding of it, and yet I could not comprehend it. There are mitigating factors that release prisoners, I’m not counting on ignorance being one of them. He lulls us into His love, He was the propitiation for us in all areas of life, the only human sacrifice God ever accepted, His beloved Son, so I could go free, in so many more ways than I knew. He absorbed the wrath of God so I would not face it for eternity. In the Greek, it is hilasmos, offering to appease the anger. God’s anger was taken by Jesus to set us free, he truly was the Lamb of God.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:25 says God presented Him as a propitiation by His blood to be received by faith. And He was made to be like us in every respect in order to be a sympathetic High Priest. Hebrews 2:17.
So you see, propitiation is a word we may not have understood so well, I still can barely imagine it, only knowing love and peace in heaven and being made sacrifice here on earth, the only human one accepted by God, the only one worthy, His only Son.
Now, that is love. Rebecca Jones