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Doctrine of Propitiation

July 23, 2010

Doctrine of Propitiation

A.  Definition.
1.  Propitiation is the Godward side of the work of Christ in salvation.  God the Father is satisfied with the sacrificial ministry of our Lord on the cross.
2.  Propitiation is the work of Christ on the cross which deals with the integrity of God.
3.  Propitiation means what our Lord satisfied the Father.  Hence, in propitiation the justice of God judges our sins and the integrity of God is satisfied with that judgment.
4.  Propitiation frees the justice of God to immediately give anyone who believes in Christ onehalf of divine integrity, the righteousness of God.  This is the down payment on our salvation.
5.  Salvation adjustment to the justice of God by faith in Christ frees divine justice to provide blessings for the believer at salvation.  These blessings include both our logistical grace blessings and escrow blessings.  The imputation of perfect righteousness at salvation means instant justification.  God is justified in blessing us.
6.  Divine justice must judge sinful man before divine justice is free to bless sinful man.
7.  When the justice of God judged our sins in Christ on the cross, both the righteousness and justice of God were propitiated.  That is, the integrity of God was satisfied or expiated.  Propitiation means expiation.
Now that same justice of God can provide blessing without compromising any attribute of divine essence.
8.  Propitiation is the Godward side of salvation.  Reconciliation is the manward side, and redemption is the sinward side.
9.  Therefore, propitiation relates directly to the integrity of God, since it is the Godward side.  Propitiation means that the act of judgment satisfies the integrity of God.  Rom 3:2526 says that Jesus Christ was publicly displayed as the mercy seat, the place of the propitiation of God’s justice.  Cf. 1 Jn 2:2, 4:10.
10.  Propitiation is the turning away of the wrath of God by the offering of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins.

B.  Propitiation is appropriated by faith, is the basis for justification, and demonstrates the celebrityship of our Lord.  Rom 3:2028, “Because by means of the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.  But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God has publicly displayed by His blood as the mercy seat [a propitiation] through faith for a demonstration of His righteousness, because of the passing over of previously committed sins, because of the delay in judgment from God; I say for a demonstration of His righteousness at the present time, in order that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Where then is boasting?  It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  Of works?  Definitely not, but by the law of faith.  Therefore we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”

C.  The Shadows of Propitiation.
1.  The Ark of the Covenant.
a.  The ark was a wooden box 45” by 27” by 27” made of Acacia wood overlaid with gold.  The wood represents the humanity of Christ; the gold represents the deity of Christ.  Together, they represent the Hypostatic Union.
b.  Heb 9:4 and  Num 17:8 tell us that inside the box were:
(1)  The urn of manna, which represented sin as rejection of God’s logistical grace provision.
(2)  Aaron’s rod that budded, which speaks of sin in the sense of rebellion against the authority of God and rejection of God’s system for communication of doctrine.
(3)  The tablets of the Law, which spoke of sin as transgression of divine law, since the Law defined freedom in the client nation.
c.  The contents represent Christ bearing our sins on the cross,
1 Pet 2:24; 2 Cor 5:21.
d.  On top of the ark was the solid gold mercy seat, Ex 25:1722.  The two cherubs of gold represent the righteousness and justice of the Integrity of God.  Ex 25:22 says, “There I will meet with you.”  This shows us that the integrity of God is the point of reference, the place of contact between God and man.
2.  The New Testament confirms the importance of the mercy seat as a shadow of propitiation, Heb 9:5.
3.  The day of atonement portrayed the whole picture of salvation from the standpoint of propitiation.  The sprinkling of animal blood represented the spiritual death of Christ bearing our sins and the acceptance by the integrity of God of this work.
4.  The resultant principle is that at the moment of salvation, the justice of the Father is satisfied, freeing the love of God to motivate the justice of God to bless the believer.  God is now free to love and bless us.
5.  The burnt offering portrays propitiation, Lev 1:1-9.
a.  The Hebrew noun QARBAN means an offering by which you approach God.  Jesus Christ is the only way to approach God.
b.  The word for “burnt” is taken from the Hebrew verb word ALAH, meaning to go up – the smoke from the offering going up to God.  This was the aroma of fragrance of Eph 5:2.
c.  A male without defect is a picture of the impeccability of Christ.  The doorway of the tent of the meeting was where the brazen altar was located.  The brazen altar is a picture of the cross.
d.  Laying the hand on the head of the sacrifice is a picture of identification.  The sins were transferred from the people to the animal.  The priest represented the people as he laid his hand on the head of the animal.
e.  The physical death of the animal was a picture of the substitutionary spiritual death of our Lord on the cross.
f.  Skinning of the animal was to demonstrate that there was no blemish in the animal; another picture of impeccability.  Cutting the animal into pieces portrays the salvation work of Christ.
g.  The fire on the altar represents judgment.  Burning the sacrifice is analogous to the fact that Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin as a substitute for us.
h.  The head refers to the mental purity or inner perfection of our Lord.  The suet refers to the overt perfection of our Lord.
i.  The washing of the water refers to rebound.  All of this was offered as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, that is, to God the Father.
6.  The grain offering illustrates propitiation, Lev 2:1ff.
a.  The fine floor represents the perfection of the humanity of Christ.  The Father gave the Son, and only a perfect gift can be given by God.
b.  The oil is analogous to the ministry of God the Holy Spirit sustaining our Lord.
(1)  The prophesy of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to our Lord, Isa 11:2-3, 42:1, 61:1-2.
(2)  The Holy Spirit was given without measure, Jn 3:34.
(3)  The Holy Spirit was related to the baptism of our Lord, Mt 3:16.
(4)  The Holy Spirit in relationship to the earthly ministry of Christ is documented in Mt 12:18; Lk 4:14-15, 18.  Our Lord was sustained by the filling of the Spirit.
(5)  The ministry of the Holy Spirit sustained our Lord while he was being judged for our sins, Heb 9:14.
(6)  The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit was involved in the resurrection of Christ, Rom 1:4, 8:11; 1 Pet 3:18.
(7)  The present ministry of the Holy Spirit glorifying our Lord is part of our heritage as believers.  God the Holy Spirit, who sustained our Lord, now sustains all Church Age believers.
c.  The frankincense refers to the impeccability of Jesus Christ propitiating God the Father, the sweet aroma of the offering.
d.  In Lev 2:2 the priest is to “take” a handful of the fine flour, which represents faith in Christ.  An offering by fire represents the judgment of our sins.  The altar represents the cross.
e.  The offering is a soothing aroma to God the Father, compare Eph 5:2.  God the Father can only be satisfied with one thing for eternal salvation:  the substitutionary atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
(1)  Fellowship with God in time and eternity is based on the fact that God the Father is propitiated by the person and work of Christ.
(2)  At the moment of faith in Christ, the believer passes the point of propitiation.
f.  There are categories of the grain or food offering.
(1)  Lev 2:4, the offering from the oven.  That which is baked in an oven is completely hidden from sight.  Hence, it represents the unseen side of the cross, that is, Christ being judged for our sins while covered with darkness.  Leaven represents the old sin nature.  There was no sin in Christ, therefore, there must be no leaven in the offering.
(2)  Lev 2:5-6, the offering made on the griddle.  The griddle represents the visible period of the cross plus the pre-cross sufferings.  No frankincense is mentioned because propitiation came after the offering was sacrificed.  The crumbling of the sacrifice indicates Jesus Christ being judged for our sins.  Pouring oil on the offering speaks of the anointing or divine appointment of Christ to become our savior.  During this visible period many viewed Christ and concluded that He was the Savior.
(a)  Simon of Cyrene, a Jew from the dispersion, Mt 27:32.  He is analogous to the Jewish remnant, the true Israel of Acts 2:10; Rom 16:13.
(b)  The dying thief, a criminal.  He is analogous to an immoral Gentile.  Lk 23:39-43.
(c)  The Roman Centurion, an establishment type Gentile.  Mt 27:54.
(3)  Lev 2:7, the offering made in a pan.  The pan represents the aloneness of Christ on the cross.  Jesus Christ was forsaken by God the Father, and despised and forsaken by men, Isa 53:3.
g.  The “pleasing aroma to the Lord” is propitiation illustrated by the grain offering.

D.  The justice of God can only judge the unbeliever who rejects the propitiation offered by the blood of Christ.
1.  According to Lev 16:2, Aaron was not to enter before the veil or else he would die.  The entrance into the Holy of Holies apart from the blood offered on the Day of Atonement illustrates salvation by works.
2.  Only on the Day of Atonement was the High Priest permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, and then only with the blood of the animal sacrifice, Lev 16:1316.

E.  Propitiation is the only approach to the integrity of God.
1.  According to Num 7:89, Moses was permitted inside the Holy of Holies to talk to God.  He was the only exception.  Relationship with the integrity of God is the only way to have contact with God.  Moses’ relationship with the integrity of God was so strong that God permitted him in His presence.
2.  The parable of propitiation, Lk 18:9-14.
a.  The taxcollector was a Roman aristocrat, but considered by the Jews to be the lowest of all social rank at the time of writing.  He was generally very wealthy and employed Jews to work for him, like Matthew.  Jewish tax-collectors were considered to be traitors by other Jews.
b.  In passages like Mt 9:10 it is related that our Lord associated with publicans or tax-collectors and “sinners” or prostitutes.  This offended the Pharisees, Mt 9:11; Mk 2:16; Mt 11:19.  The Pharisees criticized our Lord for being a friend of tax-collectors and prostitutes.  But they kept coming to listen to our Lord because of their positive volition to the gospel, Lk 15:1.
c.  The arrogant Pharisee followed the Roman tax-collector into the Temple in order to criticize him.
d.  The tax-collector was a believer through observing the sacrifices and offerings, and so asked God to be propitious to Him.  He does not beg God to save him, but “to be propitious.”  He did not beg God to save him.  Were he to ask for love and mercy, he would be excluding the propitiatory work of Christ on the cross.  But he has accepted the work Christ would perform and asked that the justice of God be satisfied with his faith in that work.
e.  Propitiation is the basis for God being merciful and gracious to us.  The Gentile Roman understood propitiation; the Jewish Pharisee did not.  The Pharisee had ritual without reality.
f.  This parable indicates that God does not distinguish between races.  Nor is God is propitiated by human works.
g.  “I say to you, this man [the tax-collector] went down to his home having been justified rather than the other.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  “To be humble” here means not approaching God with any form of human works for salvation.  The Pharisee exalted himself; the tax-collector did not.

F.  Propitiation is related to various aspects of God’s character.
1.  The mechanics of propitiation is related to the justice of God.  Justice is satisfied, as illustrated in the burnt offering of Lev 1.  Righteousness is satisfied, as illustrated in the grain offering of Lev 2.
2.  Propitiation is related to the love of God, 1 Jn 4:10.  “By this love exists: not because we have loved God, but because He has loved us and sent His Son a propitiation for our sins.”  The love of God is motivation for propitiation.

G.  Propitiation is related to unlimited atonement, 1 Jn 2:2.  “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”