GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #458 & 459
Satisfaction And Propitiation
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
You probably never heard a preacher talk about the satisfaction of Christ and his propitiation for the sins of his people before. There is a reason for that. Very few preachers in our day of man centered religion know anything at all about the sin-atoning accomplishments of the Son of God. Few understand who Christ is and what he did at Calvary. Yet, the Word of God plainly declares that these two things are essential to redemption and that Christ accomplished them in his death.
Gospel preachers speak frequently about the satisfaction of Christ, declaring that he has both made satisfaction for the sins of his people and that he shall forever be satisfied with the results of his finished work. Be sure you understand this. It is crucial to the gospel. Indeed, this matter of Christ making satisfaction and of Christ being satisfied is the gospel.
The Lord Jesus Christ satisfied the law and justice of God for his people when he suffered and died as our substitute upon the cursed tree. By obeying all the precepts of Gods holy law as a man, he fulfilled it as our Representative and brought in everlasting righteousness for us. By dying under the curse of the law, bearing our sins, bearing its penalty to the full extremity of Divine justice, dying as our Substitute under the wrath of God, our all glorious Christ satisfied the wrath and justice of God for us. Thus he put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself. He has forever secured for his people complete, total immunity from all the evil consequences of their sins. He has secured the eternal salvation of God’s elect by his satisfaction, making it impossible for God in justice to impute their sins to them Rom. 4:8; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12).
Having satisfied the law and justice of God for us, we are assured that our great Redeemer shall see of the travail of his souls and shall be satisfied. He will see his people, every one of them, saved: justified, sanctified, and glorified. Not one ransomed sinner shall perish under the wrath of God. This is the good news we declare in the gospel. (Isa. 40:1-2).
Propitiation is the appeasement of God’s wrath by the blood of Christ. The word “propitiation” is used three times in the New Testament. In all three places, we are told that Christ is our propitiation. The very same Greek word translated “propitiation” in the New Testament is translated “mercy seat” in the Greek version of Exodus 25:21 and in Hebrews 9:5.
The mercy seat which covered the ark of the covenant and covered God’s broken law, upon which the cherubim were fixed, upon which they constantly looked, was the place where the atonement blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled. The mercy seat was the seat of Divine Majesty where God promised to meet his people in mercy. To the mercy seat men were bidden look in the hope of obtaining mercy from and communing with God through the blood-stained mercy seat, just as we are bidden to come to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, because there Christ has sprinkled his blood.
The publican mentioned by our Lord in Luke’s gospel had a glimpse of Christ as the one represented in the mercy seat. He cried, God be merciful (be propitious) to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13). He sought mercy through the propitiatory sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Let me show you how this word propitiation is used in reference to Christ and his sacrifice for sin.
The Lord Jesus Christ was set forth by God the Father to be our propitiation. He is the One who has made propitiation for us, the One in whom propitiation is found, the One for whose sake God is propitious to sinners, and the One who is himself our Propitiation. Christ is our Mercy Seat. He alone is the place where God meets with sinners, receives us, and blesses us. He is the One by whom justice has been appeased. He is the One who is our Peace. He is the propitiatory Sacrifice for our sins. Just as God, in the Old Testament types smelled the sweet savor of the typical, legal sacrifices, and was ceremonially content with them, so Christ’s precious blood is a sweet smelling savor to him. John Gill wrote, “His sacrifice was an offering of a sweet smelling savour to (the Father). He was well pleased with it. It gave him contentment and satisfaction, because his justice was appeased by it and the demands of his law were answered. Yea, it was magnified and made honorable.”
How has God the Father set forth his dear Son as our Mediator to be the propitiation for our sins? Obviously, Paul does not suggest that the Son was compelled to be subservient to the Father. Not at all. This thing was agreed upon by both the Father and the Son. The Son was just as willing to be our Propitiation as the Father is willing to receive his propitiatory sacrifice. Yet, the Holy Spirit here tells us that it was God the Father who set forth his Son to be a propitiation. How has he done this?
Christ was set forth to be the propitiation for our sins in the eternal purposes and decrees of God. He is the Lamb of God who, verily, was foreordained, before the foundation of the world, to be slain as the ransom price and propitiatory sacrifice for his people. His sufferings and death as such were according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (1 Pet. 1:19; Acts 2:23; 4:28).
He was set forth to be our Propitiation in all the promises, prophecies, and pictures of the Old Testament Scriptures. He is the Seed of the woman promised to Adam and Eve in the Garden who must come to crush the serpent’s head. He is the paschal lamb, the brazen serpent, the morning and evening sacrifice, and the promised Substitute of whom the prophets wrote.
In the fulness of time, the Son of God was set forth as our Propitiation in human flesh. He was actually made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem his people who were under the law. Christ is still set forth in the gospel to be the Propitiation for our sins, and shall be until time shall be no more. As God’s servants faithfully expound the Book of God, preaching the gospel in the power of his Spirit, Christ is set forth as the only and all-sufficient, effectual Propitiation for our sins.
He is the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of Gods elect, Jews and Gentiles, throughout all the world, the sacrifice upon which God is merciful to us, being pacified towards us for all that we have done (Heb. 8:12; Ezek. 16:6).
Because of his great love for us, God the Father sent his darling Son into the world to be the propitiation for our sins by offering up his soul and body as a sacrifice to Divine justice to make atonement for us.