In Atonement 1, we noted that atonement is from the Hebrew, kapar, which means, expiation–to cover the sin of people by a bloody sacrifice. It is also means, propitiation—to appease the wrath of God against sin, thereby, satisfying His divine righteousness. In expiation, you make amends with the God, whom you have offended with your sin. In propitiation, you satisfy by paying for it, thereby appeasing the anger of God against sin.
The penalty of sin is death. Every sinner should pay for his or her sin. God is really angry at sin. Every sinner must appease His anger. The bad news is that no sinner can pay for his sin in full. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, ESV). No matter how religious, how good, how helpful to others he is, it can never take away sin. No sinner can pay the penalty of sin, satisfy God’s demand, and appease God’s wrath against sin. The Bible says that all the bloody sacrifices of men can never pay in full the strict requirements for divine righteousness (See Ps. 50:7-15; Mic. 6:6-8; Heb. 10:1-6).
What did God do that man could not? The good news is that God sent His only begotten Son, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God (Heb. 10:9-10). Christ fully paid the penalty of our sin, satisfied God’s demands, and appeased God’s wrath. How? He was the sinless, Lamb of God. That already satisfies the demand of God for a perfect offering. He died. That’s already sacrificial. He died for us. That’s substitutionary. His blood covers our sin. That’s expiation. His offering appeased the wrath of God, ensuring the mercy of God. That’s propitiation. Thus, Christ made atonement for our sins, by His satisfactory, sacrificial, and substitutionary offering of Himself on the cross.
That is why salvation is all by grace, not by works. It’s all by God, not by us. Salvation is all of God, and none of us. Throw away your faith therefore in your religion or your good works. Instead, throw yourself upon the grace of God in Christ. Kneel by faith at the feet of the cross. Put your faith in His blood. Repent your sin. And you will find forgiveness and release from it (Rom. 3:25).
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