You might ask, “Well, why do I need to calm the wrath of God?” Because God is angry at your sin. John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NKJV). Paul wrote that before we got saved, we are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3, ESV). Jonathan Edwards once wrote his famous sermon entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Sin is so sinful that a holy, righteous God is angry at it. You need to appease the wrath of God, because He is angry at sin. And He is angry at sinners!
The penalty of sin is death. Every sinner must pay for it. God is really angry at sin. Every sinner must appease His anger. The bad news is that no sinner can pay fully for his sin. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, ESV). No matter how religious you are, how good you are, or how helpful to others, you cannot pay for your sin.
This Holy Week, many in the Philippines will flog their backs with whips. Many will offer themselves to get nailed on the cross. Many will walk in a religious procession under the heat of the sun, believing that it is but a little sacrifice this season. Yet no sinnner can ever sacrifice enough to get the favor of God. No sinner can ever satisfy God’s righteous demands 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 we 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 vicarious. He died in our place. That’s substitutionary. His blood covers our sin. That’s expiation. His offering calmed the wrath of God, ensuring the mercy of God. That’s propitiation.
So Christ not only covers our sin. He also calms the wrath of God against sin. He appeases and pacifies the wrath of God against sin. John wrote, “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, ESV).
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