Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

1 John 2:2 – Five responses to Jesus as the propitiation

Having thought yesterday about the fact that Jesus is our propitiation in the courts of heaven, what deductions can we make about this reality?

First, there has to be recollection of what we Christians were before we met Jesus Christ. Paul states in Ephesians 2:3 that believers ‘once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.’ It is an awesome thought to contemplate that throughout those years when we were strangers to Christ we were under the wrath of God. No doubt it was true that our election before time would result in our salvation in time. Nevertheless, we were in an awful situation, deserving divine judgement.

Second, there has to be a realisation of what Jesus endured on the cross. It is true that he suffered at the hands of angry humans, an anger that was the expression of sin because it arose from envy and hatred against Jesus. However, much more than human anger was 0n display at Calvary. There, holy divine anger was revealed against Jesus because on the cross he had become the sinbearer. At Calvary, Jesus became a curse and endured the full onslaught of the wrath of God. We should never forget what our sins cost the Son of God.

Third, there has to be a recognition that we will always need his atonement. On the cross Jesus finished the work that the Father gave him to perform, the work of providing atonement for sinners by paying the penalty that was due by them. Throughout his Christian life the believer experiences several spiritual privileges: the benefits connected to being a child of God, particularly prayer; progress in sanctification, and daily repentance for his sins. Yet his acceptance with God does not remain true because of these spiritual activities. His growth in grace does not earn forgiveness for him. Instead he always depends on what Jesus accomplished at the cross.

Fourth, there will also be rejoicing that the sacrifice of Jesus has eternal benefits. It is not only in this life that we will trust in Christ for security. We will do so on the Day of Judgement, and throughout eternity we will depend on the Saviour whose death at Calvary purchased for us every spiritual enjoyment we will have in eternity. Throughout the endless ages we will follow the Lamb that was slain into the rich experiences of the eternal world.

Fifth, there will be a remembering that these blessings are shared among all those who trust in Jesus because he made propitiation for their sins. We are not converted to live in solitary Christianity; there is something very wrong with a Christianity that does not want fellowship with other believers. In this life we join the vast number who confess their sins and who are represented by Jesus in the courts of heaven; in the next life we join the innumerable number who will experience the grace of God throughout the universe of glory. Both in this life and in the next, we have common experiences with the people of God.

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