We have stated that Romans 3:21-26 might be the most important paragraph ever written. We might further contend that Romans 3:24-26 is the most important passage in the entire Bible. It is no less than the introduction of one of the most important doctrines: justification by grace through faith.
The question is raised, on what basis can God justify – declare righteous – unrighteous sinners? If God’s law demands that sin be punished, how was anyone in the Old Testament saved? How can God be true to His law and at the same time be generous with salvation? The answer: Jesus is our propitiation!
The importance of this word and its meaning cannot be overstated. If we deserve wrath and yet don’t receive wrath, that wrath must go somewhere else. More specifically, that wrath must be endured by someone else. Otherwise, God is not being true to His word or His law. But that is not the case.
Christ Jesus is the one on whom God’s wrath is laid. Jesus is my propitiation. He turns God’s wrath from me and takes it upon Himself. I deserve it – He does not. Jesus is more than merely a “sacrifice of atonement” on my behalf. He is definitively more than an “expiation” that simply covers my sin. No. Jesus became sin so that I might receive the righteousness of God.
Any description of the cross that does not describe the cross of Christ as a propitiation – as a wrath-removing, wrath-averting sacrifice – is false. (First John 1:2; 4:10) If you want total and absolute freedom, it is imperative that you grow in your understanding of the basis on which God releases us from the penalty of breaking His divine law.
What is your faith in? What is saving faith? If you died today, are you certain of going to heaven? Your ability to answer these questions is foundational to your living a transformed life.