Recently a Christian commented under one of my Open Air Preaching videos, “Why do you preach on ‘propitiation?’ Why don’t you just preach the Gospel?” My answer is ‘propitiation’ is a part of the Gospel. Propitiation is ‘one of two elements’ within the atonement, and the atonement is a part of the Gospel….
My show notes can be seen underneath this video.
In 1 John 2:2, in the context of (and written to) professing Christians, John says that Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins.” This word ‘propitiation’ is the Greek word ‘hilasmos’ which means an atonement,’ i.e. an expiator, to appease, or the means of appeasing.
But what is it, that’s getting ‘appeased’? Propitiation means to ‘appease’ Gods wrath on behalf of the sinner, whom Christ’s saves from their sins. Propitiation is where Christ ‘fully satisfies’ Gods wrath & God’s punishment that was due to me.
The prefix is ‘pro’ – pro what?’ Christ’s propitiation puts me in a good standing with God. Before I was saved, I was an enemy of God, a son of perdition, and a child of His wrath. But because of Christ’s propitiation, I am now in favor (or pro favor) with God.’
So now because God chose me to be His elect, and Christ propitiated my sins, God is now ‘pro’ expiation of me. You ask “what is “expiation?” Earlier I stated expiation is a part of the Greek definition of ‘propitiation.’ The prefix ‘Ex’ in expiation, means something which ‘comes from’ or ‘out of.’
Propitiation is a ‘vertical’ element of atonement, where Christ placates Gods wrath (and punishment), which was due to me for my sins. But expiation manifests itself ‘horizontally,’ where He removes ‘the guilt’ of my sins. In short, Propitiation removes the punishment, expiation removes the guilt.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” [Christians in the NT].
Therefore, both propitiation and expiation are worthy of conversation, and are worthy to preach-on, because He is worthy.
We mustn’t get lazy in our evangelism. Too many believe we’re to merely quote 1 Cor. 15, and then that we’ve shared enough of the Gospel. 1 Cor. 15 is not the whole counsel of God, it is a nutshell description of the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 15 says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”