My little children these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
God is just and holy. Man is by nature and deed sinful. Because of sin, all men are condemned to a righteous punishment under the just wrath of God. But God is also merciful and gracious, and in His grace He sent Jesus, His son, to pay the penalty that all mankind owed, namely judgment under the wrath of God. It isn’t that God forgives and forgets sins, rather, He forgave the sins of those who put saving faith in Him, and judged Christ in their place. In doing so, He accomplished what Paul says in Romans 3:26, He is “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” He never compromised His justice, for the sin did not go unpunished, but rather, Jesus felt the full weight of the condemnation that we deserved. So, God, the Just, became the Justifier of sinners. This then is the idea of propitiation: we stand before God uncondemned, robed in the righteousness of His Son who died for us. Where once we were enemies of the Holy, we are now forgiven and accepted. This is not just a past reality. This isn’t just a concept that plays out at the point of God’s grace in justification, rather, according to 1 John 1:1, in this reality, Jesus, the One Who willingly became the sacrifice for our sins sits as our advocate with the Father for sins that we still commit. He is the propitiation for the sins that we have committed and for the sins that we do commit. What should our reaction be, knowing that our Propitiation sits next to God, constantly working forgiveness on our behalf? According to verse 1, we should strive to not sin. With excitement because of forgiveness, we should live our lives in a way that says, “Thank you, Jesus, for your work, I will let it change me from one who pursues wickedness, to one who seeks the purpose that you saved me for and called me to.”
Food For Thought: How can God still be “just” even if He doesn’t punish us for our sins?