Summary: Three words describe God’s solution: Expiation, Propitiation, and Atonement. All three are aspects of the redemptive plan through vicarious or substitutionary sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s E. P. A.
Paul in Romans explains fallen man’s dilemma and God’s answer to man’s problem. There are three words that describe God’s solution – Expiation, Propitiation, and Atonement. All three are aspects of the redemptive plan through vicarious or substitutionary sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
I. Man’s Dilemma
A. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against those who commit sin.
B. Someone has written, “GOD IS HOLY; He maintains His purity and rejects, fights against, and destroys that which would offend and attack His holiness and love. God's holiness and love are intrinsically intertwined and cannot be separated. A most important fact that we must all remember is that as God’s love is infinitely incomprehensible, so are his displeasure, hate, anger, wrath, and vengeance for those who would offend and attack His holiness as manifested in His principles and laws.” – AGS, God’s Wrath for Sin
C. Psalm 7:11 (HCSB) “God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day”
D. We cannot as we have said in the past look at sin lightly, dismiss its dreadfulness, or make excuses for it. God holiness demands that the penalty for sin be exacted.
E. Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”
F. Ezekiel 18:20a “The soul who sins shall die.”
G. Man by both birth and by choice is a sinner.
H. God does not desire the death of a sinner, but that the sinner would turn from his evil ways and live. However, because of our sinful by natures, we cannot offer anything to God that He would find acceptable as the payment for the penalty for our sins.
I. Romans 1:18,19 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
J. Man’s dilemma is that He possesses nothing that can meet the demands of a Holy God and therefore the wrath of God hangs over man like the sword of Damocles.
K. Jonathan Edwards said it articulately in his famous sermon “Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God” – “O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.” - copied
II. God’s Remedy