Summary: Jesus satisfied God’s wrath on our behalf, and through faith in Him we can have a righteous legal status before God.
Propitiation and You
1. A few years ago, I was trying to replace a windshield wiper on my mini-van. Somehow I let go of the wiper stem, and it hit the windshield hard. I had cracked the windshield. A $10 wiper turned into a $200 replacement windshield bill.
2. When we damage something, the cost to repair can by high. In the case of sin, the price tag is more than we can pay. Which is why someone else has to pay it. And that is the subject of today’s message: Jesus Christ paid our sin debt by His death on the cross.
3. “In 2012, Getty's hymn "In Christ Alone" was involved in a controversy with the Presbyterian Church (USA) hymnal committee in the creation of their new hymnal "Glory to God". The committee requested permission from Getty and Stuart Townend to use an alternative lyric to the phrase "Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied", changing "wrath of God was satisfied" to "the love of God was magnified."
Getty and Townend rejected this lyric change, and the hymnal committee barred the hymn from the book. Mary Louise Bringle, committee chair, defended their decision saying: "The song has been removed from our contents list, with deep regret over losing its otherwise poignant and powerful witness. Getty was quoted as saying:
First, it's important to express how truly honored we feel that these groups would consider adding "In Christ Alone" to their hymnals. We support the approach they take of studying the lyrics of hymns as they select music worthy to be sung and preserved. However, we believe altering the lyrics would remove an essential part of the gospel story as explained throughout Scripture. The main thread of what we see revealed throughout the Old and New Testament is the need for man to be made right with God. The provided path toward reconciliation came through Christ's predetermined and perfect sacrifice on the cross, satisfying God's wrath once and for all.” [source: Wikipedia]
Main Idea: Jesus satisfied God’s wrath on our behalf, and through faith in Him we can have a righteous legal status before God.
I. Christ’s Atonement Can ENCAPSULATE (Clothe) Us in God’s Righteousness (21-24).
A. Apart from law-keeping and explained by the PROPHETS (3:21)
1. Why the Messiah had to be both God AND man, Psalm 49:7-8, “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice..”
2. Zechariah 3:3b-5 passim paints the picture of justification: “… Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments…. So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments.”
3. Isaiah 45:8a: Shower, O heavens, from above,? and let the clouds rain down righteousness;? let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit.
4. Jeremiah 23:6: In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
B. Now made MANIFEST God’s righteousness “came out of the closet” at the cross.
C. Received through FAITH in Jesus Christ (3:22)
D. All have SINNED, (3:23-24) and all can be justified by a gracious ENDOWMENT from God.
– The opposite of justification is condemnation. God could have simply let every one of us be condemned, but He provided a method for us to justified.
II God Can Gift Us with His Righteousness without COMPROMISING His Justice (3:25-26)
A. The death of Christ SATISFIES (propitiates) God’s righteous wrath (3:25a).
1. David Flusser writes, “ Since the age of the Hasmoneans, Jews had believed that the saints who died to sanctify the name of God atoned for the sins of Israel… Even Jews who did not accept Christianity evidently believed that Jesus, like the other martyrs of the Roman authorities, had atoned for the sins of Israel (Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, p. 59).
2. To make the case even stronger: faithful Jews even today are encouraged to offer a prayer when seriously ill or near death called the Viduy (or Vidui) prayer:
I acknowledge before You, Lord my G-d and the G-d of my fathers, that my recovery and my death are in Your hands. May it be Your will that You heal me with total recovery, but, if I die, may my death be an atonement for all the errors, iniquities, and willful sins that I have erred, sinned and transgressed before You, and may You grant my share in the Garden of Eden, and grant me the merit to abide in the World to Come which is vouchsafed for the righteous…