Summary: Since both believers and unbelievers sin, how are believers different?
What Makes A Genuine Believer Different?
1. Just a few years ago, during Christmas caroling, we missed Doris Smith. Here is how it happened…..
2. To atone for this, I remembered that Doris loved doughnuts…so I brought her half a dozen with some fruit and sang to her…
3. Doris was not angry, but if she was, the doughnuts could have propitiated her wrath; as it was, the doughnuts atoned for or compensated for our mistake.
4. The subject of propitiation is part of what our text is about.
5. Last week, John told us that, as believers, we still sin. This raises a question.
Main Idea: Since both believers and unbelievers sin, how are believers different?
I. Believers Have An ADVOCATE, Unbelievers Do Not (1).
A. John says he is writing to help us THWART sin in our lives (1a).
• He calls believers, “little children.” In Luke, Jesus says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32). The idea is we are vulnerable but protected by a shepherd. A sense of security/guidance.
B. Nonetheless, when we do sin, we have a defense ATTORNEY, an advocate (1b).
• Christ is called our high priest, our mediator, and here our advocate (His session)
C. Romans 8:33-34 teaches a SIMILAR concept.
Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
D. Both of these passages are likely a Midrash from ZECHARIAH chapter 3:1-7.
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 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.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.
E. Genuine believers are eternally secure because Christ KEEPS His elect saved.
1. We never get beyond sin and forgiveness in this life; we can never mature so that we do not sin, nor can we get to the point where we do not need to confess our sins.
2. We came into the Christian life with Jesus Christ as our propitiation, and He is our propitiation every day still.
F. Sometimes we start projects and then drop them; when it comes to salvation, Christ saves us and STICKS with us.
II. Believers Have Received Jesus’ PROPITIATION for Our Sins, Unbelievers Have Not (2).
A. Jesus HIMSELF is the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice.
B. Expiation means the legal removal of sin; propitiation is a sacrifice or act of atonement that AVERTS God’s wrath and addresses the holy rage God righteously has toward sin.
Romans 3:24b-26, “…Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Numbers 35:10-11, “10 And the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 10 And the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.
C. The Feast of Yom Kippur suggests the IMAGERY of propitiation.
D. Because unbelievers have not received Jesus’ propitiation, they must pay the PENALTY for their sins for eternity.