“Foryou see your calling, brethren,that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not manynoble,are called.ButGod has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;and thebase things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,that no flesh should glory in His presence.But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—andrighteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written,“He who glories, let him glory in theLord.” – 1 Cor. 1:26-31
But of Him: Jesus is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis (“Is Theology Poetry?” The Weight of Glory.)
Even those who claim to have no “faith” put their faith in lots of things. Faith is easy to define: it is trust. Any married couple will tell you trust is the most important ingredient to a healthy marriage. Remove it, and you’ve removed the heart. As the bride of Christ, we trust in Him.
Faith is not something that can be “mustered up,” like courage. It is a gift from God and as such, can be either accepted or rejected (Eph. 2:8, 1 John 5:4). Faith is not payment for a job well done, but the reason to do the job in the first place (Romans 4:4). This gift allows me to properly see the world.
Faith does not depend on the person doing the trusting, but on the object of that trust. I can have great faith in Bigfoot, but my faith (great or little) doesn’t matter, what matters is what I’m trusting in. Jesus is the same whether you trust Him or not. Me trusting in Him doesn’t make Him stronger, it makes me stonger.
Got a church word for you today: propitiation. From the Greek hilasterion “to appease/that which expiates/the gift that procures divine favor.” It’s used only once in the New Testament:
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” I John 2:2 (KJV)
“Propitiation” is also alluded to with the Ark of the Covenant, particularly the mercyseat or atonement cover in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat was sprinkled with atoning blood on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:14). This all represented that the sentence of the Law had been carried out changing a judgment seat into… what? A mercy seat. Still with me?
Propitiation means that God is satisfied with the sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross. It is not a representation. It is literal. Jesus’s literal blood has been sprinkled for us to atone for the sentence of the Law. Changing what would be judgement into… what? That’s right: MERCY.
Isn’t that incredible?
Let me put it to you this way: Imagine a courtroom where the judge declares the defendant guilty and then has an innocent bystander pay for the crimes of the defendant. Outrageous, is it not? But that’s exactly how it works. “He is righteous, so much so that a sacrifice for sin had to be provided. He is loving, so much so that he provided that sacrifice Himself.” (Millard Erickson “Christian Doctrine”)
Like the song goes, “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.”
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished” Romans 3:23-25 (NIV)
Jesus is our advocate. (1 John 2:1)
Jesus is our mediator. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 12:24)
Jesus is our interceder. (Romans 8:34)
Jesus turns our seat from one of judgement to one of mercy.
I heard it put like this: Jesus goes to bat for us.
Jesus is our propitiation. He is our atonement. Without Him advocating and mediating and interceding we could never pay the debt owed. We would be thrown into prison. Our sentence would be for life without parole.
Without the shedding of His precious blood, we would be doomed.