Propitiation [pro PISH ih a shun]

The atoning death of Jesus on the cross, through which He paid the penalty demanded by God because of man’s sin, thus setting mankind free from sin and death.  The word comes from an old English word, propitiate, which means “to appease.”  Thus, propitiation expresses the idea that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for sin which a holy God demanded of man the sinner.  Not only did Jesus pay the price for our sins, but redeemed us by His physical shed blood on the cross.  We have been bought!  Although Jesus was free of sin, He took all our sins upon Himself and redeemed us from the penalty of death which our sins demanded.  Jesus Christ is the PROPITIATION for the sins of all faithful believers.  

The word PROPITIATION is Greek: “hilasterion” (noun), Strong’s #2435, which means an atoning victim.  The Greek (verb) “hilasmos,” Strong’s #2434, means to make atonement.

PROPITIATION is the mercy of God shown towards those who deserve death.  It is vindicating us sinners.  It is recognizing that sinful man owes a debt to God who was wronged, and payment being made in full to appease the earned and deserved wrath of God.  It is settling our account in full with God.  It is accomplished by Jesus Christ doing all of the atoning work for us.  It is the concept of God be appeased and showing mercy and yet doing so by fulfilling His justice.

21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a PROPITIATION by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.(Rom. 3:21-25).

Apostle John wrote that Christ was the PROPITIATION for the sins of those to whom he was writing; and not only them but for all faithful believers in the world.  All Christians are shown mercy and saved from punishment, while at the same time God’s justice is served.  All of this is only through Jesus Christ our Savior.

2And He Himself is the PROPITIATION for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.(1 John 2:2).

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the PROPITIATION for our sins.(1 John 4:10).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a human that He might be the merciful and faithful High Priest to atone once and for all the full payment for sin, which is then applied to every faithful believer for the full payment of their sins.  His PROPITIATION is for all faithful believers (Jews and Gentiles; rich and poor; etc., who put their faith in Christ).  It applies to any faithful believer in the whole world going forward in human history.

17Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make PROPITIATION for the sins of the people.(Heb. 2:17).

[Also see: ReconciliationalsoRedemptionalsoExpiationalsoRegenerationalsoJustificationalsoJustification and Imputation]

[For a more in-depth study see soteriology “Study Series 1 Meaning, Need and Scope of Salvation”]