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6/8/17

God's favor, power, and unfathomable love

Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Romans 3.25

Why did Jesus come to die? What was Jesus accomplishing, while he looked defeated, hanging on a Roman cross? These questions and many others are answered in this verse. God put Jesus forward as a propitiation by his blood. What does that mean?

By his blood

When the Bible talks about Jesus' blood, it is not trying to emphasize some kind of magical powers Jesus' blood has. Rather, “blood” references Jesus' death, his death on a Roman cross, where his blood was spilled for us. Paul is telling us that though it looked like Jesus was defeated by Rome and the religious authorities by being crucified, he was actually accomplishing God's plan and purpose. Jesus' death was God's idea, carried out by sinful humans as a horrifically rebellious act. Though the crucifixion of Jesus was sinful rebellion by humans, it was also God's good purpose to provide a basis for us to be forgiven and justified by God. How?

Propitiation

Propitiation describes the act of appeasing someone who is angry. Remember that Paul introduced us to God's wrath in Romans 1.18. He told us that God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and wickedness. Because all have sinned, we are under God's wrath. But because of God's love, he has made a way for us to not experience his just wrath against us.  That way is for Jesus to absorb all of God's wrath on our behalf. According to v. 25, this is what God was accomplishing on the cross. Jesus was absorbing wrath for us. God did this out of love for Jesus and for us. Jesus did this out of love for God and for us. Because Jesus absorbed all of God's wrath, all who believe in Jesus, who are in Jesus, experience only favor from God.  There is no admixture of wrath whatsoever in Jesus. God's just wrath is appeased, and all we experience is favor. It's all because of God's work in Jesus!

No matter what we experience today, the gospel reminds us that if we are in Jesus, the good is from God's favor that Jesus secured for us. The trials are from God's favor, as well. Because he is favorable to us, trials come from God to refine us and purify our trust in God alone.

In the midst of your circumstances today. Remember all the good you experience is a gift, nothing you earned. All the difficulty is under God's kind control, intending to purify us. Place your heart and life into God's favor, God's power, God's unfathomable love.

Tim Porter

Lead Pastor for the Mission
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