As a parent or baby sitter, you have probably experienced this. You have been breaking up arguments all day with the children in your care. And now you have just given them the last warning, before you really, really give them consequences for their actions. You walked away, hoping this time your warning will be heeded, and you go sit in another room and get about your business.
Your work is interrupted 15 minutes later, by what sounds like another argument. Immediately, you are angry, and you start your trek down to the source of the noise. You are angry and can’t wait to give the consequences. But as you turn the corner, you see something you didn’t expect. The children aren’t arguing with themselves. They are playing Legos and it only sounded like an argument. Instantly, you are happy, delighted, and you have rich affection for the children. Your anger is gone.
Because of our rebellion against God, he is rightly angry with us. A theme in the Bible is the wrath of God. God’s wrath is good, it is patient, it is just, and flows out of his love for us. God is angry with humanity because of our sin, and our refusal to live according to how he made us. But the good news of the gospel is that God’s wrath has turned to favor. God went from wrath to favor and delight with us. This change is called propitiation. Propitiation is the act of becoming propitious. It is the move from anger to delight. An eye witness to Jesus, named John, wrote a letter to a church in the first century telling them about the propitiation of God.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4.10
What turned God’s anger to delight? Like the story above, was it our obedience that was propitious? No. It was Jesus’ obedience! Here is the gospel: Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, all of our sins—past, present, and future—all of them are paid for. What good news! Out of deep love for us, God has done everything necessary for his wrath to be satisfied, and it was at his great cost.
Let your heart rest and believe the good news of God’s love for you! Marvel in his love. Rest securely in his love.