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Please note: There is a PDF version of this message that has the
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In the last month or so we have been looking at some of the great
words of the Gospel. In the first message, we looked at salvation and we
saw that it was based solely on the finished work of Christ on the
cross. Because we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour we have
our sins forgiven and we are in right relationship with God – both for
now and all eternity.
In the second message of the series we looked at Redemption and we
saw that is all about a price being paid to purchase us back. Because of
the price being paid by Jesus’ death on the cross, we are free from
being slaves to sin, free from the power of sin and death, and free from
the punishment for sin.
This week I want to look at two very closely related words –
Reconciliation and Propitiation. These two words finish the triangle of
salvation as I call it. But before we talk about that, let us pray.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one
died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those
who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for
them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a
worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do
so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has
come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who
reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of
reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in
Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to
us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s
ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore
you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no
sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness
Today I want to share 6 things about reconciliation and propitiation.
1. There is a need for reconciliation
Reconciliation means bringing together of two parties that are
estranged or in dispute. In a worldly sense, we understand what
reconciliation means. We have all probably experienced a breakdown of a
relationship where one party is aggrieved and there is a tension between
us when we are together. There is a wall or a barrier between and we are
not relating the same as we once were. It is not until someone takes the
initiative to sort it out or apologise that things get sorted out and
the relationship returns to normal.
The Greek word in the Bible used for reconciliation is
kat-al-lag-ay. It means exchange or change of status, restoration,
or reconciliation. It is about making things right again.
In the Bible Reconciliation involves a change in the relationship
between God and man. It assumes there has been a breakdown in the
relationship, but now there has been a change from a state of enmity and
fragmentation to one of harmony and fellowship.
As we saw several weeks ago in my message in salvation there is a
need, a provision and a response required for salvation to take place.
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
of God in
Romans 3:23. It also tells us in
Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death.
1 John 1:8 says that, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive
ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Isaiah 59:2 reminds us that our sin separates us from God.
One of my favourite tracts I give out to people is Billy Graham’s
“Steps to peace with God”. As you can see from the pictures on the
screen, he uses very simple illustrations to show the need for
reconciliation. He shows people looking towards God off in the distance,
they are separated by sin and they try to find ways to God, but nothing
As we can see from these simple pictures there is a definite need for
reconciliation. This brings us to point number two.
2. God is the Reconciler
In the ancient biblical world where a relationship had broken down
the initiative for reconciliation was usually made in one of two ways.
Firstly, the one who caused the offense tried to reach out to the
offended party. Secondly, a third party could intervene and try to
broker peace and bring the two parties together. It was very rare for
the injured party move towards the one who had offended them. It was
often seen as a matter of pride and saving face.
However, in the Bible, restoration of relationship between God and
humanity, reconciliation occurs with an unexpected twist. God, the
injured party, takes the initiative.
This initiating, reconciling action from God is contrary to
expectations. The removal of alienation, created by man’s sin, is the
work of God. He is the one who initiates, He is the one who provides the
way and He is the one who accepts us.
John 3:16 is a key reminder of this when it says, “For God so loved
the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Coming back to the Billy Graham tract, God provides the bridge to
life and bridge to Himself through the cross of Christ.
3. The death of Jesus Christ accomplishes reconciliation
The death of our wonderful Saviour accomplishes all that was
Romans 5:10 – For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were
reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having
been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
The results of Christ’s work of reconciliation has four parts…
a. Removal of the offense of sin – God is no longer offended by our
sin because it is gone. As I said several weeks ago, the Father looks at
us through the lens of Christ. Like I look through that window and see
outside. He looks through Christ and His shed blood as us.
b. Restored favour with God – we are right with God. The enmity
between God and mankind is gone. We are adopted into His family and are
co-heirs with Christ. We are spiritually seated at the right hand of the
Father with Christ.
c. Fellowship is regained – we are in right relationship with God. We
are no longer slaves forced to work for someone in a worldly sense, but
we are friends with God as Jesus says in
John 15:15. He is with us and we are with Him.
d. Justified with God – we are justified before God. We have right
standing with Him. We can boldly come into His presence because of the
blood of Christ as
Hebrews 10:19 tells us.
The work of reconciliation has been completed. Christ did His part on
the cross when He died for us. Jesus’ last words were “It is finished”.
Our part in the salvation process is to accept what Christ has done for
4. Now we are reconciled to God, we need to help others be
In the last part of our reading today it talks about us being given
the task of helping others come to Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us
to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting
people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of
Believers have been commissioned by the resurrected Lord to have a
message and ministry of reconciliation. In this sense reconciliation is
not only a reality of life for believers, but it is also a purpose of
their kingdom ministry. It is one of the main reasons why this church
I remember years ago I got up early on morning in Perth to do my
devotions. I went to my study and closed the door and began to pray.
Before long God told me to open my Bible to
2 Corinthians 5. As I scan down the page these verses from 18 and 19
almost jumped off the page. It was like size 10 font changed to size 32
font like on the screen. It was like a light shone on the page too. For
me this was a key moment in my life and it was a moment where I felt the
call of God to bring people back to Himself. He gave me the task of
These verses along with
1 Peter 3:15 and
Matthew 28:18-20 remind us that sharing our faith and bring people
to Christ is a key part of our life on earth.
1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be
prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.
Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority
in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and
make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the
very end of the age.”
Our job is to help people get to “here”. As someone who has blessed
to bring quite a few people to Christ, it is one of the greatest joys of
5. God is satisfied
Now we come to the other great word of the gospel – Propitiation.
Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. For the
Christian, the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It
turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass “over the sins
previously committed” (Romans
As we know it was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation.
1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he
loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”, not
only our sins, but for the sins of the world.
1 John 2:2 tell us that Jesus died not just for us, but for all
Propitiation is a legal word that means satisfied. The Heavenly
Father is satisfied with Jesus death on the cross. It was Fathers idea
and the Son carried it out. God is satisfied. If you have trusted Christ
for your salvation, it is done. God’s wrath is turned away and we will
not face it again.
If we were to summarise propitiation, we would say…
a. God is the object of propitiation – His justice need to be
satisfied before a sinner can be acceptable in His sight.
b. Christ is the provision for propitiation – His death satisfies the
Father’s offended holiness.
c. God is satisfied – From the Father’s view point He is justified in
forgiving sin and bestowing righteousness on us.
6. The triangle of salvation
If I was to summarise the first four great words of the gospel we
have looked at so far – Salvation, Redemption, Reconciliation and
Propitiation – I could do it with this diagram which I call the triangle
On the left-hand side Jesus died to pay the price for sin and redeem
us. As a result, on the right-hand side we are reconciled to God. On the
top, God is completely satisfied.
Today we looked at six things…
Let us pray.
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSION Australia
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