Jesus’s Work Achieved Its Purpose
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence (Hebrews 9:24).
I am a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Rock-and-roll was my music. My buddies and I listened and then spent hours debating the all-important question: What is the greatest rock-and-roll song of all time? (I still maintain it’s “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.)
Many of those songs are still front and center on the music scene today. One song that continues to live is the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” The lyrics strike a nerve. For many, the title alone gives voice to their deepest thoughts about God: “No matter what I do, God is never satisfied with me.”
The Bible tells a different story. God is satisfied. The reason has to do with the biblical word “propitiation.” When was the last time you used that in a sentence? It’s not a word we hear very often, if at all. But it packs a powerful punch when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The first place we see it in the New Testament is in Paul’s letter to the Romans. It comes at a high point in Paul’s argument for justification by grace through faith. Here’s the passage:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26 ESV).
God put Jesus forward as a propitiation by his blood. What does this mean? Propitiation is a God thing. It took place between God the Father and Jesus the Son. The writer of Hebrews marks it as a heavenly transaction: “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24).
The result is this – Jesus’s shed blood satisfied the demands of God’s justice and holiness. Think about that. The wrath of God directed toward you was fully satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God accepted the blood of Jesus as complete and final payment for your sins.
God is satisfied. Jesus’s work achieved its purpose. This is grace. Jesus accomplished for you what you could not accomplish yourself. This means there is nothing for you to do except believe. You have been justified by grace through faith.
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