Decoding the big words of the Bible - Propitiation

Sermon notes

When it comes to the Bible, if we want to walk in the realities of the New Creation it is imperative for us to move from the shallow waters of Christianity and into the deep where the marvels of God are there.

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

Psalm 107:23, 24

We need Christ focused churches. We need doctrinally driven and Spirit driven churches.

Christ Focused, Doctrinally Driven and Spirit led churches

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified

1 Corinthians 2:2


Crucifixion entailed Substitution, Propititiation, Expiation, Justification, Reconciliation and Redemption

These are all big theological words that we need to grasp in order to be fruitful believers A shallow understanding of Scriptures cause shallow faith. We cannot walk in the New Creation realities unless we understand these words. Low self esteem is a result of not decoding these words

The Cross - The three works and satisfactions of the Cross

  1. Propitiation
  2. Reconciliation
  3. Redemption

They can be summarized as follows

  • Godward = Propitiation
  • Sinward = Redemption
  • Manward = Reconciliation

In our salvation, God uses languages we can all understand

  • Redemption = Commercial
  • Propitiation = Religious or spiritual
  • Substitution = Sports/Athletical
  • Reconciliation = Social
  • Justification = Legal

Today’s word : Propitiation= Satisfaction = appeasement of someone/deity

Propitiation: from Latin propitiat- ‘made favorable’, from the verb propitiare, from propitius ‘favorable, gracious’ 

How many ever heard the saying that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of New Testament 

GOD of OT = wrath

GOD of NT = mercy

That is called Dual Deism - and that is not so for He is the same yesterday, today and forever and he said, 'I am the Lord and I change not.' In Old Testament the accent/emphasis is on the wrath of God anticipating the grace to come. In the New Testament the accent is on the grace of God because of the enactment of the wrath of God. The axe was expected in the OT but it fell in the NT. 

Christ appeased our guilt

Christ appeased our Judge


Propitiation helps us to understand the balance between God’s Holiness and God’s grace. God’s Holiness necessitated God’s grace in the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus and God’s grace of the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus accentuated the Holiness of God.

Grace: Propitiation - By grace (propitiation, appeasement) are you saved through faith.

The propitiatory work of Christ is only a reality because of his substitutionary sacrifice. The penal substitution is grace in action. 

The ramifications of the Cross

  1. Saved from the penalty of sin (past)
  2. Save from the power of sin (present)
  3. Will be saved from the presence of sin (future)

Please Note:

According to the Scriptures, sin must be paid for.(Romans 6:23) When Jesus Christ died, he suffered as a substitute in the place of and on behalf of fallen humanity. Jesus’ sacrificial death was the only means whereby  men and women could be justified that is to be declared righteous, based on their faith in Him.


But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Romans 3:21-25

Jesus’  penal substitutionary death was not merely a statement against evil or an expression of love, but a payment that satisfied the just demands of a Holy God. 

Christ's death was necessary for threefold basis and  reasons.

First, sin separated and alienated us from God. Those who are controlled by sin cannot please God.


For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:5-8

 Jesus substitutionary and propitiatory death made peace with God possible. It is important to understand that the coming and manifestation of Jesus Christ was  not just to provide us with a godly example (good man), but to die on our behalf and to bear the cost for sin(sacrifice). He came to be the propitiatory sacrifice.

Second, God is holy. The holy character of God demanded and required that sin be punished. We must never trivialize sin. Sin makes us the objects of God's wrath until the penalty of sin is paid. By laying down His own life, Jesus paid the price on our behalf, satisfying God's demand. This payment was made, not to Satan, but God.


Third, the presence, power and penalty of sin rendered us helpless.  We could not nor can we save ourselves. Man did not, does not have the capacity,  the will or the ability to offer anything acceptable to God on our own behalf. We not only suffered and was disqualified from the imputing of, the guilt and penalty of Adam's original sin, but also from the effects of our own sinful nature and actions.

But God, who is rich in mercy, sent Jesus Christ to die in our place, so that He might be righteous in dealing with sin while at the same time providing His own righteousness to those who believe in Jesus Christ.16 Christ's death was more than an attempt to reverse the human course started by Adam; it served as a substitutionary and propitiatory   payment for the trespasses of all mankind.

Liberal theologians hate the concept of  Substitutionay and Propitiatory Sacrifice

Liberal “ Your religion is a slaughter house religion”

            “ If Jesus had to die to procure God’s forgiveness then that makes God a monster.’

             ‘There is no such thing as penal substitution and the very idea of it is repulsive.’

Liberal argumentative definition: Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory)[1][2] is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, which argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalized) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive sin. It developed with the Reformed tradition[1][2][3][4][5] as a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment.                                                                                                                                                         Liberal theology is taught in most universities


Propitiation: Jesus died to satisfy and appease the wrath of God that was wrought by human sin. To avert the wrath of God. To satisfy the wrath and anger of God towards sin. It upsets men to think that God in his nature would deal with Jesus in this fashion. How can a gentle God who created earth, the sun, moon, stars and flowers be so inclined to punish sin with the death of a person. 

The results of the Cross (ramifications)

Godward - Propitiation - The death of Christ on behalf of the sinner to appease the

                                                         wrath of God. 

Sinward - Redemption - Pays and satisfies the demands of sin

Manword - Reconciliation


The word propitiation is used 5 times in the New Testament

Propitiation = Hilasterion …Different from Expiation


"Propitiation" is the preferred choice of the two (expiation)since it addresses both the context and the theology of the act. The meaning of propitiation is actually more forceful than how it is normally translated, as "appeasing." Instead, it's more in line with specifically being the object of the direct wrath of the deity in question (in the Greek mind) for transgressions. In this case, Jesus was that - he was the object of God's wrath. The result of how he assumed this wrath was the expiation of sins.


1) Romans 3:25

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

2) 1 John 2:2

 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

3) 1John 4:10

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

4) Luke 18:13 -  The publican’s prayer 

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

- Lord be propitiating unto me a sinner -hilasthEti

5) Hebrews 2:17

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

 hilaskesthai G2433 -TO-BE-PROPITIATING to-be-making-a-propitiatory-shelter


There is a difference between propitiation and expiation Expiation means you do something to amend a bad relationship, a bad  situation.


Car accident: Car dent: Brand new car

Propitiation : The guy gets out , grabs you by the collar beat the tar out of you to appease his anger

Expitiation : Your insurance takes care of the dent of his car. It identifies and corrects the problem. However that person’s anger and irritation may be still towards me. While it rectifies the situational problem but it does not deal the personal violation 

There is a move in modern Christianity to make expiation to be propitiation. They want to replace the idea of propitiation with expiation to remove the blood demands for human sins.


A man has an accident on the job. Loses his legs. The company compensates him millions of dollars and takes care of him for the rest of his life. - Expiation

However the man’s emotions is still anger for the lost of leg and mobility - It takes propitiation to appease the man’s anger 


Propitiation and expiation are not antithetical, they are different sides of the coin.

"Expiation is the result and not the means of what Romans 3:25 is describing. I believe that context supports this since Paul is describing the means by which what is understood as "expiation" has been accomplished. The detailed description of the shedding of blood as the means also lends itself to an understanding of "propitiation." This would have been the most natural reading to both the Jewish and Gentile (who would have had little understanding of the "mercy seat"). Additionally, the physical object of the "mercy seat" was not an object of sacrifice, but of meeting. It was the location where YHWH revealed himself to the high priest. The detailed blood imagery would not make sense if Paul (who would have tremendous understanding of Levitical Law) is building toward this as the intended meaning."






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