A couple years ago when Chad my husband and I were taking night classes at Bible college we were blessed to sit under a pastor and teacher who made the Bible come alive. He taught the book of John. Never had I studied the Word so intently and he taught us a whole new way to read the Bible and study it. This has remained with me since then and I now am a better Bible reader because of it.
One particular lesson we looked at 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;
The teacher went on to ask us what propitiation meant. Put it in your own words, he said. I felt really stumped. I had read this verse so many times, had seen the word, even felt as though I understood what the verse was saying but I couldn't exactly say what propitiation was! He then proceded to give an example, a picture of what propitiation was ....and I have never thought about the word and it's meaning the same since then.
This is the picture he gave to us:
Imagine you loaned someone 10,000. Loaned, not give. You didn't tell them when to pay back the money but it was expected. This particular person was really low on money, perhaps. Your more then happy to help out. Well, a couple months go by and you still have not recieved the money back. You still give the person the benefit of doubt and don't worry about it. Six months later, no money returned. The person is actually starting to get back on their feet! This is truly good, you think...still giving him the benefit of doubt that your money will be returned. A year later, you run into the person and they are doing great! They are not having any more financial troubles and in fact, quite the opposite. Boy, you could really use the 10,000 by now and you mention the debt to the person. Quite relieved, he assures you the money will be paid back soon. A few more months pass on. Now it has been almost 2 years and you are still without the money. You no longer see this particular person anymore. It is like they are avoiding you...you try to call them. No answer. You try stopping by, no one comes to the door. In fact, you never hear from them again. No returned money.
Now fast foward 5 years. You've never seen that person since. Any time you think about your money and that person you get so ticked off. You wish you never, ever loaned that money out! It makes you livid! One day, the same person who you loaned the money to comes to your door. You can't believe it. 5 years later and here he is. Wow. Your angry. Your put out with disgust. How dare he, show up here after all the times you've tried to contact him!!!?? Asking him what he wants....and where he's been...he simply apologizes and gives you the money in an envelope. He leaves, he knows it's been too long and has ruined any friendship you may have had with him in the past.
You inspect the envelope, still irritated. Surprised, you pull out the check. WAIT. He has paid you back more then you loaned him....Your gasping for air now....The grand total is 100,000 dollars!!! You are amazed and totally shocked and giddy!
Now, think on this. If the man were to have paid the money back...10,000 only--you still would have accepted the money back, yes of course. But you would have still been irritated, surely. If he would have paid you the money and interest you would of been happy to see the money but most likely still ticked off and thinking why did he avoid me for so long still??? But him paying 100,000 dollars...well, that was above and beyond what you loaned him. That soothed your anger, made you forget about the years in between the loan. It was more then enough to satisify you.....more then enough to make peace. In fact, all you can do now is think about the 100,000 dollars!
In the same likeness, God sent Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins! Jesus' blood appeased God...Only a Perfect, Sinless Sacrafice would do. God was angry at mankind for their sinfullness and disobedience. But when Jesus came and died for humanitys sins God's wrath was satisfied. It was more then enough!!!!!!
I hope this story helps you a little better understand the word propitiation. Maybe you can tailor this story for your children and share it with them. If nothing else, I hope your able to give God glory today thinking about propitiation! ;-)
For more on propitiation and Jesus' FREE gift to you click here