In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Sin separates us from God. Man’s disobedience toward the One who created Him and Who is sovereign over all things precludes us from being reconciled to God by any endeavor of our own.
Sin is pandemic and pervasive. It affects every man (Romans 3:10-11, 23) and its wages is death (Romans 6:23). Sin incurs the wrath and judgment of a holy, righteous, perfectly just God (John 3:36; Romans 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 20:12-15).
God’s Word explicitly states that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Yet the divinely instituted Old Testament sacrifices merely foreshadowed a greater sacrifice; even keeping these rituals could not atone for man’s sin (Hebrews 10:4).
The wrath of God must be placated. It must be appeased. It must be propitiated.
How is this accomplished?
[Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2; cf. Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17).
The death of Christ satisfied the righteous wrath of God. Acting as a substitute, on the cross Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God for all who would ever believe upon Him. He, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19), died the death deserved by all sinners.
Christ’s death pleased and appeased the Father, and all who are Christ’s were redeemed at once by this great act of love and obedience (Hebrews 10:10-14).
The reality of this divine propitiation means that Christians can rest knowing they do not stand condemned before God (Romans 8:1), but rather are clothed in the righteousness of their Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Truly this is the act of a supremely loving God (1 John 4:10).