CHRIST BECOMING THE PROPITIATION SACRIFICE
All of you who are involved in the spread of the gospel work should know that after we bring a person to salvation, we must help him to know Christ’s redemption through His death. The first step of redemption is to redeem us back. The second step is justification based upon this redemption. Then we are reconciled to God. The meaning of reconciliation is to appease. In the New Testament Recovery Version, we used the term propitiation (1 John 4:10). Formerly, we sinned and developed a problem with God. We had violated His law. At the same time, through our sins, Satan took the opportunity to inject his poison—the sinful nature—into us. As a result, we were unable to live with God in peace.
God is willing to bless us. But on our side, we have developed a problem with Him. Therefore, there is the need of propitiation. Christ came to be our propitiation. He did not come to appease God’s wrath, for God’s wrath was not greater than His love. He still loves us. That is why He sent His Son to be our propitiation (1 John 4:10). Propitiation is not to appease God’s wrath, nor to appease our problem. It is to appease the sins that we have committed before God. Christ has come to solve for us the problem of sin. The solution of the problem of sin is His appeasing.
REIGNING IN LIFE TO SUBDUE ALL KINDS OF INSUBORDINATION
In the Old Testament, there was atonement, but not redemption. The day of atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month each year (Lev. 23:27). The sacrifice offered was called the sin offering. In addition there were the trespass offering, the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering. The meal offering had neither blood nor flesh. Its contents were flour, oil, and frankincense. All the other four offerings, however, contained flesh and blood. The sin offering deals with the deep-seated sinful nature in us. The trespass offering deals with our outward, sinful conduct. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, His death was a sin offering; it dealt with our sin. John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’’ The sin here refers to the totality of sin, including the inward sin and the outward sins¾the nature of sin and the acts of sin. In Chinese theology, there are the terms original sin and personal sin. Original sin refers to the sin that Adam committed. Personal sin refers to the sins that a person commits himself.
The first half of God’s salvation is negative. The Lord’s death solves the problem of sin for us. He has redeemed us, purchasing us, as sinners, back. This is what the Lord’s death has accomplished for us. In addition to this, He has resurrected and has come to live in us as our life. The negative redemption plus the positive saving equals salvation. His redeeming death solves all the negative, objective problems outside of us. But the problem in our inward nature can only be solved by the Lord’s coming into us as life in resurrection. His life solves the five basic problems that we have. Thus, today we can reign in this life.
When we reign in life, we mainly overcome two sources. One source is sin; the other is death. In addition to these sources, there are all the negative things that belong to sin and death. None of these things are in subordination to God. Neither are they in subordination to us. Romans 8 tells us that the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be (v. 7). Even if the mind is willing to submit, it cannot submit. This is rebellion. Sin and death are rebellion in us. All the negative things that belong to sin and death are also rebellion in us. This is the situation of man before he is saved. But now that we are saved, we can reign in this life, and everything is in subordination to us. Sin, death, and every negative thing that belongs to sin and death can do nothing with us. We have subdued them. All insubordination has to be in subjection to us. This is to reign in life to the subduing of all kinds of insubordination.
(Salvation in Life in the Book of Romans, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)