THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS
1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Considering his older age at the time of this writing, and considering his many years of service proclaiming the gospel message of Jesus Christ, the apostle John thought of himself as a spiritual parent to the Christians to whom he addresses this letter. He refers to them as my little children. The exhortations he delivers to them in this epistle come straight from the heart and mind of the God of heaven. The pleading exhortation made to the children of God in the lesson text is that ye sin not. As children - as babes in Christ - they, as well as all Christians today, are exceedingly vulnerable to the sensual allurement of worldliness, that is promoted in so many ways by Satan. Throughout the Patriarchal Age, the Jewish Dispensation, and the Christian Dispensation, God's plea to all mankind is that ye sin not. Indeed, this has been His commandment to all men and women. Sin is to be replaced in one's life with holiness.
However, we know we are sinners that, at some time or another, and in various ways, have given in to earthly desires of the flesh. It was the apostle Paul that wrote, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Also, in the verses preceding the lesson text, John told us that if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (Vs. 8). How does one reconcile the fact that God tells us not to sin, and in the writings of Jesus' apostles we find that we are all sinners in His sight? Although Jesus Christ was tempted like all mankind, He remained sinless (See 1 John 3:5). Sin entered into the world when Adam, by exercising the free will given to him by his Creator, disobeyed God's will (See Rom. 5:12-16). From that time forward, Satan has tested the will of mankind, and all have come short of the glory of God. The conclusion that we must derive from God's word is that He exhorts all of His children to strive to be sinless, but as our heavenly Father, he knows that we will, at times, come short of the perfection He wills in us.
Knowing the imperfections of mankind, God provided an Advocate, ...Jesus Christ, to plead for mercy on behalf of every one that follows His righteous example, is baptized for the remission of sins, and is added to the church of Christ. Jesus Christ is the intercessor between our righteous God and all Christians that are betrayed by the worldly temptations of Satan. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, was raised from death, ascended into heaven and is there seated at the right hand of God, and there He maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). The plea of Christ is, not to deny our sins before God, but to confess our guilt of sin, and to seek His forgiving mercy on our behalf.
Jesus Christ is not only our Advocate, whopleads for the salvation of His followers before God, but He is also the propitiation for our sins - that is for the sins of His brothers and sisters within His Christian family - His church. How much does God love us? Again the inspired writings of John assured us when he wrote: Herein 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). Propitiation is an appeasement or conciliation. Spiritually, it is that which pacifies the debt of sin; it pays the ransom in order that a soul may be redeemed from the consequences of sin, which is eternal death. To disobey the will of our Creator, is sin; the sin of mankind is worthy of death and must be redeemed, or its consequences paid in full. This debt of sin, our Savior paid on the cross of Calvary. It was there He died to atone the sins of the world. By this act He became the propitiation for our sins. Romans 3:25 assures us of this fact. It also tells us that it is our faith in His blood,whereby we have the remission of sins that are past.
Does this tell us that by "faith" alone our sins are remitted and we are reconciled to God? No! When He commissioned His apostles to preach the gospel message of salvation to the world, they were instructed to go ...and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19). This the apostles did on the Day of Pentecost, teaching the multitudes to repent, and be baptized ...for the remission of sins. It is faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ (our propitiation) that leads us to be baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins. By this act we are reconciled to God.