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“Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26)

A propitiation is a sacrifice. The statement here is simply that Christ is set forth to be a sacrifice for the remission of our sins. “Once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).

Of course the idea of a propitiation or sacrifice is that there is wrath to be appeased. But take particular notice that it is we who require the sacrifice, and not God. He provides the sacrifice. The idea that God’s wrath has to be propitiated in order that we may have forgiveness finds no warrant in the Bible.

It is the height of absurdity to say that God is so angry with people that He will not forgive then unless something is provided to appease His wrath, and that therefore He Himself offers the gift to Himself, by which He is appeased.

The heathen idea, which is too often held by professed Christians, is that men must provide a sacrifice to appease the wrath of their god. All heathen worship is simply a bribe to their gods to be favorable to them. If they thought that their gods were very angry with them, they would provide a greater sacrifice, and so human sacrifices were offered in extreme cases. They thought that their god was gratified by the sight of blood.

Ecclesiastical leaders imagine that salvation is by works and that by works we can atone from sin. This is but the out-cropping of the heathen idea of propitiation. The true God is not pleased with such sacrifices.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with a wicked intent!” “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart-these, O God, you will not despise” (Prov. 21:27; Ps. 51:17)

Waggoner, Waggoner on Romans, pp. 72,73

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