1 John 1.8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 2.1. 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: 2 And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”


REDEMPTION- This word describesthe purchase price that was paid for the debt of my sin by the blood of Jesus Christ.

JUSTIFICATION- This word describes the change of my position or standing before God. I am accepted in The Beloved.

REGENERATION- This refers tobeing made alive, or raised from death to life because the Holy Spirit has given me a change of nature from God. Not perfect, but a new creature.

CONVERSION- Conversion is a change of life for God. It is a desire to live for His glory in all things.

REPENTANCE- Biblical repentance is an ongoing change of mind about God. A life of learning to walk in the ways of God.

ADOPTION- Because of the new birth, this term describesachange of family from being in Adam to being in Christ. I am a part of the body of Christ.

SANCTIFICATION- This is very similar to repentance but is slightly different in that it is an ongoing process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ whereby I am being set apart for The Master’s use.

GLORIFICATION- My ultimate change of place with God forever I will one day be in heaven with The Lord.

  • All of these theological terms describe the work that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit does in the lives of His children.
  • 1 Cor 1.30,31 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

This morning, we are going to look at another one of these important and wonderful theological terms; propitiation.

Verses 8-10 of 1st John could not be any clearer. Each and every one of us here this morning are sinners, both by nature and by choice. Isa 59.1 tells us that this sin problem separates us from having a personal relationship and fellowship with God.

  • In an unregenerate condition, we may acknowledge the reality of God in creation, but that does not deal with the issue of my sin debt or bring me into union or fellowship with God.
  • In an unregenerate condition, we may know about God in a liturgical or religious sense. We may for any number of reasons go to church and even submit to religious rituals and ordinances. But no amount of church attendance or observance of any rituals apart from faith in Jesus Christ are able to deal with the issue of sin and bring us into union and fellowship with God.
  • Thus, what John is saying to you and me in verses 8-10 is that we cannot know God in a personal way as Creator, Savior and Lord until my sin problem is dealt with.
  • For my sin to be forgiven, it must be confessed, which means to agree with God.  According to verses 8-10, for me to not agree with God and admit that I am a sinner by nature and by choice is to call God a liar. That is not a good thing, because God’s omnipotent wrath is against them. John 3.36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
  • A self-righteous person is a person who is calling God a liar. A person who thinks that he or she is good enough to enter the kingdom of God apart from the atoning sacrifice of The Lord Jesus Christ is calling God a liar.
  • A self righteous person is a person who believes that the people who need the grace of Jesus Christ to save them are the crack addicts, the porn stars, the drug dealers, the drunkards and the homeless person living under the subway, but not them. Such a person is lost, deceived and unredeemed.
  • We need to understand beloved that the grace of God does not sweep any of our sin under the proverbial rug of the universe. Sin is the cause of treason and rebellion against The Lord of heaven and earth. Both the holiness and justice of God demand that sin be punished and sin be paid for. Like it or not, this is His universe, and this is His law.
  • For my sin to be forgiven, it must be confessed and repented of.

o   David said, against Thee and Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight.

o   Prov. 28.13 whoso covers his sin shall not prosper; but whoso confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy. Confession is good for the soul.

Thus, as we prepare our hearts to come to The Lord’s Supper this morning, we are once again reminded by the elements of the bread and the cup, that God Himself has made the way for us to have our sin debt forgiven and the wrath of God averted. And that divine forgiveness and absorbed wrath is in and through what theologians call the propitiatory sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.

There are 3 very interesting and theologically important Greek words found in the New Testament that all begin with the root hilas

Hilaskomai- This is found in Luke 18 in the parable of the 2 men who go up to the temple to pray. The publican or tax collector standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18.13

  • A more literal translation of this prayer would sound like this. God be propitiated with me, the sinner. The word propitiate means “to satisfy the demands of.
  • Sacrifice for sins is the method God chose to make satisfaction for sins. In this case, the publican, upon the merits of the sacrifice before God is asking for forgiveness from The Living God Whom he has offended.
  • BY contrast, the religious, self-righteous Pharisee was seeking to stand before God upon the basis of self-righteousness that included fasting and abundant financial giving unto God. Even though he thought he was right in the sight of God, his self-righteous attitude before God and towards the publican proved that he was as lost when he left the temple as he was when he walked into it.
  • In the OT, animal sacrifices were types looking forward to the once and for all infinite sacrifice of Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God. God is fully pleased with the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. When we come before God and ask to be propitiated in the Name of Jesus, we are fully pardoned.

Another place where this same Greek word is found is in Hebrews 2.17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

  • In the context of this chapter, we learn that The Lord Jesus Christ became man to taste death for every man in order that He might fully satisfy God’s righteous demands against us.
  • Jesus propitiated or made satisfaction for the sins of His people. Thus He is both our propitiatory sacrifice and great high priest before God.

Hilasmos- In noun form this appears twice in 1 John. We read the first two verses earlier. 1 John 2.1 My little children, these things write I unto you that you sin not. And if any man sin (and John already answered that in 1.8-10), we have an Advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ The Righteous 2.2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

  • Jesus Christ Himself is the propitiation or all-satisfying sacrifice for sins. This propitiation of Jesus is nothing like the pagan idea of appeasing a deity who is cruel and angry.
  • Biblical propitiation is the result of God’s love for us. 1 John 4.10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Hilasterion- This Greek word is translated the mercy seat in Hebrews 9.5

  • The mercy seat is the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. This is the place where the propitiation is made. Like everything else in the tabernacle, the mercy seat points to Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
  • The mercy seat was the place where sinners would meet a holy God. The cross of Jesus Christ is the mercy seat where sinners meet The Living God beloved.

By understanding the meaning of these 3 Greek words, we learn the following:

  • God is fully satisfied with The Person of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross because God has set forth Jesus to be a propitiation through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25). Therein is the gospel of the grace of God in a nut shell.
  • On His cross, Jesus Christ has paid the full price for our sin and absorbed the punishment or wrath of God that we deserved. Thus, our sins are no longer counted against us. That is what it means that Christ is the propitiation for ours sins.

Romans 5.10,11 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

  • The Greek word for atonement is katallage. The word atonement means at-one-ment. It is coming from a place of enmity to one of friendship. It is becoming one with each other.
  • By grace, through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ, we are now reconciled to God. According to 2 Cor 5.19-21, we as guilty, lost sinners, by the grace of God, are reconciled to God through faith in Christ because He hath made Him to be sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

So 1:8–10 tells us that none of us can claim to be perfect; confess your sin. In other words, don’t say you have no sinful root that does not separate you from God and need to be forgiven; confess your sin.

  • This confession is made unto salvation: Rom 10.8-10 The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
  • This also speaks of the ongoing need of confession of sin as a believer. Do not say that after you are saved you will never sin any more. This confession is not a confession of being born again all over; this is a needed confession of sin for cleansing and fellowship with God. It’s like putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher or dirty clothes in the washing machine to get the dirt and filth of sin removed.

In 2.1,2 Don’t hide your sin, admit it; you have an all-sufficient Advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous One.

  • Thus, we conclude that we are all guilty before God beyond a shadow of a doubt. We all need the full pardon of Christ’s sacrifice for our sin because we are unable to meet the demands of God’s justice with our own efforts. Grace has provided an Advocate, One Mediator between sinful man and a sinless God, and that in the Man Christ Jesus. Today is the day of salvation. Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.
  • Because we know that we are not perfect, the proverbial pendulum of grace has swung to the other extreme to the point that the contemporary message of grace is such a weak and powerless thing that it does not produce any Godward, Christ exalting changes in life. The Bible does not provide any assurance of salvation to lukewarm, disobedient people who call themselves Christians.

How do we know that a person has truly come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? Like the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost, they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, breaking of bread, fellowship and prayer. Their lives bear testimony of The Lord Jesus Christ. Not sinless perfection, but sincere pursuit of God.