Let’s be honest. There are some words in the Bible that we read, and maybe that we’ve read over and over, that we do not know the meaning of. 1 John 2 contains one of the more commonly overlooked words, and it’s such a shame because the word carries such weight. John is concluding a section about the continual forgiving power of Christ’s blood and he says “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1) Then, he writes that Christ is the “propitiation…for the sins of the whole world.” (vs. 2)
The beauty and depth of this word, “propitiation,” is so profound. The word carries the basic idea of appeasement, or satisfaction, specifically towards God. It’s the principle that Christ, by enduring the cross, satisfied God’s demands of justice for our sins. The penalty for sin is death. (Romans 6:23) But Jesus chose physical death SO THAT we wouldn’t have to pay for our own souls with OUR spiritual death.
This means that JESUS already did the one thing that would appease the wrath of the Father, and nobody or nothing else is needed or acceptable in order to accomplish that. When a person is converted to Christ (Acts 3:19), submits to His will (James 4:7), and chooses to strive to “keep His commandments” (I John 2:3), he is simply accepting the atonement that the Savior has already provided. You, nor anything that you do, can “atone” for even one single sin.
This also means that God loves us, and if He loves us, we should love one another. In fact, it’s our love for one another that “perfects” God’s love in us (I John 4:12) Most of us know that the second greatest command is to love one another as we love ourselves. This desire for us was at the pinnacle of why Christ sacrificed Himself for us. So, let’s love each other.—Darrell