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Propitiation

This word is the correlative of “wrath” and can only be understood with reference to it. In theology it applies to the turning aside of divine wrath against sinful man. The concept of propitiation is an affron to much of modern thought; it is thought pagan and thus to imply a sub-Christian view of God. In Scripture, however, it is related not only to the holiness of God (as in 1 John 2:2, noting the earlier context) but also to His love (as in 1 John 4:10). Paradoxically, the God who is propitiated also lovingly provides the propitiation. The propitiation is Christ crucified, and through His work God can be righteous and yet also (in grace) justify the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:24-26). This New Testement idea has as its background the Old Testament doctrine of sacrifice. There too, sacrificial blood is not only offered to God, but provided by Him (Lev. 17:11). The term propitiation is often replaced in modern translations by some weaker expression such as “expiation,” but