If you were asked what the most important word in the universe is, what word would you choose? Something tells me the word “propitiation” doesn’t readily come to mind. But it should.
What does “propitiation” mean? Simply stated, propitiation is the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift. And it’s properly considered the heart of the gospel.
Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world–freely, as a gift (Cf., John 1:29; Rom. 6:23). Because of Christ, and through faith in Him, the wrath of God no longer abides on us (Cf., John 3:36). This is why “propitiation” is the most important word in the universe.
Ray Ortlund recently relayed a particular “line of thinking” from a faculty devotional given some years ago by Dr. Murray Harris at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:
What is the most important Book in the universe? The Bible. Which book within the Bible is the most important? Romans. Which chapter in Romans is the most important? Chapter 3. Which paragraph in Romans 3 is the most important? Verses 21-26. Which verse in that paragraph is the most important? Verse 25. Which word in verse 25 is the most important? Propitiation: “. . . whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Therefore, the most important word in the most important verse in the most important paragraph in the most important chapter in the most important book within the most important Book in the universe is propitiation.
Worthy of our reverent contemplation.
I pray that as we reverently contemplate the heart of the gospel–God’s gracious removal of His wrath from us–we would “rejoice with joy . . . inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).