1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
In the first verse we discussed at length the Advocacy of Christ Jesus. He is our Interceder, our spiritual Lawyer, as it were. But we need to remember when we try to analogize spiritual concepts, and especially when it comes to the Character and Nature of Christ Jesus, that even a close analogy in the natural, falls way short of what is real in the spiritual.
In this second verse, John tells us how Christ’s advocacy is extended to mankind. The Apostle tells us that Christ is the PROPITIATION for our sins. Now, this is not a common word and definitely not for the age that we live in today. In simplicity and in essence, the word ‘propitiation’ means, satisfaction.
We know from past lessons that God is a JUST God and Father. He is gracious and merciful, yes, but He is most definitely just, for we could not have or even need mercy and grace if it weren’t for His absolute adherence to justice for unrighteousness and sin. We can not state it emphatically enough that God Almighty, our Creator, ABHORS sin.
Since God is a just God, He demands recompense for disobeying His commandments and literally His Word. He loves, beyond measure, His creation, BUT, that very love demands that we be holy as He Himself is Holy! This is something that in our fallen and sinful nature, we cannot accomplish on our own and by ourselves! Ultimately, the penalty for falling short IS justice, death! The Apostle Paul stated it this way, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …..” — Romans 3:23.
But, Christ Jesus, being our Advocate, our “stand-in” is the SATISFIER of our debt, the justice owed us! This is also where the analogy of a lawyer is insufficient, for what lawyer, in this world, would take the justice, the punishment, the debt we deserve and take it upon themselves!
In the Father’s eyes, our debt for sinfulness is satisfied in atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The blood that needs to be shed for the sins of another, is the satisfaction necessary to appease the just-ness of our Heavenly Father. This brings the Advocacy of Christ Jesus to another level! He doesn’t just PLEAD our case for righteousness to the Father, but He Himself, became the debt “paid-in-full” as well!
This means that the barrier that is built between our relationship with our Heavenly Father is removed by the satisfaction of Christ’s sacrifice. The GUILT that is laid up against us, is no longer an obstacle and a relationship once lost is and can be restored in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of shed blood! Simply put, we are no longer guilty of sin.
Yet, John writes on; this satisfaction of the debt paid is not just for us only, which if you consider is priceless in and of itself, but the satisfaction that Christ purchased was for the WHOLE WORLD!! Now don’t misinterpret this, which could be easy to do. This does not mean that the whole world is saved, but it DOES mean that the price Christ paid would satisfy the debt for the whole world! This means, the atonement that Christ paid for, can extend as wide and as far as necessary for any and all who wish to ACCEPT as payment this gift that Christ is willing to give to Redeem mankind to God. Man, individually still has to make the conscious and individual choice that this satisfaction offered is for them.
Christ’s Advocacy is limited to those who accept and believe Him, even though the propitiation was offered to the whole world. Sadly, there will always be those who reject, for whatever reason, the offer of Christ Jesus’ Advocacy on their behalf. Doubt and unbelief in the simplicity of God’s plan is the basis for a great majority, but also, self-centeredness, which is the opposite of love is another major problem. Mankind as a whole does not want to surrender their own will, even if the surrendering is for their eternal good, but rather would like to believe they could “make it on their own” despite that the satisfaction that God Almighty demands is found in Christ Jesus and in Him only!
If this doesn’t move the heart of a true believer and cause us to hit our knees in prayer and intercession for those lost, then nothing can or will move us!
Remember, Christ’s sacrifice is AVAILABLE to the whole world, but the sad truth is, if the whole world did accept Christ, there would not be a reason to preach and spread the gospel throughout the world!
In closing, I want to remind everyone of something that I read or picked up long ago about the sacrifice of Jesus. Remember that superscription that was written on the Cross that Christ died on, was in Hebrew, the language of God’s chosen people, His children. But, it was also written in Greek and Latin, the languages of the “then known” world! In essence proclaiming to the whole world that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is suitable for the whole world.
So, when John adds to the second verse that Christ’s sacrifice is satisfaction to not just us, but the whole world, he had a first-hand mental image to draw from!!!