November 1, 2020

The Gospel is Substitution

Preacher:
Passage: Romans 3:21–31

It is arguably one of the most obscure words in the Bible. It is found six times, in various forms, in the New Testament. Whenever it appears, it requires explanation because its meaning isn’t obvious and the word is rarely, if ever, used today. The word is rooted in an Old Testament ritual performed on the Day of Atonement, but it is also a concept known outside of Judaism in that the word related to what needed to be done in order to appease a deity of any kind. The word, if you haven’t guessed it already, is “propitiation,” and it appears in our passage for this Sunday, Romans 3:21–31, so there’s no avoiding it.

As we approach this facet of the gospel in our series, we’ll see that this is the lynchpin. This is how the power of the gospel was directed by God in order to give us what we have in salvation. It is the substitutionary atonement (propitiation) of Christ that appeases the wrath of God. Ligon Duncan explains, “Propitiation means ‘averting the wrath of God by the offering of a gift.’ It refers to the turning away of the wrath of God as the just judgment of our sin by God’s own provision of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.” And I’ll add this: it is the mercy of God toward us in not giving us what we deserve.

Sermon Notes

The Power of the Gospel (Romans 1–8)
The Gospel is Substitution
Romans 3:21–31
Todd Dugard

November 1, 2020

sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus

I may claim the mercy of Christ when I realize that it is...

• Righteousness by believing (3:21-22a)

Romans 1:16–17

The righteousness God provides has its origin in what God did, not in what people may accomplish. It is received, not earned. It depends upon faith, not meritorious activity. God justifies the ungodly, not the well-intentioned.
Robert H. Mounce

• Glory by confessing (3:22b-23)

Romans 10:9–10

• Redemption by grace (3:24)

• Forgiveness by substitution (3:25-26)

Propitiation means ‘averting the wrath of God by the offering of a gift.’ It refers to the turning away of the wrath of God as the just judgment of our sin by God’s own provision of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Ligon Duncan

Luke 18:13

Hebrews 2:17

Hebrews 9:5a

1 John 2:1b–2

1 John 4:10

Propitiation is used in the New Testament to describe the pacifying, placating, or appeasing of God’s wrath...Because of this propitious gift, our sins can be removed, our debt can be paid, our relationship restored, and our legal status irrevocably altered.
Kevin DeYoung

• Obedience by faith (3:27-31)

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