‘Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.’ Romans 3:24–25
Suggested Further Reading: Exodus 25:17–22
God has set forth Christ as being a propitiation. The Greek word is hilasterion which, being translated, may mean a mercy seat or a covering. Now God has said to the sinner, ‘Do you desire to meet me? Would you be no longer my enemy? Would you tell me your sorrows? Would you receive my blessing? Would you establish a commerce between your Creator and your soul? I set forth Christ to you as being the mercy seat, where I can meet with you and you can meet with me.’ Or take the word as signifying a covering; as the mercy seat covered the tables of the law, and so covered that which was the cause of divine anger, because we had broken his commandment. ‘Would you have anything which can cover your sin? Cover it from me your God, so that I need not be provoked to anger; cover it from you so that you need not be cowed with excessive fear, and tremble to approach me as you did when I came in thunders and lightnings upon Sinai? Would you have a shelter which shall hide altogether your sins and your iniquities? I set it forth to you in the person of my bleeding Son. Trust in his blood, and your sin is covered from my eyes; it shall be covered from your own eyes too; and being justified by faith, you shall have peace with God through Jesus Christ your Lord.’ O that we may have grace to accept now what God the Father sets forth! The Romish priest sets forth this and that; our own Romish hearts set forth such-and-such-another thing; but God sets forth Christ. The preacher of doctrine sets forth a dogma; the preacher of experience sets forth a feeling; the preacher of practice often sets forth an effort; but God puts before you Christ. ‘There I will meet with thee.’
For meditation: Christ is the only propitiation that God in his mercy will accept as a covering for our sin (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). Have you accepted him too, or are you still trying to bodge your own cover-up job? It won’t work (Genesis 3:7–9).
Sermon no. 373
29 March (Good Friday 1861)
5 Essential Beliefs for a Peaceful Heart If you’re a Christian, God alone is in charge of your life. He’s your security. And He’s never been out of control over His creation for one fraction of a second since the beginning of time. He hasn’t lost one measure of His power or might. He’s just as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all loving today as He was at the dawn of man. Though we may not always understand His purposes, understanding the ways of God always leads to an understanding that He’ll act in a way that brings about eternal blessings for His children. Through the years, I’ve discovered five essential beliefs for a peaceful heart. I challenge you to take a long, hard look at what you believe about God. Your peace is determined by the degree to which these truths are embedded in your soul. Belief 1: God is absolutely sovereign. Recognizing and accepting the truth that God is sovereign over everything is vital for your inner peace. This means that nothing related to you is beyond His watchful eye and loving care. (Col. 1:17) Belief 2: God is your provider. From cover to cover, the Bible has a clear message that God is the One who provides for all your needs. No need is too massive, problematic, or severe for Jesus to meet it. The Bible tells us, “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10). Belief 3: God made you the way you are for a purpose. There are many things about your life in which you have no control. Accept those things as part of the way God created you. Your race, culture, language, nationality, sex, and many attributes of your physical being are God’s “choices.” He also gave you talents, aptitudes, intelligence, personality, and spiritual gifts that, taken as a whole, make you a unique person on this earth to fulfill the plan He has for you. (Ps. 139:13-16) Belief 4: God has a place where you truly belong. God created you for fellowship with Himself and others. Trust Him to help you gain a strong sense of belonging to Him and to provide for you a “family” of fellow believers to whom you can belong. Then, as you grow in Him, reach out to others. (1 Pet. 2:9). Belief 5: God has a plan for your fulfillment. For real inner peace, a person needs to know that he or she is competent, able, capable, and skilled at doing something. There’s a wonderful sense of peace that comes when you know you’re capable of putting in a good performance or doing a good job. (Eph. 2:10) When you accept these five essential beliefs at the core of your being and trust that God is working in you and on your behalf, inner peace will truly be yours.
No matter how great your in-laws are, you’ll likely have conflicts at some point. You may disagree about where you spend holidays, how you discipline your children or even denominational or doctrinal matters. You may sometimes feel like the daughter your in-laws wish they never had. How you respond will either bring you closer together as a family or drive you further apart. When conflicts arise, choose to cover over with love wrongs done to you. This takes humility, but let it go. Refuse to dwell on it. Choose to not even see it anymore because you know that God’s love covers over your own wrongs.