“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:23–25, KJV 1900)
Most of us understand what it means to lose the good favor of another. Generally, it is because we do something that displeases a person. Often in families, something will happen that separates people, who may never talk to one another again. It is a sad thing but all too true.
Sin has created a separation between an infinitely Holy God and all men. There was no hope of man doing something to regain the good favor of God. Paul has just presented convincing arguments that proved this, that man could not through works of obedience to the law, extinguish his own guilt and justify himself.
This problem affected both the Jew and the Gentile and Paul sums it up stating that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No mortal person can ever do a good work that will be sufficient to pay the penalty of sin.
However, here is the good news. Jesus Christ is the propitiation, the appeasing act by which man can regain favor with God. Paul indicates that God put forward Jesus, “as a propitiation by his blood.“ It is the shed blood of Jesus, that has satisfied the demands of God.
It is interesting that the writer of Hebrews uses the word hilasterion (translated here as propitiation) to refer to the Mercy Seat, taking us back to the Levitical law. There, on the Day of Atonement, the priest would sprinkle the blood of a goat on the Mercy Seat for the sins of the people. Yet, unlike the priest of the Old Testament who would have to repeat the sacrifice over and over, Jesus presented Himself as the sacrifice once and for all.
Through His sacrifice, all who have trusted in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, have been redeemed from the grip of sin. Moreover, God has justified us, that is declared us as righteous, by His grace as a gift. Now, we who were once far off because of sin, have been drawn near, by God’s grace.