whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (ESV)
Why did God send his son, Jesus, to the earth? If you were to ask a crowd of random people that question I am sure you would get some interesting answers. Probably the most common would be that God wanted to show us love. Some might say that Jesus came to be a good teacher. Others would even say that he came to do miracles. Paul shows us something a little deeper in this verse.
"Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood." This statement is intense. Propitiation means the satisfaction or payment of terrible (terrifying) wrath. Whose wrath? God's wrath had been stored up against all of mankind for violating his Law and living in sinful rebellion. We tend to minimize our sins. God does not. He required blood to be shed to satisfy his anger toward mankind.
In the pagan world that the Apostle Paul lived in, religions always required some kind of payment to satisfy the misdeeds of the worshiper. The difference is that in those pagan religions the worshiper himself had to make some kind of payment. In Christianity, God recognizes that none of our efforts are good enough to satisfy his wrath, so he ends up shedding his blood for us in Christ Jesus.
God had been patient. He could have judged Adam and Eve for their sin and ended the human race at that time. God chose to make a way not only for Adam and Eve to be forgiven, but all mankind. Why did Jesus come? For the forgiveness of everyone who would place their faith in him. This is far more significant than most people even realize.
If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ, do so right now. He shed his blood so that you would never have to know the wrath of God for your sin. What a wonderful God.
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