Soteriology -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:412 (Oct 1946)
Article: Soteriology
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Soteriology

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1946)

The Savior

Things Accomplished by Christ in His Sufferings and Death

V. A Propitiation toward God.

The value to God of Christ’s death as a vindication of His righteousness and law is indicated by the word propitiation. This intricate doctrine is set forth by the various forms and uses of this word. No more clarifying analysis of this doctrine has been found than that written by Dr. C. I. Scofield in his Bible Correspondence Course which is here quoted in part: “The word propitiation occurs in the English Bible, A.V., but three times. In 1 John 2:2, and 4:10, Christ is said to be ‘the propitiation for our sins.’ Here the Greek word is hilasmos, meaning, ‘that which propitiates.’ In Rom 3:25 it is said of Christ: ‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the passing over of sins done aforetime, through the forbearance of God.’ Here the Greek word is hilastērion, meaning, ‘the place of propitiation.’ But in Heb 9:5 hilastērion is the Greek word used by the Holy Spirit for ‘mercy seat’ in referring to the ancient tabernacle worship of Israel: ‘And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat’ (hilastērion). This, therefore, sends us back to the Old Testament. Whatever the mercy seat of the tabernacle was, typically, to the Israelite, that Christ is actually, to the believer and to God…. Before turning to the Old Testament, the student will note two other New Testament passages. Heb 8:1, ‘I will be merciful [hileōs, propitious] to their unrighteousness.’ Luke 18:13: ‘God be merciful [hilaskomai,

propitiated] to me a sinner.’ (1) The mercy seat was the lid or cover of the ark of the covenant. The ark was an oblong box of acacia wood overlaid with gold, two and one half cubits long, and one and one half cubits high and broad. In this box or ark, were placed, along with a pot of the wilderness manna, and Aaron’s rod, the ‘two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God’—the ten commandments, God’s holy Law (Exod 31:18). ...

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