Editorials -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:408 (Oct 1945)
Article: Editorials
Author: Anonymous


Editorials

God Is Propitious

This simple statement announces a most remarkable truth respecting God, that truth which, if kept in mind and especially when sermons are being preached to the unsaved, will avoid a multitude of unfortunate errors. Too often God is presented as one who needs to be softened by the sinner’s tears or who must be appealed to to be kind and forgiving, whereas Christ in His death has answered every holy demand God could have against the sinner. Therefore, by that death God is rendered kindly disposed. First of all, God loves each unsaved person with an infinite love, and much is achieved when the barriers which unholy men impose are removed leaving God to the unhindered experience of His infinite love. This is propitiation. When it is said that God is propitious, it merely says that nothing hinders the exercise of His infinite love. That the sinner does not soften God by tears or does not have to coax God into a propitious state of mind is most evident. We should take this burden off the unsaved. Let them dare, in simple confidence, to come to One who loves them infinitely.

Since Christ is also the propitiation for our sins, that is, the Christian’s sin, it is equally true that the believer who has sinned is not required to implore God with prayers of penitent sorrow. If he admits his sin by confession, according to 1 John 1:9, he is forgiven, cleansed, and restored into fellowship with God. All believers need to be reminded of this fact and of the failures of their walk apart from God, and that God is propitious.

Evangelists when dealing with souls sense the fact that they reach the place where, unless God does something, no saving work will be done. At this point too often some human action is imposed. Nothing has been depended upon more than the publican’s prayer, “God be merciful to me a

sinner.” That this prayer is wholly outside the point at issue is evident.

In the first place, the publican was a Jew in covenant relation to God and as such needed restoration to covenant blessings. Whether any comparison is to be drawn at this place or not, it will suggest the restoration of a Christian who has wandered away from God. The publican did not ask God to be merciful. The translation of this passage is at fault. He did say, “God be propitiated to me the sinner.” Having left some sacrifice as he entered the temple he, in Old Testament order, was justified in asking God to be propitious. However, he did not ask God for mercy as the English text translates it. It should be remembered that if God could have saved one soul as an act of sovereign mercy, He could have saved all souls on that basis...

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