The following was an illustration that I was going to use in my sermon. I thought it might be a little too gruesome for the pulpit, so I nixed it. I thought I would share it here instead as it still is quite appropriate. It regards the idea of propitiation, that Christ's sacrifice fully satisfies God's wrath on our behalf:
Imagine being on a camping trip. You and a friend have taken some time to “get back to nature.” You head out into the wilderness and find just the perfect place to set up. Once you have pitched your tents and put everything in its place you start a fire and sit down to relax. Just then, a hungry wolf creeps up upon you. There you are, staring right into a ferocious wolf, who is ready to devour you.
But just as the wolf is ready to pounce, your friend steps in front of you. He tells you to run. Just then, the wolf leaps upon him and starts to maul him with his razor sharp teeth. You try to hide, but the only thing you can do is stand paralyzed behind your tent.
When the wolf has finished he begins to step away from the bloodied body of your friend. As he does so, he spots you. However, the rage is no longer in his eyes. His appetite for blood has been satiated and he no longer has the urge to kill. He simply walks away.
This is essentially what happened when Christ became our propitiation. He stood in front of us and took God's wrath upon himself, fully satisfying every urge of God to kill and destroy the first object of his anger.
The only difference is that God does not walk way from us. In Christ, he becomes our friend, whereby he lavishes upon us all the benefits that are due the sons of God.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.