3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)
Why in fact did Jesus come to earth? Let’s examine what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatian churches in order to find the answer to this question.
First, Jesus Christ came to earth as the incarnation of God the Father’s grace and peace. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father…” (Galatians 1:3a). Grace (χάρις; charis) is defined as “unmerited favor.” It is the bestowing of pleasure, delight, or favorable regard from one to another. It is God’s loving-kindness to sinners who deserve judgment. Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) is the resulting harmony, on the basis of grace, between God and sinful man. Peace is accomplished through the gospel and is also the rest and contentment consequentially as the result of God’s grace.
Second, Jesus Christ came to earth as to be the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, on behalf of sinners. The text reads, “Who gave Himself for our sins” – 1:4a. The text refers to an active and personal total surrender by Jesus Christ on behalf of sinners who continually are missing the mark of acquiring the holiness and righteousness of God.
In being our propitiation or atoning sacrifice, Jesus absorbed the wrath of God (Romans 1:18). Having done so, the Father’s wrath is satisfied and He is willing and able to declared sinners righteous on the basis of Jesus’ virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection. Take note of the following biblical texts as they pertain to Christ’s propitiation.
Romans 3:25a – “…whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness.”
Galatians 3:13 – “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Hebrews 2:14-18 – 14 “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
I John 2:1-2 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
I John 4:7-10 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Faith is the vehicle through and by which Christ’s atoning work on the cross is applied on the sinner’s behalf. Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice does not go into effect automatically. It is applied by God to the sinner’s stead through the instrument of God given, saving faith. When this occurs, God cancels the legal demands of the Law against sinners (Colossians 2:13-14; 3:10-14).
Dr. John MacArthur writes, ‘No one can avoid sin by human effort or law-keeping (Rom. 3:20); therefore it must be forgiven, which Christ accomplished through his atoning death on the cross (Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:19–21; 1 Pet. 2:24).”
Have your sins been forgiven? The only way guilt for sin may be removed from your life is through faith in Jesus Christ. He received the punishment from God the Father that we deserved. Receive Him and His righteousness today.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!