Vaccination, Propitiation & Substitution
Updated: Apr 19
No doubt our reader will be all too familiar with the term Vaccination its become part of everyday vocabulary. However, the terms propitiation and substitution may be less familiar. In this message we trust these terms will become understood and more than that be experienced and appreciated.
As vaccination programmes roll out across the globe, we are reminded that vaccines generally give protection from disease but not necessarily a cure. An amazing result has been achieved and vaccines are now in the process of being provided.
However, a vaccine in a vial is of no use to anyone. Provision must translate to application. The potential must move to the actual. A vaccine needs to be appropriated – jabbed in the arm by a needle.
This imperfect illustration in someways relates to the truth of the gospel. Propitiation
We have all sinned against God and are deserving of judgement. We would do well to remember the seriousness of our condition today. Unless we find a cure, we will tragically spend eternity in hell. Ponder the thought dear reader. God is holy and we each are accountable to God for our sins. You are in desperate need of a Saviour.
The gospel that diagnoses our sinful condition is the same gospel that spells out a cure. God in rich mercy has provided a person to save us from our sins. The Son of God, the Lord Jesus died on the cross to provide a way for us to be saved.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4.10).
“He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2.2).
The idea of propitiation is that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus has satisfied the requirements of God’s justice. Having paid the price and met the standard of infinite justice, God’s wrath can be averted. God can now offer forgiveness to all, since his holiness has been vindicated.
This is great news; our works and merit could never meet the demands of God’s law, but the Lord Jesus has given himself “as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2.6). None are excluded. The universal offer of salvation knows no bounds. Regardless of race, age and class, anyone can be saved, because Christ has died on their behalf.
Are all saved you say?
No. There is an eternal difference between ‘can be saved’ and ‘are saved’. One is potential, the other actual.
Back to our vaccine illustration, the work of the cross is of no benefit unless it is applied. Just because the Lord Jesus died and rose, does not mean that people automatically go to heaven. It means a person can be saved; it means that God freely offers the gift of forgiveness. But it’s up to you today to apply the work of the cross - to accept the gift of forgiveness.
Saul of Tarsus who post conversion had his name changed to Paul met the Saviour on the Damascus road and Jesus the One whom he hated and persecuted became the One whom he trusted ,loved and served for the rest of his life.
Paul never forgot that life changing experience and as a believer in the Lord Jesus came to appreciate the amazing truth of “substitution” confirmed in writing to the Galatians in chapter 2 verse 20- “the Son of God who loved me and gave HIMSELF for ME”. Amazingly the great persecutor became a great preacher of ”the gospel of Christ”
This is how the provision is applied, this is how we can move from, ‘can be saved’ to, ‘are saved’ from, ‘he died on my behalf’ to, ‘he died instead of me’. It’s through the means of faith. Faith is no static theoretical instrument that believes about the Lord Jesus, rather faith is a dynamic action that believes in him and depends on him completely.
He has died on behalf of all, but it is only through trusting in him that someone can say he has died instead of me - he is my substitute - he has taken my place. Dear reader have you confessed your guilt as a sinner and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ if so you are wonder fully and eternally saved
A final illustration to finish. When Noah built the ark to save his house, it did nothing for them until they went inside. The coming deluge could only be escaped by those inside the ark. Likewise, the coming storm of eternal wrath can only be escaped by those who find refuge in the Lord Jesus. He offers to pay for your sins and bear your punishment, if you will run to him for refuge. Will you bear the judgement yourself? Or will you believe in him and know him as your substitute? H. Rees