About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The word "appease," as it applies to human relationships, means "to pacify someone by giving into his or her wishes or demands." This results in a peaceful co-existence between the one being appeased and the one doing the appeasing. With this in mind, it only took a couple hundred of years of Christian history before pagan influences crept into Christian theology and practice.
The concept of appeasing God through some kind of personal
sacrifice was one such pagan influence. Christian monks,
for example, would emasculate themselves, in an attempt to rid themselves
of sexual desire that they considered to be sin.
They believed this sacrifice would remove God's wrath from their
lives. As a man, it's
difficult for me to imagine, especially with such crude carving tools,
castrating myself in order to find favour with God.
that their gods demanded, even needed, to be pampered and pleased.
They bent over backwards, so to speak, to appease their gods.
In King James vernacular, the removal of wrath in any relationship
is called "propitiation." The
Biblical, not pagan, meaning of propitiation is a long-forgotten, but
most-important, theological word that needs to be re-introduced into our
One reason why the
word "propitiation" has grown out of use is because many people
find it impossible to believe a loving God could exhibit wrath, which is a
strong, explosive, form of anger. Jesus
thought differently. John 3:36
believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not
see life, for God's wrath remains on
God's wrath is
real, but, unlike human wrath, it does not emanate from a spirit of
retaliation, prejudice, or any other such sin.
It is based on righteous justice that demands an accounting from
the one committing sin. Justice
that does not pass a verdict is not just.
For this reason, it was necessary for God to exercise justice by
exhibiting His wrath as means of punishment for sin.
The apostle Paul commented on this in Romans 3:25.
The KJV says it this way.
hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins
that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
Okay, the KJV
rendering of this verse is not easy to grasp.
The NIV puts Romans 3:25 this way.
presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his
blood — to be received by faith. He
did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he
had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished."
substitution of "sacrifice of atonement" for
"propitiation" is just as confusing because many of us do not
understand atonement either.
stated in Romans 3:25, is the process by which God's wrath has been
removed from the life of the believer.
This process occurred when Jesus, in an act of voluntary submission
to God's justice, suffered God's wrath for our sin.
The cross of Christ, then, was the demonstration of God's justice.
It provided the opportunity for us to be in peaceful co-existence
with God, once we, like Jesus, voluntarily submit our lives to God.
Unlike the monks of
old, we cannot improve upon the cross of Christ by means of any kind of
personal sacrifice. We can do
nothing to remove God's wrath from our lives.
It was the love of God that has removed the wrath of God from our
So who appeased
God? God appeased Himself.