Necessary Blood 7
By R.C. Sproul
Do you remember the very first act of redemption that God made for His people? Do you remember the very first experience of guilt that any human being ever had? There in the garden when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, we were told that instantly their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked, and they were ashamed. They became the first fugitives. They fled from God’s presence.
They went into hiding. When God came in the cool of the day, instead of delighting in His approach, Adam and Eve were trembling in fear and shame. God said, where are you? And they said we're hiding because we're naked. God said, who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of that tree? Then it went on; well the woman you gave me, and then the serpent, you know and all of that. Excuses! God said, I told you that the day you eat of it, you shall surely die. Then instead of killing them, He made garments from the skins of animals and the sweetness of God was seen when He stooped over and He covered the nakedness of His guilty children.
Trace that metaphor from Eden to Revelation. Atonement is always about being covered. We see it in the Day of Atonement when the throne of God is covered by the blood of the sacrifice. Two things are taking place on that day. The experience of propitiation and of expiation.
If someone were to ask you what is the difference between propitiation and expiation would you be able to answer it? I hope so. It'd be easier if you had a church that was built in the architecture of the cruciform like we have at St. Andrews. We have a center aisle, and we have two transepts so if you would look at our church from the air, it assumes the shape of the cross. I tell our people there that if you want to understand propitiation and expiation think of a cross with the vertical beam and the cross beam.
The vertical beam is connected to the earth and reaches up toward Heaven. Let that be the center aisle of the church. When we talk about propitiation, we're talking about what the blood of Jesus did for the Father. He satisfies the demands of God's justice. In propitiation, the atonement of Christ is looking towards the Father, to satisfy His justice, to satisfy His holiness so that the Father may be just and the justifier. So propitiation looks toward that action of satisfaction that the atonement of Christ accomplishes. But it does more than that.