Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First John Chapter Two, Part Two

2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
To word this passage exceedingly clearly, propitiation essentially means “satisfactory payment.” To paraphrase, the verse then reads, “he is the satisfactory payment for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Christ is our advocate in the heavenly places, as the first verse tells us; He stands before God as the One who pleads for His saints when we sin.


John presses the point home to declare that Jesus is the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for our sins. As I stated for the verse prior, when our Lord pleads on our behalf regarding His ransomed saints He pleads His own merit, His own worth. He is our sin payment. His presence before the Father is an eternal reminder that what was accomplished at Cavalry was done eternally, and it was done perfectly and completely. There is no more offering for sin, Hebrews 9:24-26; 10:10-14.

Jesus is not only the payment for sins on behalf of the saints (i.e. on behalf of those who through faith became His) but for the sins of the whole world. There are several possible explanations for this portion of the verse. It depends upon how one views the phrase “whole world” in the context of John’s writing. In Acts 17:6 we find the term “world” defining the populated Roman world of Paul’s day. Clearly that cannot be what the passage means. The word has been transliterated by some to mean “the world of the elect.” This creates severe exegetical problems, because then you are left attempting to sift through the passage in an effort to determine who the former portion of the verse addresses. John uses the pronoun “our” in his first reference of Christ being the payment for sins. He then expounds on this concept and wraps the term around the “whole world.”

I have read one writer endeavor to extrapolate, and explain that John meant Jewish Christians (our sins) and Gentile Christians (the whole world). This exposition stretches the plain meaning of the text beyond credulity, and painfully reveals a preconceived desire to inject the writer’s bias into the text rather than allowing the passage to explain itself. The scope of John’s gospel and epistles are universal in their call; John uses the word “world” 80 times in his gospel and another 30 times in his other writings. Of the 287 times the word appears in the Bible John uses it 110 times. John uses the word several different ways. There is the literal world, the physical creation we call the earth, John 9:32. There is the world system that is Satan’s of which we all belonged to at some point in time, John 12:31. And there is the world as in the totality of mankind, John 3:16-17.

It is here that we find the truth the passage conveys. Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. Not everyone avails themselves of this precious gift, however. Howbeit, Christ’s perfect offering makes Him the Savior of all men (all mankind) but especially those who believe because Christians have availed themselves of the priceless offering of God’s Son and the sacrifice He made on our behalf, 1st Timothy 4:10. Paul concludes that thought in Timothy by saying “These things command and teach,” verse 11.

Jesus our Lord is the perfect singular sin offering that put away sin forever; He is the sufficient Savior whose righteousness is available to every man, woman and child who ever lived, presently lives, or ever will live. His offer of salvation is presented in universal terms and the efficacy of His sacrifice will never abate. Nothing can be added to it, and it is truly effectual in those who believe. Let us join John as he goes on to paint a picture of a risen and glorified Savior who is fully capable and absolutely willing to forgive and cleanse His saints and to purchase the unsaved from sin’s slave block.

1 comment:

  1. Amen Ian.

    I guess some people define whole world like the FDA defines whole wheat. If any of the bran is put back in, it is considered whole wheat though most of the bran and all the wheat germ has been removed. It is a deliberate effort to mislead in both cases.

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