Christianity is a beautifully disturbing religion at its core. Not because God is barbaric. Not because Christianity is steeped in a superstitious worldview. Rather, because sin is a repulsive thing to behold, especially for a perfect God. Yet, for all the bloodshed, propitiation emanates from God’s immense love for His creation. As Leon Morris points out, “It is the combination of God’s deep love for the sinner with His uncompromising reaction against sin which brings about what the Bible calls propitiation.”
When I say that propitiation separates Christianity from every single religion on the planet, what I’m saying is that Christianity claims that Jesus Himself became a death offering to God that was deemed enough; it was enough of an offering to appease God and dissipate His holy wrath. In other words, it worked. It did the job.
The slaughter of Jesus pleased God.
Before Jesus was butchered and laid before God to divert His wrath, we were toast. It was over and our fates were sealed. Our destiny in hell was already decided. After Jesus’ death everything changed. God was pleased with the sacriﬁce and His wrath was averted. It was enough. That can’t be said about non-Christian religions. All of them are inadequate. None provide enough of a sacriﬁce to bring God back into a right frame of mind so that He doesn’t ultimately punish those religion’s followers with His wrath in hell.
In fact, just to reinforce this even more, I’d like for you to do something. From now on whenever you hear the name of a religion other than Christianity, I want you to picture the words not enough in parentheses after the name:
Judaism (not enough)
Buddhism (not enough)
Jainism (not enough)
Islam (not enough)
Vaishnavism (not enough)
Jesus’ slaughter was enough to cover our sins so God could be in our presence without instantaneously destroying us. Following the basic tenets of Islam can’t do that for you. You could be a faithful Muslim who believes there is no God but Allah, that Muhammad is his messenger, you could pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make the pilgrimage to Mecca. You could do all that and more, and it still wouldn’t be enough to appease God’s wrath.
In fact, the sum total of the offering presented to God by following Islam is so insufficient that you could make fifty million trips to Mecca, give every single dime of your wealth to the poor, pray fifteen hundred times a day for the rest of your life, and it still wouldn’t be enough.
Even if you felt better as a person adhering to those beliefs.
Even if those beliefs gave your life meaning and purpose.
Even if those beliefs rescued you from a life-controlling addiction.
Even if those beliefs saved your marriage.
Even if you think those beliefs are the hope of the world.
Those beliefs are simply not enough.
And that’s not a statement against Islam so much as it’s a statement about all non-Christian religions. What is so important about Christianity that makes it worth offending the billions upon billions of people who lovingly and authentically embrace other religions? What makes it worth risking misunderstanding, awkwardness, loss of friendships, and even your life? What causes a Christian to be mildly committed to evangelism one day and the next day consumed with apocalyptic urgency to reach his or her friends for Christ?
One word: propitiation.
They finally “get” what Jesus’ death on the cross really accomplished.
But still, this isn’t what creates apocalyptic urgency.
What grabs our hearts with the force of eternity is the moment we realize that, as Romans 3:25 says, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
The beneﬁts of Christ’s propitiation must “be received by faith.”
That means friends and family members have to know they are “deserving of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), and they must understand the mess they’re in before they can do something about it.
They must be told by someone wearing skin.
And that someone is you.
Sign up HERE to get my articles delivered straight to your inbox.