Thanksgiving for Christ’s Propitiation

“Then I will say on that day, “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, for although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou dost comfort me (Is 12:1).”

Every Thanksgiving Day, Americans do their best to try and be grateful. Sometimes gratitude is directed toward God, while most references leave the object of thanksgiving unknown. We may know what someone is thankful for, but we may not know who that person is grateful to in their gratitude.

It is typical to express gratitude for the harvest plenty. Others will recall historical intentions for the day. Some will extend Veteran’s Day thanksgiving a bit further.

Christians have the expressions of thanksgiving from the Bible (2 Cor 9:15; 1 Thess 5:18). Remembering my Roman Catholic roots and the Mass, I still have their expression of gratitude in my head, “We give thanks to the Lord! It is right to give Him thanks and praise!”

Rare is the giving of thanks for one’s salvation on Thanksgiving Day. What could possibly warrant our gratitude more than that sentiment? In fact, salvation prompts Christians to give thanks in everything. It is the unbeliever who forsakes thanksgiving to God (Rom 1:21).

The rarest expression of gratitude to God, however, may be thanksgiving for His turning His anger and wrath away from us who are in Christ Jesus. One may confess, “O God, you have burned with anger against me, for my sins and iniquities are too many for me to count, yet, you know them all. Your wrath is perfectly justified if you chose to execute your righteous judgment against me. Instead, you have redirected your wrath due me, to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He bore the punishment I deserve for sins, on His cross, as my substitute. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.”

Jesus Christ has propitiated all sins of His people, His bride, the church from around the world and across time (Rev 5:9). He has released us from our sins (Rev 1:5), by His precious blood (1 Pet 1:19). This means He died in our place and on our behalf, being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). He became the object of God’s hatred, His wrath, because He who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). In His justice, God punished my sins in Christ’s body on the tree (1 Pet 2:24).

Propitiation, the redirection and enduring of another object’s due wrath, is a little-known Christian doctrine. This is partly the case because few even talk about the wrath of God, revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). The reason few speak of God’s wrath against sinners is because few people talk about sin. Sin is an awkward subject among sinners. It is self-condemning to discuss the way one is living before the righteous Judge of all the earth (Gen 18:25).

Sin, guilt, justice, judgment, punishment, death, hell, and the lake of fire for eternity are the common elements of humanity and the future for most people. It is a work of the devil to dilute each of these biblical doctrines. His deception leads people to believe they are not so bad. He assures people that God is not angry with them, nor does God hate them, nor will He pour out His wrath upon them. These are all lies exposed by Scripture (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5).

Propitiation declares a very different message. It says the plight of man is far worse than anyone can think or imagine (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6; Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12; Eph 2:1–3, 12). It invites us to the cross of Calvary, where Christ is suffocating on a tree, having been pierced through at His hands and feet. His crown of thorns has terrorized His skull for hours, with every attempted breath. Finally, His side releases blood and water from the Roman spear. Sin has paid its wages…death.

Propitiation says, “Look at this man of sorrows in this horrific state and consider eternal hell for yourself. For Christ, the perfect, sinless, Son of God to suffer for a few hours on that dark day in human history is set in contrast with a sinner…every sinner in hell, forever. This is the comparison of sinful man’s worthlessness and the Savior’s infinite worth.

His Father turns away in every respect. Christ is despised, rejected, and forsaken (Ps 22:1; Is 53). He descended into the hell of God’s abandonment. He suffered the wrath of God in full measure, for the sins of His beloved Church, His body of people (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25). He gave his life a ransom for many (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). He laid down His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11, 15). He gave Himself for His church to be with Him in death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6; 1 Cor 15). His intention for them…glory with Him, forever (Rom 8:18, 30)!

Christian, give thanks to Christ Jesus, who delivered you from wrath, today, and from the wrath to come at the end of the age (1 Thess 1:10). Ponder anew that greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down His life for His friends (Jn 15:13). The perfect God/man, in love, did this for you and for all His saints.

Thank God for Jesus Christ, who has made propitiation for our sins, enduring the wrath of God for the joy set before Him. Enter His joy in knowing the cost of His propitiation, and in everything, especially propitiation…give thanks!

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

November 26, 2021


Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher