In his 1693 Baptist catechism, Benjamin Keach, a Reformed Baptist pastor and theologian, asks the following second question: “What is the chief end of man?” That is, why does mankind exist? Why did God create people? Answer: “Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” That is absolutely true and correct and there are copious places in scripture one can go to substantiate that. In Isaiah 43:6-7, scripture tells us that God created and formed all people for his own glory. In the book of Romans, we are told that all things were created “from [God] and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (11:36). And in the book of Revelation, we see the heavenly beings singing worship to God, day and night saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (4:11). God is worthy of worship and praise because he is the Creator and we are the creature. He is the one who has “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God” (Acts 17:26-27).
When Jesus first began his ministry in Luke chapter 4, we read that he entered a synagogue in Nazareth and was handed a copy of the book of Isaiah to read from. He then finds Isaiah 61:1-3, quoted in Luke 4:18, and reads, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (italics added).
Propitiation. What a great word. It has such a great sound to it. But what does it mean? Many have never heard the word, much less be familiar with its meaning. This is especially true if the translation you use is NRSV or NIV, both of which use the word "sacrifice" instead of “propitiation.” This is unfortunate since the words sacrifice and propitiation do not mean the same thing. These words are not synonymous. Though their definitions are closely related, they both convey separate and distinct truths regarding the cross of Christ and what was accomplished at Calvary.
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