Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | November 25, 2007

Lord’s Day Quote – John Murray

Thirdly, propitiation does not detract from the love and mercy of God; it rather enhances the marvel of his love.  For it shows the cost that redemptive love entails.  God is love.  But the supreme object of that love is himself.  And because he loves himself supremely he cannot suffer what belongs to the integrity of his character and glory to be compromised or curtailed.  That is the reason for the propitiation.  God appeases his own holy wrath in the cross of Christ in order that the purpose of his love to lost men may be accomplished in accordance with and to the vindication of all the perfections that constitute his glory.  “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to show his righteousness… that he might himself be just and justifier of him that hath faith on Jesus” (Rom 3:25, 26)

The antipathy to the doctrine of propitiation as the propitiating of divine wrath rests, however, upon failure to appreciate what the atonement is.  The atonement is that which meets the exigencies of holiness and justice.  The wrath of God is the inevitable reaction of the divine holiness against sin.  Sin is the contradiction of the perfection of God and he cannot but recoil against that which is the contradiction of himself.  Such recoil is his holy indignation.  “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18).  The judgment of God upon sin is essentially his wrath.  If we are to believe that the atonement is God’s vicarious dealing with the judgment upon sin, it i s absolutely necessary to hold that it is the vicarious endurance of that in which this judgment is epitomized.   To deny propitiation is to undermine the nature of the atonement as the vicarious endurance of the penalty of sin.  In a word, it is to deny substitutionary atonement.  To glory in the cross is to glory in Christ as the propitiatory sacrifice once offered, as the abiding propitiatory, and as the one who embodies in himself for ever all the propitiatory efficacy of the propitiation once for all accomplished.

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied



  1. So, I guess Christ didn’t merely die for an “opportunity” and Christ’s work fully accomplishes its intent and truly is vicarious.

    Awesome quote from one of the best books ever printed.

  2. Yes, that is a necessary implication of the atonement initiated by the covenant of redemption.

    I am trying to figure out the guy in the picture. My guess someone from the late 19th or early 20th century.

  3. Wow, great guess! It’s Herman Bavinck, who was born in the late 19th and lived until the early 20th.
    As part of the URCNA, we trace our church heritage back to Holland.

  4. Never thought you would have had a dutchman for your comment picture in high school…God’s providence is amazing.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  5. Amen and amen.

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