"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:22-25a).
The doctrine of propitiation is a key doctrine of the Bible, because it is essential to the definition of Christ's mission. The word propitiation is rarely used today, but it is an offering with the purpose of appeasing the wrath of God and taking away sin. The apostle Paul described Jesus' work on the cross as a propitiation when he wrote, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Romans 5:6-9).
In Christ as a propitiation, we see a God who was properly angry at us. We deserved his wrath. We had violated our relationship with him as people made in his image. We had insulted our Creator by going our own way. We had sinned by committing acts of selfishness and evil. Our situation was hopeless, because we had no defense.
However, although God was angry with us, he also loved us. He knew that we deserved the full force of his wrath, but he also knew that we could not handle it. He is a God of wrath, but he is also a God of compassion and love. So he decided to appease his own justified wrath. On the cross, Jesus Christ took the wrath. He became our propitiation and our saving grace.
Because the Son of God took the punishment for our sins, we do not need to walk in condemnation. We can live freely, without the burden of guilt and shame. When we place our confidence in him as our propitiation, we enjoy the benefits of his sacrifice.
And that's just one more reason to love Jesus.