(Christ Jesus) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Earlier this week we considered the mystery of relationship to God among the vast majority of those living under the old covenant. What was not so much a mystery under the old covenant was the reality of sin. People got it. The old covenant system of sacrifice made certain people understood that sin brought with it the wrath of God. He is holy; people are not. Therefore, a great chasm exists.

Then came Jesus. We understand and find it easy to readily communicate that God sent Jesus because He loves us. What is perhaps more difficult to communicate is that God sent Jesus because He loves us and He hates our sin. While the people under the old covenant stood longing to look into the Most Holy Place and to personally experience God’s presence, they understood their sin kept them from it. Today, we often take the gift of God’s presence for granted. We forget how serious an issue sin is in our lives. At its core, sin is idolatry: the worship of the creation instead of the Creator.

The fact that we are born with this predisposition toward sin created a seemingly hopeless predicament for humanity. However, God took the initiative to provide a way of redemption for us based solely on His grace. The word propitiation that Paul used in Romans 3:25 speaks of the appeasement of God from wrath and anger. It is not only because of God’s love that Jesus came; it is also because of His wrath toward sin. God, in His great love, removed His wrath from you and me by placing it upon sinless Jesus on the cross, providing a way for all humanity to be forgiven of their guilt.

• What do we learn about God’s character from this passage? In contrast, what do we learn about humanity’s character?

• Why is a proper understanding of God’s wrath toward sin necessary to fully walk in the promise of the new covenant?

• Thank Jesus for descending to the depths of your need and taking upon Himself the penalty and punishment for your sins. Pray that God will give you such understanding and humble appreciation for His gospel that you will be compelled to share it with others.