Passage: 1 John 2:2
This week I spent a lot of time looking into a unique, and difficult word that is very important to this passage. It also raised more questions for me and some important answers too.
1 John 2:2(ESV)
2He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
About God’s Word and original languages:
- It is always important to remember the original Bible Passages were not written in English or Japanese (not even Latin for that matter).
- Much of the New Testament is written in Greek.
- Much of the Old Testament is written in Hebrew.
Why talk about this greek word?
- It’s easy to skip over that word in the passage and keep reading because it’s unclear.
- BUT, if we skip this word we don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for us and for the world.
- We also miss important truth about God.
The Greek word HILASMOS is translated into English 2 different ways.
In the Bible translations I found:
Propitiation (ESV, KJV 1900, LEB, ASV 1901, NASB)
Atoning sacrifice (NIV, NLT)
- Atonement doesn’t necessarily have wrath associated with that word.
In Japanese it’s translated:
The JLB (Japanese Living Bible) is not a word-for-word translation. So it doesn’t translate HILASMOS directly but translates to share the meaning of the passage in Japanese:
Here is the English definition of propitiation:
- propitiation n. — the means of appeasing wrath and gaining the good will of an offended person; especially with respect to sacrifices for appeasing angered deities. (Bible Sense Lexicon)
Here is what it’s like in Japanese:
- 償ういけにえ/ なだめの供え物
- 名詞 - 怒りを鎮め、怒った人の善意を得る手段；特に怒った神を鎮めるための生贄に関して。(バイブル・センス・レキシコン) (DeepL Auto translated)
Propitiation / HILASMOS, the translation is based on it’s usage in Greek from other books and texts. This word includes the idea of wrath or anger.
- This surprised me, I don’t often think about God’s anger or God being angry. 🤔
- God’s anger is in the Bible however.
- The Old Testament and the New Testament have examples.
- Sodom and Gamorrah (very interesting because of God’s conversation with Abraham about how few people would be needed to save the city from destruction)
- The exile of Israel and Judah from the promise land
- Jesus in the temple with the money changers
- Annanias and Sapphira lying to God about their donation (a challenging passage for sure)
Wrath? God is Angry?
- Does that sound strange to you?
BUT, doesn’t the Bible say God is love???
- IT DOES!
- The Bible says “God is Love” in the exact same letter we are studying!!
- John says God is love later in 1st John.
- Spoiler alert, it’s in 1 John 4:7-8 😏
Well there are a few ways anger and propitiation ( 償ういけにえ/ なだめの供え物 ) might make more sense to us.
- First, many of the examples of anger we see are sinful outbursts human anger.
- The examples we often see (on TV or in our own lives) are wrong and impure outbursts. The Bible says “be angry and sin not.” Ephesians 4:26
- Anger is not wrong in itself. It is not a sin to be angry.
- But Anger coupled with our impatience and sin easily results in sin and hurting others.
- Hurtful words and hurtful actions come from anger easily.
- たとえば: A manga character gets angry then powers up to beat another character with brute strength. While the offending character may be exceedingly evil. The anger and destruction of the main character can be sinful.
- The Bible says we are to leave judgement and especially revenge up to the Lord’s timing and ways:
- Romans 12:19: 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge;
- I will pay them back,” says the Lord. (NLT)
- Does it make you angry to see injustice and evil?
- Is there an image or idea that makes you angry when you see evil?
- If a villain in a movie is overly cruel, does that not make you angry?
- Of course God sees motives and actions perfectly, so it’s not the same as us.
- But it’s similar.
- When God sees evil being done toward innocent or poor people it makes him angry. When God sees us sin against each other it makes him angry.
- We are very fortunate that God is almost infinitely patient with us or we would never stand a chance.
- God waits very long and gives everyone many chances to turn back before he does show his anger. God doesn’t owe any of us any second chances.
- God is the righteous judge of everything.
- God in his nature is in a very different class from everyone and everything else in that he is the absolute highest “Supreme Court” - and he always give a perfect judgement for crimes and offenses.
- Judges cannot give a pass on crimes because they feel like it
- If a judge does not pass a just sentence we would consider them to be a bad judge, bad for society and maybe even evil.
- Societies have always considered crimes and offenses worthy of punishment.
- Sin ruins everything so God can’t just look over it and not judge people who commit sins
- God as judge will give an appropriate punishment for each sin.
- Some are more weighty than others but they are all bad.
- As John said earlier in his letter we must confess our sin, we must admit our sins to God or we cannot be saved.
- God was not angry at Jesus on the cross, he was angry at sin (our sins)
- Jesus was the only man to ever live free of sin who did not deserve any anger or punishment
- God wanted to save us, but he must show his judgement against sin being evil at the same time
- So John 3:16 he sent his son, as a human to live a life we could not live and die the death we all deserved.
1 John 2:2 “Not ours only but the sins of the whole world.”
- Jesus took the sins of the whole world!! Amazing.
- John here creates a difference between “our sins” and “the sins of the whole world”
- God takes every Christian’s sins in the complete sense that is completely effective we are without any sin when we confess Jesus as lord and believe he was raised from the dead.
- Remember earlier John said we must admit our sins!
- Christians are people who have turned to God for help and direction.
- Christians do not keep sinning the same way before they met Jesus. (or do not desire to keep sinning)
- The world is no longer guilty before God for our many sins.
- They are guilty for rejecting Jesus as their Lord (or completely rejecting and speaking against the Holy Spirit)
- For rejecting the fact that Jesus paid for all their sins on the cross.
- Because of verses like these and others we can say to anyone “Jesus loved you so much he died for your sins.” And you are free, and have eternal life all you need to do is confess Jesus is your highest leader, admit you have sin, and trust Jesus lived and came back to life 2000 years ago.