“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Our eyes are drawn to the word propitiation. It’s not a word I have ever used or have ever heard outside of either reading it or explaining it in the Bible. While it is an unusual and difficult term, the translators of even the more modern translations still use it. Most try to translate it more as a phrase than a word, but the one word most often used is our word for this week: atonement. Jesus is the sacrifice of atonement for your sins and mine.

The word atonement occurs nearly 100 times in the Old Testament but it is rarely found in the New Testament. Yet, its concept drenches the pages of your New Testament. In 1 John, Christ’s death is clearly shown to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (2:2; 4:10). According to 1 John, the Son is the Savior of the world (4:14), the atoning sacrifice (4:10), and, on the basis of His accomplished work of atonement, He is the heavenly advocate for Christians (2:1). For His name’s sake our sins are forgiven (2:12).

Whether you use the term atonement, propitiation, or some other word, it means little until you come to terms with His goodness to forgive your sins. It doesn’t even matter if you can pronounce the words, you can understand this simple Gospel concept. You are a sinner. There is only one sacrifice that can make you right with God again: Christ.

Today, I will…remember what it is like to be lost and then be found. I will live like one who needed atonement and received it.