Tuesday, April 26, 2011


~ An Interesting New Testament Term ~   

Propitiation is one of those six-dollar theological terms. It is a complex term full of interesting and sometimes difficult concepts. We are told that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sin (Romans 3:22-26; 1 John 2:1-2, 4:9-11). Since it is a good Biblical term, it is worth exploring and explaining in a straightforward manner. 

Propitiation has a lot to do with the divine aspect of the Cross. The word propitiation in our English Bibles has its roots in an old English word, propitiate, which has a base meaning of appeasement.  One definition which New Testament scholars use is, “the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross by which He satisfied God's Holiness so God could extend mercy to lost sinners.”

It is also related to the Old Testament concept of atonement and the covering of sin. In the Old Testament the Mercy Seat was a way of covering sin or appeasing the Judge. Christ’s death covers the penalty of our sin and provides satisfaction to the Judge of all mankind. It includes the judicial concept of satisfying all legal requirements and gaining a judgment of complete satisfaction in a courtroom.

The death of the sinless One, Jesus Christ, is the only possible remedy for sin—the only way for forgiveness or satisfying the requirements of the judgment for those who have sinned. As we read our Bibles we must recognize that not everyone will be saved (2 Corinthians 5:14-19), but the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient for all to be saved (Hebrews 2:9). 

This propitiatory sacrifice of Christ removes our estrangement or separation from God by appeasing or satisfying God’s right of judgment against us. The Father’s righteous judgment has been satisfied by the death of the only sinless One. Only Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life could satisfy a righteous and holy God. This is the Gospel message in a nutshell! God sent His only beloved Son—the only righteous One—to take our place of judgment in order to satisfy the righteous and just wrath of God against sinners. God’s wrath was put on Christ as our substitute. 

There are many complexities to this concept of propitiation as we see active grace, active mercy, and active love being showered upon those who could do nothing for themselves—those who would otherwise stand before God in total guilt. But an option has been provided: accept the Son’s gift of propitiation for your sins and they are covered with His robe of righteousness. Then when the Judge looks at you He sees the righteousness of His Son. 

There are two critical components of propitiation. The Judge must have a valid reason for the pardon and the Judge must have the motivation to act upon and admit the presented evidence.
In the case of our salvation the death of the sinless Lamb of God is a valid payment of sin. As the only truly righteous Judge God, the Father, acts upon the evidence and renders that our sins have been paid in full. Fellowship between God and the sinner is restored because the penalty for their sin has been paid in full by Jesus Christ.

With this background carefully read the following three portions of Scripture.

“For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-26 emphasis added). 
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:9-11 emphasis added).

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2, emphasis added).

How great a God! How great a salvation! 


Redemption  is the aspect of the Cross that deals directly with the penalty of sin.
Reconciliation is the aspect of the Cross which restores fellowship with mankind.
Propitiation is the aspect of the Cross that satisfies a holy and righteous God.

The following is from an unknown source: “Then God chose to send His Son by His own Will and He willed that Christ should die and become a propitiation for our sins ( Romans 3:21-26).  What is propitiation?  Propitiation is where the wrath of God goes out as a missile and its destination is you but then Christ stands in the way of the missile.  He doesn't disarm it, He takes the blow.  The full wrath of God is displayed upon Him instead of you.  This is propitiation.

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6 Major Creative Acts

~ Mornings in Scripture ~  

The God of all is also the Creator of all. Consider some of His major creative acts.

The Creation ~ This is the morning of time—when the seasons began. It is not the start of eternity for eternity includes not only our eternal future but also God’s eternal past! Creation was a joyous time, “How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise?” (Job 38:6-7).

The Great Exodus ~ The birth, or the morning of Israel.  A nation was born in a resurrection morning as the Song of Moses was sung on the banks of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-18). This was not just the birth of any nation but the birth of God’s chosen people. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son” (Hosea 11:1). 

The Incarnation ~ The morning of promised salvation was heralded by the light of a bright star. Israel’s plight had been dark and dreary for a long time. The prophets had been silent for centuries. Until now, nothing distinguished the city of peace. The angels which had been gone from Israel for so long now reappeared. God-given promises to Abraham and David, which anticipated the new birth of the people and of the kingdom, now have new meaning. “Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise has broken upon us” (Luke 1:78). 

The Resurrection ~ The morning of victory came following the darkest day in history. It was like a deposit of earnest money as a pledge of a future eternal day. Now the first day of the week had special significance. “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb” (Matthew 28:1). He was not there—death had been defeated and it was the dawn of a new day.
Today we are sandwiched between great mornings.

The Kingdom ~ The next great beginning will be the morning of divine rule. This will be a great dawning of day following a long night. Christ will rule the world righteously after man has failed to rule wisely. “And He shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain” (2 Samuel 23:4). 

The New Creation ~ The great morning of timelessness. It is the dawn of a second birth—a new heaven and a new earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone” (Revelation 21:1). It will be a place of righteousness where God supplies all our needs. “When everything and everyone is finally under God's rule, the Son will step down, taking His place with everyone else, showing that God's rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending! (1 Corinthians 15:28). 

Summary ~ (1) Soon after creation when God placed man in the Garden of Eden mankind turned God’s good gifts into evil. Creation which came with such beauty was turned into a cursed ground of weeds, thistles, and thorns. (2) God’s people soon forgot their resurrection on the banks of the Red Sea and became captives of their oppressors. (3) The babe of Bethlehem was crucified on Calvary’s Cross. (4) The glorious resurrection from the dead of the very Son of God has largely been forgotten by the masses. Even the Christian community is spiraling into the Laodicean church (see Revelation 3:14-21).

Today, you and I are fast approaching the next great morning. Are you prepared, expectant, and truly ready? (5) Soon the government of a new administration will break forth like a bright morning without a cloud in the sky. “Like the light of morning at sunrise, like a morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain” (2 Samuel 23:4).  (6) With the dawn of the new creation God will maintain its beauty and vitality forever. There will never again be rebellion by mankind or any of sin’s corruption. Our sun will be extinguished—God Himself will be the source of unending light—His brilliance will shine forever. “And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light”(Revelation 21:23). It will be the final morning—of one eternal day. “There shall be no night there” (Revelation 22:5). 

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Saturday, April 16, 2011

EXTRA: Book Review

~ A Review of “One Precious Pearl” by Christian Book Reviews ~

In the short time since “ONE PRECIOUS PEARL: God’s Design for His Church” was released, it has received many accolades including being named “2011 Book-Of-The-Year” by Reader Views Literary Awards.  Reproduced immediately below is one of the many positive reviews the book has received.

Title:  One Precious Pearl
Author:  Robert Lloyd Russell
ISBN#  0-7414-6232-X
Book Review Date:  March 12, 2011
Reviewed by:  Christian Book Reviews
10.0 on a scale of 10.0 stars

In His book, “One Precious Pearl”, Author Robert Lloyd Russell presents an enlightening, fascinating and enriching study of the parable of the “one pearl of great price” found in Mathew 13.  The Author concisely gives first an overview of the seven well-known parables of Matthew 13, then focuses in on the parallels of the “one pearl of great price”, revealing an in-depth study as to why Christ used the pearl in the parable.

After reading this book, you will never look, nor gaze, at a pearl in the same way.  Nor will you ever view the Church in the same way.  Author, Robert Lloyd Russell reveals a captivating, spiritual truth as demonstrated by Christ through the parable of the one pearl of great price, that a pearl is of great significance and value.  This in depth study and comparison will cause you to truly appreciate the kingdom of heaven that you have the privilege of belonging to and open your eyes to the free gift of salvation causing a new meaning to come forth about what exactly it means to be a Christ follower and to be a part of His true church.  Some may ask, “What is His true Church?”  This book explains just that and will give you a deeper knowledge and understanding of what it is to be a part of His true Church, inspiring you to the reality of the kingdom of heaven and what God’s true design is for His Church.  Oh, and what a precious pearl the Church truly is!

This book is revolutionary in that not only does it lay out the parallels between the true Church and the pearl in such an undeniable way, the significant analogies give light to the fact that the cross gave birth to the Church.  The author leaves you in awe to the new realization of why exactly Christ used an example of the pearl.  Founded and built upon scripture, never before has a teaching split open the truth of the reality of the parable of the “one pearl of great price” and the Church.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

This book comes highly recommended, is filled with scriptural applications, wisdom, wise counsel, encouragement and will bless the reader abundantly. 

One Precious Pearl by Robert Lloyd Russell
ISBN# 0-7414-6232-X
10.0 on a scale of 10.0 stars
Reviewed by: Christian Book Reviews

There is more information about One Precious Pearl at the author’s website
You may order directly from Amazon or from Infinity Publishing.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How’s Your Love Life?

~ 7 Aspects of Christian Love ~ 

THE PREMISE ~ “The love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:9-11 NKJV, emphasis added).

THE COMMAND ~ While on earth in human form Jesus Christ said that if we live authentic Christian lives, those around us will know us by our love for one another. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35 NIV). 

There are a number of specific ways in which we can measure how well we are doing in our love life.

(1) Increasing Love ~ “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12 NKJV).  

(2) Intense Love ~ “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22-23 NKJV). “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV).

(3) Sincere Love ~ “In purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love” (2 Corinthians 6:6 NIV). “Don't just pretend that you love others: really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 TLB). 

(4) Continuous Love ~ “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love” (John 15:9-10 NIV).  “Continue to love each other with true brotherly love” (Hebrews 13:1 TLB).

 (5) Limitless Love ~ "But concerning the pure brotherly love that there should be among God's people, I don't need to say very much, I'm sure! For God Himself is teaching you to love one another. Indeed, your love is already strong toward all the Christian brothers throughout your whole nation. Even so, dear friends, we beg you to love them more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 TLB).

 (6) Complete Love ~ “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. We love each other because He loved us first” (1 John 4:18-19 NLT).


(7) Controlling Love ~ “Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave His life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God” (Ephesians 5:2 TEV). 

A key question for you and for me: How does your love life measure up to these seven aspects of Christian love? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


~ A Picture of the Church ~  
Abigail is one of the most beautiful women in the Bible and is a “type” of the universal Church. A type in the Bible is a picture of something else. The primary Biblical account of Abigail is found in 1 Samuel 25:2-42. Here are some examples of how Abigail pictures the Church:

Her Name ~ Abigail means “gift of the father.” The Church is a gift from the Father to Jesus Christ (John 17:6-8, 18:9). Abigail’s overall life displays how God hides from the proud and mighty but reveals Himself to those who humble themselves before Him (James 4:6). 

Her Beauty ~ Abigail possessed a “beautiful countenance” (25:3). The Church will be presented to Christ as His bride “without spot or wrinkle” (Ephesians 5:27). Abigail understood David’s true nature and value before it was widely recognized—long before the wedding. 

Her Background ~ Abigail was from Nabal’s house of great abundance (a type of the world). The Church is from the world with all its abundance and treasures. Abigail left behind the riches of Nabal’s household as she joined David in the wilderness (25:18-20). The Church is to forsake earthly treasures (Luke 14:33) and instead to lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). The Church is still in the world but no longer of the world (John 17:14-16). 

Her Vision ~ Abigail saw David’s worth and glory when those around her did not, and she acted on faith (Psalm 25:14). She saw David as being the Anointed One and she acted in faith and believed in David. Today entrance into the Church is on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.  

Her Insight ~ Abigail knew that after David suffered there would be glory. We are told that Abigail was a woman of “good understanding”—she had been given divine knowledge! Similarly the Church has spiritual insight and the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) and looks forward to future glory.

Her Response ~ Abigail responded to David with “my lord” (25:24-31). David at the time was a fugitive and outcast from society. Abigail understood David even though the masses did not! Individuals become members of the Church as they respond “my Lord” (i.e., John 20:28) while Jesus Christ is not recognized by the majority (1 Corinthians 1:26).  

Her Request ~ Abigail said to David “remember your handmaid” (25:31). The thief on the cross is a good representative of each one who becomes a part of the Church when he said "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom" (Luke 23:42).  

His Response ~ David saw Abigail’s ministry and gave her peace and ministered blessings to her in return (25:32-35). Christ is in the business of providing great blessings including peace in the middle of turmoil (Philippians 4:7) and abundant life now to those who serve Him (John 10:10b).  

The Initiator ~ David was the initiator of this relationship (25:39). It is Christ who seeks us (Luke 19:10).

Her Blessings ~ Abigail was favored and blessed—the Church is greatly favored and eternally set apart (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  

The Process ~ Abigail appeared to suffer loss by leaving her wealthy place. In reality it was nothing compared to her ultimate gain. But note the important parallel—she joined with David while he was still rejected and an outcast. Individuals become members of the Church while He is still widely rejected and scorned (Luke 21:12).  

The Bride ~ Abigail was David’s bride and the Church is the Greater David’s bride. 

The Bridegroom ~ David (a type of Christ) was despised and rejected prior to the wedding. David spent time in the wilderness (25:14), as did Christ (Luke 4:1-13). David was without a home in the wilderness. The Son of Man had “nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). Both were kings yet at the time of courting were without a kingdom.

The Final Results ~ Judgment was slow in coming, but eventually it came: “the Lord smote Nabal and he died” (25:38). After Nabal’s death Abigail is united with David. As the world, the flesh, and the devil are slain, we are united with Christ (1 John 2:16-17). When complete victory arrives, we will be wedded to Christ.

The Wedding ~ Note the sequence. First Abigail was a partner in David’s sorrow after which she became his bride (25:42), and finally she was on the throne with David. The Church is a partner with Christ and His sufferings (Philippians 3:10) but will later become His bride (Ephesians 5:27) and rule with Him—the greater David (Revelation 20:4-6). 

Additional Thoughts ~ Abigail’s deepest thoughts were not concerning herself or her personal comforts but towards David. Everything we do should be for His glory not for our own benefit (1 Corinthians 10:31). In summary, while Abigail is a single individual, she is also a representative of many of whom the Bible says “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).   

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: The book One Precious Pearl (see the OPP tab at the top of the page) presents the Church from another Biblical perspective.

PERSONAL COMMENT:  My granddaughter—Abigail—becomes a teenager within a week. Honey, this week’s blog is dedicated to you!