“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. …He did it to demonstrate his justice…, so as to be just and the one who justified those who have faith in Jesus.”Romans 3:25-26
That God hates sinners and their sin is a difficult but thoroughly biblical truth (Psalm 5:5-6). That God also loves sinners is a significantly less difficult, but thoroughly biblical truth (Romans 5:10). How are we to reconcile these statements? We cannot, save in the cross of Christ, where Jesus became the propitiation for our sins.
This fancy term describes the satisfaction of God’s wrath for our sin. To say that God gave Jesus as our propitiation is to make His wrath essential to our understanding of His love. You see, love cannot simply excuse sin as if it doesn’t matter (1 Corinthians 13:6; Exodus 34:6-7). God’s just wrath says that it matters greatly. Yet in love, Jesus endured God’s wrath at Calvary in order to defeat for us—and for all time—the power of sin, Satan, and death. In one selfless act of self-sacrifice, He mercifully achieved our salvation through our own merciless hands which nailed Him to the cross. Such is the breathtakingly beautiful love of God! It does not deny God’s wrath; it endured it.
“Do you wish to see God’s love? Look at the Cross. Do you wish to see God’s wrath? Look at the Cross.” (D. A. Carson, 1999)