on 1-john 2 :2
And he is the propitiation - 'Ἱλασμος· The atoning sacrifice for our sins. This is the proper sense of the word as used in the Septuagint, where it often occurs; and is the translation of אשם asham, an oblation for sin, Amos 8:14. חטאת chattath, a sacrifice for sin, Ezekiel 44:27. כפור kippur, an atonement, Numbers 5:8. See the note on Romans 3:25, and particularly the note on Luke 18:13. The word is used only here and in 1 John 4:10.
And not for ours only - It is not for us apostles that he has died, nor exclusively for the Jewish people, but περι ὁλου του κοσμου, for the whole world, Gentiles as well as Jews, all the descendants of Adam. The apostle does not say that he died for any select part of the inhabitants of the earth, or for some out of every nation, tribe, or kindred; but for All Mankind; and the attempt to limit this is a violent outrage against God and his word.
For the meaning of the word παρακλητος, which we here translate advocate, see the note on John 14:16.
From these verses we learn that a poor backslider need not despair of again finding mercy; this passage holds out sufficient encouragement for his hope. There is scarcely another such in the Bible, and why? That sinners might not presume on the mercy of God. And why this one? That no backslider might utterly despair. Here, then, is a guard against presumption on the one hand, and despondency on the other.
on 1-john 2 :2
And he is the propitiation for our sins - The word rendered "propitiation" (ἱλασμός hilasmos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 1 John 4:10 of this Epistle; though words of the same derivation, and having the same essential meaning, frequently occur. The corresponding word ἱλαστήριον hilastērion occurs in Romans 3:25, rendered "propitiation" - "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood;" and in Hebrews 9:5, rendered mercy-seat - "shadowing the mercy-seat." The verb ἱλάσκομαι hilaskomai occurs also in Luke 18:3 - God be merciful to me a sinner;" and Hebrews 2:17 - "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." For the idea expressed by these words, see the notes at Romans 3:25. The proper meaning of the word is that of reconciling, appeasing, turning away anger, rendering propitious or favorable. The idea is, that there is anger or wrath, or that something has been done to offend, and that it is needful to turn away that wrath, or to appease. This may be done by a sacrifice, by songs, by services rendered, or by bloody offerings. So the word is often used in Homer - Passow. We have similar words in common use, as when we say of one that he has been offended, and that something must be done to appease him, or to turn away his wrath. This is commonly done with us by making restitution; or by an acknowledgment; or by yielding the point in controversy; or by an expression of regret; or by different conduct in time to come. But this idea must not be applied too literally to God; nor should it be explained away. The essential thoughts in regard to him, as implied in this word, are:
(1) that his will has been disregarded, and his law violated, and that he has reason to be offended with us;
(2) that in that condition he cannot, consistently with his perfections, and the good of the universe, treat us as if we had not done it;
(3) that it is proper that, in some way, he should show his displeasure at our conduct, either by punishing us, or by something that shall answer the same purpose; and,
(4) that the means of propitiation come in here, and accomplish this end, and make it proper that he should treat us as if we had not sinned; that is, he is reconciled, or appeased, and his anger is turned away.
This is done, it is supposed, by the death of the Lord Jesus, accomplishing, in most important respects, what would be accomplished by the punishment of the offender himself. In regard to this, in order to a proper understanding of what is accomplished, it is necessary to observe two things - what is not done, and what is.
I. There are certain things which do not enter into the idea of propitiation. They are such as these:
(a) That it does not change the fact that the wrong was done. That is a fact which cannot be denied, and he who undertakes to make a propitiation for sin does not deny it.
(b) It does not change God; it does not make Him a different being from what He was before; it does not buy Him over to a willingness to show mercy; it does not change an inexorable being to one who is compassionate and kind.
(c) The offering that is made to secure reconciliation does not necessarily produce reconciliation in fact. It prepares the way for it on the part of God, but whether they for whom it is made will be disposed to accept it is another question.
When two men are alienated from each other, you may go to B and say to him that all obstacles to reconciliation on the part of A are removed, and that he is disposed to be at peace, but whether B will be willing to be at peace is quite another matter. The mere fact that his adversary is disposed to be at peace, determines nothing in regard to his disposition in the matter. So in regard to the controversy between man and God. It may be true that all obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God are taken away, and still it may be quite a separate question whether man will be willing to lay aside his opposition, and embrace the terms of mercy. In itself considered, one does not necessarily determine the other, or throw any light on it.
II. The amount, then, in regard to the propitiation made for sin is, that it removes all obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God: it does whatever is necessary to be done to maintain the honor of His law, His justice, and His truth; it makes it consistent for Him to offer pardon - that is, it removes whatever there was that made it necessary to inflict punishment, and thus, so far as the word can be applied to God, it appeases Him, or turns away His anger, or renders Him propitious. This it does, not in respect to producing any change in God, but in respect to the fact that it removes whatever there was in the nature of the case that prevented the free and full offer of pardon. The idea of the apostle in the passage before us is, that when we sin we may be assured that this has been done, and that pardon may now be freely extended to us.
And not for our's only - Not only for the sins of us who are Christians, for the apostle was writing to such. The idea which he intends to convey seems to be, that when we come before God we should take the most liberal and large views of the atonement; we should feel that the most ample provision has been made for our pardon, and that in no respect is there any limit as to the sufficiency of that work to remove all sin. It is sufficient for us; sufficient for all the world.
But also for the sins of the whole world - The phrase "the sins of" is not in the original, but is not improperly supplied, for the connection demands it. This is one of the expressions occurring in the New Testament which demonstrate that the atonement was made for all people, and which cannot be reconciled with any other opinion. If he had died only for a part of the race, this language could not have been used. The phrase, "the whole world," is one which naturally embraces all people; is such as would be used if it be supposed that the apostle meant to teach that Christ died for all people; and is such as cannot be explained on any other supposition. If he died only for the elect, it is not true that he is the "propitiation for the sins of the whole world" in any proper sense, nor would it be possible then to assign a sense in which it could be true. This passage, interpreted in its plain and obvious meaning, teaches the following things:
on 1-john 2 :2
2:2 And he is the propitiation - The atoning sacrifice by which the wrath of God is appeased. For our sins - Who believe. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world - Just as wide as sin extends, the propitiation extends also .