Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 32
     Esther 8
     Mark 3
     Romans 3
''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 has passed over the sins that were previously committed." (Romans 3:24-25)
            Romans chapter 3 sets forth a depravity and a continuing sinfulness of man. Then in the beautiful language of our text the Holy Spirit sets forth the riches of the grace of God which come to the poverty stricken sinner who seeks God through repentance and faith.
            The Gospel we love and preach is a gospel of the grace of God. One of the reasons that most people resent this Gospel is that they find it hard to swallow. It is in all of us to have a certain pride that makes us want to earn our salvation and deserve forgiveness. We must swallow our pride and humble ourselves to accept the gift of God. We are willing to give our life and do most anything, but most of us resent being placed on the level of a hell deserving sinner and know that we within ourselves can do absolutely nothing about it.
            We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must receive the gift or do without it. I had some pictures made on one occasion for some publicity purposes and I went to examine the proofs. The photographer, who was a personal friend, laid them out before me. They were terrible and I responded to him, “these don't do me justice.” His answer was, “Pastor, you don't need justice, you need mercy” He was exactly right. ''As long as we are rich, particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we come to Him in repentance and recognizes the need of His mercy and grace that we can be recipients of His forgiveness."
            In our text is this big word propitiation. What does it mean? Let me illustrate it.
            A married couple in Tyler, Texas had just had a new baby. One night the father, Robert Hardy, got up in the night to get a drink of water. He noticed that the crib was empty. He ran back to the bedroom to find that the baby was not with his mother. He was panic-stricken and ran to the room where he kept his pet snake. He discovered that the snake was gone and ran about the house looking for the snake and the baby. His worst fears were realized when he found the snake and found the bulge in his belly. He went berserk and grabbed an ax and began to cut the snake in many pieces. Did he have a right to take the ax of judgment to the snake? Almost anyone would say, ''Of course he did, the snake took the life of his child." Remember, however, the snake was doing only what was his nature to do. When you sin you are doing only as your nature dictates. God has every right to take the ax of judgment to you, but instead He took it to His own Son on the cross. ''As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up''!
            Because of God's great love for you, He took the ax of judgment to His own Son and not to you. That is propitiation. You can be the recipient of God's grace right now. Once you have received that grace you will surely want to faithfully serve Him until He takes you home.
Please pray today for seven countries in the Americas where evangelicals are below 10% of the total population.  In North America, these include Greenland, St. Pierre, and Miquelon. In Latin America, the countries include Colombia, Cuba, French Guiana, and Uruguay. Doors are opening now in Cuba, which should excite every believer and ignite fervor in giving, prayer, and a willingness to go when the door is opened even wider.
''No boasting for me...none! - except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I crucified to the world.''
Galatians 6:14 (Moffatt's)