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"AND he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." - 1 John ii. 2,

AT the request of sister Fernal, as expressed in her letter On page 156, we will offer a few thoughts on the above passage of scripture. This epistle was written to those Hebrew disciples which were at the time John wrote, scattered abroad by a persecution which had arisen soon after the day of Pentecost; a "General Epistle." It was evidently designed primarily for the same "strangers, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Capadocia, Asia and Bithynia," to whom Peter directed his epistles. The design of the apostle John or rather of the Holy Spirit by him in sending this circular out among the dear scattered flock is clearly stated in several instances throughout this epistle; one object was that their joy might be full. See Chap. i. and ver. 4. He had been speaking to them in the preceding chapter of the remaining depravity which all the children of God, while here on earth have to lament and mourn over, and which w calculated to make these early disciples who had been principally brought up in Judaism, think that they must some offering or sacrifice for their sins; or otherwise from that they could not be what they had hoped they were, the children of God. But the apostle tells them that if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: this was calculated to comfort them, and to prevent their sinning, either by attempting to receive Jewish ordinances which were now abolished, or otherwise. If he had been inspired to assure the Pharisees or Arminians, that if they sinned they had an Advocate or Propitiator with the Father, who had atoned for them, and who could and would assuredly sustain them; the consequence would be, as they have often themselves declared, they would with such assurance sin the more: yea, they would take their fill. But not with those whom the Son of God hath made free; these are radically changed, and sin is no longer their element. Hence the apostle writes to them this glorious truth, these sure mercies of David, that they sin not; see preceding verse. Well did the inspired writer know that the more the children of God could know of rich, free, sovereign, immutable, invincible and unfrustrible grace of God, the less would be their relish for sin, and the greater their joy in the Holy Ghost. In this text, Christ is not only presented to the dear tried, tempted, sin-burdened and scattered saints as a propitiator, to whom they might have access, to make reconciliation for them; but "He is the propitiation," itself. That is, Christ is the satisfaction of all demands, which could possibly be brought against His people; hence the apostle calls Him as our advocate, "Christ the Righteous," or the righteousness of his people. He is of God made unto us, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. This is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness. Therefore as He is their advocate, propitiation and justifying righteousness, other offerings were not acceptable to God. Certainly the apostle could not be mistaken in supposing that this doctrine would revive the spirits of the drooping lambs of Christ; this was indeed a word in season to them in that time of special trial. But as our sister Fernal tells us that she has not yet got beyond temptations, doubts and fears and as she complains bitterly of a want of conformity to the image of her blessed Lord, perhaps she may conclude from what we have written that all these good things were written by the apostle exclusively for the Hebrew saints, and being, according to the flesh, a poor Gentile, that she has no advocate, no propitiator; but let her not despair; the apostle tells us that Christ as a propitiation is not confined to the Hebrew saints to whom he was writing, but he is so also to the Gentiles; for in this sense the term whole world is used by this apostle throughout his writings, meaning Jews and Gentiles, which truly includes the whole world. See Chap. v. and ver. 19. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. The simple meaning is that in behalf of all the saints of God, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the only advocate with the Father, as it is written, "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth" but why look to him? He adds, "For I am God, and besides me there is no Savior," no Propitiator, no High Priest, no atonement or acceptable sacrifice; this is truly a good and sufficient reason why all who being quickened by his spirit, (and until quickened there are none that seek after God,) should look away from self, from self-righteousness, from Moses, from anxious benches and human devices; for it requires a God to save a sinner. So also every poor, afflicted, trembling, sin-burdened Gentile sinner, who has experienced the washing of regeneration, (for none other can answer the description given,) may rely on The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and rejoice that he is able to keep them from falling, I and has pledged himself that they shall never perish, but have everlasting life. We would write more upon this pleasing subject, but must forbear for the present. May the Lord bless these few hints to the comfort not only of sister Fernal, but also to many of his dear hidden ones, is our ardent desire for the Redeemer's sake.

Alexandria, D. C.,
October 15, 1839.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 534 - 436