The Work of the Lord Jesus Christ
EXPIATION, PROPITIATION Terms used in Christian theology that directly correlate and define the nature and effect of the atonement in relation to God and believers. The two terms have somewhat different meanings and are sometimes placed in opposition to each other by theologians, though it is also possible to see them as complementary. Expiation speaks of the process by which sins are nullified or covered. Propitiation, taking a personal object, speaks of the appeasement of an offended party—specifically the Christian God—from wrath or anger. Expiation falls under the concept of propitiation. In Scripture it cannot exist without propitiation. Other terms used for propitiation are appeasement and placation.