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Stopping the need for blame with propitiation

Finding our worth in God's truth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Stopping the need for blame by propitiation

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The Blame Game

If I told you that the person sitting next to you has a deadly weapon on them, how would you feel? What if I told you that you carry a deadly weapon with you everywhere you go? Before I talk about that deadly weapon, I want to ask you a few questions.

The weapon

What is this weapon? It is the ability to send a message of condemnation or blame to another person. How is this done? By words, physical force, facial expressions, or even silence. This weapon isn’t only used for offense, it is used for defense.

Others

Have you ever done something that some people in your life will never let you live down? They keep bringing it up over and over again.
Perhaps they are telling you that you are a failure or an embarrassment to them, or that you are worthless and have no right to feel good about who you are.
The reality is that all of us are easy targets for blame. Nobody measures up to God’s standards, their own standards, or our cultural standards. Because of this life is so hard and difficult…we get blamed for other people’s problems and are judged for our own faults and mistakes. Many of us have received condemnation and blame ever since we were small children.
When we fall in front of our peers, they punish us. Perhaps by rejecting us, speaking words that dig at us and sometimes these words stick to us.
Many times people fear the same condemnation and blame that they give out, so they find a way to keep it from themselves by going after someone else who is an “easier” target.
Many times people are just passing on the same blame and condemnation that they have received from others. This cycle of passing it on cannot be broken unless something radical and life-changing happens to them.

Ourselves

Though blame and condemnation come from others, this is not the only source. Many times it comes from us. From us to us. When we make a mistake we wonder what is wrong and we look for who we an blame. When we can’t find an answer, we see that the problem is found in who we are and what we have done.
This self-condemnation is a severe form of punishment. Many people punish themselves in hopes that God won’t have to punish them. The great the guilt, the longer and deeper the self-condemnation.
So what was this weapon that I spoke of earlier?

The weapon

It is the ability to send a message of condemnation or blame to another person. How is this done? By words, physical force, facial expressions, or even silence. This weapon isn’t only used for offense, it is used for defense.
If this is the weapon, then what is the message that is being sent?

The message

“I’ll make you sorry for what you did!”
Why do we use this weapon and send this message? Why do we believe that we have to punish those who fail? Quite simply because of lie #3.

Lie #3: Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished

But on a deeper level, as Christians, might this be because we think that if we don’t reject them condemn them, or treat them rudely, that they might think we are approving of what they did or are doing?
But how do I know if I have bought into this lie?

A test of the fear of punishment

I fear what God might do to me - just waiting for God to get even. God is fed up with us, we don’t know why he hasn’t got us yet. Fearful that the shoe is going to drop.
When I fail, I worry about what God thinks of me - we should remember that his response will always be out of love. He has already poured out his wrath on our sin.
When I see someone else suffering, I wonder what they did to deserve it.
When something goes wrong, I catch myself thinking that God must be punishing me for something I have done - often things happen for our own good, not out of punishment.
often things happen for our own good.
I am very hard on myself when I fail - we walk around with a grid inside of us. We will punish ourselves when we fail so we won’t fail again. Like an electric shock dog collar. We shock ourselves.
I catch myself wanting to blame people when they fail - some people aren’t aware of God’s love, so they are always looking for someone to blame.
I get angry with God when someone who is bad gets rewarded with success - why do we look at others and how they are getting along as if it relates to us.
When I see someone doing something wrong, I have to tell them what I think of them - common in the church. We have to say it. Always a group that has to tell people when they are wrong. Usually people already know when they are wrong.
I tend to focus on the faults and failures of others - thinking about them continuously.
God seems harsh and judgmental to me - believe that God is a harsh God.

What are the effects of fear and failure

We punish ourselves with the same process we pushing others - if someone feels like they have to condemn and punish you…at some point they will have to be with themselves, they punish themselves on the same basis that they punish you.
We try to control our own behavior in this manner - Sometimes we condemn ourselves and hurt ourselves so we won’t fail again. It doesn’t help, it just increases the likelihood we will do it again.
We have a system in our mind for determining how much punishment we should receive - have an idea that they should punish themselves a certain duration depending on how important the failure
We believe that it is God who is condemning us when it is Satan () - Satan is the accuser.
Passivity - we don’t do anything. If you condemn everyone who fails, people find a solution, don’t do anything, if you don’t do anything you won’t fail.
Fears of all sorts - fear of punishment brings fear into our lives. Fear finds other variations of that fear. Multiply across a whole array of our life
There is only one way to deal with this, the fear has to be cast out. There is only one way to cast out fear: love.
1 John 4:18 ESV
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Can’t we just accept ourselves?

Many psychologists tell us to simply stop blaming ourselves and simply accept ourselves in spite of our imperfections. The problem with this is that method doesn’t work. We know when we fail and we simply can’t help ourselves. We don’t measure up to other people’s standards or our own.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (ESV)
Also, since we know that God’s standards are so high, we can’t imagine anything else but condemnation and blame from God.
But there is a solution...

The problem

The reality is that God is holy. He is perfect in every way. God is the standard for right and wrong. Since God is holy, he must punish those who sin. The reality is that we feel this deep in our souls. So, we all know that we are facing God’s punishment. In fact, all mankind is facing God’s punishment
But is this fair? How could a good God punish everyone who doesn’t meet his standard when they can’t even help it. If God is big, powerful, and loving, couldn’t he just overlook our sins and grade us on the curve? Only punishing the really bad people?
We must remember that God doesn’t change, he can’t change. He can be depended on. His word is forever true. He can’t change the rules or let men make up their own rules.
But isn’t this harsh? Isn’t God a loving God? Well, yes, but he can’t overlook sins. He has to deal with them somehow.

God’s solution

God has done much more than overlook them, he has taken care of them by putting them upon another…upon his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:7–11 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:9–11 ESV
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
God is perfect and because of this requires justice. If he did not execute justice, then those who have been hurt would be treated as worthless, their pain empty, their persons to be used and abused without retribution. God can’t simply break the rules because he likes us. If he overlooks one sin, his holiness would be corrupted and his character would have a mark on it forever.
God is perfect and because of this requires justice. If he did not execute justice, then those who have been hurt would be treated as worthless, their pain empty, their persons to be used and abused without retribution. God can’t simply break the rules because he likes us. If he overlooks one sin, his holiness would be corrupted and his character would have a mark on it forever.
We have offended God and his holiness with our sin. The connection we had with him at one point has been broken. We ignored him and broke his rules.
God is, therefore, furious at our sin. But, he is infinitely loving, so he provided a way to remove these sins that we can’t get rid of. He did it to maintain justice and provide a way of hope and escape from judgment that all are due.
But God didn’t wait for us to apologize, or change our attitude, but rather, he sent his Son to wipe out our debt, then he changed our hearts to trust in this sacrifice for us, in order to appease his wrath.

Propitiation

God, who is outside of time, knew all the sins of all those Christ died for. So, he took out all his anger and wrath upon Christ until his holiness was satisfied for all these sins. All of the physical punishment upon Jesus didn’t buy our salvation. It was when the Father placed our sins upon Jesus (which he agreed to accept), pouring his anger or wrath out upon the Son, turning away from the Son, that satisfied the justice. It was then that Jesus could say, “It is finished!” It was finished because the Father did not hold back putting any of our sins upon the Son, he did not refuse to punish Christ for any of these sins, and the Son did not refuse to accept the wrath and punishment for them.
Romans 5:6–11 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Jesus was sent to wipe out our debt. God’s anger and wrath, the requirement for justice has been satisfied in the death of Jesus Christ, the perfectly innocent God-man. Christ’s death appeased God and made amends with Him for the sins of those who trust in him. God provided salvation for all his children.

What is our relationship with God then?

Well, God is not sitting in heaven waiting to pour out his blame and punishment on us. Our penalty, since we are united to Christ, has been paid. “Paid in full!” Instead of blame and punishment, he pours out love and acceptance.
We are adopted into his family, into a personal, intimate relationship with Him, and consequently into a relationship with our siblings, those others that God has called and saved.
So, our status with God isn’t based upon the number of good things we do, or the number of mistakes we make. No, God loves us with an unconditional love.
Though Satan will attack us with blame and our mistakes, telling us we are no good, God doesn’t. We must use the weapons that God has given us to destroy Satan’s lies.

What are the weapons?

When blame is thrown at us - Tell Satan that God sent Christ to pay for our sins.
When we are full of fear and self-hat - Look to Jesus on the cross and know that the reason he died was because God loved us, we see ourselves through God’s eyes.

Paid in full!

We must remember that Jesus didn’t come so we would live in condemnation. No, Jesus paid it all.
John 3:17 ESV
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God has removed all our condemnation and blame if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Thus, when we hear the blame and condemnation about our sins and failures, we can cry out loud, they have been paid in full. Christ said “It is finsihed!” and it is. I am free.
God has set me free in Christ, and as says.
John 8:36 ESV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Some practical problems

If we know our worth in God’s eyes, and others don’t, how do we handle when others get their self-worth by thinking they are better than you and telling you about it? How do we get through this without hating them for the evil they do and say to us?
We must remember what God thinks about us. Push Satan’s lies out and replace them with truth. We can forgive them when they blame us for ordinary failures. Why? Our worth isn’t measured by what people think about our appearance, what we do, or even who we are. Our worth is based upon the fact that we are loved by God.
When we see it from this perspective, we can see the love that God may have even for them as they are being hasty.

Three things to help

Look at what you would like to do to them when they hurt you. Compare this to what Christ did for you when you rebelled against him (). Nothing that anyone can do to us can compare with our own sin and selfishness that Christ completely forgives.
God challenges us not to blame others when they fail. People fail all the time, they don’t need attacked for it, they need love and encouragement ( cf. ). God wants us to build up and not tear down.
God has one job that he doesn’t want us to do. We don’t need to judge others and hand out punishment. We may be right in seeing the wrong, but are we to cast a stone?

We are so hard on ourselves

Why? Because we know the truth of who we really are. We see our failures.
But we must remember that God is making us more like him, but it takes a lifetime. We are in a lifelong process. God is still working on us.
When we sin and do things that are contrary to our life of faith, often we think, “I am a failure as a Christian. I’ll never change. I’ll always be the same old me.” This is not true and comes from the Devil. These thoughts try to tell us that we are unworthy of God’s forgiveness and unconditional love. But the trick is, we are unworthy of it. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t loved. In fact, it just proves all the more how good God is and how much he loves and values us that he would give his Son up for us as we continue to sin even after we have been redeemed.
These thoughts try to tell us that we are unworthy of God’s forgiveness and unconditional love. But the trick is, we are unworthy of it. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t loved. In fact, it just proves all the more how good God is and how much he loves and values us that he would give his Son up for us as we continue to sin even after we have been redeemed.
Thus, we can simply respond by recognizing our sin, being sorry for it, and knowing that we have God’s forgiveness because he loved us so much to give his Son for us!

Something amazing

1 John 1:8–10 ESV
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We all sin. But…if we confess it, we will be forgiven and cleansed. When we are united to Christ all our past, present, and future sins are forgiven. God wants us to live in the experience of forgiveness daily. Why? Because it is liberating and joyful.
So, we recognize the forgiveness of God, accept it, we then forgive ourselves, moving forward to greater responsibilities for God’s kingdom.
Failures and weaknesses shouldn’t threaten our self-worth or relationship with God. Since God has forgiven us, we don’t have to punish ourselves, and we don’t have to punish others either.
News flash: God isn’t looking for perfect people. They don’t exist. God came to pour out his love and make us perfect people in Christ.

So what now?

Agree with God as to his description of who you are and what Christ did to satisfy God’s wrath. Place your trust in him.
Reject the condemnation of the Devil. There is no curse for those who are in Christ ().
Refuse to condemn others. Rather, offer to them what you have received.
Allow the love of God to penetrate your life.

God is satisfied. Jesus paid it all.

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