Propitiation & Old Man Klein

Oxford Club met this morning. What a band of brothers. Where would we be without godly men in our lives? We tackled the first half of chapter 18 in J. I. Packer’s book, Knowing God. It dealt with the doctrine of propitiation.

Simply stated, propitiation is the work of God’s grace through the shedding of His Son’s blood that averts the Father’s just wrath toward us FOREVER. Propitiation assures that He will forevermore act favorably toward those who take refuge by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Toward the end of our time together this morning I ran to my office to pick up a volume of Jim Boice’s commentary on the Gospel of John. I had read a story in it recently that I wanted to share with the brothers to capture a key thought. I couldn’t find it. I promised I would blog it. Here it is.

Years ago in the Midwest there was an old German farmer by the name of Klein. He was an ungoldly man. Although he lived across the street from an Evangelical Lutheran Church, he never went in; and, of course, he did not believe the gospel. To his way of thinking, the gospel was for other people, not for him. One day, however, the Bible school of the church began to teach the Bible school children the chorus of the hymn that goes:

Grace! Tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear;
Heav’n with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
Saved by grace alone!
This is all my plea.
Jesus died for all mankind,
And Jesus died for me.

From his listening post across the street Mr. Klein heard the children sing. He heard most of the words clearly. But when they came to the line “Jesus died for all mankind,” he thought they were singing “Jesus died for old man Klein, and Jesus died for me.” The thought that Jesus died for him personally finally sank into his heart. Klein crossed the street to the church, attended services, and eventually committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

By sharing this story I intended to encourage my brothers that propitiation as a doctrine has enormous practical implications. We are such the objects of God’s amazing love that we may rightly believe that Jesus died for us each as one and averted nothing short of the wrath of God rightly reserved for us who reject His law and spurn His grace. No wonder we sang, Our Great Savior!

Jesus died for old man Heff and Jesus died for me!
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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