Lesson 5:
The Propitiation Place for God’s Justification
Bible reading
Please pray over these verses. 

Romans 3:23-26
23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
25 Whom God set forth as a propitiation place through faith in His blood, for the demonstrating of His righteousness, in that in His forbearance God passed over the sins that had previously occurred,
26 With a view to the demonstrating of His righteousness in the present time, so that He might be righteous and the One who justifies him who is of the faith of Jesus.


Paul used the type of the Ark in the Old Testament with its cover to show the real significance of justification. It is upon Christ as the propitiation place that all the requirements of God are fulfilled, God and man can be made one, and man may receive grace for God’s expression and the manifestation of His righteousness.

Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.

The third section [of the book of Romans], justification (3:21—5:11), reveals the accomplishment of God’s salvation…God’s justification depends upon the redemption of Christ. Without the redemption of Christ, God has no way to justify sinners. Therefore, justification depends upon redemption, and redemption has one major aspect—propitiation. Propitiation is the major structure of redemption. Propitiation is the major part of the redemption of Christ because, as sinners, we owed God a great deal. We were held by God to pay this debt, and this caused a tremendous problem. That problem has been resolved by Christ as our propitiatory sacrifice. Since this propitiation has solved our problems with God, we have been redeemed. Based upon the redemption of Christ, God can easily and lawfully justify us. (Life-study of Romans, msg. 1, section 5)

What is justification? Justification is God’s action in approving people according to His standard of righteousness. His righteousness is the standard, not ours. (Life-study of Romans, msg. 5, section 2)

Very few know what the propitiation place for God’s justification of His chosen people is. The propitiation place is typified by the lid, the cover, of the Ark in the Old Testament tabernacle (Exo. 25:17, 21). The Ark had a cover on the top of it, and on the Day of Expiation the blood was sprinkled on that cover. The King James Version of the Bible refers to this cover as the mercy seat, where God met with His people. Above this seat were the cherubim, signifying God’s glory; underneath the cover and inside the Ark was the law of the Ten Commandments, exposing and condemning by its righteous requirement the sin of the people who came to contact God (vv. 16-22). Above the lid was the glory of God, and underneath the lid was the law of God. The glory of God requires that God’s people should match His glory, and the law of God requires His chosen people to have the proper righteousness with God and with man. Since no one can answer these two kinds of requirements or fulfill them, there is the need of Christ’s redemption, fully symbolized by the blood sprinkled upon this cover (Lev. 16:12-16). This blood satisfies God in answering the requirement of His glory and in answering the requirement of His law. By this redemption God can justify His people in the Old Testament time and in the New Testament time. This is the propitiation place for God’s justification of His chosen people. (Elders’ Training, Book 6: The Crucial Points of the Truth in Paul’s Epistles, ch. 2, section 2)

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Going deeper
Please read or listen to these materials for an in-depth study of this lesson.

Further reading:
Life-study of Romans, msg. 5, sections 2-6
Life-study of Romans, msg. 61
Life-study of Exodus, msg. 89

Radio broadcast links:
Broadcast 6, Justification in God's Way (start at 20:12 and end at the 29:00-minute mark)
Broadcast 62, The Dispensation of the Triune God according to His Righteousness, through His Holiness, and Unto His Glory

Footnotes from Recovery Version of the New Testament:
Romans 3:25, footnotes 1-3
Romans 3:21, footnote 1
Romans 3:23, footnote 1
Romans 3:24, footnotes 1-3

Questions for personal or corporate study:
References in brackets indicate readings or broadcasts that may be helpful in answering the questions.
  • Explain the meaning of justification in relation to the requirements of God’s righteousness, holiness, and glory. (Broadcast 6, please listen to the specific portion detailed above)
  • What is the difference between propitiation, redemption, and reconciliation? (Life-study of Romans, msg. 5, section 3)
  • Discuss how God’s justification is the judicial procedure for the purpose of dispensing His holy nature into man. (Broadcast 62)
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Works Cited

Lee, Witness. Elders’ Training, Book 6: The Crucial Points of the Truth in Paul’s Epistles. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1985.

---. Life-study of Exodus. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1998.

---. Life-study of Romans. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1989.

All verses and excerpts © 2021 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited. 
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