He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
These are the words of the apostle John in his first epistle. It is noteworthy to remember that John was the only one of the apostles who witnessed the physical cruelties that were perpetrated against Jesus Christ. He literally had a front row seat to the torture. He watched—in horror, I imagine—as life was suffocated out of the body of Jesus. An experience such as that tends to stick with a person. We can only imagine how profound the event was for those who witnessed it. Surely it was something that John thought about every day for the rest of his life. Writing to his audience to remind them of the monumental sacrifice that was made on our behalf, John uses an economy of words. He does not go into great detail here in an attempt to explain all the nuances of the atonement of Christ. Rather, he puts it plainly and simply, “He is the propitiation for our sins.” In other words, our sin needed to be satisfied in order for us to return to God. We are inadequate in every way to offer satisfaction. Only through the blood and willingness of a perfect One could appeasement occur. Jesus Christ was that instrument of appeasement, John reiterates. It was Jesus and Jesus alone who made restitution for our sin. But John does not stop there. He goes further and states that Jesus did this not just for those who choose to follow Him through that sacrifice, but He did it for everyone in the world. Every human being has had his or her sin paid for by Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions— Jesus did it for all. What remains to be seen is how many will respond in faith, welcoming Jesus as their mediator and advocate.