This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass “over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2).
Offering whatever will turn away anger; paying the penalty. Propitiation has to do with persons, expiation with things. Sin arouses the wrath of God; if people are to be forgiven, something must be done about his anger. Jesus death on the cross brought about a process of propitiation; it was the means by which divine anger was averted from sinners.