Posted April 14, 2014
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This verse lands at an appropriate time… We are entering Holy Week. Around this time two thousand years ago, Jesus was preparing to give His life as a ransom for many at the cross of Calvary. What does the cross mean to you? What should we see in His death? Here in Romans, Paul tells us we should see two things: both the reality of our sinfulness but also the deep and pursuing love of God.
Plain and simple: We are sinners in need of saving. Our memory verses from Ephesians 2:1-3 a few weeks ago highlighted this truth (“dead in your trespasses and sins”). Reading Romans 5:6-7 helps us understand this verse more: “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…” Not only were we sinners, but we were weak & ungodly; we were not strong & righteous. By worldly standards, we were not great candidates for rescuing! What hope, then, do we have?
God’s love isn’t contingent first on our love, “worthiness”, strength, or righteousness. Similar to Ephesians 2:4, which started with “But God…”, so here God’s love moves Him toward us. While our love is fickle, moody, and temperamental, God’s love is perfect, pursuing, and sacrificial! His love is never passive, but rather took great lengths to show his love for us. His love was on full display on the cross!
Colin Kruse commented, “Elsewhere Paul speaks of the death of Christ as a proof of Christ’s love for him (cf. Gal 2: 20: ‘I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’), but here Christ’s death is the demonstration of God’s love for humanity. The apostle has already said that God, by presenting his Son ‘as a sacrifice of atonement’, demonstrated his justice while justifying sinners (3: 25-26). Now he stresses that this action was at the same time a demonstration of God’s love for sinners. And this demonstration of God’s love was made while the objects of that love were still at enmity with him (cf. 5: 10).”
May we see in the death of Christ both the darkness of our sin but also the magnitude of the Father’s love for us! May we in turn worship…
Song by Chris Clark.
Mix by Dustin Ragland.
Artwork by Fred Rodriguez (http://www.papercardigan.bigcartel.com/).