“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:6, 8
The Gospel is for those who are lost yet also still needed each day for those who are saved. We are never so far in our walk with Christ that the Gospel becomes of no use to us as believers. It has the power to save the lost, transform the soul, instruct the unwise and preserve the saved from wandering away from God.
The truth is that we are sinners saved by grace, yet sinners still. We have been bought through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Our redemption did not come from ourselves but as a gift from God. But at what cost? And in which context? Were we, you and I, on good terms with God when He executed His great plan of salvation in motion? Far from it!
The reality is this: you and I were as far from God as we could be when He set the plan of redemption in full gear. We were completely estranged from our Holy Father. Deeply lost in sin, helpless and too weak in the flesh and spirit to change our state. We were children of darkness, drenched in sin and following in the rebellion of Satan, the father of lies. Sin was ingrained in us to the point that we could not stand before the Holy One (Psalm 76:7). It only led us in one direction: death. Truly, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and all we rightfully deserved was the wrath* of God.
One can always count on God’s Word to “shoot straight” with us. God is always truthful and does not mince His words to reveal to us our previous sinful nature. God makes it plain: we were weak, sinners and His enemies (Romans 5:10).
It is while in that state of enemies of God that the Father displayed His agape love towards us- a love with no bounds. In Romans 5, we see that God did not send Jesus for people who had it all together. No! Jesus came for messed up, wretched, and enslaved to sin kind of people. He did not pay the ultimate price for people who lived in godliness or loved the Father. Rather, it was for unfaithful, law-breakers, ungodly and adulterous people. And these people are you and I, my friend. Oh yes, you and I.
The very fact that Christ died for the ungodly is evidence of God’s great and marvellous love, mercy and grace towards us. You and I might be willing to die and pay the penalty of someone else’s mistake if that person is someone we love but would we do it for our enemies?
Would you die for the person who abused you?
Would you die for the neighbour who pretends to tolerate you?
Would you give your life for the woman exhibiting racism towards you?
For the colleague who pesters you, steals your ideas and passes them off as his or her own?
Or for the family member who is rude, obnoxious, owes you money, yet again here he comes knocking on your door for more?
Or worse, would you trade places with a criminal, a complete stranger who hates you and is facing death row?
Chances are you would categorically say ‘no’ or look for alternative options. But Jesus did not. You must understand that Jesus was both God and man. In his humanity, he could have refused to die for a people like you and me but he didn’t. He did the unthinkable: he traded places with the criminal on death row. He paid the price for our sins and eliminated that space or vacuum that existed between us and the Father. I am certain that none of us would want to be facing the death penalty at any point in our lives much less trade places with someone who is in that situation. But that is exactly what Jesus did. At the right time, the time when God’s wrath was greatest against us, Christ died for us. He satisfied the wrath of God forever for those who believe in His name.
And this is how God willed that His only beloved Son, the one whom He loved most, would die for sinners such as you and me. What an extravagant love!
Friend, this a deep truth that we need each day. As we grow as disciples of Christ, there is always a real danger of becoming modern day Pharisees. The truth of Romans 5: 6, 8 reminds us where we once stood in times past with God and what He did in order to redeem us as well as set our relationship right with Him. This truth has the power to humble us and keep us from boasting in our salvation as if we had somehow earned it. Our salvation as well as our reconciliation to God are not a result of our actions but a product of God’s amazing grace and indescribable love. So when you think that the Gospel applies to others, remind yourself that it also applies to you each day.
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me by your grace and showering me with your love. Thank you for redeeming a sinner like myself and adopting me into your family. Help me to extend your grace to others until they come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. This I pray in Jesus’ name.
1 John 3:16 | Romans 6:10-11 |Romans 5:5| Isaiah 61:10