Saturday, January 06, 2007

Great Love of God for a Messed up Sinner

Romans 5:6-11 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

I was reading this today in my devotions. This is one of those sections of Romans that a I could consider and meditate on for hours and probably not plumb the depths of what is being said here.

It speaks of who I was outside of Christ. I was weak, ungodly, a sinner, under the wrath of God, and an enemy of God. Too often I forget that who I am in myself is all these things. That is who I was before I was called to Christ, and that is who I would still be if I was not joined to him through faith.

But, for that weak person, that ungodly person, that sinner, that person under the wrath of God, that enemy of God who would on his own have no care for God at all, Christ died. He laid down his life for me and for all who believe that I and they could be removed from what we were, and joined to what he is. "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." What a wonderful truth, but as John Piper is want to point out, this truth is not phrased in the past tense, but in the present. God did not just show his love (past tense), but he shows his love, even today, present continuous tense.

If I want to know the love of God; if you want to know the love of God, look to the cross of Jesus Christ. There you will find that there is more than enough done that its effects and power extend all the way to today. When I get down and wonder if God loves me, I need to remember to look to Christ dying for me while I was a sinner.

Finally, as I looked at this, consider it, meditate upon it, I am given this further great hope. For since when I was a totally messed up enemy of God I was made right, reconciled with God through the death of his Son, what does that mean for now? Now that I have been reconciled. Now that I have through faith been brought to peace with God through Jesus Christ's death (Romans 5:1). Now that Jesus Christ is no longer dead, but alive and in heaven and seated at the right hand of God. What does that mean? Does is not mean that I, and all who are reconciled through his death even though we were still enemies, sinners, weak and under the wrath of God, will now be saved completely.

If you are like me, there are times when you despair. You look at your life, and see how sin still seems to clutch to you in so many areas. You see that no sooner do you deal with one sin by the grace of God, than another two come bubbling up to the surface that you never saw in the first place. How will you ever be saved? If you trust in Jesus think on this for a moment. If he died to reconcile you while you were still a sinner so that now you have peace with God through him, will he not, now that he is alive, save you all the way. It makes me think of Paul's letter to the Philippians where he wrote, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." When God showed his love while you and I were still sinners, now that he has brought you and I to peace, will he not save us all the way.

Finally, the most amazing thing is this, we rejoice in God through Jesus. We exult in Him. We praise Him. We take pride in Him. We boast in Him. This is something we do now. When you and I start to realize who we were when Christ died for us, and who he has made us, and how he will save us to the very end, when we really realize this, it moves us to boast in God. It moves us to tell other people about how great God is through Jesus Christ who has reconciled us to him.

I don't know about you, but I don't find I do that enough. I think the reason is that I do not always have as much of an understanding of what exactly God has given me through Jesus Christ as I should have. It is so easy to start to either focus on the remaining sin in my life, or to focus on the world around me, and not to focus on the love of God in Christ. That is why I started by saying that I could consider and meditate on this passage for hours, and not plumb the depths of it. For God loved me, Christ died for me, when I was not in any way worth dying for. That is grace. It is undeserved to the uttermost. But, it is in this that we find God showing his love to you and me and all who believe. Oh what amazing love.

Go and worship with God's people tomorrow boasting in your great God and Saviour.


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