Romans 5:8- But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. NKJV
There is something incredibly humbling to realize that Jesus’ death on the cross was not an act of violence, but an act of love! As impossible as it may seem, although He did it as an act of obedience, He did it for you, and for me. He loves us so much, that He allowed them to stretch His hands out and nail them to the cross. Every single drop of blood, every lash across His body, He not only took to save us, but He did it out of love!
Paul continues in the fifth chapter of Romans, by stating that when we were in a place of ungodliness, Christ died for us! Hard hearted, stubborn, self-righteous, arrogant, full of sin, and certainly undeserving of such a sacrifice, as we were, and yet He died anyway. Our sins had to be paid for, and they were, just not by us! He took our place on that cross and died so that we might live. What a wonderful Savior!
Whenever I share on this topic, I have to admit that I couldn’t have done it. I am not even sure that I could have done it for those I love dearly, and who love me in return. When the “Passion of the Christ” made it to theaters, I admit that I was one who went to see it. Once was all it took! I cried during most of the movie and for days afterwards, just thinking that He suffered similarly to what they showed! And this He suffered while He was completely innocent, and while we were completely guilty of our sins!
I know that I have shared this song before, but it fits so perfectly:
He paid a debt, He did not oweEllis J. Crum
I owed a debt, I could not pay,
I needed someone to wash my sins away!
And now I sing, a brand new song, “Amazing Grace!”
Christ Jesus paid a debt, that I could never pay!
Paul said that men would barely die for someone who they thought were a good man, or a righteous man, but implied that most men would probably never die for a bad man. Yet, the fact that Jesus died for us while we were still in our sins, is a concept hard to deny. In the commentary I was reading, the author spoke of Lawrence of Arabia. I didn’t need to write what he put down, because I remembered watching a clip of the movie of the exact scene he wrote of, as my husband flipped through the channels one day.
This was the scene where the men with Lawrence realized that they had lost one of their people. Since they were already in a life and death situation, in the desert, low on water, no relief from the sun, nor water in sight, and thinking the man unworthy of the time it would take to rescue him, they decided to continue on and leave the man to his fate. However, Lawrence turned around and went to look for the man. Upon finding the man, he placed him on his camel, gave him some of his water and caught up with the others. I actually looked up Lawrence of Arabia to see if it was true, but decided that it didn’t matter, because it makes the point! Few men will sacrifice their own life for someone thought to be righteous, and even fewer, for someone thought to be unworthy. But while we were still in our sins, before we could even make it right, and having not yet been made right with God, Jesus died for us!
Through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, by shedding His blood, were are justified. Paul said that “having now been justified by His blood”, so it was a present reality and not a future condition. We were justified and therefore saved from God’s wrath, which is reserved for those who reject Him! Paul makes an interesting statement about our before Christ days:
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.Romans 5:10 NKJV
Did you catch it? Before we came to Christ, not only were we sinners, but we were the enemies of God! That’s harsh! I’m so thankful that I am redeemed! As enemies of God, God had every conceivable right to pour out His wrath on us; but we have been saved from His wrath through Jesus Christ!
Paul addresses our sad state of affairs before we came to Christ in another letter he wrote to the Ephesians:
That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.Ephesians 2:12-13, NKJV
I love Ephesians, but I think chapter 2 may be my favorite. Before Christ, Paul states that we were strangers from the covenants of promise, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, meaning we were not the people of God. And the saddest part about all of that is that we had no hope and was without God in the world! That’s where we were before Christ, and that is where many others are still, who don’t know Him. We truly need to be praying for others to come to Christ, and then make ourselves available to Him, that we might help them come to know Jesus’ amazing love.
To the Colossians Paul called us enemies who were once alienated from God, but were reconciled to Him through Jesus!
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled .Colossians 1:21- NKJV
I like the fact that reconciliation isn’t in our future, it’s immediate! And because we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life! Remember how Paul said that God calls those things that be not as though they were? Every time we say that we are saved, we are calling it like we believe it! For one day Jesus, shall return for His body, and we shall be saved! When we leave this earth, we leave knowing that death isn’t final for us, for we shall be saved! God is good like that!!
Paul is so excited about being justified and reconciled to God through Jesus! He completely understood that Jesus was his Passover Lamb, his scapegoat! Paul knew that he should have died for his sins, we all should have, but God, who is rich in mercy, didn’t allow it! This caused Paul to rejoice, and it should cause our hearts to rejoice! We not only have much to rejoice about, but we have much to be thankful for! He died in our place! Aren’t you glad about that? Wonderful Jesus!