Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Our Verse of the Day has been cited and used in commentaries numerous times. Still, this passage from Romans 5 is just as powerful today as it was when the Apostle Paul penned it for the Church!
As I read it again, Verse 6 has captured my attention: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” As King David observed: “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt; there is none who does good … No, not one!” (Cf. Psalm 14:2-3; Psalm 53:2-3; Romans 3:11-12) Indeed, we are powerless. We are helpless and without hope. But God….
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the sinful nature and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Our power … our strength … our redemption and deliverance come only by the mercy of God! Yes, the riches of His mercy can be received only through His Son … Jesus! He died for the ungodly … He died for us! He alone atoned for our sin to present us righteous and holy before God. He secured our eternal redemption! (Cf. Hebrews 9:12) Hallelujah! Praise His Name!
A second thought came to mind: “What kind of love would compel Jesus to die for the ungodly?” As I thought about this a moment, I remembered what Jesus told His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Cf. John 13:34-35) And it convicted me with the question: “Can I love others who are ungodly and sinners – just as Jesus loved and died for me?” Maybe it was this question that inspired Paul to write: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship … your true and proper worship.” (Cf. Romans 12:1)
Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Luke 6:27-36 (NLT)
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most-High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
There is no ambiguity here. Love is not earned. Love is not based on merit. Love is. Love acts. It is the mind-set of God … for He is love. It is the state of being in which we are called to live as His children. This is the heart of God! This is the heart of Jesus! Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And you are my friends if you do what I command. (Cf. John 15:12-14) I pray we will love like Jesus loved … willingly and sacrificially. Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. ~ 1 John 4:10-16