Friday, April 29, 2011

While we were...



“While we were…” (Romans 5:6,8,10)

Christian, have you recently considered the magnitude of grace that invaded your life at your conversion? Have you pondered the great depths of God’s love for you? Have you seen the truth of who you were before Christ rescued you and reconciled you with his blood? This is amazing love! Paul shows us three times, in this short section in Romans 5, who we were before our salvation.

“While we were weak”: Paul starts in verse 6 talking about our weakness. This is our spiritual weakness. Paul is talking about our inability to come to Christ. This is the deadness of our hearts before our awakening. “Even when we were dead” (Ephesians 2:5). Weakness is talking about death. We are spiritually dead. The bible is clear about our condition of weakness. Remember in the book of Ezekiel where we read about receiving a new heart: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26). Stony hearts do not beat which is why we need to be given a new heart that beats for God.

“While we were sinner”: Paul continues his train of thought in verse 8 when he talks about humanity’s sinfulness. Sin is the reason for our inability to love God. “Even when we were dead” is what we talked about previously but the text’s goes on to say: “In our trespasses.” We are dead to God because of our love for sin. No one is excluded, for “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The merit for our sin is death, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Since all of us have sinned than the wage we have earned for our sin is death. Understanding this is crucial to understanding the great love of God.

“While we were enemies”: As if being unable to love God wasn’t bad enough or the fact that we have earned death for sins wasn’t bad enough now Paul talks about our complete hatred for God in verse 10. Nothing is lower than being an enemy of another person. In this case though we read that we were once enemies of holy God. Enemies do not love, they hate. In our natural, sinful state we hate our enemies. Romans 1 talks about how those who reject Christ are “haters of God” (30). Paul is trying to tell us that our inability to love God stems from the fact that we hate God. Our sin has separated us from him and the reality is we love our sin. This is who we once were.

What changed? Do you see any reason in this text for God to have lavished his love upon us? There is absolutely no reason, in us, for God to love us. Yet we see two great words in this text that offer hope: “But God.” Despite of us, “God shows his love for us” by sending his Son to die and pay the penalty for our sins upon the cross. Listen to the Scriptures: “Christ died for the ungodly”(6), “Christ died for us” (8) and “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (10). Every negative about our previous condition is swallowed up by the love of God demonstrated at the cross. He died for those who were unable to love him so that they could love him. He died for sinners so that they could be declared sinless before the Father. He died for his enemies so they could be called his friends or better yet his sons and daughters making them heirs of the kingdom. This is the love of God to be rejoiced in and celebrated.

“Once your enemy, now seated at your table, Jesus thank you”

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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