‘‘But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’ Rom.5:8
Additional reading: Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:4; Tit. 3:4 – 5; Heb. 12:6; 1Jn. 4: 7 – 10
There is no gain saying that God is love, and in fact, love is God’s personality.
In Romans 4, the apostle made it very clear using the example of Abraham that faith and not observance of the law is the principle thing in our relationship with God: ‘‘…For we have quoted the scripture, ‘Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him righteous.’ When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after.’’ (Rom. 4: 9 – 10 GNB).
He rounded chapter four thus: ‘‘They were written also for us who are accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death. Because of our sins he was given over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God. (Vv. 24 – 25 GNB). Just as Abraham was declared right by faith and not by works we, too, have been declared right in the sight of God by faith in Jesus Christ who was put to death on our account.
Following Paul’s thoughts as established in Chapter four, one will definitely see a similarity between his argument in these two chapters (4 and 5). Please note that in verse 24 of chapter four he said: ‘‘They were written also for us who are accepted as righteous…’’ This was just to buttress what he had said earlier: ‘‘This is why Abraham, through faith, ‘was accepted as righteous by God.’ The words ‘he was accepted as righteous’ were not written for him alone…’’ (Vv. 23 – 24)
This explains why Paul opened the next chapter with this declaration: ‘‘Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’’ (Rom. 5:1 GNB). Abraham was put right with God through faith. At what point was he put right with God? Again, at what point did Jesus die on the cross to put man right with God? This is the point of convergence. Do not be surprised when Paul said: ‘‘But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’
‘‘But God commendeth [synistao, synistano or synistemi: to set together, to introduce, to exhibit, to stand near, to constitute: – approve, commend, consist, make, stand (with)] his love [agape: love, i.e. affection or benevolence] towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’’
The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross was a packaged expression, demonstration or show of God’s depth of affection towards man. And no better time could He have done this other than when man was still in sin.
Please read the following versions: ‘‘But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.’’ (CEV). ‘‘But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.’’ (AMP). As said earlier, the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross was a packaged expression, demonstration or show of God’s depth of affection (love) towards man.
Therefore, do not count it a misplaced statement when John wrote in his gospel: ‘‘For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trust in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.’’ ( Jn. 3:16 – 17 AMP).
Apart from God, who loves you enough to die for you? Rom. 5:7
Meditation: If God did not withhold His ONLY Son from me, what will He withhold from me!
Prayer: Thank You for giving up Your greatly prized Son for me. Help me to also give You my life unrestrained.
Question: Who is God’s yardstick for love?