READ: Romans 5
BACKGROUND: Paul lays out clearly here that sin entered the world through Adam and condemned us all, but salvation entered the world through Jesus and is available to us all as his free gift if we will only choose to believe.
1-11 – What’s really cool here, is that Paul helps us understand that justification (being counted right before God) isn’t just a stale theological term or just a think we believe. It is a constant source of blessing in the life of the believer who has been saved by Christ’s great sacrifice and – through that – counted right before God.
6 – Christ died for us before we were righteous when we didn’t deserve it.
10 – Christ’s death and resurrection are the grounds for our hope of salvation.
11 – We “have received” the reconciliation. Already! We don’t have to live the same way once we know Christ. We are set free to be transformed by him and live changed and reconciled lives.
13 – Paul is saying that even though people who don’t know God’s law aren’t charged with specific violations (since they didn’t know what was wrong) sin is still sin and it’s a violation of God’s holiness.
17 – Adam brought sin. Jesus brought salvation. In one we cannot escape our guilt. In the other we can find salvation if only we’ll accept it.
THINK: The first ever mix-CD that I made Jenny was full of sappy love songs. I was young and dumb and I barely knew what love even meant, but I wanted to express my undying affection for her putting together a mix of the most powerful love songs I knew. (Side note: I’m not as young anymore, but I am still dumb and the more I learn about love the more convinced I become that I have a lot left to learn.) Anyways, one of the songs – and not just any song, but one of the main, most important tracks on the whole CD – was Everything I Do by Bryan Adams. (Side note #2: Turns out the official music video is hilarious because it’s for the terrible Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood.) Among the passionate lyrics of this song: “Take my life, I would give it up, I would sacrifice…Don’t tell me it’s not worth dying for…Yeah I would die for you.”
“I would die for you” is a fairly easy thing to say, but I can imagine that it would be significantly harder to actually live it out. Think about it for a second. How many people could you honestly say you wouldn’t hesitate to give your life for? I mean, the only people who show up on that list for any of us are loved ones and family members that we’re super close to. And even then, would we unequivocally die for them? What if they did something wrong and they earned the death sentence? Would we still willingly take their spot? Maybe. But I think it becomes incredibly clear, if we really stop and think, that giving up our lives for someone else is an act that can only be motivated by a massive amount of love. Huge, deep, incredible love.
Paul talks about this in Romans 5. He says that only in the rarest of cases would someone give up his or her life for even the best of people. And certainly that none of us would think about dying in place of a vile criminal who earned a death sentence or dying in the place of someone who has been cruel and abusive towards us. And yet, that is exactly what Jesus did. We were the vile criminals – many times over – who earned a death sentence. And we rejected him and turned to evil things that made his heart break. There was nothing – is nothing – inherent in us that makes us worthy of his sacrifice. But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! It was an act of love. Huge, deep, incredible love.
PRAY: Take a few moments now to stop and think for a bit about that love – about how amazing God’s love is for you that he would die for you even though you didn’t deserve it. Rest in God’s outrageous love, and praise him for it.