Wednesday, April 2, 2014

You Were God's Enemy, But He Died For You Anyway

I'm reading through Romans. I feel like I have been for a while, but I'm only in chapter five. It's not just a recounting of stuff, it's like reading a sermon. A dang good sermon. So I'm encouraged to really think about what I'm reading. It's not just comforting words or anything like that, it's actual thoughtful stuff. I mean, it is encouraging, but... y'know what I mean. I have to think about it. So I'm inviting you to think about it with me.

Romans 5:1-11 is about peace and joy. I've basically heard the same message my entire life in Sunday schools and Vacation Bible Schools, but somehow every time I read Romans 5 it hits me and I'm overwhelmed. It's just... so incredible.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Backstory: up to now Romans has been talking about faith and righteousness. It's pretty darn good stuff, so go read that and let it marinate in your head for a while. I plan on looking up some kind of study on it because I want to understand it all better.

But anyway. Rejoice! Through faith we have been justified, and God's glory is awesome!

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Our suffering is ultimately for the glory of God. How we react to suffering, what we say during our suffering, how we treat others involved in our suffering all can be used for God's glory. Through such suffering, we will grow in perseverance. And the more we persevere, the more we will grow in character. And the more our character grows, the more we will grow in hope. A pessimist might say that if you hope for too much, you'll just get disappointed. But here's the thing about putting our hope in God: He's already given us everything. How can we be disappointed when he's already "poured out his love into our hearts?" When he gave his son Jesus to die for us? When he gave us the Holy Spirit to live among us? How can we be disappointed when we put our hope in God?

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

You were a filthy sinner when Christ died for you. We couldn't do a thing about our filthiness.

7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

I just love this. Who would you die for? Who would die for you? 

8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ didn't die for a righteous man. He didn't even die for a good man. He died for a filthy, broken, twisted sinner. He died for you. He died for me.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Jesus died for you when you were basically God's enemy. Now that he's died for you, given everything for you, do you really think he'd abandon you? No! He will keep saving you, keep you safe.

11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.