Summary: Christian hope is based upon the solid foundation of God's reconciling love for us. This love is seen in Jesus' death on the Cross and the shedding of His blood on our behalf.
ROMANS 5: 6-11
GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS LOVE
To save us from eternal death, God had to give the very life of His Son Jesus. God sent His Son to earth as a human baby too weak to lift up His own head. He learned how to crawl, how to stand, how to run.
When He had grown into a man, He attempted to bring men back to the God whom they had forgotten. He told them: "The Lord our God loves you (John 3:16), "You must love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength" (Mt. 22:37), and "You must love others as much as you love yourself" (Mt. 22:39).
Then showed them what God means by "love" as well as told them. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and gave the blind sight.
Finally, He would show them the greatest love of all: He would die for them, for us, to open the back way to God.
After that, no matter how far a person wandered, no matter how big the sin, there is still this way back to God. For this love is stronger than sin, stronger than death itself. [Ruth Graham, Ruth's Attic. 37-38]
Thus the Christian's hope is not wishful thinking nor guess work. Rather Christian hope is based upon the solid foundation of God's reconciling love for us (CIT). This love is seen in Jesus' death on the Cross and the shedding of His blood on our behalf.
Our text first portrays the freeness and greatness of God's love for sinful men by contrasting it with the greatest of human love. He then shows some of the benefits of accepting the love of God.
Wondrous is the revelation of God as love and man as the object of that love. In our text today we have the emphasis on the historical fact in which the revelation of God's love rests, the cross of Jesus Christ. Let us look at how God demonstrates His love to us.
I. The Greatness of God's Love, 6-8.
II. The Greatness of God's Deliverance, 9-10.
III. The Greatness of the Believer's Joy, 11.
Having revealed the powerful outpouring of divine love in the hope filled hearts of believers, Paul now explores God's love for mankind. Verses 6-8 are profound descriptions of the depth and breath of God's divine love. God's love is for the undeserving, for helpless, ungodly, sinners as verse 6 states. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for (on behalf of) the ungodly."
Christ came to die for us while we were "helpless" ( -powerless). We were unable to save ourselves. We were captives of Satan and our sinful desires. We were destitute of strength to do any spiritual good. We were unable to rescue ourselves from the effects of the fall.
We need rescuing, so Christ was born into the world to a virgin "at the right time" - the fulness of time (Gal. 4:4; Eph.1:10; Phil. 2:6f; Titus 1:3). The Christ-event was no arbitrary happening (Mk. 1:15; Jn. 1:14; Heb. 9:26) but came according to God's divine plan (Heb. 9:26).
The plan forged in love reached its climax when Jesus "died on behalf of the ungodly." This explains how God justified the ungodly in 4:5. The motive for Christ's death is that God's nature is one of unselfish redemptive love, not because those He died for were lovely or deserving. They/we weren't. They/we were ungodly, or not like God. Notice that Christ died for, or "on behalf of" ( ) the ungodly, that is, in their place, that they/we might have the salvation He now freely offers.
[The Greatest Sacrifice] WINSTON CHURCHILL was honoring members of the Royal Air Force who had guarded England during the second world war. Recounting their brave service, he declared, "Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few."
A similar sentiment appears on a memorial plaque in Bastogne, Belgium, where raged the famous Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II. The inscription, in honor of the U. S. 101st Airborne Division, reads: "Seldom has so much American blood been shed in the course of a single action. Oh, Lord, help us to remember!"
These are fitting and well-deserved tributes to the courageous men and women who sacrificed so much in battle. But there is One whose selfless sacrifice resulted in even greater benefits for mankind. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became a man. As the sinless One, He died on a cross and shed His blood to pay for the sins of the entire world. In so doing, He guaranteed our freedom - freedom from the penalty, power, and someday even the presence of sin. Of Christ it can be said: Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to one Man. Yes, His was the greatest sacrifice. Lord, help us to remember!