Summary: Our need of salvation met - in God's perfect time - in Jesus' death. Our reconciliation: cause for rejoicing.
GOD SHOWS HIS LOVE
Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Those who believe in Jesus and put their trust in Him are made right with God. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to them and they are forensically proclaimed “just” before God. They are treated just as if they had never sinned, and just as if they had never offended the Almighty.
They have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
They have the hope of heaven within their souls (Romans 5:2).
This hope does not disappoint them because God the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into their hearts (Romans 5:5).
There is a great outpouring of love from God to man in the self-sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 5:8).
This is the whole basis of the Christian’s faith and hope.
1. OUR NEED (Romans 5:6)
Mankind stands in great need. From the very beginning of the world we have rebelled against God.
Collectively, the more we try to put things right, the worse mess we make of this beautiful world that God has created.
Individually, we find that we cannot know true peace of mind in our daily lives.
Spiritually, we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
We cannot change the world. We cannot change ourselves. What is to be done?
It is here that God breaks into history: “While we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
2. GOD’S PERFECT TIME (Romans 5:6)
The whole of history pivots on the single event of the death of Jesus. All previous sacrifices point to this one great, ultimate, full, final sacrifice.
(a) The Old Testament looks forward to it:-
God made a sacrifice in the Garden of Eden in order to provide skins to cover the shame and nakedness of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman (Genesis 3:21).
Abraham expressed his faith by saying to his son, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” God prevented Abraham from sacrificing his son, and showed him a ram caught in a thicket which he offered instead of his son (Genesis 22:8; Genesis 22:13).
[Many centuries later, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). God did not hold back from sacrificing His Son.]
Human sacrifice was forbidden in the Law of Moses the man of God, but there was an extensive sacrificial system centred on the tabernacle of the wandering children of Israel, and the Temple in Jerusalem. This all pointed forward to the final sacrifice of God’s Son.
[The Temple ceased to have any purpose after the death of Jesus, and it was destroyed not many years afterwards.]
The Old Testament prophets had much to say about the One who would come, speaking of His death in quite some detail (for example in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). These details were often quoted by New Testament writers.
(b) The New Testament looks back on the death of Jesus:-
We are told in the most famous verse of the whole Bible that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).
This is echoed in our passage. “But God” demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
It is God’s love that provided His own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus overcame the power of death on our behalf by rising from the dead. Now those who believe in Him are accepted into God’s heavenly family (Galatians 4:4-5; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).
3. RECONCILIATION (Romans 5:9-10)
In the death of Jesus, God’s anger at sin was turned away from the sinner and directed at the divine substitute. The sinless Christ became sin for us, and was sacrificed on our behalf.
God cannot look upon sin. So in the most awful moment in the history of the world, God could no longer look upon His own Son! There was an anguished cry of dereliction from the Cross (Matthew 27:46).
When Jesus died, He cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30). At that very moment His sacrifice was accepted. Then when He rose from the dead He was seen to have overcome death (the consequence of sin) on our behalf.
4. REJOICING (Romans 5:11)
As we reflect upon the love of God displayed in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, there is much cause for rejoicing. When we trust in Him our sins are forgiven, we are received as God’s sons, and we inherit heaven.