Summary: God proved His love for us by what He was willing to give up for us: His Son.
When a man wants to prove His love for a woman, what does he do?
• He may write a poem.
• He may compose a song
• He may buy her an expensive gift.
• He may ask her to marry him.
What did God do to prove His love for us? Romans 5:8 gives us the answer: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Big Idea: God proved His love for us by what He was willing to GIVE UP for us: His Son.
Why does God love us? “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
What is love? Dictionaries usually define “love” as deep affection or fondness.” The Bible defines it as self-sacrifice.
• “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16).
• “Husbands, loves your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
• “…the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
I. The Action of God’s Love
In Romans 5:8 we are given the gospel in four words: “Christ died for us.” Every one of those four words is extremely important.
A. The person who died: “Christ”
Jesus Christ is God (the Son) who became a man. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a). John 1:1 says, “The Word was God.” Why did God become a man? So He could die for us.
Would you be willing to become an ant in order to die for them? What Christ did was so much more humbling.
Christ died WILLINGLY.
“It is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV). For us, death is an appointment; but, for Christ, it was a choice. “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18a).
B. The death He died: “Died”
Christ “became obedient to death—even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). He didn’t experience an ordinary death. He suffered the death of the cross.
Christ died in HUMILIATION and AGONY.
We view the cross much differently than people of the first century did. Today we adorn our cemeteries and churches with crosses, and some people wear them around their necks. But in ancient times, crucifixion was synonymous with horror and shame. It was a death inflicted on criminals.
The cross was so offensive to the Romans that they refused to allow their own citizens to be crucified, no matter what they had done. Cicero (106-43 B.C.), the Roman orator, called crucifixion “a most cruel and disgusting punishment.” He said, “It is a crime to put a Roman citizen in chains, it is an enormity to flog one, sheer murder to slay one, what, then, shall I say of crucifixion? It is impossible to find the word for such an abomination.” Cicero also said, “Let the very mention of the cross be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears.”
Those crucified were made a public spectacle, often being affixed to crosses in bizarre positions, and their bodies left to be devoured by vultures. For hours (if not days), the person would hang in the heat of the sun, stripped naked and struggling to breathe. In order to avoid asphyxiation, he must push himself up with his legs and pull with his arms, triggering muscle spasms causing unimaginable pain. The end would come through heart failure, brain damage caused by reduced oxygen supply, suffocation, or shock. Atrocious physical agony, length of torment, and public shame combined to make crucifixion a most terrible form of death.