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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Who would you be willing to die for? If I’m being honest, I would die for my wife and my two children. No one else. I love a lot of other people in my life, but since I’m being 100% honest and transparent, to give up my life for anyone but my wife and kids is not something I would plan on doing. Who knows, in the moment, maybe I would take an innocent person’s place in the face of death. But I’m certain I wouldn’t take the place of a rapist, murderer, terrorist, or dictator. I wouldn’t take the place of someone I am not on good terms with, someone I have an issue with. Would you? If you’re being honest, probably not!
But according to our verse today, that’s exactly what Jesus did! He died for us while we were still His enemies! In Romans 5:7 (NLT) Paul says, “Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.” But guess what? We were not especially good when Christ died for us. In fact, we were still drowning in our sin. We were still hopeless, helpless sinners deserving of hell. We were in every way unworthy to stand in God’s presence, let alone have His Spirit indwell us!
It reminds me of something G.K. Chesterton once wrote about Disney’s film, Beauty and the Beast: “The unlovely must be deeply loved before they become lovable. The noble lesson behind the fable of The Beauty and the Beast is that one must be loved in order to become lovable . . . Someone treated like an animal will become an animal, someone treated with worth, dignity, and beauty as a human being will become a human being. The unlovely must be deeply and unconditionally loved before they become lovable.”
The message of the gospel is found here! The summation of God’s unconditional love for us: While you were still unlovable living under a curse, Christ did the unexpected . . . He took our place on death row, He bore our stripes, He carried our cross and died upon it instead. And by doing so, He freed us from death by His death and resurrection and He restored us to what we were always meant to be: God’s friends. He made us beautiful by loving us!
DIG: Read Romans 5:1–11.
DISCOVER: Do a word study on reconciliation.
DISPLAY: Consider how the lesson of Beauty and the Beast reflects the message of the gospel. It’s a message that says “I’m determined to love that which is unlovable.” And that is exactly the kind of love that the gospel of Jesus not only demonstrates, but also calls each one of us to live out. So, with New Year’s Eve two days away, resolve to make 2017 a year for living love and reflecting the beauty of Christ into a beastly world!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.