December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while 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! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”—Romans 5:6-11 (NIV)
“I love you, even when I’m mad at you.”
This is what I always tell my kids after disciplining them. I want to constantly reassure them that my love isn’t contingent on their performance. My love doesn’t wane when they fall short. Even if I don’t agree with or approve of their behavior, even if I’m angry with them for making bad choices, I still love them with all my heart because they’re my children.
Isn’t it amazing to think that this is exactly how the Lord sees us? He loves us, even when we fall short. His mercy extends further than our sinful nature. His love for His children isn’t dependent upon works, but the grace He freely gives.
Today’s verse says, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” The word “powerless” here translates to “weak; frail; feeble; sickly; a condition or disease in which the body lacks or has lost strength.” Think of it like a spiritual dystrophy. This was us . . . “But God!” While we were still diseased, weak, powerless, and ungodly, Christ died for us!
After this beautiful exclamation, Paul explains why this is such an incredible, life-changing truth: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
I love this verse! Remember my kids, whom I love dearly no matter what they do? Yeah, I would give my life for them in a heartbeat. I’d die for them without hesitation. But if a random nice person, even a friend, comes to me and asks me to die in their place, I’d respectfully decline. It’s nothing personal. They may be the nicest person on earth, but I wouldn’t trade my life for theirs.
For argument’s sake though, let’s say there was a person I didn’t know and had no connection to, but this person was so incredible that I decided to die in their place. While it’s unlikely, it’s not outside the realm of possibility, right? I can tell you confidently though, with no doubt in my mind, I wouldn’t die for a proven, convicted, evil, depraved person. There’s no chance I’d die for someone like that. I’d venture to say that there are very few people who’d die for someone like that. But that’s exactly what God did for all of us!
Apart from Christ, we’re all wretched. Titus 3:3 (NIV) says we were “foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” We were God’s enemies!
It’s interesting and, frankly, a little shocking to read that. I don’t think there was ever a time when I considered myself God’s enemy, but that’s what our sin makes us, and we’re powerless to save ourselves. But He didn’t condemn us to death—which we deserve—nor did He leave us in our ruined state. He knew we could never earn or achieve redemption, so He brought redemption to us!
Now, as recipients of His grace, I pray every day we can also be effective and authentic ambassadors of His grace. I pray we can help others receive His grace and walk in His love!
Pause: What does the grace of God mean to you?
Practice: Share with someone today about God’s grace and how it changed your life.
Pray: Father, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them” (Psalm 8:4 NIV)? We’re nothing and yet You gave everything to save us! I cannot express how overwhelmed with thankfulness I am for Your love and grace. Thank You for the gift of Jesus You lavished me with even while I was Your enemy, trapped in my sin, lost, hopeless, and powerless. You are amazing and deserving of all the praise, honor, and glory. Help me, Father, to die to myself and take the step of faith to share the good news of Jesus with those who are still Your enemies. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at 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.