God's Own Love

Romans 5:7‑8  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Yes, it is not more wondrous than true that, while we were yet without strength, Christ died for ungodly persons. Such are fallen men. Jew or Gentile made no difference as to man's nature. The law gave no power; religious form is not godliness. And because man is what he became through sin, in due time Christ died for us, powerless and ungodly persons. This was beyond all creature love. Man needs a motive to draw out his love to its object. He sees grounds, perhaps mistaken, for his affection; otherwise he does not love. And so the apostle writes, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” Possibly the one known as the generous benefactor might embolden a man drawn by it, even to die on his behalf. For goodness is rare and moves the heart mightily. But God is sovereign in His love to guilty man. Far from aught congenial, there is everything in him suited to repel God. Fallen man is corrupt or violent, proud or vain, self-seeking or independent, the sad contrast of Him Who is not more light than love. Yet “God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Such love is peculiar to Him. He loves from His own nature with no motive in the object. He loves notwithstanding the utmost unworthiness. He loves where no goodness is, nor yet rectitude, where men are sinners and nothing else, \where there is only misery and guilt; yea, He commends His own love to such as were still far from Him and opposed to Him, giving the highest and most solid proof of it, in that Christ died for us who were in that evil case. Thus God and man now stand face to face as they really are. The time of probation is over: man after full trial is lost. It is not merely that in every way and degree he has proved disobedient to God. Last of all he rejected and crucified the Lord of glory. In the person of the Son he cast God out of the world—God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The proof of it is the death of Christ at man's hand. But the love of God was signally shown in sending Christ, not as Judge but as Reconciler; so it is, still more deeply and conspicuously, in making His death a sacrifice to blot out the sinner's guilt. “Christ died for us.” None but God was capable of such love. Only He could rise perfectly above all the evil of the world. All this was ever before Him. Throughout all His dealings with man, with Israel in particular though never exclusively, God had intimated His mercy, and faith always received it. This gave meaning to pledges and offerings from the first. This was associated even with His acts in judging the world by a deluge or in destroying the firstborn of Egypt; there was divine love in exempting Noah's family in the one case, Israel's sons in the other. In the Levitical economy, whatever the judgment under which transgressors fell, nothing was clearer than the bright shadows of atonement in a variety of form, which found no answer worthy of God, no cleansing of the conscience from sins or dead works, till “Christ died for us.” God is glorified thereby in any case; if we believe not, He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself.
The gospel makes all now as clear as even God can, consistently with His love and glory, till the judgment. Then it will be proved that not lack of light from God was at fault, but man's will, who loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds were evil. But now before the judgment, God commends His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It is Christ's death which efficaciously and forever atones for guilt. It is by Christ's death that enemies are reconciled to God. All is yours if you believe on Him; all is lost if you turn from Him.
How could it be otherwise if Jesus be the Word made flesh, the Son Whom God sent in His love, Whom Jews and Gentiles slew (proving what they were), Whom (thus slain) God in yet fuller love made a sacrifice for sin? It is righteous with God to justify you as a believer in Jesus (Rom. 3:2626To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)). Surely it is not unjust to judge you for all your sins, if you aggravate them all by spurning the Savior God has given in His infinite love.
I implore you, my reader, if you have never thus submitted to the righteousness of God in saving you, to search honestly what hinders you. It is certainly not on God's part; for the apostle declares that God is as it were beseeching you in the Sent One. Will you slight His call longer? How blessed, in life or death, to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Vain for us to think of making it. He made it through the blood of His cross: so says the scripture. What a proof of God's love no less than Christ's! If you refuse to accept it, who is to blame but yourself? It is the preference of sin and Satan to God and His Son. It is contempt of Christ's sufferings and blood, as it is unbelief of God's word and His own love.
Undoubtedly God looks for a holy walk in His children, He looks for the fruit of light in all goodness and righteousness and truth. But He looks for nothing of the kind till you are justified by faith: to ask such fruit from you in your unbelief would deny Himself, His truth. and His grace. Man deceives by vain words, if he says that one who believes but walks wickedly “hath inheritance in the kingdom of God and of Christ.” Such faith can save none. It is beneath that of the demons, who at least tremble (James 2). But the faith which comes to God through Christ as a guilty sinner, and yet rests on His work for the purification of sins through Christ's death, is of His Spirit, and works by love and receives its end, soul-salvation (1 Peter 1). It is by faith in. Christ Jesus that all or any are God's sons (Gal. 3). Now we must be in the relationship of sons before we can really walk as such. Till we are God's sons, we simply deceive ourselves by pretending to a walk which pertains only to faith. The relationship is of grace on His part, and so to us of faith, not for man's desert, but in spite of all demerit. Our duties, as His sons, begin when we are sons and know it: otherwise they are hindered through questions and fears. His own love in Christ answers every question and casts out fear.