“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
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 5:1-11
God’s love is absolutely unfathomable.
We are terrible. Fallen. Rebellious and turned away from God, refusing him and choosing our own sin. We think we can live without him, we blame him for things, we fall.
God loves us.
We’re absolutely awful, and He still loves us enough to take the punishment that we deserved. I talked to someone yesterday about this, why we need faith at all, or why God can’t just forgive people. And I didn’t have a fantastic answer to that, because it’s a very tough question.
But I thought through it a little bit. God must be both just and loving. If God wasn’t a God of justice who punished wrongdoing, then He wouldn’t be a good God. And we wouldn’t want to follow a God that’s not good. That’s just… crazy. A just God must rule the universe, and so we must be punished. We deserve to be punished.
But God is also loving. He wants to share that perfect love with us, and bring us to Him forever.
The sin, however, still stands. The damage has been done (by us), and somebody must pay for it. Somebody has to take the blame. Forgiveness always comes at a cost… and He took that on Himself. He absorbed our blame when He died on the cross and took the weight of sin upon himself on our behalf. And as He took that sin upon himself, God turned away from Him in that moment. Can you imagine? It’s like being ripped apart from yourself. And he did this all freely– John says that He gave up his spirit. It was a conscious choice, for you and me.
It’s the most beautiful story I’ve ever heard. I think this is part of the reason that stories of sacrificial love resonate so strongly with us– because it’s an eternal truth, one that we find beautiful. A Tale of Two Cities is still one of my favorite books because of the profound sacrifice of Sydney Carton (sorry if I spoiled it…). Sacrifice is beautiful because it’s true and it’s happened for us.
The story gets even more beautiful with the resurrection from the dead, the craziest, awesomest, and most pivotal event in history. It gives us eternal life and reconciliation.
Death for life.
Happy Good Friday, and, (if I don’t come back soon), Happy Easter!