his own life to save another
person is considered a hero.
But who would be ready to die for an enemy?
Jesus Christ proved Himself to be the ultimate Hero by dying to save His enemies: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--
but God shows his love for us in that
while we were ALL still sinners,
Christ died for us”
(Romans 5:6–8, ESV).
Before a person receives salvation in Jesus, he is a sinner and enemy of God (Romans 5:10; James 4:4). Sinner means “one who falls short of God’s standard or misses the target.” Instead of loving God as Creator and Father, the sinner rebels against Him. With a sinful nature, the ungodly person is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7).
The apostle Paul paints a dreadful picture,
saying that the ungodly are utterly powerless to help themselves.
The ESV’s “while we were still weak” is rendered “when we were utterly helpless” in the New Living Translation and “when we were still powerless” in the New International Version.
As sinners, we were like prisoners bound in chains, strapped to the guillotine, and guilty as charged. We were God’s enemies, about to be put to death, when Jesus Christ stepped in to die in our place.
By this act of sending His Son to die for us, God proved how much He loved us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Many people miss the truth implied by the fact that
Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
The chronology is important.
Christ did not wait for us to “clean up our act”;
He sacrificed Himself
while we were still
actively opposed to Him.
Salvation does not depend on our meeting God halfway,
keeping the commandments,
or trying to be as good as we can.
God completed the work of our salvation
when we were in a state of open rebellion against Him.
In Romans 5, Paul is teaching the Roman believers how to endure through suffering. He encourages them to rejoice in suffering, “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3–4, ESV). Suffering contributes to spiritual growth, which leads to Christian maturity. In the end, suffering allows believers to share in Christ’s glory (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:12–14). But how does suffering produce hope?
Paul explains, “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5, NLT). The ultimate foundation of our Christian hope is the unwavering love of God. Our hope will never disappoint us no matter what we endure because we know that God loves us and will never let us down. His perfect love never gives up on us (1 Corinthians 13:7). Because of His steadfast love, while we were still sinners—sworn adversaries of God—Christ died for us. The apostle John said something similar: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
The essence of God’s love is apprehended in His giving: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). Elsewhere, John says, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10, NLT). And Paul affirms that the Son of God “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NLT).
The love of God in Jesus Christ is unprecedented.
No other love has ever been more costly to its giver
and less deserving in its recipient.
When God the Father gave His Son, Jesus,
to die for us while we were still sinners,
He gave everything--
His own self--
to rescue those who deserved nothing but judgment from Him.
In giving His Son, God gave Himself, the costliest gift of all. He paid the supreme price so that we might receive the greatest love.
“No condemnation” can be defined in courtroom language. To have “no condemnation” declared means to be found innocent of the accusation, to have no sentence inflicted and no guilty verdict found. By the grace of God, believers in Jesus Christ will not face the condemnation of God. “We have passed from death to life” (1 John 3:14).
The Bible teaches that every human being
will be brought before the judgment throne of God
for an ultimate and decisive judgment
(2 Corinthians 5:10), and Christ Himself will be the judge
We are all naturally under the condemnation of God:
"Whoever does not believe stands condemned already”
But Christians will not be found guilty on Judgment Day
(John 3:18a; Matthew 25:33–34).
However, the “no condemnation” involves
more than acquittal on Judgment Day.
In Romans 8:1 the apostle Paul speaks in the present tense, as evidenced by the word now. Also, notice the word therefore, which points the reader to the previous passage of Romans 7:21-25. In Romans 7 Paul describes his struggle against the sinful nature—a struggle that every believer experiences. Paul writes, “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Romans 7:21) and, “What a wretched man I am!” (Romans 7:24). Paul is expressing his hatred for the sinful nature which continues to war against his new nature in Christ—Paul hates the sin he commits, but he is also thankful because he has been set free from slavery to sin. He now has the ability to do what is good because Christ has delivered him (Romans 7:25).
Paul takes this a step further in Romans 8 when he teaches
believers are not only free from bondage to sin,
they are free from the inner emotions and thoughts
that tend to bring feelings of condemnation to the Christian
when he does commit sin (Romans 8:2).
Christians are free from the “law of sin and death,” which means, although they will commit sin, the Law no longer has the power to condemn them. We are not under the Law’s condemnation because Jesus fulfilled (“filled-up, completed”) the expectations of the Law perfectly, and believers are “in Christ” (Romans 8:3). Because believers are in Christ, they have the joy of being counted as righteous, simply because Christ is righteous (Philippians 3:9). Paul also points out that genuine Christians, although they struggle, will not live “according to the flesh”; that is, they will not persist in a constant state of sinful living (Romans 8:5).
Paul encourages us that
we need not fear condemnation
because we can come to God
as our loving, forgiving Father
Christians who live in shame and guilt over past failures are needlessly condemning themselves when they ought to be “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”
Fear can be paralyzing, “but perfect love drives out fear”
(1 John 4:18).
As Christians, we must understand that our justification is found in Christ alone—in His finished work on the cross—not in what we do or don’t do (Romans 3:28).
Believers can find solace in the assurance that we have been adopted into God’s own family and have been made heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ
Nothing can separate us
“from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus”