“For when we were still without strength, in due timeChrist died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 NASB This month my wife Jolyn and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary and, to be honest, it seems like it was just a short time ago when we made the commitment to love each other “until death do us part”. When we first met I never envisioned having a family of 4 children and 10 grandchildren. Now our eldest grandson Elian is 17 and our youngest granddaughter Rosie just turned 5. it seems like just a few years ago they were all just little babies playing together and learning about all the things they could do to make their parents and grandparents laugh.
I often think back to those days before my becoming a Christian and a husband, father and grandfather. Days when I was chasing the wind like a searching young man trying to find meaning in my life, or sitting in a prison cell contemplating the mistakes I had made in life. They seem so distant to me now as I enter the last quarter, hoping that I can still be in the game long enough to see my grandchildren become young men and women with families of their own. And I still have my own plans of things I want to do in service to my Lord.
Looking at my family makes me realize the great price the Father paid by giving up His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. I mean, throughout history there have always been those who stepped up and sacrificed their lives to save others: heroes during times of war who jump on the grenade that lands in the camp and make the ultimate sacrifice to save their buddies. Firefighters who rush into a flaming building to save a stranger and lose their own life in the process. Like the apostle Paul wrote in the passage above: “For a good man some would even dare to die.”
It’s very likely that you or I would be willing to sacrifice our own lives if by doing so we could save the world. But what if we were called upon to sacrifice the life of one of our children or grandchildren to save the world? Would our love for the world carry us to that extreme? Would we give the life of our child to save strangers; even those who didn’t like us or evil people we knew were opposed to us and everything we stood for?
Yet hear what the Apostle Paul tells us about the Loving God whom we serve: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God sent his only Son to the Cross to die for people who rebelled against Him and despised his goodness with lying, hatred, murder, rebellion and every kind of evil; even unbelief and denial that He exists. Truly the Cross was heavy for the Lord Jesus, but we must never forget the price paid by the Father. It was He who sent Jesus to the Cross and put the sins of all mankind on his beloved Son who suffered and died for the very ones who rejected and despised him. “The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the earth.” (Revelation 13:8 KJV)
By this single selfless act God extended his hand of friendship beyond measure to those who did not deserve it, opening wide the door of his Grace proclaiming: “Whosoever will let him come.”
Yet still, in spite of this great outpouring of unmerited love and favor, many refuse to repent and turn to God to receive the healing blood of Christ to wash away their sin and rebellion and restore them to a right relationship with the Father. They refuse to humble themselves and confess Jesus as Lord and receive the Holy Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
Soon judgment will be poured out upon the earth and God’s wrath will fall upon all those who continue to trod the Saviors sacrifice under their feet like so much dirt. When the hand of God’s Grace is withdrawn: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.” (Psalm 2:5)
The Cross was indeed a heavy price to pay, but it is finished and the Son of God has risen from the grave never to die again. Let us give thanks to the Father of all Mercies who suffered beyond measure through the loss of His Son, but who will one day (and that day may be sooner than we think) “. . . render to every man according to his works.” (Romans 2:6)
Yet even now as the world runs further and faster away from the Truth of God’s Word, He is stretching forth his hand of Grace, willing to place our sins upon the Cross of Christ if we will confess to God our need for a Savior. And where can this Grace and Mercy be found? Right where it has always been: at the foot of the Cross where Jesus Christ suffered and died to reveal his Loving Father to a rebellious people created in his image and likeness.
As we enter into this Season of Remembrance we call Easter, let those of us who know Christ as Lord and Savior remember that we are vessels who carry the forgiveness and mercy of our loving Heavenly Father within us. Just as Jesus was “The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the earth”, God appointed us before we ever knew him to fulfill his will for us who would believe: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Let us remember the price the Father paid for us, and let us go forth as ministers and ambassadors of Christ imitating and administering the great love of our Heavenly father to those around us.