“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We live in a culture where love is usually expressed in abstract terms. Love is a strong feeling as defined by poets, musicians, authors, actors, politicians, and most commonly by plain people like you and me. But God’s love for us in Jesus is action oriented, according to the Bible. Romans 5:8 reveals to us both the how and the when of God’s love expressed.
How did God love us?
God’s love is made visual for us in the graphic, violent death of his Son, Jesus. It is a fierce and concrete love. It is an effective love that forgives and removes the filth of our sin along with our sentence of condemnation and leaves us with the righteous standing of Jesus and the promise of eternal reward. Nothing about his love is left to the imagination. Nothing about his love is unreliable or fickle or fading. It is written in the precious blood of his Son for all to see for all time.
When did God love us?
When God chose to make his love for us known in Jesus is just as remarkable as how he made it known. According to this verse, he loved us “while we were still sinners.” This means that God didn’t love us because we were lovable. He loved us while we were loathsome. He loved us while we hated him. And in our most offensive state, while we were still sinners, Jesus loved us by dying for us.
What difference does this make?
Being loved in our past condition makes the future even better. As this passage continues, Paul makes the point that if God loved us while we were sinners, his love for us now is even bigger and surer since we are reconciled with him. Think about that today. And once you have your head around it, try wrapping your heart around the enormity of God’s love for us in Jesus. We are loved with the biggest love ever.
Dave Bruskas is the network pastor at Mars Hill Church.