God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Take a moment to read through today’s text, a passage that is beloved and repeated by Christians the world over. Did you ever notice that the word demonstrates is in the present tense, but died is in the past tense? Do you understand why the Spirit of God arranged it so? It is because God expresses His love for us in both a past event and a present experience.
Now, if that doesn’t light the fire of your faith . . . your wood is wet!
It’s easy to understand that the “past event” I’m referring to is our Lord Jesus dying on a cruel cross to pay the penalty for our sins once and for all. When He cried out from the cross, “It is finished,” our atonement was accomplished and our sin debt paid in full. In taking our sin upon Himself, God the Son fully satisfied God the Father’s righteous wrath and His perfect justice. There is no greater demonstration of God’s love for His children—a love that has existed for all eternity—than the love that was poured out on the Hill Golgotha.
So why did the Spirit of God inspire Paul to write the word “demonstrates” in the present tense if Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection took place in the past? The reason is that the past event of Christ dying for our sins has present, ongoing implications for you and me.
It has been rightly observed, “Once saved, always saved.” God’s love was not only demonstrated 2,000 years ago; we experience the love of God in Christ Jesus daily, even moment by moment. And the fact of the matter is that God knew that would not be an easy thing to do! Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world, because the world is broken and so is every person in it. If you read today’s verse in a fuller context, you’ll see why Paul wanted us to understand God’s love as both a past event and a present experience.
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. (Romans 5:3-5)
The Spirit of God wanted to make it clear to us that, no matter what we are experiencing in this life, we are also experiencing God’s love. I am convinced that we would not be able to hold onto any hope at all if we did not understand the present reality of God’s love.
Have you ever gone through circumstances that made you think that God does not love you—perhaps that He is actively working against you? Christian, that is exactly what Satan wants you to think! And so our loving Lord has given us a written reminder that, no matter what circumstances we are facing, regardless of the storm winds that may be howling around us, we are loved by God. We were loved before the creation of the world, we are loved today, and there is nothing—no power in heaven or on earth—that will ever separate us from that love.
May that truth set all of us free!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!