God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Take a moment to read through today’s Scripture. Notice that the word “demonstrates” is present tense, and “died” is past tense. Have you ever wondered why that is? It is because God’s love for us is both a powerful past event and a promised present experience. Now . . . if that doesn’t light the fire of your faith, your wood is wet!
Every Christian finds it easy to understand the importance of the past event: our Lord Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. He paid that penalty once for all (Hebrews 10:10); when He said, “It is finished,” He meant what He said! Atonement made, sin debt paid! In taking our sin upon Himself, He fully satisfied God’s justice and forever propitiated the wrath of God. There is no greater demonstration of God’s past love for His children than the love that was poured out on the Hill Golgotha.
So why does the apostle Paul put the word “demonstrates” in the present tense if it was a past event? It is because the past event of Christ dying for our sins has present, ongoing implications. It has been well said that Christians are “Once saved . . . always saved.” We are to experience the love of God in Christ Jesus — not just daily, but moment by moment. And the fact of the matter is that God, who formed us in the womb, knew that would not be an easy thing to do! Jesus promised that we will have trouble in this world, because the world is broken and so is every person in it. If you go back to the passage that our verse for today was taken from, you will see why Paul wanted us to know God’s love as both a powerful past event and a promised present experience.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)
God, in His infinite wisdom, inspired the apostle Paul to make it clear that no matter what we are experiencing in this life, we are also to be experiencing God’s love. As a pastor, I am convinced that we will not be able to have any hope at all if we do not experience the present reality of God’s love.
Haven’t there been times in your life when circumstances conspired to make it seem like God not only does not love you, but is actually against you? Make no mistake, that is exactly how Satan wants you to feel! So our loving heavenly Father has given us a written reminder that regardless of the circumstances we are experiencing, regardless of the storm winds that are howling, we are loved! And not only that, nothing can ever separate us from that eternal, ever-present love. May that truth set us all free!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!