Would you give up your own life to save the life of your mom or dad? How about your best friend? Would you die so that they could live? Maybe so. I know when I ask myself this question, I believe that I would lay down my life to save my wife and children. And maybe a few other people I care about, too. But would I die to save a stranger? I don’t know. To push the topic further, would I die to save a bad stranger who had hurt many people, including me and the people I love? I think not. For a good person that I love I might die, but not for someone who had shown me nothing but hatred and scorn. Friends help friends, not enemies. A good person should not die for a bad person – it does not make sense.
But this is exactly what Jesus did for you and for me. Today’s passage in Romans reminds yet again that we did not deserve the mercy and grace that God showed us on the cross. When Jesus gave His life for you and for me, it was not a just good man, but a perfect man, God in the flesh, laying down His perfect life in exchange for ungrateful sinners (Romans 5:6-8). When we did not love Jesus, when we did care about His kingdom and His will, when we loved only ourselves and our selfish desires, Jesus chose to die in our place. He took upon Himself the full burden and penalty of all our evil words and thoughts and actions. In His own body on the tree of Calvary, God’s one and only Son took all our sins upon Himself so that we could have a fresh start with God. He died so that we could live. He did not give His life up for good people, for in truth no one is good but God. No, Jesus gave His life up for sinners like us.
And because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to fear God’s punishment for our sin in this life or the next. We were His enemies, but now we are His friends. When we put our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross, His blood made us “justified” or right with God, forever protecting us from God’s righteous anger and wrath (Romans 5:9). Jesus “reconciled” us with God, which means that He made peace between us; His blood ended the awful conflict that our sin had created (Romans 5:10-11). Jesus gave sinners like us life and peace and joy that we did not deserve. He gave us back the relationship with God that Adam and Eve had lost us in the Garden. How can we not love and serve Him forever in return?
The Text (Romans 5:6-11)
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever thought about whether or not you would sacrifice your life for someone else? Have you thought about who you might be willing to die for? Hopefully, none of us will ever face such a situation, but thinking about the question may help you realize how truly amazing it was that Jesus should die for you.
- Has someone ever done something nice for you that made you feel bad because you had not been nice to them? What happened?
- When did you first become aware of how bad your sin problem really was? In other words, when did sin become truly sinful to you and wake you up to your need to be saved?
- Has your appreciation of Christ’s death in your place grown since you first accepted Him as your Savior? Explain.