Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this – while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Demonstrate – show, display, reveal, exhibit, express, prove, make evident
His own – individual, personal, particular, peculiar
God’s Own Love
These days the word “love” is thrown around so carelessly that it has lost most of its meaning for most people. In its most common usage “love” means “a strong affection or desire” or at its most casual it means, “to like a lot.” Sometimes, the words are empty and automatic, like saying goodbye when you hang up the phone. If we have truly lost the genuine and deep meaning of love and the use of that word then we have lost something important to our inmost selves and the expression of the most divine quality we have. For it is when we love the most and most truly that we are most like God – for, “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and “whoever lives in love lives in God” (1 John 4:16).
In general, God’s love is not a soft or tame thing. God’s love involves fire, passion, jealousy, and self-sacrifice. God is frequently referred to as a “consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29) and most people use that to highlight His holiness or wrath/ judgment and those things are certainly true. God is absolutely holy and He will bring wrath and judgment on the earth. However, such images of fire such as the one in revelation where Jesus is described with “eyes like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14, 2:18, 19:12) at least points to passion. While it is true that God is passionate about establishing holiness and justice, He is also “passionate about His relationship with you.” (Exodus 34:14) Much of God’s wrath and determination to make us holy comes from the fire of His unending, inexhaustible, unsearchable love for each one of us.
Some will tell you that the cross was all about justice – that God judged sin on the cross of Christ so that He did not have to judge us but could rightly forgive us. And this is true for Scripture says, “He did it to demonstrate His justice because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26 ). While we can imagine that God must love us some to do what He did to forgive us, ransom and rescue us, we must not forget what Jesus Himself said, “There is no greater love than this; that a man would lay down His life for His friends.” (John 15:13). Aside from all the deep (relevant and true) theological reasons for Christ’s death is simply this one – that His love would be put on display in a way that we could see, understand, and embrace. It is not some disinterested kind of sacrificial love that drove Christ to the cross, but nothing less than intense, burning, consuming, passionate love that had to make itself known in the clearest and most undeniable way possible.
We ourselves know what it is to feel something so strong that words fall incredibly short and we need to be able to do something to demonstrate it and the more intense the emotion the more extreme its display. While we were still sinners, while we were His enemies (Romans 5:10), God loved us so much that He sent His only Son (John 3:16), who for the joy set before Him (which is our redemption and restoration to a relationship with Him) endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2), possibly the most painful way to die ever invented. People will give you varying reasons as to why Jesus was mocked, beaten, crucified, and suffered as much as He did. But whatever other reasons there may have been, remember what has already been said; the more intense the emotion the more extreme its display. Everything He suffered is no less than the most extreme display of an infinitely intense and passionate love. Though many doubts may plague you during this life, may you never doubt that God loves you intensely, passionately, and more infinitely than you can ever imagine. Any love you have ever felt is a small flickering candle compared to the raging inferno that is God’s love for each of us. Dare we ever ignore (much less deny) such love? He deserves and demands better than that.
Point to Ponder
What does the word “love” mean to you? Have you allowed the word to become shallow in your life? Do you have a hard time with the idea that God could love you that intensely? Remember; He made you for Himself and He does not make mistakes. It is only your sin that He hates. Are you afraid of what such love might demand of you? Do you not think it would be worth all that you are?
Let us pray, “Oh Lord our God, how amazing is Your love for us! Help us to know it, experience it, and live it out. Thank You for sending Your Son to save us and to help us see how much You really love us. Lord, may we never doubt Your heart again. Help us to love You back with all we are, not fearing what You might ask of us but eager to do anything You ask that we might demonstrate our love back to You. May Your love and Your kindness lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4), salvation, and surrender. In the Name of Jesus, our hope, our life, and the ultimate display of love, we pray. Amen.”
Romans 5:8 (paraphrased) – “But God shows, displays, expresses, and proves His own personal, particular, and peculiar love for us in this – while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”