But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
If you have spent much time around Protestants then you have most likely heard people say things like, “Saved by grace,” or “Justified by faith,” or “you can’t earn your way to heaven.” These are at the core of the Christian message and they point to the basic truth that we receive life in Jesus Christ as a gift. It is not our own doing but comes to us because of the love of God.
But it is one thing to say that you can’t earn God’s favor – God gives it as a gift. It is quite another thing to say we don’t deserve it. But Paul is clear, it is not enough to say that it is a gift and comes for free. For Paul the amazing thing is that God does this by coming in Jesus and dying for us “while we were still sinners.” This is the amazing thing that proves how deep God’s love for us is. This is not a case of, “These are really nice people. I think I’ll offer them a present.” This is, “These people are doing terrible things to themselves, each other and the world. But I love them anyway and will do anything for them, even if it means suffering death.”
At the core of the message that Paul shares in the book of Romans is this basic truth. Sin is part of what it means to be human. Love is at the heart of who God is. God’s love is more powerful than our sin. Jesus has lived and died and risen again to remind us, “Love wins!”
Take a little time to reflect on why you need grace. Then give thanks that God loves you enough to offer it to you in Christ.