Have you ever wondered why God loves you and desires you in His eternal blessed presence? Have you ever contemplated (seriously) why God would look favorably on you and bless you rather than condemn you? Most of us (dare I say, all of us?) think more highly of ourselves than we ought. While very few of us would actually say it, we do live our lives as if there is something about us that makes God want to be our friend.
Amazingly, we treat God like one of our earthly friends — we can’t help ourselves. We know why we like our friends and, to some degree, why they like us. We treat them in certain ways and do certain things so that they will like us. In many regards, this is how we relate to God, as well. We believe if we do this or don’t do that, then God will like us. He must. After all, what is there not to love?
Well, the apostle Paul would answer that question by answering, “Everything.” The human condition is not just a bucket of errors; it is an ocean of iniquity, similar to Murphy’s Law: Whatever could be wrong with humanity is.
Someone once wrote: “I never had a slice of bread, particularly large and wide, that did not fall upon the floor, and always on the buttered side.” Such is the state of humanity in relationship to God. Man is in a perpetual, ever-deepening abyss of separation from God because of sin and rebellion. The better he tries to make himself, the more offensive he becomes to God (Isa. 64:6). Talk about seemingly irreconcilable differences. And this poses the greatest dilemma and question ever faced by the human condition, namely, “How do sinful, rebellious human beings stand accepted and loved in the presence of God?” How are we ever to be reconciled to a holy and righteous God? How are we ever to be made right with God and reclaim what Adam and Eve lost? The Bible reminds us that it is only by the blood of Christ that our justification is secured.
The Bible states in Romans 5:6–8: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Justification is God’s declaration that sinners are in a right and acceptable relationship with Him based solely on the person and work of Jesus Christ, the benefits of which are received by faith alone. It is the fact that those who were once enemies of God are now, through faith in Christ, friends and beloved. According to the Bible, this justification comes to those who believe through the blood of Christ. It comes to those who are “weak” and “ungodly.” “Weak” speaks to our inability to save ourselves. It is the connotation that we are without strength and power. “Ungodly” speaks to our activity in opposition to the ways of God. It is the designation of sinners as impious, refusing to worship the God who created them, while living and loving contrary to His holy character and commands. Remarkably, Jesus Christ died for the weak and ungodly.
“Christ died for the ungodly.” Here are five of the most heart-humbling, awe-inspiring, and joy-producing words you’ll ever hear. As one writer has well said, “Here is the gospel in five words.”
At the heart of this gospel is the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ secures our justification. And the Bible reminds us that our justification is grounded in the love of God.
Someone once asked the question, “What’s love got to do with it?” Again, Paul would answer by saying, “Everything!” Last month, we looked at propitiation through the blood of Christ. In propitiation, justice goes up to God’s court. In justification, love comes down to us. All because of the blood of Jesus. All because of the love of God. Christ left heaven. He laid aside glory, concealing His majesty. He subjected Himself to the creature’s scorn, outcast from a world He created. He suffered demonic attack, lies, and public ridicule. Friends forsook Him. He was brutally beaten, stripped, and put to open shame. Spat upon and slapped, publicly and shamefully executed, He assumed the guilt and punishment for every sin we ever committed. He reconciled us to God and secured our acceptance before God. Why? Because justice demanded it and our justification required it. Because He loved us even before we ever knew Him or understood what He was doing.
Thankfully, now we do, and it is the sweetness and glory of our song (as Stuart Townend writes): How deep the Father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure; That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure.