Amazing Love, How Can it Be?
by Joseph Franks
Good news! The Apostle Paul delivered it to us succinctly in Romans 5:8:
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God has shown his love for us, and Christ has died for us, before we were even conceived. Yes, before we were born, because we were predestined to be sinners, out of love Christ came to our planet. Once there, he lived and obeyed on our behalf, and was disgraced, slaughtered, and sacrificed in our stead. Before we were sinners, before we even were, God showed his love for us, and Christ died for us. Amazing love!
God showed his love for us, and Christ died for us, before we were birthed. God allowed our mothers to conceive; we were knitted together in our mothers’ wombs by the all-controlling hand of God. And while we were yet within our mother’s womb, God saw our totally depraved hearts. Though fetuses, we were fully depraved. However, God loved us. Why? Because before we were birthed, Christ died for his little ones. Amazing love!
God showed his love for us, and Christ died for us, before we hit the “age of accountability.” As toddlers, kindergarteners, or elementary students, no one taught us how to sin. We came about it easily and naturally. Our sinful hearts expressed themselves in sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. However, though being young children deserving God’s fierce and just condemnation, we were loved. Jesus had already paid it all. All our youthful sins had been covered — every one of them. Amazing love!
(By the way … No, I do not really believe in an “age of accountability.”)
God showed his love for us, and Christ died for us, before we hit the pinnacle of our rebellion and willingly blasphemed our Lord. As we matured in mind and body, and as we matured in our understanding of God’s Word and God’s work, and as we tragically mastered the art of sinning before and spitting in the face of my Savior, God still loved us. Oh, this love was not based on any merit of our own. No, this love was a gracious, one-way, covenantal affection shown to us who deserved it least. Yes, even while we spurned the Lover of my soul, Jesus loved us, because he had already lived and died for us. From above, he looked down on his devilish rebels, and he looked down both sadness and amazing love!
Personally, it was when I was 17 that the irresistible love of the Holy Spirit dominated my heart. It was then, in the mountains of North Carolina, that I willingly confessed my sin and proclaimed Jesus to be my Savior. On that autumn evening, I had faith. On that night, I repented. It was then that I turned to the light and away from the dark side. Yes, I did it. I made the decision. I prayed the prayer. I walked the aisle. I chose Jesus. I invited him into my heart. I made him Lord and Savior of my life. And why did I do such? We all know the answer by now. I loved him because he first loved me. I chose him because he first chose me. I had faith and repentance because he gifted these responses to me. I gave him my will because it was his will that I do so. I “made him” Lord and Savior because he already was. Yes, I walked the aisle because he moved my heart and my feet. Amazing love, how can it be, that Christ would die for some sinful wretch like me.
God showed his love for us, and Christ died for us, before we walked as prodigal sons and daughters. Following our conversions, there have been many moments when we have worshiped our King well. We ought not take credit for such; this is merely the power of Christ at work in us. To God be the glory! However, sadly, there have been many more moments when we were led by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Despite our transgressions, our loving Father has not turned his face away from us. Though we have wandered, he has loved us and waited for our return — with sandals, rings, robes, and a feast in hand. Why such undeserved mercy and grace in the face of gross sin? Because even though we have been wicked, arrogant, and insubordinate children, we are his children. And when all is said and done, these were some of the sins for which Jesus Christ died. Prodigal brothers and sisters, come back to the Father. There is nothing that can separate us from his love. Our transgression have been covered. Christ yelled from the cross, “It is finished.” Come back with me to the amazing love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Finally, what does this mean for us today? God loves us, and Christ has died for all our sins, even the ones we will commit this afternoon. Oh, because we have new natures and new desires, we hope not to sin. All of us who are his children will endeavor to walk in holy obedience. But let us have no doubts, we will sin grossly before the Lord before this day is through. We have hearts that are prone to wander; they are prone to leave the God we love. We are wretched Christians longing to have victory over our sinful flesh. But we will think horrible thoughts — pride, lust, vengeance, materialism, discontent — these will surely come back today. We will say horrible things. Our hands and feet will follow the lead of our sin-scarred heart. And these are just the things we will do. We have not yet begun to comment on all the righteous things we will not do. (I.e. pray without ceasing; worshiping God whether I eat, or drink, or whatever I do ….) However, here is the Good News; here is the Gospel. God has shown already shown his love for us, and though we are still sinners, Christ Jesus has died for us. He loves sinners, before and after their conception. He loves sinners, before and after their delivery. He loves sinners, before and after their conversion. He loves sinners till the end. Amazing love, how can this be, that Christ would die and cherish sinners like me.