"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8)
This is an amazing truth about God's love for us. While we were enemies of God, Christ came and died for us. We were held and locked up under the power of darkness and grew increasingly wicked against God, but he didn't let that stop him from coming to redeem mankind from sin and shed his blood as our atonement before God.
Paul uses an example that we can easily understand. We know of people who have died in war, sacrificing themselves for another or greater cause. However, it is unconceivable in our minds that someone would die for their enemies. However that is exactly what Jesus did for us. He came while we were enemies of God to redeem mankind. Paul said in the beginning of Romans, that we God-haters ( Romans 1:30 ). He went on to list a long lineage of characteristics that mankind possessed steaming from the desire within us to walk away from God. "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them ( Romans1:29, Romans 1:29, Romans 1:30, Romans 1:31, Romans 1:32 ). Amazingly enough even though we deserved death as enemies of God, he had mercy on us and sent Jesus to died in our stead.
I am reminded of a story that I heard about World War I. It was Christmas Even and soldiers were encamped in their trenches on both sides of the battle lines. The Germans soldiers were singing a familiar song and as they sang Silent Night, the American soldiers began singing it in their own language. Bitter enemies all of a sudden had a common ground. As they sang soldiers on both sides started venturing out into no-man's land meeting in the middle to share food and cigarettes. Although they knew that the very next day, they would resume fighting and killing each other, the commonality of Christmas brought peace to them for those few precious hours.
Like this story, our story has an amazing ending. It was the love of God that brought us peace while we were his enemies. He reached out to us while we hated him and demonstrated his love by dying a criminals death upon the cross so that we could be reconciled to him. Unlike the story of our soldiers, our peace treaty lasted more than a few precious hours. Our peace contract with the Lord will last for all eternity because we have been saved from God's wrath through Jesus ( Romans 5:9 ). Not only is this so, but since His wrath has been appeased through Jesus, we will experience life abundantly through Jesus who now lives and intercede with the Father on our behalf ( Romans 8:34 ).
Today, I praise God that came to redeem us while we were his enemies. Now we are no longer his enemies but instead we are considered his friends. May this revelation of grace bless you today, amen.