God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
What’s the greatest and noblest thing you can do for someone? Save their life, right? Those who do this are called heroes! They deserve honors and thanks, attention and appreciation. People want to meet them, shake their hand, hug them, imitate them.
Yet what if you risked your life to save a thief, a murderer, a war criminal? That would get a different reaction. “Why!? Why would you risk so much for that lowlife? You’re crazy! You should have let him die!” Very few people want to risk their life to save a good person. No one wants to risk their life to save a bad person. Yet Jesus did just that.
But we don’t really think of ourselves as being all that bad, do we? We tell ourselves that there are worse people out in the world. Yet, God doesn’t look at us in comparison to someone else. He looks at us in comparison to perfection. And we have NOT been perfect. Even our best efforts are worthless if they don’t meet God’s standard of perfection. And, honestly, we don’t even get that close.
Our natural inclination is selfishness, to look out for myself and my own interests. And what does that sinful selfishness get us? It ruins our families, our happiness, and our lives. How many marriages have fallen apart because of pride, because both people spent more time worrying about what I want rather than thinking of their spouse. How many people have been hurt because those around them were more concerned with themselves. Sin is a selfish thing! It drives the gaze inward to focus on me and mine! And when sin rules, death rules.
Yet on the day when it seemed like death had finally won, on the day when Jesus was executed though he’d done nothing wrong, we see death’s power destroyed forever. How strange that on that Friday at the moment of the greatest act of God’s grace, we see no crowd of joyous followers, thanking and worshiping God. Instead those present were sinners, people who hated Jesus.
Yet for these people Christ died. For wretched sinners who despised him, God gave up his Son. And the result? Sin is finished! Death is done! Those who were guilty have been declared innocent. Those who hated and fought against God have peace with him. They now stand before God unashamed, forgiven.
Because Christ died, we now have life! Every day will continue to be a struggle against sin and temptation, but every day God continues to offer free forgiveness and the strength to stand firm against sin. While we were still sinners, God saved us. So now, through Jesus’ death, we will live forever.