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.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
A little boy was visiting his grandparents and they gave him his very first slingshot.
He was THRILLED. He ran off to practice in the woods, but no matter how often he shot, he could never hit his target.
Discouraged, he moped back to Grandma's yard, when suddenly he saw her pet duck.
On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit its mark, and the duck fell dead.
The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see ---- his sister watching.
Sally had seen it all, but said nothing… at least not right away.
After lunch that day, Grandma said, "Sally, let's do the dishes." But Sally said, "Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn't you, Johnny?" She whispered to him, "Remember the duck!" … Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. But Grandma said, "I'm sorry, I need Sally to stay and help me with supper." Sally smiled and said, "Oh, that's all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it, don’t you Johnny?" She whispered, "Remember the duck." Johnny stayed in while Sally went fishing.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's, finally he couldn't stand it any longer. He confessed to Grandma that he'd killed her duck.
"I know, Johnny," she said, giving him a hug. "I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I WAS just waiting to see how long you were going to let Sally make a slave of you."
Guilt… it really WILL make a slave of YOU.
- SOME try to assuage their consciences by doing good works… thinking they can make themselves RIGHT through personal sacrifice. “I’m going to do THIS and give THAT, and it will be better.”
- OTHERS try to drown their guilt with sin - looking for comfort through escape - but no matter how many pills they take or drinks they down - their guilt always returns.
- They may try to comfort themselves by pointing out others who are just as guilty, if not MORE so.
But no matter WHAT we do, just underneath the surface is a nagging conscience that will not be satisfied no matter our best attempts to justify our actions or dress up our failures.
Only Christ can free you from the bondage of guilt.
Paul took this subject very seriously… for he too knew what it was to be flat on his face in the dirt before the Lord. He knew what it was to feel the awful weight of guilt. AND he knew that this would be something that a great many of US would struggle with.
Throughout his letter to the Romans, he reminds his readers how all men are guilty before God… what Jesus did to remove that guilt… and how there is NO OTHER remedy for the nagging conscience outside the cross of Christ.
Maybe YOU have been battling guilt – the shame of your past confronts you in the quiet moments of your life. The devil often reminds you of poor choices in an attempt to convince you that God “couldn’t POSSIBLY love you.” Romans 5 is your roadmap to freedom. I want you to notice,
1. First, the PROOF of God’s Love for us in vv. 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.”
When my kids were small, one of the first songs they learned was “Jesus loves me.” Every night, the last thing they would hear was their mom or that dad rocking them to sleep, singing that song.
One of the first verses we ever taught them was, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten, Son.” Why?? It is important they never forget the love of God.
~ When the world challenges their faith and says, “IF there IS a God, then how could he allow THIS crime or THAT tragedy,” I want them to remember the love of God.
~ In the lonely times, when personal failure or poor decisions lead them to feel shame and despair, I want them to remember the love of God.
~ When death invades their lives and they have to say ‘Goodbye’ to someone they love, I want them to remember the love of God.
What is so unique about God’s love?? For one, God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL. Paul said, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
He died for the ungodly:
~ those who beat Him,
~ mocked Him,
~ rejected and crucified Him.
He died for the worst among us AND for the best; for the oldest, AND the youngest; the richest AND the poorest. He died for the ungodly… When we couldn’t help ourselves, He helped us. You can’t ask for greater PROOF of His love than that!
God’s love is also INCOMPARABLE. Vv. 7 and 8 remind us that while there might be a rare occasion when someone would die for a GOOD person, it is entirely UNHEARD of for a person to die in the place of a heinous criminal - but that’s what the Lord did for us.
Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!” We didn’t deserve God’s help and salvation. We deserve nothing but the wrath of God for our sin. We have ruined His world with our rebellion …what was once perfect is now defiled by demons, disease, and death… what was good and holy we’ve turned into a barren landscape dotted with gravestones.
But God had an answer for sin when He sent us His Son.
And WHAT did MAN DO?? We spit in His face, tore out His beard, spiked His hands to a cross, and mocked Him while He died. Yet through it all, God “made peace through the blood of his cross.”
We can’t understand such love. We can’t understand such sacrifice. Nonetheless, the cross stands as PROOF of God’s love for us.
2. But THEN we see the Provision of His love for us in vv. 9 and 10, which read, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, NOW that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
God’s love provided our salvation. His HOLINESS had been offended… His JUSTICE demanded punishment. But His LOVE provided a way for His holiness and justice to be satisfied, that the sinner might go free. Jesus IS that ‘way.’ Let the words of verse 9 sink in… “much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ”
I remember getting into trouble as a child. My mom would say, “I’m going to tell your dad when he gets home.”
All day, the dread of that confrontation hung over my head. I would rather have been spanked right THEN, but to have that penalty hanging over you sorta takes the wind out of your sails, doesn’t it?
Imagine, if you can, what it feels like to be lost. I think that is part of our problem… We've forgotten what it felt like to be lost. Try to remember the turmoil… the shame… how you had no peace or purpose.
Do you remember how it felt when you gave your heart to the Lord??? How the love of God flooded your soul and for the first time you knew you were FORGIVEN! The peace of God washed over you and you felt as though a ton of bricks had been lifted! ⇒ We are saved from wrath through Him!
But friends, we are not only saved from the Penalty of Sin, we are also saved from the Power of sin. Paul says in verse 10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, NOW that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
There is a powerful lesson here that is often misunderstood…
Not only is the sacrifice of Christ sufficient to save me from my past, it is EFFICIENT for every sin I commit in the present AND future! My good works cannot save me and they cannot keep me saved. In Christ, my sins are covered.
And the reason that is so important is – even though a Christian is saved, he IS NOT, nor ever will be, PERFECT in this life. We will continue to struggle with sin and sometimes we will fail. But the solution for our violation of the holiness of God REMAINS Jesus Christ!
The provision of His love.
3. And then finally, after seeing the Proof and the Provision of His love for us, third we see the Products of God’s Love for us in v. 11, “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Sin, by its very nature, causes separation from God. When we read the story of the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3, we see that one of the first things Adam and Eve did after they sinned was hide themselves from God.
Sin, you see, separates us from Him. It is a barrier to fellowship with Him. John tells us so in 1 John chapter 1, when he says, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
BUT, through Jesus Christ we have “reconciliation.” In sin I am separated from God, but because of what Jesus has done, I am reconciled… brought back together… at-one… at peace with God.
Are YOU at peace with God??
Sarah was rich. She had inherited twenty million dollars. Plus she had an additional income of one thousand dollars a day. That’s a lot of money by any standard, but it was an incomprehensible amount in the late 1800s.
Sarah was popular… the belle of New Haven, Connecticut. No one hosted a party without inviting her.
She was powerful. Her name and money would open almost any door in America.
Though rich, popular, powerful, she was miserable.
Her only daughter died at five weeks of age. Soon after, her husband also passed away. She was left alone with her name, her money, AND her guilt. It was her guilt that caused her to move west.
She bought an eight-room farmhouse with 160 acres. She hired 16 FULL TIME carpenters and put them to work. For the next 38 years, craftsmen labored every day, building her mansion.
Observers were intrigued by the project. Sarah’s instructions were more than eccentric … they were eerie. Each window was to have thirteen panes, each wall thirteen panels, each closet thirteen hooks, and each chandelier thirteen globes.
The floor plan was ghoulish. Corridors snaked randomly, some leading nowhere. One door opened to a brick wall, another to a fifty-foot drop. One set of stairs led to a ceiling that had no door. Trap doors. Secret passageways. Tunnels. It was a spooky, spooky place.
This was not a retirement home for her future; it was a prison for her past.
The making of this mysterious mansion only ended when Sarah died. The completed estate sprawled over six acres and had six kitchens, 13 bathrooms, 40 staircases, 47 fireplaces, 52 skylights, 467 doors, 10,000 windows, 160 rooms, and …………….a bell tower.
What did Sarah want with such a castle? Didn’t she live alone? “Well, sort of,” those acquainted with her story would say. “There were ‘the visitors’…” that came each night.
Word has it that every evening at midnight, a servant would pass through the secret labyrinth that led to the bell tower. He would ring the bell to summon the spirits. Sarah would then enter the “blue room,” a room reserved for her and her nocturnal guests. Together they would linger until 2:00 a.m., when the bell would be rung again. Sarah would return to her bedroom; the ghosts would return to their graves.
Who comprised this legion of phantoms??? Indians and soldiers killed on the U.S. frontier. They had all been killed by bullets from the most popular rifle in America — the Winchester. What had brought millions of dollars to Sarah Winchester had brought death to them. So she spent her remaining years in a castle of regret, providing a home for the dead.
You can still see this poltergeist palace in San Jose, if you wish. You can tour its halls and see its remains.
But to see what unresolved guilt can do to a human being, you don’t have to all the way to California. There are lives imprisoned by yesterday’s bad choices right here in Troy. Hearts haunted by failure, right here in this church.
Maybe Sarah’s story is your story. Understand, it doesn’t have to be. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That includes you.
Maybe today you long for the forgiveness of God. Maybe you need His mercy and grace. We all do. You are no worse than anyone here. The only difference is, some of us have put our faith in Christ to save us, and others have not.
You’ve been thinking about it for some time.
Today is your chance… today you can be free. Will you come to Him? He loves you. Will you come to Him?
We are going to give you that opportunity right now…