Monday, November 07, 2005

While We Were Yet Sinners...

My Saturday morning class has been focusing on "Doing God's Business God's Way." A part of that is recognizing our status apart from God's intervention on our behalf.

One passage that has been great in that regard is from Romans 5. In it, Paul makes clear what our standing was BC (before Christ).

"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." (Rom 5:6-11, ESV)

While we were weak (and powerless)
While we were sinners
While we were enemies
While we were all of these things, Christ came and gave his life for us.

This is a great and important truth--one that we must keep constantly in the forefront of our minds. If we forget our own sinfulness, we rob God of His great triumph over our sin; we cheapen the value of Christ's sacrifice; and we even run the risk of becoming like Israel of old, thinking we were chosen for some reason other than God's good pleasure.

When you read Paul's testimony about himself, he is crystal clear on what his own condition is, and I wonder at times if that is why he knows so great a salvation. Reading verses like this is a great reminder of our true state apart from Christ, lest we delude ourselves into thinking we are somehow "better sinners" than others.

Near the end of his life, John Newton is quoted as saying "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour." May we all be able to recognize and willing to say the same thing about ourselves.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Great post. I like what John Gill writes in his commentary on Romans 5:8:

"but are not God's people sinners after conversion? yes; but sin has not the dominion over them; their life is not a course of sinning, as before; and besides, they are openly justified and pardoned, as well as renewed, and sanctified, and live in newness of life; so that their characters now are taken, not from their worse, but better part."