Once again, I urge that my interpretation of the shedding abroad of God’s love in our hearts must be the correct one, because Paul launches directly from that point into his matchless description of Christ’s sacrificial death for the ungodly.  The word for with which verse 6 begins connects us directly to the thought of the preceding verse, and seems to me very strongly to indicate that the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts is that very same love which was manifested in the sending of Christ to die for unworthy sinners.

Paul here begins to lay stroke after stroke against any thought that any individual may have that salvation was offered to man because of some worthiness in us.  Tragically, some have foolishly gone to this very passage to say, “See, God sent Christ because he saw something valuable in us that He did not want to lose.”  In fact, the apostle is saying the direct opposite.  When he speaks of us as ungodly, and as sinners, he is painting us in the very blackest colors possible.  We were unlike God, utterly alienated from His righteousness, and enemies to His law.  We lived in disobedience, were hateful, and hating one another.  But in spite of God’s perfect knowledge of who and what we are, He nevertheless manifested His great heart of compassion by sending His only beloved Son to die in our stead.  Surely there is no higher or greater manifestation of the love of God than this!  This, I know, is the very love that I wish to be shed abroad in my heart, so that I may love and serve my great Master all the better.

KJV_Romans_5-6

It was when we were without strength that Christ died for the ungodly.  We had no power, even if we possessed the inclination, to lift ourselves out of the dunghill of our wretched sinfulness, and begin living in subjection to God.  We could do nothing to atone for our past sins, nor to break the present hold sin had over us.  God saw all this, and although we were most offensive in His holy sight, considered in ourselves, He chose to provide a great salvation for us, in order to magnify that grand attribute of His mercy, which might otherwise have remained hidden.  But now, with the sending of Christ into the world to die for the wicked and the helpless, all creation knows that our God is not simply a Judge of inflexible rigor, but also is a God abundant in mercy, even to those who are His enemies.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!  That Christ, the sinless Son of God, should die at all is a marvel.  That He should die for sinners is grace beyond our ability to conceive or express.

 

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