Thursday, June 03, 2010

Undeserved Freedom

Romans 5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

7 μόλις γὰρ ὑπὲρ δικαίου τις ἀποθανεῖται· ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τάχα τις καὶ τολμᾷ ἀποθανεῖν· 8  συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς ὁ θεός, ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν.

Romans 5 is one of the Calvinist's favorite chapters.  Here we see the nature of mankind.  It's not a pretty picture, is it?  As Paul continues his argument in this chapter we see that man inherits Adam's sin.  We are sinners by nature and by choice.  We deserve nothing but God's righteous wrath.

But in these two wonderful verses we see a strange truth.  Instead of giving us what we deserve, Christ came to earth to die for sinners.  Keep in mind that Paul is writing to saints here.  He is saying that while those saints were still sinners Christ came to die for them.  Paul should know since he committed more than his fair share of sin while he was still Saul.  The construction of ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν uses an infinitive and an adjective to show that they were in the state of being sinners.

Think about this from the perspective of Paul's argument.  Let's say that you just witnessed someone commit a cold-blooded premeditated murder.  How eager would you be to help this person out?  How eager would you be to die for that person?  If you're anything like me, you would want to do whatever you could to bring this person to justice.  In many states that person would get the death penalty.  Would you die in behalf of that person?  I know that would not be my instinct.

Yet that is what Christ did on the cross.  We were dead in our sins, but He died to make us alive with Him.  We do not deserve this, but it is our gift for the taking.  There is a cost to following Him, but is any cost higher than the death penalty?

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