June 6, 2023

The Evidence of God’s Love in Christ’s Death: Part 2 (Romans 5:6-8)

The Evidence of God’s Love in Christ’s Death: Part 2 (Romans 5:6-8)


Today, we will cover Part 2 of a sermon titled “The Evidence of God’s Love in Christ’s Death.” Last week, we covered verse 6, which said: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Paul’s intent was to show that God’s love is most vividly seen in Christ’s death. If you remember, I broke down the three clauses of verse six that demonstrated how:

  1. God’s love was shown in Christ’s death while we were helpless
  2. God’s love was shown in Christ’s death at the right time
  3. God’s love was shown in Christ’s death for the ungodly

And then, I showed how those three statements are related to three corresponding doctrines, which were the Doctrine of Total Depravity, the Doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, and the Doctrine of Limited Atonement.

Today, we move on to verses 7-8, where Paul demonstrates and magnifies the exceptional nature of the claims in verse six. Namely, he’s taking this theme of God’s love for us in Christ’s death and amplifying it further by comparing it to man’s standard of love. Let’s read:

For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Verse 7: For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

  • Paul is pointing out the uncommon nature of a man willing to die for another person.
  • That degree of sacrificial love is extremely rare, and it only occurs in situations where the beneficiary of someone’s sacrifice is a righteous or respected person or they are an object of affection for the person giving up their life.
  • For example, a father might die for his wife or children
  • A soldier might die for his comrades in battle.
  • A CIA agent might die to protect the President of the United States
  • But in any case, sacrificing your life so that another person may live is rare and only occurs as a display of extreme love or honor.

Our Lord confirms this when He says in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Verse 8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  • Here Paul opens with a contrast clause distinguishing the radical difference between man’s love and God’s love.
  • While man may die for someone he loves, Christ dies for God-haters, murderers, and thieves.
  • While a man may die for another person worthy of keeping living (like the President or his commanding officer), Christ dies for those who are worthy of death.

The early 1900s preacher Henry Ironside wrote on this verse just shortly after his death in 1951. He said, “In modern times, we hear of WWII veterans who recount stories of other G.I.’s who fell on grenades to save their friends, but there is no record of a G.I. falling on a grenade to save a Nazi. Here’s the point—a fireman may risk his life to rescue someone from an arson-related fire, but the chance of that fireman offering go to prison on behalf of the arsonist is nil. Parents may pay the ransom for their kidnapped child, but they are highly unlikely to post bond for their child’s kidnapper! And yet this is, in essence, exactly what God did for us!”

Christ gave up his life for the enemies of God. Just a few verses later, Paul says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

God’s love is most vividly seen in Christ’s death, not only in how He gave up His life but for whom His life was given for. Sinners—enemies—law breakers.

Now, I would like to focus on the last word of verse 8: us. It’s a definite personal pronoun. Paul did not use the word “all” or “everyone,” which are indefinite personal pronouns.

  • No, Paul is referring to a particular group of people.
  • I say this because it’s so easy for a verse like this to lose its significance when it’s read as a generalization instead of a personalization.
  • The “us” are those whom God has uniquely chosen as recipients of grace.
  • And Paul wants us, those who have been born again, to see the greatness of God’s love through Christ’s death delivered to us not when we were good—not when we were praising God and obeying God’s Law but when we were still sinners.

Ephesians 1:3-9 is Paul’s recorded acclamation of praise for this very reason. Please pay attention to the nine uses of definite personal pronouns. He says, “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ… 10

As it pertains to application, Verse 8 could honestly be rewritten to say, “But God demonstrates His own love toward YOU, in that while you were yet a sinner, Christ died for YOU.

This cannot be unfelt. There is a clear personal component to the Gospel. Election, by its very nature, is exclusive. It is not something we can ever boast of, but it is certainly not a mercy extended to all. It’s a mercy extended to some.

Listen to the personal language of God’s electing grace:

2 Timothy 1:9 “Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

Matt 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” In the parable, many are externally called to come to the wedding feast, but few were internally called to the conviction to attend. That is, many hear the audible calling of the Gospel, but few are chosen recipients of the internal call of God’s grace that causes a person to repent and believe.

In John 10:27-28, we see Jesus using personal language when he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Isaiah 43:1 says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

Revelation 21:27 says, “no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

If you believe in Christ, you must see that God, before the foundation of the world, elected you to receive mercy and love, to be redeemed for His glory, to adopt you as His son or daughter, to secure your salvation by his own blood, to make you righteousness by His own record, and to persevere you by His Holy Spirit.

And all of this, the love and mercy of salvation, has been eternally shown to you by his death on the cross while you were still a helpless sinner.

This what Paul had in view when He wrote this passage. God’s love is seen most vividly in Christ’s death for you.

But what does that mean for your life? How should this change the way you think and behave?

1 John 3:16 “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

  • The cross of Christ was not only an act of love but an example of love.
  • But not only is it an example of love, it is a command of love.
  • John says, “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
  • This means because of Christ, we are now expected to pattern His example.
  • We are to be people who lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • For the persecuted church, it means to literally die for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • For the church experiencing peace, the principle is to put the interests of others before your own.
  • This means we sacrifice our bitterness and extend forgiveness to the glory of God.
  • To sacrifice our financial goals and fund the mission of the church for the glory of God.
  • To sacrifice our time to pray and to disciple and catechize those around us to the glory of God.

This is what we do as men and women who follow Christ. We love how we have been loved. We lay down our lives as Christ laid down His.

John Chrysostom once said, and I’ll close with this: He gave Himself fully to you: He left nothing for Himself. Give yourself fully to others. Do not withhold your love.”