The Demonstration of God’s Love (Verses 6-8)
Paul’s description of mankind in these verses is devastating. We were helpless, unable to save ourselves, and under the condemning power of sin. Not only were we unable to save ourselves, but we were also entirely unwilling and uninterested in being saved. We were ungodly rebels against God and repugnant to His holiness. We were sinners, unrighteous in our deeds, wholly disabled by our sins. We were enemies, living in hostility toward God and from God. However, our very problem qualifies us as recipients of God’s love and makes us eligible for salvation! As Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
Notice the comparison in verse 7 between the “righteous man” and the “good man.” Righteousness is more than merely being correct; it also means to be governed by goodness. Even for such a good and righteous man, a person would hardly die—though there are a number of examples where something like that might happen (i.e. dying for a fellow soldier, a family member, etc.). But that is very different than dying for an absolute failure, for an ungodly, sin-stained, helpless, enemy! This is exactly how God demonstrates His condescending love. God stoops down to express His undying love through the death of His Son. God’s unimaginable love has been poured out into the hearts of helpless, ungodly, sinful, enemies!
Much More Then… (Verses 9-11)
Paul argues from the lesser to the greater; the lesser being justification and the greater being glorification. It’s not that justification is a small thing, but it is already accomplished. Glorification, on the other hand, remains in the future when we are saved from the wrath of God on the Day of Judgment. If we have already been saved from God’s condemnation by being justified, how much more shall we be saved from His wrath on that day? After the indescribable demonstration of His love in saving us, there is no surprise regarding His gracious keeping us. Now that our legal standing is dealt with, our personal relationship is forever guaranteed!
The death and life of Christ achieve these two stages of salvation for us. The risen life of Christ will complete what the death of Christ on earth began (c.f. John 14:19). The humiliation of Jesus saved us when we were far off, and His exaltation will secure us finally when we are near (c.f. Romans 8:34). How can we be sure that we will not be finally lost and condemned in the end? God crushed His own dear Son for us when we were enemies, and He will certainly save us finally as His friends.
“Not only this”—there is even more! The Christian life is not merely looking back at our justification, nor is it just looking forward to our glorification. In this present life in which we are living, “we exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are encouraged now to feel and experience the glorious bliss of our position in Christ.
- There is no good that is not in Christ. He alone can deliver you from all your fears, sin, self, death, Satan, hell, and the wrath of God. He is the altogether lovely One, and all of heaven is enamored with His beauty. He is a loving and faithful Friend, and a Brother born for your adversity. His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you. Why would you ever refuse this life in Christ? In what ways are you treasuring Christ today? How is His love for you in the gospel shaping the way you live and the decisions you make? How is it affecting your hope and your endurance in your pursuit of Him?