“When we were utterly helpless,” Paul writes, “Christ came at just the right time, and died for us sinners.” Romans 5:6 NLT
In human relations, Paul says, it is barely possible that one person would give his life for another person, an upright man. Maybe, in the case of an especially good person– maybe then someone would be found who would offer his life in his place.But God has done the impossible, the unexpected, the undeserved. While we were still sinners, Christ died in our place. The only motive for this costly rescue mission was the overflowing love and mercy of God; for we were His enemies, and could offer Him no reason to intervene on our behalf. And, in fact, God took a huge risk; “God commended His love towards us.” In other words, He entrusted His love to us, even though we were still sinners; would there be any who would receive it, and be reconciled to Him?
As Paul contemplates the amazing grace of God, and describes it so well for his readers, he is laying the foundation for our continued growth in faith. The Love of God, the Mercy of God, the Righteousness of God, is overwhelming. There never was a possibility of our earning His favor, yet He has freely given His favor to us. We cannot now earn His favor; we cannot add anything to the perfect salvation He has given us. We can only believe; and as we believe, we grow in our love for Him. We love Him, because He first loved us.