“While we were…”

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I am constantly amazed at that verse. “While I was a sinner…” And I think back to my days B.C…. before Christ. I think of all the things I did in living to please myself. I was so selfish. I was despicable. I hurt many people in many ways. I did terrible things.

And yet Christ died for me… while I was a sinner. Yes, I know it was thousands of years before I was born, but since time is eternal to God and He can see the eternal past and the eternal future, he could see me getting drunk, forgetting where I parked my car, passing out with my clothes on, and yet He died for me! Amazing!

And because of time-eternal, He can see me now, still a sinner (although now not a slave to sin) desperate for His grace to even take another step. He sees me struggling and failing, time after time, in word, in thought, or in deed. “While I was a sinner…”, God demonstrated his love, Scripture says. He loved me first. And He still loves me first.

James Bryan Smith says in his book, Embracing the Love of God:

“God does not love. God IS love. (1 John 4:16) I am capable of loving but I am also capable of not loving. That cannot be said about God. God cannot stop loving, because love is God’s nature.”

If I blow it again… if I fail for the 23rd time (or the 93rd time) at the same thing… God does not stop loving me. In fact, God loved me first and continues to love me first (1 John 4:19). He loves me. He accepts me. He smiles when he looks at me (Numbers 6:26) and thinks about me. I am the apple of his eye. (Psalm 17:8) And as I’ve said so many times before, he takes great delight in me and even sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17).

But (obviously) it’s not just me. “While WE were still sinners…” the verse says, “God demonstrated his own love for us.”

It’s a promise for all of us.

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