“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In my years of Bible study, I have had the opportunity to read through the Bible many times. The practice, I think, is very helpful because it acquaints us with the cohesiveness of the Bible’s content. From Genesis to Revelation, there is a singular outstanding theme that weaves its way through scripture. This is the love that God has for His people. Love is a consistent theme that is brought out through the many promises that God has given. To contemplate God’s love is to send our hearts soaring into the heavens as we wonder why the Almighty God of the universe should take notice of us, much less love us.
The key to our amazement lies in another consistent theme that runs throughout the Bible—man’s sinfulness. Just a few pages into the Holy Writ, we are introduced to Adam, the first man, who disobeyed God and fell from his state of innocence. Theologians refer to Adam as the federal head of the human race. This means that Adam stands as our representative. Scripture declares that in Adam all die, meaning primarily that spiritual death has passed to all men through Adam. Adam sinned and the whole human race that proceeds from Adam is now born in sin. Our sinfulness has caused a serious rift with God. We are naturally opposed to Him; we are at enmity with Him. Scripture says that we are haters of God (Rom. 1:30). This is what makes God’s love for man so amazing. God loved us not when we were pure and innocent, not when we were saintly and sanctified—God loved us when we hated Him. Because we are born in sin, none of us are pure and innocent, saintly and sanctified.
If you wonder how the cross got into the picture, here is the reason. In our sinful condition, we are unholy and unjust. God is pure holiness and perfection; He cannot allow sin in His presence because it is defiling. Therefore, God must remove sin from us and make us holy. But God does not do this as a matter of caprice. His justice must be satisfied. His righteous law has been broken and a holy God cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Thus there is a cross, an instrument of punishment. The most outstanding facet of God’s love for the sinner is that Jesus Christ was willing to take our punishment for us. The cross is the satisfaction of God’s divine justice. The cross is the most glorious display of God’s love.
The next time you read through the Bible see how many times it speaks of sin and then count the times that God’s love is connected to sacrifice and the cross of Christ. Thank God for the cross for we could never know God’s love without it!
Pastor V. Mark Smith