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  • Amy Katterson

Unimaginable Love (Romans 5:8)

[but] God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

Romans 5:8 launches right into the center of a wild story, a story that stretches our imagination almost to the breaking point. A story that puts fairy tales to shame.

Let’s look at the backdrop of this story. It’s a dark and bleak one, for it paints the scene of hearts in rebellion against their Maker. The characters in this story are wicked, merciless, remorseless, and weak. There’s a word for this kind of person: sinners. The worst news of all, these sinners are we.

What is required to rescue such wretched characters? The painful reality is that someone must die (Romans 6:23a).

And now our imagination is called to play. Can you dream up a story in which you would dare to die on behalf of another? What kind of loyalty, love, or longing would compel such a sacrifice? Maybe a mother’s love for a cherished child? Perhaps friendship between lifelong kindred spirits? The ardor of a groom for his bride? Perhaps. Perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die (Romans 5:7).

But consider. We are the guilty parties. We’ve got no good to offer the offended One, God Himself. And so, left to our own imaginings, this tale is a tragedy; our fate is sealed. We go alone to eternal death.

This Righteous Judge, the perfect King, will by no means tarnish His own character by sweeping our violations under the rug, as though our treason were not a breach of all that is right and good. No, indeed. He will do something far more staggering.

"But God." These words reverberate with supernatural power. The Author of this story is not like us! His divine creativity is matched by divine power and divine love!

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This tale has a Hero, beyond our wildest dreams. Not from within the ranks of the guilty do we find a Rescuer, but stepping down from the glories of heaven, a perfect substitute, a willing ransom. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, “made himself nothing…becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6b-8).

The Author of life entered this story. His own blood purchased our peace (Romans 5:1). Let the weight of that steal your breath. In love, God Himself took our place. And by faith we no longer stand condemned but stand in grace, to live joyfully ever after (Romans 5:2)!


For Reflection

  1. Do you doubt that God really loves you? What does this verse have to say about that?

  2. What did our sin require? Do you agree that sin is such a serious problem? Is there anything we can do to resolve it ourselves?

  3. How does the gospel explode our categories for good, bad, and love? How is this true gospel story better than a fairy tale?


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