Paul began his book with Godís anger (1:18), but now his subject is the love of God.
Paul has not forgotten about our evil deeds. He still describes us as Ďsinnersí - people who do wrong and evil things. However, Godís love is so great that he even loves sinners. Godís anger is rightly against their evil deeds; but he loves them so much that he desires to rescue them from that anger.
Something extraordinary must happen to make that possible. God cannot forgive people who proudly continue in their evil behaviour. Even people who want to obey Godís law cannot achieve his standards by their own efforts (7:19-23). We are Godís enemies, but we need to become his friends. We cannot rescue ourselves from Godís judgement against our evil deeds - we need God to rescue us. Only if God takes our punishment upon himself can we receive a right relationship with him (Isaiah 53:4-6).
That is what really did happen at the death of Christ (Hebrews 9:27-28). His death can change our lives completely (Romans 6:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Notice how particular Paul is in his choice of words here. He does not say that Christ died Ďfor everyoneí or Ďfor Christiansí, but Ďfor usí. If we want to benefit from his act of love, we need to accept it for ourselves (John 1:11-12). His death is for us, if we believe and trust in him (4:23-25). God offers to give a right relationship with himself, even to us.
We should not pretend that we deserve Godís love (1 Timothy 1:15). God does not save (rescue) us because of what we have done. He saves us because of what Christ has done.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.