The Wonder of God's love

God proves his love to us not by mere words, but by one stupendous mighty act - a surprising deed. He sent his Son into the world, to die upon a Roman cross for us.

Many men can provide rousing speeches that can move the hearts of others to gain approval of themselves, to earn our respect. But how do we know their words are true? How do we tell we can trust them? God backs up and proves his words to us by providing actual evidence of his deep love.

Christ died for us

Gods love towards us shines out in that it was Christ who died for us. He could give nothing greater or more precious and dear to his heart. He gave us the most excellent gift of all. The whole world comes to celebrate this wondrous gift once a year at Christmas when we also exchange costly gifts of love. But why did he give us Jesus Christ?

Well, our first parents disobeyed God's command to them in the garden of Eden. God gave them a pleasant land to tend and keep, full of good things to eat. There was one exception, and they disobeyed God's one command. The Bible calls this sin.

As a result, God punished their sin, as he had warned them of the consequences: "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16)

Man was created to have eternal fellowship with God in a garden paradise. He could eat from every tree except one. However, all this was lost as God banished them from his Holy presence. By their fall, we have inherited their nature and the same curse. The tendency or bias to sin is in us all. We all sin and fall short. We are separated from a Holy God, and we all die. The Apostle Paul says this: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12)

Despite our desperate condition before God, Paul goes on to tell us about Jesus Christ, "Because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

"For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience (Jesus) the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

God desires to pardon sinners. But how? Sin must be punished as he is a Holy and just God. Justice must be seen to be done. It was through Jesus Christ, who died for us in our place. A man had to be punished. He became the scapegoat, he paid the price. But no mere man could bear and take away the sin of many, except the God-man Jesus Christ. It was no angel who God sent, but his own Son. God the Son willingly had to put on flesh, suffer and die. He humbled, emptied himself of all his glory, and came down from his throne. Immanuel - God with us. This is a wonder, a mystery, that God should go to such extraordinary lengths to demonstrate his deep love for sinners. So that by his atoning substitutionary death, we might live.

It was necessary for someone who was without sin, to take upon himself the guilt of the human race. So that all who come to trust and believe in him will have their sins forgiven, and declared to be righteous. Jesus himself is God's love gift to you. Are you not astonished by this wonder? Will you not marvel? The vast hosts of the angels in heaven do! Does this not move your heart? Christ died for us! Should we not love him in return? It was no normal death he died, but he endured the agony and pain of the cross for your sake. It was a death like no other, unparalleled. No comfort or sympathy was given to him in his death, instead, he was scornfully reviled, so that we may be saved. Jesus is the key that opens heaven's gates to all who come to believe in him.

While we were yet sinners

In sending his son to die in our place, it must be remembered that he did so while we were still dead spiritually in our sin. We are habitual in our sin. We don't just sin once or twice, but innumerable times. We are stained by sin. We sin not just by shameful acts like murder, rape, theft, but in our very thoughts and attitudes towards others, and God. Even in our words and speech we cause hurt.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."  (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. "  (Matthew 15:18-19)

Our own hearts are a witness to our sin. Our conscience tells us this fact if we only acknowledge it. For example, who has not sworn and taken God's name in vain, or used it inappropriately at some time or other?  We expect a penalty, a payment that is due over being caught by just one speeding ticket. Justice must be done. So should God overlook our many sins? Jesus died not because of any of our own good deeds, but because we are sinners and not righteous in his sight. He looks down in love and pity on our fallen estate, in grace and mercy!

The wonder of God's love to us is while he knows our condition, and continual sin, Christ died for us. Great indeed are our sins over the years. He also died for the sins we have not even yet committed! He died while we were still his enemies. Maybe you have heard the gospel many times, he has striven to warn and invite you, but you still do not believe. You may even harden your heart, despite your knowledge. This once again shows the greatness of his love towards you, a sinner, even now if you will turn to his Son.

There is no need to despair, Jesus has already died for your sin. There is still time, but don't delay. You do not know when your own hour of death will strike, and then it will be too late. Please reflect, ponder on this again, we have sinned against the very person who died for us, to set us free! Isn't this a wonder in itself? That he is so willing to die and forgive? For those who crucified him, as he was dying he said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). He dies for the very people who hate and scorn him. This same immeasurable love and compassion he bears for you! God's love is a mighty thing.

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die" (Romans 5:6)

In some cases, people may die for a just cause or soldiers for their country. However, God sent his son to die for us before we were even born. It was planned in eternity past. We are loved with a love that spans time and space. He sent Jesus to die just at the right time in human history; when the great Roman empire spanned the world. All the better for the gospel to be sent out and heard by all. This good news is given to you today, despite your rebellion and sin, he wishes you too to be saved. Jesus is just the loving saviour you need.

An example to follow

Finally, all who believe and trust in God are called to learn this loving principle that God has shown to us, to others. Not to those deserving of our love, but the undeserving. Those who hate us and mock us. To strive and love them through works and not just words. Jesus himself said this "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Why? Because others may see Christ working in you, and be drawn to praise God, and turn to him.

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