While we were enemies we were reconciled to God
Romans 5:6-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and theunrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Certainly it is a difficult thing that we are asked to love our enemies; to bless and pray for those who persecute us. Yet Jesus never asks anything of us that He has not done or given us the ability to do. We are perfected in Him. In today’s text it says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. We were not only sererated from God by sin, but we were actually enemies of God. James 4:4 says: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. So, while we were His enemies, through our love of the world, God demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for our sins. Jesus prayed for and blessed His enemies and those who pesecuted Him, when on the cross He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
That is the love we should demonstrate to the world, not that we tolerate or embrace their sin, but that we love them; that we pray for them that the Father would forgive them; that we would bless them rather than curse and condemn them. In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus says: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” We can neither save ourselves or anyone else by our sacrifice. Our dying and our denying is that we would follow Jesus. In Luke 23:26;32-33 we see another example of what it means to bear the cross and follow Jesus: Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus…There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him. When we pray for others, whether they are friends or enemies, if we will follow Jesus, we will carry their burdens to the place of calvary. It is only Jesus who can reconcile them to God. The text says: One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. Our daily taking up of our cross is so that others would see and know the one who died for them; that they too would be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. As ambassadors for Christ, we are residents of His kingdom even as we live in the world. Our purpose is not to become one with the world, but rather to represent the greatness of the kingdom we are part of. Our purpose, our ministry is to be those who fulfill the prayer that Jesus prayed and the prayer that He taught us to pray. “Father forgive them.” “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for the demonstration of Your love, not that You embraced my sin, but that You died to redeem me from sin. Thank You that I have been reconciled to You and also given the ministry of reconciliation. May I daily both take up my cross, denying myself and also follow You and take others to the place of Calvary. May they, even my enemies, be blessed and forgiven through the cross and the blood of Jesus. May I be an ambassador for the kingdom of heaven on earth. May Your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.