Romans 5:8 - The Love of God

Introduction

1. Our Need to Be Loved

One of the deepest needs of our hearts is to be loved by others. Not only do we want to be loved, but we want also for others to make that love known to us. We want to see a demonstration of their love. We want to hear others say something or do something that lets us know they love us. We need for others to be concerned about us, to act in our interest, and to surround us with understanding.

Many people recognize this need for love and readily give and accept love at its various levels. However, sometimes people despair of ever being loved. Moreover, they find it difficult to love others. You may be among the people who have this difficulty. Perhaps you have grown up in a loveless environment. Neither home nor community has shown you much love. As a result, you have lost hope. Your hopelessness may even lead you to deny that you need love.

2. Our Need for God's Love

An even deeper need is to be loved by God and to see a demonstration of His love. People who believe in God usually will admit that they desire to experience His love. Even when people deny the existence of God, they need His love. They may not admit they have this need, but the need is still there. We must realize that even when others do not love us, God intensely loves us.

3. Our Text

We read about the love of God in Romans 5:8, which is our text. Here, Paul writes these beautiful and profound words: "But God demonstrates (sunisteso) His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. " (NASB) This text ministers powerfully to our hearts. We will talk about: (1) God's Demonstrated Love, (2) God's Gracious Love, and (3) Christ's Exalted Love. My goal is to encourage you to accept the love of God and believe in Christ. You will have eternal life!

I. God's Demonstrated Love

Our texts says that "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The Greek verb used by Paul in the first clause is sunisteso. It can mean that God "recommends" His love to us or that He "demonstrates" His love. Although either meaning is acceptable, the context favors the second meaning. God demonstrated His love for us.

1. The Triune God

Who is this God who loves us? We believe in the Triune God. God is One God, but He has three Persons. He is God, the Father; God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. There was, is, and ever will be perfect love and fellowship within the Trinity.

We know that God is all-powerful, all knowing, and is present everyone. He created this vast universe in all of its mystery, splendor, and beauty. He could have created us as submissive people without moral choice. However, God in His wisdom chose to create us in His image. We can interact in intelligent and creative ways with God. We can build a relationship with Him, but that interactive relationship requires the giving and receiving of love.

2. Evidence of God's Love

When we think about it, we see many evidences of God's love for us. We see the love of God in all aspects of life.

a. Nature

In the realm of nature, the mountains, the valleys, the oceans, the land masses, the rain, the rainbow, and the sunshine--all these demonstrate God's love for us. Clearly God cares for His creation and provides beauty and sustenance for it.

b. Achievements

We see God's love in the achievements of men. The automobiles, the airplanes, the means of communication, the libraries, and the homes are evidence of God's abundant provision for us. Although men do these things, we believe that the mind of God inspires their creativity.

c. Actions

The love of God for us stands out in the actions of people who love us and the rest of God's creation. Even though it is people who express that love, it is the love of God which is the ultimate source of the love. Every time we see love expressed by fellow men, we are reminded of the love of God.

3. God Gave His Son

God the Father has demonstrated His love for us in many ways, but the supreme way was to give His Son Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Jesus said, in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (NAS)

Many have asked, "Why did Christ have to die?" "Could not God have forgiven our sins and redeemed us in some other way? The answer to both questions is clearly "No." God loves us, but He is also just. Only Christ was sinless. Only He was a worthy sacrifice for our sins. If another plan would have worked, God the Father so love God the Son that He would have chosen the other plan. We could only be forgiven and redeemed if God loved us enough to give His Son.

Every father understands that giving a Son to die for others is the supreme act of love. I have two sons. One is a pastor, and the other is a missionary. The very thought of offering one of them to die for someone else tears my heart in two. Many fathers would rather offer themselves instead of a son. I think that this demonstration of God's love is nearly universally understood.

Will you accept the incredible fact that God loves you? Will you believe that He is seeking you and wants you to experience his love? Will you believe that Christ paid the supreme sacrifice for you?

II. God's Gracious Love

Our text (v. 8) says that God demonstrates His love for us "in that while we were yet sinners" Christ died for us. We read a similar statement in verse 6: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."

While we were yet sinners and helpless, Christ died for us. Obviously, many people were living in sin when Christ died. However, for people who are living now, His death has already happened. Paul is not concerned about this historical sequence. This is a comment about the purpose of His death. Whenever we live historically, Christ died for us as ungodly people not as godly people. If we had been righteous, He would not have died for us.

1. None Righteous

When we think of God's love, the bad news is that none of us deserve His mercy and His grace. Citing Psalm 14:1, Paul says in Romans 3:10, "as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one." (NAS) Similarly, in Romans 3:23 he says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NAS)

We were born with a tendency to sin. Moreover, we have all personally sinned by our disobedience to the laws and will of God. Because of our sins, we have no right to demand His love. Therefore, as we begin thinking about God's love, we have to admit that we are not claiming the right to be loved, but we are calling upon God in His mercy to love us.

2. God Is Gracious

In contrast to the bad news, the good news is that God the Father graciously loves us. As Paul declares (Eph. 2:8): "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God." (NAS) This is incredible news. By incredible, I mean that it seems "too good to be true." It is news that is so good it is hard to believe. Yet, we can believe it with confidence.

Love and grace are closely related terms. As C. H. Spurgeon said, "'God is love,' which is an alias for grace." The word grace refers to God's unmerited favor. Without any merit on our part God demonstrated His love for us. God overcame the bad news with the good news of the gift of His Son who paid the penalty for our sins.

3. Your Choice

Two pathways are marked out for us. The apostle Paul says (Rom. 6:23): "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NAS) Many will not accept God's love and the death of His Son. They will die in their sins, but millions have come to know Christ. They receive eternal life. Clearly, the choice of death or life is yours. Sin leads to death. God's gift results in eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All who believe in Christ, and have eternal life, are radically transformed. We can conclude, therefore, that God's love is a transforming love. Because God loves us, our lives are transformed. God's gracious love reaches the lowest sinner and changes him or her into saints who reflect the image of Christ.

III. Christ's Exalted Love

We have already read that God demonstrated His love for us through the death of Christ. Our text (v. 8) says that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Both the love of the Father and the love of Christ are demonstrated in Christ's death for us. The love of God, through Christ, is an exalted love. It is higher than any other love for us.

1. Greater Love

Jesus declared (John 15:13): "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." Jesus understood that dying for someone else was the supreme sacrifice. It was the ultimate expression of love. According to Him, no man has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. Many times, human love does reach the level of the ultimate sacrifice. We justifiably treat people who risk their lives for others as heroes.

Jesus spoke of laying down one's life "for a friend." It may be that the emphasis of this verse should be on laying down one's life, not on the phrase "for a friend." No doubt Christ would have seen laying down one's life for an enemy as a great act of love. His statement here does not exclude the love that causes one to lay down one's life for enemies. Whatever Jesus intended by the phrase "for a friend," we know that He laid down His life for the ungodly. The ungodly were enemies of God and of Christ.

2. Exalted Love

The love of Christ for us is an exalted love. His love for us was so great for us that He died for us while we were ungodly. We have said already that this demonstrates the graciousness of God. Now, we should note how exalted the love of Christ is.

In Romans 5:7 Paul states: "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die." (NAS) Christ went beyond dying for a good man and died for sinners. He did this for us! Christ did this for us. His love for the ungodly is unequaled. He laid down His life for them. Through faith in Him, they become His friends.

The death of Christ draws us to Him. Jesus said (John 12:32): "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." John added this comment (12:33), "But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die." The manner of His death was a demonstration of His exalted love. When we think of Christ upon the cross, and the love that put Him there, we are drawn to Him.

3. Christ Loves You

Allow me to make this very personal. Christ loves you personally and individually. St. Augustine said, "He loves each one of us, as if there were only one of us." He died for you. If you had been the only sinner, He still would have died for you.

Calvin said, "Those hearts must be harder than iron or stone which are not softened by such incomparable sweetness of divine love." On the cross Christ actively, willingly, and lovingly sacrificed His life. His life was infinitely more worthwhile than any other, but He gave it up for us. He did this for us while we were yet sinners.

Conclusion

1. The Love of God

We have seen clearly that God demonstrated His love for us. He gave His Son who died for us while we were yet in our sins. God wants us to accept His love and believe in Christ.

2. The Holy Spirit

The Father and the Son love us greatly. Their love, God's love, is love is made known to us through God the Holy Spirit. When we believe in Christ, we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). We are made righteous in Christ. Our fellowship with God is restored. At the same time, we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes the love of the Father and the Son known to us.

Our text says, "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." He is the agent of God to apply spiritual truth to our hearts. We do not just learn words; we experience God. Our experience of God is made real through the Holy Spirit. All the yearnings of our hearts to be loved by God are met through the Spirit.

3. Your Step

The Holy Spirit is drawing you to Christ today. He wants to be a channel of the love of God to you and in all our life. Sensing the tug of the Spirit on your heart, you might ask, "What step must I take to be a follower of Christ?" The apostle Paul says it well in Romans 10:9-10.

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (NAS)

I invite you to take this step today. You will be born again and experience the love of God as never before. God will pour out His love through the Holy Spirit who will dwell within you. Accept Christ today!