S-1059 6/15/08 6SAP/3A (O) #32 SOD; (S) #57 SOD; (C) # 351
Texts: Exodus 19:2-8; Romans 5:6-15; Matthew 9:35-10:8
Theme: “Amazing LOVE” Romans 5:8
Armour, SD SOLIE DEO GLORIA.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Question: “What are you willing to do for LOVE?”
Saints in Christ, it is amazing to hear and read love stories. These stories show the devotion and dedication of lovers to each others. These stories connect us and at times make us hope that we can show love like them, or perhaps receive this kind of love. There are books, movies and songs written about love.
Both history and Scripture paints a picture of people doing things for love. In December 1631, the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, commenced the Construction of one of the greatest monuments of all time, the Taj Mahal. It is a mausoleum built in the memory of his beloved and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, fulfilling one of the promises
that he made to her as she lay on her deathbed. She must have been a ravishing beauty. The Taj Mahal cost well over $500 million dollars.
In the O.T. we read of Jacob who worked 7 full years for the love of his life—Rachel. “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” (Gen. 29:20). David the great king of Israel gathered all of the materials to build God a temple, and his son Solomon built it at an enormous cost of time and many. It took 46 years to build this magnificent worship house as a way to say, “God you deserve my adoration!”
But none of these monuments and events compare to the blessed Good News that the Apostle Paul speaks to us today in his letter to the Church at Rome. As we look at this portion of the Living Word, we, by the power of the Holy Spirit come to see the Awesome, Amazing and all surpassing love of God—a love that doesn’t enter the mind of man or can be comprehended by man.
New Testament writers use three Greek words for “love.” Philia is the love of friends; eros is the love of intimacy, (this is erotic love in a good sense). We applaud these kinds and expressions of love as we witness them in others. Yet, all of these various forms of love can be abused or neglected. There are those who only feign eros love to get what they want. There are those who fake Philia (brotherly) love to gain an advantage.
Both of these types of love: friendship and intimacy are good experiences. The problem, however, is that both of these types of love are tentative because they depend on the condition, circumstance, and concern of the one loved. Haven’t you heard someone say, “I just don’t love her any more; that is why we are getting a divorce!” Something happened so that the spouse is no longer loveable. And it is also true with friends whose friendship dissolves.
But there is a third type of love, AGAPE love. This kind of love is unconditional, unmerited, and undeserved. ONLY God can love with this kind of love with eternal consistency. This is the love that the Apostle Paul shares with us today. This is the Amazing and Awesome LOVE God has towards His created beings.
What kind of love is this? A love that is not dependant on what I say, look or do, but rather totally on the ONE who loves us—God. This is the marvel of this text, that Paul wants us to grasp as he wanted it to be caught by the Christians at Rome.
My translation of this Greek text is like this: “God introduced His AGAPE [love] towards us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us.” This is the love that God gives to us regardless of what we do or think or say. No matter how much we sin, He loves us. No matter how far we stray from Him, He loves us. No matter how we curse Him, blaspheme Him, deny Him, dishonor Him, He loves us.
You and I are not like God, and thank God that we are not. For if someone treated us in the same manner, we treat God, we would get impatient and say, “He doesn’t deserve it anymore!” I don’t have to show them love; I don’t have to care for them.
Our love is often fickle and fizzles, sour and sorry when we are not loved back. A wife said this, “If that’s the way you feel about it, forget it”. She asked him would he do it again, he responded, “I don’t know.” She no longer was willing to work on the marriage. How could she go back to him if he didn’t appreciate her love or would remain honest towards here?
Do I have any rights to complain against God if He treated me the same way? How many times has He forgiven my past unfaithfulness? How many times have I denied Him? How many times have I not kept my words of promise towards Him? If He were like us, He would say, “Forget it.” But God doesn’t think and feel the way you or I do. His love doesn’t depend on what I do. He doesn’t show goodness only to those who are good. That would make His love as imperfect as mine. The love of the world is conditional.
But not so with God. God’s love is truly amazing; beyond our mind’s ability to grasp that someone could love me still after all I have done. The reason God loves me is because of Christ’s suffering and death. On account of Christ’s total obedience to His Father’s will, we are LOVED. It is not enough for God to tell us He loved us while we were sinners, but He carried it a step further in the sending of His Son, our Savior to be the propitiation for our sins.
This is Agape in Action. God’s grace was carried out for us through His Son’s shedding His blood. As Paul reminds us in today’s text, “While we were sinners, Christ died for us”. Did you hear that? “While we were sinners.” While we were the scum of the earth. While we were the filth of the world; while we were the disobedient children, He died. PAUSE.
On this Father’s Day, as we take time to reflect and give thanks to our earthly father’s for all of the love they have showered upon us, we want to be much more thankful for the love of God the Father, who called us by name in the waters of Baptism, gave us His Son, as our Redeemer so that we may know the true AGAPE love.
Saints in Christ, the marvel of God’s love is in Himself, not in the lovability of the people He loves. We are sinners doomed to death! Unlovable! Unqualified! Unworthy! Not deserving of any favors—but loved with such a love that God gave His only Son to be our Savior. Not as soon as we get good enough! Not as soon as we do enough good works! But because God is love we are loved.
The sweet story of the Gospel is simply this—Christ died for me and all people while we were still sinners. God’s eternal Son came to earth to give His life as a ransom for me while I was noting but a disobedient, defiant, devilish, dirty, damned sinner. His grace that brings me salvation in Christ is entirely one-sided. It is totally underserved by me, a working of His Divine AGAPE love. That is the way our loving Heavenly Father feels about me. And I am glad that He does.
By the grace of God, we have been brought to His house of LOVE. Here you learn anew the meaning of the words, “For God so love the world…” [that is you Nabil, Don, Millie..] God is LOVE. His love is given you freely so that you may know that you are loved as His beloved children.
What an amazing God we have. Better yet, what an Amazing LOVE He gives us in His Son our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ; to whom be all the glory now and forever. Amen and Amen.
Now the peace…