Thursday of Lent II – Romans 5:1-11 

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

She wept as she told me her story. It was a sad story. She had disappointed a lot of people. They had great hopes for her, but she had rejected all that, dropped out of school, had a child, did not have another child, though she had been pregnant. She abused drugs and was generally a very difficult person to get along with. She had lost the privilege of caring for her child. A judge had declared her unfit.

As she felt the utter waste of her life, she was at the point of despair, sure that no one could love her. Yet, I knew something that she did not, or perhaps that she could not believe. Her parents in fact did love her very much. They had bought a house with a little extra room because they always hoped that she might take them up on their offer to help her again. Their hearts were broken, not so much because of what she had done, but by her inability to believe that they could still love her.

But her parents had been filled with another sort of love than she imagined. She thought that love was deserved. They knew that it was not. They had not deserved God’s love for them and so the love they felt for her was not rooted in her good behavior. Their love for her simply is; it exists for its own sake and loves without considering the lovableness of its object.

God has shown his love for us while we were still sinners, writes Paul. God has not waited for us get something right. That is very difficult to accept. Our world often wants to make love into a transaction in which we are loved because we are loveable. But God’s love and the love which we have in our hearts is not that sort of love. It is not a transaction, a deal in which we get something for giving something. It is a fact of God’s nature and our nature through the indwelling of the Spirit. While we were enemies, God reconciled us to Himself by the gift of His Son, Jesus. You can believe it, but if you find that hard, and you probably do. He has that in hand too. Rest today in God’s amazing and gracious love.

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