6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 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.
12 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— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many
In the recently released film “The Last Full Measure,” the heroic acts of William Pitsenbarger are recounted along with the 32-year struggle of the men he saved to get him the Medal of Honor. Much of that struggle is fictional. The acts of heroism are not. Pitsenbarger was an Airforce pararescue medic who descended into a terrible battle in Vietnam and saved many men before he was killed. He repeatedly ran out of the perimeter in the face of enemy fire to retrieve wounded soldiers.
Our nation bestowed on this man its highest honor because of what he did. We see his self-sacrifice on behalf of his comrades to be worthy of praise. Paul is using this image to help us understand Christ, but he makes a critical distinction. Jesus takes it up a notch even from the heroic deeds of Pitsenbarger. He does not die for his fellow citizens or friends, but for his enemies. Christ died for the ungodly. God’s real enemy, you see, is your death, the product of sin and Satan’s schemes. Our reconciliation to God, the restoration of the relationship which was severed in Eden, is through God’s great self-sacrifice for us while we were subject to and bound to the very thing which God despised, the death of his creation.
There is great peace for you in this. God did not wait until you got something right before He extended his love toward you. There is no difficult standard which you must meet. God raises the dead and here is a bar we can all attain to. But, what is more, Paul points us to something equally precious. Now we rejoice in God for Christ’s reconciliation is real. We are at peace with God. Whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask that God’s will be done. This is what God wants: to be reconciled with you. Rejoice, Christ has done it.