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God's amazing love
February 6, 2012
by Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” II Corinthians 5:14-15

Sometime, we should read the gospels in the Bible just to find out how often people were amazed at the wonders they beheld in the life of Christ. They were amazed, not only because of Jesus’ marvelous birth. They were astonished by the answers of the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple. They were surprised at His preaching, astonished at His miracles, amazed at His ability to read their thoughts, amazed at His love for tax collectors and sinners.

They were amazed because He raised the dead, shocked at the manner of His death, astonished beyond words by the power of His resurrection, and astonished by His ascension into heaven. Over and over again, the gospels record the amazement of people in regard to the words and works of Christ.

Some of that amazement creeps into the words of II Corinthians 14-15, where we behold Christ’s divine love for sinners, “He died for all.” But in this text, we have more than mere amazement. We also have the explanation of what is so amazing in the gospel records.

Mankind is naturally unlovable because of sin. Man’s ruined condition is clearly taught in the Bible. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) Sin ushered death into the world in fulfillment of God’s word to Adam: “But you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

God created man to live, to live with Him, but now, after the fall, we read, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

There is not only physical death, but also spiritual death. The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. Scripture declares that all people are spiritually dead, that is, impotent to do anything but what is evil.

The enormity of Christ’s sacrifice shows the awful state of man’s ruined condition, and therefore it strikes us as all the more amazing that the Son of God should so humiliate Himself to bring about ruined man’s redemption. What an amazing love Jesus Christ has for sinners.

As scripture states, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus was the only sinless person who ever lived, and of His own free will, prompted by His amazing love for ruined man, “He died for all.”

How easy it is for us to love God, especially when standing in the shadow of the cross. He loved us first, and love for love is what the Savior asks of His children. Because he loves us, we love God and our fellow human beings. Our Christian love is to be a reflection of His own, burning dimly by comparison, but shedding its warm light on the lovelessness of the world.

We can say that the call of the cross is a call of love. We hear the call of saving love for all people from the lips of Jesus in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Surely then, we shall, with God’s help, hear the call from the cross and grow daily in love toward all people, and especially toward our heavenly Father. He, the God of grace and love, will ever receive our highest love.

To the God of love be glory forever and ever. Amen.