Even at your worst.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
In my recent book The Sacred Union, I teach the principle of agape. This is the love of God that continually sends the message “I love you even at your worst.”
We are not good at loving others at their worst. We respond often with our very worst. Arguments escalate. Marriages break down and relationships grow cold. Today’s passage reminds us that when we were at our very worst, Christ died for us.
It is a metaphysical truth since Christ literally died before any of us were born. However, His death was what the atonement sacrifice had symbolized in the Old Testament.
Once a year, the high priest was able to go behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies where the presence of God manifested above the Ark of the Covenant between the cherubim. He would offer the atonement sacrifice for the sin of the nation of Israel. This offering was designated by God, not for the forgiveness of any one sin, but the forgiveness of all sins even those not yet committed and those not yet repented of. This sacrifice justified the people that they might receive forgiveness for their personal sins.
When Christ died, it was not for any one person, but rather to cover the sin of the entire world. This was not a pathway to universal salvation, but His death made it possible for anyone to put their faith in Him and His death as that which covered their sin. Christ’s crucifixion opened the door to salvation for any who would put their faith in Him. For God so loved the world that He gave His Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Many people would accept this gift and turn their hearts to the Lord. Many would not. The sacrifice was made either way. Christ died to create this path for anyone, even those who will eternally reject Him. His death precedes our repentance. It precedes our turning away. His death was applied to our account for us to receive while we were completely enraptured with our sin without any desire to turn away. He loved us at our worst.
This depth of love moves us to the heart of the God who could love us like that. “We love Him because He first loved us,” the Bible says.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me at my worst. Let me never doubt again Your love for me. Amen.