How Deep the Father’s Love, Part I – December 10, 2023

Romans 5:1-11

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

One of the favorites for everyone when it comes to the attributes of God is God’s love. God is a loving God and He is a God of love. The Bible makes this very clear. 1 John 4:8 tells us very plainly that “God is love.” Since God is described so clearly as being this attribute, it is vital that we understand what “love” is. Our culture defines love as an affection for someone else that is usually reduced to an emotional or psychological attachment due to some value or benefit in or from the other person. In other words, we say we love people because of what they do for us or how they make us feel. However, this understanding of love falls far short and is off from the biblical definition.

The Greek language (the language of the NT) has four words that we could translate as “love.” Storge is familial love. It is the natural affection and care one has for close friends and family. Eros is used to describe erotic or sexual love. Phileo describes brotherly love or love of close friends. Agape is the word used in 1 John 4:8 to describe God. It is a love that defines God’s love as a sacrificial and demonstrated kind of love. It is not a love of mere emotion or feelings, but is always lived out in action. It is a love that sacrificially does what is best or right by someone else. The Apostle Paul speaks to this kind of love when he wrote to the Romans about what God has done in salvation in Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:1-11, we have one of the clearest definitions from the ultimate expression of love and we can learn three things that God’s love accomplishes from this passage.

God’s love is a love that brings peace. Mankind has a serious problem; we are at war with God, according to Romans 5:10. Our sin has separated us from God and we are deserving of His judgment and wrath. Through what Jesus Christ has done on the cross, we can now have peace with God. God’s love is such that He did not wait on us to make the first move. In fact, we never would have. Instead, He made the provision for our reconciliation to Him by sending His own Son to make “peace.” The peace mentioned here is not some inner feeling, but is a true peace between a sinner and His Creator. Jesus did this by meeting all of the righteous demands of God’s perfect holiness on our behalf and paying the penalty for our sins that causes us to fall short of His glory. By coming to God by faith, we are justified. We are declared and treated as if we are as righteous as Jesus, even though we have not earned it. God’s love brought this peace and has made it available to everyone who will believe on His Son.

God’s love also brings hope. Hope, in the Bible, is not a careless kind of wishful thinking that leaves things to chance. Instead, hope is an expectant waiting on the fulfillment of God’s sure promises. The Apostle Paul addresses the trials that believers inevitably face in this world and tells us that we can endure these trials because God is working out His plan in our lives to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). This plan will go on and will be fully realized at the return of Christ. Believers can rest, not in the troubles of life being pleasant, but in the love of God that has been “shed abroad” in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. God is dealing with them as with children that He loves and He is using every trial and circumstance of life to work patience, experience, and hope into their lives.

Lastly, God’s love brings salvation. Paul argues that people will rarely die for those who are good and righteous people. We may lay down our lives for those we love or for close friends. However, God demonstrates His love in the ultimate way by giving His only begotten Son to die for our sins. “While we were yet sinners” in verse 8 means “while we were still dead in our sins and hostile toward God” (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:10). God gave His Son for those who are His enemies. We can know that God loves us, not just because He has told us, but because He has demonstrated it in the most amazing way. All people can look back nearly 2,000 years in history and see very clearly that there is a God that loves them because Jesus laid down His life for us all.

It is one thing to know about God’s love, but it is quite another to have that love “shed abroad in our hearts.” To experience the peace with God, the hope of glory, and the joy of salvation today brought about by the love of God, all we must do is trust in Christ. We simply have to look to the cross and see the love of God demonstrated for all of mankind to see. Have you come to know the love of God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ?