Gods Love Chases Us
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 510a Holman For if, while we were enemies . . .
This is the fourth of Pauls four indictments against us. He has accused us of being helpless and ungodly (v. 6) and sinners (v. 8). Now he adds enemies. This fourth indictment is the worst of the four, and possibly worse than the other three combined. It is much worse to be an enemy than to be helpless, ungodly, and a sinner.
The word enemy entails animosity. By nature, we are not only weak and sinful, but also rebels and traitors in arms against the government of God. Enemy It is a cold hard word that chills the heart. Ask soldiers they can tell you what it means bleeding comrades carried from a field on stretchers. Enemy It means barb-wire fences on the borders of nations. Enemy It means one who seeks to do us harm. Enemy It means people rejecting their Creator and wanting their own way.
Wanting our own way is the sin out of which all other sins grow. Our warfare against God began when Adam wanted his own way in the Garden of Eden. In a moment of sheer rebellion, he declared his independence from God.
God did not begin the war between us. We initiated it. The finite rose up against the Infinite. If we continue this suicidal war for a million years, we will not so much as capture one sword, take even a cavalry stirrup, or wrench off so much as a chariot wheel of His omnipotence (Talmage). We need to stop, but people fight on.
People want their own way, and dislike thoughts of being responsible to God. They would do away with Him if they could, but since God is beyond their reach, they lash out against anyone or anything that represents Him. This explains why Gods Son was crucified why people castigate those who stand for righteousness and why the world rejects the Bible and its moral precepts. These are all examples of mankinds hostility toward the living God. People often move themselves toward being worse enemies to God than to any other being.
We are by nature and by choice enemies of God. Self-righteousness makes us try to find something in us that causes God to love us. But the indictment here proves we are not lovable. Either God loves us because He is love, or He will never love us at all. It must spring freely from His heart, which brings us to the next thought
Romans 510b . . . we were reconciled to God . . .
In Eden, we began running from God, and have been running with all our might from Him ever since. But praise God Gods pursuing love came chasing us.
While we were trying to avoid and hate God, He sent His Son to pursue us. The pursuit was unasked for, undesired, and undeserved by us. We were opposing Him, but God took the initiative to reach out and set us right with Him.
Reconciled means restoring to a state of friendship those who had been at odds with each other before. The term refers to re-establishing broken relationships.
Rather than kill the haters, God did all He could do to kill the hatred. Any power can destroy an enemy, but God chose to destroy the enmity. God was the offended and violated party, but he nevertheless took the initiative in reconciliation. He moved toward us in order to break down our hostility.
This was no easy task. For the reconciliation to be genuine it had to achieve two purposes. One, it needed to melt the wicked opposition in sinners against God. People would have to be convinced of the enormity of their evil, and yet at the same time would need to be shown how much God loves them.
Two, it would have to satisfy Gods holy opposition against sinners. He is just. There must be a payment for sins. For reconciliation to be genuine, it had to satisfy Gods justice. Only after this was done could God deal with sinners no longer as enemies. This would provide a way that would allow Him to forgive us.
But what could ever be done to achieve these two difficult things Only God could provide the solution
Romans 510c . . . through the death of His Son, . . .
Jesus asked us, Will you be my friend When we derisively screamed No He replied, Then I will die for you. Jesus death made our reconciliation possible.
At Calvary, love died for hatred. The innocent One paid the debt owed by the guilty ones. Jesus death propitiated the Father and satisfied His justice. By dying for us, Jesus removed every hindrance on Gods side regarding our return to Him.
The cross pictures Gods compassion toward His enemies. It shows how far we are from God, but also how near to God He wants us to be. God did all He could to turn enemies into friends. The cross proves God is not against our salvation.
Does this not melt evil in our heart Can God do more for us than give His Son If a person were attacked in the street, and the molester sentenced to prison, it would be strange if the one who was injured took the punishment of the attacker. Yet this is what Christ did. He died for His enemies–for people who rejected Him.
Now the issue of warfare is in our hand. The Justice of God, with regard to sin, is now satisfied. It is now up to us to renounce our own sense of enmity against God. We must acknowledge our sin and then turn to the God-appointed Substitute.
The question we now face is, What will we do with Jesus We cannot be saved until we receive Him. When we grow tired of the war, there is only one way out. We must tread the path up Calvary we must reverse the choice made by Adam and us. We must renounce independence from God, and cease running from Him.
Romans 510d . . .then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be
saved by His life
Here is Pauls argument If Christ died to save us while we were enemies, how much more will He live to save us now that we are His children. If God reconciled enemies, He will certainly protect friends. If a person is kind to those who malign, vilify, and harm him, it is much more likely that he will be kind to his own children.
Notice the assurance Paul gave us here. The Savior who died to save us lives to protect us. Jesus is executor of His own legacy. The blood of the dying Christ is our medicine the living Christ is the Physician who administers it to us. Since He laid the foundation with His blood, He will complete the superstructure with His life.
Jesus work did not end at Calvary. He finished paying for our sin there, but His priesthood continues. He died to reconcile us by His blood, and lives to preserve us by His power. The resurrected, exalted Savior lives to complete the work of salvation. Because I live, ye shall live also (John 1419).
Had Jesus not risen, our hopes would have remained buried with Him. His resurrected life is the pledge and security for the life of all His children. Since Jesus overcame death, He is able to do the same for us.
Jesus is at the Fathers right hand. All authority has been given to Him (Matthew 2818). He exercises this authority for the good of His people. He is head over all things, for the benefit of His church (Eph. 122). Our salvation is secure because we are constantly being kept saved by the power of Jesus resurrected life.
One of the most difficult laws of Jesus kingdom is the command He gave in the Sermon on the Mount, Love your enemies (Matt. 544). This would have been only nice rhetoric had Jesus not practiced what He preached. He had every right to make this a law of His kingdom, for it is what He Himself did, as our text proves.
Romans 511 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord
Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Instead of using the word reconciliation here, Tyndale coined the English word atonement. He used it to mean at-one-ment, a statement of oneness between two parties. The Greek word here is the noun form of the verb translated reconciled in verse 10. Hence, it simplifies matters to translate this word as reconciliation.
This reconciliation we have received has a wonderful result. Due to it, God is no longer a terror to us, but a joy. Due to what Jesus did for us, we can enjoy God.