Who Would You Die For
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
From the Bible Romans 57 1 Thess. 110 1 Peter 118
Romans 57 Holman For rarely will someone die for a just personthough
for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.
For whom would you be willing to die Though it would never be easy to die for another, it is possible we could be persuaded to do so. Some of historys finest stories have proven this true. Before Caesars tribunal, the innocent son of the rebel Metellus offered to die in his fathers place. Caesar was so moved that he granted both men life and liberty. An assassin once threw a dagger at Edwin, the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Tilla, one of Edwins servants, saw the assassin raising his arm, jumped in front of the king, and intercepted the fatal blow with his own body.
In a coalmine disaster, a man who had a wife and three children had his gas mask torn by falling debris. A young man immediately took off his own mask and forced it on his friend, saying, You have Mary and the children they need you. I am alone and can go. A poor child died in a New York slum with these sad words, Im glad I am going to die, because now my brothers and sisters will have enough to eat.
A little girl who underwent an operation needed a blood transfusion. Her fourteen-year-old brother volunteered. After giving the blood, the boy sat silently nearby staring at the wall. When the doctor told him he had been very brave, the boy, who did not understand the nature of a transfusion, asked, How long before I die He thought he had been dying drop by drop, giving his life that his sister might live.
When my Pastor-friend, David Spurlin, needed a kidney transplant to live, his brother, Tim, learned he could be a donor. Their parents had themselves tested in an effort to spare Tim from losing a kidney. It was touching, watching each family member trying to take the risk in behalf of the others. Tim finally became the donor. Both he and David did well. Yes, for a good person some would possibly dare to die.
Romans 58 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still
sinners, Christ died for us
If called on to die for another, it would help if the one we died for were good. The magnitude of Gods grace is pictured most vividly by viewing the unworthiness of its recipients. We might dare to die for others of worth, but Jesus died for sinners.
The stories I told to illustrate verse seven tell of a much lesser love than what Jesus showed to us, and yet such stories often stir us more than hearing of the cross does. It is unfortunate that we can become emotionless to the message of the cross. No story contains as much sensitivity as does that of the crucifixion of our Lord.
One of the ugliest forms of our depravity is our ability to begin taking the cross for granted. We need hearts with ongoing softness. The light shining from Calvary should forever be melting our hearts. We need to be moved by it more often.
We need to remember when Jesus died for us, we were sinners, and continual sinners at that. We were weak to do good (verse 6) but strong to do evil. We were strength-less toward God and good, but continually proficient in doing evil.
We do not sin only once or twice a day, but rather recurrently. Is there ever a time when we pray that we have no need to confess sins and repent No, never There are always spiritual disappointments in our heart that need to be repented of.
Despite this ever-present repeated failure, God proves His love toward us. The word means to demonstrate, to exhibit, to substantiate in an obvious, public way.
Why do we believe God is love due to good weather, health, and wealth If so, what about bad weather days, sickness, and poverty Can we still believe it then We can only if we are convinced Gods love was proved by Jesus death on the cross.
Jesus came down from Heaven to Earth, descended from Earth to a grave, and stepped down from the grave into the region of the dead. The mighty Maker of the skies bowed His precious head and sank all the way down, as low as he could go.
At Calvary, holiness died for sinfulness. And it was not an ordinary death, but rather one of shame, humiliation, and unutterable pain.
This death happened in the past, but it continues forever as the ultimate proof of Gods love. This is why Paul used the present tense, proves. Calvarys light still shines throughout the world. This remains the good news. Jesus died for sinners.
Romans 59 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by
His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.
This and the next verse carry Pauls argument regarding salvation to its natural conclusion Since God saved us at the first, He will save all believers at the end.
Verse nine declares our safety based on legal reasons (justification). Verse ten declares our safety based on our personal relationship to God (reconciliation).
Once a person has been justified by faith, Hell and everlasting damnation are no longer a possibility. Through Jesus believers are assured of deliverance from the coming wrath (1Thessalonians 110). Christ-followers have no reason to fear.
Toplady said it well in one of his hymns. The glorified saints in Heaven are more happy, but not more secure than saints here below. We will someday have more joy, peace, and happiness, but we will never have more security. A Person, not a place, saves us. Satan and one-third of the angels learned this truth the hard way.
Whom God justifies, He will also glorify. Our salvation shall be completed. God will not leave His work of salvation unfinished. Schubert died and left an incomplete symphony Mozarts Requiem had to be finished by one of his students Gilbert Stuart never completed his famous portrait of Washington Matthew Henry did not live to see his Bible commentary completely done. These failed to reach fruition, but when God begins a good work, He will see it through to completion. It cannot be left undone. Our salvation will be finished as surely as it was commenced.
Once God dealt at the cross with our helplessness (v. 6), our sins (v. 8), and our being His enemies (v. 10), the rest of our salvation is easy. The biggest problem confronting God was how to reconcile us to Himself in the first place. Once the issue of our alienation was settled, the remainder of salvation follows as a matter of course.
Since Jesus died for us while we were sinners, we know our salvation did not depend on our goodness to begin with. Nothing good was required in us at the first God requires nothing good in us to keep us saved. Our salvation, from first to last, and everywhere in the middle, totally depends on the grace of God. Our justification depends on grace. Our sanctification and glorification also rely on grace. Works are vital in Christian living, but are evidence of our salvation, not a cause or support of it.
People may little value what costs us little, but we much value what costs us much. Jesus paid a huge dear price for us. We are redeemed not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 118-19).
Jesus bought us with His own blood. This means we are of infinite worth to Him. Find comfort in knowing the One who died on a cross for us is the One who lives to hold us fast. Be blessed in realizing the hands that grasp us are nail-scarred.
John Newton, wild and dissolute, deserted the British navy, and fled to Africa that I might sin my fill. He had the reputation of being able to curse for two hours without repeating himself. His sins brought him down to the gutter of life. He was forced to serve as a slave to the slaves of a rich Portuguese slave trader. The slaves delighted in tormenting him. They made him crawl in the dirt and pick up his food with his mouth from the ground. If he tried to touch the food with his hand, a slave would lash him. He withered to skin and bones. He escaped with the help of a ships captain. John showed his appreciation by stealing the ships rum and getting the whole crew drunk. When the captain returned, he hit Newton so hard that he fell overboard. He was drowning in his drunken condition when a sailor speared him in the thigh with a boathook. The resulting wound was so deep that afterwards Newton could put his fist into the scar. Nevertheless, one night in a terrible storm he cried out to God and was wonderfully saved. He later expressed the sentiments of all believers in a poem that began with, Amazing grace How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me and then goes on to say, Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far And grace will lead me home. Newton got it. Grace was amazing at the first step. Grace is amazing at every step. Grace will be amazing at the final step.