Romans 5:7
It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
Sermons
God's Love Magnified in Christ's DeathFriedrich Schleiermacher Romans 5:7
The State of the JustifiedR.M. Edgar Romans 5:1-11
The Great LoveT.F. Lockyer Romans 5:6-8
The Love of God CommendedC.H. Irwin Romans 5:6-11
A Weak World Made StrongD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 5:6-12
Christ's Vicarious DeathAmerican Youth's CompanionRomans 5:6-12
For Whom Did Christ DieC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:6-12
Glorying in GodRomans 5:6-12
Man's Impotency to Help Himself Out of His MiseryRomans 5:6-12
The Certainty of the Believer's Final RedemptionH. Hughes.Romans 5:6-12
The Sad Plight and the Sure ReliefC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:6-12
Without StrengthA. Raleigh, D. D.Romans 5:6-12
Christ and the MartyrsJ. Logan.Romans 5:7-8
Disinterested FriendshipRomans 5:7-8
Divine LoveH. F. Burder, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
Divine Love for SinnersD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
God's Love CommendedT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
God's Unparalleled LoveJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
Human and Divine Love ContrastedA. Thomson, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
Love CommendedW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Romans 5:7-8
Love's CommendationC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:7-8
Nature Does not Reveal God's LoveRomans 5:7-8
Self- Sacrificing Love for a FatherRomans 5:7-8
Self-Sacrificing LoveEllen Wonnacott.Romans 5:7-8
Self-Sacrificing Love for FriendsRomans 5:7-8
The Best ThingD. Brotchie.Romans 5:7-8
The Cross a RevelationG. McHardy, M. A.Romans 5:7-8
The Cross, the Witness of LoveW. H. Hatchings, M. A.Romans 5:7-8
The Death of ChristD. Clarkson, B. D.Romans 5:7-8
The Death of Christ IsJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
The Death of Christ, SubstitutionaryWebster and Wilkinson.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God CommendedIbid.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God CommendedH. Melvill, B. D.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God CommendedB. Beddome, M. A.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God CommendedJ. W. Burn.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God CommendedW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God the Motive to Man's SalvationBp. Mant.Romans 5:7-8
The Love of God's Unspeakable GiftW. Arnot.Romans 5:7-8
Unparalleled LoveD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 5:7-8
It is a most remarkable phrase, this description which is given in the eighth verse, of God commending his own love. We have, indeed, in other portions of Scripture, the Divine Being represented as a heavenly Merchantman, setting forth the blessings of the gospel as a merchantman might set forth his wares. "He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And again in the Book of Revelation, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; ... and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." But here God is represented as commending, not merely the blessings of the gospel, but his own love, to human observation and admiration. Yes; but this is for no selfish end. God's object in commending his love to us is for our sakes. He sets it before us in all its matchless tenderness and grandeur, that by means of it he may melt our hearts. He sets it before us in all its attractive power, that he may draw our hearts to holiness and our souls to heaven. He sets it before us in order that we may yield ourselves to its influence, and that thus, by what Dr. Chalmers calls "the expulsive power of a new affection," sin and the love of it, with all its withering blight and fatal grasp, may be driven out of our natures.

I. THE LOVE OF GOD IS COMMENDED BY ITS OBJECTS. We have set before us in these verses a description of those who are the objects of the love of God, as shown in the death of Jesus Christ his Son. Was it the angels that were the objects of God's redeeming love? Was it for the angels that Jesus died? No. They did not need his death. Was it for the good men and women of the world that Jesus died? If it was only for the good, then the love of God would be very limited in its range, and the great mass of humanity would be still helpless and hopeless. But one perfectly good person it would be impossible to find. "All have sinned." Who, then, are the objects of the love of God? Just those very men and women of whom it is said that "there is none righteous, no, not one."

1. The apostle describes us as being in a state of helplessness. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (ver. 6). Surely here is a commendation of God's love. Very often in this world the weak are left to shift for themselves. But if any of us were left to our own unaided efforts, what would become of us? Are we not all glad, no matter how strong we are, of the assistance of others? if any of us were left to our own unaided efforts to get to heaven, which of us could hope to get there? The gospel is a gospel for the weak - that is to say, for the very strongest of us, physically, morally, and spiritually. In regard to God and eternity, how weak we are in all these aspects! We cannot stay the hand of disease or death; we cannot in our own strength maintain a life of an unswerving moral standard; we cannot work out a salvation for ourselves. But listen to this message: "When we were yet without strength,... Christ died for us."

2. But God loves more than the weak. He loves the ungodly. "Christ died for the ungodly" (ver. 6). The word here used expresses the indifference of the human heart to spiritual things. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit." If God only loved those who turned to him of their own accord, who then could be saved? If any of us have an interest now in spiritual things, was it not because God, in his mercy, laid his hand upon us, and awakened our minds to serious thought about him and our own souls? If there are those who are godless, ungodly, any who have no interest in spiritual things, to whom God's service is a weariness, let us say to them, "God loves even you." "Christ died for the ungodly."

3. But God goes a step lower than even the ungodly and indifferent. He goes down into the depths of sin. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (ver. 8). And not merely sinners, but enemies. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (ver. 10). Here is the greatest of all commendations of the Divine lore. It was a love, not for the deserving, but for the undeserving; not for the obedient, but for the disobedient; not for the just, but for the unjust; not for his friends, but for his enemies. If you have ever tried to love your enemies, those who have done you an injury, you know how hard it is. But God loved his enemies - those who had broken his Law and rejected his invitations - God loved them so much that he gave his own Son to die for their salvation, in order that he might bring those who were his enemies to dwell for ever with himself. What a description it is of the objects of God's love! "Without strength;" "ungodly;" "sinners;" "enemies." Surely this ought to be enough to commend the love of God to us. Surely, then, there is hope for the guiltiest. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

"In peace let me resign my breath,
And thy salvation see;
My sins deserve eternal death,
But Jesus died for me."

II. THE LOVE OF GOD IS COMMENDED BY ITS OPERATION.

1. On God's side it involved sacrifice. God's love did not exhaust itself in profession. It showed itself in action. It showed itself in the greatest sacrifice which the world has ever seen. That was a genuine love. How it must have grieved the Father to think of his own holy, innocent Son, being buffeted and scourged and crucified by the hands of wicked men, in the frenzy of their passion and hatred! What a sacrifice to make for our sakes, when God gave up his own Son to the death for us all! Herein is the proof of the reality of God's love. Herein is its commendation to us.

"Love so amazing, so Divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."

2. And then look at the operation of this love on our side. Look at the results it produces in human hearts. "Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (ver. 5). "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (ver. 11). What confidence it produces, what holy calm, what peace, what hope, what joy for time and for eternity, when we know that God loves us! Oh! there is no power like it to sustain the human heart. Temptations lose their power to drag us down, when that love is bound around us like a life-buoy. Hatred and malice cannot harm us, hidden in the secret of his presence. Sorrow and suffering can bring no despair, when the Father's face is bending over us with his everlasting smile, and his arms are underneath us with their everlasting strength. His love is like a path of golden sunlight across the dark valley. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Thus God commends to us his love. He commends it to us by showing us our own condition - what we are without it. He shows us the character of the objects of his love - "without strength;" "ungodly;" "sinners;" "enemies." He shows us the operation of his love. He points us to the cross, and bids us measure there the height and depth of his marvellous love. He shows us the operation of his love in human hearts - what peace, what confidence, what hope, what joy unspeakable and full of glory, it produces. For all these reasons it is a love worth yielding to. For all these reasons it is a love worth having. Christians should commend the love of God. A consistent Christian life is the best testimony to the power of the love of God. By loving even our enemies, by showing a spirit of unselfishness and self-sacrifice, let us commend to those around us the love of God.

"When one that holds communion with the skies
Has filled his urn where those pure waters rise,
And once more mingles with us meaner things,
Tis e'en as if an angel shook his wings;
Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide
That tells us whence his treasures are supplied? C.H.I.







For scarcely for a righteous man will one die...but God commendeth His love.
I. THE LOVE OF MAN TO HIS FELLOW CREATURES (ver. 7). You may find in history generosity and gratitude manifested by the greatest of all sacrifices — that of life. But such instances are rare. We read of dangers encountered, sufferings endured, for the purpose of rescuing others from destruction; but seldom of devotion to death, in order to deliver a fellow mortal from the heaviest calamity, or to procure for him the most precious privilege. When such an instance has occurred it has been uniformly a tribute paid to distinguished excellence, or an acknowledgment of obligations too strong and sacred to be fulfilled by a less noble or costly recompense.

1. Suppose an individual distinguished for honour and integrity, who had exerted himself on all occasions to maintain the rights, and redress the wrongs of others, whose righteous deportment, fidelity, and defence of truth had rendered him the object of profound and universal veneration; suppose that such a person, by the decree of despotism, were doomed to expiate an imaginary crime on an ignominious scaffold, would you step forward to save his life by the sacrifice of your own? No; nor can we imagine anyone doing it.

2. But, supposing that to righteousness we add benevolence — all that is melting in tenderness, winning in compassion, god-like in beneficence, would there be any among those to whom such characters are dearest, or any, even of those who had shared his kindness, that would agree to be his substitute? Yes; you may conceive such cases to occur. Still, however, the apostle speaks correctly; it is only "some" who would thus die for a good man — that, even for this act of chivalry "daring" would be required — and that after all, the fact must be qualified with a "peradventure." To the statement of the apostle we may add that of our Lord, that "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends:" This is the utmost limit to which human affection can go. And this may be still more readily admitted, if we consider friendship as comprehending those relationships which, binding husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, by a thousand endearments, instinctively prompt to efforts and endurances, from whose ample range even the terrors of death are not excluded.

3. But supposing a person iniquitous and hostile, condemned to die for his iniquity and rebellion, and under his sentence, cherished as bitter an enmity against his benefactor as he had ever done before, would that benefactor consent to suffer his judicial fate, in order to send him back again to the life and liberty he had so justly forfeited? Ah! no; that is a height of love which humanity has never reached, and of which humanity is utterly incapable. And were it ever to occur, we should be compelled to rank it amongst the greatest miracles.

II. THE LOVE OF GOD TO MAN is illustrated by two circumstances.

1. "Christ died for us." The apostle could not speak of God dying for us, for death cannot possibly be predicted of Him who "alone hath immortality." We must remember, therefore, who Christ was, as well as what He did. But in viewing His death as a manifestation of Divine love, we must recollect the connection which God had with it. The scheme, of which it formed the leading feature and the essential principle, was altogether of His appointment (John 3:16). And while God was thus so gracious, it becomes us to think of the relation in which Christ stood to Him. Christ was not the creature, nor the mere servant of God, but "His only begotten and well beloved Son, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person." Yet God did "not spare Him."

2. But the principal evidence of God's love is that Christ died for us, "while we were yet sinners." Had man been such as that the eye of God could have looked on him with complacency, or having fallen, had the feelings of penitence pervaded his heart, and made him willing to return, we should not have been amazed at God's condescending love. But the marvel lies in this, that there was no good whatever to attract the regards of a holy being, and to invite a willing interposition of His benevolence. On the contrary, there was worthlessness and guilt to such a degree as to provoke a just indignation, to warrant an utter exclusion from happiness and hope. We were "yet sinners" when Christ died for us. There are resources in the eternal mind which are equally beyond our reach and our comprehension. There is a power, a magnitude, and a richness in the love of God towards those upon whom it is set which, to the experience of the creature, presents a theme of wondering gratitude and praise. Man loves his fellows; but he never did, and never can love them like God. Had He only loved us as man loves, there would have been no salvation, no heaven, no glad tidings to cheer our hearts. But behold! God is love itself. Guilt, which forbids and represses man's love, awakens, and kindles, and secures God's. Death for the guilty is too wide a gulf for man's love to pass over. God's love to the guilty is infinitely "stronger than death." God forgives, where man would condemn and punish. God saves, where man would destroy. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." "Herein is love," etc.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

It was a principle in the breast of every Roman that he owed his life to his country. This being the spirit of the people, gave birth to many illustrious and heroic actions. The spirit of patriotism glowed among the people for many ages of the republic; one hero sprung from the ashes of another, and great men arose from age to age who devoted themselves to death for the public good. These being the most celebrated actions in the history of mankind, the apostle here compares them with the death of Jesus Christ.

I. Those who devoted themselves to death for their friends or their country, submitted to a fate which THEY MUST ONE DAY HAVE SUFFERED; but Jesus Christ, who is the true God, and POSSESSETH ETERNAL LIFE, submitted to death for our redemption.

II. Those among the sons of men who devoted themselves to death for the good of others, MADE THE SACRIFICE FOR THEIR FRIENDS, for those by whom they were beloved; BUT JESUS DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES.

III. He who dies a martyr for the public good, DEPARTS WITH HONOUR; BUT JESUS MADE HIS DEPARTURE WITH IGNOMINY AND SHAME.

(J. Logan.)

I. THE SUPREME DIGNITY OF HIM WHO UNDERTOOK THE WORK OF OUR SALVATION.

II. THE STATE OF HUMILIATION TO WHICH HE CONSENTED TO BE DEGRADED IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH OUR REDEMPTION.

III. THE RELATION BORNE TO HIM BY THOSE FOR WHOM THIS AMAZING TESTIMONY OF LOVING KINDNESS WAS ENTERPRISED AND PERFECTED. Inasmuch as we are by nature sinners, we are also by nature enemies of God. If it be the act of an enemy to slight, resist, and renounce the authority of our lawful sovereign; if it be the act of an enemy to range ourselves under the banners of a potentate in open hostility to our own; we who are "by nature the children of disobedience," in subjection to "the powers of darkness," "alienated from the life of God," and the ministers and slaves of sin, are by an obvious inference the natural enemies of God. And standing in this relation to God, as rebels, it evidently appears how inefficacious anything in us could have been towards meriting our redemption and influencing Him to redeem us. There was in us, indeed, that which well deserved the wrath of God, and might well have left us exposed to the severity of His displeasure.Conclusion:

1. The contemplation of this surprising love of God towards us ought to warm and expand our hearts and fill them with the most earnest love towards Him in return, and with the most zealous determination to obey Him.

2. The contemplation of the love of God, as having already interposed to save us by the sending of His Son, should fill us with a devout confidence in Him; persuaded that He who has conferred upon us of His free grace the greatest of all blessings will not withhold from us others which He may know to be for our good.

3. A third inference to be drawn from a contemplation of the love of God exemplified in the work of our salvation, is a further "confidence" that He will not leave it imperfect; but that if we love Him and keep His commandments, "He which hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

4. The contemplation of the love of God employed for our redemption, and the persuasion that our salvation is "the gift of God," connected with the belief that "we all had sinned and come short of His glory," etc.

5. But, then, whilst we renounce all hopes of salvation as merited by our works, we must be cautious not to disregard them as if they were not necessary to our salvation.

(Bp. Mant.)

The grand doctrine of the Bible is that God loves apostate man. Nowhere else do we learn this. Nature teaches that God loves His creatures, but the volume of nature was written before the Fall, and it says nothing as to His affection towards man as a sinner. In every conceivable form the Bible impresses us with the fact that God loves man though a sinner. Note —

I. THAT MAN HAS, CONSTITUTIONALLY, A KIND AFFECTION FOR HIS SPECIES. The apostle is speaking here of men generally, and he says that in some cases the generous instincts of human nature would prompt to the utmost self-sacrifice. That man has this social kindness I maintain in the face of all the oppression and cruelty that make up a large portion of history. Notwithstanding the Pharaohs, Herods, Neros, Napoleons, there is a spring of kindness in human nature.

1. The tendency of sin is to destroy this element. Had sin not entered into the world, this element would have united all races in the bonds of a loving brotherhood.

2. The tendency of Christianity is to develop this element. Christianity recognises it, appeals to it, strengthens it. Blessed be God, bad as the world is, there is a fountain of love in its heart.

II. THAT SOME CHARACTERS HAVE A GREATER POWER TO EXCITE THIS AFFECTION THAN OTHERS.

1. The righteous man is not likely to excite it. "Scarcely." Who is a righteous man? He is one who conforms rigorously to the outward forms of morality: he pays all that is demanded of him, and he will be paid to the utmost fraction of his due. He is what the cold mercantile world would call a "respectable" man. He has no generous impulses, no heart, and therefore cannot awaken love in others. The just man is not a very popular character.

2. The "good" man has power to excite it — the kind man — the man of warm sympathies, who can weep with those who weep. Such a man evokes the sympathies of others. He has often done so. Job opening, by his kindness, the heart of his age; Pythias enduring the punishment for Damon; and Jonathan and David, are cases in point.

III. THAT THE SACRIFICE OF LIFE IS THE HIGHEST EXPRESSION OF AFFECTION. There is nothing man values so much as life. Friends, property, health, reputation, all are held cheap in comparison with life. To give life, therefore, is to give that which he feels to be of all the dearest things most dear. A man may express his affection by language, toil, gifts, but such expressions are weak compared with the sacrifice of life, which demonstrates powerfully both the intensity and the sincerity of that affection.

IV. THAT CHRIST'S DEATH IS THE MIGHTIEST DEMONSTRATION OF AFFECTION. This will appear if you consider —

1. The characters for whom He died — "sinners."

2. The circumstances under which He died. Not amid the gratitude of those He loved, but amid their imprecations.

3. The freedom with which He died. He was not compelled.

4. The preciousness of the life He sacrificed.Conclusion: Learn —

1. The moral grandeur of Christianity. There is no such manifestation of love in the universe.

2. The moral power of Christianity. The motive it employs to break the heart of the world is this wonderful love.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Damon was sentenced to die on a certain day, and sought permission of Dionysius of Syracuse to visit his family in the interim. It was granted on condition of securing a hostage for himself. Pythias heard of it, and volunteered to stand in his friend's place. The king visited him in prison, and conversed with him about the motive of his conduct; affirming his disbelief in the influence of friendship. Pythias expressed his wish to die that his friend's honour might be vindicated. He prayed the gods to delay the return of Damon till after his own execution in his stead. The fatal day arrived. Dionysius sat on a moving throne drawn by six white horses, Pythias mounted the scaffold, and calmly addressed the spectators: "My prayer is heard; the gods are propitious, for the winds have been contrary till yesterday. Damon could not come; he could not conquer impossibilities; he will be here tomorrow, and the blood which is shed today shall have ransomed the life of my friend. Oh! could I erase from your bosoms every mean suspicion of the honour of Damon, I should go to my death as I would to my bridal. My friend will be found noble, his truth unimpeachable; he will speedily prove it; he is now on his way, accusing himself, the adverse elements, and the gods; but I haste to prevent his speed. Executioner, do your office." As he closed, a voice in the distance cried, "Stop the execution!" which was repeated by the whole assembly. A man rode up at full speed, mounted the scaffold, and embraced Pythias, crying, "You are safe, my beloved friend! I now have nothing but death to suffer, and am delivered from reproaches for having endangered a life so much dearer than my own." Damon replied, "Fatal haste, cruel impatience! What envious powers have wrought impossibilities in your favour? But I will not be wholly disappointed. Since I cannot die to save, I will not survive you." The king heard, and was moved to tears. Ascending the scaffold, he cried, "Live, live, ye incomparable pair! Ye have borne unquestionable testimony to the existence of virtue; and that virtue equally evinces the existence of a God to reward it. Live happy, live renowned, and oh! form me by your precepts, as ye have invited me by your example, to be worthy of the participation of so sacred a friendship."

While Octavius was at Samos, after the battle of Actium, which made him master of the universe, he held a council to examine the prisoners who had been engaged in Antony's party. Among the rest there was brought before him an old man, Metellus, oppressed with years and infirmities, disfigured with a long beard, a neglected head of hair, and tattered clothes. The son of this Metellus was one of the judges; but it was with great difficulty he knew his father in the deplorable condition in which he saw him. At last, however, having recollected his features, instead of being ashamed to own him, he ran to embrace him. Then turning towards the tribunal, he said, "Caesar, my father has been your enemy, and I your officer; he deserved to be punished, and I to be rewarded. One favour I desire of you; it is, either to save him on my account, or order me to be put to death with him." All the judges were touched with compassion at this affecting scene; Octavius himself relented, and granted to old Metellus his life and liberty.

There are three gradations in which the love of God is here exhibited —

I. THE LOVE OF INFINITE COMPASSION. Contemplate —

1. The aspect under which man appeared to the most holy God. Paul tells us that men were —

(1)Sinners.

(2)Ungodly, i.e., living without God.

(3)Enemies.

(4)Objects of the Divine wrath.

2. The aspect under which the blessed God ought to be viewed by sinful man. Shall any hard thought of God be allowed a dwelling place in your hearts? Will you call in question His clemency? Is it possible for you to imagine that He takes delight in the death of a sinner? "Herein is love," etc.

II. THE LOVE DISPLAYED IN THE EXERCISE OF THAT MERCY WHICH SECURES FROM THE DANGER OF FUTURE CONDEMNATION (ver. 9). Consider —

1. The extent of privilege actually attained by every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is justified by the blood of Christ — that is, God, in the capacity of a righteous lawgiver and judge, pronounces him righteous.

2. The security from final condemnation arising out of the state already attained. "Much more...we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

III. THE LOVE DISPLAYED IN COMPLACENCY TOWARD THOSE WHO ARE IN A STATE OF RECONCILIATION (ver. 10). The life of Christ in heaven secures to the believer all needful resources during his progress towards the enjoyment of consummated salvation if you consider —

1. That His presence in heaven secures His continual and prevailing intercession on behalf of His people.

2. The perpetual communications of His grace as secured to us by His life in glory. "All things are delivered unto Him by the Father" — that is, for the use of His people. "It hath pleased the Father that in Him shall all fulness dwell"; therefore it pleased the Father that from His fulness should every needy disciple receive an abundant supply; so that of His fulness we, who have believed, do receive even grace for grace.

3. The interposition promised and pledged for the coming hour of our greatest emergency. The death and the life of Christ gives to the believer indeed no security against death, but full security in death and after death.

(H. F. Burder, D. D.)

We infer —

I. That God HAS LOVE. He is not sheer intellect: He has a heart, and that heart is not malign but benevolent. He has love, not merely as an attribute, but in essence. Love is not a mere element in His nature; it is His nature. The moral code by which He governs the universe is but love speaking in the imperative mood. His wrath is but love uprooting and consuming whatever obstructs the happiness of His creation.

II. That God has love FOR SINNERS. Then —

1. This is not a love that is revealed in nature. It is exclusively the doctrine of the Bible.

2. This is not the love of moral esteem. The Holy One cannot love the corrupt character; it is the love of compassion — compassion deep, tender, boundless.

III. That God's love for sinners is DEMONSTRATED IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST. This demonstration is —

1. The mightiest. The strength of love is proved by the sacrifice it makes. "God gave His only begotten Son."

2. The most indispensable. The only way to consume enmity is to carry conviction that he whom I have hated loves me. This conviction will turn my enmity into love. God knows the human soul, knows how to break its corrupt heart; hence He has given the demonstration of His love in the death of Christ.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. Sacrifice is the true test of love.

2. Life is the greatest sacrifice man can make.

3. Such a sacrifice is possible, but exceedingly rare.

4. Supposes strong inducements.

5. But Christ died for His enemies.

6. He thus commends the love of God — because He is God — and is the gift of God.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. By its OBJECTS — without strength — ungodly — sinners — enemies.

II. By its DISPLAY — Christ died — for us.

III. By its PURPOSE — OUR justification — reconciliation with God — final salvation.

IV. By its EFFECT — JOY in God.

(Ibid.)

That young sailor who, when the last place in the lifeboat was offered him, drew back, saying, "Save my mate here, for he has a wife and children," and went down himself with the sinking ship; that brave soldier who, in the moment of deadly peril, threw himself in front of his old master's son and fell dead with a smile upon his lips, the fatal bullet in his heart; that poor outcast woman, out in the wild winter night, who wrapped her baby in her own scanty dress and shawl, and patiently lay down in the snow to die, saving her child's life at the cost of her own; the pilot dying at his post on the burning steamer; the Russian servant casting himself among the wolves to save his master; the poor child dying in a New York garret with the pathetic words, "I'm glad I am going to die, because now my brothers and sisters will have enough to eat" — these, and hundreds of true hearts like these, proclaim with the clearness of a voice from heaven, "'The hand that made us is Divine'; and in our Father's heart are higher heights of love, deeper depths of pity and self-sacrifice."

(Ellen Wonnacott.)

Edwin, one of the best and greatest of the Anglo-Saxon kings, flourished in the beginning of the seventh century. He was in imminent danger of perishing by the hand of an assassin, who had gained access to him under the guise of an ambassador. In the midst of his address the villain pulled out a dagger and aimed a violent blow at the king. But Edwin was preserved from danger by the generous and heroic conduct of Tilla, one of his courtiers, who intercepted the blow with his own body, and fell down dead on the spot. Thus did he cheerfully resign his own life to preserve that of his sovereign, whom he loved. But this instance of disinterested friendship loses all its charms, and sinks into insignificance when contrasted with the love wherewith Christ hath loved us. For "God commendeth His love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

Nature does not reveal God's love. We find His power there, undeviating cause and effect, irresistible force, iron law. But no love. The ocean, grand as it is, and beautiful even, will crush the egg shell you call your ship; the lightning kills; the torrent engulfs; the beautiful twilight air chills you; the lovely flower conceals poison under its gorgeous petals; a weak spot in a girder of iron precipitates a hundred people to an awful death; the sun strikes with deadly sickness; and who can stand before God's cold? Careless or ignorant of her laws, man is a leaf underfoot, or a bubble on the wave. You may search ocean, air, and desert; you may traverse the whole universe of matter, and know all the secrets of science, and you can find no Christ. There is no hint of mercy, or love, or pardon, in the whole realm of nature. God's might and majesty are there; but the "love of God was manifested in this, that He sent His Son into the world that we might live through Him."

A crew of explorers penetrate far within the Arctic circles in search of other expeditions that had gone before them — gone and never returned. Failing to find the missing men, and yet unwilling to abandon hope, they leave supplies of food, carefully covered with stones, on some prominent headlands, with the necessary intimations graven for safety on plates of brass. If the original adventurers survive, and, on their homeward journey, faint yet pursuing, fall in with these treasures, at once hidden and revealed, the food, when found, will seem to those famished men the smaller blessing. The proof which the food supplies that their country cares for them is sweeter than the food. So the proof that God cares for us is placed beyond a doubt; the "unspeakable gift" of His Son to be our Saviour should melt any dark suspicion to the contrary from our hearts.

(W. Arnot.)

The manifestations of God's love are many and various. If I look forth upon our glorious world I cannot but feel that God displays His love in the dwelling place which He hath given to the children of men. If I contemplate the succession of seasons, and observe how the sunbeam and the shower unite in the production of sustenance, I recognise love in the workings of God's providence. Thus also, if I think upon man, the creature of mighty capacity, but of mightier destiny, I am necessarily conscious that infinite love presided originally over his formation. And, if I yet further remember that man, whose creation had thus been dictated by love, returned despite for benevolence, I might marvel, if I did not know that love rose superior to outrage, and, in place of forsaking the alien, suggested redemption. Note: —

I. HOW CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS WERE AGGRAVATED BY THE SINFULNESS OF THOSE AMONGST WHOM HE SUFFERED.

1. He possessed infinite perceptions of the nature of sin. He saw it without any of the varnish which it draws from human passion or sophistry; and He discerned that the least acting of impurity struck so vehemently against the bosses of the Almighty's attributes, that it rebounded in vengeance, which must eternally crush the transgressor.

2. Now to this capacity of estimating sin, add(1) The love which He bore to the Father. It would have accorded well with the longings of His heart, that He should succeed in bringing back the earth into obedience, so that the Almighty might draw His full revenue of honour. But when, from the contradiction of sinners against Himself, it became palpable that generations would yet do despite to His heavenly Father, this must inexpressibly have lacerated His soul.(2) But vast also was His love to mankind; and here again His apprehensions of sin come into the account. It would be idle to enlarge on the greatness of that benevolence which had prompted the Mediator to undertake our rescue. The simple exhibition of Christ appearing as the surety of mankind remains ever the overwhelming and immeasurable prodigy. Yet when He beheld the beings, for every one of whom He was content to endure ignominy and death, pursuing obstinately the courses of unrighteousness, throwing from them the proffered boon of deliverance, it must have entered like a poisoned arrow into His pure and affectionate heart, and lacerating and cauterising wherever it touched, have made an inlet for sorrow where there never could be found admission for sin.

3. If an artist study to set forth the Christ's sufferings, he has recourse to the outward paraphernalia of woe. Yet there is more in the simple expression that Christ died for us "whilst we were yet sinners," than in all that the crayon ever produced, when the genius of a Raphael guided its strokes. We look in at the soul of the Redeemer — we are admitted as spectators of the solemn and tremendous workings of His spirit.

4. We attempt not to examine too nicely into the awful matter of the Mediator's sufferings, suffice it that there is not one amongst us who was not a direct contributor to that weight of sorrow which seemed for a time to confound Him and to crush Him.

II. HOW COMPLETELY THESE SUFFERINGS WERE IRRESPECTIVE OF ALL CLAIM ON THE PART OF THOSE FOR WHOM THEY WERE ENDURED. In the commencement of His dealings with our race, God had proceeded according to the strictest benevolence. He had appointed that Adam should stand as a federal head or representative of all men; had Adam obeyed, all men would have obeyed in him — just as when Adam disobeyed, all men disobeyed in him. We were not, in the strictest sense, parties to this transaction, but I hold that if we had had the power of electing we should have elected Adam, and that there would have been a wisdom in such procedure, which is vainly looked for in any other. And if this appointment cannot be arraigned, then it must be idle to speak of any claims which the fallen have upon the Creator; and whatsoever is done on their behalf must be in the largest sense gratuitous. If the arrangement were one into which the love which prompted the creation of man gathered and condensed its fulness, and its tenderness, then we lay it down that the compassions of the Most High towards our race might have closed themselves up, and, nevertheless, the inscription, "God is love" would have been graven upon our archives, and the lying tongue of blasphemy alone would have dared to throw doubt on its accuracy. But the love of God was a love which could not be content with having just done enough — it was a love which must commend itself — which must triumph over everything which could quench love. We were sinners, but, nevertheless, God loved us in our degradation, in our ruin. We were unworthy the least mercy, we had no claim to it — the minutest benefit, we had no right to it — but God commended His love towards us

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Several considerations tend to enhance the greatness of the love of God towards us —

I. THE DIGNITY OF THE SAVIOUR. He was no other than the eternal Son of God, coequal with the Father, infinitely endeared to Him by an ineffable union, and a full participation in all the attributes of the Divine nature. Hence when the death of Christ is mentioned great stress is laid on the dignity of His character, as that which gives worth and efficacy to His sufferings (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:7).

II. THE DIVINE AGENCY EMPLOYED IN CHRIST'S DEATH. God did not spare His own Son, but freely delivered Him up as a victim in our stead, and called upon justice to make Him a sacrifice for us. Nor was the Divine agency employed merely in this part of our Saviour's sufferings; it was also engaged in their actual infliction. Men crucified His body, but it was the Lord who "made His soul an offering for sin"; or it pleased "the Lord to bruise Him, and put Him to grief"; and herein is expressed the most astonishing wrath, and the most astonishing love.

III. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED. While as yet no change was wrought in us, no good performed by us; while inveterate enemies to God, then it was that Christ died for us. It was also "while we were yet without strength," either to do the will of God, or to deliver ourselves out of the hands of infinite justice. The patriot dies for his country; but Christ died for His enemies.

IV. THE VOLUNTARY NATURE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS. His death was foreordained, and He had received a commandment of the Father that He should lay down His life for the sheep; yet He had power to lay down His life, and power to take it up again, and no one could take it from Him.

V. IF WE COMPARE THIS MANIFESTATION WITH EVERY OTHER WE SHALL HERE FIND ITS HIGHEST COMMENDATION. The blessings of Providence are incessant and innumerable; but of all His gifts, none is to be compared with the gift of Christ. This is the unspeakable gift.

VI. THE CONSTANT EFFICACY OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST AFFORDS ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THE GIFT AND OF THE LOVE OF GOD IN ITS BESTOWMENT. His righteousness forever avails for our justification; His sacrifice retains its cleansing virtue for our sanctification; and in the discharge of all His mediatorial offices He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hence He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him, and to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. The gift of Christ includes every other gift; for He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things. Improvement:

1. This subject affords encouragement to serious inquirers. The gospel is the religion of sinners, the only one that can afford relief to the troubled conscience.

2. The gospel, notwithstanding, affords no ground of hope or encouragement to those who continue to live in sin. Though Christ died for sinners, it was that they might repent, believe, and be saved.

3. To all true believers, the gospel becomes a source of abundant joy.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

God's manifestations of Himself invariably carry with them the commendation of some distinguishing perfection. He is manifested —

1. In the universe, and "the heavens declare the glory" of His wisdom and power.

2. In conscience, which commends His righteousness.

3. In the Bible, which commends His truth.

4. In history, which commends His sovereignty.

5. In Christ, who by His life and death, but especially in the latter, commends His love. It is the glory of Christianity to give love to this commendation. Other religions profess to reveal God in this or that aspect of His character, but none as "love." Note —

I. THE TIME WHEN this commendation was made (ver. 6). "In due time." The time was most appropriate. No other period would have done so well. This will be seen if we consider that then —

1. The world most needed it. Read chap. 1, and what contemporary writers said about the sinfulness, misery, and hopelessness of mankind.

2. The world had exhausted all its resources in the vain hope of working out its own salvation. Philosophers had taught, priests had sacrificed, governors had ruled with a view to this; but the world's wisdom, religion, and policy had all failed.

3. The world was now as it had never been before prepared for the wide diffusion of this commendation. The dispersion of the Jews who carried their Messianic hopes with them; the conquests of Alexander which disseminated a language in which this commendation might be couched; the universal supremacy of Roman power and civilisation, which provided ample means for the widespread commendation of the gospel, combined to prepare "a way for the Lord."

II. THE PERSONS TO WHOM IT WAS MADE. "Sinners." That God should commend His love to angels, to unfallen Adam, or to conspicuous saints, would be but natural, and that that love in a general way should be displayed in nature is not to be wondered at, for the fountain of love must overflow; but that God should commend His love to sinners as such is wonderful indeed. The wonder heightens as we follow the apostle's analysis. Men were —

1. Without strength. Once they were strong, but lured by the devil they fell from the breezy heights of righteousness, and were maimed and paralysed by the fall. None could have complained if God had left them in that condition, but pitying their inability to rise He "laid help on One who was mighty," who was able to restore them to moral soundness and a righteous status.

2. Ungodly. Men had severed their connection with the source of righteousness and bliss, and so were plunged in sin and misery. God did not withdraw from man, but man from God. No blame could have attached to God had He made the separation eternal. But He commends His love in the gift of the Mediator, God-man, who could lay His hand on both and bring both together again.

3. Sinners. Men who had missed the mark. "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Man's blessedness is to aim at this, and in reaching it to find his true rest. But men failed to even aim at this. Their aspirations were after inferior objects, and they missed even them. So the earth is strewn with moral wrecks. God commendeth His love in that He gave His Son to save these wrecks, and to enable man to aspire after and to reach the true end of life.

4. Enemies. In one sense men were moral failures to be pitied; in another moral antagonists to God and goodness, hence the objects of God's wrath. But instead of commending His anger He commends His love through Christ, who saves from wrath and reconciles to God.

III. THE MANNER OF this commendation.

1. "Christ died." God commended His love, indeed, in Christ's incarnation, life, teaching, deeds, example. For God to visit, abide in, and do good to the inhabitants of His revolted province, was a singular display of affection. Reason asks, why not come with legions of angels to destroy? But all this regard would have fallen short of what was needed; so love was displayed in an unstinted manner. "God spared not His own Son." Spared Him nothing that was necessary to save a lost world; i.e., God gave all He could to commend His love. The riches of the Divine mercy were practically exhausted on the Cross (Romans 8:32).

2. "For us."(1) In our room and stead. He bore our sins with their curse and punishment on the tree.(2) For our benefit. To remove our condemnation were much; but Christ's death for us involves much more — justification, sonship, holiness, heaven.

(J. W. Burn.)

I.To our CONSIDERATION.

II.To our ADMIRATION.

III.To our ESTEEM.

IV.To our GRATITUDE.

V.To our IMITATION.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

Some years ago a young English lady, moving in the highest circles of fashion in Paris, happened one day to be slightly indisposed and lying upon her bed, when her sisters came into the room in a state of great merriment, and said to her, "There is a mad fellow come over here from England — a revival preacher. They say it is the greatest joke in the world; he goes ranting away in English, and one of the French pastors does his best to interpret what he says into French. All the world is going, and we are going too," and off they went. They had no sooner gone than this girl, as she lay in her bed, felt an indescribable desire to hear him too. She rang the bell for her maid, and said, "I want to hear this revival preacher; dress me and order a carriage." Her servant expostulated with her: "You really should not think of it, ma'am; I am sure you are not fit to go." But she would not be put off. So she went, and was shown to a seat in front of the platform and there sat directly in front of the preacher. By the time the hymn was sung and the prayer over I suppose she began to feel somewhat solemnised. Then came the sermon, and the preacher stepped right to the front of the platform, and looked her full in the face with a keen, searching glance, and said, "Poor sinner, God loves you!" "I do not know what other words he may have spoken," she afterwards said. "I dare say he said a great deal, for he preached a long time; but all I know is that I sat there before him with my head buried in my hands, sobbing, sobbing as if my heart would break. My whole life passed in review before me. I thought how I had lost it and wasted it, and all my life had turned my back upon God, to live for sin, and worldliness, and folly. I had spurned His entreaty and rejected His call; and yet, O my God, is it true, is it true, that all the while Thou hast been loving me? These words kept re-echoing over and over again through my mind, Poor sinner, God loves thee! I do not know how I found my way home. The next thing I remember is that I was lying prostrate upon my face before God, the tears still streaming from my eyes, as I lifted up my heart to God, and said, 'It is true, it is true. Thou hast been loving me all the time, and now Thy love hath triumphed. O mighty Love, Thou hast won my poor heart! Great God, from this moment forward I am Thine.'"

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

God's commendation of His love is not in words, but in deeds. "God commendeth His love not in an eloquent oration," but by an act. If thou wouldst commend thyself to thy fellows, go and do — not go and say; and if before God thou wouldst show that thy faith and love are real, remember, it is no fawning words, uttered either in prayer or praise, but it is the pious deed, the holy act, which is the justification of thy faith. Paul gives us a double commendation of God's love.

I. CHRIST DIED FOR US. Note —

1. That it was Christ who died.

2. That Christ died for us. It was much love when Christ stripped Himself of the glories of His Godhead to become an infant in the manger of Bethlehem; when He lived a holy and a suffering life for us; when He gave us a perfect example by His spotless life; but the commendation of love lieth here — that Christ died for us. All that death could mean Christ endured. Consider the circumstances which attended His death. It was no common death; it was a death of ignominy; it was a death of unutterable pain; it was a tong protracted death.

II. CHRIST DIED FOR US WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS.

1. Consider what sort of sinners many of us have been, and then we shall see the marvellous grace of Christ. Consider —(1) I levy many of us have been continual sinners. Have not sinned once, but ten thousand times.(2) That our sins were aggravated. When you sin you do not sin so cheap as others: when you sin against the convictions of your consciences, against the warnings of your friends, against the enlightenment of the times, and against the solemn monitions of your pastors, you sin more grossly than others do. The Hottentot sinneth not as the Briton doth.(3) That we were sinners against the very Person who died for us. If a man should be injured in the street, if a punishment should be demanded of the person who attacked him, it would be passing strange if the injured man should for love's sake bear the penalty, that the other might go free; but 'twas even so with Christ.(4) That we were sinners who for a long time heard this good news, and yet despised it.

2. Inasmuch as Christ died for sinners, it is a special commendation of His love for —(1) God did not consider man's merit when Christ died; in fact, no merit could have deserved the death of Jesus. Though we had been holy as Adam, we could never have deserved a sacrifice like that of Jesus. But inasmuch as it says, "He died for sinners," we are thereby taught that God considered our sin, and not our righteousness.(2) God had no interest to serve by sending His Son to die. If God had pleased, He might have crushed this nest of rebels, and have made another world all holy.(3) Christ died for us unasked. If He had died for me as an awakened heir of heaven, then I could have prayed for Him to die; but Christ died for me when I had no power nor will to pray. Where did ye ever hear that man was first in mercy? Nay, rather, it is the other way: "Return unto Me, backsliding children, and I will have mercy upon you."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. HOW SHALL MAN BE CONVINCED OF GOD'S LOVE TOWARDS HIM?

1. He is indisposed to believe in it, and is disposed to doubt it. Many do not think of God's love at all; and others cannot bring themselves to believe that it is a personal affection. But all are exposed to the fatal influence of that arch-deceiver who poisons our mind by suggesting that God's commands are grievous, and His government unjust.

2. Then we have to consider the nature of our condition down here. God has been pleased to put us into a world where we do not see Him; we are not in a position to enter into direct communication with Him.

3. Perhaps it will suggest itself that God has only to reveal Himself to us, leaving us no longer in any degree of uncertainty about His relations with us. But in order to make such a revelation of Himself, God would first of all have to contravene the fundamental principles of His government. From that time forth we should be walking by sight, no longer by faith, and thus our probation would be ended.

4. But it. may be replied that we see that God loves us in that He supplies our outward wants, and those pleasures which make life tolerable. This at first sounds plausible, but —(1) These effects appear to come to us in the ordinary course of nature, and it is only natural to conclude that, if there be a God at all, His laws will be wise, and such as to render the condition of those creatures whom He has called into existence not wholly intolerable. If God were to create beings without a supply for their natural wants, it would be such an exhibition of folly as would cast a reflection upon His own character and glory.(2) On the other hand, there are circumstances of sorrow which sometimes produce an opposite impression.

5. Perhaps it may be asked, Is it necessary that man should be convinced of God's love? If God really loves him, is not that enough? By no means. The love of God, if it be real love, should have a certain practical effect. Many a man may prate about the value of love, and yet be a total stranger to anything like the real affection. It is necessary that God's love should be made so manifest to me as to produce in me a similar moral attitude towards Him. True love always yearns for reciprocity.

II. IN THE FULNESS OF TIME GOD GIVES AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION; and it is such an answer as no imagination or genius of man could ever have suggested. It might have been emblazoned upon the starry skies so that all might read it, "God is love!" These wondrous words might have been uttered by prophet or philosopher, wherever they went, they might have been the watchword of humanity, the battle cry of man in his conflict with all the powers of evil, and yet I apprehend that so strong is the latent suspicion sown in the heart of man by the great enemy, that we should still have remained indisposed to yield it full credence. God is not content to commit this truth to mere testimony; it is true St. John wrote these words, but he would never have written them if Christ had not first of all written them in His own life, and sealed the record by His wondrous death. The truth that God is love was only known to Him, can only be known to us, because Christ has demonstrated it in His own person upon the Cross.

1. Here is God's own confutation of that ancient doubt of the Divine character and purpose, sowed by the father of lies in the human heart. It is no longer possible that God can be careless of our well-being or indifferent to our happiness, when to secure these He gave His own Son to die.

2. By this we are able to form some conception of the extent and intensity of God's love. So far as it can be measured, the Cross of Christ is the measure of the love of God.(1) What sacrifice is there that you would not willingly make for the benefit of your fellow man rather than such a sacrifice as we have here? If the inhabitants of this town were to be saved by some act of heroic self-sacrifice on your part, what is there — you that are a mother — that you would not propose to give up before your own dearly loved child? Yet such a sacrifice did God willingly make for us, and by such a sacrifice does He commend His love to us.(2) But even this is not all. Why should God require a satisfaction before He lets is goodness take its course? It may well be replied, How much easier would it have been for God to act as His critics would have desired Him! How vast a sacrifice might He have escaped, what sorrow and suffering might the Son of His love have been spared, if He had contented Himself with the exercise of His prerogative of mercy! Was it a sign of greater or of less love that He adopted a more costly means of bringing the desired result about? There is a distinction between love and mercy. Mercy may be exercised without love. The Queen may extend mercy to a condemned felon, but would you say that this proved her love for the felon? You give a copper to a beggar and thereby show mercy, but this is no sign that you love him, perhaps the reverse. But if you put yourself to much trouble in order to make your mercy a real benefit, you are showing yourself to be animated by true feelings of philanthropy. Would the mere exercise of mercy, that costs God nothing, have impressed my mind with such a sense of Divine love as does the Cross of Calvary? Here I see that love has provided not merely for my pardon — mercy might have done that; but for my regeneration — for a change so complete and radical as to constitute me a new creature.(3) But even this is not all. What if it should be found that in one sense all this amazing self-sacrifice was not absolutely necessary? Might not an Almighty God have guarded against any such necessity, by modifying the conditions of human existence, and placing man, as angels would seem to be placed, beyond the reach of temptation? Probably; but by so doing He would have rendered it impossible for man to rise to that special destiny of glory which is to be his. Was man to lose his true glory, or was the Son of God to die?(4) But we shall not feel the full force of these considerations until we turn from the race to the individual. He loved me, and gave Himself for me. It is quite true that God's love is as wide as the world for "God so loved the world"; but it is equally true that it is as narrow as the individual. What art thou that He should love thee so? How hast thou dealt with Him?

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

1. A right knowledge of the true God lies at the root of true religion (John 17:3). On the other hand, either belief in a false God, or a false view of the true God, is the source of all superstition. Of this we have an illustration in Romans 1:21-23. Men needed a new revelation to recall them from the worship of the works of their own hands. The tendency to invent a god, where the knowledge of the true God is blotted out, reappears under a modified form amongst those who have the light of Divine revelation. Human hopes and fears have led the intellect into two opposite extremes concerning the moral character of God. In the one case, God is regarded as a Being whose only attribute is benevolence: in the other, God is invested with the character of implacability. By the first, the sanctity of God is obscured; by the second, He is viewed as "an almighty Tyrant," whom it must be our only endeavour to propitiate.

2. The Cross was a manifestation to meet false views of God as to His sanctity and love. Whilst on the one hand it was the measure of sin marking God's hatred of evil; on the other it was the witness of love. It harmonised Divine mercy and justice — attributes which seemed before to pursue opposite roads. Let us regard the Cross as witnessing to —

I. THE LOVE OF GOD. Our happiness depends on knowing and realising this Love. There are three ways of contemplating God.

1. You may regard Him only as a Being, and occupy your thoughts with the conditions of the Divine life — its infinity, immensity, immutability, and eternity.

2. You may dwell on His absolute perfections without respect to creatures — His power, wisdom, sanctity, perfection, form an august object of contemplation, but do not inflame the affections. To know God only as the great "I Am" will prevent me from falling down to an idol; but the revelation of the bush must be followed by that of Sinai, and that of Calvary must complete both.

3. Concerning God, the great anxiety is to know His relative perfections. The great necessity in a fallen world is that His love may shine in upon it, and that the creatures who feared His holiness may be convinced of His benignity. Love begets love.

II. THE PRE-EXISTENT LOVE OF GOD. It is necessary to notice this, because language is sometimes used which would seem to imply that the Cross was creative of Divine love. But the conditions and perfections of the Divine life are not varying moods such as creatures are capable of feeling, but fixtures (Malachi 3:6). For God to view the human race with wrath until Calvary, with love after Calvary — would be for God to change. For God to love once is for God to love always (Jeremiah 31:3). Ancientness clothes love with a peculiar tenderness. Early friendships and associations cling to us in after life, and have something in them which new ties cannot supply. Love is heightened by the thought that it was poured upon us when we were unconscious, and entirely dependent upon its unrequited lavishness. Oh, wondrous love of the Parent of my soul, "the God of my life," bending over the thought of my being! (Psalm 139:16). The Cross then witnessed to this pre-existent love. It revealed it anew when the blight upon creation and the heavy penalties of sin had darkened human life. God's thoughts had been "thoughts of peace and not of evil" all along, but they needed to be shown in acts. Angels needed no such witness. Creation sufficed when the first estate was preserved. But with the world as we know it — who is there who has not at some time felt the need of a foundation for his tottering faith. When the tempter suggests the thought, "whence this suffering? is thy God a God of love?" there is but one vision that can sustain the soul — it is the Cross of Christ, for that Cross dispels all doubt as to the goodness of God.

III. THE FATHER'S LOVE. All are accustomed to see in the Cross the love of our blessed Lord, yet many fail to discover the Father's love. The secrecy of the person of the Father, unbegotten and unsent, may tend to produce forgetfulness of the first spring of redeeming love; and cause us to stop short at the love of Jesus. A defect in recognising love is a little evil compared with the sin of substituting anger in its stead. A certain system of theology has this latter error at its base: it portrays the Father as Wrath, the Son as Mercy; and the Son as striving to appease the anger of the enraged and implacable Parent. Hence "the love of the Father" becomes impossible. The question is — "how is the First Person of the Blessed Trinity described in reference to man's salvation? How is He portrayed by our Lord?" Does not His description of Him correspond with His name — a name ever associated with tender love? (Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:44). In the parables how does the love of the Father Himself shine forth in the patience of the householder with the wicked husbandmen; in the repeated invitations of the king who made a marriage for his son; in the yearnings of the father over the returning prodigal; in the mission to the most unworthy, that they may share in the blessings of the gospel! Then note how He is spoken of by the apostles (2 Corinthians 1:3; Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:3; Romans 15:5; Ephesians 1:17; 1 John 3:1; Titus 3:4). If we trace redemption to its source, it is the love of the Father which is reached through the Cross. Of Him it is written, that He "so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son" to save it.

IV. THE GREATNESS OF DIVINE LOVE. Love is estimated by sacrifice, and heightened by the unworthiness of those for whom the outlay is made. Conclusion: We have regarded the Cross as the witness of the love of God; let us see now what should be the effect of this love on the beholder. This love of God, when realised, has a transforming power on the soul. Love begets love. Love drew God down from heaven to the manger, to the Cross; but it also draws man up to God (Hosea 11:4).

(W. H. Hatchings, M. A.)

There have been many momentous events in history which have revolutionised society, and opened new paths of effort. But the death of Christ holds a unique position, and has an importance more vital to the well-being of the world than all these events put together. Its value and power lie in the appeal it makes to the higher thoughts of men, in the conception of life it sets before men, in the vision it gives men of loftier hopes, purer sources of satisfaction, grander objects of ambition. For the Cross is a revelation of the things that are highest and best for mankind. It reveals —

I. THE PLACE WE HAVE IN THE HEART OF GOD. There are times when we feel the want of a perfect love. The heart yearns for something more than things — aches for another heart that can beat in unison with itself. Yes; and that other heart must not be limited in its affection. We all prize human love, but we spoil our enjoyment of it by exacting more than it can give us. This is the immortal spirit within crying out for God. There are influences abroad which seem to baffle this deep yearning. The discoveries of science have brought to view the overwhelming vastness of the material creation; and in presence of it all we are apt to be overpowered by a feeling of our insignificance. Our little lives seem but as motes dancing in the sunbeam. On what ground can we hope that the infinite Ruler of all will have towards us any special interest or affection? The grand corrective to this is the sacrifice of Christ. For that sacrifice makes us feel that we are not so insignificant as we thought; there is an Infinite One who cares for us, and in the Cross is the measure of His care. There is one heart beating for us with tireless love, and that is the heart of God.

II. THE IMPORTANCE GOD ATTACHES TO OUR RESCUE. FROM SIN. It has always been difficult to get people's minds rightly aroused to the danger and evil of sin. Not a few settle themselves down to the impression that evil tendencies are inevitable, and must be submitted to in the best way possible, without being allowed too much to disquiet the mind. The shallowness of such ideas is seen in the light which the sacrifice of Christ flashes upon them. It is impossible for anyone to see the Great Sufferer without being touched with a sense of the infinite peril of all things evil. The Cross was the Divine testimony against the balefulness of sin. But more, it displayed the solemn fact that God was willing to make great sacrifice to win men from sin. It is impossible now to doubt the Divine purpose to free the soul from the thraldom of evil.

III. THE EXPLANATION OF MANY OF THE THINGS THAT BAFFLE US IN THE PROVIDENCES OF LIFE. When the infirmities of our character bring us into trouble, when our selfishness defeats itself, when our ambitious successes leave us unsatisfied or load us with heavier cares, it is God seeking to wean us from the pride that constitutes the bane of life. He is striving to effect this grand work of deliverance now. For the Cross makes it clear that God wants an immediate deliverance. He knows — what we only find out by bitter experience — that every wrong thing limits our capacity for present enjoyment, lowers and spoils the quality of our enjoyment, and breeds more evil. He therefore seeks to win men from sin at once, that the corruption of evil may not have time or opportunity to weave itself into their nature, and so poison and degrade them ere they enter into eternity. Some people imagine that they shall undergo a magical transformation the moment they pass into eternity. If anyone is to begin eternity as a spiritual prince, he must have the princely elements of character in him ere he closes his life on earth. And if anyone closes his life on earth as a spiritual beggar, then as a spiritual beggar must he start on his eternal career. Now that is a consideration of tremendous solemnity; and when we ponder it we can surely see the force of that appeal which God made to us in the Cross, to wake up with instant decision to battle against evil, that our character may be rescued while there is time yet to get it purged and sanctified and trained in the elements of goodness by those hallowing influences which the Divine Spirit brings to bear upon us.

IV. THE VASTNESS OF THE BENEFIT WHICH GOD HAS IN STORE FOR US. We may take what God has actually done as the standard of the love He will always show towards us. When you get the keynote you know the strain that must follow. So in the sacrifice of Christ we have the exact pitch of all God's dealings with us. We can be certain that no act of God's towards us shall ever fall below the note struck in the sacrifice of Calvary. Everything will harmonise with that. Thus the sublimest note emanates from the Cross. We see there the scale on which God means to bless us.

V. THE HEIGHT OF SPIRITUAL NOBLENESS TO WHICH GOD SEERS TO RAISE OUR CHARACTER — that spirit of self-sacrifice which the death of Christ exhibits so completely. This, alas! is just the offence of the Cross; but if we stumble at it, our life can never be crowned with the imperishable glory. The crowning joys of life are the outcome of deeds of unselfishness. Your heart throbbed in unison with the heart of Christ then. And it is in that spirit of unselfishness that God is seeking to train us all. It is the greatest blessing He can confer upon us.

(G. McHardy, M. A.)

I. THE BEST THING COMMENDED. Not God's wisdom, power, holiness, or wealth, but His love, unsolicited, unmerited, free, unparalleled, towards us, the most undeserving of His creatures.

II. The best thing commended BY THE BEST JUDGE. "God." "God only knows the love of God." A man may know the love of man, an angel may know the love of an angel, but only the Infinite can gauge the Infinite.

III. The best thing commended by the best Judge IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. "In that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were at the worst He did the best for us.

IV. The best thing commended by the best Judge in the best possible way for THE BEST PURPOSE. That we might be "justified by His blood"; "saved from wrath"; "reconciled to God by the death of His Son," and "saved by His life"; yea, "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ"; in a word, have everlasting life.

(D. Brotchie.)

Christ died for us.
I. ITS CHARACTER.

1. Real.

2. Violent.

3. Cruel.

4. The same death that was due to us.

II. ITS DESIGN. It was —

1. The punishment of our sin.

2. The price of our redemption.

3. A sacrifice for sin.

III. ITS EFFECTS.

1. Our sins by it are expiated and atoned for.

2. The wrath of God is averted from us.

3. We are freed from all guilt.

IV. APPLICATION. For Christ's great love to us in dying for us, we should love Him —

1. Ardently.

2. Transcendently.

3. Effectually.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

I. THE PLEDGE OF GOD'S LOVE TO US — He died for us — while yet enemies.

II. THE PLEDGE OF SALVATION — it justifies and reconciles us to God. Much more shall we be saved from final wrath and share in the blessedness of life.

III. THE PLEDGE OF UNSPEAKABLE HAPPINESS IN GOD. Joy in God is the only true happiness — is secured in the reconciliation effected by the atonement.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

The original meaning is over or above (Lat. super). As if a bird, hovering over her young, warded off a blow from them and bare it herself; if by this act she rescued them from destruction at the sacrifice of her own life, we see how the thought of dying over them is merged in the greater, of dying instead of them. Thus a shield suggests the thought of being over that which it protects, and of receiving the blow instead of that which it defends. The sacrificial relation of Christ to His people involves the fall notion of deliverance and satisfaction by substitution (2 Corinthians 5:15).

(Webster and Wilkinson.)

Links
Romans 5:7 NIV
Romans 5:7 NLT
Romans 5:7 ESV
Romans 5:7 NASB
Romans 5:7 KJV

Romans 5:7 Bible Apps
Romans 5:7 Parallel
Romans 5:7 Biblia Paralela
Romans 5:7 Chinese Bible
Romans 5:7 French Bible
Romans 5:7 German Bible

Romans 5:7 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Romans 5:6
Top of Page
Top of Page