My Musing – In English, the word love can be a bit ambiguous. I love chocolate. I love my mate. I love my child. Same word, different types/degrees of love. In this text, Paul chose one of the four Greek words that are all translated love in English. He used the word agape, which is a selfless, self-giving and unmerited love that God shows to humankind in sending his son as a suffering redeemer. (Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 14). San Francisco: Harper & Row.).
Selfless – “God demonstrates His own love for us.” Demonstrate means to show or express (a feeling or quality) by one’s actions. He was under no obligation to do so other than His character and being demanded it.
Self-giving – “Christ died for us.” It doesn’t get more self-giving than that. It doesn’t get more demonstrative than that.
Unmerited – “While we were still sinners.” Rebellious offenders (sinners) of what God demands (sinlessness) merit nothing but judgment. Yet God offers forgiveness. It was not if you do this (clean up your act) for me, then I will do this (offer forgiveness and salvation) for you. That would not be a demonstration of love, it would be a demonstration of justice. Through the sacrificial death of His Son, God found a way to simultaneously demonstrate both His “agape” love and His righteous justice in one act of grace. “You see, at just the right time [while we were still sinners?], when we were still powerless [unable to do anything to change our sinfulness], Christ died for the ungodly [deserving eternal separation from God].” (Romans 5:6, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Show our appreciation by accepting this free gift.