July 18, 2017
Read: Romans 5:1–11
Bible in a Year: Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.—Romans 5:8
A church in my city has a unique welcome card that captures the love and grace of God for everyone. It says, “If You Are A . . . saint, sinner, loser, winner”—followed by many other terms used to describe struggling people—“alcoholic, hypocrite, cheater, fearful, misfit . . . . You are welcome here.” One of the pastors told me, “We read the card aloud together in our worship services every Sunday.”
How often we accept labels and allow them to define who we are. And how easily we assign them to others. But God’s grace defies labels because it is rooted in His love, not in our self-perception. Whether we see ourselves as wonderful or terrible, capable or helpless, we can receive eternal life as a gift from Him. The apostle Paul reminded the followers of Jesus in Rome that “at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).
The Lord does not require us to change by our own power. Instead He invites us to come as we are to find hope, healing, and freedom in Him. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8). The Lord is ready and willing to receive us just as we are. —David C. McCasland
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing love in Jesus.
God’s forgiveness defies our labels of failure or pride.
INSIGHT: The biblical solution for those who feel alienated from God because of their sin is clearly addressed in today’s reading. Paul tells us that the sinner can be reconciled to a holy God because of the sacrifice of Christ the Righteous One on the cross. Now our sins can be transferred to Him in exchange for His righteousness. Our Lord is ready to receive us just as we are.
Have you trusted Christ to forgive your sin and give you the gift of eternal life? Dennis Fisher
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