Today’s passages invite us to consider for ourselves who Jesus is and what Jesus offers to each of us, if only we take the time to be in conversation with him and to spend time with him. Jesus welcomes us into a closer and more loving relationship with God through both his living and his dying.
In today’s passage from Romans, Paul says that “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.”
Is God really waiting to deal wrathfully with us, miserable sinners that we are?
In his commentary on Romans, William Barclay, a Scottish theologian, explains “the wrath of God” in this way.
Think about the law.
We all know that none of us can keep the law perfectly. That doesn’t stop us from trying to keep the law, but sooner or later, we mess up. When we mess up, we suffer the consequences. And if we think of God only in terms of the law, then we can assume that God is going to be angry with us when we break God’s laws. Barclay points out that if we think of ourselves in terms of the law, then we are all headed for God’s condemnation.
Paul wants the Romans to know that trying to be in a right relationship with God through our own efforts will never work, because we will never be perfect.
Thanks be to God, then, that we have another way to be in right relationship with God, and that way is when we enter by faith into a relationship with God. We learn God is not waiting to condemn us and wrathfully punish us. Instead, God loves us and is waiting for us to draw more ever more closely into God’s presence.
Jesus is the one who leads us into a deeper relationship with God. As we come to know Jesus more and more, then we find ourselves growing closer to God. Jesus would do anything for us. He doesn’t wait for us to be good, or to have our act together—in fact, while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
When Jesus died, he showed us the way to God by showing us the way of God—God is always breaking love wide open so that it can be shared more fully. When Jesus was broken open in his death on the cross, God’s love flowed from the cross out into the world like a stream of living water that gushes up to eternal life.