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  • Writer's pictureStephen Percy

Timing is everything

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. | Romans 5:8 (NLT)

There’s a saying: ‘Timing is everything’. The right thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing at the required moment can be at best humorous and at worst catastrophic. Timing is everything.

In this verse Paul highlights the perfection of God’s plan of redemption – its abundance in grace, its substitutionary nature and its perfect timing. Once again in his letter to the Romans, Paul spells out that this was not God’s response to our goodness or potential usefulness to him. It was ‘whilst we were still sinners’.

The preceding verses accentuate the sheer one-sidedness of the scales in this equation. Paul has outlined the frequency of someone willingly dying for a righteous person: rare. For a good person? Possible. But for a bona fide sinner? Err… I don’t think so, Paul. Except that is exactly who Paul spells out that God sent Jesus to die for.

Those who didn’t deserve it; those who could never earn or repay it. Those who would respond to it in faltering obedience. Precisely for them… for us!

We’re not left with a mystery as to why God did this. He did it to show his great love for us. God’s flawless, eternal love was perfectly demonstrated in his sending of his beloved Son, Jesus, to live among us, to experience temptation in every way and remain without sin, and ultimately to hang and bleed and die on a cross in your place and mine before being raised back to life and ascending to the Father’s side in Heaven.

This simple yet profound truth demands a response.

Paul would later write to implore believers to consider the magnitude of God’s great mercy in Christ Jesus, and in view of that mercy to present their whole lives as living sacrifices. The only right and fitting response to the boundless love of God in Christ is to hold nothing back in our giving back to him.

Take a moment and consider the extent to which your whole life is given over to God as a worshipful response to all he has done for you through the cross.

If I’m honest, the extent of my ‘whole life’ that I give to God is often miserly. My heart has a leaning towards giving the least I can get away with. Surrendering “my heart, my life, my all”[1] is costly and the ugly truth is that in the busyness of day-to-day life the magnitude of God’s gift of Christ gets shrunk. The incomprehensible gets reduced to a set of doctrinal affirmations. The inconceivable shrinks to a set of statement of understanding. That which is infinite in magnitude and glory contracts in our minds to a checklist of factual truths we can affirm with a nod.

We lose the wow.

So we lose the wonder.

And so we lose the worship.

God sent his beloved Son to bleed and die in your place – to pay the price your sin had accrued; a price you could never repay. ‘Love so amazing, so divine’ demands a response – your whole life. Do you see areas where you’ve held back? Surrender them to God. Do you see aspects in which you’ve snatched back what you’ve previously given over to God? Return it to him.

May we ever-increasingly be a people whose sacrificial, all-life worship is fuelled by an increasing gratitude for his outrageous mercy displayed at the cross.

[1] Isaac Watts, When I survey the wondrous cross

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