What did you have to offer?
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. | Romans 5:6 (NLT)
There’s wisdom in the old saying ‘don’t believe your own press’. See, we have a tendency to surround ourselves – whether knowingly or otherwise – with people we like and who like us. People who will, generally, say nice things about us. We probably all enjoy people saying nice things about us – ‘You did a great job with ….’, ‘The way you … was really good’. You know how it goes.
The problem is that over time, such comments begin to shape our self-view, and we can begin to believe our own press. We can, if we’re not careful, begin to think we’ve got something to offer, and this can leak into our view of our standing before God. Surely, if I’m able, strong, competent, gifted, then it was based on the potential ‘return on investment’ that he chose to save me? Or maybe it was my potential for his Kingdom that deemed me worth the sacrifice?
Paul’s words in today’s verse dispel any such folly. Utterly helpless. That was our state and standing before God. Elsewhere Paul would describe us as “dead”. And the thing about dead people is they can’t do a single thing for themselves. They are, to go full circle, utterly helpless. They can’t help themselves, they can’t choose life, they have no potential and nothing to endear them to someone.
That was our state. It’s the state of anyone who has not been born again. It was my state and yours…
We were dead in sin; unable to help ourselves, but God.
But God in his wisdom and mercy, based solely on his goodness and kindness sent forth his Son to come and bring Resurrection and Life in him to those who were dead.
To bookend his point, Paul adds ‘for us sinners’ to the close of the sentence.
Consider that for a moment.
It wasn’t for the good, nor the best behaved. It wasn’t for those whose lives were ‘together’ and sorted. It wasn’t for the potential-laden, nor those ‘just in need of a bit of improvement’. It was for the sinful, broken, spiritually destitute that Christ came, bringing salvation and hope to all who would receive him.
This is the glory of the gospel.
It’s our story, and is becoming the story of thousands around the world who are being saved daily. Are you telling your story? Are you praying for it to become the story of your spouse, friend, colleague or neighbour?
This verse contains a damning diagnosis for all mankind (utter helplessness) and a glorious remedy: Christ came.
I dare you to share that good news with someone today.