“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV)
Our congregation was singing songs of praise and worship during a recent Sunday service. It was beautiful, powerful and moving. The songs spoke of God’s great love. They pointed to the great sacrifice that the Father made by sending his one and only Son to be the Savior of sinful man. The songs spoke of Jesus’ love, giving his life, being crucified for his enemies. And we praised our great God for this unfathomable kindness that saved us from a dire fate, eternal separation from our Holy Creator.
It was a powerful time of worship. It moved my heart, mind and soul. And it began a time of reflection. First, I contemplated God’s amazing love. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I am so glad that he loved me and that he accomplished the necessary work so that I could be reconciled to him. He didn’t ask me to act right, be right, or even change. He died for me knowing that I was sinful and would live as his enemy. That is unconditional love.
Next, I considered the incredible fact that Jesus had died on the cross to save the world from sin. All the people that I know that are living as enemies of God are people that Jesus died to save. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) And I believe God when he says, “whoever believes”.
Then the Pastor preached about living on mission. I remembered my role as an ambassador of Christ. I am to represent Jesus to the world so that they will come to know God’s ineffable love. I want them to join with me in knowing that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4–7, NIV)
My reflection began as an appreciation for what God had done for me. It began as a time of personal and corporate worship that led from an attitude of gratitude to a commission to live on mission. Now I need a plan of action, so that as I go into the world, I preach the gospel, in word and deed.