Introduction to Christianity 3
3. DOES GOD REALLY LOVE US?
In unit 2 we saw that one of the reasons for the mess we are in is that each of us has gone our own way. We have ignored or disobeyed God, with the result that we no longer live in the way he wants us to.
1. The Problem
As you think about this from God's point of view how do you think he regards our rebelliousness?
a) He is pleased.
b) He tolerates it as a kind of childish mistake.
c) He is displeased.
d) He doesn't mind.
Read Romans 6.23 and Romans 1.18. What consequences are there for the person who has rebelled against God
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23, NRSV.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth." Romans 1:18, NRSV.
Is there any way we, by ourselves, can get out of this problem?
2. The Solution
The Bible tells us that God is displeased with our sin. But he loves us very much. He has provided a way for us to escape from his judgment and be his friends.
The beautiful thing about God's solution is that he is able to act justly by judging sin (and so uphold his moral order in the universe) while at the same time allowing us to escape entirely from every bit of punishment that was coming to us for every one of our sins.
2.1 How is this possible? (Romans 3.22-26)
"But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26, NRSV.
2.2 Who dies? (Romans 5.6; 1 Peter 2.24-25)
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6, NRSV.
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls." 1 Peter 2:24,25, NRSV.
2.3 On whose behalf does he die? (Romans 5.6-8)
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8, NRSV.
2.4 Why does he stand in for us? (Romans 5.8)
"But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8, NRSV.
Are there any sins you have committed for which Jesus has not taken the punishment?
3. Can you list some other results of God's love?
What do these passages say?
3.1 Ephesians 1.5
"He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will," Ephesians 1:5, NRSV.
3.2 Hebrews 2.14-15
"Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death." Hebrews 2:14,15, NRSV.
3.3 1 Peter 2.24
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24, NRSV
4. So ...
If God has shown his love for us in this way how should we respond?
2 Corinthians 5.14-15
"For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them." 2 Corinthians 5:14,15, NRSV.
1 John 4.9-12
"God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:9-12, NRSV.
If you would like to follow up anything in this unit, please contact us and we will try to help you.
The next Unit in this Course is 4. Can God Make a Difference to Me?