But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
When was the last time you tried to engage in a relationship with someone that was not pursuing any kind of relationship with you? It probably didn’t go very well did it? That’s the kind of thing that can get us labeled as a stalker or crazy person in our world today. But, that is what God, in all of His love for us, has done and is doing. He is pursuing us even when we are not pursuing Him. That is what Paul meant in Romans 5 when he said, “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
God doesn't start to love us once we accept Him or put our faith in Him. He doesn't start to extend to us His grace only once we have fallen in line. God’s grace is at work in us before we ever surrender our heart and lives to Him. In the church world we call this ‘prevenient grace.’ This simply means that God comes to us before we come to Him. He seeks us out right where we are in whatever condition we are in. God initiates, we respond. Grace always comes first.
I always stand amazed at the fact that God would send Jesus to die for us. Making that kind of sacrifice for someone is miraculous by itself. But, then, when you combine that with that fact that He did it when we didn’t love Him back, when many wouldn’t love Him back. God’s relentless pursuit of us makes His love and sacrifice even more awesome to me. He never gives up on us, which also means we should never give up on each other. There is always hope.
In Luke 10 it was God’s prevenient grace that made the harvest field ripe and paved the way for the 70 disciples to get to work. It was that same grace that caused Jesus to look at those lost cities with hope and excitement. As we look out at our city and our lives, no matter how bad they might be, there is always hope because God’s grace is always present.
God loves you so much that He has come searching for you. He is looking for you before you even start looking for Him. He is at work in your life even before you know Him or even want Him there. My prayer, is that we all recognize God’s grace and respond to Him in faith and love. After all, who else would fight for us like that?
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.