Bible Study Romans 5:5-8 - God's Great Love for Us

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Book of Romans Bible Studies

Romans 5:5-8 - God's Great Love for Us

By F. Gordon 

Previously we looked at Romans 5.3- 4 which was the hope in the midst of trial.  The tribulations that we go through are for a purpose, they produce the quality of God's life in us.  Perseverance produces character, and character leads to hope.  The context is the love of God but it's not our love for Him, but God's great love for us. 

The Holy Spirit

Romans 5.5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  

This isn't our love for God. It's God's great love which is poured out on the believer by the person of the Holy Spirit. This is the first mention of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans. Paul in Romans 8 talks about what the Spirit does in the believer and what He's trying to produce - a life that is an overcoming life. 

The Holy Spirit has been poured into the believers hearts and it's still in the same context - trials, tribulations and sufferings.  But Paul says hope does not disappoint, or some versions say hope does not make you ashamed.  You have a picture of the Holy Spirit coming into the life of the believer, and the believer should not be discouraged. There is always hope because He pours out His great love for us into our hearts.  We should not be ashamed or disappointed because His love is there for us no matter what we're facing.  

This reminded me of a good old hymn by Horatio Spafford - It is Well With My Soul. We hear these hymns and we love to sing them, but we often don't know the background of them.  I've got this book of hymns at home which writes about who wrote them and why.  This is what the Holy Spirit within a believer can produce because He has been poured into our heart. He was a very committed Christian.  He was described by George Stebbins “as a noted gospel musician and a man of unusual intelligence and refinement, deeply spiritual and devoted student of the scriptures.”

It is well

“A young man, Spafford had established a successful legal practice in Chicago and along with his financial success, he always maintained a keen interest in Christian activities. He had a close and active relationship with DL Moody and other evangelical leaders of the era.”

“Some months prior to the Chicago Fire. In 1871, Spafford had invested heavily in real estate on the shore of Lake Michigan, and his holdings were wiped out by the fire. So, desiring a rest for his wife and his four daughters as well as wishing to assist Moody and Sankey in one of their campaigns in Great Britain, Spafford planned a European trip for his family in November of 1873. Due to unexpected last minute business developments he had to remain in Chicago, but he sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the SS Villa.  He expected to follow in a few days.  On November the 22nd, the ship was struck by the Lucerne, an English vessel and it sank in 12 minutes. Several days later, the survivors finally landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband - Saved alone. Shortly afterwards, Spafford left by ship to join his bereaved wife. It is thought that on the sea near the area where his four daughters drowned, Spafford penned this text whose words so significantly described his own personal grief - When sorrows like sea billows roll.  It is noteworthy, however, that Spafford's hymn does not dwell on the theme of life, sorrows and trials, but focuses attention in the third stanza on the redemptive work of Christ and the 4th stanza anticipates his glorious second coming.”  

Humanly speaking, it is amazing that one could experience such personal tragedy and sorrow and be able to say with such convincing clarity, it is well with my soul.  Spafford ends up living and having a ministry in Jerusalem and dies there. “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say it is well it is well with my soul.” It's amazing that on his journey he penned this hymn.  It's only the Holy Spirit within the believer that can bring about that type of hope to see beyond circumstances.  He was not ashamed, or disappointed but recognised above and beyond the circumstance that the presence of God within him could bring about a sense of peace, love, and hope for the future.  Only the Holy Spirit can bring that about. Humanly you can't muster that up. It's got to come by His Spirit. The presence of God within the believer, it is there. It is poured out into your heart and can bring about that response. 

We are without strength

Romans 5:6  

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us. It's a gift. And then in verse 6 he goes on to say “For when we were still without strength.” The first thing Paul says about humanity is that it has no strength. We like to think that we've got what it takes, but the bible is very clear that we don't.  He first pictures mankind as one without strength. So what does that mean? You don't have any spiritual strength to bring about salvation for yourselves. The Bible says we are born dead in our trespasses and sins because of the extent of the fall.  God said to Adam “In the day that you eat of that tree, you will surely die.” Now Adam didn't die physically, he went on to live a long life.  On the day he sinned he died spiritually.  Man was created in such a way that the presence of God was to inhabit his humanity and control his mind, his will and his emotions bringing about God's image on earth.  He was created in the image of God and on the day that he fell the presence of God left Adam and in its place there was a big ‘I’. He became self centred.  Adam died spiritually and had no ability whatsoever to discern spiritual things.  Everyone born into this world is now born in that same state -  dead in their trespasses and sins.  They don't understand spiritual things. 

1 Corinthians 2.14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

When you're talking to people sometimes you can see they don't get it. They don't understand spiritual things, it's foolishness to them. And that's because the natural man doesn't have the ability to comprehend the spiritual things of God.  We need our eyes opened and a work of God in us to bring that about.  This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, “unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  A second birth is needed for all humanity, they must be born again.  It's a spiritual birth. The presence of the Holy Spirit put back into mankind, back to controlling his heart, mind, will and emotions.  That's what a normal man is.  Everyone is abnormal until God comes back into them. 

You're without strength. You don't have any ability to save yourself or any ability to understand spiritual things. The second thing about strength is that you have no ability to please God in and of yourself.   Jeremiah says that all man's righteousness is as filthy rags - unclean. Man's best attempts at becoming righteous and acceptable are completely filthy.  They don't stack up. Even Paul, a very religious man, with impressive credentials in Philippians 3 only talks about what a great man he was under the law, under his birth and heritage.  He says, “I had zeal, according to the law I was blameless, a Pharisee.  I was born into the tribe of Benjamin but yet I consider all those things as dung”.  Rubbish to be put aside or thrown out to be found in Christ having a righteousness which is from Him. 

Humans don't like to be told they're without strength, they like to think that they've got it all together.  I watched a documentary on transhumanism by Tom Horn a while ago.  It's been around for a while and is growing.  Transhumanism is about making humanity better.  They're trying to enhance humans via genes and technology.  Like the stuff you watch in movies.  There is an incredible amount of money put into research to enhance humans, to make them stronger and live longer.  They've started with the animal Kingdom and are working on DNA between different types of animals.  They want to produce enhanced humanity so that you're able to cope in different circumstances.  When they first started testing on animals the scientists were happy with 4 or 5% human and the rest animal.  Now they are happy with 50/50%.  You've also got designer babies.  People may want a child without certain diseases, or blue eyes, tan skin, and 6 foot.   In England not long ago there was a child born with DNA from three parents.  

Man has always wanted to live forever and their goal is to see humanity live for 1000 years.  They believe they can get there by slowing down cellular destruction. They want to return to before the days of Noah.  As in the days of Noah, so will the last days be.  They changed what God created so much so that humanity, and I believe also the animal Kingdom, had been corrupted in the eyes of God.  Going forward for Christians, there may be decisions to make.  If you don't want diseases, you might be able to change your DNA.  They are also looking at enhancing your brain speed.  They are looking at everything. Some animals have the ability to sense things that humans don't, (some say they can even sense the spiritual realm), which were created by God for them to use.  Now they are looking at combining those with human genes.  This may mean enhanced humans would have the ability to be more open to the spiritual realm.  

In Numbers 22 we have the story of Balaam’s Donkey.  He saw the Angel of the Lord when Balaam didn't see him.  The donkey rammed Balaam’s leg against the rock because he didn't want to go where Balaam wanted to go. He saw the angel that Balaam couldn't see.  I believe everything is going to change and I think there will be some hard decisions for us to make.  

Man wants strength for certain things but he will still lack what he really needs and that is the Spirit of God.  

In due time

There was a specific time that God sent forth His Son into this world.  Salvation isn't an afterthought.   Jesus is spoken of in Revelation as the Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world.  Man didn't fall and then God said, ‘Oh gosh, what are We going to do now?  God had a plan from all eternity, from the beginning to the end. He foresaw what was going to happen, and He planned it that way.  Now you might think that God would send His Saviour into the world much earlier.  Why didn't He send him just after Adam fell? I don't know, but I do know He had an exact plan, purpose and time to send His Saviour into the world. 

Galatians 4.3-4 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.  4  But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  5  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

There was an exact time that God planned before time began to send His Saviour into the world.  It is interesting to think that Christ coming into the world is the fullness of time and from then on it is the last days.  He came in the fullness of time.  He was the second Adam uncontaminated by a sinful nature. He was born of a woman, the virgin Mary, under the law.  The Jews had 1400 years of the law and it showed them who God was and what His character was like. The Jews were supposed to be a light to the Gentiles, but they failed.  Jesus was a perfect man who came not only to give an exact representation of who God was, but to fulfil the law by His life. He was the first man to fulfil the law completely and to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive the adoption as sons.   

Hebrews 1.1-2 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,  2  has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Once again, there is a specific time and God has got one more thing to say to mankind - the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  These are the last days, listen to Him. He is My gift to mankind.  Not only was the law already given to mankind, but He was sent at a time when all Greek wisdom and philosophy had reached its height with all the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.  They prided themselves on wisdom and God sent forth His Son at that time.  1 Corinthians 1 talks about how it pleased God to send Him. “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.  They regarded the simple teaching of a saviour coming into the world as foolish, with no wisdom to it.  Another thing to consider is that road systems had been created by the Greeks and Romans.  When the gospel was sent out into the world, travel was made easier.  There was also relative peace at that time so all parts of the empire were relatively easy to access.  Jesus wasn't a day early or a day late in the overall plan of God.

Christ died

Jesus' life is wonderful.  He showed us what the father was like, but that doesn't save us.  Jesus gave a full representation of what God was like in His life.  However, It's not His teachings that save us or the miracles that He did or that He declared Himself the Messiah.  It's His death that saves mankind.  This whole passage is really about the love of God for humanity.  John. 3.16 “For God so loved the world that he gave…”  The giving is not only Christ laying aside His deity and becoming human but it's God giving Him over to death.  It is huge when you think about the love of God. Not only did He send His Son but He gave Him over and made Him the accursed thing.  He was made sin on our behalf.  In the garden of Gethsemane Christ said to the Father, Is there any other way that We can do this? Yet not My will, but Thine be done. And the Father gave over His Son to be made sin on our behalf.  The righteous for the unrighteous, the just for the unjust.  God loved humanity so much that He gave His son as the substitute for you and me.

Hebrews 2.9-10 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.  10  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

God sent His son that He might taste death for everyone, for all humanity.  But we see Jesus…  He paid the price for you and for me, He tasted death so that we could live.  

When you consider the great love of God at Calvary, who was it given for?

For the ungodly

Romans 5:7  

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You may be prepared to die for someone that you love, like your child. But for someone that you didn't love, would you be prepared to die? And the answer is no. But God's great love is far beyond, and above all that we are.  Even though you are undeserving, and a sinner, He loved you so much that He was willing to die for you and I - the ungodly.  That means those that are unlike God, those that are undeserving.  

Sometimes the cafe at work will make us burgers and they're the biggest burgers you've ever seen. You have to hold them in two hands. The other day the cook brought them down to us and they were beautiful.  My workmate was struggling because they were so enormous.  I looked across at him and it was all pouring out the sides. He was gripping it so hard trying to hold it together that he'd broken through the bun.  When it came from the cafe it was a really nice burger, but by the time he'd finished with it, it looked like he'd stamped on it.  As I looked at this burger it reminded me of us; that's what we’re like apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was munted and not what it was created to be.  Within seconds, he had decimated the burger, and it poured out the sides, dropping everywhere. God created us to be beautiful, an expression of Him.  His whole purpose for dying was for those that are munted, the ungodly, and the undeserving.

In Luke 7 you will find the story of Simon the Pharisee.  Jesus is invited to Simon's house because he wants to check out this new young upstart of a preacher.  Not long after a woman comes forth with alabaster oil and she weeps while washing and drying Jesus’ feet.  Simon says in his heart, if this man were a prophet, he would know who she was and what manner of person she was.  In other words, he would know that she was a prostitute and he wouldn't have anything to do with her.  Jesus perceives what is in this man's heart and He tells him the story of the debtors - those that are forgiven much, love much. Simon didn’t have a clue about his own condition, but this woman who was completely undeserving, falls at the feet of Christ, and can't stop crying. She wipes His feet with her tears because she understood her condition.  Simon had no idea about the true extent of his own heart, but this woman did.

Ezekiel 16.1-10 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,  2  "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,  3  and say, 'Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: "Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.  As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.  5  No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.  6  "And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' Yes, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!'  7  I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.  8  When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord God.  9  Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.  10  I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

The origins of Jerusalem were Amorite and Hittite.  Before it was given as a special possession to Israel Jerusalem was rejected and thrown out like an unclean thing.  But God came along, and said live.  It is a picture of us also - God says the same thing to the whole world.  It is marred because of sin and has become a rejected thing, but God's love is crying out live!  Hear My Son, Listen to Him and live!  All this is a picture of salvation.  He clothed you in robes of righteousness of all that Christ has done for you. It isn't your robe, it's something He places over you and declares you to be righteous in His sight. He washes you in water and anoints you with oil.  All of these are a picture of us being washed by the word.  Jesus said to Peter, “unless I wash you, you have no part with me”.  The anointing of oil is the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts which gives us the ability to produce the fruit and gifts of the Spirit.  Jerusalem was an unclean thing, yet God made it His possession and something special.  He washed her, cleaned her, and anointed her.  This is all true of those that have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He does exactly the same thing. He clothes you and anoints you, and He washes you with the water of his word. You were once an unclean thing, thrown out like Jerusalem into the field, destitute. But His grace and love has spoken to you - live. 

God Bless