The book of Romans is an amazing message, showing us God’s way of making sinful mankind righteous through Jesus and His powerful gospel. In this letter, there is a life-changing statement which comes across in four English words: “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

In the fifth chapter of Romans, before we come to that great truth about the Christ’s death, we learn that Christians are people —

–  Who are justified by faith (5:1);

–  Who have peace (5:1);

–  Who have obtained grace (5:2);

–  Who rejoice (5:2);

–  Who have hope (5:2);

–  Who stand with their Lord despite their tribulations (5:3).

What motivates Christians, anyway? What makes these people come to the Lord and stick with Him, looking to Him as their Refuge and Strength? It is quite simple, really. It is those four words: “Christ died for us.” To get a better feel for that statement, look at the entire message of Romans 5:6-10:

(6) For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (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. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

When “Christ died for us,” He died for the Rebellious. What did Jesus do? He gave His life in our stead. Die, death, and blood dominate the message of five consecutive verses in Romans 5: “died” (5:6), “die” (5:7), “died” (5:8), “blood” (5:9), and “death” (5:10).

For whom did the Christ die? The Bible says He died for those who were without strength (5:6), He died for the ungodly (5:6), He died for sinners (5:8), and He died for those who were enemies, meaning the enemies of God (5:10). People who are lost outside of Jesus may be at different stages of immorality, they may have committed different types of sin and be guilty of different quantities of sin, but such people have this one thing in common: they are lost in sin, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

When “Christ died for us,” God’s love was Revealed: “But God demonstrates His own love for us . . .” (5:8). In the Old Testament, we see the Creator portrayed as a God of lovingkindness, but we read much more about His love in the new covenant. The most marvelous manifestation of His matchless love was the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf: “. . . for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son in the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:8,9). The cross of Calvary sends this unmistakable message from God to mankind: “I love you.” Yes, we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Despite mankind’s rebellious behavior, God continues to love and love and love. Pretty amazing, is it not?!

When “Christ died for us,” He acted as our Redeemer. We are “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9). Yes, it is redemption through the Father’s grace and the Son’s blood (3:23-25). A high price was paid for our atonement/redemption — the Father gave up His Son; Jesus, like an innocent lamb brought to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), laid down His life. Know this: Jesus did not procure redemption for Himself. He had no sins, so He needed no redemption. His death was one hundred per cent for the benefit of sinners — the strength- less, helpless, rebellious, ungodly, enemies of God.

When “Christ died for us,” He brought about Reconciliation. “. . . we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son . . . “ (5:10). In general, reconciliation takes place when two or more parties who have been estranged from each another are able to come back together and be in favor with one another. In the spiritual realm, sin is the culprit. It separates transgressors from God (Isaiah 59:1,2). But, the great news of Romans 5 is that the combination of God’s grace and Jesus’ death can “take care of” the separation problem, giving sinners the chance to be reconciled to God. In order for that reconciliation to take place in actuality in a lost person’s life, he/she must obey the gospel and get into the Christ by being baptized (6:3,4). It is in Him, and only in Him, that reconciliation is attained.

There is no excuse for you or me or any other human to leave this world in a lost condition. Why? Because “Christ died for us.” What powerful words!

— Roger D. Campbell