At the Right Time

Text: Romans 5:1-11

romans_5_8_by_jcwhatcounts20-d46nbykOur text this evening, Romans 5:1-11, works for well for the Lenten season. Lent is the period of time where we especially look to the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Here in Romans St. Paul describes one of the results of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf: we have received reconciliation. Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] He continues, “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”[2] Since we have been justified by faith, Paul says, we are reconciled to God and we are at peace.

Now this peace, what is it? What do we mean by peace? It seems that as we get older, the world begins to revolve faster and faster. Most of us remember life before the internet, but now even some of our grandchildren have cell phones with internet on them. Life used to seem calm, quiet, and peaceful, but increasingly the world is becoming chaotic to the point that many of us just want some peace and quiet – peace, meaning the lack of chaos. Peace in this sense is negative, it is the lack of something. In our text, the peace we have with God is positive. It is not only the removal of the hostility between Him and us because of our sin, but it is also an introduction of the active good will of God our Father for us through Jesus Christ. As our text says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[3]

I.

This peace and reconciliation between God and us is something that comes entirely from outside ourselves. Throughout Scripture our state of being apart from faith in Christ is described as death. Without faith we are dead in our trespasses. Those who lack saving faith live their lives in sin only to go to the grave unrepentant and to eternal torment. Such were some of us. Lured by the influence of Satan and the world, at various times and places, we have each devoted ourselves to sinful desires and actions. At those times we were not only without God, but we were actively turned away from Him.

But, Scripture says, “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”[4] Before new birth in Christ, we were weak. No, it’s worse than that – we were ungodly. At times we behave as if we still are, yet at the right time Christ died for the ungodly; He died for you. This is not something usually reflected in the world. As Paul says, one will scarcely die for a righteous person; how much less, then, would one die for an enemy? Or, how about an entire nation, an entire world, of people who hate and curse your name? I don’t think I would be so willing, yet Christ was. In this God showed His love for us and the world, that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The result of Christ’s work is this: that He has broken down the wall of hostility that existed between God and us. Ever since our first parents were cast out of the Garden, there existed a wall between God and us, a flaming sword separating everything sinful from everything good and righteous and pure. This wall was broken down by Christ on the cross, as we read in Matthew 27 that the veil in the Temple was torn in two at His death. Because of this, the hostility and wrath of God against sin, sin that existed in us, is replaced by God’s good favor.

II.

Scripture says, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”[5] One of the things that we were just talking about in new member class is the end of the world. In the past couple years contemporary society has seemingly become more conscious of the fact that our earthly lives, and the world, will end. On the shelves we see books like, Heaven is for Real and Love Wins. But, concern over what will happen at the end of life is not new.

Paul writes to the Romans, that if we are now justified by the blood of Christ, meaning that the guilt of our sins is removed through His death, how much more then, when we die, will we be saved from God’s wrath. Scripture is perfectly clear that God and sin cannot coexist. Out of mercy Christ has delayed His return so that many may be called to faith and receive forgiveness. But there will be a time when He returns and sin is punished. This should not scare us, for we have received reconciliation and are saved by the life of Christ. However, it should motivate us to share the Good News of Christ so that others may enter His rest with us.

There’s a children’s song that goes, “At time like this, oh, I need the Lord to help me.” In our text tonight we learn that, at a time like this, we are helped by the Lord. As it says, while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. He died for us; He died for you. By His blood the wrath of God has been removed from us and we now have peace. Instead of God the Father seeing our sin, He now sees His beloved children, whom He will soon welcome into eternal life. In His name, amen.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Rom. 5:1.

[2] Rom. 5:11.

[3] Rom. 5:8.

[4] Rom. 5:6.

[5] Rom. 5:9–10.

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