“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (8).” This is a sentiment commonly expressed in Christian culture, rooted in sermons and emblazoned on coffee mugs and t-shirts, but I think the ramifications of this statement dig deeper than most realize. It’s not just that Christ died for us all so that we may be saved, although it that certainly is a huge part of it. As Paul writes, it makes sense that one might die for a righteous man, or a good man—they contribute to society and others’ wellbeing, after all, and they follow God’s rules. Surely they merit protection. Yet, Christ didn’t die for the good men. Christ died for the mess-ups, the screw-ups, those who failed and fell down and weren’t so good at getting back up again. Christ died for the sinners. Christ died for those who didn’t have their act together.
Of course, none of us have our act together.
So what does that mean for us as Christians, those who would choose to follow in Jesus’s footsteps? Well, Paul writes that since “we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (10)” So through Jesus’s death, he shows us how to live. And that means that we, as Christians, must die to ourselves, must sacrifice of ourselves, in order to love and serve sinners. We aren’t just serving the men and women who have it all together, who are righteous and good and contribute to society. God calls us to die for jerks, for petty people, for mean people, for selfish people. He calls us to die for the lost, the abandoned, the needy—those whom the rest of the world looks over. God died for all of us, sinners. As Christians, we aren’t serving those whom the rest of the world panders to and looks out for. We are searching out those whom have fallen through the nooks and crannies of society. We are loving the unloveable and the looked over. It will make us uncomfortable. It will push us out of our comfort zones. It isn’t easy. But dying never is, and only out of death can come new life.