From an early age, we’re taught that what people think of us is based largely on our performance. Teachers, parents, coaches, and peers all seem happier with us and affirm us when we stand out as good students, athletes, musicians, or obedient children. Most jobs reinforce this. The more I can impress and prove my worth, the more secure my job and future is.
We live and breathe in a works-based world where my performance seems to be the determining factor for what others think of me and how I’m treated. Because what we know is being judged by our performance, we think God must be the same: happy with me when I’m good and unhappy with me when I’m bad. We assume God will be proud of me when I’m strong and disappointed with me I’m weak. We assume God will love me when I read my Bible and pray but reject me when I sin.
We make God’s love dependent not on who he is but on what we do. We turn God’s free grace into a wage we earn.
But the Bible tells us God is not like this. The basis for how God treats us in Christ isn’t our performance and works but his promises and grace. What we see in Romans 5:6 is that God’s ways are different than what we’re used to, but they’re also what our hearts long for most: a secure love that’s not based on my performance.
Romans 3-5 makes it clear we’re all sinners. We act selfishly. We love our glory more than God’s. We have corrupt desires in our hearts—whether lust, anger, pride, or greed. God sees the times you blow it and knows those hidden sins of your heart.
But Romans 5:6 comes to us with wonderful news of amazing grace. We’re told that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” God didn’t look on us and become so impressed that he’s like, “Okay that person is someone I can love.” He knows we’re undeserving of his kindness and love. And yet, he looks on us in our mess, in our filth, in our brokenness and sin, and he says he will love us despite us. He sees us in our weakness and has compassion.
The good news of the gospel, and what we celebrate on Good Friday, is that Jesus died for sinners. Maybe you know that conceptually, but do you trust that personally? Jesus died for you when you were weak and ungodly. Jesus died for you not because you have an Instagrammable life or earned his approval but to display the depth of his mercy and grace.
Humbly admitting our weakness and honestly confessing our sin doesn’t remove us from the path of God’s love. It’s the road to experiencing God’s love. For when we were weak and ungodly, that’s when God came for us. The way he relates to you is based on the salvation Jesus accomplished on the cross, not in anything you can accomplish. It’s about Christ’s work for us not our work for him. You can be forgiven because God’s grace to you is dependent on his promises and not your performance.
The cross is good news about God’s love to the most undeserving of us. That means our failures and sin shouldn’t cause us to run from God but run to God. Run to and rest in the love of God for you, proven at the cross where Jesus died not for good people but for sinners, not for the healthy but the sick, not for the pious but for the pitiful, and not for the strong but for the weak.