“While we were still sinners…”

From the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

“For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

One of the roadblocks in the spiritual life is that when we fall into sin, we begin to feel shame and withdraw from God.  We fall into the trap of believing we can only be loved by God if we are pure and clean from all stain of sin.  This is a great temptation that should be considered diabolical, because to believe this would build a wall between us and God.  Satan would have people believe that they are unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness.  He will try to choke the believer’s prayer life by suffocating him with shame and guilt.  Jesus, on the other hand, wishes to demonstrate His love towards all of us by giving us everything good, even when we are completely undeserving.  Remember this the next time you sit down to pray, at home or at church.  Or better yet, remember this when you are feeling depressed after having fallen repeatedly into the same sins.  You may be thinking, “Here I go again. I clearly don’t love the Lord or appreciate His blessings.  I continually reject Him. I just keep making the wrong choices. There is no hope for me. I should give up.”  WRONG!  Jesus is the personification of Mercy.  He is ready to lavish his mercy upon us.  In fact, he chose to reveal Himself to certain notorious sinners who were outright opposed to Him.  Do you recall St. Paul?  St. Paul had been focusing all his attention on eliminating the early Christians, believing they were a cult that should be stamped out.  He approved as followers of Jesus were imprisoned and even executed.  And amazingly, Paul was not even repenting or asking forgiveness when Jesus appeared to Him and revealed Himself as the Lord.  How much more then, will God embrace us when we ask Him for mercy? 

I will conclude with an excerpt from John Donne’s poetry, reminding us that “all occasions invite His mercies.” 

God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day, and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons: But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of his mercies. 

 He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light; he can bring thy Summer out of Winter, though thou have no Spring; though in the wayes of fortune, or understanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintred and frozen, clouded and eclypsed, damped and benummed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the Sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. 

All occasions invite His Mercies, and All times are His Seasons.” 


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One Response to ““While we were still sinners…””

  1. Judith Says:

    Thank you for this, but you are not quoting John Donne’s poetry, it is an extract from a sermon preached in St Paul’s cathedral, London on Christmas day evening in 1624. http://www.lib.byu.edu/dlib/donne

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