While We were Still Sinners

Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, that we might be reconciled once and for all with our God and Father. If God had to wait for us to be ready for God’s forgiveness, if God had to wait for us to be worthy of God’s mercy, God would still be waiting.

This reading reminds us that our salvation, the reconciliation we have in Christ and through his Precious Blood, is pure gift. We did nothing to earn it, nothing to deserve it. It reminds us just how awesome is our God.

Reconciliation does not necessarily return us to some previous relationship. It establishes a new relationship. In his books on reconciliation, Bob Schreiter, C.PP.S. often reminds us that when we are reconciled with one another we do not forget what may have caused us to become enemies or to be estranged from one another. We simply remember what happened in a new way. We remember it through a new lens, a new way of seeing our past, our present and our future.

God, as Israel and Jeremiah reminded us, remembers our sins no more. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t remember what we’ve done. It means that God remembers us no as disobedient children, but as sons and daughters for whom God would do anything to make us one with God. God does not think of us as sinners, but as those who are saved by God’s own grace.