Loved Ahead of Time 
Pray: Ask God to fill you with a sense of His unique love for you. Ask Him to cause you to stand in awe of His love for you in Christ.
Text: Romans 5:6–8
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
It’s easy to love the loveable. Pouring out affection on a cute little baby or a devoted family dog comes easy. And it costs nothing. Loving someone that is unlovely is much harder. We can all relate. And loving a difficult coworker or an estranged family member is costly.
This passage from Romans teaches us about the glory of God’s love for His people in Christ. If you are a Chirstian, God loved you and gave that which is most precious to Him, the life of His only begotten Son, in order to save you. In other words, He “spent” that which is of greatest value in the universe to rescue you. No higher price could have been paid. Amazing! He did this when you were at your most unloveable: when you were still enslaved to sin. Jesus endured the agony of the cross for you before you ever came to saving faith in Him or had anything to commend you to Him. Glorious! No one else has ever or will ever love you like that.
But does it go deeper than that? Yes!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” - Ephesians 1:3-6
God purposed to set His saving love on you before the foundation of the world was laid. What?! Before He formed a single mountain or created the weirdness of the ostrich and the beauty of the peacock, He chose you for salvation in Christ. He knew of your great need ahead of time, and He committed Himself to bring about your salvation before there was such a thing as “before” (mind blowing, I know). This is a level of love that we can’t really get our minds wrapped around.
Not to sound like a late night infomercial, “But wait! There’s more!”
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” - Ephesians 2:1–5
In one sense, you were a slave to sin, unable to choose to do right in your own strength. As if you were bound in chains, unable to break free. But in another sense, you were dead. Spiritually speaking, you were as alive and responsive to God’s revelation and initiative as roadkill. You didn’t need to be simply rescued or helped out a little. You were cold, hard, unresponsive, and lifeless. You needed a miracle. You needed to be raised from the dead. Just as Christ’s physical body was raised from the dead, you too have been raised from spiritual death to new life. By His Spirit, you have been made alive together with Christ!
Stand in awe of God’s great love for you! He set His love on you before the world was formed. He loved you when you were unlovely. He sent His one and only precious Son to rescue you. He gave you new life so that you could respond to Him and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. It just doesn’t get any better than that. It makes you want to sing:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my savior’s love for me.
For Thought/Discussion:

How often do you think about God’s love? Do you tend to think about it in general terms or in specific terms? How often do you think about His love for you, individually?

Take time to meditate on the three passages above. What do they say about God? What do they say about us apart from His love and saving grace? What do they say about the nature of God’s love and salvation?

Why do you think it is important to understand and be convinced of God’s love for you?

What effect do you think God’s love should have on your behavior, your relationships with others, and your worship?

Pick one or two fellow church members to pray for every day over the next two weeks. Find a way to encourage them with the love of God during that time.

Pray: Thank God for all for the ways He has shown His love for you. Ask Him to work in your heart to show that same kind of love to others, especially those who are hard to love. Ask Him to give you open doors to share the Gospel.

Cornerstone Church of Knoxville