When We Were Utterly Helpless

blindfolded-1732539_640Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 18, 2017)


Romans 5:1-8  New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.


If I’m not mistaken, we are picking up in Romans, right where we left off before Lent and Easter.  The reason I say that is that I remember writing about being made right in God’s sight through faith.  Again a reminder that Paul did not write with chapters and verses – it was one long letter.  He gets done telling us that we are made righteous with God through faith and then goes into today’s passage. Because we are made right with God through faith, we can have peace.  Whoa!  (and I say that in a good way.)

I’ve come to this passage many times because it reminds us just how great God’s love is for us.  We are reminded that we can have peace in our hearts because of the work that Christ Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection.  Because of our faith, we are in a unique place – it is a place of grace – it is a place of undeserved privilege.  Because of our faith, we know that we will be able to share in God’s glory.

Here Paul reminds us of why we go through trials and why we suffer.  It’s a passage I’ve quoted many times.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Trials help us develop endurance.  As a runner, I have been relearning this endurance thing.  This winter in Eldred was tough and I lost much of the endurance that I had just regained back in the fall.  Finally my body is starting to respond.  Endurance takes time to develop.  We need to have perseverance. The old saying goes “Rome wasn’t born in a day.” Things take time. We live in an instant society.  Trials help us develop endurance. Endurance produces strength of character – we need people – we need believers who have a strength of character. Strength of character then strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  See the progression…God dearly loves us. He gave us Jesus to save us from our sins and we have the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

How great is God’s love – Paul tells us when we were utterly helpless – when we couldn’t even help ourselves – much like a little baby is after it is born – completely dependent on its parents.  This is what we were like before Christ – completely helpless.  When we were completely and utterly helpless – Christ came and died for each one of us – all 7 billion people on the planet now and everyone who died before.

We are reminded that Christ came to die for us, not because we were good – but because we were sinners. We know that we would have a hard time dying for someone who didn’t deserve it – we wouldn’t like dying for someone who was worthy of dying, but Christ, in his great mercy died for us…He took our place. He didn’t wait until we got our act cleaned up. No, we were too helpless for that.  He came when we were sinners.

The sacrifice that Christ made, makes us right in God’s sight through faith – it saves us from God’s condemnation – and it restores us back to the relationship with God that was designed in the Garden of Eden – Christ was the second Adam.  Because of Christ’s work, we can be friends of God – and we can rejoice in this wonderful new relationship!

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