“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:8-11
So much of the usual teaching we grow up with or hear a lot describes salvation as something we need to ask for with a pleading heart, or, that we have to repent and ask God to forgive us or we will not be saved. Granted, those things might be part of our salvation experience, but they are not requirements that have to be done “in order” to be saved. Let me explain…
When Jesus was on the cross; “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Our salvation was secured right in that moment of time. Like it says in these verses in Romans 5, “…since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood…” That’s exactly what happened in the moment Jesus said “It is finished.” It was while we were yet sinners that this happened. We weren’t around 2000 years ago. It was a demonstration of how deep and wide God’s love is for us that He did all this before we were around, and, while “we were yet sinners.” We had not asked for salvation, had not thought about salvation or even wanted it.
I like the word “now” in this verse! It happened 2000 years ago but God, being outside of time, applied it backwards and forwards. It’s salvation “now” and it’s “while we were enemies.” Picture with me the scene at the foot of the cross. Jesus was being mocked, spit upon, and sworn at from all sides. It was clear there were many enemies there in person. That’s all of us. We were enemies of God, dead in our sin, and living in darkness. Jesus came because God loved us so much, placed so much value on us, that it took the most precious person, His own Son, to take our place and took the punishment for all our sins. God’s wrath over sin was satisfied with Jesus taking our place! We were acquitted and set free from any further punishment. This one act of love brought us together with God again. That’s what it means by reconciliation. We were once apart from God but now because of Christ’s finished work on our behalf, we are together with Him again.
Notice how Paul uses the past tense in many of the words in this verse. We are already justified, already saved from God’s wrath, reconciled, received, etc. Nowhere is there a requirement that we have to plead for forgiveness or repent of something. How could we do that when we were not born when Jesus hung on the cross? It all happened and was finished long before we ever heard about God. The only thing for us to do is just receive what has already been finished. It’s like if someone buys you a car with the title in your name, and leaves it in your driveway. When you find the car and title, you have a choice. You can say thanks and enjoy driving the car, or, you can reject the car because you do not believe that it’s a gift or you think you will have to pay something at some point.
I’m sure God loves it when we do ask Him to forgive us because it means we are humbling ourselves before Him and agreeing (confessing) with Him that indeed we are sinners and need a Savior. But I think God loves it when we find out that we are already forgiven because of what His Son did on our behalf. When we realize that Jesus did all the work for us, that’s when we are born again. That’s when we take that car out of the driveway and enjoy all the benefits of it with a grateful heart knowing we did nothing to earn it, it was a free gift given out of God’s unmerited favor upon the human race.
Verse 10 in the amplified says it this way: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life.” The finished work of Jesus is everlasting. It’s not just for one day or one month, but every day salvation produces all the grace needed, and more on top of that. So be at rest knowing your salvation was finished. There isn’t anything you need to do on top of what Christ did. Just believe He did it for you and receive the gift that it is and salvation is yours.