What does Romans 5:8 mean?
ESV: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
NIV: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
NASB: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
CSB: But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
NLT: But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
KJV: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Verse Commentary:
This is one of the most loved verses in the Bible, and the high point of a lengthier discussion. In previous verses, Paul clearly showed that salvation is on the basis of faith, not works (Romans 3:21–26). That justification—a declaration of righteousness—brings us peace with God, instead of wrath. This is available only to those who have expressed saving faith, as exemplified by men like Abraham (Romans 4:1–12). Given that hope, suffering in the life of a Christian believer can be meaningful. We are safe to hope in God because He loves us. Paul's point here is that we don't have to take God's word alone that He loves us. We can look at the evidence: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What does it mean that Christ died for us? It means that He died in our place. Because of our sin, we deserved to suffer God's angry judgment. We deserved death. Christ took that judgment for our sin on Himself on the cross. He suffered and died in our place. Paul insists that we should take that act as evidence of God's great love for us, especially since God went first. Jesus died in our place, before we knew we would want Him to do that. He died for us before we'd ever done anything to deserve that love. This is a point Paul made in the prior verse: it takes love to die willingly for someone else, even if they're a "good" person. But we, those who have been saved, were still sinners, and we weren't going to improve. In truth, we had no hope of avoiding God's judgment before Jesus took it for us.

God proved His love for us. That makes Him worth trusting.
Verse Context:
Romans 5:1–11 describes the amazing benefits that come with being declared righteous before God by faith in Christ's death for our sin. God has made peace with us. We stand in His grace, and we rejoice in the sure hope that we will share in His glory. Our suffering brings growth, which leads to even more potent hope. God has proven His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We are saved from God's wrath and reconciled to God in Christ.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 5 begins by describing some of the benefits that come with being declared righteous by God because of our faith in Christ. We have peace with God, and we stand in His grace. We rejoice both in the hope of God's glory and in our temporary suffering. We have hope that will not disappoint, because God has already proved His love for us. Paul then compares the work of Adam in bringing sin and death into the world with the work of Christ in dying for sin in order to offer God's free gift of grace to all who believe.
Chapter Context:
After proving that all men are guilty of sin and incapable of earning salvation, Paul explained how faith—not works—is the means by which God declares us righteous. Romans 5 begins with a powerful, joyful revelation of all that comes with being justified in God's eyes by our faith in Christ. We have peace with God. We stand in God's grace. We have hope for eternal glory and meaning in our current suffering. God has proven His love for us in the death of Christ for our sin while we were still sinners. Adam introduced sin and death to the world, and they continue. Christ, though, by dying for our sin brought God's grace to all who believe. The next chapter begins by refuting a common misconception about salvation by grace through faith.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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