"God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."—Romans 5:8
We can mouth and hear variations of this atonement text again and again, and it may not make that much difference. But if we really believe it in the depths of our being, we cannot escape its revolutionary power and implications. The affirmation that we are saved by faith only through grace remains a pious and vain aphorism as long as this grace is blocked from flowing through us in relationships with others.
The testimony that God loved us while we were yet sinners is hollow so long as our attitudes assume that God loves others only when they are no longer sinners. We fail to grow in God's grace as long as we love others only when they become like us. If we existentially believe that God loves us even when we are undeserving of [God's] love, we cannot help but become channels of God's love toward those whom we judge to be undeserving of our love.