Where Does the Bible Say "Yet While We Were Sinners, Christ Died for Us?"

The fact that "yet while we were sinners Christ died for us" should not only surprise us. It should lead us to rejoice as we realize its implications.

Contributing Writer
Published Feb 22, 2022
Where Does the Bible Say "Yet While We Were Sinners, Christ Died for Us?"

We’ve all felt the emotional chill of conditional love. Someone has withdrawn their affection because of our mistakes or our inability to achieve or perform. This hurts us to our core: we have a deep-seated need to be loved, treasured, and valued. We yearn for someone to love us regardless of past mistakes, what we look like, or what we may or may not accomplish. As created beings, we crave relationship and a love that’s pure, secure, and extravagant. We find this incredible love in one place, one person: our Creator God. His Word teaches us that yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What Bible Verse Says, “Yet While We Were Still Sinners, Christ Died for Us?”

Romans 5:8 is an anchor of hope and joy: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How did Jesus show His love? After we cleaned up and got our act together? After we put on our Sunday best? No—yet “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is good news of epic proportions! We don’t have to complete a checklist of good deeds or jump through hoops to earn God’s favor. The beautiful work of redemption was accomplished by Christ, through Christ as He gave His life—taking our sin and shame—and nailing it to the cross.

This kind of love is beyond our feeble comprehension. Why would someone, anyone, die for someone else? Especially when the ones being rescued are so undeserving?

Let’s investigate the context of Romans 5:8 by backing up to Romans 5:6-7: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die.”

Soak in the beauty of these words:

- “At just the right time.” In God’s perfect plan and timing. Not a moment too early or too late. At the point of our greatest need.

- “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” We cannot save ourselves. We are powerless to cross the void between ourselves and a Holy God. And it was in our state of hopelessness that God sent His only son to take the punishment for our sins (John 3:16).

- “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die.” Headlines explode, and we pause to marvel when we hear of a heroic deed—that someone has rescued another from certain death—risking their very lives. Soldiers on the battlefield have given their lives for fellow soldiers and civilians alike. These events are exceptional and honorable.

But God sent His son for all of us (John 3:16-18). To rescue the world—each and every individual. Our lives are messy and completely undeserving of this kind of love and salvation. But then Romans 5:8 brings it all together with words to make our hearts soar: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

What Does the Bible Say about Our Sinful Nature?

God’s Word is clear about the depths of our sin and our utter separation from the One who created us. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23); apart from the saving work of Christ, no one is righteous (Romans 3:10).

Additional scriptures about our sinful nature include:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt; their acts are vile. There is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1).

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Because of our selfishness and willful disobedience, our world is broken. The penalty for our sin and disobedience is death, eternal separation from God. This is clear in Romans 6:23, but we mustn’t miss the hope in this verse:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wonderful! But how do we grasp this gift? And did Jesus really have to die to save us?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die for Us?

Our sin cannot come into the presence of a Holy God. There is no one like Him, anyone who is holy and righteous (1 Samuel 2:2, Revelation 15:4). Our sin separates us from God.

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

Because God is holy and just, a penalty had to be paid for sin to reconcile us to a Holy Father. The penalty, or punishment, would have to be death for the offender, humanity. But in a shocking display of love, God sent Jesus to pay the price for us, to take our death penalty upon Himself. 

Jesus had to die because there was no other way. No other way to bridge the gap between a Holy God and us. Someone had to die. Someone holy and righteous enough to qualify. Jesus, fully man and fully God, was the only One worthy to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:24). The only One Who could bring us into the presence of the Heavenly Father, washed clean from the filth of our sin and shame.

Jesus is the only One Who could rescue us from destruction and eternal separation from God.

How Did Jesus' Death Save Us?

Soak in the power of these words:

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death, he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Because of His great love for us, Jesus Christ broke the power of sin and death by dying in our place. He shared in our humanity by coming to this broken world as a baby. He lived a sinless life, one of love, humility, and sacrifice. For the joy set before Him, he died a horrifying death before being raised to life three days later, breaking death’s hold on all who profess Him as Savior and Lord (Hebrews 12:2).

Oh, how precious and humbling. “Yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And Jesus continues to show love and compassion as He intercedes for us before the Father (Romans 8:34). He offers a life of joy and abundance as we walk with Him in our moments (John 10:10).

Dear searching one, God loves us in our messiness. We don’t have to “shape up” or “get it all together” before coming to Him in repentance and faith. God’s gift of salvation is free—no strings attached. He will always respond to the humble, seeking heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

A Prayer for Forgiveness of Sins

Father God, 

I come before You—broken and completely unable to save myself. I long to turn away from my sin and disobedience and truly live for You. I believe that You sent Your only Son, Jesus, to take the penalty for my sin. I believe Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again three days later, defeating death and canceling my debt before You. I don’t fully understand such an amazing gift, Father, but I thank You and praise You for loving me that much. I ask for strength to begin this journey with You. Please give me a hunger for You, and for Your Word. I love you, Jesus! 

In Your precious name, 


Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ricardoreitmeyer

Leigh Ann ThomasLeigh Ann Thomas is passionate about encouraging others to seek God’s best. She has penned four books, including Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone—Inspiration for Women in the Middle, and Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace—Inspiration for the Mother of the Bride

You’ll find Leigh Ann on an adventure with her sweetheart of 39 years, getting silly with her grands, or daydreaming story plots on the front porch. 

Connect on LeighAThomas.com.

This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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