While we were still weak, at the right time


Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners CHRIST DIED FOR US.

Romans 5:6‭-‬8 RSV

“While we were yet weak” means while we were yet sinners, as shown by a comparison of the first and last clauses of these three verses.

What a commentary on the true condition of the sinner is this, that for all of his vaunted power, established and reinforced by every worldly device of wealth, authority, and position, the sinner is “yet weak” until he shall find his true strength IN CHRIST.

“In due season” recalls the fact that the visit of the Dayspring from on high was nothing impromptu, but was the fulfillment of God’s purpose of the ages.

Even before the foundation of the world, the plan of redeeming men through the death of Christ was clearly formed in God’s eternal purpose, which purpose he, in fact, declared in the great protoevangelium of the Bible (Genesis 3:15).

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15 RSV

When even an earthly king visits a place, he announces his purpose in advance, displays his royal credentials to prevent misunderstanding, and, in due course, arrives “as planned”; thus it was with the coming of the Son of God into our poor world (see Romans 3:21).

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it

Romans 3:21 RSV

This is Paul’s statement of the fact of God’s justice in making salvation to all who complied with the terms upon which it was extended.

All people are in fact sinners; and the same basis for saving one, or making salvation available, is the basis for extending it to all.

Glorious is the thought that justification in God’s sight is now available to all people, not upon the basis of their success in keeping the commandments of any law, nor upon the basis of their having achieved any degree of moral perfection, or even excellence, and not upon the basis of their fulfilling any kind of law whatever, except that of meeting the terms upon which God provided it.

True, those terms are called “a law of faith,” a “perfect law of liberty,” and a “royal law”; but such “law” is not in view here.

“Freely” is appropriate, because nothing that man could ever do in a million years of righteous living could ever earn the tiniest fraction of the salvation God gives to people in Christ.

The expression “in Christ” is, in some ways, the most important in all the Pauline writings, where this expression, or its equivalent, “in whom,” “in him,” etc., is used no less than 169 times.

What does it mean to be “in Christ”?

It means to be in his spiritual body, called the church, the body of which Christ is the head, of which he is declared to be the Saviour, and which means having a spiritual relationship to Christ, a relationship of intimate union and identification with him.

Redemption is not in faith, or baptism, or in anything else except being “IN CHRIST.”

Right here is that device contrived by God himself by which a man might truly and legitimately be justified; and it might be looked upon as a divine corporation.

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:4‭-‬5 RSV

“Christ died for the ungodly” This is credible only because it is true, for it never could have entered into the mind of man that such a thing was possible until the unspeakable event itself appeared upon Golgotha.

What is meant by “the ungodly”?

The answer is, evil and unrighteous people filled with every work of Satan – such were the beneficiaries of the blood of the Master.

The ungodly are those who practice lawlessness, idolatry, profane swearing and impiety, disobedience of parents, murder, adultery, false witness, indifference to God, atheism, pride, vanity, and selfishness – to mention only a few characteristics of the ungodly!

For people like that Christ died!

However, in this connection, it is imperative to remember that Christ died not to save people in their sins but from their sins (Matthew 1:20-21).

But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”

Matthew 1:20‭-‬21 RSV

“For the good man some one would even dare to die” It is notable that Paul prefaced that statement with the word “peradventure,” meaning perhaps, or maybe; since it is far from certain that even such a milder form of dying for another as that could be counted upon, and even then under the rarest of circumstances.

Such cases may be considered merely as possible: they exist, it is true, for romance; and we find a few rare instances of friends exposing themselves to death for friends.

God commendeth his love … indicates that the “love of God” mentioned in Romans 5:5 is God’s love for people, not their love of God.

The contrast between “righteous man” and “good man” (Romans 5:7)

To show the difference between one for
whom, as upright, we have profound respect, and one who is also beneficent and elicits our love.

“Christ died for us” is the statement of the grandest truth in inspiration, it being the glory of humanity that Christ would die to save men.

At the same time, this truth is the marvel of God that he would do such a thing in order to accomplish redemption.

Once upon a time, a poem was written about this subject matter.

Shout it, or whisper it. Print it in capitals, or write it in a large hand. Speak it solemnly; it is not a thing for jest. Speak it joyfully; it is not a theme for sorrow. Speak it firmly; it is an indisputable fact.

Speak it earnestly; for if there is a truth which ought to arouse all a man’s soul, it is this. Speak it where the ungodly live; and that is at your own house. Speak it also in the haunts of debauchery.

Tell it in the gaol; and sit down at the dying bed and read it in a tender whisper, “CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY!”

The purpose of these three verses is to show how firm is the basis of Christian hope, such being grounded upon the fact of Christ’s dying for men, even at a time when they were ungodly, and thus manifesting a greater love than any ever known on earth apart from this.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:21‭-‬26

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