“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.
“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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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).
“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.
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.
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!”