Friday, 26 April 2013
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
There will be three categories of man noted in the five verses from 5:6 to 5:10, all summed up in the concept of the “ungodly.” The first is in 5:6, those who are “without strength.” Then “sinners” are noted in 5:8 and this is followed up by “enemies” in 5:10. Paul is showing that all categories, from the top to the bottom, need Christ.
He begins with “for.” This is an affirmation of what was stated in 5:1-5:5. 1) We have been justified by faith; 2) We have peace with God; 3) We have access by faith into the grace in which we stand; 3) We hope in the glory of God. This came from the process of tribulations, perseverance, and character; and 4) We have God’s love poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The use of “for” today introduces the affirming reasons why these things are so. The first is that something occurred “when we were still without strength.” The word translated as “without strength” indicates one that is feeble. It was, as it were, a disease which afflicted us. It is an apt comparison because sin is a disease which affects our ability to proceed in a right relationship with God. The disease must be treated before we can proceed, and it was. When we were without strength to save ourselves, “Christ died for the ungodly.”
The “ungodly” here is a comparison to those who were “without strength.” The intent then is that Christ died for the very people we were, weak and unable to accomplish the task. The implication is that He is godly and is making an exchange. Paul will explain this as he continues.
Life application: It is easy to forget the state we were in after being saved for a time. We begin to develop in our walk and eventually we look at those around us as ungodly sinners who deserve God’s wrath. While this is true, we need to remember that this was once us. Instead of feeling superior to the sinner, we need to remember that we were in the same boat. We were given the lifeline and now we need to pass it on, not hold it out of reach.
Lord, I once stood as a poor beggar needing bread and You provided it to me. I know there are many around me who need what I needed. Help me to remember that I was in the same place as they were and someone took the time to tell me about You. Now, help me to act in the same charitable manner toward others. Help me to be gracious in offering what I have received. Amen.