Lesson 16

The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. For perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 5:8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life. 5:11 Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

 Today's Lesson 

We like to think of ourselves as basically good people. We often think that we don't deserve the difficulties that we have to face in this life. What Paul has to say about our true nature runs counter to our own impression of our lives.


Paul says that we were ungodly, that we were enemies of God. We were far removed from the righteousness of God. This section fits with what Paul had said in the second chapter and the beginning of the third. All of us were rebels, hiding ourselves from God's wrath, denying His authority in our lives. We were slaves to sin and helpless in our bondage.


But, Paul says even when we were weak; "Christ died for the ungodly." Christ did not die for "basically good people." Christ did not die for people who just needed a little help. Christ died for people who were wretchedly lost. He died for people who were completely ungodly.


Paul explains that sometimes people will sacrifice themselves for a worthy cause. I might lay down my life to protect my family. I might be willing to risk death in a just war. Policemen put their lives on the line every day to protect something they hold dear. But, would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for your worst enemy? Would you be willing to die for a person whose values and life were opposed to everything you believed in?


Paul declares that that is precisely what God did! While you were ungodly, Christ died for you. While you were completely rebellious to God, Christ died for you. This is the love that God has toward His children, that while they were violently pushing Him away He was drawing them closer.


And, if God is willing to go to such extremes when we were enemies, how much more will His love be manifested in us when we are now reconciled to him and justified through faith? We were enemies but God made peace with us even before we were prepared to abandon the war. Now there will truly be rejoicing when we are saved by His life.


Maybe you've never thought that you were rebellious toward God, but that's what sin is. Even in Christians there is something rebellious. If there were not, we would have no difficulty in following the leading of the Spirit. But much of the time we ignore God's leading or seek to justify what we wish to do ourselves.


We are indeed lucky that God is merciful. Even when we are furthest from Him we must remember that Christ died for the ungodly. God reconciled Himself to His enemies while they were still His enemies. Even today He is reconciled to them. If a man dies in trespasses and sin today it is only because he was unwilling to reconcile himself to God not because God was unwilling to reconcile Himself to them.


Truly we can rejoice in a God whose love is so great. There is absolutely no reason for insecurity in the Christian life after reading a text like this. God's love for us overcomes even our rebellion. If our faith is only so large as a mustard seed, if it is only as big as a grain of sand, God will save us.


Are you willing to lay down your arms and quit your petty rebellion? The King has called a truce. Peace has come to the land. What is it you were rebelling for anyway?


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