“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6).
WITHOUT STRENGTH. Man could not fulfill the demands of God. He did not have the capacity to do so. He was weak and “without strength.” The demands of God, though holy, righteous and good, we’re simply too high for depraved and enslaved man. The law, as it were, was “weak through the flesh” (Rom 8:3). The ability necessary for pleasing God and being accepted by Him was not resident within us. We were without strength to stand before God. Well did Isaiah assess the situation.
“For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Isaiah 59:12-14)
Salvation, then, is not just a gift, it is a provision. That is, it has utility; it is effective. In salvation those who are without strength are saved from that condition and made strong. The Savior Himself is known for finding battered reeds but not breaking them off. He is known for finding smoldering wicks but not putting them out. Jesus is known for find men in a weak condition but He does not allow them to stay that way. Isaiah continued about how God would deal with such helpless people.
“Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” (Isaiah 59:15-16)
Why would God extend Himself in such a way? Why travel such distances to save such a wretched people? “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Ps 8:4). Saving man is the means through which God would show the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness. In an eternal display of His wisdom and strength the Father sent Jesus to do His will and to bring many sons to glory. In due time, the Word was made flesh.
IN DUE TIME. When the Savior of all men appeared He said, “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost” (Lk 19:10). Each time He found one of these “lost” He found him “without strength.” Furthermore, in the fifth chapter of Romans the condition of the lost is described as “without strength,” “ungodly,” and “sinners.” The work of the Messiah was to gather these ones and make them fit for the Master’s use. He strengthened the weak, made the ungodly righteous and turned sinners into saints.
Salvation isn’t about rewarding the godly (for there were none), it is about delivering the ungodly and empowering them to overcome. We were not deserving of any reward other than death. And Christ Jesus saved us from such peril “when were were yet without strength” and while we were “yet sinners” (Rom 5:8). Truly His death was “in due time.” When we needed Him most, when all hope seemed to be lost, when the wrath of God was abiding on us, when we were ungodly sinners without strength, “in due time” Christ died for us. And we would never be the same.
CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY. Extending beyond the wisdom of men, God determined to save men by presenting His own Lamb as a sacrifice for their sins. The Lamb “of God” was the sacrifice that put away sin once and for all. The Just died for the unjust, that the unjust might come to God (1 Pet 3:18). Let that truth sink in, “…in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Hear it again, Christ died for the ungodly thus taking away their guilt and their shame. And again, Christ died for the ungodly bearing their sin in His body on the tree. Christ died for the ungodly so that they might live unto God. Christ died for the ungodly so that they might become godly. Christ died for the ungodly in order to “finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness” (Dan 9:24). Rejoice, brethren, for your warfare has been accomplished!
– brother Pat Woods