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For whom did Christ die? God the Holy Spirit gives us the answer. — “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” That blessed declaration Of Holy Scripture brings us immediately to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It sheds light on our former estate. It lets us see where we were and what we needed. Do we ask, “How did our Redeemer look upon us when he died for us?” The answer is clearly given. — “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Diseased and Dead
Thus the human race is described as a sick man, whose disease is so far advanced that he is altogether without strength. No power remains in his system to throw off the mortal malady, nor does he desire to do so. He could not save himself from the disease if he would; and he would not if he could. Man’s condition is often set forth in the Scriptures under the picture of weakness, helplessness, and disease.
Perhaps Paul had pictures in his mind’s eye of the helpless infant described by Ezekiel. It was a new born infant, aborted, cast off, and deserted, corrupt, polluted, and dead. It was left unwashed, unclothed, unfed, a prey to certain death, under the most painful and cruel circumstances, abandoned without hope. The poor child died in the open field, died with the barbaric cruelty that only abortion brings, murdered by its mother’s own hands, with none to pity it!
Perhaps, he is here picturing our race as Isaiah had pictured the nation of Israel. Its whole head is sick and its whole heart faint. — “A people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters…From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores: They have not been closed, neither bound up; neither mollified with ointment.”
Such is your condition before God if you are yet without Christ! You are lost, corrupt, cast off, and dead in trespasses and in sin!
But God the Holy Ghost brings glad tidings to poor, lost sinners. For while we were in just such a condition as I have described, the Lord Jesus Christ interposed himself for our salvation. — “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” — “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;” and that, “according to his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.” — “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins!”
The very essence of Paul’s message in this 5th chapter of Romans is to show the great, indescribable display and commendation of God’s love in the sacrifice of his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He shows us that the reason for Christ’s dying was not man’s moral excellence, but his own everlasting love. — “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound!” The people for whom Jesus Christ died were seen by him as the very opposite of everything pure, good, and holy. He came into the world to save those who were guilty before God.
In the words of Holy Scripture, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Is there an ungodly soul reading these lines? Are you ungodly: dirty, helpless, vile, wretched, corrupt before God? I have got good news for you. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died to save such people as you are. Trust him for your eternal salvation.
O my soul, dwell much upon this blessed fact: When I was an enemy to God, a sinner, and an ungodly man, Christ died for me!
“Great God! When I approach Thy throne, and all Thy glory see;
This is my stay, and this alone, that Jesus died for me!
How can a soul condemned to die escape the just decree?
A vile, unworthy wretch am I, but Jesus died for me!
Burdened with sin’s oppressive chain, oh, how can I get free?
No peace can all my efforts gain, but Jesus died for me!
My course I could not safely steer, through life’s tempestuous sea,
Did not this truth relieve my fear, that Jesus died for me.
And, Lord, when I behold Thy face, this must be all my plea –
Save me by Thy Almighty grace, for Jesus died for me!”
God the Holy Spirit declares that while we were utterly helpless and lost in sin, the Lord Jesus Christ died, by divine appointment, to redeem us. — That’s grace! — That’s good news! — That’s the gospel!