6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
From the statement that God pours His love into our hearts in verse five, Paul now demonstrated the character of His love. This will show why the pouring out of His love guarantees the believer’s hope—Jesus’ death for our sins resolves the sin issue.
The word “for” connects Romans 5:6-8 to the three preceding verses (5:3-5), the complete segment referring to the relationship between God’s love and our future hope.
while we were still weak [frailty of the condition of man in contrast to God],
“Weak” means powerless. This is not physical weakness but powerlessness to spiritually save ourselves. The non-Christian has no wherewithal to earn credit with God. He cannot offer any assets to God to acquire his salvation. There is no way for him to gain God’s approbation.
The word “still” indicates the status quo of the non-believer. His perpetual orientation to God is his incapability to do anything about his salvation.
at the right time [appointed season by God]
In the non-Christians’ spiritually weakened condition, God sent His Son at exactly the right time to save their souls. The “right time” is the propitious moment, the proper time. God does not delay His program for reaching the lost. He is right on time with His program. The death of Christ was right on schedule. His death was no afterthought. It was a strategic time.
Prophecy precisely foretold the time of Jesus’ death. This was according to Daniel’s 70 time periods (years)—“Seventy weeks (time units—490 years) are determined upon your people.” This schedule brings us to the birth of Christ. Christ died when 483 years were accomplished. The 70th period of seven years still remains to be fulfilled in the future. Christ’s birth was no accident; circumstances did not bring about His coming.
Ga 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Jesus came at the precise time that religion had become bankrupt and that events of prophecy had accurately fallen in place.
Ac 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
Just at the right time, Christ came to die. Both “Christ” and “died” are emphatic in the Greek. God planned the death of Christ from eternity past as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Pe 1:18-20). Jesus’ coming to die was on a fixed schedule.
for [on behalf of] the ungodly [those not oriented toward God].
Jesus came to die for the “ungodly” nonetheless. The ungodly are those without God and are hostile to God. “Ungodly” types are actively opposed to God. These are the same as the “weak” of verse six. They were unable on their own to respond to Him.
The word “for” is a term of substitution. Jesus became our substitute to die for our sins on the cross. He died in our place. He took my hell that I might have His heaven. The idea of the Greek word is in place of. We can see this idea especially in the next verse. The death of Christ was a payment by the love of God to the justice of God. This payment satisfied (propitiated) God permanently.
Christ died for the ungodly, not the godly.
Jesus died for all people because all people are sinners (Ro 3:23). Man is powerless to provide salvation on his own. God’s love triumphs over man’s failure. The Lord took the penalty for our sin instead of us taking it. His death was in our personal interest.
Is 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
2 Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.