Romans 5:6-11 ESV
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
In this section the apostle Paul presents the benefits of those who have been declared right with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To summarize what we have seen so far, we have peace with God, grace to stand before God, and the hope or confident expectation of the glory of God. We are also able to confidently rejoice or boast or glory in our afflictions, because they are part of the sequence that produces confident expectation. And we know all this is certain because the Holy Spirit poured out God’s love into our hearts.
Next, the apostle wants us to know the greatness of God’s love that every Christian has received. Notice the connecting words “you see”. All is intended to induce greater confidence expectation and so lead us to glory or to boast in God.
We boast in God because of what he did for us (5:6-8)
I. To honor God properly, we need to recall our former hopeless condition.
The second part of this chapter explains how people got into this condition, but here Paul reminds us of what it was.
A. Four descriptions of the condition of the unsaved.
1. Powerless (5:6) – We were unable to save or even to help save ourselves. We were spiritually unable.
2. Ungodly (5:6) – We were unlike God; we despised the ways of holiness and conformity to Jesus Christ.
3. Sinners (5:8) – We rejected God as God, refused to love him, and rebelled against his word and his ways. We missed the target and fell short of God’s glory (Rm 3:23).
4. Enemies (5:10) – We were against God, and God’s wrath was against us (1:18). This was a desperate condition to be in—to have Almighty God as your enemy.
Apply: We cannot adopt a “Princess Bride” theology. If you’ve seen that movie, you know the scene were Westley is taken to Miracle Max’s, because his friends need a miracle to restore him to life. Miracle Max proclaims that Westley is only “mostly dead” and so he concocts a pill, covered with chocolate, to heal him. But the unsaved are not “mostly dead” but “dead dead”.
B. Three reasons why we ought to know how desperate our condition was before the grace of God saved us.
1. This teaching reveals the reality of a person’s belief in God’s word. It is easy for someone to claim to be a Christian. Their parents and grandparents might have had them baptized and confirmed and dressed them up in cute little white outfits, and then told them that they were Christians. Or they might have “prayed the prayer” after walking the aisle and the “personal worker” told them that they were Christians. But such comforting little rituals are no substitute for real, saving faith in the Lord Jesus. And everyone who truly trusts in Christ for salvation trusts him to save them from their sinful condition. A true Christian has confessed that they were powerless, ungodly, sinners, and God’s enemies. They have cried out to Jesus that he must save them or they will perish forever in hell!
2. It reinforces the truth that we are in desperate need of justifying grace in Christ for salvation. Ungodly people cannot fabricate godliness. We don’t need a salvation that will save us if we add our works to Christ’s atonement. We need the Savior who did everything, from first to last to save us, because we were powerless, ungodly, sinners, who were God’s enemies.
3. It strengthens our confidence in God’s present love for us. If God loved us when we were powerless, ungodly, sinners, who were his enemies, then he will surely love us now that Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account. “With confidence I now draw nigh and ‘Father, Abba Father,’ cry!”
Apply: Do you agree with the Lord that this is the condition of the unsaved? If you do…
 Have you humbled yourself and trusted in the Lord Christ for salvation? It does you no good to merely know what your condition is. When the ER doctor told me I was having a heart attack, my knowledge of that did not correct the problem. I needed to go to the Cath lab and have stents put in. So you must call on the Lord to save you!
 If this is the condition of the unsaved, then Christian, why would you envy the unsaved (cf. Ps 37:1-2)? They need the Savior who alone can rescue them from an eternally fatal condition.
 Does the truth of the condition of the unsaved affect how you witness? Do you attempt to make this truth clear? This is what I mean. The typical unsaved person, if they admit to any kind of spiritual need, thinks only in a worldly fashion. God is not in their thoughts. If you talk to them about family or job or health or politics or finances or psychology, they might admit to some need. But if you talk to them about rejecting God, refusing to love God, or rebelling against God and his word, they will laugh it off as irrelevant. Forget God, and you can easily build a place where people come for religious entertainment.
II. God’s solution to the hopeless human condition
A. Christ died in our place.
1. Paul will go into this in more detail later in this chapter. Here we learn that Christ’s death was a substitutionary atonement (1 Pt 2:24). In the gospel message we set forth the hopeless condition of unsaved mankind (ungodly sinners) and proclaim Christ who died to save ungodly sinners. This is good news! Christ died for the ungodly.
2. Christ’s death for us happened “at just the right time”. His death for us fulfilled God’s purpose at the end of the old age of the law to bring about the new age of the grace of the gospel. All God’s purposes for the prior ages had reached their destination when Jesus Christ came from God. Now the appointed time has come for the preaching of the good news to all nations (cf. Rm 3:26; 13:11; Ac 2:17; 1 Cor 10:11; 1 Tm 2:6; Ti 1:3; Heb 1:2).
B. The superiority of God’s love over ours (5:7-8)
1. Humans will love and perhaps even die for those whom they think are worthy of such a sacrifice. But God’s love reaches far deeper. The Lord loves the unlovable. He loves those who hate him. This is love of the highest “magnitude and dependability” (Moo).
2. Observe closely that it is God’s love that sent his Son to die for us. This leads us to the idea that Christ’s death for the ungodly is the highest proof of God’s love for us (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 3:16; 4:9-10). God’s love for us was very costly, since it required the Son of God to die for powerless, ungodly, sinners, who were God’s enemies. God’s love for us is expressed in the form of Christ’s cross.
Apply: Do not refuse God’s love! Believe in Jesus and be saved.
Point: Since God loved us when we were so rebellious, ungodly, and unholy, we have a very good reason to boast about him. Are we living in such a way that demonstrates that we boast in God because of his saving love for us in Christ Jesus?
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.