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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 6

Verse 6. For when, etc. This opens a new view of the subject, or it is a new argument to show that our hope will not make ashamed, or will not disappoint us. The first argument he had stated in the previous verse, that the Holy Ghost was given to us. The next, which he now states, is, that God had given the most ample proof that he would save us, by giving his Son when we were sinners; and that he who had done so much for us when we were enemies, would not now fail us when we are his friends, Ro 5:6-10. He has performed the more difficult part of the work by reconciling us when we were enemies; and he will not now forsake us, but will carry forward and complete what he has begun.

We were yet without strength. The word here used (asyenwn) is usually applied to those who are sick and feeble, deprived of strength by disease, Mt 25:39; Lu 10:9; Ac 4:9; 5:15.

But it is also used in a moral sense, to denote inability or feebleness with regard to any undertaking or duty. Here it means that we were without strength in regard to the case which the apostle was considering; that is, we had no power to devise a scheme of justification, to make an atonement, or to put away the wrath of God, etc. While all hope of man's being saved by any plan of his own was thus taken away— while he was thus lying exposed to Divine justice, and dependent on the mere mercy of God—God provided a plan which met the case, and secured his salvation. The remark of the apostle here has reference only to the condition of the race before an atonement is made. It does not pertain to the question whether man has strength to repent and to believe after an atonement is made, which is a very different inquiry.

In due time. Margin, According to the time, (kata kairon). In a timely manner; at the proper time. Ga 4:4, "But when the fulness of time was come," etc. This may mean,

(1.) that it was a fit or proper time. All experiments had failed to save men. For four thousand years the trial had been made under the law among the Jews; and by the aid of the most enlightened reason in Greece and Rome; and still it was in vain. No scheme had been devised to meet the maladies of the world, and to save men from death. It was then time that a better plan should be presented to men.

(2.) It was the time fixed and appointed by God for the Messiah to come; the time which had been designated by the prophets, Ge 49:10; Da 9:24-27. See Joh 13:1; 17:1.

(3.) It was a most favourable time for the spread of the gospel. The world was expecting such an event; was at peace; and was subjected mainly to the Roman power; and furnished facilities never before experienced for introducing the gospel rapidly into every land. See Barnes "Mt 2:1,2".

 

For the ungodly. Those who do not worship God. It here means sinners in general, and does not differ materially from what is meant by the word translated "without strength." See Barnes "Ro 4:5".

 

{1} "in due time", or "according to the time" {l} "due time" Ga 4:4

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