One of the reasons we humans fail to be amazed at God’s great love for us is because we fail to think Biblically about ourselves. Today I want us to consider how Romans 5:6-10 describes us.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:6-10 (NKJV)
We are powerless. First off, we are told that there was a time when we were without strength. This pictures our being completely powerless to overcome a problem. It usually refers to the lack of physical strength necessary to lift something. Imagine someone laying on their back and having a crushing weight on their chest. It is weight so heavy that no matter how much they struggle, they are completely powerless to get out from underneath it. They can struggle, fight, scream and beg, but none of that will change their situation. They are completely powerless to get this weight off them.
That is kind of the idea. The main difference is that Paul isn’t referring to someone lacking the physical strength necessary to lift something up. Instead, he is talking about someone being powerless in relation to spiritual things. What exactly are we powerless to do?
Scripture teaches that we are powerless to understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).
We are powerless to see or enter the KOG (John 3:3,5).
We are powerless to seek God (Romans 3:11).
We are powerless to please God (Romans 8:7, Heb 11:6).
We are powerless to do good (Romans 3:12).
Why are we powerless to do these things?
We are powerless to do these things because we are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3).
We are godless. The word translated as “ungodly” is a very strong word that means that we are unlike God. It carries with it the idea that we are in rebellion against God. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe, but we oppose His rule in our lives. We don’t want God to be the ruler over our lives. Instead, we want to do as we please without considering God at all. God is holy but we oppose His holiness. We reject His righteous moral standards. Instead, we want to say that however we live is perfectly acceptable without anything we do being called into question. God is omniscient but we oppose His omniscience. The all-knowing God has said that we are all powerless, godless, sinners but we don’t like being called these names, so we become angry and reject that these things are true of us.
We are sinners. This means that we have all fallen short of God’s righteous standards (Romans 3:23). One of the words that is used for sin is an archery term that meant to miss the mark. It pictures and archer shooting at a target trying to hit the bulls eye but missing that mark. They could have missed the mark by very little or they could have missed the target altogether. It didn’t matter because they missed the mark they were trying to hit.
The mark that God has set for us is the Law. The Ten Commandments make up the foundation of God’s moral Law. The Ten Commandments detail what is expected of us in our relationship with God and our relationships with others. When we look honestly at the Ten Commandments and see the spirit of the Law as well as the letter of the Law, we are forced to admit that we have missed the mark. We have all broken God’s Law and are justly condemned for this. Therefore, we are all sinners. If you want to review the Ten Commandments and see how they show our sin click here.
We deserve of God’s wrath. We see that we will be saved from God’s wrath. This refers to the future wrath to come at the end of time. Apart from God doing something in our lives, we are all going to face the wrath of God. Since we are sinners that have broken God’s Law, we are deserving of God’s wrath. God is completely justified in pouring out His wrath on sinners that have broken His Law.
We are by nature and sin the objects of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Roughly 80% of Americans claim to believe in God. A large number of those believe that there is a heaven and there is a hell. A CNN article on 04 May 2011 said that the majority of Americans believed that Osama Bin Laden was in hell. What the majority also believe is that all people are headed to heaven by default and have to do something seriously bad to end up in hell. Scripture on the other hand teaches that is not true at all. According to Scripture, all people are by their nature the children of wrath and so their default eternity is hell.
We are enemies of God. We see that at one point in our lives we were all enemies of God. I have always found this to be a difficult thing to wrap my mind around. I was raised in church and even though I wasn’t saved until I was 19, I never really felt that I opposed God and was His enemy. Yet, what Scripture teaches is that our feelings don’t determine our opposition and enmity toward God. Instead our thoughts and our actions do.
There are a couple of other places that teach us this same idea. We find it in Romans 8:7, James 4:4 and Colossians 1:19-22 just to name a few. The idea is that powerless, godless sinners are in such rebellion against God that they have made themselves His enemies. A powerless, godless sinner lives under control of their sinful nature and refuses to submit to God’s authority. This refusal to submit to God is an act of hostility toward God. Refusal to submit to God’s authority is saying to the King of king and Lord of lords, “You do not and will not rule over me.” The result of this rebellion is that we make ourselves the enemies of God.
I think we would all agree that this is a terrible picture of humanity. This picture of humanity is hard on our pride and self-righteousness. This picture of humanity is often offensive to people. This picture of humanity is what many people want to avoid thinking about and teaching about. Yet, it is only when we understand that this picture of humanity is the correct picture of humanity that we can understand how amazing God’s love for humanity truly is.