Today’s bible study is Romans 5:7-8: Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is a rather confounding verse, since it speaks of giving our lives for a good person but rarely a righteous one. One of the difficulties seems to be the difference between a good person and a righteous person. Another is at what point would any of us be willing to give our lives for any person: good, righteous or otherwise?
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible makes this distinction, which makes the difference much easier to understand: For a good man, that is, not merely a man who is coldly just; but a man whose characteristic is that of kindness, amiableness, tenderness. It is evident that the case of such a man would be much more likely to appeal to our feelings, than that of one who is merely a man of integrity. Such a man is susceptible of tender friendship; and probably the apostle intended to refer to such a case – a case where we would be willing to expose life for a kind, tender, faithful friend.
A righteous man is a just man; a man distinguished simply for integrity of conduct; one who has no remarkable claims for amiableness of character, for benevolence, or for personal friendship. Much as we may admire such a man, and applaud him, yet he has not the characteristics which would appeal to our hearts to induce us to lay down our lives for him. Accordingly, it is not known that any instance has occurred where for such a man one would be willing to die.
This is still not easy. We who are parents often feel that we would lay down our lives for or children without second thought. In battle, soldiers risk their lives on a daily basis for their country and for their brothers and sisters. Yet, lift is a precious gift. It is not easily forfeited, even for the sake of a good or righteous person. We undoubtedly know many people who would be considered good or righteous, yet we would be reluctant to actually give our lives for them.
But our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, gave his life not only for the good the righteous, but also for the sinner. He forfeited his life so that we might be cleansed of our sins and, through him, attains eternal life in the kingdom of God. This is what we are taught over and over again throughout the bible. Is we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, would we not do the same? It is an extremely difficult, if not impossible choice. We are not God incarnate as Jesus was. We are frail, flawed, human sinners who simply trust and believe and do the best that we can. Yet, Jesus died for us
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor
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