Paul then in the 7th verse compares this amazing love of God with the self-sacrificing love sometimes seen in the human race.  He says that for a righteous man men will scarcely lay down their lives, yet on some rare occasions men will sacrifice their lives for a good man.  The thought here, as far as I can understand it, is that it is pretty much unheard of for a person to willingly die to save the life of a man who is merely righteous; in other words, if a man’s life is only characterized by strict and rigid adherence to the details of the law, he is not likely to inspire such loyalty and affection as would compel others to risk their very lives for him.  But there are some good men (at least good in human terms, or in human opinion) who inspire such dedication and loyalty, because of their dynamic personality and brilliant example or leadership, that their admirers would even dare to die for them.


What the apostle is doing here is setting a contrast: in human terms, men are occasionally willing to die for some person or some entity that they consider to be of greater value than themselves.  Soldiers die for their country or to save their fellow soldiers, policemen die defending their community, a man may die defending his home from a violent intruder.  In such cases, they are laying down their lives on behalf of people or ideas which they highly prize, and deem worthy even of the ultimate exchange.  The Lord Jesus even spoke highly of such dedication, by saying, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”