The Law’s Righteousness Fulfilled in Us

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” —Romans 8:4

There are some differing views on this passage; but rather than going through those, let me just tell you what I believe the Scriptures are conveying in this. First, we should understand what it isn’t saying. It’s not saying that the sacrifice of Christ needs you and me to accept this truth for the law to be completely fulfilled. To suggest that would be to suggest an incompletion or insufficiency in Christ’s finished work; and we know that “It is finished” (John 19:30) and that Jesus Christ is “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

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Sin Condemned by Christ

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” —Romans 8:3

The law was weak through the flesh. This is not to say that the commands of God are weak in and of themselves. These commandments come from God and are holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). So, how is the law weak then? Apart from its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the law is weak because it could not save men; and not only was it incapable of saving men, but it also condemned them; “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Romans 7:11). When we were unsaved, unbelieving sinners, the commandments of the law condemned us and killed us; that’s how the law was our schoolmaster leading us to Christ, because the law left us with no hope except that it be found in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone.

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My Wrestlings: Laws at War

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” —Romans 7:23

I perceive a different law in my members. “Another law” is translated from the Greek words ετερον νομον (heteron nomon), meaning “different law.” Does that mean that God has given another or a different law than that, which is understood in Scripture? No, I suggest that what Paul sees as a disciple of Christ, what you and I perceive, is a different dimension of the law, because now, in Christ, the statutes of God have been put in our inward parts, written in our new hearts given us by God’s grace (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27). So, what is this different law in my members?

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My Wrestlings: I Find a Law

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” —Romans 7:21, 22

The word “law” in Romans 7:21-23 presents many facets and dimensions of God’s law as it pertains to the sinner saved by grace. Because we are “dead to the law” (Romans 7:4) as Christian disciples, some may want to refer to “law” as merely principles of truth. It would not be wrong to define “law” in this way, as principles of truth, for so they are; yet, they are also more than that.

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The Struggle of the Bond Slave

As we examined the Scriptures from Romans 6 several weeks ago, the Holy Spirit illuminated to us that we, as sinners saved by grace, are no longer under bondage to sin. In the past two weeks we examined the Scripture portion from Romans 7:1-13, which taught us that we are not under bondage to the law. Can we sin freely and openly disregarding the law? No. Does forcing the observance of the law upon myself and others make me more righteous? Absolutely not.

The freedom of bondage from both sin and law presents a struggle since the sinner that is saved by grace has been changed, made alive in Christ; nevertheless, he is not yet glorified. The struggle exists, and must exist, because it moves us to embrace grace and not let go; to cling to the Cross of Calvary; to cleave to Jesus Christ and no one else; it presses us to trust in and depend upon the Master, leaning upon His everlasting arms.

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The Restrictions of the Law

If the Law could teach anything, the apostle Paul, being perhaps one of the most brilliant scholars of the Law in his day, may have gotten saved through the law. But no, it took the revelation of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus to reveal life to him and create life in Him. The law, though it offered life through its obedience, was unable to give life because no sinful descendent of Adam could obey.

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