“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). Then, how is the law weak? 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.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, [Jesus Christ], born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4, ESV);sending Him forth “in the likeness of sinful flesh” because Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He lived a holy and perfectly righteous life as a man, though He was also very God, and fulfilled the law completely and obediently as a man; and as that perfect man, having flesh and blood as a human, offered His soul as the perfect, atoning Sacrifice upon a Roman criminal’s cross. He suffered the shameful condemnation of a holy God for the condemnation rightly due you and I; and because He was sinless, through His Sacrifice, He “condemned sin in the flesh.”
Jesus Christ bled and died to buy my pardon, to buy your pardon; and as for those who are yet unsaved, natural, sinful men, this gospel grants saving faith for sinners to repent of sin; to turn to God; to believe and trust in Christ’s atoning work for salvation and eternal life. THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD!
By His sacrifice, Christ condemns sin in all flesh. Though we are not condemned, the sin “that dwelleth in [us] (that is, in [our] flesh,)” (Romans 7:18), is condemned by Christ; and by His righteous life and perfect sacrifice as flesh and bone man, Jesus Christ in the flesh, stands as the height of all goodness, righteousness and holiness among all men, and therefore, justly condemns sin in all men, including those who have rejected Him and turned from God. For in Christ’s fulfillment of the law, He elevated the law to a geater majesty, and therefore its weakness to save men, as well as its condmenation of men apart from the grace of God in Christ Jesus, further magnifies the just damnation of sinful cavilers and Christ rejectors.
Hebrews 10:5-17 is an excellent parallel passage for the perfect sacrifice of Christ:
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
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Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10, “Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.
Read the previous article in this series, “No Condemnation from Christ” (Romans 8:1, 2).
From the King James Version:
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