What The Law Could Not Do…Romans 8

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.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:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.(Romans 8:1-4)

As we stated earlier, Romans 8 takes up where Romans 5 left off, Romans 6-7 being a parenthetical teaching. “Therefore” refers to the statement at the end of Romans 5 that what Adam did to the human race in his fall, plunging all of us into condemnation, has been overcome by what the last Adam, Jesus did for all of us, bringing us into righteousness of life.

Thus there is no condemnation for those who are “In Christ Jesus”. We are no longer under the sentence of God’s holy wrath, we do not have to pay eternally for our sin, Divine justice has been vindicated, every claim of God’s law has been answered for,we are totally free, in Jesus! The rest of the chapter is a point by point explanation for why this is so.

The first point is that in Jesus Christ, God has done for us what the law itself could not do. Though holy, righteous , true and good, God’s law has its limitations. The rest of scripture testifies to this,

*1For the law … can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.(Hebrews 10:1)

*I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.(Galatians 2;21)

* (Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.(Galatians 3:21)

God’s law cannot give life, justify us, nor make those who worship by it perfect. It was not designed for any of the above. Nor can it cause ‘the righteousness of the law to be fulfilled in us’ . In short, the Law can tell us what is right and true, but cannot give us the power to live it out.

Why this limitation? Because the Law is described as  “weak through the flesh”. This means that the Law actually aggravates  the flesh, which is a reference to the unregenerate nature, ie who I am as a son of Adam. This is the teaching of Romans 7. There can be no sanctification as long as we are ‘under the law’ which amounts to sin and death.

But God has done for us what the Law could never do, He has introduced another principle for us to live by, that is ‘the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus’. Faith in Jesus, our Union with Him in death and resurrection, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are the new sanctifying principle of life for those who are “In Christ Jesus”.

By “Sending His Son” to die on the cross, God has “condemned sin in the flesh”, punishing sin once and for all, cancelling out the sentence against us, and absolutely once and for all answering the righteous charges against us, clearing those “in Christ” from blame forever.

By giving us a clean slate, removing the estrangement and  enmity between God and us, and delivering us from the external Law that only accentuated our sin nature, Jesus has positioned us to be able to live a clean and righteous Life. True faith has both a negative and positive principle. The negative is the washing , the removal  of filth.

The positive aspect of Salvation is the giving of the Spirit of Life in Jesus. Living by the Spirit of Life in Christ, that is, by faith in Jesus, is more than enough to fulfill the demands of the Law. Ironically , only by being delivered from the old relationship I once had to the law, could I ever hope to fulfill the demands of the law.I needed the Spirit.

After all, what is it that the Law demanded anyway? What does God really want? Love. Loving God supremely, and everyone I meet at least equally to my own self love. By the work of the cross and the sending of the Spirit, God has affected this in my life, something the law could never do.  Hallelujah!




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