Monday, 1 July 2013
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,… Romans 8:3
Romans 8:3 is one of those verses worth putting to memory. It succinctly states a fact which is otherwise unimaginable. God gave the law to the people of Israel. Within that law is a statement which seemingly is one of the granting of life –
“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5
However, the reality is that the law actually brought about death. It couldn’t grant life because “it was weak through the flesh.” Man, because of his inherited corruption, is incapable of meeting the demands of the law. What was to bring life, actually brought death (Romans 7:10). And so the law seemed to merely add heavy baggage on the highway to destruction. But then the news of eternal wonder was introduced into the stream of humanity.
What the law couldn’t do, God did for us. Such is the nature of the work of God. It is a gift and it is solely of His doing. Where the law further condemned us, we found a new avenue of release when God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” This is the incarnation – God united with humanity and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He bore the garments of flesh that we bear, but unlike ours which have the inherited baggage of Adam’s fall, Jesus came through a woman, but not a man. He was conceived without sin; He had the “likeness” of sinful flesh, but actually was sinless.
God did this, sending His Son, “on account of sin.” Sin entered the world when the devil wrought his work of deception in the Garden of Eden. The devil seemed to have gained the victory, but John tells us in his first epistle that it was, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)”
This is what it means when Paul says “on account of sin.” The devil is the master of this world of sin, but Jesus came to undo his work – and He did! “He condemned sin in the flesh.” By coming as Adam was, Jesus was fully qualified to replace the error he committed. Born sinless, Jesus was capable of prevailing over the law which was given. As it says in Leviticus, “if a man does, he shall live by them.”
The marvel of the incarnation is that by coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, but bearing no sin, Jesus could do what no other person could even come close to doing. Through His work, we are now granted an offer – we can accept the work of Jesus on our behalf and be reconciled to God through Him, or we can choose to stay “in Adam” and attempt to be reconciled on our own merits.
This verse then is an explanation of the first two verses in Romans 8 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Life application: We are weakened by the sinful flesh we inherited, but Christ had no such limitation. He prevailed over the law, thus condemning sin in the flesh. As great as that sounds, we need to remember that in order for this to happen, Christ had to go to the cross. When you rejoice in His work, never forget the high cost which was paid in the process.
I stand amazed at what happened at the cross. Every word of the law and prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, but who could have imagined what was included in receiving that title – humility, trials, suffering, and death. Before the exaltation there was humiliation. Before the victory, there was shame. I stand amazed at what happened at the cross. Thank You O God, for Calvary’s cross. Amen.