Romans 8:4


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:4

The previous verse noted that Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh.” This verse is follow-up to that. By coming in the likeness of sinful flesh (being found in the appearance of man – Philippians 2:8) He prevailed over the flesh for us. In reality, in Him “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.” This is the Bible’s doctrine of substitution, one thing taking the place of another in order to accomplish an act or provide a benefit.

In the Old Testament, an animal was sacrificed in place of the sins of the people. The animal had done no wrong, but the sin was transferred to it as a temporary means of expiation and propitiation. These sacrifices looked forward to the coming Christ who would die on behalf of fallen man. In like manner, the righteousness of Christ is transferred to us. He did the work, fulfilling the law’s righteous requirement and that is granted to those who trust in His work.

Because of the work of Christ, we have the ability to move from Adam to Jesus. The sin transfers to His cross; His righteousness transfers to us. This fulfillment of the law is granted to those “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” This is the same concept as verse 8:1 which said that there is “now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

To understand this often misinterpreted phase, refer to the comments on 8:1. In short though, believers are in Christ positionally the moment they call on Him. We are justified and have moved from Adam to Christ. However, we can and often do walk contrary to this positional change because we are still in our fallen bodies. When we fail, it isn’t the fault of the Spirit who has sealed us, but our carnal selves working to satisfy their own lusts.

How will this affect us if not for salvation? The answer is through rewards and losses. We all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and receive our rewards for our proper living and losses for our failures. Therefore, it is important for us to walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Life application: Christ has fulfilled the law on our behalf. It is finished and nailed to the cross. Why would we attempt to go back and try to merit His favor by reintroducing that which He has fulfilled? It is a slap in His face and a rejection of what He has done. Let us rest in His work and be satisfied that through Him, the law which was contrary to us is fulfilled and now obsolete.

Lord, when I think of the gift You have presented, it is beyond my ability to grasp. You have offered to give me Your righteousness in exchange for my heavy baggage of a life of sin and rebellion. How could I not but accept the terms? I bow my knees to Jesus and I give my heart to You, O God. Thank You for the freedom by which I am truly free. Amen.

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