Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Flesh and the Law

"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 NKJV).

Here Paul speaks of the impotence of the law to save us. The law cannot save fallen man. Why is this? Where does the weakness of the law lie? Paul tells us that the law is weak through the flesh. There is nothing wrong with the law. It is neither weak nor bad. Rather, the problem lies in our flesh, in our inability to obey the law.

Since our fallen nature could not obey the law, God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to save us. The Greek word for flesh is again sarx. Notice that Paul does not make an absolute identity between the flesh of Christ and the flesh of man. This is because flesh or sarx does not refer to our human nature, but to our corruption and fallenness.

Now, Christ certainly did take upon Himself human nature, with all of the attributes of unfallen humanity. But He did not take upon Himself a sinful nature. The incarnate Christ was without original sin. He came in the flesh in the sense of body, but not in the sarx in the sense Paul is using the term in Romans. In other words, Christ came like us, in the likeness of sinful flesh, but not as us, for His flesh was sinless.

By doing this God “condemned sin in the flesh.” When Christ was put to death, God poured out His judgment upon human sin. After our sins were imputed to Jesus, God condemned them. That is why there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because it has already taken place.

Why did God do this? It was “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” (v. 4). God’s purpose was not simply to spare us, but also to remake us, so that we might live in obedience to His holy law.

Today, let your mind try to fathom what it must have been like for Christ to have been without sin in thought, intentions, words, and actions every second He lived on earth. The sinless nature of Jesus is incomprehensible. Thank God today for preserving Christ’s perfection and consider what heaven will be like when we too will be totally free of sin.