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It is only by the power of the Spirit that you and I ever please God.
The Spirit is so melded with who we are that the righteousness is said to be ours (Rom. 8:10).
Binary evangelism can be a problem for the believer
In verse 3, what the ESV leaves somewhat nebulous when it states, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do (ESV).”
May raise questions for the reader such as: was the law in particular what was weak in the first place? Or, what can the law not do? The NIV makes a helpful interpretive move to guide the reader: “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,”
There is something the law cannot do. It cannot make you right before God. Why? because of human weakness.
Human flesh causes the law to be powerless and weak becasue of human failure.
The effect of the Law, or the Law’s ability, it’s power, to bring about righteousness that God requires in a person proved to be innefective. lessened, mitigated, yes, weakened by the flesh. `The effectual ability of the law was blunted once it encounterd man’s inability.
What is implied in the argument is that the law was given to make people right with God, yet this is something it could never do effectively.
This has tangeable, real life effects for us. If you tell you, “Do not think about a white horse.” I now have an audience of people all thinking about a white horse. I gave a command, and immediately the command what disobeyed. You might resist and succeed for a little while, yet you can only resist for so long.
1. Resisting sin by your own efforts if futile. Saying, “I’m not going to lust. I’m not going to be angry. I’m not going to lie.” Will only last so long before you fall to that which you resist. What are we working toward here? Something greater is needed to help you and I do what we cannot. The law is insufficient to bring you before God, the Judge and have declared, “There is therefore now no comdemnation of you.” The only way it is possible is if God has done in Jesus what we cannot do for ourselves.
We have already established the law is not the problem as Paul says in 7:12 “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,”
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ro 8:3.
You see this very gospel-centered word in this verse “done” or in the NIV and NASB, “did.” From a salvation-historical perspective, Paul writing Romans around 59 AD after the pivotal death of Christ, yet interpreting the events for his readers years after, he marks this event as critical. “Many have observed that the diference between “do” in order to be right with God and “done” seperates the Christian religion from any other. “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.”

By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh

This is a very abstract thought, and theology, what Paul is doing right now, can sometimes remain distanced from our experience if we do not take the next step to apply it. It is as if the theological truth might pass us up as you stand in the corner of a large banquet hall with many delicacies laid before you, yet you just stand there. You do not sit down at the table to partake in the meal. You leave the truths Paul presents sitting there. Friend, grab hold of this truth with fork and knife, cutting into the stake, place it in your mouth and experience the good food, nourishing your body, filling your stomach with good things. Does this truth do the same for you? God sent his only son for you, as if like a sinner, Jesus dealt with/canceled/forgave/ your sin. Do you taste the juicy morsel of stake? Savor it, God so loved you that he gave his only son to forgive your sins. Do not enjoy your steak without enjoying this as well!
“in the likeness of sinful flesh”
Jesus must be fully, truly human to save you and I.
The only person who could take away your sins and mine is a person who is like us, in our form, with our human frailties, yet without sin. This is a battle the church valiantly fought up until the 4th century. You are a person. Jesus is a person. You and I are different from Jesus. We live in a different time, a different culture, we sometimes think a lot differently, yet we are sinful humans, a condition all people are in. So not every experience of your life will match Jesus’ life. You are not a cookie from his cookie cutter, nor he from yours. Though there are many differences, the similarities are sufficient for him to be your perfect substitute before a holy God. He was not sinful flesh, yet he was human and checks all the right boxes to be a sufficient Savior.
A person who acts righteously before others condemns unrighteous behavior. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. Do those around you hate you for doing what is right? Your right actions condemn them and show you to be different and they to be wrong. Jesus brought judgement on sin in the flesh by his righteousness life. He is the only one who has done so.
If Jesus perfectly lived a sinless life and then he dies on your behalf, his entire life is substituted on your behalf. Ever seen this doctrine in the Bible? Here it is. Every good thing Jesus has done has canceled out every bad thing you have ever done, ever do, and ever will do. Jesus righteous life fulfills righteousness on your behalf. However, there is something that proves Jesus’ righteous life is substuting for yours. See it in verse 4, “who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
If in the daily course of your life, your life is driven by the Spirit’s desires, works, and fruit, then you can claim evidentially Jesus’ righteousness as yours. You don’t actually posess in yourself the righteousness. It is alien to you. It is the Spirit who empowers the righteousness Christ purchased for you on the cross. Without the Spirit, the righteousness of Christ is not yours.
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