Romans 8:3. 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,
Romans 8:2 introduced us to the Fourth Law, the law of the Spirit of life. Romans 8:3 begins to explain the “how” of the Spiritual life. It can seem a bit confusing, but it is one of the greatest statements about our union with Christ that we could ever read. There is great hope in this verse. Hope for victory over the flesh and the death that comes with it.
Let’s break it down:
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do – The law could never destroy the Sin inside of you. Why? Because the flesh, or the indwelling sinful desires, would not allow it. Because of the flesh, the law could only stir up sin, not condemn it to death. So God did for and in us what his law could not do.
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh – God initiated our salvation by sending his Son, Jesus. Jesus came as a human (in the… flesh) but without Sin (likeness).
and for sin – Christ judged Sin on the cross. Yes, he dealt with the guilt of our sins by his blood. This is called the atonement. But Christ also judged and condemned Sin itself. Sin no longer rules over us in the flesh. The power of Sin is gone, although the presence of Sin remains (see Romans 7).
he condemned sin in the flesh – Stay with me here. By uniting his life to humanity (the incarnation), and taking Sin into his own body on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), he allowed for Sin to be judged and found guilty in his fleshly death. By our union with his death the condemnation of Sin in his flesh now is applied to our flesh. Sin is now condemned in the flesh.
This condemning of sin in the flesh means three very important things in our lives.
- Your body is now redeemable. It can be resurrected. We don’t look forward to an eternal disembodied state. We will live bodily with a embodied Christ on a physical earth forever. We don’t become angels, or ghosts. We don’t float around on clouds. This is our resurrection hope. Our tent will become a building.
- Christ can indwell your body. Because Sin no longer has control over your body, Christ can now, by the Spirit, live within you and control your body. You can present your body to righteousness. You can walk in the Spirit. You can have resurrection victory each and every day. Christ is in you!
- And, looking back to Romans 8:1, this is the reason why you will never be condemned by your sin. Because your sin has been condemned. It’s the guilty party, not you.
Romans 8:3 describes an amazing work that has been done in you. But never forget, it also describes a completed work. There is no more to do. The indwelling Holy Spirit will not go beyond what Christ has already done at the cross (his death FOR you and WITH you).
I was talking to a friend today who was describing a really rough experience of temptation. She said that she kept crying out to God to help her, but it didn’t feel like God was doing anything.
We must remember that there is no no work of God beyond the cross. There’s no other help coming. It’s already happened. You have all you’re going to get in Christ. The Spirit’s work is to take us to faith in the cross. Crying out to God to do something beyond the cross will never work. Instead, in times of temptation, we need to remember what has already been finished at the cross – the condemnation of sin in the flesh.
btw: I love Coffee With Jesus because Jesus is always seated, relaxed, cool, and enjoying a cup of joe stress free. It is finished.
“To live is Christ” means living by faith in his finished work. The work that God has done through his Son and his Spirit. There is no more for Christ to do. But there is plenty more opportunities for us to believe.
Do you believe that Sin has been condemned in you? That your future resurrection is secure? That Christ is living his life of love and holiness through you? How would your life look different today if you believed this?