Romans 8:3
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh,
Christ Condemning SinAlexander MaclarenRomans 8:3
No CondemnationS.R. Aldridge Romans 8:1-4
What the Law Could not DoT.F. Lockyer Romans 8:1-5
Paradise RegainedR.M. Edgar Romans 8:1-11
The Judgment-Day, and How to Prepare for itC.H. Irwin Romans 8:1-11
Christ Contemplated in His RelationJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
Christ's Holy Life a Living Condemnation of SinProf. Godet.Romans 8:3-4
Christ's MissionRomans 8:3-4
God's Own SonT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
How God Condemned SinC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 8:3-4
Law HelplessR. Tuck.Romans 8:3-4
Of Christ's Being the Natural and Eternal Son of GodRomans 8:3-4
Sin Condemned in the FleshP. Strutt.Romans 8:3-4
The Believer's DeliveranceT. G. Horton.Romans 8:3-4
The Christian PlanD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
The Condemnation of Sin in the FleshArchdeacon Gifford.Romans 8:3-4
The Impotence of the LawT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
The Impotency of the Law Through the FleshProf. J. A. Beet.Romans 8:3-4
The Law's Failure and FulfilmentC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 8:3-4
The Law's Inability to Justify and SaveT. Jacomb, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
The Requirement of the LawJ. Ogle.Romans 8:3-4
The State of Christianity TodayH. Ward Beecher.Romans 8:3-4
The Weakness of the LawThomas Horton, D. D.Romans 8:3-4
The Weakness of the Law and the Power of the GospelJ. J. S. Bird, M. A.Romans 8:3-4

The apostle speaks much in the language of the Law. He himself was not only acquainted with the useful handicraft of tent-making or sail-making, but he was also trained in the profession of the Law - brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. He had a considerable acquaintance, too, with the practice of the law-courts. From the brief references in the Acts of the Apostles to his personal history before his conversion, it would appear as if previous to that time he had been engaged as a public prosecutor of the Christians. After he became a Christian, he was frequently called upon, for Christ's sake, to appear at the bar of Jewish and Roman courts of justice. On his first missionary visit to Europe he was dragged before the magistrates at Philippi, and again before Gallio at Corinth. Then, again, he stood before the Jewish council at Jerusalem; before Felix, Festus. and Agrippa at Caesarea; and, finally, before Nero himself at Rome. On the present occasion he is writing to residents at Rome. Rome at the time was the metropolis of the world, the centre of the world's legislation. To stand at Caesar's judgment-seat was to stand before the highest earthly authority then in existence, and to be tried by the greatest code of laws which, with the exception of British law, the world has ever known. The laws of the XII. Tables, as they were called, which were the basis of all the Roman laws, were engraved upon twelve tables of brass, and set up in the comitium, or public meeting-place, so that every one might be able to read them. Every educated Roman youth learned by heart these XII. Tables. It was to a people thus familiar with the ideas and the practice of courts of justice that Paul, himself a well-trained lawyer, was writing. He keeps before their minds and his own the thought that there is a higher than all human authority; that there is a judgment-seat more terrible than that of Caesar; and that the great concern of every human being is how he or she shall fare in that great day of reckoning - that day which bulks so largely in St. Paul's mind, which stands out so prominently before his mental vision, that he constantly speaks of it as "that day. It is an important subject, how to prepare for meeting God in the judgment.

I. THE PREPARATION OF THE CHRISTIAN. The apostle speaks of the Christian as being prepared for a judgment-day. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." That day needs a preparation. "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The thought of that judgment makes strong men tremble. Felix trembled as Paul the prisoner reasoned with him of righteousness, temperance, and the judgment to come. It is that dread of something after death that makes the murderer's sleep so restless, and that makes the dishonest man's gains like a weight of lead upon his mind. Conscience does, indeed, make cowards of us all. The Christian recognizes that there is a terror in the judgment, as Paul did when he spoke of "the terror of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:11); but the judgment brings no terror to him. He knows that he too will be judged according to his deeds, that the fire will try every man's work of what sort it is, and, therefore, he will realize his responsibilities and privileges. But he knows that one thing is certain, and that is that he is safe from condemnation. He carries his pardon in his hand. The Christian's confidence comes from the very Judge himself who sits upon the throne. That Judge is Jesus Christ himself. But before he would sit to judge men, he came into the world to die for them as their Saviour. To every one who receives him and accepts his salvation he gives the white stone (Revelation 2:17), the token of acceptance and pardon. He becomes their High Priest, their Advocate with the Father. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." In Christ! What a sense of security that brings with it! In Christ! Not till we stand before the great white throne, and our names are found written in the Lamb's book of life, shall we fully realize what that means. In Christ! That was Paul's great wish for himself. "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him." In Christ! Yes. Jesus is the Ark, into which we may betake ourselves from the dangers of temptation and destruction. He is the City of Refuge, to which we may flee from death, the avenger of blood. He is the sure Foundation, on which we may build with perfect confidence all our hopes for eternity. He is the Rock, in the clefts of which we may hide ourselves, and feel that all that concerns us is safe. Your pledge of safety at the judgment-day is the character and promise of the Judge himself. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day"' Let it not be said that this confidence leads to carelessness; that because we are delivered from condemnation, therefore it does not matter how we live. The verses which follow the declaration that there is no condemnation are the answer to this suggestion. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (vers. 3, 4). No true Christian ever thought or acted as if, because he was delivered from condemnation, he was thenceforth free to commit sin. If we are Christ's, we have no longer a guilty fear of death and condemnation, but we have a filial fear that shrinks from offending and grieving our heavenly Father. We are constrained by the love of Christ in our hearts to love what he loves, and to hate what he hates. We are constrained by a feeling of gratitude. We have been bought with a price; therefore we will strive to glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are his. We have the hope of heaven in our hearts; and therefore we seek to walk worthy of our high calling, to purify ourselves, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. So far from being a motive to carelessness, the Christian's safety in Christ is the grandest motive to holiness and usefulness of life.

II. THE PREPARATION OF THE CHRISTLESS. At the judgment-day there will be just two classes - those whose names are found written in the Lamb's book of life, and those whose names are not there; the Christian and the Christless; those who are in Christ," and those who are not. Many are relying upon their moral life, though it may be utterly worldly and godless, as their hope for eternity. But whatever human expectations may be, God's Word makes it very plain how it will fare on the judgment-day with all who are out of Christ. It is not the fault of God the Father. He so loved the world that he gave his own Son for our salvation. It is not the fault of the Son. Christ says, "I am come that ye might have life." It is not the fault of the Spirit, who is constantly striving with us. If Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, surely it is clear that there is no salvation in any other. "He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18). - C.H.I.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh.
I. THE DIVINE PURPOSE FOR MAN, WHETHER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT OR THE NEW, IS THE SAME. The reader who turns from the one to the other seems to have passed into a new world. The things, such as sacrifices, etc., that seemed of most importance in the one, seem of no importance at all in the other. But under seeming divergence, there is essential unity — a unity that comes to the surface in the text. Here we read of "the righteousness," or better still, "the requirement of the law." Now what was this? Not what it seemed to the great mass of the Jews. Had the Pharisee who prayed, "God, I thank Thee," etc., been asked, he would have given a list of things to be done or avoided. But now and then a prophet caught a glimpse of this purpose. Now it is the Preacher, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter," etc. Then it is Isaiah (Isaiah 58:6, 7). Now it is Micah (Micah 6:8). Then it is David in the fifty-first Psalm, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit," etc. The end of the law was not to make formalists, but good men. And the purpose of God is the same under the Christian dispensation. What God desires is not certain forms, services, emotions, but the renewal of the whole nature, inner and outer.

II. CHRIST HAS COME THAT GOD'S PURPOSE MIGHT BE COMPLETELY ATTAINED. Attained as it never could have been in any other way — that it might be "fulfilled" in us. 'The architect sees in vision a glorious building. As yet it is empty. The masons labour and it is filled full, completed, realised. The father has a dream for his son just starting in life. When the son lives that life and becomes the pride of his father, he fulfils it. What St. Paul means is that our Father has had a dream for us. And that that dream might be accomplished, that we might become good, "God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin." And in Christ He did all that was needed. He condemned sin just where it needs condemning, in the sinner's heart. He made a full and complete atonement. He supplied the mightiest of all motives to a new life in the constraining love of Christ. And He promised the most effectual of all help in the gift of His Spirit. Have we, too, a dream? Do we want to be true children of God? Christ is the only Way. Trust, love, and follow Him, and you shall have "the righteousness of the law" fulfilled in you.

III. THERE IS BUT ONE PROCESS BY WHICH THIS PURPOSE CAN BE ATTAINED. The sphere in which it is to be done is that of active, not of contemplative life. In business and home duties and cares we have to decide whether we will yield to the cravings of the flesh or the promptings of the Spirit. And it is as we walk in that Spirit, and take up our cross and deny ourselves, that we grow up into Christ, become like Him, and God's plan — our perfection and happiness — is fulfilled in us.

(J. Ogle.)

The "Laocoon" may serve as an artistic embodiment of Romans 7:14 to end. But the issues of the struggle differ. Laocoon is overcome; St. Paul conquers, in the grace of Christ. Self-effort for righteousness is a hopeless struggle. St. Paul found the "more excellent way."


1. Except for this pursuit of righteousness, it is not worth being a man at all. Without it how is man higher than the beast? No man really lives save as he pursues this. No man can ever be satisfied save as he attains this.

2. But what is righteousness? It is —(1) Conformity of inward conditions and outward conduct. It is of the lack of this harmony St. Paul complains. This he called unrighteousness.(2) Conformity of both spirit and conduct to the revealed will of God. For that must be our standard.

3. Taking these ideas of righteousness then, it appears that men wholly fail to attain it by self-effort. And self-effort ends in a despairing sense of the power of sin. Then arises the question — Can we attain righteousness by any helps we can secure? Try two.

II. THE OFFER OF HELP BY THE LAW. What is law? The plain statement of what is right, made to us with befitting sanctions. This cannot help us to righteousness. Because —

1. Of its nature. It can only disclose sin and condemn. "I had not known sin, but by the law." It cannot give life.

2. Of the corruption of man. He is "weak through the flesh"; he "cannot do the thing that he would." There is no hope of ever making flesh render perfect obedience. It is plain that "law is helpless."

III. THE OFFER OF HELP BY GOD. This help is in no sense intended to set law aside. It is the offer of power to obey. And the offer is made in Christ Jesus, who came into the world bringing a new force of Divine life. How, then, does God in Christ help? Not as law does, trying to shape conduct and force the flesh, but by quickening the spirit, renewing the will, moulding the inclination, inspiring the soul with love to God, and holy desires. And this succeeds. Thus urged and inspired, the spirit can master the flesh, and win the righteousness which the law requires.

(R. Tuck.)

I. OF WHAT LAW DOTH THE APOSTLE HERE SPEAK? God's own law, in its strict and proper acceptation, viz., that revelation which the great Lawgiver hath made of His will, therein binding the reasonable creature to duty. But what law of God? Either that primitive law which He imposed upon Adam (and in him upon all mankind), upon the keeping of which He promised life, upon the breaking of which He threatened death; or else, that law which He gave Israel from Sinai, namely, the decalogue or moral law, which was but a new draught of the law first made with Adam.


1. You read (ver. 1) of exemption from condemnation. Now this the law could not do; the law can condemn millions, but it cannot save one.

2. You read (ver. 2) of being made flee from the law of sin and death. Herein, too, was the law impotent; it might lay some restraints upon, but never bring down the power of sin.

3. There is the blessed empire of the spirit over the flesh, as also the full and perfect obeying of the law's commands; neither of these could the law effect.

4. Reformation of life the law could not do.

5. The text speaks of the condemning of sin; the law can condemn the sinner, but not (in a way of expiation) sin itself.

6. There is the reconciling of God and the sinner, the satisfying of infinite justice, the justifying of the guilty, the giving of a right and title to heaven. Now the law was under an impossibility of effecting any of these.


1. The word is used to set forth any debility, whether it be natural or preternatural, as being occasioned by some bodily disease. The apostle speaks of the weakness of the commandment (Hebrews 7:18), and weak and beggarly elements (Galatians 4:9). Here a higher law was in his eye, and yet he attributes weakness to it also; it could not do because it was weak, and it was weak because it could not do.

2. This weakness of the law is not partial, but total; it is not the having of a lesser strength, but the negation of all strength. A man that is weak may do something, though he cannot do it vigorously, exactly, and thoroughly; but now (as to justification and salvation) the law is so weak that it can do nothing.

IV. WHAT THE FLESH IS HERE BY WHICH THE LAW IS MADE THUS WEAK? The corrupt, sinful, depraved nature that is in fallen man. Observe that the weakness of the law is not from the law itself, but from the condition of the subject with whom it hath to do. When man was in the state of innocency, the law (Samson like) was in its full strength, and could do whatever was proper to it; yea (as to itself), it is able yet to do the same; but the case with us is altered; we cannot now fulfil this law, nor come up to what it requires of us, and therefore it is weak. The strongest sword in a weak hand can do but little execution; the brightest sun cannot give light to a blind eye. The law strengthens sin, and sin weakens the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).

1. The special matter of the law's weakness.(1) With respect to justification (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16, 21; Galatians 3:11, 21, 22; Acts 13:39).(2) In reference to eternal life. It never yet carried one sinner to heaven. Consider it as the covenant of work, so its language is "do and live" (chap. Romans 10:5). Now man in his lapsed state cannot do according to the law's demands, therefore by it there is no life for him.

2. The grounds or demonstrations of the law's impotency.(1) It requires that which the creature cannot perform. Before the law can do any great thing for a person it must first be exactly fulfilled; for though man hath lost his power the law hath not lost its rigour. Though the sinner be as the poor broken debtor, yet the law will not compound with him, but will have full payment of the whole debt. Now this is impossible.(2) The law doth not give what the creature needs; it asks above his strength and gives below his want.(a) He must have grace, sanctification, holiness, etc., but the law will not help him to these. It is holy itself, but it cannot make others holy; it can discover sin, but it cannot mortify sin. The law is a killing thing, but it is of the sinner, not of the sin; it hath by reason of the flesh a quite other effect; for it doth rather enliven, increase, and irritate sin, as water meeting with opposition grows the more fierce and violent; and the disease, the more it is checked by the medicine, the more it rages (Romans 7:8).(b) The law calls for duty, but it gives no strength for the performance of it, Pharaoh-like, who exacted brick but allowed no straw.(c) Great is the sinner's need of faith; for without this no justification, no peace with God, no heaven. Now the law knows nothing of faith; nay, it is diametrically opposite to it (Galatians 3:12).(3) The law could not do, because it could not heal that breach which sin had made betwixt God and the sinner. It can make no reparation for what is past. Suppose the sinner could for the future come up to a full conformity to the law, yet the law would be weak, and the creature could not thereby be justified, because reparation and satisfaction must be made for what is past, which to make is impossible to the law.Application:

1. Here's matter of deep humiliation to us. How should we lament that sinful nature by reason of which the law cannot do that for us which otherwise it would!

2. It is necessary that I should vindicate the honour of the law, and obviate mistakes and bad inferences.(1) Notwithstanding this weakness of the law, yet give it that honour and reverence which is its due. Remember whose law it is, as also what an excellent law it is in itself (Romans 7:12).(2) Take heed that you do not cast off the law upon the pretence of its weakness, for it is, notwithstanding, obligatory to all (Romans 3:31).(3) Neither must you look upon the law as altogether —(a) Weak. For though as to some things it be under a total impotency, yet as to other things it still retains its pristine power. It cannot take away sin, or make righteous, or give life, but as to the commanding of duty, the directing and regulating of the life, the threatening of punishment upon the violation of it, here it can do whatever it did before.(b) Useless. For though the law be not of use as to justification, yet it is of use as a monitor to excite to duty, as a rule to direct, as a glass to discover sin, as a bridle to restrain sin, as an hatchet to break the hard heart, as a schoolmaster to whip you to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

3. Was the law thus unable to do for the sinner what was necessary to be done? then never look for righteousness and life from and by the law. It highly concerns every man in the world to make sure of righteousness and life; but these are only to be had in Christ in the way of believing, not in the law in the way of doing.

4. See here the admirable love of God, and be greatly affected with it. The law was weak; and now the merciful God finds out another way; He sent His own Son in the likeness, etc.

(T. Jacomb, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS IT THAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO? It could not fulfil in us its own righteousness. It could not cause us to exemplify that which itself had enacted. As to any efficiency upon us, it was a dead letter, and did as little for the morality of the world as if struck with impotency itself, and bereft of all the means or the right of vindication.

1. The apostle introduces a caution, that he might not appear to derogate from the law. The law was not weak in itself, but through the flesh. There is a native efficiency, in all its lessons and enforcements, which is admirably fitted to work out a righteousness on the character of those to whom it is addressed. It is no reflection on the penmanship of a beautiful writer that he can give no adequate specimen of his art, on the coarse or absorbent paper which will take on no fair impression. Nor is it any reflection on the power of an accomplished artist that he can raise no monument thereof from the stone which crumbles at every touch. And so it is because of the groundwork, and not of the law, that the attempt has failed.

2. And it is to be observed that the fulfilment of the righteousness of the law in us was a thing to be desired — not merely that the universe might become richer in virtue, but that the law might in us achieve the vindication of its honour. It could not do the first, through the weakness of the flesh. And as little can it do the second, excepting in those on whom it wreaks the vengeance of its insulted authority.(1) It does not work in the persons of the impenitent the virtues which it enjoins, nor fulfil in this sense its own righteousness upon them. But it wreaks upon these persons the vengeance which it threatens, and in this sense may be said to make fulfilment of its righteousness.(2) In the persons who walk after the Spirit — how can the law, in reference to them, acquit itself of its juridical honours? for they too have offended. Let us see —

II. HOW THE GOSPEL ADJUSTS THIS DEFICIENCY. There was something more than a Spirit necessary to work in us a righteousness — even a sacrifice to make atonement for our guilt.

1. The first step was to make ample reparation for the injuries sustained by the law, and so, by satisfying its rights, making a full vindication of its righteousness. That law which was written on tables of stone had to be appeased for its violated honour ere it was transferred into the fleshly tablets of our heart. The blood of remission had to be shed ere the water of regeneration could be poured forth; and so the Son of God came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and became a sin offering, and sustained the whole weight of sin's condemnation, and, after ascending from the grave, had that Holy Ghost committed unto Him under whose power all who put their trust in Him are enabled to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Thus, historically, the atonement took place before the more abundant ministration of the Spirit.

2. And so also, personally, a belief in that atonement has the precedency to a sanctifying operation over the sinner's heart. Not till we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord our righteousness shall we experience Him to be the Lord our strength.Conclusion:

1. In order that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, it is not enough that we walk as spiritual men. The more spiritual in fact that you are, the greater will your sensibility be to the remaining deficiencies of your heart and temper and conversation. So that to the last half hour even of a most triumphant course in sanctification, you must never lose sight of Him on whom has been laid the condemnation of all your offences, and count for your justification before God on nothing else than oil Jesus Christ and on Him crucified.

2. However zealously the righteousness of Christ must be contended for as the alone plea of a sinner's acceptance, yet that the benefit thereof rests upon none save those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

The law of God is perfect. You cannot add anything to it, nor take anything from it, without spoiling it. There is nothing wrong but the law condemns it, and there is nothing right but the law approves it. The soul of it is contained in one word, "love"; but it comprehends every form of duty which springs out of our relationship to God or man.

I. WHAT THE LAW CAN AND CANNOT DO. It cannot save a lost soul. The law, as originally given to Adam, would have produced in him a perfect life. But we have fallen, and this has made the law weak for the accomplishment of God's purpose of justification. The law of England protects honest men, and deters many from committing crime; but it is practically powerless in the case of some habitual criminals. The defect is not in the law, but in the person with whom it has to deal.

1. It sets before us a straight path. Up the mountain side I see the way to the summit. But I have fallen into an abyss, and cannot stir. Now that path, like the law, cannot help me to follow it. Still, it is useful to know the way.

2. It shows us our deflections and stains. It is like the looking glass, which cannot take away a single spot, but can only show where it is.

3. It upbraids us for our sin, but it cannot forgive.

4. It gives no inclination to do the right, but often creates the contrary inclination (chap. Romans 7.). There are some things men would not think of doing if they were not forbidden.

5. It does not lend us any aid towards the fulfilment of its commands.

6. When we have broken the law it brings no remedy. Of mercy the law knows nothing. On one occasion some workmen were quarrying some rocks; and having made all ready for a blast — drilled the holes, filled them with gun cotton, and connected the fuzes — they warned everyone away from the place of danger. Then the fuzes were lighted, and the workmen withdrew; but, to their horror, they saw a little boy, attracted by the lights, running towards them. Those strong men shouted to the boy, "Go back! go back!" But of course the boy, having the same nature as the rest of us, only went the more quickly into the danger. Still the men cried, "Go back! go back!" They were like the law, powerless; not because their voices were weak, but because of the material with which they had to deal. But the mother of the boy heard the call, and seeing his fearful peril, dropped on one knee, opened her arms wide, and called, "Come to mother! come to mother!" The boy stopped, hesitated a moment, then ran to her embrace, and so escaped the danger. What all the shouts of the strong men could not do, the gentle voice of the mother accomplished. Their voices were like the law, which says, "Go back! go back!" Her voice was like the sweet sound of the gospel, "Come to Jesus! come to Jesus!" Note —


1. He sends. He does not wait for us to come to Him.

2. He sends His Son. He had but one, His Only-begotten; but that He might "bring many sons unto glory," He sent that one.

3. He sends Him in the flesh. "Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels." There He is, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.

4. He sends Him in the likeness of sinful flesh. His flesh was like sinful flesh, but it was not sinful flesh.

5. He sends Him on account of sin.

6. He sends Him to be a sacrifice for sin. Our sin was laid on Him; and when God came to visit sin He found it laid on Christ, and He smote it there. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust."

7. He thus condemns sin in the flesh. Christ's death condemned sin. You may find strong words with which to censure sin, and no words can be too strong. But sin was never so condemned as when Jesus died. This blot must put out, not the candles and the moon and the stars, but the sun himself. This poison is so virulent that the immortal must die. Now is sin condemned as the vilest thing in the universe. It has forced the hand of Divine justice to smite down even Christ Himself instead of guilty men.


1. In Christ the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, it is vindicated. I, guilty by God's law, am condemned to punishment. But I am one with Christ. He stands for me. He takes the sin as though He had committed it, and suffers what I ought to have suffered; and so God's law is vindicated. Thus the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in every believer, because his accepted Substitute and Surety has borne the punishment. "Then there is an end of the law," says one. Stay, if a man disobeys, and is punished, he does not thereby escape from the duty of obedience. The law is always our creditor for a perfect obedience. Now, there could not have been such obedience rendered to the law even by sinless Adam as the Christ rendered to it. I take, today, the perfect obedience of my Lord, and appropriating it by faith, I call Him, "The Lord my righteousness."

2. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the Christian by the grace of God. When we believe in Christ we not only receive pardon, but also renewal. I speak for all who love Christ. You do long to obey Him. Ay, and you do obey Him. You have laid aside the works of the flesh. You love God, and you love your neighbour. And though not perfectly, yet in a large measure, the law is fulfilled in you. I would try to live as if my salvation depended upon my works alone; and yet I do so knowing all the while that I am justified by faith, and not by the works of the law. Thus present obedience is actually rendered.

3. This righteousness is fulfilled through Christ. The obedience to the law is fulfilled in us out of gratitude to Christ.(1) What the law could not do, the dying Christ has done. His sacrifice makes us hate evil. Naming the name of Christ, we "depart from iniquity"; for we realise that it was not Roman soldiers and rabble Jews alone who nailed Him to the tree, but it was our sins that did it.(2) Gratitude to Christ also incites us to the good. Shall He do all this for me, and I do nothing for Him? If Be gave His life for me, then I will give my life to Him. He has bought it; He deserves it; and He shall have it. I will no longer live to the flesh, since in the flesh Christ condemned my sin. Thus the holy law is cheerfully fulfilled.

4. This righteousness is fulfilled in the energy of the Spirit; "in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." God not only works for us, but He also works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." The Spirit applies the work of Christ to the soul. Why should not everyone receive, by the Spirit, this new life at this moment? Then it will grow, for we "walk after the Spirit"; we do not stand still. As we obey the law of God, we shall receive more and more of His power; for it is written, that He is "given to them that obey Him." He first teaches us to obey, and then, when we obey, He dwells with us in greater fulness; and then "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The voice of Sinai was powerless to save, because our flesh was too weak to throw off the bondage of sin. Just so a rope is powerless to save the drowning man who has not strength to grasp it. Whereas even such might be saved by the living arms of a strong man. If the flesh could do what the mind approves, the law would be able, by revealing the badness of the rule of sin, to dethrone it, and thus save us. But the flesh cannot drive out its dread inhabitant. Consequently the law, which cannot breathe new strength into the flesh, but only knowledge into the mind, is too weak to save us.

(Prof. J. A. Beet.)

Now in this verse we have — first, a defect implied; and secondly, a defect supplied. The defect supplied in these, "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin," etc.

I. THE DEFECT IMPLIED — "What the law could not do, in that it was," etc. First, to speak of the defect itself, "What the law could not do." What could not the law do? Why it could not justify us, or free us from sin and condemnation. It could not make us perfectly holy and righteous in the sight of God. This is likewise held forth to us in divers other places besides (Acts 18:38, 39; Galatians 3:21; Hebrews 7:18). Now this imperfection and insufficiency which is in it will further appear unto us in these regards: first, because the law does not offer to us any pardon or forgiveness of those things which are done against the law. The law it hath in it an accusing power, but it hath not in it an absolving power; it threatens the curse, but it does not tender the promise. It is the ministration of condemnation, but it is not the ministration of life. And accordingly we meet with divers expressions in Scripture to that effect (Galatians 3:10; James 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:6, etc.). Secondly, the law, as it does not tender forgiveness, so neither does it give faith whereby to apprehend and lay hold upon forgiveness which is tendered. Now this the law doth not do, but only the gospel; the law does neither reveal faith to us nor work it in us. Thirdly, the law does not give us any power neither, whereby to keep the commandments of God, but leaves us in this point altogether feeble. Why, but if the law be not able to justify us, "wherefore, then, serveth the law?" as the apostle makes the expostulation (Galatians 3:19). To this we answer as the apostle there answers himself, that it serves in regard of transgressions, and so is useful to these following purposes: first, as a looking glass, wherein to see our own ugliness and deformity. When we reflect upon our own lives and ways and then compare them with the law of God, then we see how short they are, and how far from true perfection. Secondly, it serves as a schoolmaster to lead us and drive us to Christ; while it discovers to us our own imperfection it carries us to seek for protection in another, that is, in Him. As the stings of the fiery serpents drove the Israelites to look up to the brazen serpent, so the stings of the law they drive us to look up to Christ; and as the needle makes way for the thread, so does the law make way for the gospel. Thirdly, it serves as a rule of life and new obedience which we are to conform ourselves unto. The second is the occasion of this defect whence the law was thus unable, and that is here expressed to be "by the flesh." It was a thing never yet done that anyone which was a mere man did fulfil the law. And this (to give you some account of it) may be thus demonstrated to us as coming thus to pass. First, from the inbred concupiscence which all men are infected withal: those which have in them a principle which does continually oppose and fight against the law, they are not able to fulfil the law. Now this have all men in this world, even the best that are; therefore they are not able to fulfil it. That this principle it is very much battered and mortified, and in a great measure subdued, but yet it is not wholly removed. The second may be taken from that actual sin which flows from original, as there is in us a corrupt nature which does indispose us to the keeping of the law, so there are also in us many daily transgressions which do plainly take us off from keeping of it. Thirdly, it may be also demonstrated from the weakness and imperfection of grace. Fourthly, it may be likewise shown from the nature of the law itself, and that is that it is spiritual. The law requires more than the outward action, also the inward affection; and not only some imperfect endeavour, but also the perfectest degree of obedience which can be performed. Lastly, it is from hence clear that none can here in this present life fulfil the law from that necessity which lies upon everyone to pray for the forgiveness of sins. Our inability which we have voluntarily brought upon ourselves does not hinder God from exacting that which is His own. The use of this point may be to humble us in the sight of our own insufficiency and misery which is upon us, especially when we shall consider that we have brought it upon ourselves. All evils are at any time so much the more tedious as we ourselves have any hand in procuring them and bringing them about.

II. The second is THE DEFECT SUPPLIED — "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," etc. There are three main particulars here observable of us: first, the Author of our deliverance, and that is God. Secondly, the means of our deliverance, and that is Christ. Thirdly, the effect of our deliverance, and that is the condemnation of sin: "God sending forth His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin," etc. We begin with the first, the Author or principal Efficient, and that is here signified to be God. And when we speak of this there are three things here further considerable. First, the goodness of God. And secondly, the wisdom of God. And thirdly, the power of God. All these in this dispensation. First, here was the exceeding goodness and mercy of God, that when He saw and observed into what a condition we had brought ourselves did not now leave us in this condition, but sought out, and found out a way for the delivery of us. This was the exceeding riches of mercy which is here to be taken notice of by us. And this it may be further amplified from divers considerations. First, from the state in which we stood to Himself, and that is of enmity and hatred (ver. 10). Secondly, from the stale in which He stood to us. It was God that was first wronged, and yet it was God that first began to think of the means of reconciliation. Thirdly, His independency upon us: He stood in no need of us, He could have done well enough without us. Fourthly, His preterition and passing by of other creatures who by their creation were more glorious than ourselves. What does all this serve for but to enlarge our hearts more in thankfulness to God who has done so graciously for us and with us? The second is the wisdom of God; God in His wisdom. And that especially in observing this order and method. First, He would suffer us to be miserable before He would make us absolutely and eternally happy. The law must first be "weak through the flesh" before God sends His Son. Thirdly, here was also His power. And whilst here in this text our salvation is reduced to God as the principal Author and Efficient of it, it is hereby made to be strong salvation, especially if we consider in what a case we were before He undertook it. Though the law were unable to save us, yet God for all that is not unable. Hence it is that the Scripture still represents our salvation to us under this notion. "I am the Lord thy God and thy Saviour" (Isaiah 43:3, 12, etc.). "The mighty God," etc. (Isaiah 9:6). If it were in any hands besides His we might jointly fear the miscarriage of it. The second particular branch considerable in the second general of the text is the means of deliverance, and that is here expressed to be the sending of Christ, in these words, "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin." In which passage we have three things more considerable of us: first, the person sent, and that is the Son of God, God's own Son. Secondly, the manner of sending Him, and that is "in the likeness of sinful flesh." Thirdly, the end for which, and that is "for sin." We begin with the first of these, viz., the person sent, God's "own Son." And there are no less than three main articles of our Christian faith, all at once, which are here exhibited unto us. First, here is the Godhead and Divinity of Christ. Secondly, here is the manhood and incarnation of Christ. And thirdly, here is the union of the two natures of Christ in one person. The second is the manner of sending Him, "In the likeness of sinful flesh." This we may take notice of to this purpose, namely, to show unto us how requisite it is for ourselves, in whatever business we undertake, especially of great consequence, to have our call and mission from God, that He sends us and appoints us thereunto. When He calls us, and designs us, and sets us apart, as He did Christ, we may expect help from Him. Secondly, in order to God's acceptance and approbation. It will from hence be more pleasing to God what we do, and well taken by Him. Thirdly, in order likewise to success. There is likelihood of some good to follow upon that performance which is undertaken by designation from God. The third thing here considerable is the end, and that is expressed to be "for sin." For sin, that is, to be an offering for sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now God had herein a regard to a double consideration: first, His own glory, as sin was opposite to that. And secondly, our good, as sin was opposite to this likewise. What does all this teach us? First, from hence to take notice of the grievous and fearful nature of sin. That which could not be helped but by the sending of the Son of God into the world, that was certainly no small grievance, nor to be reckoned so by us. Secondly, let us not set up that which Christ came to take away, lest we thereby make His coming of no effect unto us. The third and last is the effect or accomplishment of it: Christ's obtaining of the end for which He came, and God's obtaining of the end for which He sent Him, in these words — He condemned sin in the flesh. There are two things here considerable of us: first, that which Christ did. And secondly, the state or condition which He did it in. That which He did was the condemnation of sin. The state which He did it in was in the flesh, as it is here expressed unto us. In this dispensation of God, for the condemning of sin by Christ, there were divers things at once remarkable, and so considerable of us: first, God's infinite justice, in that He would not let sin go unpunished. Secondly, God's infinite mercy, in that He would punish sin in the surety, and not in the proper person himself that had offended. Thirdly, God's infinite wisdom, in contriving of a way for the uniting and reconciling of these two attributes together, His justice and His mercy. Perfect justice satisfied, and perfect mercy enlarged. Fourthly, God's infinite power, in that He could do that which none other could do besides. Let us take heed of speaking and pleading for sin which is thus condemned by God Himself; seeing He has passed sentence upon it, let us not open our mouths for it.

(Thomas Horton, D. D.)

I. THE WEAKNESS OF THE LAW. It could not —

1. Give peace to the conscience.

2. Renew the affections.

3. Sanctify the life. Corrupt flesh too rebellious and mighty to be controlled by it.


1. The atonement of Christ gives peace to the conscience.

2. The grace of God renews the heart.

3. The Holy Spirit by His indwelling consecrates the life.

(J. J. S. Bird, M. A.)


1. He has done what the law could not do. This moral law is the great code of holy requirement, enjoined by God upon all His intelligent creatures for the double purpose of forming their characters and regulating their lives. Now the law is found totally unable to accomplish this object by reason of our weakness and depravity. It is the flesh which is too weak to bear the pressure of the law, just as there are pebbles too friable to bear the friction of polishing, or just as there are mirrors too distorted and dingy to reflect any light.

2. "God has sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."(1) We thus see that what the law could not do no creature in the universe could do. To bring any pure created nature into contact with man's depravity would tend not to remove that depravity, but only to jeopardise the higher nature. Thus, with two streams, the one clear and the other turbid, when they mingle, it is not the clear stream which purifies the turbid one, but the reverse. Only God Himself could be trusted to mingle intimately with mankind, and lay hold upon the seed of Adam to raise it up from defilement and misery.(2) He has sent that Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh." The Saviour shared in our infirmities, but yet He was without sin. Though "born of a woman," He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners."

3. This was "for sin." If this be taken in the general sense of "on account of sin," or "with reference to sin," still we must think principally of His great atoning death. It was on the Cross that the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world (1 Peter 2:24).

4. God thus "condemned sin in the flesh," i.e., Christ on the Cross condemned sin to lose its hold upon mankind, and despoiled it of its tyrannous control; or else condemned to destruction the sin which is in our flesh. Here we see how Jesus saves His people from their sins. This word "condemned" suggests a comparison with ver. 1. The condemnation which should have come upon us has come upon our sins instead. And thus, while we are forgiven, we are also delivered from the thraldom of sin, that henceforth we should serve it no more.


1. Nothing is more clear than that Christ intends His people to be actually holy (Titus 2:11, and Titus 3:3-6). Here, then, we see the double glory of the gospel over the law. It can do what the law cannot do, in that it can confer on us a full and sufficient pardon, and also save us from the continued dominion of sin, and cause us to walk in newness of life. If a man hate God and his neighbour, it can make him love them; if he be a drunkard, it can make him sober; if an idolater, it can turn him from his idols; if a liar, it will make him truthful, etc.

2. Let us, then, see how it is that God works this mighty change within us.(1) Our hearts are won to holiness and the love of God by the incarnation and sufferings of His Son.(2) They are set free to a life of holiness by the removal of our guilt and condemnation by the sacrifice of Jesus.(3) They are directly strengthened and vivified for a career of holy living by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the purchase of Jesus' death, and the gift of His exaltation.

(T. G. Horton.)

I. THE OCCASION OF ITS INTRODUCTION. The inefficiency of the law.

1. What could not the law do? That which man as a sinner required for his salvation. It could neither regenerate nor justify. Man wanted both the nature for and the title to heaven, and the law could give neither.

2. Why the law could not do this?(1) Not because there is anything in it essentially inimical to happiness: law is essentially good. "It was tweak through the flesh," i.e., in consequence of man's depravity. It cannot make man happy, because man is corrupt.(2) This weakness of law is its glory. It is the glory of law that it cannot stoop to human imperfections; were it to do so the order of the moral universe would be destroyed.

II. THE HISTORY OF ITS DEVELOPMENT. "God sending His own Son," etc. Observe —

1. The mission of Jesus. "God sent" Him to do what the law could not do — regenerate and justify. Sovereign love is the primal spring.

2. The incarnation of Jesus. "In the likeness of sinful flesh." Only the likeness. His humanity was necessary as an example and as an atonement.

3. The sacrifice of Jesus. For a "sin offering," etc.

III. THE DESIGN OF ITS OPERATION. He did not come to abrogate, relax, or supersede law, but to fulfil it, that "its righteousness might be fulfilled" in the sinner. The Christian plan does this by presenting law —

1. In its most attractive forms. In the life of Jesus.

2. In connection with the greatest motives to obedience. In Christ you see God's infinite respect for law as well as His love for sinners.

3. In connection with the greatest helper — the Holy Spirit. "It is expedient for you that I go away," etc.,

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. The text is a distinct statement that Judaism had come to the end of its influence. It had educated them to a point where, while men had need of more, it had nothing more to give.

2. We hear men speak of the Christian religion like Paul spoke of the Jewish. It is patronisingly said, It has done a good work; but men are so far educated by it now that it is no longer able to meet the want of our times; but from some source we are to expect a latter-day glory, which will be to Christianity what Christianity was to Judaism.


1. It is said that Churchism is wearing out.(1) But, even if that were true, the Church is no more religion than the masonry of the aqueduct is the water that flows in it. Schools are a very different thing from intelligence, though intelligence uses them as instruments. Churches may change without changing in one single iota the substance of religion.(2) But besides this, the spirit of man, in religion, intermits. There has never been a steady growth in anything — neither in science nor government. If, then, there is now a decadence of interest in religion, it might show simply that we are in one of these stages of temporary inactivity.

2. It may be said that the thinking men, particularly in the direction of science, are less and less believers in revelation. And the statement has some truth in it. But in the history of the race we find that one element usually takes precedence of every other, and absorbs everything, cheating the other elements. In some ages it is the religious element; in others it is cold, hard thought; then this has given way to periods of enthusiastic and even superstitious devotion. Just now we are in a period of mere material investigations. But we shall certainly come to another period ere long. If now the spiritual elements are cheated, the time will soon come when these things will begin to balance themselves. So soon as that growth which seems to unsettle the old faith has adjusted itself, the religious wants of the soul reassert themselves, and ere long the old statements are overlaid with new religious developments, and with religious truth in new forms.


1. Is faith giving place to indifference? On the contrary, probably never was there an age in which there was so deep a religious faith as now. What men call a want of faith is oftentimes only unwillingness to accept so little as hitherto has been included in the articles of faith. It is the reaching out of the soul in new aspirations. It is asking for more, not for less.

2. Is the devotional spirit decayed? It is changing and ought to change. As progress in intelligence raises men into a better conception of God, and their own place in creation, there will be a new mode of reverence, a new method of devotion. The element of love has greatly increased, so that there is now far more of the filial spirit. The devotional spirit, though far less ascetic than it was, is more prevalent; and in the community there is far more respect for religion than formerly.

3. Never was there such a spirit of propagation as now. Never were so much pains taken to rear men for teaching the faith. Never was there so large a demand for, and supply of its instruments, in the form of religious books and papers: and, above all, never was there such a spirit of building churches, and supplying them in waste and destitute places.

4. Is the family today less or more under the influence of a true spiritual Christianity than it formerly was? There never was a period when there were so many high-toned and pure Christian families as today.

5. Has the Christian religion shown any signs of failing as a reforming power in its application to the morals of the day? Is there less conscience, less hope, less desire to purify the individual and the community? Religion dying? What, then, mean the execrations of wicked men? The Church losing its power? Why, then, are men so complaining of its intrusion, telling us to stay at home and preach the gospel, and not to meddle with things that do not concern us? It is the light which streams from the gospel which wakes the owls and the bats.

6. Has the Christian spirit lost its power over government and public affairs? I think the conscience of our community never was so high as it is today. Everywhere is the gospel leavening public administrations, and raising up an intelligent Christian public sentiment which is itself as powerful upon governments as winds are upon the sails of ships. If these things be so, are we quite ready yet to assume the condition of mourning? On the contrary, of all periods of the world this would be the last that I should have chosen to lift up my hands in despair and say, Religion is dying out, and must yield to a new dispensation.Conclusion:

1. We may expect some changes, but none other than to deepen religious life and faith in religious truth. There will be a better understanding of the human heart, and better modes of reaching it with religious truth. But no amount of change in these external instrumentalities will affect in the slightest degree the power of the religious element.

2. The instrumentalities of religion hereafter, we may believe, will be more various. Laws, and customs, and instruments, being filled with a religious spirit, will become means of grace to a degree that hitherto they have never done.

3. Many think that preaching is worn out: a great deal of preaching is worn out. Many think churches useless: a great many churches are useless. But would you judge the family in the same way? Would you say that fatherhood is worn out because there are a great many poor husbands and fathers?

4. There never was a time, young men, when you had so little occasion to be ashamed of Christ or of religion. If men all around you, with all manner of books and paper, are telling you glozing tales of the decadence of religion, say to them, "Let the dead bury their dead," but follow thou Christ. It is a falsehood. The glory of religion never was so great. Its need was never more urgent. Its fruits were never more ample. Its ministers were never more inspired by God's ministering angels than now.

(H. Ward Beecher.)

God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin.
Emphatic to mark —

1. The greatness of His love.

2. The adequacy of the means for the salvation of men.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

1. Christ was God's Son. Notice the several attestations of this great truth. That of John Baptist (John 1:34); of Nathaniel (John 1:49); Peter (Matthew 16:16); the Centurion (Matthew 27:54); the Eunuch (Acts 8:37); Martha (John 11:27); the devils themselves (Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11). Christ often asserted His Sonship; and the Father in a most solemn and open manner attested it (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5).

2. But Christ is here said to be God's "own Son." In the original it is "the Son of Himself," or His "proper Son" (as ver. 32). God is Christ's proper Father (John 5:18). He is not barely a son, but a son in a peculiar manner.Consider Him —

I. COMPARATIVELY. And so He is thus styled to distinguish Him from all other sons. For God hath sons —

1. By creation, as e.g., the angels (Job 1:6; Job 38:7), and Adam (Luke 3:38).

2. By the grace of regeneration and adoption (John 1:12, 13; James 1:18; Galatians 4:3; Ephesians 1:5).

3. By nature; one that is a son of another rank and order. In this respect God hath but one, namely, Christ. Upon which account He sometimes appropriates the paternal relation in God unto Himself (Luke 10:22; John 14:2). And elsewhere He distinguishes betwixt God as being His Father and being the Father of believers (John 20:17).

II. ABSOLUTELY, and abstractedly from all other sons, so He is God's own proper Son. The expression points to His being eternally begotten, and to His being begotten in the Divine essence. As to the latter, the Son was begotten in that essence rather than out of it. And some tell us that here we are not to consider Christ essentially as He is God, but personally as the Divine essence subsists in Him as the second person. In the first consideration as He was God He had the Divine essence in and of Himself, and so He could not be begotten to it, for He was God "from Himself." In the second notion, as He was God personally considered, or as He was the second person and the Son, so He was of the Father and not of Himself; for though He was God of Himself, yet He was not Son of Himself (see John 7:29; Psalm 2:7; Proverbs 7:22-30; Micah 5:2; John 1:14, 18; John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). There are three properties belonging to Christ in His Sonship which are incommunicable to any other.

1. He is a Son co-equal with His Father (John 5:18; Philippians 2:6).

2. He is a Son co-essential with the Father (John 10:30; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).

3. He is the co-eternal Son of God the Father (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 2:8; Hebrews 1:5, 8).Application:

1. Is Christ thus God's own Son? I infer then —(1) That He is God. Not a God by office only, not a made God, but God truly, properly, essentially (1 John 5:20). Generation is always the production of another in the same nature; like ever begets like; as it is said of Adam he begat a son in his own likeness after his image (Genesis 5:3), and must it not be so here in the Father's begetting of Christ?(2) That He is a very great and glorious person. Though Christ's dignity and preeminence is not the ground of His Sonship, yet His Sonship is the ground of His dignity and preeminence.(3) That the work of redemption was a very great work, for God sent His own Son about it. The greater the person who is employed in a work the greater is that work.

2. Was Christ God's own Son? Let me from hence urge a few things upon you.(1) Study Christ much in this relation, that you may know Him as the proper, natural, essential Son of God (1 Corinthians 2:2; Philippians 3:8). But —(a) In all your inquiries be sure you keep within the bounds of sobriety (1 Corinthians 4:6). Do not pry too far into those secrets which God hath locked up from you; content yourselves with what He hath revealed in His Word and stay there.(b) Join study and prayer together. He studies this mystery best who studies it most upon His knees. This is not savingly to be known without special and supernatural illumination from Christ through the Spirit (Matthew 16:16, 17; John 1:18, John 5:28).(2) Believe Him to be such, and believe on Him as such. The first we call dogmatical, the second justifying and saving faith.(3) How, then, should all honour and adore Him? Certainly upon this Sonship the highest, yea, even Divine adoration itself is due to Him (John 5:23). Give Him —

(a)The honour of worship (Hebrews 1:6).

(b)The honour of obedience (Matthew 17:5).(4) Admire and wonder at the greatness of God's love in His sending of Him.

(T. Jacomb, D. D.)

Before close handling this subject note —

1. This sending of Christ strongly implies His pre-existence. That which is not cannot be sent. And one would think the Scriptures are so clear in this that there should not be the least controversy about it. For they tell us that Christ was in Jacob's time (Genesis 48:16); in Job's time (Job 19:25); in the prophets' time (1 Peter 1:11); in Abraham's time, yea, long before it (John 8:56, etc.); in the Israelites' time (1 Corinthians 10:9); Isaiah's time (John 12:41). How fully and plainly is His pre-existence asserted in John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16, 17; Hebrews 1:2; John 17:5; Philippians 2:6.

2. His personality, by which I mean He existed before He took flesh, not as a thing, quality, dispensation, or manifestation, but as a proper, personal subsistence. And He must be so, or else He could not be the subject of this sending. For He is sent to take the likeness of sinful flesh upon Him.

3. The distinction that is betwixt the Father and Christ. One sends and the other is sent. The Father and the Son are one in nature and essence, yet they are distinct persons. The apostle had spoken of the Spirit in the former verse; in this He speaks of the Father and of the Son, thus teaching the Trinity. I will endeavour now: —


1. Negatively. This sending of Christ was —(1) Not His ineffable and eternal generation, or sonship grounded upon that. He was sent who was the Son of God, but He was not the Son of God as He was sent; His Sonship was the result of His generation, not of His mission.(2) Not any local secession from His Father, or any local motion from the place where He was, to some other place where He was not. The Father sent Him to this lower world, yet here He was before; the Father sent Him from heaven, yet, as to His Godhead, He remained in heaven still (1 John 3:13). So when He ascended, He went from earth, and yet He was on earth still as to His spiritual presence (Matthew 28:20). Man He went from us, but as God He is as much with us as ever.

2. Affirmatively, this sending of Christ lies —(1) In God's choosing, appointing, ordaining Him from everlasting to the office and work of the Mediator (1 Peter 1:20).(2) In God's qualifying and fitting of Him for His great work. God never puts a person upon any special service but first He qualifies him for that service. Christ must have a body to fit Him for dying and suffering, that God provided for Him (Hebrews 10:5). And whereas He must also have the Spirit, that too the Father doth furnish Him with (Isaiah 42:1; John 3:34).(3) In God's authorising and commissioning Him to what He was to be and to do. Christ had a commission from God under hand and seal (John 6:27). As princes when they send abroad their ambassadors or appoint their officers, they give them their commissions sealed to be their warrant for what they shall do; so God the Father did with Christ.(4) In the Father's authoritative willing of Him to take man's nature upon Him, and in that nature so to do, and so to suffer (Hebrews 10:7; John 10:18; Philippians 2:8).(5) In God's trusting of Him with His great designs. When we send a person about our affairs, we repose a trust in him, that he will be faithful in the management of our concerns.

II. TO ANSWER AN OBJECTION AND REMOVE A DIFFICULTY. That which hath been spoken seems to derogate from the greatness and glory of Christ's person: for if God sent Him, then, argue some, He is inferior to the Father. But —

1. Sending doth not always imply inferiority or inequality; for persons who are equal upon mutual consent may send each the other. And thus it was between God the Father and Christ. When the master sends the servant, he goes because he must; but when the Father sends the Son He goes readily, because His will falls in with His Father's will (John 10:36, cf. 17:19; Romans 8:32, cf. Galatians 2:20).

2. We must distinguish of a two-fold inferiority, one in respect of nature, and one in respect of office, condition, or dispensation. As to the first, Christ neither was nor is in the least inferior to the Father. In respect of this He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. As to the second, Christ being considered as Mediator, it may be said of Him that He was inferior to the Father (Philippians 2:7, 8; John 14:28).

III. TO INQUIRE INTO THE GROUNDS AND REASONS OF CHRIST'S MISSION. In the general, some must be sent. Since neither the law, nor anything else, could operate to any purpose towards the advancing of God's honour and the promoting of the sinner's good, it was necessary that God Himself should interpose in some extraordinary way; which thereupon He accordingly did in the sending of Christ. But more particularly, suppose a necessity of sending, yet why did God pitch upon His Son? Might not some other person have been sent, or might not some other way have been found? I answer, No; Christ the Son must be the very person whom God will send. And Him He pitched upon because —

1. He was the person with whom the Father had covenanted about this very thing.

2. God saw that was the very best way which could be taken. He had great designs to carry on, as, e.g., to let the world see what an evil thing sin was, how impartial His justice was, what an ocean of love He had in His heart, and to lay a sure foundation for the righteousness and salvation of believers. Now there was no way for the accomplishing of these comparable to this of God's sending His Son.

3. As this was the best and the fittest way, so He was the best and the fittest person to be employed. This appears from, and was grounded upon —(1) His two natures, the hypostatical union of both in His person. He was God (John 1:1; Philippians 2:6; 1 John 5:20; Romans 9:5; Isaiah 9:6; Titus 2:13). He was also man (1 Timothy 2:5); then, too, He was God-man in one person (Colossians 2:19). Now who could be so fit to bring God and man together as He who was Himself both God and man?(2) His glorious attributes; His power, wisdom, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, holiness, etc.(3) His Sonship and near relation to God. Who so fit to make others the adopted sons of God as He who was Himself the natural Son of God?(4) The glory and dignity of His person as the image of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). Now who so fit to restore man to God's image as that man who was the essential image of God?

4. He was the only person that could be sent, for none but He could accomplish man's redemption.(1) There were evils to be endured, which were above the strength of any mere creature to endure.(2) There were evils to be removed — the wrath of God, the guilt of sin, the curse of the law — which no mere creature was able to remove.(3) There were also blessings to be procured, as reconciliation with God, justification, adoption, eternal salvation, which no such creature possibly could procure.Practical improvement:

1. Was Christ sent? and did God thus send Him? What doth this great act of God call for from us?(1) To admire God. Here is the greatest thing that ever God did, or ever will do; it was much that He should make a world, but what is the making of a world to the sending of a Son?(2) To admire the love of God the Father, and alway to entertain good thoughts of Him (Ephesians 1:3-5). Some gracious persons lie under the temptation that they can with more comfort think of the Son than of the Father. But surely God is love, and this very sending of His Son represents Him as full of mercy, goodness, and grace.(3) To love Christ greatly. God sent Him, but how willing was He to be sent upon the errand of your salvation l(4) To imitate Christ with respect of His being sent. Thus, never go till you be sent, then go readily.(5) To take heed that you do not rest with the external sending of Christ. There is a two-fold sending of Him —

(a)To be man.

(b)Into man. He that would hope for salvation by Christ must have the latter as well as the former sending.(6) To believe in Him (1 John 3:33; John 17:3).

2. It affords abundant matter of comfort to all sincere Christians. Did God send Christ?(1) Surely, then, great was His good will towards you (Luke 2:14).(2) Then He is in good earnest in the matters of salvation.(3) Then you need not fear but that the work of redemption is completed. When such a person sends, and such a person is sent, the thing shall be done effectually and thoroughly.(4) Know to your comfort He hath not yet done. As to His own satisfaction He hath no more to do, but as to your glory and happiness He will yet do more. His first sending was to make the purchase, His second shall be to put you into possession.(5) Set this against all.

(a)Against the weakness of the law. That which the law could not do, Christ did.

(b)Against the guilt of sin. Upon Christ's sending presently you read of the condemning of sin.

(T. Jacomb, D. D.)


1. He is God's own Son.

2. Sent by God.


1. He sustains.

2. Magnifies.

3. Fulfils it.


1. He visits him.

2. Assumes his nature.

3. Dies for him.


1. He atones for it.

2. Condemns it.

3. Destroys it.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Condemned sin in the flesh
1. Ever since man has fallen, two things have been desirable. The one, that he should be forgiven; the other, that he should be led to hate the sin into which he has fallen, and love the holiness from which he has become alienated. It were impossible to make a man happy unless both be equally realised. If his sins were forgiven, and yet he loved sin, his prospects were dark, If he ceased to love sin, and yet were lying under the guilt of it, his conscience would be tortured with remorse. By what process can man be both justified and sanctified?

2. Human reason suggests that a law should be given to man which he should keep. This has been tried, and the law which was given was the best law that could be framed. If, therefore, that law should fail to make men what they should be, the fault will not be in the law, but in the man. As the text says, it was "weak through the flesh." It could not do what God never intended it should do. The law cannot forgive sin, nor create a love of righteousness. It can execute the sentence, but it can do no more. Now, in the text we are told how God interposed to do by His grace what His law could not do.

I. WHAT GOD DID. He sent His Son.


1. The very fact that God was under necessity, if He would save men and yet not violate His justice, to send His Son, condemned sin.

2. The life of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth condemned sin. You can often condemn an evil best by putting side by side with it the palpable contrast. There was a condemnation of sin in Christ's very look. The Pharisees and all sorts of men felt it. They could not fail to see through His life what crooked lives their own were.

3. God condemned sin by allowing it to condemn itself. Most men deny that their particular transgressions are at all heinous. But God seemed to say, "I will let sin do what it can; and men shall see henceforth what sin is from that sample." And what did sin do? Sin murdered the perfect man, and thus convicted itself.

4. God condemned sin by suffering Christ to be put to death on account of sin. Its heinousness demanded no lesser expiation. "But why did not God exercise the sovereign prerogative of mercy, and at once forgive sin?" How, then, could God have condemned sin? "But if the righteous law be really so spiritual, and carnal man so weak, why not alter the law and adapt it to the exigency?" I reply again, because such a procedure would not condemn the sin. On the contrary, it would condemn the law.

III. HOW THIS DOES WHAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO. There were two desirable things, you will remember, that I started with.

1. That the offender should be pardoned. You can clearly see how that is done. If Jesus did suffer in my stead, henceforth it becomes not only mercy that absolves me, but justice that seals my acquittal.

2. But how does this tend to make men pure and haters of sin? When the Holy Spirit comes with power into a man's heart, and renews his nature, forthwith the impure are made chaste, the dishonest are made honest, and the ungodly are made to love God. And by the same means there comes into the heart an enmity against the sin which caused the suffering of Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"The law" here means that law of constraint, acting from without as precept and motive, which came to a head, in the dispensation of Moses. It is singular that this law — called "the ministration of condemnation" — could not condemn sin in the flesh, or secure the fulfilment of its own righteousness. This unfitted it to become an instrument of salvation. It could give us no help to get free from that very evil to which it was itself most opposed.

I. THE GREAT REQUIREMENT. Condemnation of sin in the flesh signifies —

1. That the condemnation should pass from a mere threatening to an actual punishment in human nature. Condemnation can exist as a threatening, and if so, sin may be condemned in the law; but when sin is condemned in the flesh, there must be the actual infliction of punishment.

2. Such a condemnation as shall issue in the accomplishment of the righteousness of the law. The great problem is how to condemn sin effectually, and yet save the sinner.

II. THE INSUFFICIENT PROVISION. The law was unable to do this. It could not condemn sin in the flesh through the weakness of the flesh. If terror could frighten man out of sin, the law has terror. If the relation of duty could secure the performance of duty, the law reveals duty. If the exhibition of holiness could allure to the law of holiness, the law exhibits that picture. But the corruption of the flesh is too strong for the law to conquer.

III. THE PERFECT ACCOMPLISHMENT. The gospel condemns sin in the flesh.

1. By the incarnation of Jesus. Sin cannot be adequately condemned (i.e., punished) as an abstraction, but only in human nature, i.e., in the same nature in which it was committed, otherwise the threatening remains a dead letter.

2. By the sacrifice of Christ. "For sin" means "an offering for sin." God laid on Christ the condemnation of the law. But how could Christ more effectively bear the punishment of the law than any other man?(1) By virtue of His headship of His people. If the head suffers, the whole body being identified with that head, suffers also. A nation makes peace or war by the minister who is in power. So Christ bare our sins in His own body.(2) By virtue of His innocence. He had no sins of His own to atone for, Thus He could be accepted instead of sinners.(3) By reason of His divinity. The blow of justice must have destroyed any merely human being, but it could not destroy Christ. He was able to exhaust the penalty, and yet to survive.

(P. Strutt.)

How did God condemn sin in the flesh, i.e., in human nature generally?

1. By exhibiting in the person of His Incarnate Son the same flesh in substance but free from sin, He proved that sin was in the flesh only as an unnatural and usurping tyrant. Thus the manifestation of Christ in sinless humanity at once condemned sin in principle. For this sense of condemnation by contrast see Matthew 12:41, 42; Hebrews 11:7. But —

2. God condemned sin practically and effectually by destroying its power and casting it out; and this is the sense especially required by the context. The law could condemn sin only in word, and could not make its condemnation effectual. Christ coming "for sin" not only made atonement for it by His death, but uniting man to Himself "in newness of life" (Romans 6:4) gave actual effect to the condemnation of sin by destroying its dominion in the flesh through the life-giving, sanctifying power of His Spirit.

(Archdeacon Gifford.)

The flesh in Him was like a door constantly open to the temptations of pleasure and pain; and yet He constantly refused sin any entrance into His will and action. By this persevering and absolute exclusion He declared it evil and unworthy of existing in humanity. This was what the law, "because of the flesh," which naturally sways the human will, could not realise in any man. The law could undoubtedly condemn sin on paper, but Christ condemned it in a real living human nature. Hence the reason why He must appear in flesh. For it was the very fortress where sin had established its seat that it behoved it to be attacked and conquered. Like the hero spoken of in the fable, He required Himself to descend into the infected place which He was commissioned to cleanse. Thus from the perfectly holy life of Jesus there proceeds a conspicuous condemnation of sin; and it is this moral fact, the greatest of the miracles that distinguished this life, which the Holy Ghost goes on reproducing in the life of every believer, and propagating throughout the entire race. This will be the victory gained over the law of sin (ver. 2). Thus we understand the connection between the "condemned" of ver. 3 and the "no condemnation" of ver. 1. In His life He condemned that sin, while by remaining master of ours, would have brought it into condemnation. The condemnation of sin in Christ's life is the means appointed by God to effect its destruction in ours.

(Prof. Godet.)

Paul, Romans
Able, Acted, Body, Condemn, Condemned, Couldn't, Decision, Effected, Evil, Feeble, Flesh, Frail, Human, Humanity, Image, Impossible, Law, Likeness, Nature, Offering, Powerless, Pronounced, Sacrifice, Sending, Sentence, Sin, Sinful, Weak, Weakened
1. Those who are in Christ are free from condemnation.
5. What harm comes of the flesh;
13. and what good of the Spirit.
19. The glorious deliverance the creation longs for,
29. was beforehand decreed from God.
38. Nothing can sever us from his love.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Romans 8:3

     1135   God, suffering of
     2036   Christ, humility
     2218   Christ, Son of God
     2421   gospel, historical foundation
     2515   Christ, birth of
     2595   incarnation
     5034   likeness
     5441   philosophy
     5454   power, God's saving
     6027   sin, remedy for
     6040   sinners
     6617   atonement, in NT
     6648   expiation
     6755   union with Christ, nature of
     7444   sin offering
     8358   weakness, physical

Romans 8:1-3

     2321   Christ, as redeemer
     5005   human race, and redemption

Romans 8:1-4

     2324   Christ, as Saviour
     6125   condemnation, divine
     6669   grace, and salvation
     6679   justification, results

Romans 8:1-9

     5110   Paul, teaching of
     6028   sin, deliverance from

Romans 8:1-11

     5381   law, letter and spirit

Romans 8:1-17

     6661   freedom, and law

Romans 8:2-3

     2066   Christ, power of

Romans 8:2-4

     1352   covenant, the new
     6139   deadness, spiritual

Romans 8:3-4

     2075   Christ, sinless
     4906   abolition
     5380   law, and gospel
     6163   faults
     6677   justification, necessity
     6678   justification, Christ's work
     8157   righteousness, as faith
     8311   morality, and redemption

Romans 8:3-5

     8244   ethics, and grace

Romans 8:3-9

     6166   flesh, sinful nature

December 18:
December 18th. The misgiving which will creep sometimes over the brightest faith has already received its expression and its rebuke: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Shall these "changes in the physical state of the environment" which threaten death to the natural man, destroy the spiritual? Shall death, or life, or angels, or principalities, or powers, arrest or tamper with his eternal correspondences?
Henry Drummond—Beautiful Thoughts

October 10. "If Ye, through the Spirit, do Mortify the Deeds of the Body, Ye Shall Live" (Rom. viii. 13).
"If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. viii. 13). The Holy Spirit is the only one who can kill us and keep us dead. Many Christians try to do this disagreeable work themselves, and they are going through a continual crucifixion, but they can never accomplish the work permanently. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, and when you really yield yourself to the death, it is delightful to find how sweetly He can slay you. By the touch of the electric spark they
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

August 6. "As Many as are Led by the Spirit of God they are the Sons of God" (Rom. viii. 14).
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God" (Rom. viii. 14). The blessed Holy Spirit is our Guide, our Leader, and our Resting-place. There are times when He presses us forward into prayer, into service, into suffering, into new experiences, new duties, new claims of faith, and hope, and love, but there are times when He arrests us in our activity, and rests us under His overshadowing wing, and quiets us in the secret place of the Most High, teaching us some new lessons, breathing
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October 12. "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus Hath Made Me Free" (Rom. viii. 2).
"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free" (Rom. viii. 2). The life of Jesus Christ brought into our heart by the Holy Spirit, operates there as a new law of divine strength and vitality, and counteracts, overcomes and lifts us above the old law of sin and death. Let us illustrate these two laws by a simple comparison. Look at my hand. By the law of gravitation it naturally falls upon the desk and lies there, attracted downward by that natural law which makes heavy bodies fall
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

November 8. "For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus Hath Made Me Free" (Rom. viii. 2).
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free" (Rom. viii. 2). There is a natural law of sin and sickness, and if we just let ourselves go and sink into the trend of circumstances we shall go down and sink under the power of the tempter. But there is another law of spiritual life and of physical life in Christ Jesus to which we can rise and through which we can counterpoise and overcome the other law that bears us down. But to do this requires real spiritual energy and fixed
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

September 27. "The Glorious Liberty of the Children of God" (Rom. viii. 21).
"The glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. viii. 21). Are you above self and self-pleasing in every way? Have you got above circumstances so that you are not influenced by them? Are you above sickness and the evil forces around that would drag down your physical life into the quicksands? These forces are all around, and if yielded to would quickly swamp us. God does not destroy sickness, or its power to hurt, but He lifts us above it. Are you above your feelings, moods, emotions and states?
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October 11. "And He that Searcheth the Hearts Knoweth what is the Mind of the Spirit, Because He Maketh Intercession for the Saints According to the Will of God" (Rom. viii. 27).
"And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. viii. 27). The Holy Spirit becomes to the consecrated heart the Spirit of intercession. We have two Advocates. We have an Advocate with the Father, who prays for us at God's right hand; but the Holy Spirit is the Advocate within, who prays in us, inspiring our petitions and presenting them, through Christ, to God. We need this Advocate. We know
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October 21. "Who Shall Separate us from the Love of Christ?" (Rom. viii. 35).
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Rom. viii. 35). And then comes the triumphant answer, after all the possible obstacles and enemies have been mentioned one by one, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us." Our trials will be turned to helps; our enemies will be taken prisoners and made to fight our battles. Like the weights on yonder clock, which keep it going, our very difficulties will prove incentives to faith and prayer, and occasions
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 1. "That the Righteousness of the Law Might be Fulfilled in Us" (Rom. viii. 4).
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. viii. 4). Beloved friends, do you know the mistake some of you are making? Some of you say: "It is not possible for me to be good; no man ever was perfect, and it is no use for me to try." That is the mistake many of you are making. I agree with the first sentence, "No man ever was perfect"; but I don't agree with the second, "There is no use trying." There is a divine righteousness that we may have. I don't mean merely that which
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October 13. "The Carnal Mind is Enmity against God" (Rom. viii. 7).
"The carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom. viii. 7). The flesh is incurably bad. "It is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be." It never can be any better. It is no use trying to improve the flesh. You may educate it all you please. You may train it by the most approved methods, you may set before it the brightest examples, you may pipe to it or mourn to it, treat it with encouragement or severity; its nature will always be incorrigibly the same. Like the wild hawk which the little
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

August 4. "Ye are not in the Flesh but in the Spirit if So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ He is None of His" (Rom. viii. 9).
"Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His" (Rom. viii. 9). A spiritual man is not so much a man possessing a strong spiritual character as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. So the apostle said: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." The glory of the new creation, then, is not only that it recreates the human spirit, but that it fits
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Fourth Sunday after Trinity Consolation in Suffering, and Patience.
Text: Romans 8, 18-22. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to vanity not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Fourth Sunday after Trinity Redemption of the Creatures.
Second Sermon. Text: Romans 8, 18-22. REDEMPTION OF THE CREATURES. 1. We have heard how Paul comforts the Christians in their sufferings, pointing them to the future inconceivable and eternal glory to be revealed in us in the world to come; and how he has, for our greater consolation, reminded us that the whole creation as one being suffers in company with the Christian Church. We have noted how he sees, with the clear, keen eye of an apostle, the holy cross in every creature. He brings out this
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Eighth Sunday after Trinity Living in the Spirit as God's Children.
Text: Romans 8, 12-17. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Divine Support and Protection
[What shall we say then to these things?] If God be for us, who can be against us? T he passions of joy or grief, of admiration or gratitude, are moderate when we are able to find words which fully describe their emotions. When they rise very high, language is too faint to express them; and the person is either lost in silence, or feels something which, after his most laboured efforts, is too big for utterance. We may often observe the Apostle Paul under this difficulty, when attempting to excite
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Accusers Challenged
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies. T hough the collating of manuscripts and various readings has undoubtedly been of use in rectifying some mistakes which, through the inadvertency of transcribers, had crept into different copies of the New Testament, yet such supposed corrections of the text ought to be admitted with caution, and not unless supported by strong reasons and authorities. The whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God: and they who thankfully
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

The Intercession of Christ
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us! T he Redemption of the soul is precious. Fools make mock of sin (Proverbs 14:9) . But they will not think lightly of it, who duly consider the majesty, authority, and goodness of Him, against whom it is committed; and who are taught, by what God actually has done, what sin rendered necessary to be done, before a sinner could have a well-grounded
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Triumph Over Death and the Grave
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. T he Christian soldier may with the greatest propriety, be said to war a good warfare (I Timothy 1:18) . He is engaged in a good cause. He fights under the eye of the Captain of his salvation. Though he be weak in himself, and though his enemies are many and mighty, he may do that which in other soldiers
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

August the Twenty-Fifth Impotent Enemies
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" --ROMANS viii. 31-39. Who can get between the love of Christ and me? What sharp dividing minister can cleave the two in twain, and leave me like a dismembered and dying branch? Terrible experiences cannot do it. "Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword!" All these may come about my house, but they cannot reach the inner sanctuary where my Lord and I are closeted in loving communion and peace. They may bruise my skin,
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

May the Twenty-Eighth the Sons of God
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God." --ROMANS viii. 9-17. And how unspeakably wealthy are the implications of the great word! If a son, then what holy freedom is mine! Mine is not "the spirit of bondage." The son has "the run of the house." That is the great contrast between lodgings and home. And I am to be at home with the Lord. And if a son, then heir! "All things are yours." Samuel Rutherford used to counsel his friends to "take a turn" round their estate.
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Sons and Heirs
'If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.'--ROMANS viii. 17. God Himself is His greatest gift. The loftiest blessing which we can receive is that we should be heirs, possessors of God. There is a sublime and wonderful mutual possession of which Scripture speaks much wherein the Lord is the inheritance of Israel, and Israel is the inheritance of the Lord. 'The Lord hath taken you to be to Him a people of inheritance,' says Moses; 'Ye are a people for a possession,' says
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Suffering with Christ, a Condition of Glory with Christ
'...Joint heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.'--ROMANS viii. 17. In the former part of this verse the Apostle tells us that in order to be heirs of God, we must become sons through and joint-heirs with Christ. He seems at first sight to add in these words of our text another condition to those already specified, namely, that of suffering with Christ. Now, of course, whatever may be the operation of suffering in fitting for the possession of
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Witness of the Spirit
'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.'--ROMANS viii. 18. The sin of the world is a false confidence, a careless, complacent taking for granted that a man is a Christian when he is not. The fault, and sorrow, and weakness of the Church is a false diffidence, an anxious fear whether a man be a Christian when he is. There are none so far away from false confidence as those who tremble lest they be cherishing it. There are none so inextricably caught in
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Revelation of Sons
'For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.'--ROMANS viii. 19. The Apostle has been describing believers as 'sons' and 'heirs.' He drops from these transcendent heights to contrast their present apparent condition with their true character and their future glory. The sad realities of suffering darken his lofty hopes, even although these sad realities are to his faith tokens of joint-heirship with Jesus, and pledges that if our inheritance is here
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

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