February 18 I Thursday
“For what the law was powerless to do…God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering…in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” —Romans 8:3-4
How do we live according to the moral law? After God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, we could write one word across the rest of the Old Testament: failure. The historical books recall details of that failure on every page. The poetic books record weeping and mourning about that failure. The prophetic books preach about that failure. But everything changed in the New Testament, when Jesus came onto the scene. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them” (Matthew 5:17). The essence of the gospel is about restoring the moral character of God into human experience by fulfilling the law.
The law in itself can tell us what is wrong and exposes our need. This is why we preach the law, so that people’s conscience may be provoked and realize that they are not the person they were created to be. However, the law itself cannot fix the problem. The law is like a flashlight, where if we know there is a leak in our cellar, we can take the flashlight down to find there is a burst pipe, but the flashlight cannot fix the burst pipe. This explains why legalism is contrary to the gospel, because we cannot fix our problem with the law by our own human efforts.
The solution to our problem is found in Jesus. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The law is powerless to change anybody, but what the law cannot do, God did by sending His Son. Jesus died as our substitutionary sin offering, and through His resurrection, brought us life and the gift of His Spirit.
When the law says, “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. You shall not covet....” (Exodus 20:13-17), we obey it. Why? Not because we are more disciplined, but because the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us, who do not live according to human ability and resources, but according to the Spirit. The only way we could live according to the moral law is through His Spirit in us and not by our own flesh.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You for being my sin offering so that the righteous requirements of the law may be fully met in me. Thank You for placing Your Spirit in me so that I may walk in Your ways. Amen!