THE FAILURE OF THE LAW

Scripture Reading:  Romans 8:1-4

“”For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.”  (Romans 8:3)

Before we leave this section of Romans 8, verse three needs explanation.  It seems to say that the law of God is weak.  How could something God established be weak?  Let’s look at the words carefully.  I believe we will see what Paul means when he wrote — “What the law weakened by the flesh could not do.”  

What can the law not do?  The law cannot deliver us from the guilt of our sins and justify us.  As we have seen the law condemns — “For the law brings wrath” (Romans 4:15).  The law cannot deliver us from guilt; rather it reveals our guilt — “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

The law cannot secure the righteousness which it demands to be fulfilled in us — “In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…” (v. 4).  We cannot keep the law in our own strength.  We have already failed at it.  Thus, the law in incapable of producing righteousness in us.

So then, why do the law fail?  It is not because the law is weak.  (A superficial reading of the verse may indicate this interpretation.)  But the reason the law is weak is that it is dependent upon our obeying it.  The law failed because it had to work through our weak flesh.

When we understand this, there is no reason for self-righteousness and pride.  We have no reason to look down our spiritual noses on other people.  We too are failures, for our flesh is weak.  When we admit this, we then see our need for Jesus.  We can boast in nothing but Him — “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).

Lord Jesus, I have nothing to boast in but You.  I confess that my flesh is weak.  I often fail to obey Your will for my life as is expressed in the law.  What the law could not do for me, You did.  You provided the means for my sins to be forgiven and for Your perfect righteousness to be imputed to me.

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