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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 3

Verse 3. For what the law could not do. The law of God, the moral law. It could not free from sin and condemnation. This the apostle had fully shown in chapter 7.

In that. Because.

It was weak. It was feeble and inefficacious. It could not accomplish it.

Through the flesh. In consequence of the strength of sin, and of the evil and corrupt desires of the unrenewed heart. The fault was not in the law, which was good, (Ro 7:12) but it was owing to the strength of the natural passions and the sinfulness of the unrenewed heart. See Ro 7:7-11, where this influence is fully explained.

God, sending his own Son. That is, God did or accomplished that, by sending his Son, which the law could not do. The word did, or accomplished, it is necessary to understand here, in order to complete the sense.

In the likeness of sinful flesh. That is, he so far resembled sinful flesh that he partook of flesh, or the nature of man, but without any of its sinful propensities or desires. It was not human nature; not, as the Docetae taught, human nature in appearance only; but it was human nature without any of its corruptions.

And for sin Margin, "By a sacrifice for sin." The expression evidently means, by an offering for sin, or that he was given as a sacrifice on account of sin. His being given had respect to sin.

Condemned sin in the flesh. The flesh is regarded as the source of sin. See Barnes "Ro 7:18".

The flesh being the seat and origin of transgression, the atoning Sacrifice was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that thus he might meet sin, as it were, on its own ground, and destroy it. He may be said to have condemned sin in this manner,

(1.) because the fact that he was given for it, and died on its account, was a condemnation of it. If sin had been approved by God, he would not have made an atonement to secure its destruction. The depth and intensity of the woes of Christ on its account show the degree of abhorrence with which it is regarded by God.

(2.) The word condemn may be used in the sense of destroying, overcoming, or subduing. 2 Pe 2:6, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow." In this sense the sacrifice of Christ has not only condemned sin as being evil, but has weakened its power and destroyed its influence, and will finally annihilate its existence in all who are saved by that death.

{h} "law could not do" Ac 13:39; Heb 7:18,19

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