Monday: What the Law Could Not Do

However good, the “law” (the ceremonial law, the moral law, or even both) cannot do for us what we need the most, and that is to provide the means of salvation, a means of saving us from the condemnation and death that sin brings. For that, we need Jesus.

Read Romans 8:3-4. What did Christ do that the law, by its very nature, cannot do?

Ceremonial law

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God provided a remedy by “sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” and He “condemned sin in the flesh.” The incarnation of Christ was an important step in the plan of salvation. It is proper to exalt the Cross, but in the outworking of the plan of salvation, Christ’s life “in the likeness of sinful flesh” was extremely important, too.

As a result of what God has done in sending Christ, it is now possible for us to meet the righteous requirement of the law; that is, to do the right things that the law requires. “Under the law” (Rom. 6:14), this was impossible; “in Christ” it is now possible.

Yet, we must remember that doing what the law requires doesn’t mean keeping the law well enough to earn salvation. That’s not an option – never was. It means simply living the life that God enables us to live; it means a life of obedience, one in which we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24, NKJV), a life in which we reflect the character of Christ.

“Walk” in Romans 8:4 is an idiomatic expression signifying “to conduct oneself.” The word flesh here denotes the unregenerate person, whether before or after conviction. To walk after the flesh is to be controlled by selfish desires.

In contrast, to walk after the Spirit is to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. Only through the help of the Holy Spirit can we meet this requirement. Only in Christ Jesus is there freedom to do what the law requires. Apart from Christ, there is no such freedom. The one who is enslaved to sin finds it impossible to do the good he or she chooses to do (see Rom. 7:15Rom. 7:18).

How well are you keeping the law? Putting aside any notions of earning salvation by the law, is your life one in which the “righteousness of the law” is fulfilled? If not, why not? What kind of lame excuses are you using to rationalize your behavior?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons