By Christopher L. Scott
In the first few months after my son was born, I would often look at him and think about how helpless he was. As a newborn, he needed help from someone to live. He couldn’t eat, clean himself after bowel movements, or describe his needs to anyone (but he could put himself to sleep).
He depended on his mom and me for everything. Without someone to care for him, he would die. He was utterly helpless.
Like a newborn baby, every person is utterly helpless in the spiritual realm. And because we were utterly helpless, Christ came as one of us and did what we could not do on our own. Paul describes that event and its results in Romans 8.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 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” (Romans 8:1-4, NIV).
In this passage, Paul tells us that we have “no condemnation.” Because Christ died for us and took the punishment that we deserved, we have a righteous standing before God.
Paul also tells us what the “law was powerless” because it was “weakened by the flesh.” This meant that Christ had to come to earth to fulfill the law. We could never fill the requirements of God’s Old Testament Law. That’s why we needed Christ to come “in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”
There was a need for Christ and he fulfilled it. That’s why Paul tells us that we now live “according to the Spirit.” It was the Spirit who “gives life” and has set us “free from the law of sin and death.”
Like my son who was once a newborn and completely relied on his mom and me to care for him, those who are saved and who will spend eternity in heaven depend completely on Jesus Christ for that salvation. They would never have survived God’s judgment without the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Spirit that gives life.
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