Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Requirement of the Law Might Be Fulfilled in Us...

Romans 8:1-4 reads, 
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, *who do not walk according to the
flesh but according to the Spirit."
*[Who do not walk (live) according to works of righteousness done in or according to the flesh but walk (live) by the righteousness of faith in Christ (Rom. 1:17b), i.e. according to the Spirit]

John Calvin in his Acts of the Council of Trent with the Antidote writes: 
There is no room for the righteousness of faith until we have discovered that it is in vain that salvation is promised us by the law. But that which the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God performed by his own Son, by expiating our sins through the sacrifice of his death, so that his righteousness is fulfilled in us.
Thomas Cranmer elaborates further on the believer's salvation in Christ and the his standing visa-vis the Law:
For all the good works that we can do be imperfect and therefore not able to deserve our justification, but our justification doth come freely by the mere mercy of God. And of so great and free a mercy, that whereas all the world was not able of themselves to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father of his infinite mercy without any our desert or deserving to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ’s body and blood whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied so that Christ is now the Righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him.  He for them paid their ransom by his death.  He for them fulfilled the law in his life.  So that now in him and by him every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the law. Forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ’s righteousness hath supplied.
 Of the Salvation of Mankind by Only Christ Our Saviour from Sin and Death Everlasting


  1. Smeaton, Apostles Doctrine of the Atonement, p 178–”Romans 8:4–That the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled in us. That is so like another expression of the same apostle, that the two passages might fitly be compared for mutual elucidation (II Cor 5:21). This expression cannot be referred to any inward work of renovation; for no work or attainment of ours can with any propriety of language be designated a “fulfillment of the righteousness of the law”.

    The words, “the righteousness of the law,” are descriptive of Christ’s obedience as the work of one for many (Romans 5:18). This result is delineated as the end contemplated by Christ’s incarnation and atonement, and intimates that as He was made a sin-offering, so are we regarded as full-fillers of the law…”

  2. Steele and Thomas, Romans: an interpretative outline: “In order to free believers from the guilt or condemnation of sin, God sent His own Son into the world (in a nature like man’s sinful nature, but not itself sinful. See Heb. 2:14-18; 4:15). Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin, and thereby legally put sin away and thus freed His people from its guilt. As a result of Christ’s sacrificial work, the just requirement (demand) of the law has been fulfilled (fully met) in those who are joined to Him. This of course is because of the fact that what Christ did, He did as their substitute or representative, and it is therefore counted (imputed) to them as if they themselves did it. (8:4)

    Charles Hodge: one’s interpretation of Romans 8 verse 4 is determined by the view taken of Romans 8:3. If that verse means that God, by sending His Son, destroyed sin in us, then, of course, this verse must mean, “He destroyed sin in order that we should fulfill the law” — that is, so that we should be holy (sanctification). But if Romans 8:3 refers to the sacrificial death of Christ and to the condemnation of sin in Him as the sinners’ substitute, then this verse must refer to justification and not sanctification.”