For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
This is the verse I read today, and gee it's encouraging to be back in a less confusing section of Romans! I found chapter 7 quite hard and somewhat dry (Though certainly full of truth and useful), but its refreshing to be back focussing on Jesus and the gospel! So what is this verse on about?
What was the law powerless to do?
The law is powerless to save. It sets the standard, tells us what God requires, and because we all sin it cannot save us - it cannot deal with our sin, it simply and justly condemns it. We all deserve God's wrath, we all disobey him - even if you lived your whole life and only lied once you'd still deserve hell eternally - thats how bad sin is. I think we have a small and limited view of sin, we think we're alright deep down and don't view ourselves as God does - totally depraved, helpless and deserving only of wrath. The law is powerless to save sinful humans, and all have sinned from Adam and Eve to us. If we were perfect then it would declare us righteous and worthy to enter God's presence, but "no one is righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10)
The law is only able to condemn us, so God provided a way for us to be saved. It was entirely God, only God. He did it for us, not because he needs us or wanted anything we have, not because we are good enough - he did it all though we were powerless and useless to serve him. He did it despite our sin. He sent Jesus into the world to save us - those who mock him, reject him, disobey him. Those who would crucify his son out of what? Greed, pride and selfishness. Thats us, we are no better then the Pharisees were - yet God sent Jesus to save us. And Jesus is God - he came willingly. He was God, deserving of eternal power and glory, with every right to judge and destroy us. He came to earth as a man - born into a stable without any welcome except some shepherds and later some wise men. Jesus was utterly humble, selfless. He did not choose to be born as a king, or into wealth, but rather was born as a 'no one' on a small town, into a relatively poor family. The God of the universe, born into a stable. Anyway, he came, lived perfectly and died for us - taking our sin - "Condemning sin in sinful man". He took the sin of his people and it was condemned in him, he suffered the condemnation we deserve. What a wonderful saviour! What a Mighty God! What a loving creator!
Note: When it says "In the likeness of sinful man" that doesn't mean Jesus was sinful, but that he was born as a man, like us - in a body that was weak, that got tired and hungry, that got sick. He suffered like we do. He gets it. We have a saviour who knows our needs entirely - from first hand experience.
Just a few thoughts and encouragements, feel free to comment any other thoughts/questions, etc.