Salvation of the Triune God (3)
Look at Romans 8:3-4: “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.” Here, the word “For” is a conjunction that introduces detailed explanations by taking over the previous verse, Romans 8:1-2. Look at verse 2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Before we believed in Jesus, when we were enslaved by the law (power) of sin and of death, it was the time when we died in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). That is, we were spiritually dead and were enslaved by the law of sin and of death. Then we walked according to the course of this world, walking in disobedience and sin (v. 2). In other words, we followed the course of this world without God. Then we followed the prince of the power of the air (v. 2). That is, they followed the evil spirit (Satan), the spirit that is now working among the sons of disobedience (v. 2). But because of the great love that God, who is rich in mercy, loved us, who were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (vv. 4-5). That is, we have been saved by the grace of God (v. 5).
The Apostle Paul said, “What the law could not do, because it was weak through the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). It means that the law cannot save us. This is because the flesh is weak. The law cannot save us because our flesh has no power to do good and no power to glorify God. The law cannot save us, but God can save us [“God did” (v. 3)]. How did God save us? Look at Romans 8:3 – “… and for sin …” (KJV). We were placed under the law (power) of sin and of death. In order to be saved from the law of sin and of death, we must have a sin offering. So, we had to offer it to God as a sin offering. Because we were enemies with God (5:10), in order for us to be reconciled to God, we had to have a propitiation offering. God the Father made his Son, the Son Jesus, to be the sin offering and the propitiation offering [“His own Son” (8:3)]. Here the Son is referring to the only begotten Son. If God the Father is the uniquely begotten Son, Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son who has a unique relationship with God the Father, the Son of God who is equal to God. Although we have been saved by the grace of God and become sons/daughters of God, calling God “Abba, Father” (v.15; Gal. 4:6) and becoming heirs (Rom. 4:16; 8:17; Eph.3: 6; Tit. 3:7), we are the adopted children of God (Rom. 8:15, 23), not the only begotten sons/daughters like Jesus who had unique relationship with God the Father. Therefore, we cannot be the sin offering and the peace offering. Only the Son Jesus Christ is the sin offering and the propitiation offering (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).
God the Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sin offering and the propitiation sacrifice in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3). The word ‘sent’ here refers to the advent of the only begotten Son (the Incarnate Lord). When the only begotten Son came into the world, the Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14). Here, the Word is God (v. 1). Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh (Rom. 1:3). Jesus as the Word, Jesus as God, was born of the virgin Mary, of the descendant of David. According to the genealogy of Jesus, David's son was Nathan (Lk. 3:31), and Nathan was one of the four sons whom David had healed from his wife, Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:3) (Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon) (1 Chron. 3:5). The virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a descendant of Nathan, of Davidic line. Jesus is sinless (Heb. 4:15) because Jesus was conceived in the sinful virgin Mary, by the life-giving Holy Spirit (Mt. 1:18, 20). Therefore, Jesus is the sinless Word made flesh. Although Jesus was without sin (Heb. 4:15), God the Father sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3). Obviously, in John 1:14 and Romans 1:3 the Bible says that Jesus was without sin, but Romans 8:3 says that He was “in the likeness of sinful flesh”. Jesus was tired (Jn. 4:6) and hungry (Mk. 11:12). Jesus was tempted in all things just as we are (Heb. 4:15). But he did not fall and overcame all the temptations. Jesus is without sin (v. 15). Although Jesus Christ was born in a sinless body, He did not enter into temptation in the likeness of sinful flesh and was victorious. To this sinless Son Jesus, God the Father condemned sin [“He condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3)]. In other words, God the Father made His only begotten Son, Jesus, as the sin offering and the propitiation sacrifice. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Look at Isaiah 53:6 – “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” Look at John 1:29 – “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” God the Father condemned the sinless Jesus to bear all our sins. And God the Father condemned sin, but made the sinless Jesus to pay the price for all our sins on the cross. Therefore, our only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, took on all our sins and suffered all the pain until he was forsaken by God the Father to save us from our sins.
God the Father sent His only begotten Son, the sinless Jesus Christ, into this world to be the sin offering and the propitiation sacrifice, so that He bore all our sins on the cross and died. Therefore, God the Father atoned for all our sins, reconciled us to God, and gave us eternal life to save us. Look at John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” We, who have received this wonderful love of God for salvation, should give thanks to God and worship Him. And according to the Lord's twofold commandment, we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and we must love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:37, 39).