Romans 8:3-4
He Breaks the Power of Canceled Sin

Truth Contenders Sunday School Class
Two Rivers Baptist Church
Nashville, TN, USA

For Sunday, 10 May 2003

Handout: He Breaks the Power of Cancelled Sin [.pdf 10KB]


Green: on handout

Ink: to be filled in on handout



Hodge: Up to this point, Paul has proven that the Law is incapable of:

  1. securing pardon or acceptance with God
  2. producing holiness in the saint

The overall point of chapter 8 is the security of the believer, in the broadest sense. Why is the believer safe in Christ:

  • 1-4 Christ served our sentence, saving us from condemnation.
  • 5-11 We have received the Spirit of Life, which is immortal.
  • 12-17 We have been adopted by God, and become His heir.
  • 18-27 We are sustained and comforted by the Holy Spirit while enduring suffering and affliction in following Christ.
  • 28-30 We gain confidence that we are the elect by the evidence of our own sanctification.
  • 31-34 Our salvation is secured by the willing death of God's own Son on our behalf.
  • 35-39 God's love for us is infinite and unchangeable, so that nothing ever can separate us from it.

The variable uses of the word law in Romans.

Language is malleable:

  • See: The speaker's identity can make a difference in the meaning of the words. As I'm walking out the door, I may say, "I'll see you tomorrow." When you call to make a doctor's appointment, the nurse may say, "The doctor will see you tomorrow."
  • Check: Some words have a variety of meanings, not always with a clear relationship: Check it out! After you have checked this box, you may write a check when you check out.
  • Law: The word law has a great variety of meanings in everyday English: My former neighbor was an example of the breakdown of law and order in this country. He seemed to think that he was a law unto himself. He often broke the law. Once when the law came to arrest him, they had to kick the door down. It splintered, and a piece of it stuck in the ceiling, appearing to defy the law of gravity.

Paul uses the word law 77 times in Romans (KJV) (77 factors to 7—perfection, and 11—death or mourning) [(74) novmo" nomos "law", (2) ajnovmo" anomos "without law", (1) nomoqesiva nomothesia "giving of the law"] to mean such things as:

  1. a ruling power (person), or legislative authority (written code) - objective
    1. the Torah, the whole law of Moses - 3:21b
    2. the ceremonial part of the law of Moses - 4:13
    3. the legal part of the law of Moses - 2:12
    4. the gospel, i.e., the law of which the life-giving Spirit is the author - 1:5; 3:27; cf. II Cor. 3:5-8
  2. a directing, regulating, inner power - subjective
    1. the flesh (law of sin, law of death, etc.) - 7:23
    2. the Spirit (law of the mind, inner man, etc.) - 8:2

The Law Fulfilled In Us By The Spirit

The requirements of the Law did not go away when Christ died, nor do they go away for us when we believe. Matt 5:17-20 The moral law is not abrogated for believers, but rather fulfilled in us by the power of the Spirit.

What could the law not do? Free us from the law of sin and death. It could not:

  1. reconcile us to God
  2. free us from the inner ruling principle of sin.

Why not? The flesh is too weak for the law. The law is not weak, but the flesh is an inadequate instrument. The law in itself is holy, just, and good. It does exactly what it's designed to do: demand our conformity to God's character. It was never designed to justify nor to sanctify, but to reveal our weakness.

Who was sent to remedy this problem? God's own Son. He gave that which was most precious to Him: His own Son, whom He loves. cf. Abraham & Isaac.

In what form was the Son sent? In the likeness of sinful flesh. Not in sinful flesh (cf. Heb. 4:5, 7:26). If his flesh were sinful, he could not have been the spotless Lamb of God. "Christ took our dilapidated nature, subject to the infirmities which sin had brought into it." - Hodge "When the Father sent the Son into this world of sin, of misery, and of death, he sent him in a manner that brought him into the closest relation to sinful humanity that is was possible for him to come without becoming himself sinful." - John Murray

Why, specifically, was the Son sent? To deal with sin:

  1. the guilt of sin
  2. the power of sin

What did He accomplish? The condemnation of sin:

  1. the execution of legal judgment against sin
  2. the destruction of sin's power
Condemnation can mean both the passing of the sentence and it's actual full execution.

What instrument did He use to do it? The flesh. This happened in Christ's fleshly, that is human, nature. The same instrument which was too flimsy to be used by the Law to free us from sin and death was used by God to do it. Isaiah 53

What was the purpose of His accomplishment? To fulfill the Law in us:

  1. to satisfy the demands of the Law, accomplishing our justification
  2. to cause the righteousness of the Law to come to fruition in us, accomplishing our sanctification
"The goal [of] the sanctifying process is nothing short of the perfection which the Law of God requires." - John Murray

So, how is the Law fulfilled? By grace! Romans 3:31; 6:14-15

In whom is this purpose achieved? Those who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. To walk means to regulate the inward and outward life; it refers to the controlling principle of one's life.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin
He sets the prisoner free
His blood can make the foulest clean
His blood availed for me

       - Charles Wesley, "O for a Thousand Tongues"

David J. Finnamore
Orlando, FL