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[R4608 : page 151]

WHAT LAW WAS WEAK?

"For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through
the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."—Rom. 8:3 .

THE LAW here and in other passages evidently refers to the Law Covenant. It is not supposable, for instance, that God's Law is weak or that the Apostle meant anything of that kind. In what respect, then, was the Law Covenant weak? It was weak or incompetent in that it did not bring about the desired object. That object was to bring the people who were under the Law Covenant into full harmony, covenant relationship, with God—where they would be perfect; where they would have a right to enjoy eternal life and all the blessings that God has for the perfect. Since the Law Covenant did not accomplish that result, and could not, it was weak. It was inefficient in a sense; not weak in the sense of being defective, but weak in the sense of being ineffective. If we should look for the particular features of weakness we would find them connected with the flesh. Had mankind been in proper condition to profit by it; if all the Jews had been in that condition which would have enabled them to obey God, then all would have had life by obedience to that Law. Every willing and every obedient one of them, having perfect abilities in his flesh, would have been able to commend himself to God and would have been acceptable—in covenant relationship, which would have included eternal life.

"What the Law could not do in that it was inefficient, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh"—in the likeness of flesh of sin, or the flesh that was condemned because of sin, and for sin, or on account of the sin condition, sin in the flesh—proved that sin in the flesh is not a necessary thing, as the Jews evidently had come to believe, seeing that they strove to keep God's Law and yet did not attain to perfection. One way of reasoning on the matter (probably many of the Jews did so) would be that the Law was too hard; that the Law was too severe. It then became, when our Lord Jesus came, a question whether the Law that God gave was so severe that no one could keep it; whether anyone could be justified by it; or whether the Law was all right and whether the condition of man was all wrong. Our Lord, by virtue of his keeping the Law, condemned sin, thus showing that it was not the Law that was at fault, but the sinner. Thus by keeping the Law Jesus showed that it was within the range of a perfect man to keep that Law and to stand approved of God.


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