BIBLE INSIGHTS in 500 words.
The Gospel in Two Verses
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).
The Gift of the Gospel (verse 3)
Dr. William Greathouse paraphrased vs. 3.
“God has done what the law could not do because it was powerless to assist humans to obey it. He did this by sending his own son as a weak human being like us to save us from Sin by destroying Sin’s stronghold in humanity” (Romans vol. 1, p. 229).
How did God accomplish our salvation when the Law of Moses failed? The Gospel is outlined in five movements in verses 3-4.
First, compassion: God “sent his own son” as the expression of his sacrificial love for us.
Second, incarnation: God sent Jesus in “the likeness of sinful flesh* (humanity),” his willingness to identify with our struggle against the power of evil.
*The human body is not sinful; the word, “sarte,” refers to the power of sin and death.
Third, atonement: God sent Jesus “to be a sin offering;” to deliver the decisive blow to the power of sin and death.
Fourth, justification: God sent Jesus “to condemn sin in the flesh;” which means that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.
Fifth, sanctification: God sent Jesus so that we “do not live according to the flesh [the power of sin] but according to the Spirit;” God does not pretend that we are free from the power of sin, we really are free.
The Purpose of the Gospel (verse 4)
Sanctification and Holiness are two forms of the same word: hagios (“holy”) and hagiasmós (sanctification or advancing in holiness). In verse 4 we see what holiness in heart and life mean: “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (vs. 4).
First, a life of holiness is the intent of God’s compassion, Christ’s atonement, and the Spirit’s empowerment.
Second, a life of holiness empowers us to fulfill the intention or “righteous requirement” of the law.
Third, a life of holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
*I am indebted to the work of William Greathouse and John Stott for their individual writings on the Book of Romans.
This article is 426 words.