God put an end to the old order to the law of sin and death for those who are in Christ.
All the old is done away:
There is now no condemnation, no sin, no law, and no death to have power over him.
We have been received into a wholly new order who " walk not according to the flesh,
but according to the Spirit."
The purpose for which God through Christ put away the old powers and brought in the new order
is stated by Paul in this way: "In order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (v.4)
Those words are so often misunderstood.
Some think that Paul is saying that the believer has been so changed that he can by his works
fulfill all the requirements of the law.
According to that interpretation, this would be Paulís meaning: "The law sets forth
Godís demand of us, and only if they are met in every point can we stand as righteous before God."
But not one of is can by our own nature fulfill the requirements of the law in that way.
The weakness of the flesh makes that impossible for us.
Now into this situation God comes to us with help.
There are those who would say that the law is the goal and the gospel is the means to that goal.
But this is not what Paul teaches.
The primary purpose of the law is to bear witness to "the righteousness of God" which includes life.
So, in the old order, this becomes the lawís sole function: "The very commandment which
promised life proved to be death to me."
Godís holy law becomes a destroying power.
Paul stresses the fact that this is exactly Godís purpose for the law.
It was given in order that sin might become sinful beyond measure (7:13) in order that
every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God. (3:19)
So, the law became the dispensation of condemnation. ( 2 Cor. 3:9)
The law can condemn, but it does not have the power to effect righteousness.
So. there is something which the law would bring about, but it cannot.
When we are "in Christ," the lawís positive purpose is fulfilled in us.
It Is not fulfilled in us by our keeping the of the law, but through Christ, and by the fact
that we are "in Him." Here we see the consequences of what Paul said in chapter seven.
He said that Christ does not merely give us power to fulfill the demands of righteousness,
but that He is Himself our righteousness.
He is "the righteousness of God" which by faith becomes our righteousness.
When I was a boy, I was afraid to get in the water.
I was sure that I would drown.
To me the water was the law, and the water wouldnít hold me up.
Then, I was told that there was something in me that would hold me up: my lungs.
So, I could trust them, not the water.
We have in us a new governing principle and what the law cannot do He can and does.
We have within us a Person.
That Person is Christ.
He is our life.
He is our righteousness.
So, with Christ, we enter a new walk after the Spirit. Praise His Holy Name!
Some additional notes:
The whole of the Book of Romans is built up in a seven-fold way on the thought of righteousness:
Message by Dr. Harold L. White
You can email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org.