WHAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO
By John C. Carpenter
 
To believers in the church in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1-4). We should ask four questions: (1) what is the law of God, (2) what were the purposes of the law, (3) why was the law weak, and (4) what was God the Father's solution to the weakness of the law.
 
WHAT IS THE LAW OF GOD?
 
In the Old Testament, the word law is translated from the Hebrew wordTorah, which means a precept or statute, especially the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament), teaching, or instruction. The law represents the revealed will of God for human behavior, and was specifically designed and intended to regulate man's intellectual, behavioral and moral life within and without.
 
Within the scriptures, the term law is used in six different ways. One, law may refer to something created and enacted by mankind, and is reflected in the requirements and controls of human government. Two, law may refer to the law of Moses, which encompasses God the Father's rules for life, given through Moses, to guide the nation of Israel. These rules of life included the commandments [directing Israel's moral life], the judgments [directing Israel's social life], and the Ordinances [directing Israel's worship life]. The law of Moses required obedience through effort [and is considered works]. Third, law may also refer to the law of grace, that is, the unmerited favor and benefit given by God to mankind available only through the advent, suffering, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. Fourth, law may refer to all of God's will directed for the saved believer, specifically, and to all human beings, in general. Fifth, law may refer to the laws of nature, which reflects what God requires of all His creatures and creation. Sixth, and lastly, law may refer to law of the kingdom, which dictates the nature and operation of the future millennial and eternal kingdoms. In this article, we are concerned primarily with that aspect and expression of law regarding God the Father's efforts to control the mental, moral, and behavioral lives of mankind.
 
Within the new testament, and including our subject verses, the word law is translated from the Greek word nomos, which means to parcel out, to be used as prescribed, regulation, or principle, and specifically addresses God the Father's prescription of principles and regulations designed to influence and control the behavior of man, and which were designed to result in righteousness and life. In the new testament, law may, depending upon the context of its use, refer to any of the six aspects we have mentioned above.
 
THE PURPOSES OF THE LAW
 
Now that we know what law is, we should ask why did God create bible-based religious law to begin with? What was the purpose of the Jewish law? In general, religious law is issued in order to encourage acknowledgment of, obedience to, and worship of God, and to influence and control the behavior of mankind for higher purposes, including righteousness ending in the salvation of the soul. Biblical law has several more specific purposes.
 
One, biblical law is given to reveal sin as deviation from God's purpose, will and pleasure, and to identify one who deviates from God's will as a sinner. Look what Paul wrote believers in Rome about the law and sin: What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin [become a sinner], but by the [requirements and limitations of the] law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion [to spur or urge a departure] by the commandment [injunction or prescription], wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin wasdead [unrecognized, nonexistent]. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin [to trespass, miss the mark, or offend], that it might appear [cause to reveal] sin [to trespass, miss the mark or goal, or offend], working death in me by that which is good; that sin by [violation of] the commandment might become [be revealed as] exceeding sinful (Rom 7:7-13). What Paul is saying is that sin, that is, missing or deviating from the target, or goal, of righteousness, is made possible only by the standards and requirements of the law. In essence, without standards, limitations, and requirements, there can be no violation of those standards, limitations, or requirements. In simple terms, without law, there can be no sin. Paul further explained that the law was intended to reveal sin as sin: we know that what things soever the law saith [and teaches us], it saith to them who are under the law: that every [so-called righteous] mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:19-20). Paul added, Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence [apostatize, lapse, deviation, unintentional error or wilfull transgression, fall, sin, trespass] might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:12-21).
 
Two, biblical law is given to restrain evil. Paul wrote Timothy, we know that the law is good [leads to virtue when used properly], if a man use it lawfully [used as prescribed]; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient [insubordinate, unruly], for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy [impious, wicked] and profane [heathenish], for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers [a male prostitute, fornicator] , for them that defile themselves with mankind [sodomite, homosexual], for menstealers [enslaver], for liars [falsifier], for perjured [one who has sworn falsely] persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound [healthy, wholesome] doctrine [instruction, teaching] (1 Timothy 1:8-10). Understanding the purpose of the giving of the law, Paul wrote Galatian believers, Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added [to place additionally, annexed] because of transgressions [violations of God's standards and commands], till the seed [of Christ] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Gal 3:19). The Mosaic law was given specifically to Israel to govern her for the purposes of providing her with blessing and not cursing, and life rather than death. The law was given to Israel [and mankind] in order to restrain, control, and punish the evil man, not the righteous. Without lawful control of evil, there is personal and social confusion and anarchy/
 
Third, the law was given to establish and model God's standard of righteousness. Speaking through Moses, God the Father said, Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments [of the law], which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (Deu 4:1-8). Obedience to the law and righteousness were intricately related. The psalmist certainly connected the two when he said, The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether (Psalms 19:7-9). God told Israel, For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten (Lev 11: 44-47).
 
Fourth, the law was designed to bring temporal prosperity and eternal life. Look what God the Father told Moses regarding Israel: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live [save life, revive, resurrect to eternal life] in them: I am the LORD (Lev 18:1-5). Regarding the value of the keeping the law, God told Moses, what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons (Deu 4:8-9). God added, Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known (Deu 11:26-28). Regarding the word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros (Jer 44:1), God warned, They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah (Jer 44:10-11). Speaking about Israel through Moses, God warned, it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and [if] thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee (Deu 30:1-3). Later, God clarified, See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it (Deu 30:15-18). Regarding obedience to the law of God, Solomon instructs us, Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee (Pro 4:1-6). God also told Solomon, My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live [nourish, preserve, recover, repair, restore, revive, save, be whole]; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart (Pro 7:1-3).Ezekiel prophesied, The soul that sinneth [does not keep the commands of God], it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die (Eze 18:20-21).
 
Fifth, the law brought the necessity of changing God's standard for salvation from works of the law to a knowledge of and faith in Christ. Paul wrote the Galatian faithful,Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed [Christ] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [teacher] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal 3:19-25). Paul also taught Roman believers, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even [specifically] the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:20-24). The scriptures also tell us, For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these [such as the future sacrifice of Christ]. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Heb 9:19-26). One purpose of the Jewish law was certainly to reveal the ineffectiveness of keeping the law for salvation, as well as emphasizing the necessity of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ.
 
The Jewish law was given by God for several reasons, but, clearly, Israel [and every human being as well] was and is unable to fully keep the law of God unto prosperity, blessing, and temporal and eternal life. We must ask, though, what is it in mankind that made him unable to attain this life through complete faithfulness and obedience to the Jewish law? Well, one answer can be found in the heart of all men, including the Israelite.
 
MAN DESPISES GOVERNMENT
 
Although the God of creation issued to Israel [and later the Gentile as well] the Jewish law for the benefit and purpose of blessing and life, one reason that obedience to the Jewish law could not bring prosperity, blessing, and life to Israel [and the rest of the world as well] is that man despises being directed and controlled by anyone, and, in particular being controlled by the God of creation. Man lusts after what he wants, and allows no one to interfere with his getting what he wants when he wants it. This lust, as James explains, often leads to conflict and war: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even [specifically because] of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:1-2). Most recognize that law and government [authoritative control] are closely related. In fact, one definition of government is the exercising of continuous, authoritative direction and control over an individual or group. In the new testament, the word government is translated from the Greek word kuriotes, and means controller, mastery, rule, or to have dominion over. According to scriptures [and our own daily experience], many men and women hate and resist the efforts of government to influence or control their lives in any way, or to any extent. If we take a close and honest look, this resistance in mankind to being controlled can clearly be seen throughout the entire world.
 
This resistance to being controlled and governed was not only apparent during the days of the earthly ministry of Christ, but has always been present in the hearts of men. Although speaking specifically about false teachers and prophets, but equally applicable to most of mankind, the apostle Peter referred to government, or, rather, those who despise being controlled by any form of government: there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk [live] after [directed and controlled by] the flesh [carnality, human nature with its physical and moral frailties] in the lust of uncleanness, and despise [to think against, disesteem] government [control of, exercising dominion over].Presumptuous [bold to excess, daring] are they, selfwilled [arrogant, self-pleasing], they are not afraid [tremble] to speak evil [defame, revile] of dignities [glorify, honor, praise, worship] (2 Peter 2:1-10). Although these verses are provided in the context of the characteristics of false prophets, we must honestly admit that all of us exhibit these characteristics, including to despise, in one way or another and to some degree, being controlled and dominated by others. The personality characteristics of false prophets and ministers within the church, to a large degree, reflect many of our own personalities and issues of rebellion. As Peter mentions, those characteristics include walking or living in ways which clearly display our physical and moral frailties, despising control, rule, and domination by others, being bold and daring to excess, being focused primarily on pleasing ourselves, and criticizing, without humility, the lofty ideas of glory, honor, praise, and worship. These are all personality characteristics that the true believer in Christ should acknowledge, and crucify.
 
WHY WAS THE LAW WEAK?
 
In our subject verses, Paul refers to what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. Here, Paul appears at first glance to be saying that the Jewish law, the law of Moses, was itself weak, and therefore unable to accomplish its intended purposes, summarily, that is, to bring forth righteousness and life. In a sense, this concept is true, However, Paul adds that the law was weak through the flesh. The law does not consist of the flesh, but mankind does. What Paul is clarifying here is that it was not the law, itself, which was weak, but the law was unable to bring righteousness and life because of the weaknesses found in human flesh. Flesh here refers to the tendency of mankind to live according to his bodily, mental, and worldly inclinations and lusts. The law was nothing more than a set of standards, statutes, and commandments that God intended to be obeyed; but they, in themselves, were not weak or impotent. The fact that the fleshly abilities and strengths of man were weak made obedience to the law impossible, and therefore, made the Jewish law ineffective, and in the words of Paul, weak. In his weakness, man could not live by completely following the Jewish law. If the entirety of the Jewish law could not bring righteousness and life, we should ask why. Why was Israel [and the rest of us as well] weak in the flesh? Well, there are numerous reasons why Israel [and man] was and is unable to obediently fulfill the Jewish law, but, for the sake of limited time and space, only a few key biblical reasons will be mentioned.
 
MAN IS UNGODLY
 
The first reason man could not bring life through keeping the law was that he was, and is, ungodly. In our secular and atheistic world, many question the idea that such things as ungodliness even exist. If we are honest, though, we must admit that, within our daily experiences, we often see ungodliness within ourselves, and in our fellow humans. The scriptures also clarify that man is ungodly; ungodliness is referred to in many old and new testament verses. For example, the psalmist, Asaph, instructs us about the ungodly: Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction (Psalms 73:1-18). God elsewhere warns us to avoid the ungodly and heir outcome: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalms 1:1-6). Scriptures even instruct us that God the Father deals harshly with the ungodly; He has broken the teeth of the ungodly (Psalms 3:7). The ungodly may cause us initially to fear and be in distress, but when we seek God, He shall protect and deliver us in His own way and His own time. The psalmist instructs us, The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears (Psalms 18:4-6). The ever-wise Solomon teaches us that An ungodly man diggeth up [plots and initiates] evil [adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, harm, mischief, sorrow, trouble, wickedness, wrong]: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward [to pervert, to commit fraud] man soweth strife: and a whisperer [talebearer, slanderer] separateth chief friends. A violent[cruel, damaging, false, unrighteous, one who commits wrong] man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass (Prov 16:27-30), as well as, An ungodly witness scorneth [scoffs at, mocks] judgment [law and justice]: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity (Prov 19:28). We are all ungodly, yet Christ still justifies us. Paul wrote believers in Rome, Now to him that worketh [at fully keeping the law] is the reward [of righteousness and eternal life] not reckoned [considered the result] of grace [the gift of God], but of debt [something owed and paid by self]. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Rom 4:4-5); and then added, For when we were yet without strength [ability to fully keep the law and, therefore, sinful and ungodly], in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6). Paul summarized and explained to Timothy that the law is not made for a righteous man, but [only] for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers (1 Tim 1:9).
 
If we doubt that ungodliness exists, we need only to consider sinful angels, the ungodly of Noah's time, and the evils of Sodom and Gomorrah. As the apostle Peter explains, For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And [God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:4-6). We must understand that even the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7). Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, adds that God shall eventually execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 1:15).
 
MAN IS EVIL
 
Another reason why the law was weak through the flesh of man is the fact that man was, still is, and will always be [on this earth], evil. In fact, God the Father also considers not only man to be evil, but that the whole world [Greek is kosmos, i.e., the whole world including its inhabitants] lieth in wickedness [evil, grievous, harmful, lewd, malicious] (1 John 5:19). Because our human lusts are also considered evil, we are therefore advised to Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim 2:22). Paul prayed, And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2), while Christ said, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders (Mark 7:21). Solomon instructs us, For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecc 7:20). Jesus told a Jewish leader named Nicodemus why saving faith in Christ was essential: He that believeth on him [Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:18-19). Christ referred to the evil in man when he said, O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Mat 12:34-35). In the beginning, after He had created mankind, GOD [Himself] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5), And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. God the Father was so disappointed with man that He responded, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them (Genesis 6:6-7). Through Jeremiah, God said of Judah, they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. (Jeremiah 11:8). Later, God added, This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing (Jeremiah 13:10). Jesus taught that the deeds of men were evil when He said, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:17-20). Shockingly, at one point Christ even described His own disciples, because they were themselves human and full of sin, as evil. When one of His disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray, the Lord responded in one part, If ye [disciples] then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13).
 
MAN IS REBELLIOUS
 
The law was also weak through the flesh of man because mankind was and is rebellious and self willed. This rebel characteristic is seen no more clearly than in the book of Genesis, which describes the beginning of God's creation. The scriptures instruct us, After creating the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them (Gen 2:1), out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9). Then, the LORD God took the man, Adam, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:15-17). God clearly commanded Adam that he could freely eat of every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Scriptures then reveal the onset of man's rebellion against God: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes [perception, understanding] of them both were opened [revealed to the senses], and they knew [acknowledged, recognized] that they were naked [everything had been revealed and made apparent, especially their cunning]; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Gen 3:1-7). From the very beginning, man quickly showed that he was going to be a rebellious creature, and refuse to obey the God of all creation.
 
In addition to the book of Genesis, the rebelliousness of man is apparent throughout the rest of the holy scriptures. For instance, the old testament prophet, Samuel, teaches us about the dangers of rebellion and disobedience. Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Becausethou hast rejected the word [directions, commandments, guidance] of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Sam 15:22-23). Scriptures tell us that after Joshua died, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth (Judges 2:11-13); And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so (Judges 2:17). Israel (and applying to all of us today as well) ...obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction (Jeremiah 17:23). Moses chastened the Levites, For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? (Deuteronomy 31:27). Regarding promotion, the psalmist said, Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. (Psalms 75:5-7). Scriptures instruct us that An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him (Proverbs 17:11). Paul warns us against rebellion when he wrote Roman believers, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation (Rom 13:1-2). God, through Jeremiah, described the behavior of Israel [and describes all of us as well]: But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. (Eze 20:8). From Genesis to Revelation, mankind is clearly a rebellious and stiff-necked creature, rebellious not only against his fellow man, but against God as well.
 
MAN IS WICKED
 
The law was weak and unable to bring righteousness and salvation for another reason: the wickedness of man. Solomon refers to wickedness when he said, A naughty person, a wicked [trouble which comes to naught] man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him (Pro 6:12-16). Jeremiah described the sinful heart of man: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9). There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecc 7:20). In his wisdom, look what Solomon advises about the wicked: Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence (Pro 4:14-17). Man was so wicked that God, Himself, was sorry that He had even created man: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Gen 6:5-6).
 
Men are wicked, and their outcome is the furnace of fire, as Christ explains: ...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mat 13:47-50). In fact, it is our wickedness which separates us from the saving knowledge of Christ and God. As the Paul said, For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (Col 1:19-21). In the book of Job, we are instructed the wickedness certainly exists, since the end of the wicked man is clearly revealed: the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night (Job 20:5-8); The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God (Job 20:27-29). Solomon concludes, When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth (Pro 11:7).
 
MAN IS A SINNER
 
The law was weak for another reason, as well. There is no doubt that, in the eyes of God the Father, man is also a sinner and not capable of any good. The psalmist, David, instructs us, ...The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psa 53:1-3). David later adds, ...in thy [God the Father's] sight shall no [sinful] man living be justified (Psa 143:2). Paul teaches us that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), while Christ said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:20-23).
 
Regarding the prevalence of sin, Solomon taught that there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecc 7:20). Both Jews and Gentiles, alike, are sinners; none are righteous. Paul explained, What then? are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom 3:9-18). In his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul later added, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Rom 5:12).
 
MAN IS FULL OF LUST
 
The law was weak for another reason, as well: the lust of mankind. Mankind is full of lust; in fact, he is consumed with it. We want what we want the way we want it, and more often than not, we want it now.
Obediently following the law of God is impossible because we often want just the opposite of its prescription and guidance for us. We must recognize that lust does not refer to sexual desires alone, but to all of the mental, bodily, emotional, and spiritual cravings and selfishness found in the minds and hearts of men. Neither is lust always evil. There are those who lust after righteousness, or God, for example. For example, the psalmist describes one who lusts for God and His presence, and who prays, As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? (Psa 42:1-3). However, what we might refer to as destructive lust can involve personal cravings for such things as candy, sex, warmth, touch, conversation, food, worldly riches, power, influence, comfort, importance, jealousy, strife, war, envy, pride, idolatry, adultery, fornication, money, and a thousand other things. Scriptures teach us, in fact, that the whole world [the cosmos and its inhabitants] is full of lust, and that lust is all there is within the world. The apostle John teaches us to Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the [lust for] pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world [adorns the world]. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17).
 
Scriptures teach us that despite the fact that the nation of Israel personally observed the Marvellous things (Psalms 78:11-16) did he [God] in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan (Psa 78:12), Israel sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat [food and drink] for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh [animal protein] for his people? (Psa 78:17-20). We know that sexual lust is often a difficulty and struggle we all periodically face. Due to sexual lust, the prudent are biblically advised To keep thee from the evil woman [or man], from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her [or his] beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent (Pro 6:24-29).
 
The apostle Paul wrote the church in Rome, This I say then, Walk in the [according to the leading and guidance of the Holy] Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the [lusts of the] flesh are manifest [revealed, evidenced by], which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal 5:16-24).
 
Paul wrote Roman believers There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the [lust of the] flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind [are strongly interested in, set their affection on] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So thenthey that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom 8:1-10).
 
Our human lusts even prevent the acceptance, promotion, and fruiting of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ warned, the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke [drown out, crowd, throng] the word [of the gospel of Christ], and it becometh unfruitful [fruit has been plucked, barren] (Mar 4:19). What is essential is the operation and power of the Holy Spirit of God. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). It is actually our own lust which tempts us to sin. Look what James said: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15).
 
The apostle Paul teaches us that the lust of the flesh brings the fruit of death: For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (Rom 7:5); So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:8). Those who have faith in Christ are to put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom 13:14). Paul adds, And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal 5:24). Scriptures also make it clear that, because of their own lusts, believers and unbelievers alike eagerly embrace unsound doctrine, and fall into error. Look what Paul wrote Timothy: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [self-serving cravings] shall they heap to themselves [false] teachers, having [because they have] itching ears [which want to hear those doctrines that feed and satisfy their own lusts] (2 Tim 4:3). Many members of churches and those associated with media programs that promote the so-called health, wealth, and prosperity doctrines have itching ears, and suffer the errors of this teaching. Our lust can and does result in our disobedience to the law. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said of Israel, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people (Rom 10:21). The lustful profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16); as we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another (Titus 3:3).
 
MAN IS FULL OF PRIDE
 
And lastly, the law was weak and unable to bring life because man was, and is, full of pride. Man is unwilling to humbly submit to God, or other men. The apostle James understood the pride of man when he asked, Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:5-6). Pride certainly exists, and Isaiah reveals the end of the prideful: The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low (Isa 2:11-12). The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt [to reveal and then despise] all the [pridefully] honourable [glorious, numerous, prevailing, rich] of the earth (Isaiah 23:9). After warning the twelve scattered tribes, Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:5-6). James then exhorts the Jewish tribes to, Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:9-10). God, Himself, warns, The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate (Proverbs 8:13), while the ever-wise Solomon echoes, When pride cometh, then cometh shame disgrace, dishonor, reproach]: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them (Proverbs 11:2-3). Solomon also teaches us that Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, [and] he shall not be unpunished (Pro 16:5).
 
As we mentioned earlier, contention, strife, conflict, and war are all closely associated with pride: Only by pride cometh contention [debate, strife, quarreling]: but with the well advised is wisdom (Pro 13:10). The scriptures also teach us that pride is a sin: An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin (Pro 21:4). There are other dangers associated with pride: We are warned, The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth (Psalms 10:2-3). Possibly the greatest danger of pride is that it keeps us from seeking God: The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts (Psalms 10: 4). Isaiah also touched on the idea that our pride has caused mankind to turn away from God. Regarding the future ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ, the prophet Isaiah mentioned our pride and resulting sin when he prophesied All we like sheep have gone astray; we [because of our pride] have turned every one to his own way [and away from God]; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6). Paul knew so well the dangers of pride that he encouraged the believers in Rome to renew their minds from pride to humility. The apostle wrote, be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly [with temperance, discreetly, self-controlled, moderately], according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom 12:2-3), then added, Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind [entertain, be like, set your affection on] not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Rom 12:16). What we perceive to be weakness in others may also lead us into false and deceptive pride: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another (Galatians 6:1-4).
 
According to the scriptures [which are contrary to the ways and teaching of the world], pride is not only deceptive and dangerous, but can result in our destruction. Scriptures instruct us about the eventual outcome of our pride. The prophet Daniel relates to us how pride destroyed Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar. Daniel prophesied, O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this (Daniel 5:18-22). Isaiah explained the outcome of pride when he prophesiedThe lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low (Isaiah 2:11-12). Likewise, Solomon clearly warned us about the dangers and fruit of pride when he wrote thatPride goeth before destruction [affliction, brokenness, bruising, crashing, hurt, vexation], and an haughty spirit before a fall [cast down, overthrown, ruin]. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud (Pro 16:18-19). Scriptures teach us that A man's pride shall bring him low [abase, cast down, humbled]: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit (Pro 29:23); therefore, Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips (Pro 27:2).
 
MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS
 
Within our subject verses, the apostle Paul explained that (1) the law of Moses could not bring righteousness and life, (2) the law could not bring righteousness and life because Israel [and man] did not and does not have the strength to keep the law, (3) because the law was impotent, God the Father found it necessary to send His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, and (4) God sent His own Son to condemn sin in the flesh so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk after the Holy Spirit. In other words, the impotence of the law for salvation, due to the weakness of the flesh of man, allowed and necessitated God the Father to manifest His strength through His Son, Christ.
 
As the author of the letter to the Hebrews explains that God the Father through Christ hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second [potent and perfect covenant founded upon Christ] (Heb 8:6-7). The author also refers to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things... (Heb 12:24). The weakness of man is related to the strength of God. When Paul sought healing for his own thorn in the flesh, look what Christ told Paul: My grace is sufficient for thee: for my [God's] strength is made perfect in [man's] weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Paul concluded, Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak [in and of myself], then am I strong [through the strength of Christ] (2 Cor 12:9-10). Paul wrote Roman believers, ...I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power [ability, might, miracle working power, strength] of God unto [resulting in] salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom 1:16). Paul connected the weaknesses of man with the strength of the gospel for salvation when he told Roman believers, For when we were yet without strength [and unable to save ourselves], in due time Christ died for [the salvation of] the ungodly [and weak] (Rom 5:6). John prophetically correlated the weakness of man with the strength of the gospel of Christ: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now [in the midst of all this human and worldly weakness, rebellion, and sin] is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Rev 12:10).
 
Paul summarized our heavenly Father's response to the weaknesses of the flesh of man and of the law with these words: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That [despite the weaknesses of all flesh, including that found in the nation of Israel] the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1-4).
 
That response of our Father in heaven revealed and symbolized the strength of God, as manifested through the advent and gospel ministry of Christ, brought these profound results: (1) man was made free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:3), (2) believers in Christ have become the children of God (Rom 8:16), (3) believers in Christ have become heirs, and joint heirs with Christ, of the Father and His kingdom (Rom 8:17), (4) believers in Christ have been delivered from the bondage [slavery, being subject to without option] to corruption [decay, destruction, ruin] into the glorious liberty [freedom from bondage to keeping the law of Moses for salvation] of the children of God (Rom 8:21), and, lastly, (5) believers in Christ are saved by hope. (Rom 8:24).  AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not
after the flesh, but after the Spirit"
(Rom 8:3-4)



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