Righteousness through Christ in Sanctification
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)
How wonderful it is to be “justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24). Yet, what disappointment and discouragement awaits us, if we do not learn that God desires to sanctify us freely by His grace as well. This plan of God, as we should expect, hinges upon the work of Jesus Christ.
In matters of justification, as well as sanctification, the law has a weakness. This weakness is that natural human resources, the flesh of man, cannot live up to the standards of God. Thus, to accomplish what the law could never accomplish the Father sent his Son. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son.”
Jesus came as a man and died on the cross to eradicate the consequences of sin. This death of Christ certainly provided justification for all who would believe in the Lord Jesus. Yet, the next verse reveals that through His sacrificial death on the cross progressive, practical sanctification is available day by day through faith in the Lord. “That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
The word “walk” makes Romans 8:4 a verse on sanctification, not justification. Justification takes place with the first moment of faith in Christ. Sanctification continues step by step, day by day, throughout the life of a believer.
Think of this grand truth. God’s grace provides a way “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Remember, that heavenly demand is “be holy,” be like Christ. This transformation of life takes place daily in the life of any believer who does “not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” If we renounce the natural resources of man and trust in the Lord Jesus step by step through life, His Holy Spirit accomplishes His sanctifying work in us by the grace of God.
O Lord of compassion and generosity, what bountiful grace You offer to us, grace that justifies and grace that sanctifies. How foolish and unnecessary have been my futile attempts to fulfill the lofty requirements of Your holy law by my own feeble efforts. Father, how thrilling and encouraging to see that You have provided a gracious and effective way for me to grow in Christ likeness. This day I place my hope for godly progress in the irreplaceable work of Your Holy Spirit in me, in Jesus name, Amen.