Romans 8:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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,

New Living Translation
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

English Standard Version
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

New American Standard Bible
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

King James Bible
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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin's domain, and as a sin offering,

International Standard Version
For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did. By sending his own Son in the form of humanity, he condemned sin by being incarnate,

NET Bible
For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For because The Written Law was weak through the sickliness of the flesh, God sent his Son in the form of sinful flesh, because of sin, to condemn sin in his flesh,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is impossible to do what God's standards demand because of the weakness our human nature has. But God sent his Son to have a human nature as sinners have and to pay for sin. That way God condemned sin in our corrupt nature.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For that which was impossible to the law, 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

King James 2000 Bible
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:

American King James Version
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:

American Standard Version
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:

Douay-Rheims Bible
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 of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh;

Darby Bible Translation
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh,

English Revised Version
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 as an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Webster's Bible Translation
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:

Weymouth New Testament
For what was impossible to the Law--powerless as it was because it acted through frail humanity--God effected. Sending His own Son in a body like that of sinful human nature and as a sacrifice for sin, He pronounced sentence upon sin in human nature;

World English Bible
For what the law couldn't do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh;

Young's Literal Translation
for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, did condemn the sin in the flesh,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

8:1-9 Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through faith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of their walk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, by which are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep any commandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requires inward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferings of his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might be pardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, 1Ti 5:6. A sanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. The carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. The carnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject to the law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must be broken and driven out. We may know our real state and character by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - For what the Law could not do (this is certainly what is meant by τὸ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου), in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. The Law could not deliver from the domination of sin; it was weak for such a purpose (cf. Hebrews 7:18, 19) but this not through any defect in itself but as having to work through our sinful flesh which refused obedience. And it was not the office of law to regenerate; it could only command and threaten. Hence the deliverance came, and could only come, from God himself (and this in accordance with the grand idea of the whole Epistle, expressed by the phrase, "the righteousness of God"); and so he sent his own Son (i.e. his Son essentially - in a sense in which none of us can be called sons, himself Divine. The whole drift of the passage, as well as ἑαυτοῦ, requires this conception); and he sent him into the very sphere of things that required redemption, that by actual participation in it he might personally redeem it; for he sent him in likeness of our "flesh of sin." It is not said in flesh of sin; for that might imply sin in Christ's individual humanity: but, on the other hand, "in likeness" (ἐν ὁμοιώματι) does not imply docetism, as though Christ's humanity were not real; for stress is evidently laid on the fact that it was in our actual human flesh that he "condemned" sin. The phrase appears to mean the same as what is expressed in Hebrews 2:17 and Hebrews 4:15: Ὤφειλε κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι, and Πεπειραμένον κατὰ πὰντα κααθ ὁμοιότητα χαρὶς ἁμαρτίας. The addition of περὶ ἀμαρτίας "adds to the how the wherefore" (Meyer). Both this and the preceding expression are most naturally and intelligibly connected with τέμψας; not, as some say, with κατέκρινε. Περὶ comes suitably after the former verb, as denoting the occasion and purpose of the sending (cf. προσένεγκε περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ, Luke 5:14). In Hebrews 10:8 (quoting from Psalm 40:7 in the LXX.) we find θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν καὶ ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας, where the expression signifies offerings for sin; and in Hebrews 10:18 we have προσφορὰ περὶ ἁμαρτίας. The correspondence of phrase here suggests decidedly the idea of the purpose of atonement being intended to be expressed by it, though it does not follow that περὶ ἁμαρτίας is used here substantively as it seems to be in Hebrews 10:8. But in what sense are we to understand condemned (κατέκρινε) sin? We observe first that the verb appears to be suggested by κατάκριμα in ver. 1, the connection being that formerly sin condemned us, but now sin itself has been condemned; that is (as Meyer expresses it), deposed from its rule in the flesh - "jure sue dejectum" (Calvin). (Perhaps similarly, John 16:11, ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου κέκριται.) One view of the force of κατέκρινε (found in Origen, and taken by Erasmus and others), that it denotes the punishment of sin endured by Christ vicariously on the cross, is not only not obvious, but inconsistent also with τὸ ἀδύνετον τοῦ νόμου preceding; for what the Law could not do, was not to punish sin, but to deliver from it. Nor is there, further, anything in the language used to confine the condemnation of sin, in whatever sense intended, to the atonement made for it on the cross itself. It was in the whole mission of the Saviour (expressed by πέμψας) that sin was "condemned;" and the idea may include his triumph over it in his human life no less than the penalty paid for it on the cross in behalf of man. "In the flesh" (connected with condemned, not with sin) does not mean Christ's own flesh, but human nature generally. He represented man, having become for our sake the Soul of man; and we share his triumph over sin, made in our very human flesh, when we are baptized into his death, and become thereupon partakers of his resurrection. This idea, ever present to St. Paul's mind, is expressed in the next verse, where our own appropriation of the condemnation of sin in Christ is declared.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For what the law could not do,.... This is not to be understood of "the law of the mind", in opposition to "the law of sin", which indeed is very feeble and impotent; man had a power originally of obeying the divine commands, but through sin he has lost his strength and power; and even a renewed mind cannot perform what it would, which is owing to the flesh, or corrupt nature; it has strong desires after holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God; but these desires cannot be fulfilled by it, and indeed without Christ it can do no good thing: nor is the ceremonial law intended, though this is weak, and there are many things it could not do; it could not expiate and atone for sin; nor remove the guilt of it, nor cleanse from the filth of it: But the moral law is here designed; this, though it can, and does accuse of sin, can convince of it, can curse, condemn, and condemn to death for it; yet it could not condemn sin itself, which is only abolished by Christ; it cannot restrain from sin, nor change a sinful nature, nor sanctify an impure heart; nor free from the guilt of sin, nor comfort a distressed mind under a sense of it, it cannot subject persons, or bring them to before God, or give life, or save from death; the reason is,

in that, or because

it was weak through the flesh. The weakness of the law is total and universal, it has no strength at all; though not original and natural, but accidental; it is owing to the flesh, or the corrupt nature of man: or rather the weakness is in sinful men, and not in the law; and the sense is this, that human nature is so weakened by sin, that it is incapable of fulfilling the law; the weakness of the law is not from itself, but from man: to this agrees what the Jewish writers (u) say,

"there is not a word in the law "weak", or broken; wherefore when thou considerest and observest it, that thou dost not find it strong, as an hammer that breaks the rocks, , "but if weak, it is of thyself".''

To which may be added that usual saying of theirs, , "there is no strength but the law" (w); unless the apostle can be thought to oppose this notion of theirs. Wherefore because of the weakness of the law, or of human nature to fulfil it,

God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. The person sending is God, who gave the law weakened by the flesh, against whom we have sinned: and who is righteous, pure, and holy: which considerations enhance his grace and goodness, in the mission of Christ. This must be understood of God the Father, who is here manifestly distinguished from the Son; and who is God, but not solely, or to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and who sent Christ, though not singly, for the "Lord God and his Spirit sent" him, Isaiah 48:16; though as it is most agreeable for a father to send his son, this is generally ascribed to him; and he being the first person in the Godhead, is the first in order of working, and so in redemption. The person sent is his own Son; not by creation, as angels and men are; nor by adoption, as saints are; nor is he called so, on account of his incarnation, resurrection, or mediatorship, for he was the Son of God antecedent to either of them; but his own proper Son, and not in any metaphorical sense; a Son of the same nature with him, begotten of him, and his Son in that nature in which he is God. The act of sending, does not suppose inequality of nature; for though he that is sent is not greater, yet as great as he that sends; two equals, by agreement, may send each other; a divine person may assume an office, and under that consideration be sent, without supposing inferiority of nature, as in the case of the Holy Spirit; and an inferiority as to office, is allowed in the case of the Son; God sent his Son under the character of a servant, to do work: nor does this act imply change of place; there is indeed a "terminus a quo", from whence he was sent, from heaven, from his Father there; and there is a "terminus ad quem", to which he was sent into this world; but then this coming of his from heaven to earth, was not by local motion, but by assumption of nature; nor was it out of any disrespect to his Son, but out of love to us, that he sent him; nor was he sent against his will; he showed no reluctance at the proposal to him in the council of peace, but the utmost willingness; nor any at his coming into the world: nor at the work itself, which he entered upon, and went through with the greatest eagerness and cheerfulness: nor does it suppose him whilst sent, and here on earth, to be in a state of absence and separation from his Father; he was still in his bosom, yet in heaven, and his Father always with him: but it supposes that he existed before he was sent; that he was a person, and distinct from the Father, or he could not be sent by him; that he had authority from him, considered in his office capacity: in a word, this sending of the Son, designs the manifestation of him in human nature; as appears from the form and manner in which he was sent, "in the likeness of sinful flesh"; which expresses the reality of his incarnation, of his having a true real human nature; for flesh is not to be taken strictly for a part of the body, nor for the whole body only, but for the whole human nature, soul and body; which though it looked like a sinful nature, yet was not sinful: the likeness of it denotes the outward appearance of Christ in it; who was born of a sinful woman; was subject to the infirmities of human nature, which though not sinful, are the effects of sin; was reckoned among transgressors, was traduced as one himself by men, and treated as such by the justice of God; he having all the sins of his people on him, for which he was answerable: "and" hence God, "for sin, condemned sin in the flesh"; not the law, which was weak through the flesh; nor sinners, who broke the law; but sin itself, the transgression of the law, all kind of sin, and all that is in it the act of condemning it, does not design God's disapproving of it, and judging it to be evil; this he could not but do, as being contrary to his nature, an act of hostility against him, a breach of his law, and what brings ruin upon his creatures; and this he would have done, if Christ had never suffered in the flesh; and he has taken other methods, both among his own people and the world, to show his dislike of sin: nor does this act intend the destruction of the power and dominion of sin, in regeneration; this is the work of the Spirit, and is done in our flesh, and not in the flesh of Christ; but it is to be understood of the condemnation and punishment of sin, in the person of Christ: sin was laid on him by the Father, and he voluntarily took it upon himself; justice finding it there, charges him with it, demands satisfaction, and condemns him for it; and hereby sin was expiated, the pardon of it procured, and it was, entirely done away: now this is said to be done "for sin"; some join the phrase with the former part of the text, either with the word "sending", and take the sense to be, that God sent his Son for, or on the account of sin, to take it away, and save his people from it; or "with sinful flesh", which was taken from a sinful person; but it stands best as it does in our version, and may be rendered "of sin"; for God condemned sin of sin in Christ, that is, by the vengeance he took of it, in the strictness of his justice, through the sufferings of his Son, he showed sin to be exceeding sinful indeed; or rather "by sin"; that is, by an offering for sin, so the word is used in Hebrews 10:6; and answers to in Psalm 40:6, by being made which, sin was condemned "in the flesh" of Christ, who was put to death in the flesh, "for" the sins of his people, and bore all the punishment due unto them: from hence we learn the evil of sin, the strictness of justice, and the grace of the Redeemer.

(u) Zohar in Lev. fol. 3. 2. (w) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 4. 4. & 9. 4.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3, 4. For what the law could not do, &c.—a difficult and much controverted verse. But it is clearly, we think, the law's inability to free us from the dominion of sin that the apostle has in view; as has partly appeared already (see on [2221]Ro 8:2), and will more fully appear presently. The law could irritate our sinful nature into more virulent action, as we have seen in Ro 7:5, but it could not secure its own fulfilment. How that is accomplished comes now to be shown.

in that it was weak through the flesh—that is, having to address itself to us through a corrupt nature, too strong to be influenced by mere commands and threatenings.

God, &c.—The sentence is somewhat imperfect in its structure, which occasions a certain obscurity. The meaning is, that whereas the law was powerless to secure its own fulfilment for the reason given, God took the method now to be described for attaining that end.

sending—"having sent"

his own Son—This and similar expressions plainly imply that Christ was God's "OWN Son" before He was sent—that is, in His own proper Person, and independently of His mission and appearance in the flesh (see on [2222]Ro 8:32 and [2223]Ga 4:4); and if so, He not only has the very nature of God, even as a son of his father, but is essentially of the Father, though in a sense too mysterious for any language of ours properly to define (see on the first through fourth chapters). And this peculiar relationship is put forward here to enhance the greatness and define the nature of the relief provided, as coming from beyond the precincts of sinful humanity altogether, yea, immediately from the Godhead itself.

in the likeness of sinful flesh—literally, "of the flesh of sin"; a very remarkable and pregnant expression. He was made in the reality of our flesh, but only in the likeness of its sinful condition. He took our nature as it is in us, compassed with infirmities, with nothing to distinguish Him as man from sinful men, save that He was without sin. Nor does this mean that He took our nature with all its properties save one; for sin is no property of humanity at all, but only the disordered state of our souls, as the fallen family of Adam; a disorder affecting, indeed, and overspreading our entire nature, but still purely our own.

and for sin—literally, "and about sin"; that is, "on the business of sin." The expression is purposely a general one, because the design was not to speak of Christ's mission to atone for sin, but in virtue of that atonement to destroy its dominion and extirpate it altogether from believers. We think it wrong, therefore, to render the words (as in the Margin) "by a sacrifice for sin" (suggested by the language of the Septuagint and approved by Calvin, &c.); for this sense is too definite, and makes the idea of expiation more prominent than it is.

condemned sin—"condemned it to lose its power over men" [Beza, Bengel, Fraser, Meyer, Tholuck, Philippi, Alford]. In this glorious sense our Lord says of His approaching death (Joh 12:31), "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out," and again (see on [2224]Joh 16:11), "When He (the Spirit) shall come, He shall convince the world of … judgment, because the prince of this world is judged," that is, condemned to let go his hold of men, who, through the Cross, shall be emancipated into the liberty and power to be holy.

in the flesh—that is, in human nature, henceforth set free from the grasp of sin.

Romans 8:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
No Condemnation in Christ
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.…
Cross References
Numbers 28:22
Include one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for you.

Acts 13:39
Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Romans 7:18
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Galatians 4:4
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Philippians 2:7
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Hebrews 2:14
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--

Hebrews 2:17
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 7:18
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless

Hebrews 10:1
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Hebrews 10:8
First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them"--though they were offered in accordance with the law.
Treasury of Scripture

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:

For what.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified …

Romans 7:5-11 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by …

Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which …

Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there …

Hebrews 7:18,19 For there is truly a cancellation of the commandment going before …

Hebrews 10:1-10,14 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very …

God.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, …

John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must …

Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, …

1 John 4:10-14 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and …

in the.

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers, …

Mark 15:27,28 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, …

John 9:24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said to him, Give …

for sin. or, by a sacrifice for sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might …

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse …

condemned.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body …

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that …

1 Peter 4:1,2 For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm …

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