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God Has Acted (Romans 8:3)

God has done what the Law of Moses could not do. The Law of Moses was insufficient for righteousness because of our sinfulness. The Law was weakened by our failures and sins. The Law cannot justify sinners. What did God do? God sent Jesus. God sent his own Son to come in the flesh to deal with our sins. Jesus came for sins. Jesus came to deal with the problem of sin (NRSV). The HCSB, NASB, NIV, and TNIV add the word “offering” to sin. Thus, these translations read that Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. There are many times in the Old and New Testament where the writer speaks of sin and he is referring to a sin offering. Hebrews 10:8 is one of many instances. In fact, in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) 44 of the 54 occurrences of the phrase “for sin” refers to a sin sacrifice. It seems like that this is also the case here in Romans 8:3. Jesus came with a new law and as a sin sacrifice to set us free. Paul has done a magnificent job showing that all of us have the problem of sin in our lives. Even as followers of Jesus, the problem of sin continues. But there is no condemnation now in Jesus because Jesus has set us free through a new law and has given himself as an offering for sins. I think the NLT translates this passage accurately and clearly:

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. (8:3; NLT)

Noticing the end of verse 3, God condemned sin in the body of Jesus, that is, in the sacrifice of Jesus. Please notice that God did not condemn Jesus. The text does not say that the wrathful God was condemning his Son. God condemned or gave judgment against sin by sending his own Son. The payment for sins was made in Jesus. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Jesus’ offering was the redemption price that sets us free from sins. The NIV makes a huge mistake here in its translation, if you are using it. The NIV reads, “And so he condemned sin in sinful man….” Paul is not saying that God sent his Son in a body like ours to condemn sins in us. He did not need to send his own Son to do that. The NIV makes a terrible blunder here and reveals the consequences of being a dynamic translation. Paul is saying that God sent his Son in a body like ours to condemn sins in the body of Jesus by being an offering for sins. Sin was judged through the body of Jesus, not us. What Jesus did in the flesh is what condemned all sin.