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, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The Perfect Sinner
When Christians describe Jesus as perfect, they believe that he never did anything wrong. Not once.
That’s hard to believe, especially when you recall that Jesus was a human being just like we are and faced daily temptation just like we do. But the Bible is clear. Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
But for all his moral perfection, Jesus wouldn’t be our perfect Savior if he hadn’t been willing to suffer as our substitute. So our heavenly Father made Jesus “perfect through what he suffered” (Hebrews 2:10). What does that mean? It means he needed to endure the life of a sinner even though he wasn’t one. But he didn’t just become another sinner. He became the world’s greatest sinner, yes, the perfect sinner!
That’s what St. Paul is describing in Romans chapter 8. He begins by teaching us why we are unable to be perfect in God’s eyes. Try as we might to follow God’s law, it is powerless to save us “because it was weakened by (our sinful) flesh.” While God’s law is perfect, we are imperfect. Our following it perfectly is hopeless.
But what we are unable to do, “God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” Elsewhere, Paul describes it this way: “God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though Jesus was sinless, God laid our sin and the sins of the world on him. Then he condemned Jesus, the perfect sinner, in our place. Our perfect substitute.
So, Jesus hasn’t simply swept away our condemnation. He’s crushed it once and for all. The slate is clean for you, for me, for everyone. Our sin is forgiven and forgotten forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming my sin so that I might be given your perfection. Amen.