J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)
I am more deeply convinced than ever, by renewed study of Romans and other scriptures, that the view I have insisted on, as to a new nature and place in resurrection, as contrasted with flesh under law, is not only true, but is the great fundamental point on which the Apostle Paul insists as distinguishing Christianity. That, while surely sins are expiated and put away, "all are under sin" is what he is dwelling upon, and that wholly as in flesh, and hence death and a new state come in, through grace, in Christ. Besides the blessed fact of putting away sins, this is the truth of the Romans - righteousness being established by the obedience of Christ as such. But this, too, in contrast with law. Even as to convincing power, he does not say by the law is the knowledge "of sins," for conscience told that, but the knowledge "of sin." "All have sinned," is in the end of Romans 3; so in verses 12-16 is offences under law specially. Both "sins" and "sin" in chapter 4:7, 8; so verse 25. In chapter 2:12, is actual sinning, as in chapter 3:23. From chapter 6, where death is applied, "sin" is the subject.
The details, I have given here, serve as reference, but only show the force of the Apostle's argument. It is well to note them specially. I add, when I have said above, Romans 6, it must be remembered that that is founded on the great truth that we must not look to law, which is individual, but beyond it to the two great heads, Adam and Christ - one of sin, the other of righteousness and life. Only "for that all have sinned" comes in. In Galatians we have only chapter 3:22, where all are "concluded under sin," where we have help to see what the force of "righteousness" (chap. 5:21) is, in contrast with "sin."
It is clearer and clearer to me every day that the whole gist of the Apostle's teaching, especially in Romans, is that as the law was correlative with flesh, and so, we being sinful, a ministration not of deliverance but of death, we are brought in Christ into a new condition by the Spirit of life in Him, and that, this being by death, we are free in the new man according to the law of the Spirit of life. That deliverance is not by the law, but by having life in the power of the Spirit in contrast with flesh. The law came in by the bye, to bring clearly out what flesh was, but that Spirit instead of flesh is true deliverance, Christ's death set aside the title of flesh. The whole of Romans 8 is the teaching of this. The new power of life - the Spirit in the power of life - has set me free from flesh and its law of evil, has put me into another existence and life. But that my conscience might be true, and God's righteousness maintained in it, God has condemned sin in the flesh, in a Sacrifice for sin, even the Cross. Thus, Spirit and flesh are fully contrasted, and the law has no place even with either, for judgment has come on flesh, not law which could make no hand of it, and then Spirit replaces flesh. This makes the "fors" of verses 2 and 3 quite plain, which are otherwise difficult, and the whole bearing of the teaching clear.