Original Research

Romans 8:3–4 and God’s resolution of the threefold problems of sin, the incapability of the law and the weakness of the flesh

Dirk J. Venter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 48, No 1 | a1687 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v48i1.1687 | © 2014 Dirk J. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2013 | Published: 12 September 2014

About the author(s)

Dirk J. Venter, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


Ensuing from the argument of Romans 7:7–25, 8:3–4 presents ‘the incapability of the law’ as a significant part of the greater problem of sin that needed resolution. This is brought to the fore best when the opening clause of Romans 8:3 (τὸ ... ἀδύνατον) is seen as an accusative of respect with dependant clauses and not as an anacoluthon as is often supposed. This opening clause points out sin’s two concomitant problems as (within this context) the primary points of reference in regard to which the claims of Romans 8:3–4 are made. Consequently, in Romans 8:3–4 Paul addresses the resolution of this threefold problem. In Romans 8:3 in particular, he argues that, through the mission of God’s Son, the problems of sin and the weakness of the flesh are resolved by the condemnation of sin in the flesh (of Christ). This has the purpose-result of also resolving the problem of the incapability of the law through Christ’s fulfilment of the requirement of the law (Rm 8:4).

Romeine 8:3–4 en God se oplossing van die drievoudige probleem van sonde, die onvermoë van die wet en die swakheid van die vlees. In die lig van Romeine 7:7–25 impliseer 8:3–4 dat die ‘onvermoë van die wet’ ‘n noemenswaardige deel van die groter probleem van die sonde was wat opgelos moes word. Hierdie insig tree veral duidelik na vore wanneer die sinsnede waarmee Romeine 8:3 begin (τὸ ... ἀδύνατον) geïdentifiseer word as ‘n akkusatief van opsig (met bysinne) en nie, soos dikwels veronderstel word, ‘n anakoluthon nie. Die twee probleme wat met sonde gepaard gaan (die onvermoë van die wet en die swakheid van die vlees), word dus deur Paulus uitgelig as die primêre verwysingspunte ten opsigte waarvan die stellings in Romeine 8:3–4 gemaak word. In Romeine 8:3 wys Paulus dat God, deur sy Seun te stuur, die probleme van die sonde en die vlees aangespreek het deurdat die sonde in die vlees (van Christus) veroordeel is. Dit het die doel-gevolg gehad dat die meegaande probleem van die onvermoë van die wet ook opgelos is, aangesien Christus die vereiste van die wet vervul het (Rom 8:4).


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Crossref Citations

1. A vida no Espírito: Rm 8,1-13 à luz da Análise Retórica Bíblica Semítica
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