Rom.8:4 – so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Paul goes to great depths in the book of Romans to help us see the implications of the fall of man and the redemption available to us in Christ. Our old life, our fallen nature, had no ability to follow God or live a righteous life. As Paul shared in the first chapters of Romans, all of us were born helplessly ensnared in sin. It effects every part of our lives. Our sins were in need of forgiveness but much more than that. Forgiveness alone never changes us. We find ourselves hopelessly trapped in the cycle of returning to our sinful ways. That’s why the gospel is so necessary and so powerful. Salvation includes the whole man. Christ Himself enters inside of us and liberates our will. He begins to work in us and through us in the power of this new life. All the requirements of living a holy life are no longer a burden. We joyfully yield to Jesus and His blessed new life. WE live a righteous life now empowered by His Spirit. Here is how Jonathan Edwards explains this.
“In the Romans 8:4, it is implied that if we walk after the flesh, justification and the reward of righteousness can’t “be fulfilled in us,” but if we walked after the Spirit it would be. The substance and drift of each of these things is the same. If we walk after the flesh, we shall surely come to condemnation. But, on the contrary, if we walk after the Spirit it will surely bring us to life. If we are after the flesh, we shall mind the things of the flesh. The nature of our souls will be carnal, and that will necessarily bring us to death, because to be carnally minded is “enmity against God”, and is not, nor can, be subject to the law of God, can’t please God, and therefore must bring us to condemnation. But, on the contrary, “they that are after the Spirit” do mind “the things of the Spirit”. The Spirit is become a principle of nature in them. The nature of their souls is spiritual, but this naturally and necessarily tends to life.”
What an amazing deal! The Lord makes claims and expectations of how we should live our lives. He then begins to live this new life inside of us. What is the outcome? He receives the glory for my changed life and I receive the joy that comes from this intimacy of having Christ living in and through my life.