The Cross’s Double Cure
When the Lord Jesus Christ does a saving work in the life of a sinner, he or she is not only concerned with being free of guilt in the presence of God; but also being holy in the presence of God. The power of sin is broken and one is able to be well….The power of sin is broken and we are able to look to Christ and say, “Be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure!”
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure….
As Christ’s secured salvation for sinners, he freed us from the wrath of God; freed us from sin and death; condemned sin; and after the Spirit, fulfilled the righteousness of the law in us. What does Romans 8:4 mean by fulfilled in us? Thomas Manton in his exposition of Romans 8 raises the question concerning the words, “in us.” He asks, “How is this to be understood? Of justification or of sanctification?” (Manton’s Works, 11.430.)
Through the grammar of “for” versus “in,” Manton begins with demonstrating that the words are unable to be understood as related to justification. He says, “The words will not bear it [as justification], for the apostle does not say that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled for, but fulfilled in us.” (Ibid.) This is a very important distinction as Manton considers what this fulfillment looks like in the life of the Christian. Surely, the Apostle Paul, according to Manton, meant that Christ’s work was not only a justifying work, but a sanctifying work: “Christ came not only to redeem us from wrath, but to renew and sanctify us.” (Ibid, 11.431.)
Before giving his readers four biblical reasons for this qualification, Manton tells them that the sanctification of the Christian is the “constant drift and tenor of the Scriptures.” Manton, like a skilled roper, strings together several texts from the Scripture to show that this was always God’s intentions in the life of the Christian: “And you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21.) “…God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” (Acts 3:26.) “Him God has exalted to His right hand…to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31.) “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” (I John 3:5.) Each of these show that the constant drift and tenor of the Word of God is that Jesus would provide the double cure of saving from wrath and making pure.
From the tenor and drift, Manton then turned his attention to the fact that from the Scriptures, this fulfillment of the law in us has to be sanctification. He says, “It must needs be so.” (Manton’s Works, 11.432.) Manton gave four reasons for this.