Scriptures

Romans 8

Introduction

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1+2

What we will see in this chapter is law and death is contrasted with life and love.

We will see Justification. Romans 81:30+33.

We will see Glorification. Romans 8:31.

We will see Sanctification. Romans 8:35.

We will see Intercession. Romans 8:34.

We will see Predestination. Romans 8:35.

We will see Perseveration. Romans 8:33-39.

Those in sin are under sentence of death. Those in Christ are declared to be justified. Romans 8:1. Notice the difference between Romans 7, life in the flesh, Romans 8, life in the Spirit.

The force of the word ‘I’ in Romans 7 is great. It is mentioned no less than 23 times in 11 verses, whilst ‘me’ is mentioned 6 times and ‘my’ 3 times. So in just 11 verses (Romans 7:14-24) Paul’s personal self ( as he saw it at the time) is mentioned no less than 32 times, nearly three times per verse.

Contrast the word ‘I’ with the ‘Spirit’ who is mentioned 19 times in Romans 8.

The Spirit of Life, is the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:2.

The Spirit of God. Romans 8:9.

The Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9.

The Spirit of Him who raised up Christ. Romans 8:11.

His Spirit. Romans 8:11.

Notice Romans 8:2. The law of the Spirit of Life. The Holy Spirit prescribes conduct. Tells us how we ought to live. When we follow the course of conduct laid down by the Holy Spirit, we are freed from the old bondage to sin, with the inevitable consequence which that bondage would otherwise bring.

Notice, also; ‘made us free’. This means that, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as to our conduct, we have been set at liberty. When the conqueror of a nation announces new laws, he automatically makes the old laws ineffective and renders them invalid, out of date.

For example, when over 200 years ago, the American declaration of independence was drawn up and became the law of the United States of America, the old laws of the British Parliament no longer had any validity, any authority or power.

Paul argues that we were under the old dominion of sin. But sin, as we have seen, has been dethroned. We have a new master, and sin’s power and sin’s law has ceased to be valid. We are now under the law of the spirit of life, because whilst sin brought death, the Spirit brings life in Christ.

But, notice this, the new life is only in Christ. All the blessings are said to be in Christ. Colossians 1:14. In him redemption. The forgiveness of sins. Galatians 3:27. Children of God, by faith. Ephesians 1:3. All spiritual blessings. Romans 3:24. Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17. New creation in Christ Jesus, Spirit.

Paul speaks about the carnal mind, the fleshly mind, and the mind of the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Our physical appetites can distinguish between the pleasant and the unpleasant, but they cannot distinguish between the right and the wrong.

So, our fleshly appetites, our desires, often prompt us to do those things which are not according to the will of God. We disobey God, and that means that we are in rebellion against God.

So, the flesh is hostile to God, and, to allow the body to rule is to do that which God has forbidden.

Now remember that Romans 7 involved the inward conflict Paul had when he lived under the law. He now shows that he was freed from that conflict. Romans 7:1 ‘Now’, as distinguished from the time when he projected himself back under the law.

‘No condemnation’,

freed form sin’s guilt and enslaving power, the law of sin and death no longer has control. See Romans 7:23. Whether he may or may not again come into condemnation is not a matter of consideration here.

In verses 1-17, Paul divides people into two categories, those who let themselves be controlled by their fleshly desires, and those who follow after the Holy Spirit. He gives strong exhortation to cause us to choose the right path.

‘Law of the Spirit of life’.

The law revealed by the Spirit which is capable of producing life. It is Christ’s law as to the source, and the Spirit’s as to the agent of making it known. It is the ‘law of life’ because it is the principle or rule by which spiritual life is obtained.

‘Made me free.’

This shows, again, that he was not in chapter 7 talking about his conflict as a Christian because he would not say in one breath, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin…sin dwells in me…bringing me into captivity to the law of sin’. Romans 7:14+20+23, etc., and in the same breath say, ‘I am free.’ His conflict was a thing of the past, not of the present.

‘The law of sin and death’,

the law of sin resulting in death which was in the members. From verse 3, the law could not do it. In other words, it could not deliver him from the conflict, but the other could. If the law of sin and death refers to the Law of Moses, Paul would be saying that the Law of Moses could not deliver us from the Law of Moses.

“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. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Romans 8:3-7

‘The law could not do’.

The Law of Moses could not make one free from the law of sin and death. Any law by itself cannot provide redemption.

‘It was weak through the flesh’,

it was without strength because it was of carnal and fleshly things. Hebrews 7:18-19 / Hebrews 8:6-8.

‘In the likeness of sinful flesh’,

His Son was in the same flesh through which men sin. He was in the same kind of flesh as belonging to the rest of sinful mankind.

‘And account of sin’

‘Or, by a sacrifice for sin’ (Footnote, KJV); ‘As an offering for sin’ (Footnote, ASV).

‘Condemned sin’.

The fact that He was given for it was a condemnation of it. His death showed how wrong, terrible, and extremely evil sin is and thus condemns it. Christ was given as a sacrifice that the righteousness which the Old Testament sought after might be accomplished in us. It fulfils in us exactly what the law was unable to accomplish.

‘Who do not walk according to the flesh.’

Who do not live a worldly life, devoted to the flesh. Their actions are not governed by fleshly dictates and appetites. Paul explains this more fully in the following verses. ‘But according to the Spirit’. Their actions are governed by the teachings of the Holy Spirit.

Application

The flesh and Spirit both direct and cause behaviour. Everyone is following one or the other. Only those who are directed and controlled by the Spirit have deliverance. Those who mind and walk after the flesh are under condemnation.

Those who live according to the flesh have the wrong ‘mind set.’ The carnally minded have material, fleshly interest. Philippians 3:19 / 1 Corinthians 3:3.

‘The things of the Spirit’,

those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on those holy and right things revealed by the Spirit. They are spiritually minded.

‘Carnally minded is death’,

to be fleshly minded, having one’s mind ruled and controlled by the earthly, material things, results in death.

‘Spiritually minded is life and peace’,

having one’s mind ruled and controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.

Its end result is spiritual life (freedom from sin’s penalty) and peace (tranquillity of heart and mind) which comes to those who are in right relationship (justified) with God.

‘Carnal mind is enmity against God’

is hostile toward God, shows hatred of God. The fleshly and spiritual mind are hostile to one another. Galatians 5:17.

‘Not subject to the law of God’,

the carnal mind is not obedient to the will of God because it is governed by the dictates of the flesh.

‘Nor indeed can be’,

that is, the carnal minded cannot be subject to the law of God while attending to the flesh. It cannot submit to or obey God and remain carnal. Once it chooses to obey God, it ceases to be fleshly and becomes spiritual.

Application

We must daily centre our minds on spiritual things. Colossians 3:1+2 / 1 Peter 1:13. The very best way to be spiritually minded (minding things of the Spirit) is by having our minds renewed by the Word of God. Romans 12:2 / 2 Corinthians 4:16.

We must pray that the Lord will give us our daily food (Luke 11:3) as well as our spiritual food (Matthew 4:4). The spiritual nourishment is far more important. John 6:27.

“Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:8-14

Their every interest and desire is against the will of God; thus, they are under the control of the flesh and not the Spirit.

‘Not in the flesh’,

not under the control of the flesh, but under the control of the Spirit.

‘Spirit of God’,

He either refers to the Spirit which inhibits the Father or the one sent by Him, the Holy Spirit. No one knows which.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a fact plainly taught in the New Testament. Acts 2:38 / Acts 5:32 / Galatians 4:6 / 1 Corinthians 3:16 / 1 Corinthians 6:19 / 2 Corinthians 1:21+22 / 2 Corinthians 5:5 / Ephesians 1:13+14 / Ephesians 4:30, etc.

Thus, there is no difference among Christians as to the fact of the indwelling.

‘Spirit of Christ’,

thus, this identifies in this verse, as well as the first part of the next verse, Christ’s Spirit. Christ dwells in the Christian just as the Spirit does.

‘He is not His’,

He is not a Christian. Without Christ’s Spirit within one, he does not belong to, and is not in union with Christ.

‘The body is dead because of sin’,

because of sin the body is doomed to natural death and, hence, is accounted as already dead.

‘But the Spirit is life because of righteousness’.

The life-imparting Spirit is dwelling within you because of justification. The Holy Spirit gives life through the Gospel system (justification) to those who are indwelt by Christ.

The verse is showing that if Christ is in us, though our bodies must die because of sin, the life-imparting Spirit is dwelling in us because of our justification. Using the Spirit (Holy Spirit, ‘S’ in upper case) throughout this text is more consistent.

‘If’. Again, the rewards are conditioned on Deity indwelling.

‘The Spirit of Him…through His Spirit’,

there is no reason to change to the Holy Spirit in this verse. The Scriptures teach that the Spirit of the Father (as well as the Holy Spirit) dwells in us. 2 Corinthians 6:16 / 1 John 4:4+13+16 / Ephesians 4:6 / Philippians 2:13.

‘Will also give life to your mortal bodies’.

John 5:28+29 / 1 Corinthians 15:52-53. We have faith that as God raised up Jesus, we will be as well. 1 Corinthians 6:14 / 2 Corinthians 4:14.

He now gives an exhortation drawn from what has been previously said.

‘We are debtors, not to the flesh’,

we do not owe the flesh anything.

‘To live according to the flesh’,

to live after the flesh is enmity against God and will end in everlasting death. We owe absolutely no allegiance to the fleshly rule. We are debtors to the Spirit, to live after the Spirit.

‘Will die’,

if you live according to the flesh, you must pay the consequence of eternal death.

‘By the Spirit’,

through the instruction, enlightenment, and direction of the Spirit’s revelation. ‘You will live’, you will have eternal life. When you put to death the deeds of the body (those sinful things done in the body), you will receive eternal life.

Application

We must, through the instruction, enlightenment, and direction of the Spirit’s revelation, put to death the deeds of the body (those sinful things done in the body), so that we can be blessed with eternal life. We must bring an end to those sinful deeds of the body. By all means, we must break all sinful habits, for the end of that way of life is eternal death.

We are led by the Spirit through the Word of the Spirit.

How the Holy Spirit leads

THE SPIRIT              ACTION                  THE WORD                                  John 3:5+8                 Begets                 1 Peter 1:23-25                                 John 6:63               Gives Life                 Psalm 119:93                                  Titus 3:5                    Saves                       James 1:21                                     John 16:8                 Convicts                      Titus 1:9                                  Romans 8:16              Testifies                     John 5:39                                 Romans 15:13         Gives Power               Hebrews 4:12                      2 Thessalonians 2:13       Sanctifies                   John 17:17                             1 Corinthians 6:11           Washes                 Ephesians 5:26                              Acts 9:31                  Comforts                  Romans 15:4

‘These are sons of God’,

the true sons of God are the ones lead by the Word of the Spirit.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:15-17

Adoption in New Testament times was the public recognition that this was your real son. They would say I adopt thee three times. Kids were brought up by someone else.

‘Spirit of bondage again to fear’,

you have not received the spirit of slavery to once more fill you with fear.

‘Spirit of adoption’,

we have not received the disposition of slaves serving out of fear, but that of adopted sons. It is called the ‘Spirit’ of adoption because the Holy Spirit revealed the process, the means by which we become sons of God.

‘By whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’,

‘Abba’ is an Aramaic word which means ‘father’ but expresses the love and trust a child has toward his father. The Greek word ‘father’ expresses an intelligent understanding of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.

Application

We as adopted children cry out intimately and intelligently to our heavenly Father.

Two witnesses are here involved, both bearing witness to the same fact:

‘we are children of God.’

The Holy Spirit has given His testimony and our spirits testify that we have done those things. Thus, the two witnesses agree or bear witness together. 1 John 2:5 / 1 John 5:13.

One can know that he is a child of God when he has the testimony of both spirits, the Holy Spirit revealing what he must do, and his own spirit revealing that he has done it.

Application

The Holy Spirit has revealed the plan of salvation, and when our spirits testify that we have obeyed the plan, both spirits are testifying that we are children of God. Also, when the Spirit reveals the kind of character which constitutes a child of God, and our spirits reveal that we have that kind of character, both bear witness that we are children of God.

‘Then heirs’,

since we are sons, we are privileged to share in the favours and will be partakers of the inheritance. ‘Joint heirs with Christ’, we are His brethren (Hebrews 2:11) and shall inherit with Him (Revelation 3:21).

‘If indeed we suffer with Him’,

thus, again, our glorification is conditional.

‘That we may also be glorified together’,

we must suffer with Him in this life so that we can glorified with Him in eternity.

Application

When our faithfulness to Him leads to suffering, let us rejoice and patiently endure because, someday, we will be glorified together with Him. Acts 5:40-42 / 1 Peter 4:11-16 / 2 Timothy 2:11-12 / Matthew 5:10-12.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:18-21

The remainder of chapter 8 may be viewed as six reasons why Christians should endure suffering:

1. Because of the glorious reward, vs. 18.

2. The body will be redeemed, vs. 19-23.

3. We are saved by hope, vs. 24-25.

4. The Spirit helps in our weaknesses, vs. 26-27.

5. All things work together from good, vs 28-30.

6. God is for us, vs. 31-39.

The Book of Romans is much more than an explanation of God’s redeeming grace. It is a letter of comfort, encouragement, and exhortation addressed to you and me.

‘Are not worthy to be compared’,

the duration and severity of the suffering when compared to the reward will be as nothing. 2 Corinthians 4:17.

‘Revealed in us’,

it will fill and overwhelm us. We will be part of that glory.

The second reason for enduring suffering is because Christians eagerly await the redemption of the body. This section is one of the most difficult in the book of Romans. There are many different interpretations on the meaning of ‘creature,’ ‘the whole creation,’ and ‘we ourselves.’ Paul is dealing with the present suffering and future glory.

Suffering is temporary, but man is eternal. The suffering Christian will someday be delivered from this present state and transformed into a glorious state.

‘Earnest expectation’, eagerly watching with suspense. ‘The creation’, there are four possibilities:

1. ‘The creation’, all created things including inanimate objects.

2. ‘The creation’, intelligent beings; humanity. The same as ‘whole creation’ in verse 22.

3. ‘The new creation’, the spiritual creation of God; the Christian.

4. ‘The creature’, the physical makeup of man; the body. As we will see, the second one seems to be the correct meaning in this text.

‘Revealing of the sons of God’,

‘Waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.’ (NIV) The emphasis is on man’s hope of immortality.

James MacKnight on this verse said:

‘…The earnest desire of mankind hath ever been to obtain that glorious endless life in the body, by which the sons of God shall be made known.’

‘For the creation’, humanity; rational beings. ‘Subjected to futility’, ‘Subject to vanity’ (KJV) Subject or liable to suffering (sickness, pain, sorrow, and death).

‘Not willingly’,

not by their own choice or will.

‘Because of Him’,

God. In the beginning when man sinned, God pronounced curses upon him and thus brought him under futility.

‘Subjected it in hope’,

in hope of the ultimate deliverance from corruption. Even when God pronounced the curses upon man in the beginning, He gave him hope of deliverance. Man was thus subjected in hope.

‘The creation itself’,

several translations, including the ASV, NASV and the NIV connect the ‘in hope’ of verse 20 with verse 21 giving them the following rendering:

‘For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.’ (NASV).

‘Bondage of corruption’,

that which the body is in (mortality).

‘Glorious liberty of the children of God,’

eternal life, characterized by glory, honour, and immortality. From the very beginning, sinful man was given hope that God would provide deliverance from the bondage of corruption (mortality) to a glorious liberty (immortality).

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22

What does Paul mean?

It is wise, when encountering a difficult verse of scripture, to put it in its proper context; read what goes before it and what follows.

When we do this with this verse in Romans 8, we find that the chapter proclaims the believer’s confident hope, in a manner that stands in glorious contrast with the bleak hopelessness which runs through Romans 7, especially in verses 7-24.

Romans 7, a chapter of law and death. This chapter deals with law, all kinds of law. But Paul is particularly concerned with the law of sin, and he describes the despair of the man who, he describes as

‘captive to the law of sin’. Romans 7:23

The despair of the man is clearly heard in the cry in verse 24.

‘Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?’

The word, ‘wretched’ is ‘talaiporos’, describes one who has been reduced to weariness by hard labour.

In fact, the latter part of the word, ‘poros’ is the word for ‘callus’, bringing to mind hands roughened with exhausting toil, and we find it again in the word ‘porosis’, for ‘hardness’, or ‘callousness’, in Mark 3:5.

The man’s wail of agony strikes us with even greater force when Philip Dodderidge, quite accurately, uses the phrase, ‘this dead body’, because it suggests that Paul is very probably alluding to an extremely gruesome form of punishment which, in ancient times, was known to have been inflicted on those guilty of murder. There is a great deal of evidence to show that the murderer was sometimes bound to the corpse of his victim; hence the question in that verse.

In the following lines, Virgil, the Greek poet, describes this punishment as it was imposed by one particularly cruel Greek King.

‘The living and the dead at his command, were coupled, face to face and hand to hand; Till, choked with stench, in loathed embrace, The lingering wretches pined away and died.’

If you think that this was horrid and uncivilized behaviour, let me remind you that, in the reign of Richard 1st, the famous ‘Richard the Lion-heart’ beloved of film-producers, a law was passed relating to the Crusades, which governed those who sailed to the Holy Land.

It stated that,

‘He who kills a man on shipboard shall be bound to the dead body and thrown into the sea; if a man is killed on shore, the slayer shall be bound to the dead body and buried with it’.

So, no matter how we look at them, the words of Paul vividly depict the hopelessness and misery of the sinner, who finds himself bound to a burden from which he sees no release.

Romans 8, a chapter of grace and life! But then, in total contrast, Romans 8 declares the liberty which the Christian has in Christ. ‘There is no sentence to be served!’ literally, ‘no penal servitude’ for those in Christ Jesus! Romans 6:1-2.

We have received the Spirit who adopts us and who bears witness with our own spirit that we are the children of God. This means that we have become joint-heirs with Christ, providing we are prepared to suffer with Him in order to share His glory. Romans 8:15-17.

This thought of suffering then leads Paul to acknowledge that, at this present time, suffering is the common experience in life, Romans 8:18. But he quickly tells us it is nothing, not worth mentioning! A view of the glory which is to come.

At the present time, we, who already possess spiritual life in Christ, are waiting for what he describes as

‘the redemption of our bodies’. Romans 8:23.

A Complete Redemption!

It is about this consummation of the divine plan of redemption that he writes in Romans 8:19-23. At the present time,

‘the creation waits with eager longing’.

I use this rendering of verse 19 because I believe it is easier to understand than the one we find in the ‘A.V’.

The word ‘creation’ is defined by Thayer, as

‘the sum and aggregate of all created things’.

It refers to the whole of nature; everything we see around us, and all that lives.

The world of creation is waiting for something to happen ‘with eager longing’. This last phrase is the translation of just one word, and it is a word which presents a very vivid picture. Its meaning becomes clear when we break it up into its three constituent parts, which are; ‘apo, kara, dokia’. That is ‘apokaradokia’.

The word ‘apo’ means ‘away’, ‘kara’ means ‘head’ and ‘dokia’ means to ‘watch’. Put the three parts together and we have a picture of someone, stretching out his head, straining his neck, to watch, in eager expectation of some great event.

Now, we know that when God made everything, it was ‘very good’, and perfect man lived in a perfect environment, Genesis 1:31. But, says Paul, creation is ‘groaning’ up to this present time, verse 23. That word reveals that this is not the world as God meant it to be, and it is waiting for a change, and ‘agonizing’ as it waits.

Yet, it is a hopeful agony, similar to that of a woman who is expecting the birth of her child. She endures suffering in anticipation of the joy that is to come. We see this from Paul’s use of the word ‘travail’ in verse 22.

For what are we waiting? What is it for which creation is waiting so eagerly?

Look again at verses 19 and 21. All creation is ‘longing for the revealing (‘apokalupsis’, ‘revelation’) of the sons of God’, which means the Lord’s Return.

And what does ‘the creation’ expect?

To ‘obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God’ which will complete the redemption of believers at His Coming.

I use the phrase ‘complete the redemption’, because we already enjoy a partial redemption as forgiven children of God. But there is a ‘salvation’ yet to come. Romans 13:11, and we are now awaiting ‘the redemption of our bodies’, verse 23.

The Comprehensive effects of Sin

According to Genesis 3, when God imposed punishment on all three involved in that first sin, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, He made it clear that the consequences of their disobedience were not limited to themselves alone. The earth itself was affected.

Because of them the ground itself was cursed and would no longer produce freely, as it had previously done. Furthermore, what had been a pleasant occupation would now become ‘toil’, and Adam was told

‘By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread’.

Yet, there was a glimmer of hope. The message of the Bible is one of

‘Generation, Degeneration and Regeneration’,

and it records that God spoke of a time when the effects of sin would be cancelled forever.

The destruction of sin and Satan himself, would come through ‘the seed of the woman’, Genesis 3:15, who would make possible mankind’s redemption.

God had warned Adam that disobedience would affect him in two ways. Genesis 2:17. The penalty imposed on disobedience would be death, both spiritual and physical. The Hebrew text reads,

‘dying, thou shalt die’.

The first and immediate consequence of their sin was that they died spiritually.

The root meaning of the word ‘death’ is ‘separation’. Spiritually, Adam and Eve died instantly. They were separated from God by their sin, and, banished from the Garden, we understand that they no longer had fellowship with Him, or free access to Him.

Furthermore, the process of physical death commenced. Sickness and suffering, which they had never experienced before, affected their physical bodies. They began to age, until, as God had warned them, they died and their bodies returned to the ground out of which they had been formed. But, thanks to the grace of God, His plan of Redemption includes salvation on two levels, so to speak.

First; it embraces the instant restoration of man’s spiritual relationship with God, because it makes possible a new, vibrant life, which brings him back into fellowship with God. Second; it promises the cancellation of the effects of sin on man’s physical body, when, at the resurrection, ‘this mortal shall put on immortality’, as Paul writes to the Christians at Corinth, in that glorious 1 Corinthians 15.

Our Glorious Hope. It is for this that both believers in Christ, and Creation itself is waiting. At the Second Coming, the redeemed soul of the believer will be united with his raised and renewed body, we

‘according to His promise look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells’ 1 Peter 3:13

It is for this glorious day, which is surely coming! That even ‘creation groans’, stretching out in eager anticipation!

“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:23-25

Adoption in New Testament times was the public recognition that this was your real son. They would say ‘I adopt thee’ three times. See also Romans 9:4. Kids were brought up by someone else in Roman culture.

‘Not only so’ ‘Not only they’ (KJV), all of mankind. ‘But we also’, Christians as well.

‘Who have the firstfruits of the Spirit’,

the first fruit was the first of the harvest. It promised more to come. So it is with Christians.

They have received the first fruit of the Spirit with the promise of greater blessings yet to come. 2 Corinthians 1:22 / 2 Corinthians 5:5 / Ephesians 1:13+14.

‘Even we ourselves groan within ourselves’,

Christians are not exempt from the groaning’s and travail that characterizes the whole human family. We cannot escape the consequences of the fall; but, as shown by the next verses, we have hope which causes us to patiently wait for our redemption.

‘Eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body’,

thus, he defines the ‘adoption’ here. It is the resurrection of our bodies from the grave. John 5:28-29 / 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 / Philippians 3:20+21 / 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Application

In view of the resurrection and the full rewards of the sons of God,

‘The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’

Let us continue to be faithful to God regardless of whatever hardships, adversities, troubles, difficulties, or persecutions we might face.

Paul gives the third reason why Christians should endure suffering: ‘hope’. ‘Saved in this hope’, we are saved by it because it influences us to obtain the glory.

We desire and anticipate the rewards of the future (this is what hope is), and are thus sustained in trials, sufferings, and hardships. When the object of hope is seen, hope ceases, and realization takes place.

‘Who hopes for what he already has?’ (NIV)

‘Eagerly wait’, thus, we wish for that day to hasten its coming. 2 Peter 3:12. We not only want it to come, but we want it to come quickly. Revelation 22:20.

‘With perseverance’, in view of the coming reward, we continue to run the race with patience. Because of the coming glory, we patiently endure whatever suffering imposed upon us.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28

Paul continues with the fourth encouragement to Christians to patiently endure suffering until the crown is won. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

‘Likewise’, as our hope does. Thus, hope enables us to bear our ills.

‘The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses’,

the Holy Spirit likewise helps us in our infirmities and weaknesses. We don’t know how we should pray, but the Spirit does.

‘With groaning’s which cannot be uttered’,

the Holy Spirit intercedes in groaning’s which cannot be framed into human speech.

We often lack the ability to use the correct words when we pray. It is not that the Spirit is there working for us separate and apart from our wills, but the Spirit intercedes for us as we pray to the Father.

Application

In this verse we see:

1. The fact stated: ‘The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.’

2. The weakness revealed: ‘We do not know how to pray as we should’ (NASV).

3. The help given: ‘The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us.’

4. The means used: ‘With groaning’s too deep for words.’ (NASV) Let us take advantage of this blessing.

Romans 8:27 shows how the Spirit is able to make intercession for us. The Spirit appears before God in our behalf. God the Father knows what is in the Holy Spirit’s mind.

This shows, as well as many other passages in the Bible, that the Spirit is a person. The Greek word for ‘intercession’ (the same as in verses 26 and 34) means

‘to go into the presence of another for the purpose of supplication.’

Thus, the Spirit is able to make intercession for us. He goes into the presence of the Father, and the Father knows what is in the Spirit’s mind.

‘Because…according to the will of God’,

the Spirit makes intercession in accord with what God desires for His saints.

Romans 8:28. We now have the fifth reason for enduring suffering. God is in control and will work all things, even pain and suffering, to the good of those who love Him.

‘We know’,

we know from God’s promises in His Word, and from our own experience and observation.

‘All things work together for good’,

all things have some advantage to the saint. All things have some good in this life, but even more so in the final outcome. God does it through His providence, often in ways known only to Him.

‘To those who love God’,

God blesses, in a special way, those who love Him.

‘Called according to His purpose’,

His children. ‘Those who have been called’, (NIV). This shows that God has a definite plan in calling. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 / 2 Timothy 1:9. The word ‘purpose’ is a key word in understanding the verses which follow.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:29+30

Foreordained to what?

What does the text say? Predestined, foreordained means marked out beforehand. Predestined only in, Romans 8:29 / Ephesians 1:5+11 / Acts 4:28 / 1 Corinthians 2:7. Predestination is simply the purpose but by no means implies the inevitable accomplishment of that purpose.

You decided while your child is still at school that he will follow the trade of a builder. You ‘predestined’ your child to that trade. You ‘mark them out’ beforehand to be a builder.

That decision or purpose was in ‘your mind’ and is predestination. But that child marked out for that trade may later choose something else. Because your will is not the only factor involved.

God foresaw that certain persons would, when the opportunity was presented, become His children. He foresaw that some, by their own choice, would obey.

‘He also predestined’,

He predestined that a certain group or class would be saved.

He predestined that these must be conformed to the image of His Son. Colossians 3:10 / 2 Corinthians 3:18. This is similar to Ephesians 1:3-5. He predestined this group to be the adopted.

‘That He might be the firstborn’,

the Son has first honour and distinction in all things pertaining to God.

Paul is viewing the whole process of redemption. God has often spoken of things that were not, as thought they were. The called, justified, and glorified are all thus viewed in His purpose.

‘He also glorified’,

Paul is revealing it as an accomplished fact. What took place in purpose back in eternity, is viewed as having taken place. The final glorification for the righteous comes after the judgment. Matthew 25:31-34.

Thus, Paul views the whole process of redemption from beginning to end. God foreknew His children (foreknew that some would become His), and predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Those whom He predestined, He also called (called them by means of the gospel), and those whom he called, He also justified (set them free from sin by means of the death of Christ), and those He justified, He also glorified (gave them eternal life). Their present state of glory prepares them for the ultimate glory which is yet to be revealed.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39

The contrast between Romans 7+8. Romans 7, Outside of Christ. Haunted by Sin. Romans 8, In Christ. Freed from Sin.

Romans 8:32. An allusion to the Old Testament concerning Abraham and Isaac. The words ‘spared not’ is the translation of the Greek ‘pheidomai’. The only time it is found in the New Testament. (The Septuagint Translation) in Genesis 22:12.

‘Now I know seeing thou hast not with-held thy son, thine only son…’

The word describes the supreme example of sacrifice, and it is used to illustrate God’s Own sacrifice, the offering of His Own Son, for the sins of the world.

Consider the test which God set for Abraham

‘Take, Feel the knife going into Abraham’s heart!’ ‘Your SON!’ ‘Your ONLY son!’ ‘ISAAC!’ (Not Ishmael, as the Muslims claim) ‘Whom thou LOVE!’

Consider the Journey

Three days to Mount Moriah, already aware of what God required him to do. Time to let it sink in! Time to change his mind! Do you think he told Sarah where he was going, and WHY? Do you think Abraham went with an unbroken heart?

This was real sacrifice. He was not expected, or asked, to enjoy, the sacrifice was designed to be a demonstration of obedience, regardless of the cost to oneself. This story is used by Paul to stress the fact that God Himself paid the highest price to make salvation possible.

He ‘spared not’, ‘did not hold back from’ the sacrifice of Jesus, even though every consideration would have weighed against going through with it, every consideration, that is, except Love for Mankind! This was the proof of God’s love.

This being the case, he reasons; ‘How then shall He not, with HIM, freely give us all thing?’ He asks, Can you not see that God is willing to give you everything else?

Three phrases here!

1. With him, i.e. along with Him. Along with the gift of Jesus/HE is the Gift of God which included all others and guarantees all others. ‘All things are yours….’ Illustrations.

a. The ‘make weight’, the ‘extra’ added after the scales have gone down!

b. Gold watch, and the box in which to keep it!

c. The millionaire who gives £100,000 for ‘Famine Relief’ will not refuse to give a beggar a pound to buy a cup of coffee!

2. Freely give. Sense the difference between the agony in ‘spared not’ and the willing, joyous generosity in ‘freely give’!

3. All things. All other things. Only ‘good’ things? See verses 28+37-39! Why don’t we receive the ‘all things’ that God is willing to freely give us? Because even God is unable to put anything into hand and hearts that are closed!

Verses 31-39 can be viewed as the sixth encouragement to endure suffering. What shall we say in regard to these blessings to Christians? ‘Who can be against us?’ who can be against us to defeat our glorification? If God is for us, it matters little what men might try to do to us. Luke 12:3+4 / Hebrews 13:5+6.

If God justifies us, who or what can condemn us? If He unites us with Himself, who or what can separate us? If we are more than conquers in Him, who can defeat us? The grand climax (vs. 38+39) is that nothing (no outside force) can separate us from the love of Christ.

Application

We are safe from the storms and trials of life, not in the sense that we can escape them, but we have power on our side to overcome them.

A logical argument from the greater to prove the lessor. Certainly, if God has given us that great, most precious gift, He will not hold back any of the lessor things we might need.

‘All things’,

for example, He will freely give us all the things the He intends for His children.

Application

The saddest part of being lost is the fact that one is lost for sins for which the penalty has already been paid.

Romans 8:33 asks, how could anyone lay a charge against, or condemn, God’s elect?

‘God’s elect’,

the source of the election is through God alone, the means of the election is through the gospel, and the receiving of the election (the obtaining of it) is through our obedience to the Gospel.

‘It is God who justifies.’

Thus, who has the right to say they are not justified? God has justified them, Jesus died for them, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for them; thus, what right does anyone have to speak against them?

‘Who is he who condemns?’

Again, when God justifies one, no one has a right to condemn him. If he does so, is he not opposing and fighting against God? The elect have Him who died, was raised, and now reigns to intercede for them.

In other words, who would dare to speak against those who have this Wonderful, Mighty One on their side? The verses refer to the blessings and security of the obedient believer. They do not address whether or not the believer can, through his own choice, lose the blessings and security.

Application

Four things are said about Christ which one would need to remove or deny in order to charge or condemn the ones God has justified.

1. He died, to pay man’s sin debt. 1 Peter 2:24 / 1 John 2:2.

2. He rose from the dead, for our justification. Romans 4:25 / 1 Peter 3:21.

3. He is now at the right hand of God, ruling on His throne. Hebrews 10:11-14 / 1 Peter 3:22.

4. He makes intercession for us, He pleads our case before the Father (the same word used of the Spirit in verses 26 and 27). Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 9:24.

And so, no mortal man has a right to condemn us. Let us rejoice in the Lord.

The purpose of this paragraph (vs. 35-39) is to show that no existing power in heaven or on earth can change or modify the love Christ (as well as the Father, vs. 39) has for us.

This section refers to Christ’s love toward us, not our love toward Him. The hard things which we suffer will not cause Him to stop loving us, but our love toward Him may stop as result of them. Matthew 24:11-12.

1. ‘Tribulation’. Outward affliction.

2. ‘Distress’. Inward affliction.

3. ‘Persecution’. Lit. ‘To drive out, drive away, and then to pursue after.’

4. ‘Famine’. Hunger.

5. ‘Nakedness’. In need of clothes.

6. ‘Peril’. Afflictions of any kind.

7. ‘Sword’. Danger of bodily harm, death.

When in terrible suffering, we should not think that Christ has forsaken us.

He quotes Psalm 44:22 to show that there is nothing peculiar in God’s people suffering. Psalm 44 is a long Psalm dealing with the sufferings Israel had faced

‘More than conquerors’,

we can abundantly and overwhelmingly conquer every obstacle.

‘Him who loved us’,

we conquer only because Christ loves us first. Through Christ who loves us, we can overcome all the trials and hardships of life. Paul himself is an example of such conquering. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Application

Rely on the Lord! Philippians 4:13.

‘For I am persuaded’,

he was totally convinced both by experience, 2 Timothy 4:17 and revelation, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, that nothing in heaven or on earth could separate us from divine love.

‘Neither death nor life’,

the two fundamental facts of our being. ‘Angels’, if they attempted to do so. ‘Principalities’, this word means, ‘beginning, government, rule.’ Here it refers to the wicked angels as in Ephesians 6:12. It is also used of the holy angels. Ephesians 3:10. ‘Powers’, authorities of all kinds, heavenly or earthly.

‘Nor things present, nor things to come’,

neither present difficulties nor future happenings.

‘Nor height nor depth’,

neither can anything within the dimensions of time or space.

‘Nor any other created thing’,

any other created things which is not here mentioned; no person or thing whatsoever.

‘Shall be able to separate us…’,

thus, the absolute security of the believer so far as God is concerned. No outside forces can separate us from the love of God; however, we ourselves can depart from His love. Thus, we must keep ourselves in His love. Jude 20-21.

This statement principle also refutes the doctrine of an infallible church. Christ will never depart from His church; however, His church can depart from Him.

Romans 9-11 present the

‘Vindication of God’s choices.’

Paul defends and maintains God’s right to choose. It was offensive to the Jews that God had rejected fleshly Israel and accepted the Gentiles and, thus, Paul reveals the basics of God’s rejection and acceptance.

Go To Romans 9

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 1:1

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