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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Romans 8

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-17

Victory through the Spirit (8:1-17)

The reason believers can have victory through Christ is that the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ is greater than the power of the old sinful nature. The downward pull of the sinful nature may be likened to the downward pull of the earth's gravity. A stone thrown into the air will fall to the ground, because it has no life or power to overcome the force of gravity. A bird thrown into the air will fly away, because it has a living power that enables it to overcome the downward pull of the earth. It has a new 'law', life, which is greater than the 'law' of gravity. Likewise in Christ believers have a new upward force of the Spirit that is greater than the downward pull of the old sinful nature (8:1-2).

Efforts to keep the law cannot produce righteousness, because the sinful nature is so bad it cannot be cured, or even improved. It can only be condemned to destruction, and Christ did this by his death on the cross. When, however, believers live according to the power of the Spirit, they can develop in their lives the righteousness that the law aimed at but could not produce (3-4). The mind cannot be controlled at the same time by both the old sinful nature and the Spirit. One results in hostility to God, the other in peace. One leads to death, the other to life (5-8).

The Spirit within believers is the Spirit of Christ. Through the Spirit, Christ dwells within them, giving them spiritual life, victory over the sinful nature, and in the end freedom from even the last physical effects of sin, death (9-11).

Since the flesh is no longer their master, Christians should not obey it. Rather they should kill off its sinful actions (12-13). They are now children of God, free from the fear of bondage and led by the Spirit. Their union with Christ means that one day they will share in the Father's inheritance, but it also means that in the present life they must share in Christ's suffering (14-17).


Verses 18-39

Christian confidence (8:18-39)

Whatever sufferings believers may experience, they are of little significance when compared with the glory to be revealed on the day of final victory (18). On that day the physical creation, which from the time of Adam has suffered because of human sin (cf. Genesis 1:28-30; Genesis 3:17-18), will enter its full glory along with redeemed human life (19-22). All the effects of sin will be removed, and believers will be raised from the dead in imperishable spiritual bodies suited to life in the coming age (23; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:42-57). Christians, being saved by faith, do not yet experience all that God has promised, but they look to the future with patience and confidence (24-25).

The same Spirit who gives hope for the future gives help in the present. When believers' prayers are unable to express their deepest thoughts and feelings, the indwelling Spirit pleads to God on their behalf. And God knows the mind of the Spirit (26-27). This concern that God has for his people involves everything. He is at work in all their affairs, right from his eternal choice of them to be his sons to his act of final glorification when they will share the likeness of Jesus Christ (28-30).

Christians need have no doubts about any aspect of their salvation. If God has given the greatest of all gifts, the gift of his Son, nothing is beyond him (31-32). They need not fear any accusations against them, because the one who has declared them righteous is God himself, and he has done so on the basis of the perfect work of Jesus Christ (33-34). Nor should they fear persecution or even martyrdom, because through Christ they are assured of final victory (35-37). No matter what happens to them, nothing can separate them from the unchanging love of God (38-39).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Romans 8:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/romans-8.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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