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Romans CHAPTER 8:1-18
INTRODUCTION AND COMMENTARY-MARK DUNAGAN
'Our spirit can and must prevail over our flesh. We must not "walk" (pattern our life) after our flesh, but after our spirit; and God helps those who truly give their hearts to Him. From the first, Paul assumes the saint's heart has been "captured" for Christ (Cf. 2Co_8:5 ). God's law is written there ( Heb_8:10 ); so he can say "to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (8:6). But he does not leave any to think subjective "feelings" are our standard. We are "in the spirit" only if our spirit is led by the Spirit of God (8:14). We cannot discuss at length the Spirit's "indwelling", but this text makes it clear Christ must also be in us. Other scriptures speak of God, the word, and faith indwelling saints, to the extent they accept divine truth and allow it to influence their lives (see Eph_4:17 f). Here, Paul is urging the saints to allow their instructed spirits to prevail over their flesh..'
We need to keep in mind that Paul is still presenting arguments against those that claimed the gospel that he preached encouraged immoral living. Verse 12 in this chapter is a summary of his argument up to that point and it clearly shows that he is dealing with the issue of Christian responsibility.
Romans CHAPTER 8:19-39
"But the glory to come far outweighs the affliction of the present. The affliction is light and temporary when compared with the all-surpassing and everlasting glory. So Paul, writing against a background of recent and (even for him) unparalleled tribulation, had assured his friends in Corinth a year or two previously that 'our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' ( 2Co_4:17 )."
"The verses (8:19 and following) are closely connected with verse 18, and evidently were written to encourage the Christian to endure the suffering for the sake of the glory that shall be revealed to usward."
"One can write across humanity: FALLEN SHORT. Mankind has failed. They aren't inherently evil, but people end up doing evil. The body which is vulnerable to pain and (overdoses of) pleasure seems to be a poor partner for the ..spirit. The good news is that the body which has suffered through the fall is to be redeemed. It will become a fitted vehicle for service to God. Pain and pressure, suffering and lusts are a source of temptation to the believer. And if indeed saints are joint heirs with Christ, what about all this pain and inner pressure? The person has been redeemed from the penalty of sin, but will the person ever be redeemed from the vulnerability he has to pain and pressure? When will redemption come?"
II. OUTLINE OF CHAPTER 8:19-39:
A. The Hope of Glory: 8:18-25
B. The Divine Help and Purpose: 8:26-30
C. The Assurance of Salvation: 8:31-39
Rom_8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
'Now" -what good news! I can be right with God 'now'!
'Condemnation' -2631. katakrima kat-ak'-ree-mah; from 2632; an adverse sentence (the verdict): -condemnation. Sentence of condemnation (Vincent p. 85)
-KATAKRINO (verb)-signifies to give judgement against, pass sentence upon; hence, to condemn ( Rom_8:3 ). KATAKRIMA (noun), is the sentence pronounced, the condemnation with a suggestion of the punishment following ( Rom_5:16 ; Rom_5:18 ; Rom_8:1 )
Outside of Christ, both Jew and Gentile found themselves under 'condemnation' ( Rom_3:9 ; Rom_3:23 ).
'them..in Christ Jesus' -'And who is this blessed immunity for? To people "in Christ Jesus". And how does one get "into Christ Jesus"? ( Rom_6:1-7 ; Gal_3:26-27 ), i.e. faith and baptism.
Here is one more passage that stresses the fact that only 'in Christ' is salvation found. ( Joh_14:6 ; Act_4:12 ; Eph_1:3 ) There is condemnation in all other religions!
'As to whether he (the person 'in Christ Jesus') may or may not come into condemnation is not the matter under discussion..the fact that the person who has come into Christ is free from his former condemnation' .
If such a person lives for God (8:6 'mind set on the Spirit is life and peace') he will escape future condemnation, but if a Christian obeys the lusts of the flesh (and refuses to repent), he will find himself under condemnation again (8:13 'for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die..'; Heb_10:26 ff)
Rom_8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.
"For" -Why are those "in Christ Jesus" no longer under condemnation?
"law of the Spirit of life" -this must be the Gospel message (1:16). "It would be absurd to think that Paul started in to prove that the gospel is God's power for saving people, and then reached the conclusion that some other law saves us, or frees us, from sin and spiritual death."
The Gospel Message is the 'law, rule, principle or authority' revealed through the Holy Spirit ( Eph_3:3-5 ), which brings "life" to those that obey it.
'Why does he bring the Holy Spirit in at this juncture? ..he wishes to introduce the Spirit at this point .. to connect it with the coming redemption of our bodies (8:23) and to mention that he is on our side in the struggle against sin ..'
"law of sin and death" -this isn't the Law of Moses, for that was 'good' (7:12,14,22). Neither can this be 'universal moral law', for such 'morals' were incorporated into the Law of Moses and the Gospel. ( 1Co_6:9-11 ) In addition, Paul had already spent almost half a chapter exonerating the law from any blame.
-'from the rule of sin that kills' (Beck); 'of the old vicious circle of sin and death' (Phi). The gospel message has liberated us from the bondage of sin that brings spiritual death. (6:6 'no longer slaves to sin'; 6:14 'for sin shall not be master over you'; 6:16 'sin resulting in death'; 6:17-18 'you were the slaves of sin..and having been freed from sin')
Rom_8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
"the law could not do" -The moral law of God whether expressed in the Mosaic scriptures or as it was taught among the Gentiles. Neither 'law' could release one from sin (3:9,23). Neither law could bring people to a state of 'no condemnation'.
"weak through the flesh" -'thwarted as it was by human frailty' (Wey). Nothing was wrong with the Law that God gave (7:12). " It was only "weak" in relation to the flesh. The holy law depended on unaided human moral performance to get what it aimed at (flawless obedience). It failed to get it. Not because it was bad or poor in itself, but because the people who were under that Law failed to live up to it."
The Hebrew writer says that the "fault" that God found in the First Covenant, was with the people under it. ( Heb_8:7-8 )
"God, sending his own Son" -What the Law couldn't do, GOD DID! And God did it by giving his only Son! So much for those that complain that God hasn't done anything for them!
"likeness" -3667. homoioma hom-oy'-o-mah; from 3666; a form; abstractly, resemblance: -made like to, likeness, shape, similitude. The Son of God entered this world in a body like ours. ( Joh_1:14 ; Heb_2:14 ; Heb_2:17 ; Php_2:7-8 )
"sinful flesh" -'The idea of evil attaches to the flesh not in virtue of what it is essentially, but from the undue preponderance which is given to it.."Flesh" is spoken of as "sinful" because of the universal "giving in of the flesh" to sin, which is characteristic of mankind. It is the same adaptation of terms that allows "worldly" to mean sinful..not that God's creation is sinful of itself..Flesh, per se, is not sinful.' (1) Adam had a flesh and blood body before He sinned ( Gen_2:7 ; Gen_1:28-29 ; Gen_2:9 ; Gen_3:6 ). (2) Jesus partook of a flesh and blood body, and yet didn't sin ( Heb_2:14 ; Heb_2:17 ; 1Pe_2:22-24 )
'When Adam and Eve were first created, they had all that belongs to human nature. Sin came into their lives as "a foreign element".'
'Sinful flesh' is human nature prostituted. It is people using their bodies and faculties for wicked purposes.'
"For sin" -i.e to deal with Sin ( Joh_1:29 ).
"condemned sin in the flesh" -'He condemned the sin of men and the condemnation took place in the flesh of Jesus' (Robertson p. 372)
'Christ's death exhibits God's condemnation of sin in the flesh'
1. Some people look at the cross and think, 'Jesus took care of everything, now I can sin all I want and still be automatically forgiven'. Paul sees a very different picture. The fact that the Son of God had to die because of the sins that people had committed, SHOULD ONCE AND FOR ALL REVEAL GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS SIN, IT IS CONDEMNED!
2. 'Jesus came and lived a sinless life (in the flesh) of resistance to Sin THUS condemning sin in us. We didn't need to let sin rule in us; but we did. There can be no excuses (ultimately). Into the world came one who, fighting with our weapons ( Mat_4:1-25 ), resisted sin and wouldn't permit it to rule.'
Thus the foolishness of arguing that the Christian can continue in sin. How can we honestly continue in sin, when the very Son of God that we claim to serve had to die for sins?
Rom_8:4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
"that" -in order that, with this purpose in mind. God sent His Son to die for sin, 'in order that'.
"ordinance" -1345. dikaioma dik-ah'-yo-mah; from 1344; an equitable deed; by implication, a statute or decision: -judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness.
-'righteous requirement of the law' (Rhm)
The requirement of the law was sinlessness, perfection, flawlessness. ( Gal_3:12 ) The complete fulfillment of all the statues in the law.
'Paul is making it very clear that his doctrine doesn't oppose a life of holiness and logically lead to a life of sinning (6:1). Indeed not. What the Law condemned (violations of it, sin) was condemned in Christ (8:3). What the Law wanted (innocence, absence of guilt due to flawlessness) was secured in Christ The Law sought for God, acceptable service. It couldn't get it from sinners for it demanded sinlessness. But in Christ, not only was a sinless record gained for the believer (8:1) (through obedient faith and forgiveness) but a life of practical holiness..'
"who walk not after the flesh" -to walk is to live or conduct oneself in a certain way. 'Manner of life'.
"after the flesh" -'To live in or after the flesh is to live as though there were nothing but the flesh.' It is to allow our physical body to be used as the instrument of sin (6:13,16); it is to allow our desires to be corrupted ( Gal_5:16 ); it is to place too much importance upon the 'world' ( 1Jn_2:15 ); to set our minds on earthly things ( Col_3:2 ); to make the things of the material world our highest ambition ( Php_3:19 ; Mat_6:19 ; Mat_6:32 ). It is to depend utterly upon oneself.
"but after the Spirit" -remember, it was the translators who decided when to capitalize the word 'Spirit'. The Christian is to follow ('walk') after the instructions of the Spirit revealed in the Gospel ( 1Co_2:13 ; 1Co_14:37 ); but the Christian's own 'spirit' (inner man) must cooperate (7:22; Col_3:1-2 ).
Note: The righteous requirement of the Law is ONLY fulfilled in Christians who 'walk after the Spirit'. It is only in this condition that the blood of Christ forgives sin and thus enables you to remain in a state of 'no condemnation'. Paul offers no comfort for the unfaithful (those who persist in sin and refuse to repent ( Heb_10:26 ff) in these verses. (8:8,9,13). **Paul is talking to Christians in these verses, Christians that could 'walk after the flesh', if they wanted to.
Rom_8:5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
"Mind" -to give our time and attention to. (Whiteside p. 171) 'People who are controlled by the physical think of what is physical' (Gspd) To think, to put the mind on (Robertson p. 373) Their moral interest, their thought and study (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 646) To direct the mind to something, and so to seek or strive for ( Mat_16:23 ; Php_3:19 ; Col_3:2 ). (Vincent p. 90)
"the things of the flesh" -such things as listed in Gal_5:19-21 and Mat_6:32 .
Note: Some argue that sin is permissible, 'just so long as your heart is right'. Paul disagrees. One ends up committing sin for the very reason that their 'heart/mind' is not in the right place. Jesus agreed. ( Mar_7:20-23 ) James pointed out that one sins, gives into temptation, when they allow themselves to be "carried away" (something that happens in the heart) by their own lusts. ( Jam_1:14 )
"after the Spirit" -i.e. who walk after the Spirit. The desire to serve God..of course this desire is futile apart from the directions of the Holy Spirit. (8:14-16)
"the things of the Spirit" -'they who live after the spirit, give their attention to spiritual things' (Mon). Those things that please God. For starters, such things as are found in Gal_5:22-23 and 2Pe_1:5-11 .
This verse reveals that people accomplish 'spiritual things' because that is where their 'attention, focus, interest, heart and mind' is! The person that argues, 'Well I really wanted to be at services, I was planning on coming.. but somehow the day got away from me or somehow I didn't make it', isn't telling the truth.
Rom_8:6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
"Mind of the flesh" -'to set the mind on the flesh' (Nor). Fleshy thinking and striving (Vincent p. 90) The person who loves the things of this material world, more than God. ( 1Jn_2:15 ; 2Ti_3:4 )
"is death" -spiritual death (for even faithful Christians experience physical death). So much for envying our non-Christian neighbors that 'get' to spend their Sunday's boating on the river, sleeping in, fishing, etc...it may look like they are "livin", but God says they are "dead men".
Remember the "mind of the flesh" includes more than the 'gutter life'. It includes good moral neighbors that refuse to serve God and it also includes self-righteousness and religious hypocrisy. ( Mat_6:1-4 ).
"mind of the Spirit" -"spiritually minded" (KJV); 'whereas to set the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace' (Nor). Those who allow themselves to bring their thinking into line with God's thinking. ( 2Co_10:5 ; Php_2:5 ; Php_3:15 ; Php_4:8 ).
Rom_8:7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
"because" -the reason why 'setting the mind on the flesh results in death'.
"enmity" -2189. echthra ekh'-thrah; feminine of 2190; hostility; by implication, a reason for opposition: -enmity, hatred. 'because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God' (NASV); 'This is because the fleshy mind hates God' (Beck) ** Col_1:21 'formerly alienated and hostile in mind'.
-Personal animosity, hatred, dislike, and opposition directed against God. (Lenski p. 506)
"This verses makes it very clear that all who minimize sin are doing God no favor. They are doing no one any favor. Sin sought annihilation of God. God came into our world and showed himself plainly in Christ and Sin sought his utter destruction. Sin, manifesting itself in decadence and religious corruption; sin manifesting itself in love of money (Judas), self-preservation at any cost (the council of Joh_11:47-53 ), lust after political success (Pilate)..sin sought to annihilate God!"
"for it is not subject to the law of God" -'for it does not subject itself to the law of God' (NASV); 'for it refuses to obey God's law' (Gspd). Present tense here means continued insubordination. (Robertson p. 373)
Note: This verse infers that the 'mind of the spirit', to be spiritually-minded is to subject oneself to the law of God. ( 1Jn_2:4-5 )
"neither indeed can it be" -'It does not mean that a person who lives a worldly life cannot turn from it and himself become subject to the law of God; but it does mean that a person cannot live for the things of this life and at the same time be subject to God.' ( Mat_6:24 ; Jam_4:4 )
Minding the flesh and serving God are two things that cannot be made to harmonize! So much for those that claim 'Christianity has nothing to do with my personal life'. Many people fool themselves into thinking that they can serve God acceptably and yet hold on to a mental perspective that is filled with immoral and godless thoughts. Paul says, 'as long as a person allows their heart/love/mind/affections to be centered on the things of this physical world, there is no way that such an individual is going to subject themselves to the law of God. Therefore, how ridiculous to say that my gospel teaches that Christians can continue in sin!
Rom_8:8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom_8:9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
"But" -'You can please God, for you are not in the flesh'. Note: 'In the flesh', means something different than being subject to temptation or having the tendency to sin, for Christians still experience that. ( 1Co_10:23 ; 1Jn_1:8-10 ) 'In the flesh' is the 'mind set on the flesh', i.e. serving the flesh, letting the flesh be your master.
"but in the Spirit" -a mind set on spiritual things, the things revealed by the Holy Spirit.
"if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you"
"Dwelleth" -this verse brings up the topic of the 'indwelling of the Spirit'. Specifically 'how' does the Spirit dwell in one? Many advocate a 'personal indwelling'. And yet, we need to recognize that all of Deity is said to 'dwell' in the Christian (8:10 'if Christ is in you'; Joh_14:23 . Commenting on Joh_14:23 , Robert Turner says, 'Does this necessitate the conclusion that after we have loved the Lord, and kept His words, then, as a third happening, the indwelling takes place? Could not the love, the obedience, and the indwelling be inseparable?', i.e. doesn't God 'dwell' in the faithful when His word is influencing the way they live? Compare Eph_5:18 'filled with the Spirit'; and Col_3:16 'Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you'.
"but if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ" -this verse confirms to me that the "in-dwelling" in the context is to be understood as the person who is allowing themselves to be influenced and regulated by the message from God. For the man that hath the 'Spirit of Christ' in the context is the man who is minding the things of the Spirit, who has his mind set on spiritual things. The man whose God's word has a place in ( Joh_8:37 ) But if the 'in-dwelling' is personal, something apart from the Word of God, then some serious questions arise:
"When we conceive of the Spirit "directing, leading or influencing" apart from the word , sinner or saint, there is more at stake than differing opinions of "good men". Does the Holy Spirit direct regardless of the human will? i.e., is man left free to accept or reject that "direction"? Is the "influence" irresistible, or can man say "No"! to the Spirit? If the leading is irresistible then free agency has been shot down. If the alien can resist, because of the 'old man' "in" him, but the saint cannot resist the indwelling Holy Spirit...then the spirit of Satan is stronger than the Spirit of God. How strongly do we believe in free will or free agency? But that isn't all. If we hold to the free will of man then the "leading" of the Spirit must come in some way EXTERNAL to the mind of man. Man must be able to approach the "lead" objectively, understand it, and respond positively or negatively. That "leading" or "influence" then becomes a form of teaching--in essence, revelation of divine will in addition to the written word. Certainly we should not allow indwelling concepts to contradict clearly taught Bible truth.' (Plain Talk, Robert Turner)
This all brings us back to the written word of God, the all-sufficient revelation that God has given ( 2Ti_3:16-17 ; 2Pe_1:3 ; Jud_1:3 ). Deity is said to 'dwell' in me when I am allowing the message from God to rule my life.
Rom_8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
"the body is dead because of sin" -'THOUGH the body is dead' (NASV); 'although your bodies must die because of sin' (Wms). 'The body, it cannot be denied, is dead because of sin: the experience we call death is inevitable for it' (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 646) 'Has the seeds of death in it and will die' because of sin. (Robertson p. 373)
'The usual understanding of the phrase is that it is condemned to die (as a consequence of sin entering the world- Gen_3:1-24 ). It already has the 'seeds of death' in it so Paul calls it dead.'
But Paul may have something else under consideration. The body which was used as an instrument for sin (6:16), has been put to death (put out of commission) 'because of sin' (in order to stop it), by those who belong to Christ. ( Gal_5:24 )
"but the spirit is life because of righteousness"- it seems that 'spirit' here means the 'human spirit'. 'Your spirit is full of life' (Mon), because you have been made righteous.
Paul's point here could be the same as in 2Co_4:16 . Even though the physical body will die (as a consequence of sin), the souls of those 'in Christ' are flourishing and enjoying spiritual life.
Rom_8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
"shall give life also to your mortal bodies" -there is some discussion here concerning what 'resurrection' is under consideration.
Whiteside argues: 'But does our resurrection from the dead depend upon the Spirit's dwelling in us? Do not the Scriptures plainly teach that the wicked, as well as the righteous, will be raised? ( Joh_5:28-29 ; Act_24:15 )..He had just stated that the body was dead because of sin--no longer an instrument of sin. But it is to remain altogether inactive? It is not to be brought into any kind of activity in the life of the Christian?'
Both resurrections are found in this section (8:23; 6:6,12-13).
Rom_8:12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
"So then" -a summation, and an answer to those that would claim that Paul's gospel led to immoral living.
"debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh" -'we owe nothing to' (TCNT); 'we owe a duty--but it is not to the flesh!' (Mof). Paul's gospel taught a moral obligation, BUT IT WASN'T TO THE FLESH! ( 1Pe_4:3 )
Paul isn't teaching that Christian's couldn't sin (they could-8:13), rather, that Christians have NO MORAL RIGHT NOR OBLIGATION TO SIN. So much for those that claim, 'I know it's wrong, but I just needed to do something for myself, I just needed to let off some steam.'
Rom_8:13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
"ye must die" -i.e. spiritually. Paul is talking to Christians. 'Are Christians capable of dying spiritually? Of course! If anyone sows to the flesh ( Gal_6:8 ) he reaps corruption. Some would go back to depend on their moral capital ( Gal_3:3 )--that means death. Some would go back to live sinfully ( 2Ti_4:10 ; 2Pe_2:20-22 )..that means death. The death here cannot be physical since however a person lives he will die physically.' The same truth was taught in the O.T. ( Eze_18:24 )
Therefore the "indwelling of the Spirit" in Rom_8:1-39 isn't some kind of "enabling power" that keeps the Christian away from sin or removes all desire to sin. It's not a "leading" of the Spirit that violates or OVER-RULES free-will.
"by the Spirit" -it is the teaching delivered by the Spirit that reveals what 'deeds of the body' we must remove. ( Col_3:5 ff; Eph_4:25-32 ; Eph_5:1-11 )
"put to death" -present active, 'to continue to put to death'. 'The Spirit doesn't do the killing for the saint as a sort of substitutionary work. Sanctification involves the sinner .'
( 1Pe_1:14-16 )
"ye shall live" -can the Christian treat sin in a casual manner? Certainly not! Spiritual life is conditional.
Rom_8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
"led" -and how does the 'Spirit of God' lead or guide? Through the word of God, of course.
'We can recognize no activity as pleasing or displeasing to God except by the Spirit's teaching. We can have no sure knowledge of the way in which we ought to go unless there is a foundation of special revelation.'
"these are sons of God" -here is the test, who are the 'sons of God'? Only those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit's teaching. Period. Jesus agreed ( Mat_12:48-50 ; Mat_7:21-23 ) Jesus said that 'sonship' is determined by 'who' a person is allowing to influence their life. ( Joh_8:37-44 'You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father..')
'Show me one who lives in sin and I will show you one who is not guided by the Spirit. Show me one who is not guided by the Spirit and I will show you one who is not a son of God.' THIS HOLY SPIRIT LEADS NO ONE INTO A LIFE OF SIN THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND.'
Rom_8:15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
"spirit of bondage" - the Holy Spirit didn't bring a message that simply swapped one form of fear-bringing slavery for another. (Something to seriously consider for those that are always worrying about their salvation) Being led by the Spirit shouldn't produce in the son of God an attitude or disposition of slavish fear. Instead, being a son of God should have led us into an attitude of confidence to approach God and call Him our Father.
"We cry" -of a loud cry; expressing deep emotion (Vincent p. 91)
"Abba" -is the Aramaic word for father. We can approach the Father with the same confidence that Jesus did ( Mar_14:36 ). The familiar term by which Hebrew children addressed their fathers.
'The term "adoption" may smack somewhat of artificiality in our ears; but in the first century A.D. an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no whit inferior in status to a son born in the ordinary course of nature.'
The above verse reminds us that Christians, sons of God are to serve their Father from a heart, that includes more than 'fear' . ( Mat_22:37 )
Rom_8:16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
'And how does the Spirit witness "with" our spirit. The word of the Spirit is what gives us our assurance that we are God's children. I know in my soul in the light of what the Spirit has written and had preached that I have submitted to the Christ ON HIS TERMS .' ( Mar_16:16 ; Act_2:38 ) And right now my life is manifesting the fruit of the Spirit ( Gal_5:22-23 ).
"I hear an endless stream of testimony on the matter of experiences which prove this or that or the other thing. There are many who plainly set aside the word of the Spirit (which we know is the product of the Spirit) to base assurance on some experience or other (which we don't know is of the Spirit). There is far too much talk about personal experiences...and not enough talk about the personal experience of our Lord Jesus Christ...IF WE BELIEVED THE SPIRIT DID ALL THAT WE ARE TOLD HE DID; AND IF WE BELIEVE ALL THE MESSAGES THE SPIRIT IS SAID TO HAVE GIVEN WE'D LIVE IN UTTER CONFUSION...The Spirit has borne testimony in the Bible, let's major in that. Let's interpret our experiences by the Bible, and not the Bible by our experiences.'
Rom_8:17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.
"if children" -and being a 'child', demands that we pattern ourselves after the Father. ( Mat_5:48 ) 'If indeed we are of God's family, what sort of conduct, then, is becoming to us?' ( 1Ti_3:15 )
"then heirs" -'heirs earn nothing! The question of merit or earning is out of the question. Heirs are given things'
This is simply the universal rule of mankind, if your a child, then your an heir. 'Roman law made all children, including adopted ones, equal heritors' (Vincent p. 92)
"Joint-heirs with Christ" -Christ considers us as brothers. ( Heb_2:11 '..He is not ashamed to call them brethren')
"if so be" -salvation is conditional.
"that we suffer with him" -'suffering' for right is simply the natural outcome of such identification with Christ. ( 2Ti_3:12 ). Being apart of God's family, means STANDING FOR WHAT THE FAMILY, THE OLDER BROTHER AND THE FATHER STAND FOR! ( 1Pe_2:21 ; 1Pe_4:12 ff; 1Pe_5:8 ff)
"glorified with him" -at the last day, and God accomplishes that. ( Rev_3:21 )
Rom_8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.
"I reckon" -'I consider' (RSV); 'It implies reasoning, "I judge after calculation made".' (Vincent p. 92). I am convinced. 'Denotes no doubt, but confident assurance'. (Erdman p. 99)
Here is where many fail. It's not because their own sufferings are worse or more difficult than others ( 1Co_10:23 ), but it is because they are NOT convinced that heaven is far more than worth the suffering of the present time. They don't need an easier life, rather they need greater faith.
"sufferings of this present time" -in the context the suffering that comes upon one because of his loyalty to Christ. ( Act_14:22 )
"not worthy to be compared" -Paul dismisses the suffering of the present time because he has his eye on incomparable glory. He isn't saying that suffering isn't real (The Christian Science view that suffering is illusory, is just plain ungodly, for that means that Jesus' suffering on the cross was only an illusion.) Neither is he saying that suffering is 'no big deal'.
"with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward" -such future glory is 'certain' for the faithful. ( Mat_5:12 '..for your reward in heaven is great'; 1Pe_1:4 ; 2Co_4:17 'glory far beyond all comparison')
Rom_8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.
"earnest expectation" -'anxious longing' (NASV). This phrase is made up of three Greek words, and speaks of one waiting with the head raised looking at the horizon from which the expected thing will come. (McGuiggan p. 255).
-Watching with head stretched away from the body like one leading far out to get the first glimpse of something coming into sight.
-Denotes absorbed, persistent expectation (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 649). A waiting in suspense (Vincent p. 92) ' The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own .' (Phillips)
"Waiteth" -to wait it out (Thayer), i.e. to keep waiting until the expected actually appears. The words are strong, indeed: the head stretched forward in intense watching, waiting and never tiring or desisting until the thing waited for appears. (Lenski p. 532)
"creation" -2937. ktisis ktis'-is; from 2936; original formation (properly, the act; by implication, the thing, literally or figuratively): -building, creation, creature, ordinance.
The main question among commentators is what is the "creation" that Paul has in mind. Various views:
1. The 'New Creation', i.e. the Church:
The same word is used in describing the Christian as 'a new creature' ( 2Co_5:17 ; Gal_6:15 ). And yet the "creature/creation" in Rom_8:19-23 , is distinguished from the children of God. (8:19,21,23)
2. The rest of humanity:
The same word is also used of 'every creature', i.e. every person ( Mar_16:15 ; Col_1:23 ; Heb_4:13 ). Zerr has an interesting comment in his commentary, "Every man (though some unconsciously) wants something better than he is enjoying in his frail, decaying body. Paul calls the state that is thus yearned for the manifestation of the sons of God." (p. 362) And yet, McGuiggan argues, "It cannot be the unforgiven for they will not be revealed in glory nor were they subjected to bondage by another's will (8:20). And neither can they be said to be eagerly waiting for the coming day." (p. 255) Yet, I believe what Zerr says is true. I believe that everyone 'longs' for what Heaven will provide ( Rev_21:4 ). The problem is, they seek to find "heaven" now, they refuse to trust God, and they turn to sinful pleasures that provide them a temporary "escape" from this world.
3. The 'creation' is the creation (excluding man):
This is a common view held by many commentators. The usual explanation is, 'The earth that was put under a curse ( Gen_3:17 ff; Gen_5:29 ) because of man's sin (8:20) will be liberated at the time when God's sons will be liberated in a glorious fashion. Our bodies and the earth have close ties. Glory will be given to both. Physical death and suffering entered into man's existence; thorns and thistles (some would add storms, earthquakes and natural disasters) became the lot of the innocent earth.'
Some would say, 'How can it be said that the physical creation "groans"?' (8:22) Some point out that often in the O.T., God has the physical creation sympathizing with man. ( Psa_98:8 ; Isa_55:12 ; Eze_31:15 ; Isa_24:5-7 ). The physical creation has often paid a price for man's sin. ( Gen_7:23 )
If this view is correct, then Paul is here saying, 'You and the creation are looking for the same thing', i.e. release from this physical existence. Some commentators make the mistake of thinking that these verses are teaching that the physical universe will simply be "renewed" or "renovated". But such is not the case ( 2Pe_3:10-13 ; Rev_20:11 ; Rev_21:1 ) At the resurrection the Christian will be released from his physical body and fitted with a new spiritual body ( 1Co_15:42-44 ), and the 'creation' will be released from it's physical existence.
"the revealing of the sons of God" -'when the (glory of) the sons of God shall be revealed.' (Con) When the children of God, when all the redeemed of the ages, having been resurrected, are revealed in their final glory. ( 1Jn_3:2 ; Rom_8:17 'gloried with Him')
How the creation came to this waiting state:
Rom_8:20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope
"For" -here is how the "creation" came to such an 'expectant state'.
"Subjected to vanity" -'subjected to futility' (NASV)
-3153. mataiotes mat-ah-yot'-ace; from 3152; inutility; figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity: -vanity.
-'decay' (Con); 'Imperfection' (TCNT). In the sense of failure to reach the proper end, to accomplish the intended purpose. The creation was subject to man before the fall ( Gen_1:26-28 ), but not subject to "vainness". It was subject to man for true effectiveness, to accomplish the purpose for which God had created it.
'The idea is that of looking for what one does not find--hence of futility, frustration, disappointment..Sin brought this doom on creation; it make a pessimistic view of the universe inevitable .' (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 649)
"not of its own will" -suggests non-responsibility for the bondage. 'And this it did not do of its own accord, but because the will of God ordered that it should be thus altered ( Gen_3:17-18 )' (McGarvey p. 363) The idea could either be 'not for some deliberate fault of its own' (Knox), or, 'not willingly'.
"but by reason of Him who subjected it" -i.e. God
"in hope" -'God never intended the creation to be permanently in a "cursed" state. (8:21)' (McGuiggan p. 257)
Rom_8:21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
"that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption" -i.e. here is the "hope" mentioned in the previous verse.
"also" -seems to indicate that the "creation" in these verses is to be viewed as distinct from the "children of God".
"bondage of corruption" -5356. phthora fthor-ah'; from 5351; decay, i.e. ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literally or figuratively): -corruption, destroy, perish. 'bondage of decay' (Gspd); 'shackles of mortality' (NEB).
'A system in which nothing continues in one stay, in which death claims everything..from such a condition creation is to be emancipated..'
"liberty of the glory" -liberty is one of the elements of the glorious state. (Vincent p. 94) 'Liberty is described as consisting in, belonging to, being one component part of, the glorified state of the children of God: thus the thought is carried up to the state to which the freedom belongs.' (Alford p. 911)
'It (the creation) shared the corruption and morality of man's sin, and will share his deliverance from it.'
Rom_8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
"We know" -everything which we see, every creature which lives, is thus subjected to a state of servitude, pain, vanity, and death. (Barnes p. 192) 'It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail.' (Phi)
'He reminds Christians that sufferings, death, and decay are not peculiar to Christians, but are the common lot of all'.
"groaneth" -4959. sustenazo soos-ten-ad'-zo; from 4862 and 4727; to moan jointly, i.e. (figuratively) experience a common calamity: -groan together. 'All is united in a condition of sorrow..mutual and universal grief' (Barnes p. 192)
"travaileth" -4944. sunodino soon-o-dee'-no; from 4862 and 5605; to have (parturition) pangs in company (concert, simultaneously) with, i.e. (figuratively) to sympathize (in expectation of relief from suffering): -travail in pain together.
Rom_8:23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
"And not only so" -'Not only this' (NASV)
"But ourselves also" -i.e. us Christians
"Who have the first-fruits of the Spirit" -Used figuratively, "the first fruits" signify the assurance of much more to follow, namely the revelation of the glory or the liberty of the glory. (Lenski p. 541) N.T. Christians received 'miraculous gifts of the Spirit' ( 1Co_12:1-31 ; 1Co_13:1-13 ; 1Co_14:1-40 ), and even we today who follow the Spirit's teaching produce the 'fruit of the Spirit' ( Gal_5:22-23 ), but even greater blessings are to come, i.e. the resurrection and transformation of our physical bodies. See also: ( Eph_1:13-14 ; 2Co_1:22 )
"Even we ourselves groan" -we understand this "groaning" experience. We too long for liberation from this physical existence. (2 Corinthans 5:4)
"within ourselves" - 2Co_5:4 'while we are in this tent (body), we groan'.
"waiting" -again, "waiting" means "eagerly expecting". All Christians who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit (8:6,14) are 'on tiptoe' and are eagerly expecting their full adoption, i.e. the complete redemption of body and soul.
"redemption of our body" -( Php_3:21 ). 'When the body, too, is raised from the dead, and joined in glory with the soul, then all that adoption includes will be fully in our possession, and there will be nothing beyond that is still to be added.'
Hence the Christian doesn't despair with the prospect of growing old, or in the face of a disease that the body can't fight off. Our salvation, involves the 'saving' of the body.
Rom_8:24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?
"In hope were we saved" -'We were saved with this hope ahead' (Mof). 'In hope of such glorious deliverance' (Whiteside p. 184) We were saved 'by' an obedient faith in Jesus Christ (1:16). 'It is their climate or environment. It doesn't matter that all of their blessings are not at this time visible. That adds some zest to life; to know that there is much that is ahead that is beautiful and beyond description .'
'This sentence explains why Paul can speak of Christians as "waiting for adoption", while they are nevertheless in the enjoyment of sonship. It is because salvation is essentially related to the future..our salvation was qualified from the beginning by reference to a good yet to be..'
Hence the Christian life is one that is lived in the 'element or sphere' of hope ( 2Co_5:7 ; Heb_11:1 ; Heb_6:19 ). Therefore, if I lose my faith in the future, if I can't bring myself to believe in the future promises of God, I have lost hope and in doing so, I have lost everything.
Rom_8:25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
"With patience" -'we steadfastly endure the present, and long earnestly for the future'. (Con) Brave perseverance, is again the proper word in view of our own groaning amid the present painful conditions, "a brave, quiet remaining under". (Lenski p. 544)
'As our perfect blessedness is future, we cannot expect to enjoy it now.' (Erdman p. 100)
But how many Christians end up demanding that God fulfill their desires 'right now'. How many act like the Prodigal Son, in demanding their inheritance "now", in this life? The very existence of the word "patience" in connection with being a Christian, should tell us, we are going to have to learn to wait for a number of things, things that we desperately long for. Lack of patience, the inability to "wait it out", will be the undoing of many. People who couldn't wait for God to 'redeem their body', people that couldn't wait for God to deliver them from this physical existence and it's groaning, but people who sought to find deliverance from the aches and pains of this life in the pleasures or escapes that sin provides. Many need to learn to "wait" and trust God for deliverance. ( Heb_6:11-12 ; Heb_10:36 'For you have need of endurance..')
Rom_8:26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;
"In like manner" -'in the same way' (NASV). In the same way that patience helps us through the times of our suffering, we are told that the Spirit also helps us. Or, seeing that the Spirit assists us in other areas (8:14-16), He also helps us in our infirmities.
"Helpeth" -4878. sunantilambanomai soon-an-tee-lam-ban'-om-ahee; from 4862 and 482; to take hold of opposite together, i.e. co-operate (assist): -help. 'To lend a hand' ( Luk_10:40 same word). 'To lend a hand together with, at the same time with one'. (Robertson p. 376)
"Infirmity" -769. astheneia as-then'-i-ah; from 772; feebleness (of mind or body); by implication, malady; morally, frailty: -disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness. 'Helps us in our present limitations' (Phi)
A specific 'weakness' in the context is a "weakness" in the area of our prayers.
"we know not how to pray as we ought" -'a comforting verse for it let's us know that it is possible to be pleasing to the Lord even if the prayer life isn't perfected. (Need I say we would all want a more radiant and vibrant prayer-life?)'
Jesus did teach us 'how' to pray ( Mat_6:9-15 ; Luke 11:1-2-4 ). And Paul isn't saying that we never know 'what to ask for'. ( Jam_4:3 ; 1Jn_5:14 ). This verse is encouragement during those times when the 'sufferings of this present time' (8:18), leave the Christian frustrated in prayer, frustrated that they are unable to put into words their 'hearts desire'.
"Maketh intercession" -5241. huperentugchano hoop-er-en-toong-khan'-o; from 5228 and 1793; to intercede in behalf of: -make intercession for
Jesus spoke of the Spirit as another 'Helper' (Greek Paracletos, one called alongside to help; or Intercessor). ( Joh_14:16 )
"with groanings which cannot be uttered" -'with groanings too deep for words' (NASV); 'groans for deliverance which words cannot utter'. (Con) This may mean either unutterable or unuttered. (Vincent p. 95)
POINTS TO NOTE:
1. Paul isn't saying that the Spirit does our praying for us. For praying persistently is the obligation of man. ( 1Th_5:17 )
2. I don't think that the "groanings too deep for words", are the Holy Spirit's, but rather our "groanings" (8:23). These are the "groanings" found in the soul ('mind of the spirit') of the Christian who is attempting to follow the guidance of the Spirit (8:27).
3. Neither do I think that Paul is saying that the 'Spirit groans within us', or that the 'Spirit' causes us to groan in some mysterious way.
Rom_8:27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
"he" -this is either the Father or the Holy Spirit. Paul is saying, 'The Father that searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit makes intercession', or 'The Holy Spirit searches the hearts (The Father uses Him to search hearts- 1Co_2:10 ) and knows what is the mind of the human spirit (the source of the Christian's innermost "groanings"), because the Holy Spirit makes intercession..
"searcheth the hearts" -this strikes fear into the ungodly or hypocritical, but gives comfort to the sincere. ( Mat_6:4 ; 1Ch_28:9 ; Psa_7:9 ; Pro_17:3 ; Jer_11:20 ; Jer_17:10 ; Act_1:24 ; Heb_4:13 ; Rev_2:23 )
"knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit" -either way you take this expression (mind of the Holy Spirit or mind of the soul of man, or a disposition produced by the Spirit's teaching-i.e. such as Php_1:21 /23), the same truth emerges, God knows exactly what you are struggling with. God knows perfectly the frustrations that are inside you. So don't get discouraged if you can't put into words or enough words what is pressing down upon you, God knows! God says relax, nothing is being lost in the translation. 'Sometimes we don't know what really to want--but God understands it all'. (McGuiggan p. 260)
"according to the will of God" -God wants to know everything in our hearts. God is concerned! God doesn't feel bothered by our problems.
So far Paul has encouraged us to endure the sufferings of the present time because: (1) Heaven is worth it, by far (8:18), no comparison. (2) The Whole Creation is in sympathy with us and we are not the only ones suffering. Everyone and everything suffers and feels the effects of living in a world cursed by sin (8:19-22). (3) Redemption of the physical body is coming, just hang on! (8:23-25). (4) While in the body, the Spirit ensures that God gets every bit of the desire in the heart of the Christian, even if it's unexpressed or poorly expressed. (8:26-27)
Rom_8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.
"We know" -in a sense this is one ground more for believing in the glorious future. (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 651-652) 'This is the knowledge of settled conviction. This is the knowledge which comes as a result of having all the facts in and having drawn a conclusion in line with those facts' (McGuiggan p. 260)
"to them that love God" -i.e. the obedient ( Joh_14:15 ; 1Jn_2:5 ; 1Jn_5:3 ; 2Jn_1:6 ).
"all things work together for good"
1. 'Somebody said that doubt of the future really means doubt of the present. If God is God and can handle things today, he can handle them tomorrow. There is room for doubt only when I take my eyes off the record of God.' ( Heb_13:5 ; 2Pe_2:9 )
2. The assurance of this verse is for those WHO CONTINUE TO LOVE GOD. 'These things being true there is no thing that doesn't work for good. Not poverty, pain, illness, sin nor anything else. Paul's messenger of Satan served God's purpose in driving Paul to greater dependence on God (because Paul let it). Peter's ungodly denial of his Master prodded him on in his loving of his Lord. Paul's persecution of the Church, inspired him to greater commitment . 1Co_15:10 '..but I labored even more than all of them..'
3. 'Blessings?' What are these? If they turn you from God, they're curses! If your possessions (health, happiness, athletic ability, education, children, or any other lovely thing) turn you unhealthily inward, they're not blessings at all! 'Disadvantages', 'tragedies'? What are these? If the car wreck and the loss of your limb enables you to better serve God by understanding and serving mankind, you were blessed; not cursed! If your poverty increases your appreciation for the things you have, your 'disadvantage' has become your benefactor.'
All things can work together for good, to those that love God, because such people will ALLOW 'good' to surface from even the worst experiences. Suffering that hasn't been allowed to result in personal growth, greater insight, greater appreciation, or some other 'good', has been suffering in vain! Too many Christians think that God is going to bring the "good" out of hard times, without their cooperation. Such is not the case. Paul had learned the above lesson by experience ( Php_1:12 ).
"called according to His purpose" -God "calls all men" ( 2Th_2:14 ; Mar_16:15 ). This applies to those that accept such a call, i.e. those that love God.
Rom_8:29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:
"For" -connects with verse 28. Here is the ground of assurance for the statement made in the previous verse, that 'all things work together for good to those that love God'.
"Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained" -this isn't predestination in the sense of 'specific' individuals were predestined, rather God chose beforehand the place or realm of salvation ('in Christ'- Eph_1:4 'in Him') and what such people that chose to enter into this union would be called ('sons'- Eph_1:5 ); what type of service God wanted them to perform ( Eph_2:10 ); and what type of 'character' they would have, i.e. 'conformed to the image of his Son' ( Col_3:10 )
God did know ahead of time where salvation would be placed, what it's terms of admission would be, what the saved would be called, what the saved would be involved in, and what type of character the saved would demonstrate. But as to specifically who would end up saved, that was left up to free-will choice. When one becomes a Christian he or she becomes part of a 'foreknown' relationship. Therefore, in this new relationship that I have chosen, I know that everything that happens can work for my good, because what God wants from me, is conformity to the image of His Son Jesus ( Eph_4:23-24 ; Eph_4:32 ; Eph_5:1-2 ); therefore everything that happens in my life has been allowed to happen (by God) and that can be used for spiritual good. ( 1Co_10:13 )
"to be conformed" -with an inner and essential conformity (Vincent p. 96); 'Moulded into the image of his Son' (Knox). Inward and not merely superficial conformity (Robertson p. 377).
"image of his Son" -1504. eikon i-kone'; from 1503; a likeness, i.e. (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: -image.
The "class" of people predestined, were those that would choose to want to "look like God's Son", and not the world ( Rom_12:2 ). God has no place in His glorious plan for people that don't want to pattern their lives after Jesus Christ! ( 1Co_11:1 ) Right here, predestination of the Calvinistic brand is shown to be false. For according to that teaching, God predestined people for salvation, regardless of how they would live or the choices they would make.
"that he might be the firstborn" -Christ is the firstborn ( Col_1:15 ). The word 'firstborn' stresses eminence rather than 'first in time'. ( Col_1:18 )
"among many brethren" -i.e. us, Christians ( Heb_2:11 ). This phrase places Christ, among mankind. Without surrendering His essence (Godhood/Divine Nature), Christ took his place among the 'creatures' ( Php_2:5 ff), he shared with us the experience of living as a man ( Heb_4:15 ), even to the point of sharing the experience of death. ( Php_2:8 ) "He took upon himself our limitations and fought the battle against sin with the weapons we had at our disposal ( Mat_4:1-25 ) and conquered sin. He has shown himself to be worthy to be our Lord. In his 'weakness' or his strength he has shown us he is worthy. He is no spectator. Christ is firmly identified with us' (McGuiggan p. 262)
Such a person, DESERVES TO BE IMITATED! Anyone that would ask the question, 'Why do I need to follow Jesus?' Is in desperate need of teaching about Jesus!
Rom_8:30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
In this verse we see the whole scheme of redemption. God chose beforehand where salvation would be found ( Eph_1:4 ) and what "type" of person would obtain it (i.e. a good and honest heart, one who could trust God- Rom_1:17 ). God then "called". 'Paul was of the conviction that people couldn't call on Christ if they haven't believed on him and he was equally convicted that people couldn't believe on him if they didn't get to hear the Gospel.' ( Rom_10:13-14 ; Rom_10:17 ) (McGuiggan p. 264). But this "call" isn't irresistible ( Mar_16:15-16 ; Joh_5:40 ; Mat_23:37 ; Act_7:51 ). Only those that accept the gospel message end up justified (i.e. acquitted of their sins) ( Mar_16:16 ; Act_2:38 ; Act_2:41 ). And those that endure with Christ, end up gloried. ( Rom_8:17 )
In this context of suffering, Paul reveals that God is both willing and able to complete His purpose in those that will simply cooperate with Him.
Rom_8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
"What then shall we say to these things?" -'In face of all this, what is there left to say' (Phi) 'What answer can the hesitating or discouraged find to this array of the merciful acts of God's love on behalf of the believer?' (Alford p. 915) 'They certainly cannot stand and lament as though theirs is a sad lot. They must be ashamed of all doubt or complaint.' (Lenski p. 564)
"If God is for us, who is against us?" -'If such a God is so for us, what difference does it make who is listed in the ranks of the opponents? Of course, the other question is fearful too: "If God is against us, what difference does it make who is for us?" (McGuiggan p. 264) ( Psa_118:6 )
'Paul for a moment envisages the situation in terms of a court of law, where the believer stands to be judged. But who will dare to come forward as prosecutor? God Himself, the Judge of all, has pronounced his acquittal and justification; who can call His sentence in question?'
Rom_8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?
"He that spared not his own Son" -an echo of Gen_22:12 . 'God searched heaven and earth to find a way to redeem us. There was no one; there was nothing. Only His Son! And God wouldn't even spare him. Does God want me saved?'
How many don't believe that God really loves them, until God gives them 'something else' in addition to His Son? 'If God really loved me then He would give me...a baby, nice house, my health back, wealth, a mate...etc..' Do you actually need some physical or material thing to 'perfect' the gift of Christ? So the gift of Christ isn't that impressive until I get my other 'stuff' first? How many people 'hold God to ransom' for such things as these? How many say, 'God IF YOU LOVED ME YOU WOULD GIVE ME.....'. Resist that temptation! There is no 'if' when it comes to God's love for us!
"freely give us all things" - Mat_6:33
Rom_8:33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth;
"lay anything to the charge of God's elect" -if some are against us (8:31), then certainly they will make accusations against us. God's people have always had their enemies. ( 1Pe_2:12 ) But since God (the Judge) has acquitted us of our sins, 'no one can reopen the case against us, so, too, no contrary verdict need be feared.' (Erdman p. 106)
Some Christians are haunted by sins they committed in the past. But if you have obeyed God and found forgiveness, the charges have been dropped.
Rom_8:34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
"Who also maketh intercession for us" -we have an "Advocate" at God's Court ( 1Jn_2:1 ; Heb_7:25 )
1. Since Christians have a ready and willing Advocate constantly at the right hand of God. Who is always available for the repentant and humble. There is no reason that the Christian should find himself in condemnation! With such Divine Help so near, the Christian doesn't need to fear the future.
2. Having such an Advocate, the Christian that quits in frustration, complaining that it is too hard to live the Christian life, is without excuse.
Rom_8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
"from the love of Christ" -this is Christ's love for us. Can any one lead Christ to cease loving us? The items mentioned will not make Christ love us less.
"Shall tribulation..." -'The world likes to point to our afflictions as proof of the fact that Christ has ceased to love us, or that his love is imaginary'. (Lenski p. 573)
Some people point to what we were before we became Christians, and say, 'God can never love you', others point to the sins we have committed since, and say, 'Your hopeless'. But those that seek God on His terms are forgiven, regardless of what others say. Some say, if God really loved you (as you claimed) God would certainly have given you a mate, children, health, prosperity, etc..by now.
Rom_8:36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Psa_44:23 . God's people have always endured their share of suffering. Those that God clearly loved in the past, have endured the same type of things.
Rom_8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
"in all these things" -or despite of all these trials. 'Yet amidst all these things'(TCNT)
"More than conquerors" -5245. hupernikao hoop-er-nik-ah'-o; from 5228 and 3528; to vanquish beyond, i.e. gain a decisive victory: -more than conquer.
Not only do such things fail to convince us that God no longer loves us, they only make us more convinced that a better life lies beyond. (8:18)
Rom_8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
"For I am persuaded" -'I stand convinced' (Robertson p. 379) This is the key, as to why some Christians fail and others succeed. It all comes down to 'conviction, faith, trust' (1:17). The person that can't allow themselves to trust God, will fail! The good news is 'trust' is something that we have control over. We don't have control over the 'externals nor many of the circumstances', but we do have control over what we choose to believe! And 'who' we choose to trust.
Rom_8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
'Paul took one good long look at the Cross of the Master and from that time forth, he said: "I cannot be convinced that God doesn't love me!" "And there's nothing in the world or out of it that can change my mind." This man, in essence, has told us: "If I had children and they were starving to death, bellies distended, eyes sunken, too weak to cry, but able yet to beg with their eyes for food, of me their father who could provide nothing; if that were the case, I'd remain unconvinced that God didn't love me...And what is all that based on? An emotional surge? The possession of the comforts of life? Having a sound mind and enjoying a sound body? Is this the basis of his convictions? Are these the things which lead him to defy everything in heaven were it so, when these things were taken away the conviction would be gone. This conviction is based on the historical and historic work of God in Jesus Christ. LET NO MAN SAY, BECAUSE OF WAR AND FAMINE AND DISEASE I CANNOT BELIEVE IN A LOVING GOD. LET HIM LOOK BACK TO GOLGOTHA AND SEE THE DIVINE EXHIBITION WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE MIDST OF WAR AND CURSING AND WICKEDNESS. TO THE TIME AND PLACE WERE GOD SAID: I DO LOVE YOU, I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. TRUST ME!'
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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 8". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29