Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 8

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

No condemnation ; from God.

Who walk ; live habitually.

Not after the flesh ; not as corrupt nature prompts, seeking supremely earthly good and selfish gratification.

After the Spirit ; as the Holy Spirit directs, regarding principally God, Christ, heaven, and spiritual, eternal things.

Verse 2

The law of the Spirit of life ; that new direction of the soul which is given by the Holy Ghost through faith in Christ.

Made me free ; delivered me from the condemning power of the divine law, and the reigning power of sin and death. This is that deliverance for which the apostle expresses his earnest longing in chap Romans 7:24 . We are not to understand that it takes place instantly and perfectly, so that the experience described in the latter part of the seventh chapter wholly ceases, and that of the present chapter becomes absolute and uninterrupted. Rather do the two experiences run parallel with each other in a measure, yet so that the latter continually prevails more and more, as the Christian becomes more and more spiritual in his character.

Verse 3

What the law could not do ; it could not deliver those who had broken it from condemnation and ruin. It could neither lead them to obey it, nor to repent of having broken it; nor could it lessen their disposition to violate it, notwithstanding its promises and threatenings. It could make no atonement for sin, and could not save from it.

It was weak through the flesh ; through man’s depravity and transgression.

In the likeness of sinful flesh ; in human nature.

For sin ; to die on account of it, the just for the unjust.

Condemned sin in the flesh ; destroyed its power over those who trust in Christ, by showing, through his atonement, the evil nature of sin, the guilt of those who commit it, the excellence of the law which it violates, the anger of God against it; and so opening a way in which God could be just, and the justifier of all that believe in Jesus; and in addition to all this, procuring for them the grace of the Holy Spirit to help them to believe on Christ, and through their union with him, to render to the law a true spiritual obedience; thus delivering them from both the condemnation and the reigning power of sin, neither of which things the law could do.

Verse 4

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us ; that we might be brought into that state of true righteousness which the law requires. The apostle, as the context shows, has immediate reference to deliverance from the reigning power of sin in the soul, but this can never be accomplished without deliverance also from its condemning power. The proper evidence of being interested in Christ, and entitled to the blessings of his salvation, is a disposition to regard the things which the Holy Spirit has revealed, and to follow his directions.

Verse 5

After the flesh ; fleshly in their character.

Do mind the things of the flesh ; devote themselves to fleshly objects. Their outward conduct flows from their inward character, as a stream from a fountain. "The flesh" is to be taken here, as in Galatians 5:19-21 , and often elsewhere, in a wide sense. It includes all the earthly and corrupt passions, appetites, and desires which rule in the natural heart.

They that are after the Spirit ; they in whom the Holy Spirit habitually dwells, making them spiritual in their character.

Mind-the things of the Spirit ; yield themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus devote themselves supremely to the spiritual objects which he reveals.

Verse 6

To be carnally minded ; the same as to mind the things of the flesh, as verse Romans 8:5 . So, to be spiritually minded, is the same as to mind the things of the Spirit.

Is death ; spiritual death, and if continued will issue in eternal death.

Is life and peace ; spiritual life, manifesting itself in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and all those dispositions and habits which promote the glory of God and the good of men.

Verse 7

Is enmity against God ; opposed to his character and will. If it were not, it would love and obey him.

Not subject to the law of God ; it does not yield obedience, but acts in opposition to what he requires.

Neither indeed can be ; the two things are incompatible, contrary the one to the other; and the one should be renounced, that the other may be followed.

Verse 8

They that are in the flesh ; in a fleshly state; the same as "they that are after the flesh," as verse Romans 8:4 .

Cannot please God ; because a fleshly state is contrary to that spiritual state which God requires. For this reason they should no longer continue their wicked and dangerous course, but should turn from it and live. As those who seek their chief good in earthly things cannot please God, and so long as they continue this course show that they are at enmity with him, they ought without delay to renounce it, become his cordial friends, and show this by believing on his Son, and obeying his commands.

Verse 9

If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you ; the Holy Spirit, producing and leading you to manifest the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-24 .

The Spirit of Christ ; the Holy Spirit, producing in him in some measure a likeness to Christ, and leading him earnestly to desire that it may be perfected.

He is none of his ; he is not interested in the blessings of His salvation.

Verse 10

If Christ be in you ; by his Spirit, producing in you a likeness to himself.

Because of sin ; the body, whether of the believer or unbeliever, must indeed die and turn to dust, on account of sin.

But the spirit is life ; it is delivered from condemnation and is spiritually alive, having been raised with Christ, through the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Because of righteousness ; because of the conformity of heart to the character and will of God, wrought in it by the Holy Ghost through faith in Christ.

Verse 11

The Spirit ; the Holy Spirit.

Dwell in you ; producing in you the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 .

Quicken your mortal bodies ; make them alive to God’s service in the present life, so that from being "instruments of unrighteousness," they become "instruments of righteousness unto God"; and in the life to come, raise them up spiritual and immortal, to be united with the soul, that thus the whole man may be for ever with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 ; Philippians 3:20-21 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 .

Verse 12

Are debtors ; owe obligation.

Not to the flesh ; because the minding of the flesh has never conferred upon us any real good, but always injury.

Verse 13

Ye shall die ; the death not of the body merely, but of the soul-a death which shall last for ever. Body and soul shall die the second, an eternal death.

Through the Spirit ; through the influence and aid of the Holy Spirit, given to all who believe in Christ.

Mortify the deeds of the body ; resist, overcome, and cease to gratify sinful inclinations, and thus cause them to die.

Ye shall live ; a holy and blessed life-a life that shall outlive death, and be perfected in a world of life, light, and joy, where, as long as Christ lives, all who have his Spirit shall live with him, and be like him. John 6:57 ; John 14:19 ; John 17:11 ; John 17:21-22 ; John 17:24 . By believing in Christ persons may receive the Holy Spirit, under his influence become spiritually minded, overcome their propensities to evil, delight in the law of the Lord, and so act as through the grace of God to live for ever.

Verse 14

Are led by the Spirit ; follow his guidance. This includes the idea of minding the things of the Spirit, and through his help, mortifying the deeds of the body.

The sons of God ; sonship here includes two things: first, likeness to God in character; secondly, heirship to the inheritance provided by God for his children.

Verse 15

Spirit of bondage ; a servile, slavish spirit, governed by fear.

Again to fear ; that ye should be again in a state of fear, as ye were under the law.

Spirit of adoption ; the affectionate confidence of children, as contrasted with the servile fear of slaves.

We cry , Abba , Father ; Abba is the Chaldee word for father. The union of the two words gives emphasis to the endeared relation. Compare Mark 14:36 ; Galatians 4:6 .

Verse 16

The Spirit itself ; the Holy Spirit.

Beareth witness with our spirit ; by working in us the dispositions, and leading us to form the habits and cherish the hopes of the children of God; and by his influence, enabling us to discern in ourselves these scriptural evidences of being born of God.

Verse 17

If children , then-joint - heirs with Christ ; entitled to be, with Christ, partakers for ever of the blessings of Jehovah’s kingdom.

If so be that we suffer with him ; deny ourselves for his sake, meet with calmness and bear with patience the trials which he brings upon us, and do whatever is needful to honor him and do good to men.

That we may be also glorified together ; John 17:24 ; 2 Timothy 2:11-12 .

Verse 18

The sufferings of this present time ; those which Christians endure in this world.

Not worthy to be compared ; are very small, as nothing in comparison.

Glory-revealed in us ; Ephesians 3:16-19 ; Colossians 3:4 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:10 ; 1 John 3:2 . All sacrifices which men make to obey God, and all trials which they are called to endure, are light and momentary, compared with the blessings which he will bestow upon them in heaven.

Verse 19

The creature ; the creation. In this and the three following verses the word rendered creature and creation is the same in the original Greek. It seems to denote the whole of this lower creation as brought under God’s curse, and made subject to suffering and abuse in connection with the fall of man. Compare Genesis 3:16-19 .

The manifestation of the sons of God ; when they shall be seen and publicly acknowledge as his children, and take full possession of their inheritance as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.

Verse 20

Vanity ; suffering and abuse.

Not willingly ; not by their own choice.

Him who hath subjected the same ; God, by his wise and righteous constitution of things.

In hope ; of deliverance from the evil endured.

Verse 21

The bondage of corruption ; the bondage which consists in a corruptible state, with all the suffering belonging to such a state.

The glorious liberty of the children of God ; literally, "the liberty of the glory of the children of God"; that is, the liberty from corruption and suffering which the creation shall receive when the sons of God are manifested in glory. Verse Romans 8:19 .

Verse 22

The whole creation ; every part of creation which, without its own choice, has been subjected to evils, or is perverted and abused through the sins of men.

Groaneth and travaileth in pain ; experienceth and manifesteth deep distress under the evils which sin has caused. The sufferings which sin brings upon others, as well as on those who commit it, strikingly show its malignity, and should lead all to abhor and forsake it, and to look unto Jesus that they may be delivered from its power, and become the instruments of good to all who may feel their influence.

Verse 23

Not only they ; the creatures which unwillingly suffer, or are perverted and abused through the sins of men.

But ourselves also ; true Christians, who are born of the Spirit, and have the foretastes of heaven.

Groan within ourselves ; under the evils which sin still occasions us.

Waiting for the adoption ; when body and soul, freed from all evils, shall be reunited, and be perfect in holiness and bliss.

Verse 24

Saved by hope ; hope of future, everlasting glory; sustaining us in trials, animating us in duty, and leading us to persevere in keeping the commands of God.

Hope that is seen , is not hope ; what we have in possession, we do not hope for; we hope for future good, and persevere in the course which is needful to obtain it.

Verse 26

The Spirit ; the Holy Spirit, who dwells in believers.

Helpeth our infirmities ; all the weaknesses that belong to us as fallen sinful beings, subject to suffering and death. In respect to these the Holy Spirit helps us by enabling us rightly to bear them, to overcome the evils they occasion, and in due time delivering us from them.

Maketh intercession for us ; by teaching us how to pray and what to pray for, and awakening in us those intense desires and fervent longings for spiritual blessings for ourselves and others, which cannot in any human language be fully uttered. All right and acceptable prayer is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, operating on the hearts of men, awakening pious emotions, and leading them to exercise such desires as are agreeable to the will of God. Though their feelings may not be uttered in words, he understands them, and glorifies himself in doing exceeding abundantly for all who pray in the Spirit, and watch thereunto with all perseverance. Ephesians 6:18 .

Verse 27

He that searcheth the hearts ; God.

Knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit ; he understands the feelings and desires caused by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of men, whether uttered in words or not; they are in accordance with his will, and he delights to answer them 1 John 5:14 . This is an unspeakable consolation and encouragement to the friends of God. And there is still another.

Verse 28

All things work together for good to them that love God ; love to God distinguishes true Christians from all other men. He that loveth God is born of him, and all things shall work together for his good.

The called ; those who have been called by his grace out of the darkness and bondage of sin into the light and liberty of the children of God. As all things work together for good to those who love God, they are especially bound, in whatsoever state they are, therewith to be content; knowing that their trials, however great, will conspire to work out for them an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:17 .

Verse 29

Whom he did foreknow ; as his people. He did not simply foreknow that they would be his people, but his foreknowledge of them as his people included the gracious purpose of bringing them into a state of salvation, as the apostle proceeds immediately to show.

He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son ; he determined to lead them by his Spirit to believe in Christ, and in this way to become like him, holy.

First - born among many brethren ; be their Prince, Leader, and Saviour, and have many who, as his brethren, should be joint-heirs with him to his kingdom of heavenly glory. Conformity in temper and conduct to the example of Christ, is the only sure evidence of being elected, and predestinated to eternal life.

Verse 30

Them he also called ; called by his word and Spirit, taught them to feel their need of Christ, and led them to believe on him.

Them he also justified ; accepted as righteous.

Them he also glorified ; made heirs of eternal glory in heaven.

Verse 31

To these things ; in view of the above-mentioned truths.

If God be for us ; if he is our friend, has led us to believe on his Son, and thus showed that he has determined to save us, and to cause all things to work for our good.

Who can be against us? who can hinder our salvation, or on the whole do us any real harm?

Verse 32

Freely give us all things ; as he has, self-moved, given us his only begotten Son to be our Saviour, and renewed our hearts by his Spirit, pardoned our sins, and justified us by his grace, who can doubt but he will give us all needed good? The death of Christ is conclusive evidence that nothing which will in the end promote their benefit, will be withheld from those who believe on him.

Verse 34

Who is he that condemneth? who can prevail against God, so as to destroy, or ultimately injure us? It is Christ ; who from love, died in our stead when we were his enemies. But Paul cannot leave the subject here, since without the resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Christ, his death would be ineffectual to our redemption. He therefore passes on to these: yea rather , that is risen again , etc.

Verse 35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? that love which was stronger than death; which led him, when we were his enemies, to die for us, to give us his Holy Spirit, to reconcile and unite us to himself, and make us joint-heirs with him to all the blessings of his Father’s kingdom. Who or what can separate us from such love? Shall tribulation ; shall trials, or any thing which can come upon us?

Verse 36

As it is written ; Psalms 44:22 .

We are killed ; constantly suffer, and are exposed to death.

Verse 37

More than conquerors ; over all our trials; they shall not only fail to separate us from the love of Christ, or to diminish our love to him, or to do us any real harm, but they shall do us great good; showing us the evil of sin and the vanity of the world, quickening us in duty, and making us more holy and more happy.

Him that loved us ; Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. All the blessings of believers come to them through Jesus Christ. They are given on his account, and are the purchase of his blood. They should therefore awaken in those who enjoy them, unfeigned and ever-increasing gratitude, and lead them to devote themselves, body and soul, for ever to his service.

Verse 39

The love of God-in Christ Jesus our Lord ; "the love of God" here, like "the love of Christ," verse Romans 8:35 , is his love towards us, which, however, always includes love on our part towards him.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 8". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/romans-8.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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