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Bible Commentaries
Romans 8

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Verse 1

Romans 8:1

There is therefore -- The "therefore" points to the argument of chapter 7 which shows that in Christ we are delivered from sin and from the curse of the law.

now -- The Grace Age under Christ. cf. Romans 3:21; Now is a key word of contrast in the book of Romans. The apostle had there shown in chapter 7 that the Law could not effect deliverance from sin, but that such deliverance was to be traced to the gospel alone; Romans 7:23-25

no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus -- Those who are in the relationship with Christ as describe in Romans 6:3-5, they have died with Him, been buried and raised with Christ. cf. Galatians 3:26-27.

Having in Christ satisfied the Law they cannot be under condemnation from the Law. This blessed condiditon depends on a vital union with Christ. (Compare John 3:18; John 5:24; Romans 5:18-19).

[There is textual argument that the following part of this verse was missing from many MSS.]

who do not walk -- "Baptized into Christ," we must walk in him, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Compare John 15:1-7, and Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:8; Galatians 5:16;

"Walk" is a frequent metaphor to describe the way one is to live, or conduct one’s self.

according to the flesh . .Who do not live to gratify the corrupt desires and passions of the flesh; What it is to walk after the flesh may be seen in Galatians 5:19-21.

but according to the Spirit -- The translators capitalized "Spirit", but the reference may be to man’s own mind controlled by the Gospel.

1) If the reference is the the Holy Spirit, then we are to walk in the path He has laid out for us (in the Scriptures), a walk in holiness and purity of life. What walking in the Spirit produces may be seen in Galatians 5:22-23.

2) If one understands "spirit" as not to be captilized, it refers to the life the spiritual man is to walk, as a man controlled by the gospel of Christ.

Verse 2

Romans 8:2

For the law of the Spirit of life -- The word “law” here means that “rule, command, or influence” which “the Spirit of life” produces. A law often means anything by which we are ruled or governed;

of the Spirit of life -- Most understand this as a reference to the Holy Spirit.

In Christ Jesus -- where freedom is found. In the union relationship with Christ Jesus.

has made me free from the law of sin and death. -- The gospel has made us from from the guilt of sin and its punishment, death, by the deliverance effected by Jesus Christ on the cross.

[God "universal" law is that sin deserves and reaps "death". Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:4; Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:20.]

Verse 3

Romans 8:3

The law -- This reference to "law" seems to be to the Law of Moses, which called for perfection which man couldn’t attain.

in that -- Because.

it was weak -- Ineffective, in sense that it did not accomplish its purpose, and make men live in a holy relationship with God.

The law is weak to us, because we are weak to it: the sun cannot give light to a blind eye, not from any impotency in itself, but merely from the incapacity of the subject it shines upon. - Poole

through the flesh -- The fault was not in the Law, which was good Romans 7:12, but it was owing to the strength of the natural passions and the sinfulness of the carnal side of man, see Romans 7:7-11.

God did by sending His own Son -- God accomplished, (condemning sin in the flesh) that, by sending his Son, which the Law could not do.

The word did, or accomplished, it is necessary to understand here, in order to complete the sense.

[Was the second member of the Godhead a "son" before becoming incarnate? Or in becoming incarnate he took that role, and became a "son" in exhibiting all the spiritual qualities of the "father"? see note at Acts 4:36; Philippians 2:5-8;

in the likeness of sinful flesh, -- Jesus took up a carnal body, and became subject to all the passions and inclinations of such a carnal, fleshly body, yet He did not sin. Hebrews 4:15. In this way he is able to sympathize, understand mankind, and extend grace and forgiveness.

in the likeness of sinful flesh -- This poses a problem for those believing in Total Depravity! Jesus had the very flesh we have but was sinless. Here we see Jesus’ humanity. The flesh is the avenue of sin, but Jesus never surrendered to these temptations. Romans 6:6.

on account of sin: -- The expression evidently means, by an Offering for sin, or that he was given as a Sacrifice on account of sin. His sending (πεμψας * G3992) by the Father was in respect of sin.

condemned sin -- This is what the cross does. Sin is condemned, (1) By the spotless life of Christ. In the flesh he was without sin. (2) By his death for sin our past sins are forgiven. (3) By our vital union with his death and life we rise to walk in a new life, with a new spirit, and hence, not under the power of the flesh. See Romans 6:4. - PNT

The meaning is, that God severely punished sin, and inflicted the curse and penalty of it, that was due to us, in and upon the person of his own Son; God laid on him the iniquities of us all, and he bore them in his body upon a tree: see Galatians 3:13 1 Peter 2:24. - Poole

He condemned sin in the flesh, -- The word “condemn” may be used in the sense of overcoming, or subduing; John 16:33; 1 John 5:4;

2 Peter 2:6, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow.” In this sense the sacrifice of Christ has no; only condemned sin as being evil, but has weakened its power and destroyed its influence, and will finally annihilate its existence in all who are saved by that death.

Sin is, as it were, brought into court, and the cause given against it. It loses all its rights and claims over its victim. - Ellicott

In the flesh. -- In that same sphere, the flesh, in which sin had hitherto had the mastery, it now stood condemned and worsted; it was unable to exercise its old sway any longer. - Ellicott

Verse 4

Romans 8:4

that the righteous requirement of the law -- God’s law that requires our "righteousness" can now be met. This is done by "forgiveness" by Jesus paying the penalty for our sin.

The moral law finds its basis in the character of God and is presented in outline form in the Ten Commandments; its most condensed form is in Jesus’ commands to love God and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. - MSB

might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh -- By living lives not seeking to fulfil the passions and lusts of the carnal man we can be declared "righteous" or "justified" from sin because of the sacrifice of Christ for sin. He paid the penalty, fulfilled sin’s demand, and we can be declared "righteous."

walk -- Is a frequent metaphor which refers to a lifestyle, the way of living and thinking that characterize a person’s life (cf. Luke 1:6; Ephesians 4:17; 1 John 1:7).

walk not after the flesh -- to be dominated by it. Romans 8:1. Galatians 5:19-21.

after the Spirit . .The way of living that is dominated by a spiritual mind. The definition and results is given in Romans 8:6; Galatians 5:22-23;

Verse 5

Romans 8:5

according to the flesh -- Who live following and giving in to the carnal side of man’s fleshly lusts and passions.

set their minds on things of the flesh -- They devoted themselves to the gratification of their carnal desires and wants.

the Spirit -- Man’s own spiritual side, used in contrast to the carnal mind. Man’s spirit (inner man) is to be dominated by the teaching and guidance given us by God’s Holy Spirit, and live the way the Holy Spirit through the inspired writers teach us to live a life of godliness pleasing God.

The question here is whether the word "Spirit" is to be capitalized and refer to the "Holy Spirit" or whether it refers to man’s spirit.

[The first occurrence of the word "spirit" seem to refer to man’s spirit and his spiritual way of life, while the second occurrence refers to the Holy Spirit. -WG]

Paul again shows his Roman readers that living a life of sin is foreign to the Christian way of life, cf. Romans 6:1.

Verse 6

Romans 8:6

carnally minded is death -- Minding, or following, the inclinations of the flesh leads one to condemnation and death, the penalty for transgression. Eternal death is eternal punishment and separation from God.

spiritually minded is life and peace -- To be spiritually minded is to seek those attitudes and views which the Holy Spirit produces, and to follow his leading. Galatians 5:22-23.

Life is opposed to death. And peace to at peace with both one’s self and with God. John 14:27; John 16:33; Romans 14:17;

Verse 7

Romans 8:7

carnally minded -- [mind set on the flesh] -- This describes one who is oriented toward gratifing himself. This is Paul’s way of speaking of those given over to sin and fulfilling the lusts and pleasures of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-20.

is enmity [hostile] against God -- The expression is as strong as possible. Such a man is personally hositle toward God and God’s claims on him.

Even the good deeds unbelievers perform are not truly a fulfillment of God’s law, because they are produced by the flesh, for selfish reasons, and from a heart that is in rebellion. - MSB

not subject [submit] to the law of God -- What pleases God is our submission to Him Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 5:9;

nor indeed can be -- The mind set on the flesh cannot be pleasing to God, and does not submit to Him. As long as such are slaves to sin and the flesh they cannot serve God.

Verse 8

Romans 8:8

in the flesh cannot please God -- To live in the flesh means to live dominated by the desires of the flesh (of this world), to be carnally minded.

the flesh -- Paul is saying the Jewish system of ritual keeping according to the Law of Moses cannot please God, for He wants us to live spiritual lives.

This seems to indicate that Paul’s readers were not now in that Jewish system of law and are now encouraged to live the spiritual life found in the Gospel.

cannot please God -- A life dominated by carnal living cannot please God, for God wants us to live holy pure lives. 1 Peter 1:15.

Verse 9

Romans 8:9

not in the flesh -- Paul is not speaking literally, but about living a life dominated by fulfilling carnal desires. Being Christians his readers were people who had committed themselves to a new way of living in following Christ, Romans 6:3-5; Romans 6:6.

the flesh -- Paul is saying the Jewish system of ritual keeping according to the Law of Moses cannot please God, for He wants us to live spiritually.

This seems to refer to the fact that Paul’s readers were not now in that Jewish system of law, but are now to live the spiritual life found in the Gospel.

but in the Spirit -- The Roman Christians had committed themselves to live holy and pure lives, to be "spiritually minded" and not dedicated to following the carnal or worldly way of life.

if indeed -- If it is true.

the Spirit of God dwells in you -- see notes on Ephesians 3:17 for how metaphorically the Spirit dwells in the believers.

The Holy Spirit is often represented as dwelling in the hearts of Christians (compare 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22; Galatians 4:6); and the meaning is not that there is a personal or physical indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but that he influences, directs, and guides Christians, producing meekness, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc. Galatians 5:22-23. The expression, to dwell in one, denotes intimacy of connection, and means that those things which are the fruits of the Spirit are produced in the heart. - BN [Also see the note at Romans 8:10.]

Spirit of God dwells in you -- Paul could not be referring to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18; 2 Timothy 1:6. ) because Paul nor any other apostle had not yet been to them in Rome to convey any such gifts to them Romans 1:11.

if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ -- Is this a reference to the Holy Spirit as a person dwelling literally in a person, or is it a metaphor for one who is taking on the attitude and mind of Christ? Philippians 2:5. I understand it to be the latter. WG

none of His -- Neither is Paul saying that if one doesn’t have spiritual gifts he is doesn’t belong to God, for the same reason as given above.

What he is saying is that if one does not follow Christ in imitating and absorbing Christ’s life style, how can he say it belongs to Christ? 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Verse 10

Romans 8:10

See Ephesians 3:17 note on "Indwelling"

And if Christ is in you --

This is evidently a figurative expression, where the word “Christ” is used to denote his spirit, his principles; that is, he influences the man. Literally, he cannot be in a Christian; but the close connection between him and Christians, and the fact that they are entirely under his influence, is expressed by this strong figurative language. It is language which is not infrequently used; compare Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27. - BN

[See Barnes’ Notes at this point for a fuller explanation of the phraseology used to illustrate the union and intimate association of Christ and his disciples.

Example: "Christ is said to be “in them,” and they are represented as “in him.” He “abides in them, and they in him.” They “dwelt” in each other; John 14:20; John 15:4; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:12." - BN

the body is dead -- Romans 6:3-4. They had "died" with Christ and now had a "new" life.

because of sin -- It was by because of sin, and for our sin’s forgiveness, that Christ died, and we are represented as dying with Him.

but the Spirit is life -- We are now living a spiritual life with reference to holiness and purity. While the old man of sin died and was buried, the new spiritual man took on a new life, a new way of living.

It is best to translate the word “spirit” as the person’s spirit, not the Holy Spirit. - MSB

Here the context seems to give the sense of the human spirit; that which now “liveth unto God” in the regenerate man; the soul, in the highest sense of that word. - CBSC

because of righteousness -- With reference to righteousness we now live a new life in Christ. The old body of sin is dead.

The word is frequently used in this epistle to denote God’s plan of justification, through righteousness (διὰ δικαιοσύνην dia dikaiosunēn). (See the note on "righteousness" at Romans 1:17.)

Verse 11

Romans 8:11

But if the Spirit of him -- The Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9; Colossians 3:16

who raised Jesus from the dead -- The argument here seems to be founded, first, on the power of God; and, secondly, on the connection between Christ and his people; compare John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

dwells in you -- See the previous two verses and note at Ephesians 3:17 on "Indwelling"

He who raised Christ from the dead -- Both God and the Holy Spirit are said to have had a part in the resurrection of Christ. Acts 2:24; Colossians 2:12; Romans 8:11;

will also give life to your mortal bodies -- In the context this is not referring to the resurrection of the saint’s bodies at Christ’s second coming, but to figuratively a new life where a renewed spirit lives to give glory and honor to God. Even the mortal body, now freed from slavery to sin, lives to glorify God.

The sense is, that under the gospel, by the influence of the Spirit, the entire man will be made alive in the service of God. - BN

[Some commentaries to take his to refer to the bodily resurrection at the last day. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.]

through his Spirit which dwells in you -- Because the Spirit has restored life to our souls, and through His influence and indwelling the new man is alive in Christ.

Verse 12

Rom 8.12

Therefore, brethren --

we are debtors -- We owe it as a matter of solemn obligation.

Because we are have died to sin and have a new master.

not to the flesh -- To the corrupt propensities and passions. We are not bound to indulge them because the end of such indulgence is death and ruin;

to live according to the flesh -- This life is selfish sinful behavior and lives only to gratify the passions and lusts of the flesh.

Verse 13

Romans 8:13

For if you live ... If you live to indulge your carnal propensities, you will sink to eternal death; Romans 7:23.

through the Spirit -- By the aid of the Spirit; by cherishing and cultivating his influences.

put to death -- [mortify] -- Do put to death; do destroy. Sin is mortified when its power is destroyed, and it ceases to be active.

the deeds of the body -- The corrupt inclinations and passions; called deeds of the body, because they are supposed to have their origin in the fleshly appetites.

you shall live -- You shall be happy and saved. Either your sins must die, or you must.

See James 5:19 note on APOSTASY

Verse 14

Romans 8:14

For as many as are led by the Spirit -- To be led through inspired scripture. (Metonymy of cause. The Holy Spirit is put for the Word which He led inspired men to write.)

To follow the guidance, teaching, and life style that is found in the holy scripture and put to death the leading of the carnal selfish self. Galatians 5:18.

these are the sons of God -- by being born again (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23; Romans 6:3-5;) we are thus to follow purity and holiness and be like our "Father."

sons of -- The Jewish mind often spoke metaphorically of a "characteristic" dwelling in a person, and sometimes calling him the "son of ... " that characteristic. Thus, of Barnabas as "son of consolation" Acts 4:36, and James and John as "sons of thunder" Mark 3:17; and the term "son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

See ISBE "Son; Sons" (3)

(3) The word “son” is used with a following genitive of quality to indicate some characteristic of the person or persons described.

sons of God -- To be adopted into His family and are his children with all the rights and privileges there to.

Verse 15

Romans 8:15

did not receive the spirit of bondage -- The spirit that binds you as a slave under constant fear and alarm. (The way they were bound to the Law.)

again to fear -- They do not need to be afraid of their new Master and what He has in store for them. Their previous bondage to sin was one of fear. 1 John 4:18.

but you received the Spirit of adoption -- The feeling of affection, love, and confidence that belongs to children adopted by new parents.

Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one’s own child. It is applied to Christians because God treats them as his children; he receives them into this relation, though they were by nature strangers and enemies.

Adoption was common in the ancient world. But it was a serious step. Adults were also adopted. Adopted ones were to receive the inheritance. A drama was re-enacted before the highest court of the land. When a father sold is son entirely and without question to another to become his son. A person had to repudiate his gods and his family and accept the god of his new family.

All past debts and contracts were cancelled and wiped out. All claims against the adopted son had to first be settled. A complete new life -- new beginning -- looked on as a blood relative, and shared the same position as other children, they were blood kin.

Illustration: Emperor Claudius adopted Nero. Nero wanted to marry Octavia, Claudius’ daughter, but could not because now in the eyes of Roman people and law he was her brother. He had the Roman senate to pass a special law to enable him to marry her.

The Roman emperor Julius Caesar adopted Octavian as his heir; Octavian, using the name Augustus, later ruled the Roman empire. - NLTSB

(God predestined that those He saved through Christ would be adopted as sons. Ephesians 1:4-5; Galatians 4:5-7.)

by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." -- This being so we can express our feeling toward God as a "father" and address him in the language of affection and endearing confidence.

Abba -- This word is Aramaic (àáà abba; Greek = Αββα), and means “father.” It was the common everyday language used in the home in Palestine, and the most intimate. Paul then give the meaning in Greek (πατήρ).

...it connotes tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety (cf. Mark 14:36). - MSB

Verse 16

Romans 8:16

The Spirit Himself -- The Holy Spirit.

bears witness with out spirit -- In ancient time for an adoption to be legally binding there had to be witnesses. Jewish law required two agreeing witnesses.

The Holy Spirit gives His testimony and evidence that those saved are adopted as "sons" of God.

The question is how does the Holy Spirit do this?

Interpretations:

1) The Holy Spirit bears witness with the apostles inspiration (Mark 16:20; Acts 5:32; Hebrews 2:3-4.) that the way to become children of God is by adoption Romans 8:15-17.

2) The Holy Spirits bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children when we walk the way the Holy Spirit has directed by inspired scripture. That is, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when we are born again we are now children of God and should now "walk" as "sons" of God.

with our spirit -- Our inner spirit, our mind. Our own knowledge and understanding.

The Spirit of God is one witness to the fact. Our spirit is a corroborative witness. How do each bear witness? (1) Witness is usually borne in words, but not always. God’s Spirit bears witness in words (see Hebrews 10:15). The Holy Spirit shows us how we must become God’s children, and how to continue the Christian life. (2) It bears testimony in our lives by its fruits. Do we bear the fruit of the Spirit? (See Galatians 5:22-23). (3) Does our own spirit testify that we "mind the things of the Spirit?" Does our consciousness recognize its fruits, inward as well as outward? If the testimony of our spirit is that what God’s Spirit witnesseth of the sons of God is true of us, then they concur in the testimony that we are the children of God. - BN

that we are children of God -- This pertains to the adoption; and it means that the Holy Spirit furnishes evidence to our minds that we are adopted into the family of God.

When there is an agreement that what the Holy Spirit reveals in the inspired scriptures about how we become a child of God and what that means, and out spirit within us acknowledges or knows that we have complied with and followed the Holy Spirit’s lead, there is then this two-fold testimony that we are indeed a child of God.

This effect is not infrequently attributed to the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 John 5:10-11; 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Verse 17

Romans 8:17

and if children -- If adopted into this family.

then heirs -- We will be treated as sons, who inherit an estate and enjoy the favors of a father. Galatians 4:7;

heirs of God -- Specified who the Father is in the adoption. 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:7;

and joint heirs with Christ -- With Christ the eminent "Son" and the "firstborn" we will enjoy the honors and glory of heaven with Him. Romans 8:29; Philippians 2:8-9; Hebrews 2:9-11.

Under the Jewish law the older brother had a double portion, but Christ admits all to a joint share of the great inheritance. (cf Hebrews 1:2)

Joint-heirs -- (sunklēronomoi Christou) Paul is fond of compounds of sun, three in this verse (sunklēronomoi, sunpaschōmen, sundoxasthōmen).

if indeed -- If this condition exists. We shall not be treated as co-heirs with him unless there is the evidence we are united with him.

we suffer with Him -- If we suffer in his cause; bear afflictions as he did; are persecuted and tried for the same thing; and thus show that we are united to him. Philippians 3:10.

It does not mean that we suffer to the same extent that he did, but we are to be faithful until death. Revelation 2:10.

that we may also be glorified together -- 1 Peter 4:13; John 14:19; 2 Timothy 2:11-12;

Verse 18

Romans 8:18

[This verse commences a new subject continued to Romans 8:25.]

For I consider -- I judge; I think, I conclude.

The word is borrowed either from arithmeticians, who by casting their accounts do find the true and total sum; or from logicians, who by considering the premises do draw the conclusion. - Poole

[Connect this word with worthy for the full picture.]

the sufferings -- Trials, afflictions, persecutions, that disciples might be called to endure.

of this present time -- Probably the apostle had particular reference to the various calamities then endured. But the expression is equally applicable to afflictions of all times and in all places.

are not worthy -- Are nothing in comparsion; the one is far more than an equivalent in compensation for the other.

Not worthy to be compared: the word properly signifieth that part of the balance which goeth down: q.d. If the sufferings of this life be weighed with the glory to come, they will be light in comparison. These words, to be compared, are supplied in our translation to make up the sense. - Poole

áxios; fem. axía, neut. áxion, adj. from ágō (G71), to weigh. An estimate or value. Some believe it refers to a set of scales where the weights bring or draw down (ágousi) the beam to a horizontal level when the weights are equal on each side. - Wordstdy

[The weight of "suffering" and the "glory" are not in balance; the "glory" far exeeds the "suffering" in its weight. - WG]

to be compared -- This phrase is supplied by the translater to complete the thought expressed in the Greek.

with the glory which shall be revealed in us -- Happiness and honor will be disclosed to us and which we shall partake in heaven.

in us -- Unto us εἰς ἡμᾶς eis hēmas.

Verse 19

Romans 8:19

For the earnest expectation -- [RSV, ESV eager longing; NASB anxious longing; NCV waiting with excitement; NIV eager expectation] -- ἀποκαραδοκία apokaradokia. This word occurs only here and in Philippians 1:20, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope,” etc. It properly denotes a state of earnest desire to see any object when the head is thrust forward; an intense anxiety; an ardent wish; and is thus well employed to denote the intense interest with which a Christian looks to his future inheritance. - BN

Earnest expectation—A single word in the Greek, and a very striking one. It means, literally, a straining forward with outstretched head, just as we might imagine the crowds outside a race-course straining over the ropes to catch a sight of the runners; an eager, intent expectation. The same word is used once again in the New Testament (Philippians 1:20). - Ellicott

of the creation -- τῆς κτίσεως tēs ktiseōs (cf "creation" in Romans 8:19-22.)

[Perhaps there is not a passage in the New Testament that has been deemed more difficult of interpretation than this Romans 8:19-23; and after all the labors bestowed on it by critics, still there is no explanation proposed which is perfectly satisfactory, - BN]

"Creature" is rendered creation in the Revision, and this rendering is approved by all the best critics. Chrysostom says "Paul personifies the world, just as the prophets do when they make the floods to clap their hands." The whole world is represented earnestly looking forward to that day of future glory when the sons of God will have reached their high estate and be revealed as his children. It is a fine, poetic figure, a grand conception. - PNT

The creature: this word is four times used in this and the three following verses, only in Romans 8:22 it is rendered creation; that is the subject of which all that followeth is predicated. One main question therefore is this: Of what creature the apostle here speaks? Divers answers are or may be given; I will fix upon two only.

1. By the creature, or the creation, ,{ and, Romans 8:22, the whole creation, or every creature} is meant all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, and especially the latter: see Mark 16:15; there Christ gives it in commission to preach the gospel to every creature; it is the same word. And in 1 Peter 2:13, they are commanded to submit themselves to every ordinance of man: in the original it is, to every human creature, the same word which is in the text before us: he means the Gentile or heathen magistrates in authority over them. In the Scripture the Gentiles are sometimes called the world, Romans 11:12,15, and sometimes the creature, or the creation.

2. By the creature is meant the whole world with all the creatures therein, or the whole frame and body of the creation. - Poole

creation -- Barnes (after giving a number of various views) believes it to refer to the Christian (the renewed man with a renewed heart), as the new creation, regarded individually. [Such a view also seems "to suit the connection, and to make sense in the argument" will all the following verses. -WG]

creation -- This seems to me to simply be a reference to those mentioned in the previous verse [ημας ] "us" Romans 8:18, [and "we" in v. 23] and a further explanation of the glory which shall be revealed in this, that is, the redemption of their corruptible bodies. - WG [v. 22 The "whole creation" may here be a personification of God’s entire creation.]

It seems that most modern critics take this as "The physical creation is personified as a person with an outstretched neck searching the horizon. Creation was negatively affected when Adam and Eve rebelled (cf. Genesis 3:17-19). All creation will ultimately be redeemed (except for rebellious angels, unbelieving humans, and their prepared place of isolation" - Utley [Such a view seems to believe that "heaven" will be here on a re-newed earth. - WG]

eagerly waits -- Expects; is not in a state of possession, but is looking for it with interest.

for the revealing -- The ἀποκάλυψις (apokálupsis) "disclosure, unveiling, uncovering". The manifestation. The full development of the benefits of the sons of God; the time when they shall be acknowledged, and received into the full privileges of sons.

The revealing of the sons of God will occur when Christ returns for His own. They will share His glory (Romans 8:18; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:4; Hebrews 2:10), and will be transformed (Romans 8:23). All of nature (inanimate and animate) is personified as waiting eagerly for that time. - BKC

of the sons of God -- The real children of God, John_8 not sons of flesh but sons of faith.

Verse 20

Romans 8:20

the creation was subjected -- Understanding that here the "creation" is speaking of "us" (v.18) as "aspiring to the full privileges of adoption, that the present state is not one of choice" [BN]

subjected -- The word “subject to” means placed in such a state; subjected to it by the appointment of another, as a soldier has his rank and place assigned him in an army.

to futility [vanity; frustration;] --

A description of our present physical bodies "as frail and dying; as exposed to trials, temptations, and cares; as in the midst of conflicts" (Barnes)

not willingly -- Not as a matter of choice.

but because of Him who subjected it -- Perhaps a reference even back to God’s action of driving Adam out of the garden and away from the tree of life and thereby bringing "aging" and "death" to all mankind. Genesis 3:22-24.

in hope -- Hope has a reference to the future, and the Christian sighs for deliverance from our corruptible, mortal bodies, and expects it.

Verse 21

Romans 8:21

because the creation -- The "us" of vs. 18, will have their fleshly bodied redeemed at the resurrection. cf 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, and the revelation of what they shall be like, 1 John 3:2-3.

Some understand this like the NCV "everything God made" and see it as a redemption of all creation, and the aging world to be made over into a "new heaven and earth." Hebrews 1:10-12; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 21:1. [I prefer the former understanding - WG.]

delivered from the bondage of corruption -- Corruption, decay, and death; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 9:27; [Acts 2:31]

into the glorious liberty -- Freedom from the mortal body where there is temptation and suffering.

This mortal body is one "is one that leads to sin, and temptation, and conflict and anxiety. It is a condition often which destroys the peace, mars the happiness, dims the hope, enfeebles the faith, and weakens the love of Christians, and this is called the bondage of corruption. It is also one in which temporal death has dominion, and in the bondage of which, believers as well as unbelievers shall be held. Yet from all this bondage the children of God shall be delivered." (Barnes).

liberty -- Freedom from the bondage under which the Christian groans. It will be freedom from sin; from corruption; from evil desires; from calamity; from death.

of the children of God -- It is a blessing that only the children of God (those adopted, Romans 8:15) will enjoy.

Verse 22

Romans 8:22

For we know -- The sentiment of this verse is designed as an illustration of what had just been said.

the whole creation -- We may see Paul here simply being sure that his readers understand he was including the Gentiles (who were now also adopted into God’s family) were included in the "us" of which Paul is speaking. (v. 18) Still keeping this in the context of "us" of Romans 8:18.

Some understand that Paul in referencing "the whole creation" is personifying everything God has created.

It refers, as I suppose, to the whole animate creation; to all living beings; to the state of all created things here, as in a condition of pain and disorder, and groaning and death. Everything which we see; every creature which lives, is thus subjected to a state of servitude, pain, vanity, and death. - BN

The cosmic Fall, however, resulted in a bondage to decay. This means that death and decay overran their intended boundaries and engulfed what was never meant to die and dissolve—especially the bodies of human beings (Genesis 3:19 b; 1 Corinthians 15:42). It also means that the entire universe is undergoing an inexorable process of cosmic decay, which is sometimes called the law of entropy. - CPNIV

Groans -- The Greek is "groans together." συστενάζω (sustenazō, soos-ten-ad’-zo) to moan jointly, that is, (figuratively) experience a common calamity: - groan together. - Strong

The first verb means to sigh or groan or even complain because of undesirable circumstances from which one longs to be free. - CPNIV

labors -- (travails) Extreme pains of childbirth.

Two parallel verbs describe this idea: “to groan with” and “to suffer agony with.” The prefix “with” (σύν, syn), attached to both verbs, signifies that all parts of the creation are jointly participating in the pain - CPNIV

groans and labors with birth pangs together -- Waiting for deliverance. Waiting for a new life, in a new sphere.

until now -- With Jesus’ resurrection our own is now assured.

until now -- If the "creation" is personified this probably refers from the time of Genesis 3 until Pentecost.

Verse 23

Romans 8:23

And not only that -- [NASB this; ESV, RSV creation; KJV they;] -- While Christians are groaning with birth pangs (probably a reference to the sufferings and persecutions they faced) they were to add to their lives (Romans 8:23) the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:5-8.

If the reference is to the personified creation in general, then “but we ourselves also” would be referencing Christians.

who have the firstfruits of the Spirit -- The "firstfruits" were holy and belonged to the Lord. Romans 11:16, Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20. Christians maturing in Christ are to be led the Spirit, and produce fruit as evidence of holiness and belonging to the Lord, Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18.

While we "groan" for deliverance we add the fruits of the Spirit to our lives.

In the OT, “firstfruits” describes the first and best part of a crop that is to be offered to God (e.g., Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 2:12). Similarly, God gives the Spirit to believers as the down payment on the many other blessings that he promises to bestow on his heirs, his adopted children (v. Romans 8:17; see 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14). - NIVZSB

groan inwardly -- Here the expression denotes strong internal desire for deliverance from our carnal, mortal bodies.

John recorded the Lord as groaning also (John 11:33, John 11:38)

as we wait for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies -- The time when our bodies will be changed into new celestial bodies seems to be what this paragraph v. 19 - 23 is all about, 1 Corinthians 15:40-45.

While Christians are adopted when they are converted Romans 8:15, it is when Christ comes again that they see the fullness of adoption with all the blessings and privileges of it.

Verse 24

Romans 8:24

For in this hope we were save -- The persuasive motive in salvation is the hope of eternal life, a life with a body that will never die. Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7.

but hope that is seen is not hope -- Hope is future desire. For the Christian it is also an expectation.

for why does one still hope for what he sees? -- Something desired which is already fulfilled is no longer an "expectation" but a reality. Our eternal life with a new body is still only a "desired expectation" for we have not yet attained that reality in this life.

Verse 25

Romans 8:25

But if we hope for what we do not see -- Eternal life, a redeemed body (Romans 8:23) is not a reality yet.

The emphasis here is double: 1) the fact that we do hope for something; 2) it is currently out of sight.

with perseverance -- Patient endurance. With a strong desire for eternal life the Christian may bear trials and afflictions, persevering to receive that great reward. Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 6:12.

Verse 26

Romans 8:26

Likewise -- Probably a reference back to Romans 8:11; and Romans 8:16; and to the work of the Spirit.

The Spirit also helps in our weakness -- The word pictures someone else with greater strength stepping in and helping with the burden that lies too heavily upon our own shoulders.

For we do not know for what we should pray -- Our sight is limited to the present and cannot see the future which may not enable us to pray for the right thing.

Example: In Acts 12:5 when the church prayed for Peter, they apparently did not pray for his deliverance from prison since they are surprise Acts 12:13-16 but probably since James had been beheaded Acts 12:1-3 they prayed that Peter would be faithful and not recant and deny Jesus as he had done when Jesus was arrested.

One way the Spirits helps us, is by teaching us to pray. Paul in his many letters give examples, instructions, and requests which help us in forming our prayers and petitions, etc.

makes intercession -- The Greek compound word occurs only here (huperentugchanei). Like an advocate in a court of justice. " It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who “happens on” (entugchanei) one who is in trouble and “in his behalf” (huper) pleads" his case. - Robertson.

There is a twofold intercession, one of Christ, of which we read, Romans 8:34; the other of the Spirit, of which this place speaks. See Ephesians 6:18 Judges 1:20.

for us with groanings which cannot be uttered -- see Romans 8:23, it is our groaning, not the Holy Spirit’s.

This may be with inward sighs and groans which cannot be expressed by words. A man may cry to God and never utter a word. See Exodus 14:15; 1 Samuel 1:13.

This communication is described as “groans” because it conveys to the Father not only our thoughts but also the deep feelings associated with them. - CPNIV

... the Spirit himself intercedes for them in and through their unspeakable groans (cf. Romans 8:23). - ESVSB

See 1 John 2:1 for word study on Advocate, Comforter, Paraclete

Verse 27

Romans 8:27

Now He who searches the hearts -- To know the heart is one of God’s attributes, (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 6:30; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 44:21; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 20:27; Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Jeremiah 20:12; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24; Acts 15:8).

The term "searching" is speaking of God after the manner of men who may search for something. God knows the hearts of all men.

knows what is the mind of the Spirit -- 1) If "Spirit" here is the Holy Spirit, it simply means that God know and agrees with what He is communicating in his intercession for the saints. 2) If the "spirit" here refers to man’s spirit the meaning is that God "searches" and therefore knows what is in man’s "heart" or in his "mind" and understands our "groans" (Romans 8:26).

Most understand #1 to be the understanding here.

because the Spirit intercedes for the saints -- The Holy Spirit knows our anxious feelings and stands ready to help.

The question here may be: 1) Is the Holy Spirit intercedeing to God on man’s behalf, or 2) is He intercedeing to man on God’s behalf?

The first impression is #1, that He carries the prayers with their feeling, emotions, and intensity to God the Father.

However if #2 is the meaning, the Holy Spirit intercedes to man teaching him (via inspired men and scripture - John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7;) how the saints are to pray "according to the will of God."

because -- CBSC = "is better to render that. “The Father knows the mind of the Spirit; He knows that He intercedes in harmony with His Own will and purpose, and for His Own children.” - CBSC

because He makes intercession -- In the Greek there is no "He" but we understand the reference is to the Holy Spirit from verse Romans 8:26 which states the He makes intercession.

according to the will of God -- The H.S. does His intercession in harmony with God’s purpose or will.

according to the will of God --

1 John 5:14-15. Praying according to the will of God, respects;

1. The matter of our prayers.

2. The manner of our praying.

3. The end thereof, James 4:3. - Poole

A more literal translation would be:

And he that searches the hearts knows the mind of the spirit that according to God he makes intercession on behalf of the saints.

Verse 28

Romans 8:28

And we know -- Introducing another source of consolation and support.

that to them that love God -- To obedient believers. See John 14:15; John 14:23. [Most translations change the order of the Greek here.]

all things -- The "all things" should be taken in the context of the things he is currently speaking on in this context.

"All things" would include:

1) v.27, the Spirit’s intercession for the saints

2) v.26, the Spirit helping in our weakness

3) v.25, persevering in hope

4) v.23, the redemption of our bodies

5) v.21, the glorious liberty of the children of God

6) our adoption as children of God’

And etc.

Are the "all things" that work together to be understood as 1) the afflictions, trials, persecution, and calamities which we endure. OR, 2) the to what God has done for us, as: the incarnation; the cross, the resurrection, the plans for the church?

"all things work together for good." -- This verse is grossly taken out of context and made to apply to any and every thing that may happen to a Christian. Some things that we don’t understand may happen for our good, but that’s not the significance of this passage.

work together for good -- Paul does not say "all these things are good" that happen to a Christian.

Many religious people often take a true statement or a verse out of it contextual meaning and make an axiom out of it and a different application. Such as Romans 8:28; Romans 10:13; James 4:17, etc.

according to his purpose -- God in his providence sends us the things we most need that will make us better people.

to them who are called -- Christians are often represented as the "called" of God. Romans 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:24; Revelation 17:14. It is evidently used in this sense here.

Called out from the world, called to be a people different, called to submit to God and obey His voice.

"To those who love God, to those who are called" are two expressions describing the class class.

The next two verses show that those who would be called was determined from the time God promised a Deliverer for sinning mankind. He would save (justify) those who loved Him and imitated the same character as His Son in their holiness.

Verse 29

Romans 8:29

For those whom He foreknew -- προέγνω proegnō means to "know beforehand". God decided something about some people "beforehand."

he also predestined -- It is about a "class" of people, and not certain individuals indiscriminately that God made a predetermined decision.

predestinate -- God pre-decided that those saved would be those conforming to the image of Christ. Ephesians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 God chose "the means" of our salvation, and what kind of character the saved must possess, before the foundation of the world. God predetermined how men would be saved, (through Christ) not who individually would be saved.

[Read carefully all those passages about predestination and you’ll note that it is the how, the method, the who would do the saving, and not that one individual is selected indiscriminately to be saved and another rejected.]

predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son -- God determined that those who would be "brothers" and adopted into his family would be those "conformed to the image of His Son", that is, they would be holy, and without blame Ephesians 1:4.

the firstborn among many brothers -- Christ would be among those saved as the firstborn among brothers. The Lord spoke of his disciples as "brothers" and such are addressed in the epistles as "brethren." Matthew 12:49-50; Matthew 23:8; Luke 8:21; Luke 22:32; Romans 12:1; etc.

The "firstborn" was one who had preeminence among his brothers.

Verse 30

Romans 8:30

Moreover -- Paul is going to say that one point implied the other.

whom He predestined -- Those who bore a likeness to Christ in their character.

Predestinate -- That those saved must be conforming to the image of Christ. Ephesians 1:4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 God chose "the means" of our salvation, and what kind of character the saved must possess, before the foundation of the world. God predetermined what type of men would be saved, not who individually would be saved.

[Read carefully all those passages about predestination and you’ll note that it is the how, the method, the who would do the saving, and not that one individual is selected indiscriminately to be saved and another rejected. God calls all men by the Gospel Mark 16:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Revelation 22:17, those who obey and conform to the image of His Son will be saved.]

these He also called -- Those that are termed "the called out" are those bearing the character of godliness and holiness of Christ. The very Greek word for the "church" is ἐκκλησίᾳ "the called out ones".

God calls His people to come out from the world and be like Christ in character, in purity and holiness.

these He also justified -- God proposed that in Christ’s sacrifice men would find forgiveness, reconciliation, and be justified. God’s plan for saving men from their sins was made long before Christ was born into this world; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; See the note on justification at Romans 3:24.

justified ... He also glorified -- This probably refers to heaven. God will "glorify" those who conform to the image of His Son. He predestined this plan.

Verse 31

Romans 8:31

What then shall we say -- What conclusion shall we draw in the face of God’s plans and provisions for us, as we have just seen?

If God be for us -- Since God is on outside, and is our friend, as he has shown himself to be by adopting us Romans 8:15, by granting to us his Spirit Romans 8:16-17, Romans 8:26-27, and by his gracious purpose to save us, Romans 8:29-30), who could stand against us!

Remind us of what Gamaliel said in the Sanhedrin meeting, Acts 5:38-39.

who can be against us? -- The implication is that clearly no one can stand against us successfully. Neither Satan nor any earthly foe can stand against God’s people when all is said and done.

The rest of this chapter is considered a hymn of triumph over this assurance of salvation.

Verse 32

Romans 8:32

The rest of this chapter is considered a hymn of triumph over this assurance of salvation.

He who did not spare His own Son, -- God did not retain or keep His own Son from suffering and death.

delivered Him up -- Gave him into the hands of men, and to a cruel death; Note, Acts 2:23.

for us all -- Christ’s death makes atonement for all who will accept Him as Lord, turning to God in faith and obedience.

also freely give us all things -- If he gave his Son to die for us, it is impossible that he should refuse us anything that will help or bless us. He has nothing he values more than his Son.

The argument is from the greater to the less. He that has given the greater gift will not withhold the less.

Verse 33

Romans 8:33

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? -- This expression is taken from courts of law, and means, who shall accuse, or condemn, or so charge with crime before the tribunal of God as to cause their condemnation?

God’s elect -- This is the first place in this Epistle where believers are styled "the elect." God’s chosen people.

It is God who justifies -- It is God, the Supreme Judge, who has pardoned them, and admitted them to his favor; and pronounced them just in his sight; This seems to be taken from Isaiah 50:8-9. Note Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24.

Verse 34

Romans 8:34

Who is he who condemns? -- Who is more powerful than God that they could muster a condemnation of God’s people? No one.

It is Christ who died -- Christ, was the sin offering for atonement! No greater or more precious offering could be made.

Or as it may be rendered, “Shall Christ who has died, condemn them?” The argument here is, that as Christ died to save them, and not to destroy them, he will not condemn them.

and furthermore is also risen -- He conquered death, and was victorious over him who had dominion there.

“He rose for their justification” (Note, Romans 4:25); and as this was the object which he had in view, it follows that he will not condemn them.

who is even at the right hand of God -- Invested with power, and dignity, and authority in heaven. Mark 16:19.

This is a third consideration to show that Christ will not condemn us, and that our salvation is secure.

This is an anthropomorphic metaphor. This metaphor speaks of the place of power, authority and preeminence. Some thhink Paul was quoting an early Christian hymn Romans 8:34 (cf. Philippians 2:6 ff.; 1 Timothy 3:16).

who also makes intercession for us -- Who pleads our cause; who presents our interests before the mercy-seat in heaven. For this purpose he ascended to heaven; Hebrews 7:25. Note Romans 8:26

This is the fourth consideration which the apostle urges for the security of our salvation drawn from the work of Christ.

This verse lists several reasons why there is "no condemnation" (cf. Romans 8:1).

1. He died

2. He was raised

3. He is at God’s right hand

4. He intercedes for believers - (Utley)

Verse 35

Romans 8:35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? -- The Greek expression like the English is ambiguous and may mean either our love for Christ or His love for us.

1) If one considers it is speaking of our love for Christ it should be understand in the sense: "Who shall cause us to cease loving the Savior?" Our love for the Lord is so strong it will surmount and survive all opposition and trials.

2) However, the object of the passage seem to be to assure us that once God made His decision to not spare His own Son His love us became so fixed that nothing could refute his plan to provide salvation.

It seems clear from the closing two verses of the chapter that it is speaking of God’s love for us.

Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? -- Depending on which direction we understand the love going:

1) We should let nothing like this mentioned here cause us to grow weary and give up our love and devotion to Almighty God.

2) All that the saints must endure should not cause them to doubt or question God’s love for them.

Shall tribulation, &c. -- He makes an enumeration of particular evils, of seven in number; and he begins with the lesser, and rises to the greater; placing them in order, not casually, but by choice. - Poole

tribulation -- Signified anything that presses down upon up.

distress -- Signified the pressure being caught in a strait.

persecution -- The word properly signifies a driving from place to place; banishment is implied therein, if not chiefly intended: see Matthew 10:23.

peril -- Any danger or hazard of life, in any kind whatsoever, see 2 Corinthians 11:26.

sword -- This is put figuratively for death itself, especially violent death.

Verse 36

Romans 8:36

As it is written -- Psalms 44:22. The condition of saints in the time of the psalmist was similar to that of Christians in the time of Paul.

For your sake -- In thy cause; or for righteousness’ sake Matthew 5:10 Matthew 10:18; Matthew 10:39; 1 Peter 3:14.

we are killed -- We are subject to, or exposed to death. We endure sufferings equivalent to dying; compare 1 Corinthians 4:9. 1 Corinthians 15:31 2 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 4:11.

all day long -- Continually, constantly. There is no intermission to our danger, and to our exposure to death. Psalms 38:6; Psalms 38:12; Psalms 71:24; Psalms 73:14; Proverbs 23:17; Romans 10:21.

we are accounted -- We are reckoned, regarded, or dealt with as if we are designed for destruction. Psalms 44:11-12;

as sheep for the slaughter -- Our enemies judge that we ought to die, and deem us the appropriate subjects of slaughter, with as little concern or remorse as the lives of sheep are taken.

The argument seems to be this: The saints of old have endured all manner of sufferings, and yet remained faithful to God, they did not doubt God’s love for them.

Here let me insert a tragical story of the Christians of Calabria, that suffered persecution, A.D. 1560. They were all shut up in one house together, as in a sheepfold: an executioner comes in, and among them takes one, and blindfolds him with a muffler about his eyes, and so leadeth him forth to a larger place, where he commandeth him to kneel down; which being done, he cutteth his throat, and so leaveth him half dead; and taking his butcher’s knife and muffler, all of gore blood, he cometh again to the rest, and so leading them one after another, he despatcheth them, to the number of eighty-eight, no otherwise than a butcher doth his sheep. Fox’s Acts and Monuments. - Poole

Verse 37

Romans 8:37

Yet in all these things -- In spite of all these tragedy mentioned in vs. 35-36 (Romans 8:35-36) none of them can lead us away from Christ.

we are more than conquerors -- We are the victors, not they!vThe word used here is a strong, emphatic expression, such as the apostle Paul often employs (compare 2 Corinthians 4:17), and which is used with great force and appropriateness here.

The meaning seems to be this: The devil aims, in all the sufferings of God’s children, to draw them off from Christ, to make them murmur, despair, &c.; but in this he is defeated and disappointed, for God inspires his children with such a generous and noble spirit, that sufferings abate not their zeal and patience, but rather increase them. - Poole

more than conquerors -- Illustration. It reminds us of the football rivalry between Rogersville and Lexington. If one won by just the score of 7 to 6, that is too close for much bragging, but if the score was 76-0, then they are "more than conquerors."

we are more than conquerors - ( ὑπερνικῶμεν hupernikōmen). Late and rare compound. Here only in N.T. (pres. tense, “keep on being conquerors to a greater degree” or “keep on winning a glorious victory”)

Williams’ NT "we keep on gloriously conquering".

through Him who loved us -- Again notice the assertion that this passage is about the Lord’s love for us. 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:17.

Verse 38

Romans 8:38

For I am persuaded -- Convinced, (perfect tense, “I stand convinced”; cf. Romans 15:14) The expression here implies unwavering certainty.

Paul’s list of 10 items begins with death, where the list of 7 items in Romans 8:35 ended.

that neither death nor life -- In either (1) death or (2) life [2 Corinthians 5:8-9] Christians are in God’s presence.

neither death -- Neither the fear of death, nor all the pains and tortures of the dying scene, even in the most painful trials of persecution.

nor life -- Nor the hope of life; the love of life; probably the offer of life made to us by our persecutors, on condition of renouncing our Christian faith.

nor angels -- Good angels would not try to alienate God from his children. (So Paul may have in mind evil angels.)

nor principalities -- (ἀρχαὶ archai). This word usually refers to magistrates and civil rulers. But it is also applied to evil angels who have some kind of dominion or rule. Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:24.

principalities and powers -- Some understand these to reference persecuting princes and potentates.

nor powers -- This word δυνάμεις dunameis is often applied to magistrates; but it is also applied to evil spirits that have some kind dominion, or area of power or control; 1 Corinthians 15:24. The ancient Rabbis also give the name powers to evil angels. (Schleusner.)

The Jews Rabbis divided the angels of heaven into various ranks and orders, traces of which custom we find often in the Scriptures. And there is also reason to suppose that they made such a division with reference to evil angels, regarding Satan as their leader, and other evil spirits, divided into various ranks, as subordinate to him; see Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15.

Paul is making it clear that no order of evil angels, or spiritual entities, however powerful, artful, or numerous, would be able to alienate God from the love he has for his adopted children.

nor things present -- Present situations or circumstances whether good or bad.

not things to come -- There is nothing in the future, no unknown possibilities which could turn God away from loving his children.

Verse 39

Romans 8:39

no height nor depth -- Paul is being exhaustive; nothing in heaven or hell, nor any inhabitant of either can separate God’s care, concern, and love for us.

These terms were used for the apogee and perigee of stars, that were believed to be gods who controlled human’s lives (astrology). Later they became technical terms in the heresy called Gnosticism for the eons or angelic levels between the holy god and the lesser god who formed sinful matter. - Utley

nor any other [creature] created thing -- This takes in the whole compass of created beings in heaven, earth, and sea; and most strongly expresses that there is nothing in the whole universe which can separate us from the love of God.

shall be able to separate us from the love of God -- From Romans 8:37 we see that Paul’s reference is to God’s love for us.

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord -- God’s love is expressed to us in what Christ Jesus did for us. Love is summed up in Calvary.

Vs. 39 It is a false doctrine that says we can never be separated from God, [Isaiah 59:2] BUT it is true that nothing can separated God’s love from us!! John 3:16.

Vs. 38-39 is teaching is that there is NO Power that is stronger than God; NO Power that can repudiate or invalidate God’s plan to save us through Christ Jesus!

What a climactic way to affirm the certainty of believers’ salvation! - BKC

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Romans 8". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/romans-8.html. 2021.
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