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the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 8

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


There is no condemnation now. Condemnation is in every sense out of the question! [But there are some qualifiers! See note on James 2:19.] In chapter 6, Paul shows us that in BAPTISM, the Christian dies to sin. In chapter 7, he shows us that this death terminates our “marriage” to the Law. In chapter 8, he shows us that the Holy Spirit living in each CHRISTIAN (John 7:38-39; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:22) breaks the power of sin and makes it possible to choose to obey God. For those who live in union with Christ Jesus. “No condemnation” applies only to those who are united to Christ in a living union. Compare 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Verse 2


For the law of the Spirit. Wesley says: “Gospel has freed us from the Mosaic Law.” The “law of the Spirit” is the GOSPEL, the Good News of God’s act in Christ to set us free, including the facts, commands, and promises that form part of this. Has set me free. “In my union to Christ, I am already set free from the power of sin and the curse of the Law.” Lipscomb says: “It is Imagined that through the death of Christ in some way an indulgence from God was secured by which man might be allowed greater license in neglecting the law of God and in going his own way. This is a fatal mistake.”

Verse 3


What the Law could not do. The Law, which Jews were so proud of, could not change human nature. It had no real answer for the problem of sin and death. It was not the righteous demands of the Law that were weak, but human nature. There were many devout and holy men under the Law, but the fact that they were friends of God was due to the grace that would come through Christ (Galatians 3:8; Hebrews 9:15). By sending his own son. God acted in history by sending the Eternal Logos in human form with exactly the same nature as ours! The Son of God could take the humanity of his human mother Mary without any sinfulness. Some teach “original sin” to mean that sin itself is built into human nature, and this requires them to invent an “immaculate conception” for Mary to explain the sinlessness of Jesus. But not sin itself, only the guilt and destruction it brings, forms part of our human nature. To do away with sin. He did this by: (1) his sinless life (under human limitations;) (2) his death to cancel sin; (3) his rising from death to life, which we can reach out and seize through faith (Romans 6:4).

Verse 4


So that the righteous demands of the Law. Paul said the Law was spiritual (Romans 7:12; Romans 7:14). It offered life to all who kept it PERFECTLY, but crushed all who violated its righteous demands. Christ fulfilled the Law (gave it real meaning) in the fact that he perfectly kept all of its righteous demands! When Christ, as the Proxy of all mankind, fulfilled the Law, it was just as if every man had fulfilled the Law. When Christ died to pay the Law’s penalty for sin, it was just as if every sinner had died and paid for his sins. Paul reminds us of this in 2 Corinthians 5:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Who live according to the Spirit. Beza pictures the believer as absolutely passive in satisfying the righteous demands of the Law in Christ. It is true that our salvation is ENTIRELY due to God’s act in Christ, yet we have been set free from the power of sin and the curse of death IN ORDER THAT we may live according to the Spirit. Luther’s comment helps us put it in the right perspective: “This Spirit makes us spiritual, subdues the flesh [human nature], and assures us that as long as we follow the Spirit, resist sin, and endeavor to slay it, we are, nevertheless, the children of God, no matter how violently sin rages in us.” See James 2:22-23.

Verse 5


As their human nature tells them to. Those who live without Christ are described in Galatians 5:19-21. As the Spirit tells them to. The Spirit tells us what we should know through the written word! It is not fear of punishment which makes us live as the Spirit tells us, but LOVE (1 John 4:18).

Verse 6


To have your mind controlled. Compare what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, and see note there. Allowing our human nature to make us its slave, brings death. Allowing the Spirit to make us his “slave” brings life and peace! The quality of our faith is demonstrated in our life.

Verse 7


And so a man becomes an enemy of God. Human nature is hostile to God. All who ALLOW themselves to be slaves to their human nature find it impossible to obey God’s law.

Verse 8


Cannot please God. No one, in all ages of time, could ever please God by allowing the evil desires of human nature to control himself.

Verse 9


But you do not live. “You can please God, because you are not controlled by your human nature.” He speaks to those who have been set free from the law of sin and death. If, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. See Romans 8:16. The Spirit of Christ = the Spirit of God = the Holy Spirit. Shepherd says: “The possession of the Holy Spirit is declared to be absolutely necessary to our being acceptable to God.” See Galatians 4:6.

Verse 10


But if Christ lives in you. Both God and Christ live in the Christian through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Note that “God’s Spirit lives in you,” “have the Spirit of Christ,” and “Christ lives in you,” all express the same important fact. Are going to die. Not “dead in sin,” nor “dead to sin,” but all will die physically because of the sin of Adam (Romans 5:17). Yet the Spirit is life. This is in contrast to the phrase: “are going to die.” This is explained in Romans 8:11.

Verse 11


If the Spirit of God. Lipscomb says: “The Holy Spirit actually dwells in every obedient believer.” Who raised Jesus from death. See John 5:21; John 5:28-29. Will also give life to your mortal bodies. Compare Ephesians 1:13-14 :1 John 3:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20.

Verse 12


We have an obligation. Our HOPE in Christ obligates us to him! But we have no such obligation to our human nature.

Verse 13


For if. After dying with Christ, you could return to sin and let your human nature drag you down to death (2 Peter 2:20-22). But if, by the Spirit. Note it is not your mortal body which you kill, but the SINFUL ACTIONS of your human nature. We cannot do this by our own strength. We do it with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 14


Those who are led. See Acts 10:34-35. How are they led? (1) They have given themselves as “slaves” to God; (2) the Holy Spirit is their Helper (Romans 8:26). Compare Philippians 2:12-13. God’s sons. Compare John 3:5.

Verse 15


Does not make you a slave. Slave is contrasted with son. In the world of the first century, about half the population were slaves. They knew the fear and terror of slavery. This is not what God’s Spirit gives. Christians are God’s sons (and daughters) through the Spirit. Compare Galatians 4:6 Father! My Father! We have both the status and the spirit of sons! Paul is pointing back to their baptism (Romans 6:5-6; Acts 2:38 and notes) as the time they were adopted into the family of God and received the Holy Spirit.

Verse 16


To declare that we are God’s children. See 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14. Lipscomb says: “The Spirit gives directions through the word of truth how to become children of God. Our spirits bear witness as to whether from the heart we have complied with these conditions, and so they jointly bear testimony that we are children of God.”

Verse 17


Since we are his children. He speaks to those who can look back to a point in time where they were adopted as God’s children. See note on Colossians 2:12. We will possess the blessings. A son inherits everything his father has. We, as God’s children, will inherit the riches of Eternity! Everything that belongs to Christ as a natural SON, belongs to us as well, in our union with him. For If we share Christ’s suffering. Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:3 and note.

Verse 18


I consider. “The thoughts of suffering with Christ should not terrify you.” Paul gives three reasons: (1) the groaning of creation (Romans 8:19-22); (2) we groan as we wait in hope (Romans 8:23-25); (3) the groaning of the Holy Spirit, who is our prayer-partner (Romans 8:26-27). Cannot be compared at all. See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Verse 19


All of creation waits. Chrysostom says: “Paul personifies the world, just as the prophets do when they make the floods to clap their hands.” The total created universe looks forward to that time when God’s children will have reached their climax and be revealed in all their glory! Compare Colossians 1:20.

Verse 20


For creation was condemned. Lipscomb says: “As a result of Adam’s sin, the whole creation was cursed and fell away from its original design and became subject to the reign of death.” “Was condemned” points back to the sin of Adam, when God cursed the earth (and all creation). See Genesis 3:17; Isaiah 24:6; Jeremiah 12:4. Yet there was this hope. Even before creation, it was decided that Christ would come as the “second Adam.” Genesis 3:15 is a promise.

Verse 21


That creation itself. This ties in with the promise of Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.

Verse 22


All of creation groans with pain. These groans of pain are a prophecy of the time of future freedom!

Verse 23


We who have the Spirit. This is Paul’s second reason (see Romans 8:18). This also points to the glorious future! As the first of God’s gifts. APARCHE – FIRST-PORTION (Jewish term for anything set apart to God before the remainder could be used). The Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive everything God has for us. We also groan. We have experienced this new life in the Spirit, and this makes us want to escape from this life and rise triumphant in our new bodies. Therefore, we groan as we wait in hope. And set out whole being free. Only after death is destroyed, can we be totally free. Compare Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 5:2.

Verse 24


For it was by hope. In the Bible, “hope” is something you expect to happen. We are “put right with God” now, and we are children of God now! However, our whole being has not been set free yet, and we look into the future expecting this to happen! Romans 8:24-25 explain the “we wait” of Romans 8:23.

Verse 25


But If we hope. Read the introduction to Revelation. Without hope, we would sink into despair!

Verse 26


In the same way. This is Paul’s third reason (see Romans 8:18). The Spirit himself helps our weakness and is our prayer-partner. R. W. Dale wrote: “The whole passage illustrates in even a startling manner the truth and reality of the ‘coming’ of the Holy Spirit – the extent to which, if I may venture to say it, He has separated Himself – as Christ did at His Incarnation – from His eternal glory and blessedness, and entered into the life of man . . . His intercession for us – so intimately does He share all the evils of our condition – is a kind of agony.”

Verse 27


And God . . . knows. Neither the Spirit nor Christ plead with God for men in general, but only for those who are united to Christ – his people. Only Jesus brings God and men together [mediator] (1 Timothy 2:5), but others can plead with God for us (compare Genesis 18:23-33). Even though we cannot find words to pray, or are ignorant of the true nature of things (such as in a crisis), the Holy Spirit is our prayer-partner, and pleads with God for us, And in accordance with his will. This is explained in the next verse.

Verse 28


We know that in all things. God is able to use suffering, sadness, poverty, imprisonment, death, etc., to call his people to Eternity. “Every problem contains an opportunity, and every opportunity contains a problem.” Compare 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Acts 28:16 and note. Those whom he has called. The best comment on this is 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. See notes there also.

Verse 29


Had already chosen. Lipscomb understands this in the sense of Hebrews 11:39-40.That is, the men of the Old Testament who “would be made perfect only with us.” Add to this the men of old who raised from death after Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53), who Lipscomb thinks went into Eternity with Jesus. All this, then, is strong proof that “God works for good with those who love him. “Johnson sees in this a “choosing on the basis of foreknowledge,” Compare Psalms 139:16 : “You saw me before I was born. The days that had been created for me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them had ever begun.” See also Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 21:27. A third factor is that we had nothing to do with the planning of God’s act in Christ to set us free. In this sense, the whole thing is taken out of our hands. The truth of Romans 5:18 was an accomplished fact before mankind found out about it. Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.

Verse 30


He also shared his glory. We can imagine God saying: “I see that you love me and believe in Christ; and therefore I decree that you will become like My Son and share His glory.”

Verse 31


Faced with all this, what can we say? He has shown us God’s love and mercy, and the future glory of God’s people. If God is for us? No doubt about it! God is for us (who believe in him). Who can be against us? No one, man or angel or Devil, can cheat us of our promise in Christ! They may persecute us, and even kill us physically, but because we are united to Christ, they cannot destroy our relationship with him! [But we can ourselves.]

Verse 32


He did not even keep back his own Son. If he gave his Son to die for us, it is impossible that God would be against us or cancel his promises.

Verse 33


Who will accuse God’s chosen people. Neither God nor Christ will do this, and Satan cannot, since we are pronounced “Not Guilty.” This shows how secure we are in God’s love!!! But note we are still responsible for our own actions (Hebrews 6:4-6; Romans 2:5-6; Matthew 12:41-42).

Verse 34


Can anyone, then, condemn them? See Romans 8:1.

Verse 35


Who, then, can separate us? No external force or condition can do it!!! The Book of Revelation is written to show us the victory that is already won in Christ!!! It may look like the Devil is winning, but Christ conquered the Devil at the Cross and the Empty Tomb!!!

Verse 36


As the scripture says. He quotes Psalms 44:22 in the Septuagint, to show that the suffering mentioned in Romans 8:35 is in perfect harmony with God’s promises.

Verse 37


No, in all these things. Suffering will not cause us to abandon Christ! We have complete victory! The ordeal of suffering not only does not cut us off from Christ’s love, but it actually gives us more intimate [intrinsic] and thrilling experiences of it!!!

Verse 38


For I am certain. Paul is certain that no hostile power in all the universe can separate us from his love!!! Neither death nor life. These go in pairs. “If Christ’s love can hold us in and through death, what is left for us to fear?” See John 8:51; John 10:28; John 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Hebrews 2:14-15. Neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers. Good and bad angels (see Ephesians 6:12). Neither the present nor the future. Whatever happens. 1 Corinthians 3:22.

Verse 39


Neither the world above nor the world below. No limitations of time or space. There is nothing. This shows our promise through Christ!!! God gives us his love through Jesus Christ, and Paul sings his praises in these last eight verses!!! Only Eternity will show us the completeness of God’s love in Christ to us.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/romans-8.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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