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PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHAPTERS 6–8
After the Apostle has exhibited the antithesis of Adam and Christ in its principal or fundamental form and significance, Romans 5:12-21, he passes on to exhibit the same antithesis in all its consequences, first of all for believers, but then also for the whole world.
The negative side of this consequence is exhibited in chaps. 6 and Romans 7:0 : The dying with Christ to sin and to the entire old form of life.
The positive side is exhibited in Romans 8:0 : The new life in Christ.
I. The first division is again divided into four parts.
A. As Christians have fundamentally (objectively by the death of Christ himself, and subjectively through the faith sealed by baptism) died with Christ to sin in order to walk in newness of life, so should they act as those who are dead to sin. For their new life is an organic connection with Christ, an organic development; yet it is not a life subject to fatalistic natural necessity, but, in conformity with fellowship with Christ, it is a life in true freedom, as life after Adam has been one in false freedom, or the seeming freedom of hard service. It is a religiously or ethically organic relation; Romans 6:1-11.
B. Because believers are dead to sin, they are free from its dominion. They should therefore take knowledge of the fact that they are delivered, and keep themselves from the bondage of sin; and in the power of their freedom, they should yield themselves under grace to be the servants of righteousness; Romans 6:12-23.
C. But their being dead to sin means also that they, as those who passed into newness of life, have received in themselves the new principle of life, which is righteousness, or the inward substance of the law. Therefore, by Christ, they are dead to the law in the narrower sense, in which they lived in matrimonial alliance. They should serve, not in outward ordinances, but inward principle—from the force of grace, the impulse of the heart; Romans 7:1-6.
D. But if to be dead to sin means also to be dead to the law, as well as the reverse, there follows nothing therefrom contrary to the holiness of the law. The law, rather, was designed, by its constant operation in awakening and increasing the conflict with sin, to effect the transition from the state of sin to the state of grace; Romans 7:7-25.
II. The second or positive part is thus prepared. The condition of believers is free from all condemnation, because, in harmony with its character, it is a life in the Spirit of Christ. But it is a life in the Spirit which is prepared by the Spirit through the glorification of the body and the whole nature; for the Spirit, as the Spirit of adoption, is the first security for it, and the believer is certain of it before-hand in blessed hope; chap. 8.
A. This life in the Spirit now demands, first of all, the laying off, in the conduct of the Christian, of all carnal lusts, which must, however, be distinguished from a positively ascetic mortification of the body; Romans 8:1-10.
B. As the Spirit of God testifies to adoption, so does it, as the Spirit of the risen Christ, secure the inheritance—that is, the renewal of the body, and the glorification of life; v Romans 8:11-17. The certainty of this blessed hope is established: a. On the development of life in this world, Romans 8:18-30; b. On the future or heavenly administration of the love of God and the grace of Christ, which make all the forces that apparently conflict with salvation even serviceable to its realization; Romans 8:31-39.
Meyer’s inscription over chaps. 6–8 is: “Ethical Effects of the δίχαιοσύνη θεοῦ. Chap. 6; 7 shows that the δικ., far from giving aid to immorality, is the first to exclude it, and to promote, restore, and vitalize virtue; and chap. 8 exhibits the blessed condition of those who, being justified, are morally free.” Tholuck: “It has been shown down to this point how much the Christian has received by that δικ. πιστ.; Romans 1:17. It is the mention of the fulness of grace called forth by the power of sin, that now leads the Apostle to exhibit the moral consequences of this communication of grace, which in turn leads him further (chap. 7). to the statement of the insufficiency of the legal economy; and in antithesis thereto (chap. 8), to the moral effects of the economy of grace and its saving issue; so that the Apostle, after amplifying and enriching the explanations between Romans 1:18 and chap. 5, returns to the same point with which chap. 5 concluded.” The Apostle does, indeed, return to the same point with which, not the whole of chap. 5 concluded, but with which Romans 5:11. concluded, but in a sense altogether different, inasmuch as from Romans 5:12 on, the Apostle brings out, not merely the actual antagonism of sin and grace in humanity, as before, but the principial antagonism of the two principles in its ethical and organic aspect.
Sixth Section.—Christian life, or life in the Spirit of Christ as the new life according to the law of the Spirit, is a blessed life in the adoption of God; is free from condemnation and death; and leads to perfect blessedness in the glory of God. The principle of the new life as the principle of the freedom and glorification of the Christian, of believing humanity, and even of the creature; chap. 8.
Divisions: I. Life in the Spirit a life of opposition to the flesh; and the Spirit as witness of adoption; Romans 8:1-17. II. The renewal of the body by the life in the Spirit, and the Spirit as the security for glorification; Romans 8:18-39.
I. Life in the Spirit in opposition to the flesh, and the Spirit as the witness of adoption
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which [those who] are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [omit all afterChrist Jesus].1 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free 3[freed me]2 from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that [because] it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [literally, the flesh of sin], and for [or, on account of] sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness [or, requirement]3 of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after [according to]4 the flesh, but after [according to] the Spirit.
5For they that [those who] are after [according to] the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that [those who] are after [according to] the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded [the mind of the flesh]5 is death; but to be spiritually minded [the mind of the Spirit] is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind [the mind of the flesh] is enmity against God: for it is not subject [doth not submit itself]6 to the law of God, neither indeed Song of Song of Solomon 8:0 be [it]. So then [And]7 they that [those who] are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have [hath]8 not the Spirit of Christ, he Isaiah 10:0 none of his. And [But] if Christ be [is] in you, the body is dead because of 11sin; but the Spirit [spirit] is life because of righteousness. But [And] if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus9 from the dead dwell [dwelleth] in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall [will]10 also quicken [quicken even] your mortal bodies by [on account of]11 his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through [by]12 the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body,13 ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the [omit the]14 sons of God. 15For ye have not received [did not receive]15 the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have [omit have] received the Spirit of adoption, whereby [ἐν ᾧ, wherein] we cry,Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with [or, to]16 our spirit, that we are the [omit the] children of God: 17And if children, then [also] heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together [glorified with him].17
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
First Section.—The life in the Spirit18 as the new life, in opposition to the life in the flesh (Romans 8:1-17)
Summary.—a. The vital principle of Christians, or the law of the Spirit as freedom from the antagonistic law of sin (Romans 8:1-4). b. The principle of carnal life in contradiction to the Spirit and to God (Romans 8:5-8). c. Application of what has been said to the fundamental standpoint of believers (Romans 8:9-11). Their life in the Spirit excludes life in the carnal principle. Their Christianity amounts to nothing, if the Spirit is wanting. If Christ is in the spirit, the body is nothing. But the body shall be renewed at the resurrection by the Spirit d. Transition from the ideal and fundamental standpoint to the practical application. The conflict resulting from the victory, and the maxims of this conflict (Romans 8:12-16). No obligation to the flesh.—Spiritual life the means of destroying the surprises of involuntary carnal motions.—Following the guidance of the Spirit.—No fear of the power of the flesh. Childlike recourse to the Father.—The sense of adoption strengthened by the Spirit of God. Romans 8:17 : transition to the following section.19
Meyer: chap. 8. Happy condition of man in Christ.—De Wette: Blessed results of newly-animated morality. Tholuck: For thus the Christian, who has become freed from the law, has also become free from condemnation, and is subject to the guidance of the Spirit of adoption, by virtue of which he will become a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:1-17). The same: “We are here at the climax of the Epistle, ‘at the heart and kernel of the whole Epistle;’ as Spener says: Si scripturam sacram annulo comparemus, epistolam Pauli ad Romanos gemmam credo, cujus summum fastigium in capite octavo exsurgit (Spener, Consilia Theol. Lat., iii. 596).” [Bengel: Nunc venit ad liberationem et libertatem.—R.]
Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no [Ο ὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν. The force of οὐδὲν must not be overlooked—an absolute negation, with an undoubted reference to the completeness of the freedom from condemnation (Forbes).—R.] The ἂρα is quite plain, if we have perceived the alternative in the preceding verse: If I am in the νοῦς, I serve God. If we ignore this alternative, the meaning of the present passage must be doubtful. Tholuck: The older expositors do not generally furnish any proof of the connection of this ἂρα with the preceding chapter. Yet the following connection of it with Romans 7:25, by Augustine, is, in the main, correct: “To him, now, who, as a Christian, non amplius consentit pravis des deriis, and is planted in Christ by baptism, the prava desideria can no more be condemnation.” The Catholic expositors follow him. Bucer, Beza [Alford], and others, connect Romans 8:25 with the thanksgiving; but this assumes that the second half of Romans 8:25 is an interruption. Calixtus, Bengel [Stuart], and others, go back even to Romans 7:6; others [Hodge, Haldane], to the whole argument for justification by faith. Meyer: If I am left to myself to serve the law of God with my reason, but the law of sin with my flesh, then it follows that, since Christ has interposed, there is no condemnation, &c.—[The question of connection is mainly decided by the view of the preceding section. Those who refer it to the regenerate, connect this either with the whole preceding argument, or, with Philippi, with the preceding verse, in the sense: Although I am thus divided in service, still, being in Christ Jesus, there is now, therefore, &c.; or with the thanksgiving. If Lange’s view of the alternative be admitted, we must also accept his view of the connection. It seems to be an unwarranted breaking up of the current of thought, to go back as far as Romans 7:6; and to refer to the whole train of argument, seems out of keeping with the continuous experimental character of the whole passage. It is best to connect, therefore, with the thanksgiving.—R.]—Νῦν, the intervening state of faith, expressed last in Romans 8:25. [Νῦν is temporal, in distinction from ο ὖν (Romans 8:25), which is inferential. Hence the continuance of this state is implied.—R.]
No condemnation [κατὰκριμα, Verdammungsurtheil, sentence of condemnation (Lange). See p. 184 (Romans 5:16), where it is used in antithesis to δικαἱωμα. It may be limited to the justifying act of God at the beginning of the Christian life, but, joined with οὐδὲν, seems to have a wider reference here.—R.] Origen, Erasmus, Luther, and others, explain: nothing worthy of condemnation; but this is opposed by the τοῖς. See also Romans 8:34. Comp. Romans 5:16. Koppe generalizes nullæ pœnœ [Alford: no penal consequence of sin, original and actual], which so far at le belongs to the affair that even the temporal punishment, as punishment, and as prelude to the final condemnation, is abolished in the case of Christians. And this is so, not only because their sins are forgiven (Pareus), but because they are in Christ in consequence thereof.
[The question of the reference to justification or sanctification must affect the interpretation of condemnation, since Romans 8:2, beginning with γἀρ, seems to introduce a proof. The position of the chapter in the Epistle, as well as a fair exegesis of the verses, sustain the reference to sanctification. (Not to the entire exclusion of the other, any more than they are sundered in Christian experience.) We must, then, take no condemnation in a wide sense, either as deliverance both from sin and death (Forbes), or as having indeed a reference to the justifying act already past, but meaning, rather, the continuance in a state of justification; culminating in final acquittal and glory. The point of connection with Romans 8:24 (“death”), is the former reference; with the succeeding proof, the latter. This avoids sundering salvation into two distinct parts. The significant phrase which follows favors this view. Still, the position of the verse warrants us in finding a very distinct reference to the act of pardon, as preceding (and involving as a gracious consequence) the work of sanctification.—R.]
[To those who are in Christ Jesus, τοῐς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ]. This does not mean precisely, to have the Spirit of Christ, or Christ in you (Meyer), but it denotes the permanent continuance in justification—a life whose effect is the life of Christ in us. [This deeply significant Pauline phrase must never be weakened or limited. As to its beginnings, Augustine is excellent: Christus in homine, ubi fides in corde. As to its continuance, Bucer: A Christo pendere atque ejus spiritus in omnibus agi. But the best explanation is John 15:1-7, and Ephesians 1:23, &c. Hodge says: in Him federally, vitally, by faith; but the vital union seems always prominent; especially is it so here.—R.]
On the addition, see Textual Note. [Besides what is there remarked, the question of connection suggests, that the interpolation may have been occasioned by a desire to relieve the apparent difficulty in making Romans 8:2 prove the justification of the believer. To do this, the clause which makes prominent the Christian walk, so easily borrowed from Romans 8:4, was inserted.—R.]
Romans 8:2. For the law of the Spirit of life, &c. [ὁγὰρνὸμος τοῦ πνεύματος τῆς ζωῆς ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ]. Romans 8:2 specifies the ground20 why Christians are free from condemnation. The principal question here is, whether, ἐν κριστῷ is to be referred to the following ἠλενυ ἑρωσεν, or to the foregoing, and how far to the foregoing? Meyer, in accordance with Theodoret, Erasmus, Rückert (not “Tholuck”), Olshausen, Philippi, and De Wette has also connected the ἐν χριστῶ with ἠλενθ. But this distorts the thought, as if that Spirit of life could possibly deliver without Christ. Certainly ἐν χριστῷ refers not alone to the foregoing ζωῆς (Luther, Beza, and others); and ζωή here is not the believer’s subjective life in Christ, but Christ’s original divine-human life itself. We must also not go back to τοῦ πνεύμ. τῆς ζωῆς alone (Flatt), but to the whole ὁ νόμος τοῦ πνεύμ. τ. ζ. (Calvin, Köllner, Tholuck).21 The fulness of life in Christ is the Spirit (see John 6:63); it is complete in itself, conscious, actual, and communicates itself as a unity with the Holy Spirit. It is just for this reason, also, the glorification of the νόμος, the personal righteousness; and as it has proved itself to be the completed νόμος, the ideal and dynamical principle of the Divine law in the obedience of Christ, so does it now prove itself to those who are in Christ; that is, justification becomes in them the principle of sanctification. But because this life-giving law takes the place of the Mosaic law—which could not deliver, but was completed by sin and death—there lies in the appropriation of this glorified law freedom from the law of sin and death.22
The law of the Spirit is not identical with the νόμος τοῦ νοός (Köllner, Schröder), but still the latter is connected with the former. The νόμος of the νοῦς is the ontological disposition which has attained its complete historical and concrete realization in the νόμος of the Spirit. Meyer observes, that the Christian institution of salvation is not meant, as νόμος πίστεως in Romans 3:27. Yet it is surely identical, to a certain degree, with the νόμοςπίστ., but not with the Christian institution of salvation.23
Of the Spirit. Meyer explains: of the Holy Spirit. And this is, indeed, substantially the fact; but the Holy Spirit is spoken of so far as He reveals himself concretely in the vital plenitude of Christ. Tholuck’s exposition is in the same direction: “The Spirit of life is that by which the spiritual life is effected in believers.” The law of the Spirit is the impulse and guidance of the Spirit, under the reciprocal action between the principle of faith and the administration of God’s government in the occurrences of life.
Freed me [ἠλευθέρωσέν με. The verb is aorist, referring to a past act, viz., the deliverance both from sin and from death, which took place at regeneration. Not completed, but begun when in Christ Jesus, and to be completed in Him.—R.] This expression constitutes an antithesis to the bringing me into captivity, just as the law of the Spirit of life is an antithesis to the law of sin and death [τοῦνόμου τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τοῦ θανάτου.]24 Because the false law of sinful propensity in the members is, according to Romans 7:23, a law of sin, so is it also a law which tends to death, according to Romans 8:24. Although the Apostle the designs to say that this freedom is followed by freedom from the Mosaic law (Romans 6:14), it is nevertheless utterly wrong to understand, by the expression before us, the moral law (Wolf), or the Mosaic law (Pareus, and others). How far has the believer been made free from this law? Evidently, freedom from the dominion of sin (Greek and Roman Catholic expositors), effected by freedom from the penalty of sin (Protestant expositors), is meant. Yet the νόμος πνεύμ. is not altogether identical with the νόμος πίστ. (Calovius). In the law of faith, the emphasis rests on the faith, but here on the νόμος; there, the question is the principle of justification, but here, the principle of holiness. The individualizing με ceases here.
Romans 8:3. For what the law could not do [τὸ γὰρ ]. The Mosaic law was incapable of effecting this liberation; therefore redemption took its place. On account of the connection of thought with the foregoing, the explanatory and appositional conclusion, what to the law was impossible, is made antecedent as apposition; by Winer, it is defined as an accusative, governed by ἐποίησε (Winer, p. 217, § 32. 7); by Olshausen, as accusative absolute (“as far as the possibility of the law was concerned”); [Hodge: in view of the impotency of the law.—R.]; and by Rückert, Meyer, Fritzsche, and De Wette, as an antecedent nominative. For analogous forms, see Meyer25 and Tholuck; particularly κεφάλαιον δέ, Hebrews 8:1. As nominative, the word acquires the character of a superscription, to be introduced with a colon; yet not as “rhetorical emphasis,” but as making prominent the difference between law and gospel. Erasmus and Luther supply an ἐποίησε before θεός, not agreeably to the forms, yet certainly in harmony with the thought. The genitive νόμου denotes the incapacity of the law to deliver from sin (Vater has referred the νόμ. to the law of the Spirit; Schulthess, to the law of Divine and human love).
In that it was weak. The ἐν ᾧ cannot mean while here; Meyer translates, in so far as, which appears too limited. [Luther, Calvin, Tholuck, De Wette, Philippi, Stuart, Hodge, render because, which is demanded by the context.—R.] The ἠσθένει again takes up the idea of incapacity.
Through the flesh [διὰ τῆς σαρκός]. Meyer: Through the guilt of the flesh. Besser: Through effect of the flesh. We must not forget the fact, that the division of the σάρξ has also made out of the law a division of the carnal letter. [The preposition διά with the genitive here marks the medium through which the law proved its weakness and inability, viz., the flesh (in its strict ethical sense). The law acted not on spiritual, but carnal men, and, through this medium, its inability to do what God did in sending His Son was proven.—R.]
God sending his own Son. The Apostle describes the redeeming act of God both in its pertinent meaning and in its medium. The medium was: God sent His own Son (in antithesis to the sending of the law by angels; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2); and He sent him in the likeness of sinful flesh, or, of the flesh of sin, and on account of sin.—He sent him. Declaration of preëxistence. [Philippi rightly finds in this verse not only a declaration of the preëxistence of Christ, but of His existence as Son; the description which follows having a soteriological, rather than a christological reference.—R.]
In the likeness of sinful flesh [ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας. Sinful flesh is not altogether exact. Σάρξ must mean the whole human man nature; the ethical force, however, lies in the genitive, which defines it: whose attribute and character was sin (Alford). The Orthodox fathers (comp. Theodoret, Theophylact, Tertullian) rightly use this text. “Christ did not appear in the flesh of sin, which was the Ebionite view, nor in the likeness of flesh, which was Docetic, but in the likeness of the flesh of sin, which is the Biblico-Pauline view” (Philippi).—R.] As He became truly man, He appeared in the full likeness of sinful flesh (Philippians 2:7), and yet not in equality with it. Meyer: “So that He appeared in an external form, which was similar to human nature, contaminated with sin. Christ did not appear ἐν σαρΖὶ ἁμαρτ., but also not Docetically (contrary to Krehl).” See Tholuck’s citation of the views of the Docetæ and of the Mystics (for example, Valentine Weigel, who held that the external body of Christ came from the Virgin,26 but His inward body from heaven), as well as the opposite views of Dippel, Hasenkamp, Menken, and Irving. “According to them, ὁμοιωμα does not denote likeness, but equality. But although ὃμοιος combines both meanings, yet that of likeness alone belongs to the substantives ὁμοιωμα and ὁμοιωσις; besides, the other meaning is contradicted by the analogy of Scripture in Hebrews 4:15.”
And on account of sin [καὶ περὶἁμαρτίας. The καἱ connects with the preceding. If this be forgotten, the interpretation may be too largely affected by the clause which follows.—R.] This was the motive of His mission. But the connection by καἱ expresses a second condescension of God and His Son. The first was, that Christ appeared in the form of a sinner, of the servant of sin (see chap. 7.), of the σὰρξ ἁμαρτίας, of the false σάρξ; the second, that a mission on account of sin was undertaken by the Son of God himself (see Matthew 21:37). “Καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτ. has been connected with κατέκρινε by the Itala (per carnem), Tertullian (de res carn., c. 66), the Vulgate (de peccato), Chrysostom, Theodoret, Luther, Baldwin, and Bengel. But the καὶ is against this;” Tholuck. The ἁμαρτία in περὶ ἁμαρτ. itself has been variously interpreted. Thomas Aquinas, of the passion of Christ on account of its likeness to sin; Hervæus, of death; Origen, Pelagius, Melanchthon, Calvin, Bucer, Baumgarten-Crusius, of the sin-offering27 חַטּאה; Theophylact, Maier, and others, the destruction and removal of sin. Meyer: “It is rather the whole relation in which the mission of Christ stood to human sin;” but this is already indicated by the foregoing explanation (see 1 John 3:5). The mission of Christ was related to sin; its aim on every side was its abolition. But the immediate effect of His mission was, that God, by the innocence of Christ’s life in the flesh, distinguished and separated sin, as a foreign and damnable object, from the flesh.
Condemned sin in the flesh [κατέκρινεν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῇ σαρκί. The article is used here with ἁμαρτίαν, the sin already referred to. This is a final argument against interpreting “sin” as = sin-offering, in the clause above. Whether “in the flesh” is to be joined with “condemned,” or with “sin,” is a matter open to discussion (see below).—R.] To the general idea of the mission of Christ: on account of sin, this declaration is now added, as a specific idea, to describe what His mission effected in relation to sin in the flesh. And we must criticise the different interpretations accordingly. Since the Redeemer, or God through Him, performs a condemnatory deed, we must especially avoid an incorrect generalization of the idea. Erasmus, De Dieu, and Eckermann, have very appropriately pointed out the thought, that He represented sin as damnable; yet we must emphasize sin in the flesh, and add: He separated it from the flesh fundamentally in Christ, in order thereby to cast it out from the flesh in the life of believers. This is, therefore, the sense: Christ, by becoming man in the flesh (which appeared to be the source of sin), and yet having a sinless fleshly nature, so maintained this sinlessness, and even holiness of His flesh, through His whole life, that He could give His flesh to His followers as a seal of His favor and as the organ of His Spirit. By this means He made it manifest: 1. That sin does not belong to the flesh in itself, but is inherent in it as a foreign, unnatural, condemnable, separable, alienable, and abstractly spiritual element; 2. That sin in the flesh is condemned and rejected in its carnal appearance; 3. That sin in the flesh should be separated from the entire human nature by means of the Spirit proceeding from Christ.
Other explanations: 1. Allusions to the eradication of the guilt of sin. This “is the prevailing ecclesiastical view in Origen, Chrysostom, &c. So, too, the Catholic expositors, with the exception of Justin; the Protestant, with the exception of Beza; even the Arminian and Socinian writers, and, indeed, the most of the later ones—Usteri, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, Philippi,28 and Schmid (Bibl. Theol.);” Tholuck. For what has been and can be said in favor of this explanation, see, at length, in Tholuck, p. 392 ff. “Yet the absence of the αὑτοῦ from ἐν τῆ σαρκἰ (comp., on the contrary, Ephesians 2:5) is an obstacle.” We may add, that the context is also an obstacle. The question has been, chap. 3, concerning Christ as the propitiator. Here He is represented as a “fountain of holiness.”
2. Allusions to the removal of sinfulness. “The procession of the delivering Spirit of life from Christ is only clearly proved by Romans 8:3, in case there is in this verse the thought that Christ has gained the victory over sin by His pure and holy personality in His own humanity, and that this sinless Spirit now passes over by faith to believers;” Tholuck. The same writer adduces a number of the defenders of the obedientia activa; especially Beza, of the Reformation period; the following later expositors seem also to belong here: Winzer, Stier, Neander, Meyer, De Wette, and Hofmann.29—Yet Tholuck finally turns to the allusion of this passage to the guilt of sin, and thus we must understand by σάρξ (p. 394) not the σάρξ of Christ, but “the sinful human nature, which, although only kαθ’ ὁμοίωμα, was also possessed by Christ (Philippi, De Wette).” The latter does not belong here. But then there would also follow from this an atonement καθ’ ὁμοιωμα. The interpretation of the κατέκρινε by interfecit (Grotius, Reiche, &c.), does not suit the nature of Christ. Meyer properly observes, that the κατάκριμα has been chosen in reference to the κατάκριμα in Romans 8:1. If we thus condemn ourselves, we shall not be condemned; and if that condemnatory process against sin in the flesh has passed from Christ upon us, the object of the future condemnation is removed.
[Besides these views, Philippi advocates a primary reference to the death of Christ, but includes the fact that thus sin is eo ipso done away and extirpated, so that those who are in Christ Jesus have both the pardon and the removal of sin, because of the indissoluble unity of both in Him.30 This suits the wider meaning of no condemnation (Romans 8:1). All interpretations deviate from the strict meaning of the verb; the reference to punishment involves an added thought, not less than that to the extirpation of sin. Besides, the law could condemn sin, and, to a certain extent, punish it; but its great weakness was its inability to remove sin. It is perfectly gratuitous to infer that the modern interpretation implies that we are justified on the ground of inherent goodness, since this assumes that Romans 8:1 refers only to declarative righteousness, and overlooks the fact that the controlling thought is union to Christ. Still, should any prefer to find here an allusion to Christ’s passion as a penal condemnation of sin, it must be allowed as involved, though this must not then be used to force the same meaning on the next verse.—R.]
[In the flesh. This is referred by many to the human nature of Christ. Were this the exclusive reference, we would probably find αὑτοῦ. The ethical sense must be adopted by those who join it with sin; but against this is the meaning of sin as a principle (Alford), and also the indifferent sense of σάρξ in the earlier part of the verse. It is better, then, to join it with the verb, and include in it human nature, our human nature, which Christ shared.31 This seems to be Dr. Lange’s view, though he adds to it some remarks which seem to echo his pseudo-plasmatic interpretation of chap. 7. We paraphrase the whole verse: “What could not be done by the law (was thus done), God sending His own Son in the likeness of that flesh, which was characterized by sin, and, on account of sin, condemned entirely (both as to punitive and polluting effects) in that flesh (which He shared with us) that sin.” Yet this is not an accomplished fact as respects our release from the power of sin; that is to be fulfilled, and this end (ἳνα) is set forth in the next verse.—R.]
Plainly, this verse declares the condemnableness of the sinful propensity. An expression of Irenæus is important for the interpretation of this passage: condemnavit peccatum et jam quasi condemnatum ejecit extra carnem. The beautiful words of Augustine denote the objective medium by which the sinlessness of Christ becomes our liberation: Quomodo liberavit? Nisi quia reatum peccatorum omnium remissione dissolvit, ita u, quamvis adhuc maneat, in peccatum non imputetur. Yet Beza properly observes: Neque nunc Apostolus agit de Christi morte, et nostrorum peccatorum expiatione, sed de Christi incarnatione, et naturœ nostrœ corruptions per eam sublata. Only, as far as the transmission of sinlessness from Christ to us is concerned, we must bear in mind Romans 6:1 ff. By virtue of the connection of Christ with us, He has redeemed us; by virtue of His connection with us in our guilty misery, He has atoned for us; and by virtue of the connection of His nature with our flesh, He has given His flesh to die, in order that, in His spiritual position toward us, He might make us free from the flesh by the communion of His Spirit as spiritual man, and, with the flesh of His risen life, implant in us a sanctified nature for the future resurrection.
Romans 8:4. That the righteousness [or requirement] of the law [ἳνα τὸδικαίωμα τοῦ νόμου. Ἵνα, telic, introducing the purpose of the condemnation of sin in the flesh. Lange renders δικαὶωμα: Gerechtsein. On the word, see p. 184. Stuart: the precept of the law; Hodge: the demands of the law (and also, the sentence of justification); Alford (following Meyer): all the requirements of the law combined here as one. Perhaps it is more exact to paraphrase: that righteous act (viewing all the acts as a unit) which meets the requirements of the law. This is Lange’s view.—R.]. Meyer explains the δικαὶωμα (“quite simply, as Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26; comp. also Romans 5:16”) as the requirement of the law; that which the law stipulates. Yet we have seen above, that δικαὶωμα is that which satisfies and fulfils the law. The righteousness of life shall proceed from the righteousness of faith. Or, as the former proceeds originally from the latter as freedom in Christ, so shall it also proceed actually from it in more gradual fulfilment—in the holiness of our life. The surprise of the expositors at the explanation of Chrysostom and Theodoret, ὁ σκοπὸςτοῦ νόμου (see Tholuck, p. 396), is therefore without ground. Certainly that cannot mean, that the purpose of the law is to justify, but that it is its limit and end; see Romans 13:10. Explanations:
1. The imputatio of Christ’s righteousness. Calvin: The transferrence to us of the destruction of guilt which Christ effected (Bullinger, Beza, Calixtus [Hodge], and others). Also the transferrence of Christ’s obedience to us (Brenz, Aretius [Haldane, apparently]: therefore also the obedientia activa). Köllner, Fritzsche, and Philippi: The sententia absolutoria is meant. Tholuck properly suggests, that the πληροῦν and the ἐν are against these interpretations.
2. The principle of the righteousness of life imparted to believers. This view seems to indicate a slight fear of the thought that Christians shall be holy in the form of believing spontaneity. Tholuck cites Meyer’s view: “in order that this fulfilment of the law become apparent in the whole conduct,” and adds (in accordance with Olshausen), “then Christians would be regarded as though they were only the possessors of a principle fulfilling the law.”
3. The real holiness of believers proceeding from the principle of the righteousness of faith. [So Tholuck, Olshausen, Meyer, Alford, John Brown, and many others; among them some who refer the previous verse to the vicarious sacrifice of Christ.—R.] The passive form (instead of πληρώσωμεν) is a safeguard against a semi-Pelagian misconstruction. De Wette: in our inward activity of life. Reiche and Klee give special prominence therewith to the real inwardness of the fulfilment of the law.
[Might be fulfilled in us, πληρώθη̣ ἐν ἡμῑν. The verb is passive. The fulfilment is wrought by God. In us; not by us, not on us (some shade of this meaning is involved in all those interpretations which refer the verse to imputed righteousness or holiness), and certainly not among us. The only objection to be considered is that of Calvin, and others: that, in this sense, the fulfilment does not take place. Granted—not at once, nor in this life, perhaps; but surely this must be the end (comp. Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:22), and that it is in the Apostle’s mind here, is evident from the latter part of the chapter.—R.]
Who walk not according to the flesh, &c. [τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν ὰλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα. Κατἁ may be expanded into: according to the impulses of (so Meyer). These phrases express the actual life of those in the flesh and in the Spirit.—R.] This addition states not only the characteristic, but also the necessary condition32 of believers. Tholuck holds that the participial clause does not contain the condition, as many of the earlier expositors maintain, but only the specification of the method. Meyer holds, that κατὰ πνεῦμα designates only the sanctifying Divine principle itself, as objective, and different from the human πνεῦμα! But it must not be viewed subjectively as the pneumatic nature of the regenerate, restored by the Holy Spirit, as (in accordance with Chrysostom) held by Bengel, Rückert, Philippi, and others. We would then have to ask at once, whether there is not another expression for the human spiritual life in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? Further, whence the antagonism of the Holy Spirit and the human σἁρξ, since the most direct antithesis would be man’s unholy spiritual life? Universally, wherever the question is the antithesis of spirit and flesh in man himself, man is nevertheless considered as man, and not merely as flesh. [To this position of Dr. Lange there are decided objections. On the whole subject, the reader is referred to the Excursus, p. 235. It is better to hold (with Meyer, Alford, Hodge, and many others, against Stuart, Philippi, Lange, &c.), that πνεῦμα here refers to the Holy Spirit, and not to the spiritual natured imparted by the Holy Spirit, or the subjective spiritual life-principle (Lange). This seems to be required by Romans 8:2 (“the law of the Spirit of life”) and Romans 8:5 (“the things of the Spirit”), where πνεῦμα evidently means the Holy Spirit.—The E. V. has very properly expressed this by the use of the capital letter.—R.]
Second Paragraph, Romans 8:5-8
Romans 8:5. For those who are according to the flesh [οἱ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες]. The εἶναι κατὰ σἁρκα is identical with the εἶναι ἐν σαρκἰ, and the latter means, to be in the carnal principle, under the supposition that the σάρξ is the absolute principle of life. This εἶναι, as the controlling tendency of life, is the source of the φρονεῖν, and the φρονεῖν is the causa efficiens of the περιπατεῖν.—Meyer says that this expression is a wider notion than that conveyed by “who walk after the flesh,” which is not the case.33 Tholuck explains εἶναι κατά τι: “To bear in one’s self the qualities of something; therefore = οἱ σαρκικοἱ.” But it is these, first of all, in their principle of life, which then certainly results in the walk in the flesh. [It may be admitted that the principle of life is more prominent than the ethical state in this verse. Yet the phrases, “in the flesh” and “according to the flesh” (especially the former) include the characteristic state as well. Hence the view of Tholuck is preferable.—R.]
Do mind the things of the flesh [τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν. The verb means, think of, care for, strive after (Alford). Meyer notices the presence of the article, making σάρξ objective, as though it were something independent. This accords with the view, that Spirit here is the objective and operative Holy Spirit.—R.] The false objects of the desires of the false independence of the flesh. The antithesis, those who are according to the Spirit, οἱ δὲ κατὰ πνεῦμα, completes the thought that the two tendencies totally exclude each other.—[It also follows that τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, the things of the Spirit, which belong to the Holy Spirit, and hence to the spiritual life, exclude the things of the flesh. Dr. Hodge well remarks, therefore, that the latter phrase means “not merely sensual things, but all things which do not belong to the category of the things of the Spirit.”—R.]
Romans 8:6. For the mind of the flesh is death [τὸ γὰρ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς θανατός]. The connection here formed by γὰρ is singular. Tholuck: “It could serve to prove only the second half of Romans 8:5, while the correspondence of the members of the sentence leads us to expect a proof of both halves of Romans 8:5. Thus the view gains probability, that, according to the Greek and Hebrew (כּי) use of language, the proof in Romans 8:6 performs for that in Romans 8:5 the parallel service of assigning reasons for the τοῖς μὴ, κ.τ.λ., in Romans 8:4.” Meyer makes the γὰρ the proof of the second half of Romans 8:5, οἱ δὲ κατα πνεῦμα. “Motive why they make the interests of the πνεῦμα the end of their efforts.”34 We regard, however, the γὰρ as proof that the εἶναι κατὰ has a corresponding φρονεῖν and φρόνημα35 as a result. For the σάρξ has a φρόνημα, yet all its φρόνημα is nothing but death; not only aiming at death against its will, but also proceeding from death, moving in the element of death; that is, in constant dissolution of the unity between life and its source of life, between spiritual and physical life, and even between the opposition of the desires of the individual members. The copula, to be supplied here, is not, has as its results, but, is, amounts to. Philippi: “Death is here conceived as present (comp. 1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5), not merely as a result, but as a characteristic mark, an immanent definition of the carnal mind.”—R.]
[But the mind of the Spirit, τὸ δὲ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεὺματος.] The opposite is the φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος (for the εἶναι κατὰπν. is itself πν.); it is life and peace.36 It is therefore from true life, moving in life, directed to life. Peace means the soul of life. Opposition is the separation and dissolution of life; peace with God is connection with the source of life; peace with one’s self, a blessed sense of life; peace with the government of God and His world, an infinitely richer life. The third characteristic must be specially emphasized in both clauses: directed to the end: life and peace.
Romans 8:7. Because the mind of the flesh. [Διότι introduces a proof, here confined to the former half of Romans 8:6. This proof hints at an antithesis to both life and peace, the latter being more evident, as it is in human consciousness also.—R.] The reason why φρόνημα, &c., = θαν., lies in its opposition to the source of life, its enmity against God [ἒχθρα εἰς θεόν], with which the displeasure of God necessarily corresponds.37 Since the Apostle does not prove the second half, it follows that here the effort of the flesh constitutes the principal point of view. Enmity against God is, in the first degree, the actual opposition to God in almost unknown (but not unconscious) form; but afterwards the opposition established also in the consciousness. Melanchthon appropriately says: “Loquitur Paulus principaliter de cogitationibus de deo, quales sunt in mente non renata, in qua simul magna confusio est dubitationum, deinde et de affectibus erga deum. In securis est contemtus judicii dei, in perpere factis indignatio et fremitus adversus deum.”
For it does not submit itself to the law of God [τῷ γὰρ νόμω̣ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται. The verb is middle. The law of God is in emphatic position. The clause proves what precedes, by adducing a fact. This mode of proof concurs with the statements already made respecting man’s character and that of the law.—R.] Paul’s positive declaration of the manifestation of this enmity. This enmity, which is very deep-seated, becomes manifest in disobedience to, and rebellion against, God’s law.
Neither indeed can it [οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται]. Subjection to the law of God is not possible on the carnal standpoint. Or rather, it cannot be effected by carnal effort. A divided life, according to the blind course of the lusts, is in outright contradiction to the central procession of life from within, according to the principle of the Spirit. Tholuck justly opposes Zeller, by bringing out the fact, that the antithesis is not man’s sensuous and spiritual nature in itself, but that σάρξ denotes human nature with the accessory idea of its sinful character. But to this it may be said, that the question is not the σάρξ in itself, but a φρόνημα τῆς σαρκός; that is, a σάρξ morbidly excited and demonized by a selfish spirituality. [Comp. the Excursus in chap. 7. That chapter is a proof of this declaration. The fact is undoubted. Paul is but declaring the cause of the manifestation of enmity to God in the form of opposition to His law, the inability of the carnal man to be subject to it. The question of ability to believe is not under discussion, yet Pelagianism and legalism are obviously precluded by this statement.—R.]
Romans 8:8. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God [οἱ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ὂντες θεῷἀρέσαι οὐ δύνανται. The E. V. strengthens δέ into so then, following Beza, Calvin, and others, who made it = οὖν. (So Hodge.) It is much better, with De Wette, Philippi, Meyer, to consider it metabatic. It continues the thought of the first clause of Romans 8:7. There seems to be no necessity for assuming a suppressed μέν, as Alford does. On this account we render and instead of but.—R.] Ὄντες ἐν σαρκί = ὂντες κατὰ σάρκα, but the expression here is stronger; see above. The incapacity in Romans 8:8, then, follows from the incapacity of Romans 8:7. It is said, in a mild way, that they are objects of the Divine displeasure, children of wrath. But the expression is significant, in that it destroys the notion of those who are legalists, and rely on the righteousness of their works, and who, although ὂντες ἐν σαρκί, fancy that they can merit the pleasure of God by their works and endeavors. For we must by no means lose sight of the fact, that the Apostle does not speak merely of the gross service of sin, but also of an observance of the law, which accepts the law as merely external, as γράνμα and σάρξ. [The connection renders obvious what is distinctly stated elsewhere, that this is no negative position, involving only negative results. The mind of the flesh is death.—R.]
Third Paragraph, Romans 8:9-11
Romans 8:9. But ye are not in the flesh, &c. [ὑμεῖς δέ, Ζ.τ.λ. Δέ is distinctive (Stuart).—If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you, εἲπερ πνεῦμα θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν]. The antithesis. The more specific exhortation does not appear here, but in Romans 8:12. The εἴπερ may be thus distinguished from εἲγε: it (= “provided that”) generally expresses slight doubt, while εἲγε expresses rather an assurance in the sense of if indeed. Yet the εἲπερ here must be understood as only purely conditional, in conformity with the antithesis by which the Apostle represents the standpoint of the spiritual life of believers as purely fundamental and ideal. With such a representation, the application to individuals can only take place with an εἲπερ; likewise without positive doubt. Chrysostom and Olshausen take it as ἐπειδήπερ, quando quidem; Tholuck and Meyer prefer the hortatory construction, on account of the antithesis. [It seems most natural to account for the conditional form, by admitting “an indirect incitement to self-examination” (Meyer). Πνεῦμα is without the article, yet it must mean the Holy Spirit; hence we claim this as its usual meaning throughout the passage. The use of πνεύματι, seemingly in distinction from πνεῦμα, is not against this, since, in the first clause, the Spirit is represented as the element in which they live; in the second, as the indwelling power causing them to live in this element.—On οἰκεῖ, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:17; 1Co 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14; John 14:23.—In you must not be weakened to among you.—R.]
Now if any man hath not, &c. [εἰ δέ τις πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ οὐκ ἔχει. The antithesis is not very strong; δέ may well be rendered now (E. V.). The unconditional negative belongs to the verb (Alford). See Textual Note8.—R.] This antithetical declaration certainly expresses the possibility, that what has been said has no reference to particular individuals, and that here no half measures are of any avail.
The Spirit of Christ. The question here is, belonging to Christ; hence, the Spirit of Christ. It is the Spirit of God as the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of His righteousness of life as brought home to the inward life of believers. [There can be no reasonable doubt that it is identical with Spirit of God, above; though the connection with “none of His” has occasioned the use of this particular phrase. The genitive is possessive, Spirit belonging to, or proceeding from, Christ. Comp. Philippians 1:19; Gal 4:6; 1 Peter 1:11. Notice the terms, “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” “Christ,” all applied to the Divine spiritual indwelling. Hence Bengel well says: Testimonium illustre de sancta Trinitate ejusque œconomia in corde fidel um. It must be admitted that such statements generally have reference to the economy of grace, but they form the basis for the doctrinal statements of the Church. This text is therefore a dictum probans for the Western doctrine of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son (filioque, Synod of Toledo, A. D. 589). This was the final contribution to the doctrinal statement of the Trinity. On its importance, &c., see Schaff, History of the Christian Church, iii., pp. 688 f.; comp. Kahnis, Lehre vom Heiligen Geiste, Halle, 1847. Philippi has an excellent note in loco. On the relation of the Holy Spirit to Christ, comp. John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; John 16:13-14.—R.]
[He is none of his, οὗτος οὐκ ἒστιναὐτοῦ.] The Apostle does not regard a merely external belonging to Christ as of any value. Where the Christianity of the inward life is extinct, there the Christianity of the whole man is extinct. Meyer: “Not those who are not Christians, but nominal Christians.”
Romans 8:10. But if Christ is in you [εἰ δὲκριστὸρ ἐν ὑμῖν]. That is, as a principle of life. [Δέ contrasts with the last verse. (Is is substituted for be, to indicate the strong probability that this is the case.) Comp. John 6:56; John 15:4; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27; also John 14:23, as justifying the remark of Bengel: Qui Spiritum habet, Christum habet; qui Christum habet, Deum habet. The mystical union of Christ and the believer has, as its underlying basis, the yet more mysterious unity of the Persons of the Godhead.—R.]
The body is dead [τὸ μὲν σῶμα νεκρόν]. Explanations of Rom 8:10-11 :38
1. Death and life in their strict sense. Therefore the body lapsed to death (Augustine, Beza, Bengel [mortuum pro moriturum], Usteri, Rückert, and Fritzsche). [So Hodge, Alford, Wordsworth.] According to Meyer, the νεκρός is proleptic: “Ye have the following blessed results to enjoy: although the body is a prey to death because of sin, yet the spirit is life because of righteousness. But He who raised Christ will also raise your mortal bodies, because the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you.” [In favor of this view are: the natural sense of dead, the connection with Romans 8:11, and the subsequent course of thought; its not attaching an ethical meaning to body. Against it: the comprehensive meaning of death throughout this part of the Epistle, the necessity for a wide meaning in its antithesis ζωὴ, as well as in ζωοποιὴσει (Romans 8:11, not ἐγειρεῖ); also the use of σῶμα in an implied ethical sense in Romans 8:13.—R.]
2. The body is dead, slain by sin (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, Grotius, Baumgarten-Crusius [Stuart], and others. [These, for the most part, take Romans 8:10 in a moral or spiritual sense. This view is most objectionable, since it disturbs the harmony of the two verses, takes σῶμα in a strict ethical sense, and gives to νεκρόν (which seems to be chosen rather to avoid a direct antithesis to ζωή) the widest possible meaning.—R.]
3. The misery of sin as bearing in itself the germ of death (De Wette, and others). [De Wette claims that the physical and ethical senses must be combined here, as in John 5:21 ff. This view is sufficiently correct if properly restricted. The physical death of the body is to be viewed as a moral result of the indwelling sin, but only because the body has not yet shared in the full results of redemption.—R.]
But all this does not furnish us with the definition, that, on account of sin—that is, because of sinfulness—we have to lead a divinely partial life from the principle of the Spirit, in which the body is declared to be dead in an ideal and dynamical respect (see Romans 6:4). But thereby the spirit as life, and the principle of life, is concentrated still more in itself. [The objection to this view is, its confusion of human spirit and Divine Spirit, on which the whole interpretation rests.—R.]
But the spirit is life [τὸ δὲ πνεῦμαζωή]. Meyer also holds, that here the spirit is not the Holy Spirit (as Chrysostom, Calvin, and others suppose), but the human spirit. Although the human spirit is here regarded as filled by the Holy Spirit, we must not include (with Philippi, following Theodoret and De Wette) the pneumatic nature of the regenerate. For, says Meyer, that must remain there. [The meaning is evidently that under III. B. in the Excursus above, p. 235.—R.] Ζωή, life; not merely living, but life which is thoroughly actual, life-giving, and life-supporting. [Whatever view be taken of dead, the change in the form here, from the adjective to the noun, warrants an extension of meaning; as indeed the word ζωή itself, and its reference to the human spirit permeated by the Divine Spirit, demand.—R.]
Because of sin [δυὰ ἁμαρτἰαν, on account of sin, as an indwelling principle. Not the special sins of the body, nor that the body is the special seat of sin; but, having shared in the results of sin, it has not yet shared in the results of redemption. How and when it will, is afterwards stated.—R.] As this can only mean, to constitute a pure opposition to the sinful propensity cleaving to the members, so can because of righteousness [διὰ δικαιοσύνην] only mean, to maintain and develop the righteousness of faith in the righteousness of life. According to Meyer, the justitia imputata is meant, as the foundation of the ζωή. (The most of the elder expositors, together with Rückert, &c., favor the same view.) But then the διά would have to be construed with the genitive. The reference to the righteousness of life (Erasmus, Grotius, De Wette, Philippi [Hodge, Alford], and others) is opposed by Meyer in the words: “Because the righteousness of life can never be perfect, it can never be the ground of the ζωή. But the question is not the ground of the ζωή, but the greater promotion of life, so that it may prove itself to be purer life. The concern is, to preserve spotless the white robe of bestowed righteousness, and, being clad in it, to strive for the crown of righteousness.” (Meyer holds, according to this, that the ἁμαρτ. does not imply our own individual sin, and thus, too, that the δικ. does not imply our own “righteousness.”) In harmony with the sense, many expositors, particularly Calixtus, connect the justitia imputata with the inchoata.39
Romans 8:11. But if the Spirit [εἰ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα]. The Apostle here prepares his transition from his description of adoption, regarded as a partial spiritual life, to his description of the glory in which body and spirit shall be in perfect harmony, when the body shall be glorified into the perfect organ of the Spirit. Meyer thus construes the connection: “After Romans 8:10, death still retains some power—that over the body; Paul now removes this.”
Of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, &c. [τοῦ ἐγειραντος Ἰησοῦν ἐκ νεκρῶν, κ.τ.λ.]. The spiritual resurrection must be followed by the physical; it is a prophecy of the physical resurrection. For the author of the spiritual resurrection is the Spirit of the wonder-working God, which has raised Christ, and elevated Him to the majesty of the glorified life. What the Spirit [now dwelling in you] has done to Him, in conformity with the connection of body and spirit, He will also do to His members (see Ephesians 1:19 ff.). He has raised Jesus from the dead—that is, as the first-fruits of the resurrection. Therefore He
Will quicken even your mortal bodies, &c. [ζωοποιήσει καὶ τὰ θνητὰ σώματαὑμῶν, κ.τ.λ. The use of the word θνητὰ, mortal, immediately after νεΖρὀν (Romans 8:10) seems to justify the reference of the latter to physical death; as, indeed, σώματα here opposes any ethical sense of that word in Romans 8:10. Since, however, the verb ζωοποιεῖν is one of wide meaning, a large number of commentators (Calvin, Stuart, De Wette, Philippi, and others) refer this verse also to something which takes place even here, to be completed, indeed, at the time of actual resurrection. Against this is the καἰ, also, even, which is unnecessary, unless the reference be to something which has not yet taken place, and which seemed most unlikely to take place. The quickening of the body, as a tool of unrighteousness, has already begun. The objection of Stuart, that then this would only mean to declare the bodily resurrection, a truth already well known, betrays a want of appreciation of the importance attached to that truth by the Apostle. Furthermore, even admitting a secondary reference to a present moral quickening of the body, the primary reference to the actual physical resurrection seems to be demanded by the experience of Christians, which certainly shows them that the last seat, both of the strength and the effects of sin, is in the body. It does not revive; no spiritual power here renews it. It is mortal, yet even it shall share in the life-giving influence. The verb means more than raising from the dead indeed, but, as used here, the emphasis rests on this.—R.]
[On account of his Spirit that dwelleth in you, διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα ἐνὑμῖν. See Textual Note11]. We have decided above for the accusative, δια τὸ ἐςοιΖοῦν, in opposition to the genitive. We do this for important reasons. The Spirit which dwells in believers prepares the resurrection-body; but the resurrection is thereby only provided for. The resurrection itself is still to be the final deed of God. And this is the question here (see Romans 8:18). But it is a miraculous deed of God, which is not only occasioned, but also brought to pass, by the presence of the Spirit of life in believers.
The change of terms is remarkable: Jesus and Christ. [Bengel: Appellatio Jesu spectat ad ipsum; Christi, refertur ad nos; true even to its eschatological reference (Meyer).—R.]
If, now, the ζωοποιὴσει also refers to the resurrection, the choice of the expression yet indicates, at the same time, the holiness of the corporealness by the operation of the resurrection power of the Spirit, as this holiness constitutes the transition and interposition for the final miracle of the resurrection (see 2 Corinthians 5:5). From the very nature of the case, the question here can be neither an ethical vivification alone, nor a physical one alone; but the idea of vivification comprises both these (according to Calvin, De Wette, Philippi, and others). Calvin: “Non de ultima resurrectione,40 quœ momento fiet, habetur sermo, sed de continua spiritus operatione, quœ relinquias carnis paulatim mortificans cœlestem vitam in nobis instaurat.” But De Wette properly observes, against the notion that the spiritual power of resurrection alone can consummate the process of renewal (in conformity with the reading διὰ τοῦ, &c.), that the Jewish opinion that the Holy Ghost quickens the dead (Shamoth Rabba, &c.) cannot prove any thing here.
Fourth Paragraph, Romans 8:12-17
Romans 8:12. Therefore, brethren [ἂρα οὖν, ἀδελφοἰ. An inferential exhortation. In Romans 6:12 a similar exhortation is found, but without ἀδελφοἰ. The first person naturally follows.—R.] The ἂρα draws an inference from the necessity of leading the life in the Spirit in opposition to the life in the flesh, in hope of the reanimation of the body. Tholuck says, though not in the sense of the textual construction: “The Apostle allows himself to be led off from the train of thought commencing with Romans 8:10-11, by the necessity of an exhortation, and afterwards returns from another point to the eschatological expression.”
We are debtors, not to the flesh [ὀφειλέται ἐσμὲν οὐ τῇ σαρκἰ. The negative applies to the succeeding clause as well. The antithesis is obvious. Σάρξ has the article here, where it is personified, but not in the next clause, where it corresponds with the use made of it in Romans 8:4-5.—R.] According to Meyer, the Apostle has suppressed his antithesis in consequence of the vivacious movement of his language. But he was prevented by something else—namely, a desire to guard against misunderstanding, as if Christians had no duties in reference to their flesh or their physical life (comp. Ephesians 5:29). [So Chrysostom; see Alford in loco.—R.] Therefore he defines his proposition more specifically: not to live after the flesh [τοῦ κατὰ σάρκα ζῇν]; that is, not to live according to the principle of carnal desires, or of external motives at all. The genitive τοῦ is sufficiently explained as designation of the infinitive of result. (Fritzsche takes another view; see Meyer.)41 The antithesis, after the Spirit, follows indirectly in Romans 8:13.
Romans 8:13. Ye shall die [μέλλετε ]. Strictly, then ye shall go continually to death, or, toward death (μέλλετε). Meyer understands this to mean here only eternal death. This is contrary to Philippi, who properly retains the general idea of death.42 According to Rückert, this declaration would exclude the resurrection. But the Apostle takes cognizance not only of the difference between the first and second resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23), but also of a resurrection which begins immediately after death (2 Corinthians 5:1); and pure life is in antithesis to a final resurrection to judgment. The explanation of Œcumenius, τὸν , precludes neither the resurrection on the one hand, nor, on the other, a constant connection of physical and psychical corruption with ethical corruption.
But if ye through the Spirit [εἰ δὲ πνεύματι. ΙΙνεύματι here is undoubtedly not subjective, but the Holy Spirit (comp. Romans 8:14). An instrumental dative.—R.] By means of the life of the Spirit (by virtue of the Holy Spirit, says Meyer). Therefore the Apostle says, the deeds of the body should be mortified, not by bodily exercise, restraint, and penance, but by the power of the life of the Spirit.
The deeds [τὰς πράξεις]. The stratagems. Machinations (Luke 23:51; Colossians 3:9). These consist in the predominance of illegal impulses as irresistible necessities, as proofs of liberty, as the poetry of life, &c. The word occurs in the later Greek writers in the meaning of cunning designs, especially in relation to sins of lust (see Tholuck).43 Yet the general treatment in the present section requires a general interpretation of the word.
[Of the body, τοῦ σώματος. See Textual Note13.] The expression σώματος has been very strange to many; therefore Codd. D. E. F. G., and the Vulgate, read σάρκος. Τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, Romans 6:6, cannot be cited in favor of the expression, since the question here is a real body, but not there. Yet Meyer correctly asserts, contrary to Stirm, that Paul remained true to his customary use of language. The body has its autonomous desires, which express themselves faithfully in the normal life of man, and willingly subordinate themselves to the dominion of the Spirit. In the sinful man, who is not converted, these express themselves as imperious commands. In the believer, on the contrary, from whom the law in the members is removed, they can morbidly express themselves still, though in only deceptive forms, and so far as the body, which should be the organ of the spirit, is autonomous in unguarded moments. But its πράξεις are then motions of the σάρξ, which appear as πράξεις of the body, because the body has its physiological rights. [Thus we avoid giving an ethical sense to body. If the bad sense of deeds be emphasized, then the ethical force is found there. We must avoid, on the other hand, taking the phrase, “deeds of the body,” as metonyme for sinful, carnal deeds (Stuart, Hodge); for there must be a reason for the choice of this word. Alford, following De Wette, explains it: “=τῆς σαρκός, but here concrete, to give more vivid reality.”—R.]
Θανατοῦτε [comp. Romans 7:4, and the stronger expression, νεκρώσατε, Colossians 3:5; Lange’s Comm., pp. 63, 64.—R.] Mortify can only mean: exhaust and abnegate to the very root. Wicked practises, as roots of sin, are included.
Ye shall live [ζήσεσθε. Alford: “not μέλλετε ζῆν; this life being no natural consequence of a course of mortifying the deeds of the body, but the gift of God through Christ; and coming, therefore, in the form of an assurance, ‘ye shall live,’ from Christ’s Apostle.”—R.] In the higher, and even highest sense.
Romans 8:14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God [ὂσοι γὰρ πνεύματι θεοῦἂγονται. Comp. Galatians 5:18. Lange’s Comm., p. 137. Γάρ introduces the reason why they shall live, implying, at the same time, that such mortification was the result of the Spirit’s influence, as is expressed in Romans 8:13. Hence πνεῦμα, in the former case, must refer to the Spirit of God. That this leading means a continued and special influence of the Divine Spirit, is obvious.—R.] The Spirit of God is not identical with the Spirit in Romans 8:13 (Meyer); but it is Christian spiritual life, to be led by the Spirit of God. The passive form expresses its complete dominion, without at the same time denying the voluntary being led on the part of the human will.
They are sons of God [οὒτοι υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ. See Textual Note14. The reading adopted here places the emphasis on οὒτοι, these, and none other, but gives a secondary emphasis to υἱοί; comp. Galatians 3:7. Philippi finds no essential difference between υἱοί and τέκνα θεοῦ, except that, in the former, the idea of maturity is more prominent. Hence Christ is called νἱός, never τέκνον θεοῦ. (So Alford.) On the significance of the phrase, see Doctr. Note10, and the Exeg. Notes on Romans 8:15-16.—R.] Sons, in the real sense, in contrast with the symbolical children of God of the old theocracy. It is those, and those alone, who bear in themselves the mark that the Spirit of God leads them. On the other hand, the merely symbolical adoption by God under the law is strictly a bondage, according to Romans 8:15. Comp. Galatians 5:18.
Romans 8:15. For ye did not receive the spirit of bondage [οὐ γὰρ ἐλάβετε πνεῦμα δουλείας. An appeal to Christian consciousness, to confirm (γάρ) his statement. The verb is aorist, referring to a definite time (when they became Christians).—R.] Meyer translates: “A spirit of bondage, adoption.” We hold that the definitions are sufficiently united by the exclusive antithesis. What must we understand by the expression, spirit of bondage? Tholuck: “The negative form of this clause caused the earlier expositors great difficulty, since the question is not a communication of the spirit in the Old Testament, and since the spirit there imparted, so far as it was a spirit of bondage, could not be derived from God; and finally, as the πνεῦμα, which, in consequence of the antithesis of πνεῦμα υἱοθεσἰας, must be viewed as the Holy Spirit, could produce the spirit of bondage.” Explanations:
1. Augustine incidentally: The devil is the author of the slavish spirit (Hebrews 2:14-15). Luther: The spirit of Cain in opposition to Abel’s spirit of grace (Fritzsche: malus dœmon, &c.).
2. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Œcumenius: The gift of the law itself, as πνευματική, according to Romans 7:14. Likewise Augustine, elsewhere: The spirit of the external gift of the law: idem spiritus in tabulis lapideis in timore, in tabulis cordis in dilectione.
3. Most of the later expositors: The same Holy Spirit is described in His twofold operation; here, as far as He exercises His penal office (John 16:8). In that case, the operation of the mere attritio not designed by the Spirit is made prominent.
4. Grotius, Philippi, and others: πν. is in both cases a subjective spiritual disposition. [Philippi defends this view very ably. Stuart: a servile spirit; a filial spirit. Alford admits also the subjective sense. De Wette remarks, that the objective source is indicated in the verb “received.”—R.].
5. Fritzsche, Meyer, and Tholuck: πν. δουλ. denotes what the received filial spirit is not. Likewise Monachus, in the seventh century. Therefore the spirit of bondage is regarded as a hypothetical antithesis. This is undoubtedly correct, in a measure, so far as the Spirit which they have received can be regarded only as a Spirit of adoption; but a spirit of bondage would be really a perverse spirit. [It should be remarked, that all views which give πνεῦμα a subjective meaning, must either take it in the first case as = disposition, and, in the second, = the human spirit as influenced by the Holy Spirit, thus having no exact correspondence; or, assume a hypothetical antithesis in the first case. It may be added, that it is difficult to account for the use of the word “receive” (especially the definite aorist), if these views be accepted, since the servile spirit was the natural spirit. We are thus driven to the interpretation, that πνεῦμα means the same spirit in both cases, defined first negatively, then positively. The probability of a reference to the Holy Spirit is very great in that case.—R.]
But yet the Apostle intimates that Judaism has made of the Old Testament a spirit (a spirit-like, complete system) of bondage, and that it might attempt to make such a perverse spirit of the New Testament. This intimation is brought out prominently by the πάλιν εἰς φόβον, which denotes a fact. At Sinai the Jews made of the law a law εἰς φόβον in the bad sense (Exodus 20:19, &c.). On the other hand, the repetition of the ἐλάβετε favors the view given above: ye have not received a spirit of bondage, because that would be a contradiction.
Again to fear. This denotes the bound: wicked fear of slavish legalism. [De Wette, Meyer, Philippi, join πάλιν with εἰς φόβον as = in order again to fear. The πάλιν may imply that the condition under Judaism was one of fear, but it does not follow that the Roman Christians were mainly Jewish (Philippi), for this fear is a result of all unchristian religiousness. The πάλιν points to their previous condition in all cases.—R.]
But ye received the Spirit of adoption [ἀλλὰ ἐλάβετε πνεῦμα υἱοθεσιας. Meyer finds in the repetition of ἐλάβετε πνεῦμα something solemn. The force of the genitive must be determined largely by the meaning of πνεῦμα. Meyer: A spirit which is the ruling principle in the condition of adoption. Philippi, arguing, from Galatians 4:5-6, that adoption precedes the impartation of the Holy Spirit, finds another reason for the subjective sense of spirit; but the adoption may be taken, not as the act, but the state, which is more accordant with the context, since ἐν ᾧ, wherein, refers to a state or element of life. Out of this comes the subjective feeling, the cry, Abba, Father. The genitive then points to an effect as in bondage, which also has a descriptive clause appended.—R.]
De Wette: “υίοθεσία, strictly, adoption instead of a child;” which meaning can be so urged, that they who were by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), have been adopted, or appointed (Ephesians 1:15), the children of God (Fritzsche, Meyer, and Olshausen). The same commentator says: “But it is a question whether—as even in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:6), and in the New Testament (John 1:12; 1 John 3:9; 2 Peter 1:4), and also in Paul, agreeably to the new creation (Galatians 6:15), the idea of transformation into children of God occurs—there is not, consequently, in υἱοθ. rather the idea of sonship, of the real relation of children to the father (Luther, Usteri, &c.), than of adoption (Fritzsche, Meyer, and Tholuck). The expression, πνεῦμα νἱοθ., and the use made of the word in Romans 8:23, harmonizes better with this view.” Tholuck, on the contrary, appeals to Ephesians 5:1; Romans 9:4; to the designation of the adopted child by υἱὸςθετός (υἱὸς εἰσποίητος); and to the adoptio filiorum of the Vulgate. But Chrysostom, Theodoret, and other Greek expositors, on the other hand, have taken the word also in the sense of υἱότης. It is easy to see that the Apostle chose the expression in order to distinguish the children of faith, as adopted through grace, from the υἱὸς ἴδιος. But he had the further reason of not wishing to press the idea: for then he could not have said, with reference to the Hebrew law of inheritance, “And if children, then heirs.” Likewise, the new birth by Christ and His Spirit denotes real υἱοί. [The actual sonship has already been mentioned in Romans 8:14. It seems more natural, then, to take this expression in the confirmatory verse in its literal sense, adoption, as implying the method of their becoming sons; the more so, as an appeal is made to the experience of the readers, which experience would revert to the time when they passed out of one state into the other.—R.]
Wherein we cry (1 Corinthians 2:3) [ἐν ᾧ κράζομεν. The E. V., whereby, is not exact. Hodge: “which enables us to address God as our Father.” Such an instrumental sense of the preposition is very doubtful. The first person is here used, probably from the deep feeling of fellowship which the thought awakens.—R.] The ἐν here designates the Spirit as the principle [element] of life, which has the full παῤῥησία as its result (Hebrews 10:19-23). κράζειν, loud praying; the voluntary, childlike exclamation. “Chrysostom raises the doubt, that, even in the Old Testament, God is called the Father of Israel; and he replies to it, by saying that the Jews did not use this term in their prayers; or, if they did, it was only ἐξ οἰκείας διανοίας, and not ἀπὸ πνευματικῆς ἐνεργείας κινούμενοι. Yet God certainly has the name of Father in the Old Testament, only in the same incomplete sense as the people the name of son—namely, as founder and protector of the people (Jeremiah 3:4; Jeremiah 3:19, and elsewhere), and always in reference to the community, and not to the relation of the individual;” Tholuck. In the Apocrypha, He is first addressed thus by individuals (Book of Wis 14:3; Sirach xxiii. 1; Leviticus 14:0). But we must not overlook the fact that, even in the Old Testament, the centre of the filial relation is the Messiah (2 Samuel 7:0; Psalms 2:0; Isaiah 9:0); and that, consequently, from the perfect New Testament centre of the relation of the Father to Christ, all υίοθεσία extends.
Abba, Father. Ἀββᾶ [אַכָּא], the Syriac name for father (Galatians 4:6; Mark 14:36). Why is the πατήρ added? Explanations:
1. The usual view (Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, &c.) is, the πατήρ helps to explain the Syriac Abba. [So Hodge: “Paul chose to call God his Father, in his own familiar tongue. Having used the one word, however, the Greek, of course, became necessary for those to whom he was writing.” But Paul does not always deem it necessary thus to translate (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:22); and in the three cases where this phrase occurs, the usual mark of interpretation (τοῦτ’ ἒστι) is wanting.—R.]
2. The repetition of the name is an expression of childlike fondness (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsvestia, and Grotius [Alford]).
3. An expression of God’s fatherhood for Jews and Gentiles (Augustine, Anselm, Calvin, Estius, and others).
4. The name “Abba” has passed from Jewish into Christian prayer, and has received, through Christ himself, the consecration of a special sanctity. Therefore the Greek-speaking Christians retained the word as a proper noun, and added thereto the πατήρ as an appellative, so that the Abba, Father, remained in force; Meyer. [So De Wette, Philippi, Lightfoot; comp. Lange’s Comm. Galatians, p. 98.—R.] This would be, in reality, a duplication arising from a misconception. Tholuck unites with Luther, in favor of Chrysostom’s view. Luther: “It is the calling to, just as a young child lisps to its father in simple, childlike confidence.” If it be necessary to refer to the passage in Mark, the πατήρ there undoubtedly serves as an explanation. It is without any admixture of misconception that a liturgical use (as Hallelujah, Hosanna, Amen) has been made of this passage, because, in the most significant manner, there is in one salutation an invocation of the Father of Christ and the Father of Christians, the Father of the believers of the Old Testament and the New, the Father of Jews and Gentiles, and thus of the Father of all believers in all nations.
Romans 8:16. The Spirit itself [αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα. The parallel passage, Galatians 4:6, is conclusive in favor of a reference to the Holy Spirit, even if the context did not demand it.—R.] Αὐτό. Not the same (Erasmus, Luther), but the Spirit itself (Vulgate: ipse spiritus; Beza: ipse ille spiritus). We cry in the spirit, and the Spirit itself beareth us witness.
Beareth witness with [or to] our spirit [συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πνεὐματι ἡμῶν]. It may be asked whether συμμαρτυρεῖ is to be taken in the sense of the strengthened, uncompounded word: He bears witness to our spirit, as the Vulgate, Luther, Grotius, Koppe, De Wette [Alford], and many other expositors hold; or, whether it should read: He bears witness with our self-consciousness: I am God’s child. Meyer holds this opinion, insisting upon the συν here, as everywhere (Romans 2:15; Romans 9:1). But the latter view would give rise to the question, To whom do both bear witness? And thus there would follow the conclusion: even self-consciousness bears witness to self-consciousness.44 This view is hardly tenable. Chrysostom distinguishes as the two witnesses, the Holy Spirit and the grace given to us; and Hervæus, Calvin, Tholuck, and others, take the same position. Pareus even applies the legal maxim, “out of the mouth of two witnesses.” “According to this old Protestant interpretation, the witness of our own spirit consists in the communication of the declaration of Divine pardon to the believing subject; but the witness of the Holy Spirit is regarded as a twofold one. On the one hand, it consists in the general witness by the Scriptures and the sacraments, and then in the applicatio and obsignatio produced by the Holy Spirit, while the declarations of the obsignatio fidelium are applied here.”
Yet it seems clear from the antithesis, the Holy Spirit and our spirit, that the Holy Spirit should be regarded as the testifying part, but that our spirit, on the other hand, should be regarded as the part which is testified to. For the witness of our spirit has, as a special witness, no value beside that of the Holy Spirit (see Tholuck, p. 416, 417). And yet the question ever arises, To whom is the witness made? We hold that the expression συναντιλαμβάνεται (Romans 8:26) is an illustrative parallel, and must give importance to the consideration that there the explanatory word ὑπερεντυγχάνει is added. But we thereby approach nearer the explanation, that the συν in both cases has the meaning of a strengthened simple word. But it yet remains for us to conclude concerning a twofold function of the same Holy Spirit in the life of the soul. He operates in the filial life of the soul of believers as an impulse to prayer, but He also operates as the sealing witness of adoption. And thus He hastens in advance of our consciousness of faith with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26). The συν, though it be not a mere simple prefix, does not always signify the equality of two different parts in one function. Sometimes it denotes the effect (συνάγω, συναθροίζω), and sometimes the conjoint conclusion of the act specified in the verb with a kindred fact (συνίημι). This is the case here.
It is important that the earlier theologians regarded this passage as a proof of the certitudo gratiœ, in opposition to the Catholic doctrine. Meyer very properly refers to the fact, that it is a witness against all pantheistic confusion of the Divine Spirit with that of man. It testifies to the living unity of both.45 Melanchthon correctly observes against fanatics, that “the efficacy of the Spirit enters into the believer prœlucente voce evangelii.”
[That we are children of God, ὂτι ἐσμἐντέκνα θεοῦ. The purport of the testimony. Alford: “not υἱοί, because the testimony respects the very ground and central point of sonship, likeness to and desire for God.”—R.] The word τέκνα emphasizes the heartiness of the filial feeling.
Romans 8:17. And if children, also heirs [εἰ δὲτέκνα, καὶ κληρονόμοι]. We must supply ἐσμὲν both times. The being heirs arises from the very idea and right of a child (Galatians 4:7).46
Heirs of God [κληρονόμοι μὲν θεοῦ]. The inheritance is the kingdom of glory. God, as the eternally living One, is like the earthly testator, in that He gives His children every thing for an inheritance; but He gives them himself as the treasure of all treasures. He will be their inheritance, as they are to be His inheritance—a relation prefigured already in the Old Testament (Exodus 19:5 : Israel the peculiar treasure of God. Numbers 18:20 : Jehovah is the inheritance of the Levites, as they are His inheritance, clerus). As He himself will be all in all, so shall His children receive with Him, in His Son, every thing for an inheritance (1 Corinthians 3:21 ff.). In Luke 15:12 the inheritance, in another sense, is spoken of. [Including in this the highest idea of eternal life, the declaration of the Apostle (Romans 8:13): ye shall live, is abundantly proven.—R.]
And joint-heirs with Christ [αυνκληρονὀμοι δὲ χριστοῦ]. Conformably to the υἱοθεσία, the υἱόί are in the most intimate fellowship with the υἱός, to which the common inheritance corresponds; Galatians 4:7. The second designation characterizes the Divine inheritance of believers in its majesty, its infinite extent, and its nature, as the kingdom of perfect love in the glorified world. The view urged by Fritzsche, Meyer, and Tholuck, that here Paul does not have in mind the Hebrew, but the Roman right of inheritance (with reference to adopted children), Philippi correctly terms “an untheocratic reference to the Roman right of inheritance.”47
If so be that we suffer with him [εἲπερσυνπάσΖομεν. On the particle, see Romans 8:9. Here, as there, it implies a slight admonition, since it introduces a condition sine quâ non. The order, not the reason, of obtaining full salvation, is set forth (Calvin).—R.] Suffer with Christ—for Him, His gospel, His witness (1Pe 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24;48 2 Timothy 2:11). Suffering with Christ has the promise of being glorified with Him. Meyer says, strangely, that “Olshausen (comp. also Philippi) intermixes something totally wrong: ‘Share in the conflict with sin in ourselves and in the world.’ ” Just this is the very nerve of the suffering with Christ.
[That we may be also glorified with him, ἳνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν.] As Meyer properly says, against Tholuck, the ἳνα is not dependent on “joint-heirs,” but on “suffer with Him.” [This view is now given up by Tholuck, who correctly adds, however: “That does not describe the subjective, but the objective, divine design. (So Alford).—R.] On the relations of the right of inheritance in Rome, and other nations, see Tholuck, p. 419 [and the note on “joint-heirs”]. We must here hold to this much, at least, of the idea of adoption: that the joint-heirs with Christ become heirs of God through Christ, in and with Him as the truly Universal Heir.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The correct understanding of this eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans depends essentially on the following conditions: (1) It must be regarded in connection with the whole section beginning with Romans 5:12; (2) The antithesis in this chapter must be perceived. The fundamental thought is indicated in the superscriptions: Sin and the life of Christ, as opposite principles of life in the world. The foundation is given in Romans 5:12-21. The abrogation of the old principle in its two fundamental forms: Service of sin, service of the law; Romans 6:1 to Romans 7:6. The transition from the old to the new nature; the inwardness of the law; Romans 7:7-25. With chap. 8. there appears the new life of believers in Christ, and of Christ in believers. This new life itself constitutes again an antithesis. It is: a. An exclusively spiritual standpoint, in opposition to the flesh, and contemplates the extirpation of the old, sinful motions; b. A standpoint of renewal—whose object is the resurrection and the glorification of the world—proceeding from the Spirit, and embracing the flesh and the whole created world.
2. The Spirit of Christ’s life being communicated to believers, it becomes to them a law of the Spirit for the new life. The law of the Spirit is a potency which extends further than the spirit of the law; much less is it a nova lex in the sense of the Catholic dogmatics. Life in the entire spiritual view and experience of Christ’s life constitutes a universal principle of life, which becomes the rule for every more general relation of life, and an ἐντολή of the living Divine will for every individual situation.
3. On Romans 8:3, see the Exeg. Notes. It is totally foreign to the context to give this passage a special application to the propitiation for the guilt of sin (for the discussions on the subject, see Tholuck). [Those who thus do, are careful to defend their position against antinomianism; but, practically, the danger from a too exclusive application of all possible passages to justification, lies in another direction, viz., that of legal efforts after holiness. The connection between pardon and holiness is thus obscured; the believer fails to see Christ as his life-giving Saviour; the law is again sought; “the spirit of bondage” returns, and the conflict of Romans 7:14-25 is all too common. Whatever may be the logical and theological antithesis, the Christian pastor finds this to be the practical effect.—R.]—It is likewise a disregard of the definite expression to overlook the real meaning of the ὁμοίωμα. Because Christ appeared in the truth and reality of the σάρξ, He also appeared, according to the universal human view, in the likeness of sinful flesh. The Apostle expresses exactly the same thought in the words, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ; Philippians 2:7. The reality of His human nature resulted in the likeness of His appearance and suffering life to the picture presented by the life of men. Baur’s spiritualistically gross misconception of this declaration (Philippians 2:0) makes a sort of Gnosticism out of it; the realistic obscuration of the term, on the other hand, allows Christ himself to have assumed sinful flesh. The simple thought is too grand for both these stunting and mutilating tendencies. God has unmasked and judged sin in the flesh, and condemned it to be cast out as a foreign element, a ruinous pseudo-plasma in the flesh, by Christ’s assuming a pure and consecrated σάρξ, and by His keeping His white robe spotless on the whole filthy road of His pilgrimage, and maintaining its holiness until it was illuminated in glorified splendor. Thus the question, whether Christ assumed human nature in its paradisiacal state before the fall, or the fallen nature of Adam, is a thoroughly incorrect one, for it rests on a misconception of biblical facts. Christ assumed neither the unfallen nor the fallen human nature, but the nature raised from the fall and made holy. See the Bible-Work on John 1:14.
4. On the connection of the doctrine of the obedientia activa to Romans 8:3, see Tholuck, p. 395.
5. On Romans 8:4. The righteousness of Christ should be realized also in believers, from the principle of the righteousness of faith to the righteousness of life. See the Exeg. Notes.
6. The antithesis, walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit, separates into these elements: a. Being or living in the flesh; being or living in the Spirit; b. The seeking of the flesh as enmity against God; the seeking of the Spirit as enlivened and impelled by the Spirit of God; c. The end—on one side, death; on the other, life and peace.
7. Those who live in the flesh cannot please God. Those imagine that they please God who, following the letter of the law, lead an analytically divided, rent, and fragmentary life, or a false life in outward observances. But God is one; His Spirit is one; His law, as the principle of life, is one; and salvation lies in the dynamical synthesis of life from a shedding abroad of the Spirit. See Mark 12:32 ff.
8. The real, fundamental thought of this section appears in Romans 8:10. See the Exeg. Notes. The body is dead by the necessarily positive standpoint of Christian life in the Spirit, and it is dead in its propensity to sin and death, in order that it may be raised from its state to a new life, and inherit the resurrection (1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:12; Philippians 3:11). Also John 6:0, and the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, belong here. The effecting of the future resurrection by the renewal of the inner life, is questioned by Meyer, against De Wette and Philippi, for he does not place a correct estimate on the real relations of the kingdom of God (p. 246). On pneumatic corporeity, see Tholuck, pp. 485, 486.
9. On Romans 8:13. By the Spirit, and not by the scourge [mit dem Geist, nicht mit der Geissel], should the deeds of the body be mortified. See the Exeg. Notes.
10. On the difference between the symbolical and real children of God, see the Exeg. Notes on ver 14. On υἱοὶ θεοῦ, see Tholuck, p. 409.—That the νἱοθεσία, in the Apostle’s sense, can be adoption only in form and mode, and not in its essence and substance, arises from the fact that believers, as the children of God, have the Spirit of God and of Christ; that they pray in filial confidence; and that they are destined to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. [In interpreting the phrase, “sons of God,” two errors must be guarded against: (a.) limiting it to something like this: the objects of God’s favor; (b.) extending it so as to obliterate any real distinction between the Son and the adopted children. The latter may occur, either through a denial of the specific and eternal Sonship of Christ, or through some too spiritualistic view of the work of Redemption, which makes the children of God in essence and substance children. Pantheistic fancies follow the same tendency. Between these two lies the true definition. A Christian, as a son of God, is new-born of the Spirit of God; hence, has a likeness to God in character, is the object of God’s special love, and entitled to special privilege and dignity. Yet even this is not all. The term is not merely figurative, as this passage shows, save as all language about our relations to God is figurative. The relation is real—grounded on, yet differing from, the relation of the Eternal Son. Only those in Him are “sons.” They are “sons” in such a sense as to become partakers of the Divine nature (1 Peter 1:23). A further definition is now impossible. “Now are we sons of God; but it doth not yet appear what we shall be” (1 John 3:3). The fact remains established; the manifestation of its full significance is to come; Romans 8:19.—R.]
11. The dogmatic spirit of the Middle Ages made of Christianity a religion πάλιν εἰς φόβον. Rome in particular did this, in spite of these words to the Romans, in Romans 8:15. Even the Old Testament and its law aimed at a higher fear of God, as the beginning of wisdom. See Psalms 1:0 and Psalms 19:0 on communion with the law of God.
12. On the υἱοθεσία, and its origin in the Old Testament, see the Exeg. Notes.
13. In relation to adoption, the Spirit is our witness; in relation to future glory, it is our pledge. [On the witness of the Spirit. This consists in the gracious fruits and effects wrought in us by the Holy Spirit. “His whole inward and outward efficacy must be taken together; for instance, His comfort, His incitement to prayer, His censure of sin, His impulse to works of love, to witness before the world,” &c. (Olshausen). Yet filial feelings of those happy moments when we are conscious that we live by the Spirit, love God and goodness, desire and delight in pleasing God, must not be excluded; since, whether the witness be to or with our spirits, such results may be expected. Because enthusiasm has pushed this matter to an extreme at times, the assurance of salvation is not to be deemed unattainable, nor filial emotions toward God checked by the sneer about fanaticism. “That the world deny any such testimony in the hearts of believers, and that they look on it with scorn and treat it with derision, proves only that they are unacquainted with it; not that it is an illusion. It was a sensible and true remark of the French philosopher Hemsterhuys, in regard to certain sensations which he was discussing: ‘Those who are so unhappy as never to have had such sensations, either through weakness of the natural organ, or because they have never cultivated them, will not comprehend me’ ” (Stuart).—R.] The conclusion, “and if children, then heirs,” connects this section with the following.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Why do we, as those who are in Christ Jesus, have no more fear of condemnation? 1. Because the law of the Spirit of Christ has made us free from the law (that is, the power) of sin and death; 2. This has been effected by the act of God in condemning sin in the flesh.—Contrast between the law of the Spirit of Christ and the law of sin: 1. The former brings life; 2. The latter, death (Romans 8:2).—The appearance of the Son of God in the form (likeness) of sinful flesh: 1. In its meaning; 2. In its effects (Romans 8:3-4).—The sending of God’s Son an act of God (Romans 8:3).—He who becomes united with Christ ever more fully performs the righteousness required by the law (Romans 8:4).—Why is carnal-mindedness death? Because: 1. It is enmity against God; and, 2. As such, it is disobedience to God’s law (Romans 8:5-7).—All who have Christ’s Spirit are not carnal, but spiritual. This is shown thus: 1. Christ’s Spirit reigns in their spirit; and therefore, 2. Their spirit reigns in their body (Romans 8:9-11).—“If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” This declaration is: 1. Perfectly true; but, 2. Fearful in its truth (Romans 8:9).—A question of conscience in two forms: 1. Have we Christ’s Spirit? 2. Are we His? (Romans 8:9.)—The Spirit of God as pledge of our resurrection from the dead (Romans 8:11.)—The preparation of our bodies for the day of resurrection by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:11).—The glorification of physical life by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:11).—The opposition between carnal and spiritual-mindedness one of death and life: 1. Demonstration (Romans 8:5-8); 2. Reference to the members of the Christian communion (Romans 8:9-11); 3. Inference for their moral life (Romans 8:11-13).—If we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, we are God’s children, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Reasons: 1. Because this spirit is not slavish, but filial; 2. Because He bears witness with us that we are children of God; 3. Because we are assured by Him of eternal glory (Romans 8:14-17).—The leading power of the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14).—The difference between Divine adoption in the Old Testament and the New (Romans 8:15).—The Spirit of God a spirit of prayer (Romans 8:15).—The Abba-Father cry of believing Christian souls: 1. So filially humble; 2. So filially joyous (Romans 8:15).—The inward witness of the Spirit: 1. Who bears this witness? 2. To whom is it borne? 3. What is its import? (Romans 8:16.)—How rich the children of God are! They are: 1. Heirs of God; 2. Joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).—Let us suffer with Christ, in order that we may be raised to glory with Him.
Luther: Although sin still rages in the flesh, we are not condemned, if the spirit is righteous, and fights against it. But where there is not this spirit, the law is weakened and overpowered by the flesh; so that it is impossible for the law to help man, except to sin and death. Therefore God sent His own Son, and placed upon Him our sins, and thus helped us to fulfil the law by His Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).
Starke: Sin and death are connected together; who will separate them? Therefore, if you would escape death, you must flee from sin; James 1:15; Sir 21:2-3 (Romans 8:2).—Is sin sweet to thee, O man? Then remember that its fruit will be bitter (Romans 8:2).—Hedinger: It is a false trust, to wish to be righteous in Christ, and, at the same time, to desire to walk after the flesh. Where sin reigns, there is condemnation, though Christ had died a thousand times. The flesh must die on the cross with Him, and His Spirit must live in the sinner; otherwise the salvation purchased by Christ will be of no use; 1 Peter 2:24 (Romans 8:1).—Starke: Adam (merely) out of us does not injure us; and Christ (merely) out of us does not help us (Romans 8:10).—People of the world seek immortality in wrong ways. Seek tire right way, which is, to let God’s Spirit dwell in you; Isaiah 55:2 (Romans 8:11).—It is better that we kill sin, than that sin kill us (Romans 8:13).—Nihil vilius, quam a carne vinci, nihil gloriosius, quam carnem vincere; Jerome.—Qui sequuntur carnem, flagellantur in carne: in ipsa est censura supplicii, in qua fuit causa peccati; Bernard (Romans 8:12).—Starke: One may speak of God without the Holy Spirit; but he cannot speak to Him in a way that the prayer will be granted (Romans 8:15).—If little children can move their parents’ hearts by “papa” and “mamma,” so can believers move God by the word “Abba” (Romans 8:15).—Hedinger: To suffer, and to inherit, stand together. Very well! Heaven is worth a toilsome pathway. Si vis regnare mecum, porta crucem meam tecum; Gerson.
Spener: God sent His Son to assume flesh; for the Word became flesh, not merely outwardly, but truly and in very deed. But such flesh in Him was not sinful; but it was only in the form of, or uniformity with, sinful flesh, so that he who saw it only outwardly might regard it just as sinful flesh as ours (Romans 8:3-4.)—Christianity enjoins not only that we do good, and thus perform spiritual works, but that we should also be spiritually, and not carnally, minded (Romans 8:5).—The witness of the Holy Spirit is as glorious as it is necessary. This witness is the foundation of the highest consolation of the child of God. Yet but little can be told of it, for no man can understand it except him who feels it. It is “a new name,” which nobody knows except him who receives it; Revelation 2:17 (Romans 8:16). It is a great dignity, indeed, to be heirs of God, and to stand with Christ as though in the possession of equal rights. For it is the inheritance of the Almighty God, and therefore consists of eternal possessions. Yet such an inheritance has the certain condition of having previously suffered with Christ (Romans 8:17).
Roos: Being in Christ Jesus presupposes longing for Christ Jesus; fleeing to Him; submission to Him; being planted in Him as the Vine; union with Him; and, consequently, faith in Him; just as even the continued being, or remaining, in Christ Jesus, rests upon a continuous faith in Him (Romans 8:1-4).—The man who is in Christ Jesus does not walk any more after the flesh; and thus the righteousness, or righteous requirement, of the law, which is spiritual, is fulfilled in him; it is so far fulfilled as his spiritual life and walk in the Spirit extend (Romans 8:4).—In short, just as the Spirit comprises spiritual-mindedness, and walking after the Spirit comprises every thing which is good, praiseworthy, holy, and well-pleasing to God; so do the words flesh, carnal-mindedness, and walking after the flesh, comprise every thing wicked and sinful (Romans 8:6-8).—Suffering does not precede glory by mere accident; it does so by God’s design, and makes fit for great glory. It is only a nature crushed by suffering that can be glorified. But the suffering must be: 1. A suffering with Christ; 2. In fellowship with Christ; 3. In the likeness of the suffering and mind of Christ. Then will we be also raised to glory with Christ, in whom we are by faith (Romans 8:17).—Bengel: The carnal mind cannot, and may not. Hence comes the pretext of impossibility with which those seek to excuse themselves who are even here convicted as carnal (Romans 8:7).
Gerlach: What seems remote and difficult to man under the law, is made easy by grace; indeed, is even accomplished by grace (Romans 8:2-3).—Both flesh and spirit are mighty and active forces in man (Romans 8:5).—“The Spirit should be as much the Lord of our life, as the helmsman is guide of the ship, and the driver is guide of his team;” Chrysostom (Romans 8:14).—The Spirit of adoption is the Spirit of the Son of God. In Him we cry, Abba, dear Father! He encourages us to call, with childlike joy and confidence, upon God, whom Christ thus called on (Mark 14:26); and whom Christ, after the atonement was completed (John 20:17), calls His God and ours, His Father and ours (Romans 8:15).—The witness of the Spirit of God consists in the consciousness of peace with God, and of access to Him in childlike, believing prayer; which witness we have received through faith in Christ (Romans 8:16).—The believer enters upon the inheritance of God as “joint-heir with Christ;” but it is not a dividing joint-heirship, by which one receives what another is deprived of. It is a possession like that of the sunlight, which every one enjoys to the full, without any robbery of another (Romans 8:17).—The life of the Christian is really a life of suffering, both inwardly and outwardly, except that the consciousness of Divine adoption rises high above suffering and oppression (Romans 8:17).
Lisco: The certainty of the attainment of perfect salvation by believers, rests upon their fellowship with Christ, and upon their being and living in Him; and it is from this true fountain that their ever-progressive sanctification flows (Romans 8:1).—What prospects, what hopes! Yet the order is, that we, like Christ, shall attain future glory through suffering.—Luther: “He who would be Christ’s brother and joint-heir, must bear in mind to be also a joint-martyr and joint-sufferer; not feeling Christ’s sufferings and shame after Him, but with Him, as Romans 8:10; Romans 8:32-33, declare” (Romans 8:17).
Heubner: The guiltlessness of true Christians (Romans 8:2).—We must preach duties so conformably to the gospel, that they will be a pleasure (Romans 8:3).—Faith in Christ gives no aid to indolence. The design of the atonement is our sanctification (Romans 8:4).—The carnal mind and religion do not agree together (Romans 8:7).—Christ’s Spirit is the true Spirit; men out of Him are spiritless, however full of the Spirit such unchristian people may fancy themselves (Romans 8:9).—Life after the flesh destroys all Christian prosperity, spiritual enjoyment, vital force, and eternal salvation (Romans 8:13).—The Spirit can overpower the flesh; therefore no Christian can say, that the power of the flesh is too great, too insurmountable (Romans 8:13).—The guidance of the Spirit of God is: 1. Not irregular, but regular, and its traces are to be found rather within than without; 2. Nor a sudden impulse, an emotion; but a continuous guidance, extending through the whole life, and operating in all Acts 3:0. And finally, this guidance is effected by means of the Word; it is free, and without compulsion (Romans 8:14).—The Abba-cry is an uninterrupted thinking upon God, and longing after Him.—No cross, no crown.—Besser: The impulsive power of the Holy Spirit is twofold: He leads us to receive in faith, and give in love.—The glorification of Christians begins with Christ under the cross.
The Pericope (Romans 8:12-17) for the 8th Sunday after Trinity.—Heubner: The adoption of Christians with God: 1. It is holy; 2. It is saving.—The difference between the children of the world and the children of God.—Genzler: Those whom the Spirit of God leads, are God’s children. The Apostle praises: 1. The filial mind; 2. The filial joyfulness; and, 3. The filial hope of those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit of God.—Petri: The children of God: 1. Their nature; 2. condition; 3. and inheritance.—Harless: The poverty and wealth of the legacy of Jesus Christ.—Tholuck: The witness of Divine adoption is the surest pledge of eternal life. 1. In what is the witness of Divine adoption manifested? 2. Why is it a pledge of eternal life?—Kapff: The healing of sinful corruption by Jesus and His Spirit. Through Him we become: 1. Children of God; 2. Praying men of the Spirit; and, 3. Joint-heirs with Christ.
[Burkitt (condensed): All men show the true temper of their minds, and the complexion and disposition of their souls, by willingly, cheerfully, and constantly minding either the things of the Spirit or the things of the flesh.—Three things are implied in our being glorified with Christ: 1. Conformity—we shall be like Him in glory; 2. Concomitancy—we shall accompany Him, and be present with Him in glory; 3. Conveyance or derivation—His glory shall be reflected upon us, and we shall shine in His beams.—Henry: It was great condescension, that He who was God should be made in the likeness of flesh; but much greater, that He who was holy should be made in the likeness of sinful flesh.—The Spirit witnesses the privileges of children to none who have not the nature and privileges of children.—Doddridge: The Spirit of God will not dwell with those whom He does not effectually govern.—Macknight: The minding of the things of the flesh, to the neglecting of the things of the Spirit, disqualifying men for heaven, stands in direct opposition to God’s friendly intentions; consequently, is enmity against God, and is deservedly punished with death.—Wesley (sermons on the Witness of the Spirit): The witness of the Spirit is a consciousness of our having received, in and by the Spirit of adoption, the tempers mentioned in the Word of God as belonging to His adopted children—a loving heart toward God, and toward all mankind; hanging with childlike confidence on God our Father; desiring nothing but Him; casting all our care upon Him; and embracing every child of man with earnest, tender affection, so as to be ready to lay down our life for our brother, as Christ laid down His life for us. It is a consciousness that we are inwardly conformed, by the Spirit of God, to the image of His Son, and that we walk before Him in justice, mercy, and truth, doing the things which are pleasing in His sight.—Clarke: Romans 8:15. The witness of the Spirit is the grand and most observable case in which intercourse is kept up between heaven and earth; and the genuine believer in Christ Jesus is not left to the quibbles or casuistry of polemic divines or critics, but receives the thing and the testimony of it from God himself. Remove the testimony of adoption from Christianity, and it is a dead letter.—Hodge: There can be no rational or scriptural hope without holiness; and every tendency to separate the evidence of the Divine favor from the evidence of true piety, is antichristian and destructive.—Barnes: If a man is not influenced by the meek, pure, and holy spirit of the Lord Jesus; if he is not conformed to His image; if his life does not resemble that of the Saviour, he is a stranger to religion. No test could be more easily applied, and none is more decisive.
[Homiletical Literature on the 8th of Romans: Bishop Cowper, Heaven Opened, &c., 5th ed., Lond., 1619; E. Philips, Nineteen Sermons; E. Elton, The Triumph of a True Christian Described, or, An Explanation of the 8th Chapter of Romans, 1623; H. Binning, The Sinner’s Sanctuary; being 48 Sermons on the 8th Chapter of Romans; T. Jacomb, Several Sermons on the whole 8th Chapter of Romans, London, 1672; T. Horton, Forty-six Sermons on the whole 8th Chapter of Romans, London, 1674; T. Manton, Forty-seven sermons in Works (vol. 2); Mestrezat, Sermons sur la 8e chap. de l’Epitre aux Romains, Amsterdam, 1702; T. Bryson, Comprehensive View of the Real Christian’s Character, &c., London, 1794; Bishop Short, The Witness of the Spirit with our Spirit, Illustrated from the 8th Chapter of Romans (Bampton Lectures), Oxford, 1846; Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus, as Unfolded in the 8th Chapter of Romans, London, 1857.—J. F. H.]
 Romans 8:20.—[Lange puts a full stop after hope. Meyer, and many others, a comma, connecting the next verse: that the creation, &c. (the purport of the hope). Forbes gives the parallelism thus:
19. a. Ἠγὰρ
b. τὴν ,
20. τῇ γὰρ ματαιότητι ἡ κτίσις ὑποτάγη,
ουκ ἑκοῦσα ,
21. a. ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ὅτι καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις ἐλευθερθήσεται
b. εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης τῶν τέκνων τοῦ θεοῦ.
19. a. For the earnest expectation of the creation
b. Is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God,
20. For the creation was made subject to vanity,
Not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it,
21. a. In hope, that the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption,
b. Into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
This makes the whole of Romans 8:20, except in hope, parenthetical, and connects Romans 8:21 with that phrase, as giving the purport of the hope. On this last view, Forbes does not insist, however. In hope is thus made to refer to both lines of the parenthesis, yet with a main reference to ἀπεκδέχεται, is waiting. The two lines of Romans 8:19 find their parallels in Romans 8:21, while a. a. refer to the expectation or hope that animates creation; b. b. to the final consummation to which it points. At the beginning of Romans 8:21, Lange reads denn, Alford, because, but Tholuck, Phillippi, Meyer, Amer. Bible Union, Noyes, five Anglican clergymen, &c., favor that, introducing the purport of the hope.
[This verse, which, taken in its subjective sense, as the purport of the hope, seems to favor the reference of κτίσις to humanity, and the longing to the instincts of immortality (so Stuart throughout), loses its force if thus understood. The striking phrase: “the freedom of the glory of the children of God,” becomes very vague, unless we adopt the view that nature is here personified as in expectation. And it is easier to believe that the verse is true of all nature, than of all men. Whatever may be our wishes, the sharing of nature in the future glory is more probable, judging from the facts of the material world, than the participation of all men in the same, judging from the facts of the moral world. The sighs after immortality among the heathen are audible enough; but had Paul referred to these, he would undoubtedly have spoken more distinctly of the future conversion of the heathen. He is too fond of references to his personal Saviour and His work, to omit every allusion to these, where his thought really concerns the salvation of persons. It seems, therefore, in the highest degree improbable that mankind (as distinguished from the natural world) is referred to at all.—R.]
[Professor Stuart urges that the longing of the natural world was not so familiar to all, that the Apostle could thus appeal to consciousness. But this objection is of weight only in case the meaning of οἴδαμεν be extended to human consciousness in general. That Paul uses it in appeals to Christian consciousness, is evident from Romans 2:2; Romans 3:19; Romans 7:14; Romans 8:26; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Timothy 1:8; comp. the frequent use of οἴδατε in 1 Corinthians 6:0.—R.]
[Calvin: “Particula Hactenus, vel ad hunc usque diem, ad levandum diuturni languosis tædium pertinet. Nam sutot sæculis durarunt in suo gemitur creaturæ, quam inexcusabilis erit nostra mollities vel ignavia, si in brevi umbratilis vitæ curriculo deficimus?”—R.]
Romans 8:23; Romans 8:23.—[So, or this should be supplied; the meaning is: Not only it this so. The E. V. is therefore inexact. The latest revisions adopt so.
[Alford, who adopts ἡμεῖς with the second καὶ αὐτοί, says it is “inserted to involve himself and his fellow-workers in the general description of the last clause.”—R.]
[Both 1 and 2 take the genitive as partitive, which is undoubtedly the common usage. In every case in the New Testament where ἀπαρχή is followed by a genitive, it has this force; comp. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 16:15; John 1:18. The same is true of the LXX. and classical authors. It is difficult to sustain any other view here. If we adopt the meaning: the first-fruits of a harvest, which is the Spirit given to us, and refer it to the common gift of the Spirit in this life, rather than to the gift of the Spirit in that particular age, all seems to he gained that Dr. Lange seeks in view 3, while we do not unnecessarily depart from the usus loquendi. The reference to the first Christians is perhaps slightly favored by adopting ἡμεῖς at some point in the text, although Meyer rejects it, and yet upholds this reference. In his comments on Romans 8:26, Dr. Lange says that here the new spiritual life is spoken of, not the Holy Spirit itself. This subjective sense can only be admitted if the partitive sense of the genitive be given up. The term “body” cannot, in any case, be regarded as antithetical; did “flesh” occur, there might be some reason for taking “Spirit” in this sense of “spiritual life,” a meaning for which our author has an unusual fondness.—R.]
[De Wette urges the instrumental sense, on account of the definite aorist; but the fact of salvation is regarded as placing us in a condition of hope. The hope differs from faith, but is inseparably connected with it. Alford says the hope is “faith in its prospective altitude.” Philippi: “Inasmuch as the object of salvation is both relatively present and also relatively future, hope is produced from faith and indissolubly linked with it; for faith apprehends the object, in so far as it is present; hope, in so far as it is still future.”—R.]
Romans 8:24; Romans 8:24.—[ א. A. C. K. L., read τί καί (Rec., Meyer, Wordsworth, Lange); B. D. F. omit καί (Lachmann, Alford. Tregelles). The latter reading gives the sense: Why doth he hope (at all)? the former, which is preferable: Why doth he still hope for? καί = etiam.
[On ὑπομονή, see p. 162; also Colossians 1:11; Lange’s Comm., p. 19. Constancy seems to be always prominent in the word. The preposition διά with the genitive denotes that through which, as a medium, our waiting takes place (Alford). It is more than an accompaniment—it is the state which characterizes the waiting throughout. On the connection of hope and patience, comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 10:36.—R.]
 [Against this, see notes in loco, where Dr. Lange himself does not defend this view. It is opposed to the most natural grammatical construction of that passage, and objectionable on other grounds. Comp. the additional notes on Romans 8:16; Romans 8:23, and the excursus, chap. 7—R.]
Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26.—[Instead of ταῖ ς. ἀσθενείαις (Rec., K. L.), which was probably a marginal gloss, א. A. B. C. D., most cursives, versions, and fathers, read τῇ ; adopted by most editors.
[Dr. Hodge refers to the fact that heathen philosophers urged this as a reason why men ought not to pray. The Apostle intimates that what is true of men in general, is true still of Christians (οἴδαμεν), because their knowledge is as yet in no respect such as to make their prayer (καθὸδ εἴ) as it ought to be. Hence the reference is to a continuing state, rather than to times of special weakness.—R.]
Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26.—[Ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (Rec. א3. C. K. L.) is omitted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Lange, Tregelles, on the authority of א1. A. B. D. F. G. Probably added for closer definition.
[The meaning unutterable, which cannot be expressed in words, is favored by the analogy of verbals in -τος, and is adopted by Luther, Calvin, Beza, Meyer, Tholuck, De Wette, Hodge, Stuart, Alford, and many others. Philippi admits this sense, but includes with it that of unspoken, which are not expressed in words. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Peter 1:8.—R.]
[It is held by many commentators (among them Stuart, Hodge, Meyer), that if ὅτι be taken as causal, οι̇͂δε must be rendered approves; i. e., He approves what is the mind of the Spirit, because, &c. Dr. Lange’s estimate of Meyer’s interpretation is very just, and he seems to be equally correct in denying the necessity for the pregnant sense of οι̇͂δε. Comp. Alford in loco. The E. V. is exceedingly happy in its rendering of this verse.—R.]
 [Alford: “All these pleadings of the Spirit are heard and answered, even when inarticulately uttered. We may extend the same comforting assurance to the imperfect and mistaken verbal utterances of our prayers, which are not themselves answered to our hurt, but the answer is given to the voice of the Spirit, which speaks through them, which we would express, but cannot.”—R.”]
[See Textual Note14. Tholuck would refer the σύν to the loving God, but the simplest sense is that of coöperating (Bengel, Alford, and others). Meyer, however, finds in it the idea of the fellowship, in which He who supports necessarily stands to him who is supported. So Philippi and others, all taking συνεργεῖ as = βοηθεῖ.—R.]
 [Tholuck: “They are not called merely according to a Divine decree (nude), but according to one whose stages are set forth up to the final goal of the ἐδόξασε.” Meyer: “The πρόθεσις is the free decree, formed by God in eternity, of saving the believers through Christ (Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:11; Eph 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9, al.). According to this, the call of God to the Messianic salvation through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:14) is promulgated to those who are included in that decree. When, therefore, Paul calls the Christians κλητοί, it is self-evident that the call, in their case, meets with success (1 Corinthians 1:24), and hence has been united with the converting effect of Divine grace; although this is not found in the word itself, which in that case would be equivalent to ἐκλεκτοί. ? Weiss (Jahrbücher für D. Theologie, 1857, p. 79) aptly says: ‘Election and calling are inseparable correlative ideas; where one takes place, the other does also; only the former, as a pre-temporal, internally Divine act, cannot be perceived, but the latter, as a historical fact, is made manifest.’ ” The remarks of Alford in loco may well be appended at this point in the exegesis of the Epistle: “It may suffice to say, that, on the one hand. Scripture bears constant testimony to the fact that all believers are chosen and called by God—their whole spiritual life in its origin, progress, and completion, being from Him; while, on the other hand, its testimony is no less precise that He willeth all to be saved, and that none shall perish except by wilful rejection of the truth. So that, on the one side, God’s sovereignty, and, on the other, man’s free will, is plainly declared to us. To receive, believe, and act on both these, is our duty and our wisdom. They belong, as truths, no less to natural than to revealed religion; and every one who believes in a God, must acknowledge both. But all attempts to bridge over the guy between the two are futile, in the present imperfect condition of man.” See chap. 9 throughout. He who would understand the Epistle to the Romans, must assume this position, and remember that the difficulty belongs to Theism, not to Christianity alone, much less to the Calvinistic conception of it.—R.]
[Jowett thus avoids the tautology: “Foreknew, as the internal purpose of God—if such a figure of speech may be allowed; and predestined, as the solemn external act by which He, as it were, set apart His chosen ones.” See the view of Dr. Hodge, below.—R.]
[So Jowett, Stuart (substantially), and Calvinistic interpreters generally. Dr. Hodge thus presents this view: “It is evident, on the one hand, that πρόγνωσις expresses something more than the presence of which all men and all events are the objects; and, on the other, something different from the προορισμός (predestination) expressed by the following word: ‘whom he foreknew, them he also predestinated.’ The predestination follows, and is grounded on the foreknowledge. The foreknowledge, therefore, expresses the act of cognition or recognition—the fixing, so to speak, the mind upon, which involves the idea of selection. If we look over a number of objects with the view of selecting some of them for a definite purpose, the first act is to fix the mind on some, to the neglect of the others; and the second is, to destine them to the proposed end. So God is represented as looking on the fallen mass of men, and fixing on some whom He predestines to salvation. This is the πρόγνωσις, the foreknowledge, of which the Apostle here speaks. It is the knowing, fixing upon, or selecting those who are to be predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God.” As little can be gained by a philological discussion of the word, and as theological bias will affect the views of many, it need only be added, that the πρόθεσιν of Romans 8:28 gives the best clue to the meaning of πρό, in the compounds of this verse; that the words should be as little as possible confused by the introduction of the ideas of approving, loving, &c.; that Romans 11:2, where προέγνω is used of Israel, most of whom were not saved, does not affect the specific sense here; for there, the matter under discussion is a whole people as a chosen people; here, individuals, who are first of all brought into prominence as personal lovers of God, then as “called according to His purpose:” that the idea of the certainty of salvation is so clearly the main thought of the passage, as to warrant us, where two meanings are presented, in leaning to that which offers the best ground for such security. Hence we adopt the predestinarian view throughout.—R.]
[This seems to be the view of Wordsworth, and many Anglican divines, who would avoid both Calvinism and Arminianism. Wordsworth is very full, both in his introduction and notes, upon this subject, but lacks clearness.—R.]
[If any thing is gained in clearness by this distinction, it should by all means be accepted, as distinguishing the foreknowledge from the predestination; but many will fail to find more than a verbal difference in the phrases employed.—R.]
 [Alford: “His foreknowledge was not a mere being previously aware how a series of events would happen, but was coordinate with, and inseparable from, His having preordained all things.” That the word means foreordained, predestinated, is certain; that it is here applied to individuals, is obvious; that it implies a preterrestrial act of the Divine mind, is in accordance with the current of thought in the chapter, the scriptural conception of God’s purpose, and the use of the word in other passages. It is only one side of the truth, indeed, but the other side is not more firmly established by ignoring this. The only reconciliation of the difficulty is in practical Christian experience, and Paul is addressing himself to this throughout. And we know (Romans 8:28).—R.]
[Comp. Lange’s Comm., Colossians, p. 21 ff. on πρωτότοκος, where all three ideas are involved, that of time being specially prominent there.—R.]
[As the Apostle is speaking of God’s acts not ours, there is no mention of faith, or any other human exercises, and there need be none; for who can misunderstand him, when this side of the matter is in question? The justice of Dr. Lange’s view of “called” is apparent. For the whole verse with remarkable particularity declares that the same persons were predestinated, called, justified, glorified; and to understand by the calling only the general invitation to believe and accept the gospel, weakens the force of the passage. Besides, it is not true, that those whom God invites to believe through the gospel. He justifies also, and glorifies. To admit this, is to obliterate the distinction between the wayside and fruitful hearers (Matthew 13:18-23)—to fly in the face of fact, as well as the plain teaching of the Word of God. Dr. Hodge, and Calvinistic interpreters generally, make “called” = effectually called. Undoubtedly the call is effectual, linked inseparably with predestination and justification; but since the technical meaning of effectual calling is really regeneration, we may hesitate in giving to the word here used a force so extended. The subjective aspect of effectual calling is not introduced, at all events, we have only the order of the Divine acts respecting the salvation of individuals, as presenting the objective certainty of that salvation.—R.]
[So Philippi, De Wette. Alford combines with it that of Grotius, much as Dr. Lange does: “The aorist ἐδόξασεν being used, as the other aorists, to imply the completion in the Divine counsel, of all these, which are to us, in the state of time, so many successive steps—simultaneously and irrevocably.”—R.]
[Dr. Hodge adopts a modification of this view, though he suggests that the aorist may imply frequency, almost = the present. Neither of these seem so satisfactory as that of Meyer, or that of Lange himself.—R.]
[The omission of “them he also sanctified,” which we would expect to find in the chain, were “glorified” limited to the future, is a sufficient ground for this position of Dr. Lange, and favors also the view, that the certainty is prominent, rather than the completion of all these in the purpose of God. Of course, the objective certainty rests on this completion in God’s purpose, but the latter is included only by implication.—R.]
[As the whole passage can only be of encouragement when viewed in this light, Wordsworth deprives it of its force entirely, when he says that the Church of England teaches: ‘She considers these things as done; for in God’s will, and, on His side, they are done, for all members of the visible Church of Christ;” and then makes the whole matter so dependent on us, “that, unless we perform our part, all God’s gracious purposes toward us will fail of their effect.” See his lengthy notes, which touch (scarcely grapple) this difficult subject.—R.]
[Meyer takes Romans 8:31-39 as a conclusion from Romans 8:29-30; “The Christian has; then, nothing to fear that can be detrimental to his salvation, but he is, with the love of God in Christ, certain of this salvation.” This whole passage (notice the logical relation of ὅτι, Romans 8:29, and ου̇͂ν, Romans 8:31,) is a commentary on Romans 8:28—and what a commentary!—R.]
[His own Son. Tholuck, Olshausen, Philippi, Stuart, Hodge, and many others, find an implied antithesis here, viz., his adopted sons (Romans 8:19, &c.), to which Meyer and De Wette object. At all events, the emphasis resting on ἰδίου requires us to understand it as son in a specific sense, μονογενής. The christological hearing of the passage is unmistakable.—R.]
[Most commentators admit the special reference to death. It is not necessary to restrict it to this, but the thought is certainly prominent in Paul’s expressions concerning Christ.—Us all, evidently means believers here. The value or the efficacy of the atonement is not brought into view at all. To this commentators of all doctrinal tendencies agree.—R.]
[As remarked in Textual Note.16, this view is doubly doubtful. The reading is quite uncertain, and to render Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς, Christ is Jesus, is almost fanciful. Dr. Lange’s remark that the article (which might have been expected before Ἰησοῦς, were this the meaning) is found in the attributive clause (ὁ ), will not meet the grammatical objection. So forced a construction would be admissible only in the absence of any other satisfactory explanation. Certainly the thought that the slain yet risen Christ shall judge the world, that our Intercessor is really the only Condemner, is not so unscriptural or unpauline as to create a difficulty from which we must escape by this singular exegesis.—R.]
[See Textual Note.17 The καί before ἔστιν is also omitted in א1. A. C., but inserted in the majority of MSS.—R.]
[Calvin adds a third meaning: our sense of Christ’s love to us. This is implied in the excellent remarks of Dr. Hodge: “The great difficulty with many Christians is, that they cannot persuade themselves that Christ (or God) loves them; and the reason why they cannot feel confident of the love of God, is, that they know they do not deserve His love; on the contrary, that they are in the highest degree unlovely. But it is the very thing we are required to believe, not only as the condition of peace and hope, but as the condition of salvation. If our hope of God’s mercy and love is founded on our own goodness or attractiveness, it is a false hope. We must believe that His love is gratuitous, mysterious, without any known or conceivable cause, certainly without the cause of loveliness in its object.”—R.]
[In the LXX., Ps. 43:23. The only variation is ἕνεκεν here, on the authority of א. A. B. D. F. L., while (Rec.) C. K have ἕνεκα. It must be remarked, however, that the reading of the LXX. itself varies in the same manner.—R.]
[Sχ Alford: “It is no new trials to which we are subjected: what if we verify the ancient description?”—R.]
Romans 8:37; Romans 8:37.—[Instead of the well-supported τοῦ ἁγαπήσαντος, D. E. F. G., and many Latin fathers, read: τὸνἀγαπήσαντα; objectionable on both critical and exegetical grounds.
[This would refer to Him as the efficient cause; but since the context clearly upholds the reference to Christ, it scarcely seems a “smoother exegetical interpretation” than that which presents Him. as the instrumental cause. It represents the union in victory as more intimate to follow the better supported reading, διὰτ ον ῦἀγ.—R.]
Romans 8:38; Romans 8:38.—[The order in א. A. B. C. D. F. is οὕ τεένεσ τῶτα, οὔ τεμέλλοντα, οὔ τεδυνάμεις; adopted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles, and critical editors generally. The Recepta puts οὔ τεδυνάμεις first (K. L., some versions). This may readily be accounted for; δύναμις is associated with ἅγγελοι or ἀρχή in Ephesians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Peter 3:22, hence the seeming necessity for a closer connection here. In Colossians 2:15, δυνάμεις is omitted, but in all the passages cited, ἐξουσία is found; hence we find it as a variation here, but very slightly attested.
[Here the generic idea of time is evidently the prominent one. So Philippi, and most. Alford: “no vicissitudes of time.”—R.]
[Meyer takes δυνάμεις in its widest sense: powers of every kind. Undoubtedly, if the order of Rec. could be adopted, a difficulty would be avoided. (Dr. Hodge takes no notice of the correct reading.) It seems strange that the evil forces should be introduced here. The simplest solution, to my mind, is that which refers this word to earthly powers, since it is connected with “things present, things to come.” This is still more probable, if “angels” and “principalities” be taken as including all superhuman created beings.—R.]
[This subject has been a special study with Dr. Lange. His notes, which are as profound as they are exhaustive, are left without additions, since to add would be to mar the unity.—R.]
[This view of Dr. Lange is one to which exception has been taken throughout the Exeg. Notes, from Romans 7:14 to the close of chap. 8; it is not necessary, then, to enter upon a new discussion of it here.—R.]
[This distinction presents no valid objection to the intercession of the Holy Spirit. For it is one made in and through us, as that of Christ is for us.—R.]
[These Notes of Dr. Lange are very just, in their opposition to such a sundering of the acts of God in our salvation (here represented, as they necessarily must be to our finite minds, as successive), as will make of election and predestination something arbitrary on the part of God. The guard he sets about the doctrine of human personality is very necessary, especially for minds trained in the school of hyper-Calvinism. Still he has not solved the problem. The Apostle himself does not do it. He but presents, for the security of believers, the objective ground of their confidence. Those rightly read, who read to learn for their comfort what God has done for them in eternity. How He, to whom all time is present, whose eternity enters into these very acts, did these gracious acts, is beyond our comprehension. Why He did them, is answered, so far as it can he answered here, only by the responsive love of a believer’s heart. We need only hold fast to the fact; that it is a fact in general, the Apostle makes abundantly clear; that it is a fact in our case, can only be clear according to the measure of our consciousness of being in Christ, “in whom he hath chosen us, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). Comp. chap. 9 on the more difficult phases of this subject.—R.]
Romans 8:1.—[The clause, added in Rec.: μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα, is now rejected by the best critics as a gloss from Romans 8:4. It is not found in א. B. C. D.1 F., most older versions and fathers. The first half only is added in A. D.2 some versions. 3.א adds the whole. The MS. authority is sufficiently against it to warrant a decided rejection. Forbes: “The results of Parallelism coincide with the decisions of criticism, and with the authority of the best MSS., in rejecting the words.”
1. Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα
τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
2. Ὀ γὰρ νόμος τοῦ πνεύμτος τῆς ζωῆς
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἠλευθέρωσέν με
ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου τῆς ἁμαρτι̇ας καὶ τοῦ θανάτου.
3. Τὸ γὰρ .
ἐν ῷ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός,
ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἐαυτοῦ υἱὸν πέμψας
ἐν ὸμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας
κατέκρινεν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῇ σαρκί.
The first and tenth lines correspond; the parallelisms of second and fourth, third and fifth, sixth and eighth, seventh and ninth, are obvious, and the gain in interpretation is considerable. Fritzsche avails himself of it also.
II. Life in the Spirit in connection with nature as the Resurrection-life, and the Spirit as security of glory
A. The present and subjective certainty of future glory, or the glorification of the body and of nature by the spirit (Romans 8:18-27)
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared [insignificant in comparison] with the glory which shall be revealed in us [εἰς ήμᾶς].49 19For the earnest [patient] expectation of the creature [creation]50 waiteth [is waiting] for the manifestation [revelation] of the sons of God. 20For the creature [creation] was made subject51 to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same [who subjected it,]52 in hope; [,]53 21Because [That] the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty [freedom of the glory] of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth [together] and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only they [so],54 but [but even we] ourselves also [omit also], which [though we] have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves55 groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption,56 to wit, [omit to wit,] the redemption of our body. 24For we are [were] saved by [in]57 hope: but [now] hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet [still]58 hope for? 25But if we hope for that we see not, then 26do we with patience wait for it [with patience we wait for it]. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities [weakness]:59 for we know not what we should pray for60 as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession [intercedeth] 27for us [omit for us]61 with groanings which cannot be uttered. And [But] he that [who] searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession [pleadeth] for the saints according to the will of God.
B. The future and objective certainty of glory (Romans 8:28-37)
28And we know that all things62 work together for good to them that [those who] love God, to them [those] who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow [foreknew], he also did predestinate [predestinated] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among30many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate [predestinated], them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified,them he also glorified. 31What shall we then [What then shall we] say to these32things? If God be [is] for us, who can be [is] against us? He that [Who] spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not withhim also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of34God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. [!]63 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ [or, Christ is Jesus]64 that died, yea rather,65 that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress,or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
For thy sake we are killed all the day long;
We are [were] accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that [who] loved66 us.
C. The unity of the subjective and objective certainty of future glory in the already attained glorious life of love, the Spirit of glory (Romans 8:38-39)
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, [omit nor powers,]67 nor things present, nor things to come, [insert norpowers.] 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature [created thing],68 shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Summary.—The witness of Divine adoption, imparted by the Holy Spirit to believers, comprises at the same time, according to Romans 8:17, the security that they will be heirs of future glory. Then, too, the physical body—which, in their spiritual life in this world, they mistrust, because of its enervation through sin, which they must strictly control by walking in the Spirit, but in which, even here, according to Romans 8:11, a germ of its glorification into the psychico-physical existence is formed—shall be transformed into the glory of the Spirit; and all nature, at present made partaker of corruption, yet groaning and travailing to be spiritualized, shall share in the glory also, as the transformed, illuminated, and appropriated organ of the kingdom of spirits. Romans 8:17 serves as a foundation for the section which now follows, as it terminates the previous section as a final inference.
A. The present and subjective certainty of future glory.
Believers, from their present and subjective sense of life, are certain of future glory; accordingly, all the sufferings of the present time are to them as birth-pangs for future glory. This holds good, first, in respect to the pressure toward development, and the longing and patient waiting of nature in its present state; and this pressure toward development corresponds with that of God’s kingdom. It holds good, secondly, in regard to the birth-pangs of God’s kingdom, as manifested, first, in the groanings, longings, and hopes of believers, and in the unutterable groanings of the Spirit, who intercedes for them. Although believers have the Spirit of adoption, it is because they have it that they still groan for its consummation (2 Corinthians 5:1). Their principial salvation is not their finished salvation; but the latter is testified by their hope and confirmed by their patience. But the Spirit proves himself in their hearts by unutterable groanings, as a vital pressure, which harmonizes in this life with the sense of the future exercise of God’s authority, and points to the future objective certainty of glory as founded in the will of God; Romans 8:18 (17)–27.
B. The future and objective certainty of glory.
The love for God by believers is the experience of God’s love for them. But therein lies the security of an omnipotent power for its completion—a power which nothing can oppose, but to which every thing must serve. The certainty of the decisive κλῆσις is the centre and climax of the life, from which the groundwork, as well as the future of life, is glorified. It points backward to God’s purpose, and forward to its consummation. The periods between the pre-temporal, eternal purpose of God, and its future, eternal consummation, are the periods of the order of salvation (Romans 8:29). That this way of salvation leads through suffering to glory, according to the image of Christ’s life, is secured by the omnipotent decision with which “God is for” (Romans 8:31) His children—a decision which is secured by the gift of Christ for them, by their justification, their reconciliation, redemption, and exaltation in Christ; in a word, by the love of Christ. This love leads them in triumph through all the temptations of the world, because it is the expression of Christ’s own conquest of the world (Romans 8:28-37).
C. The unity of the subjective and objective certainty of future glory in the glorious life of love already attained.
Life in the love of Christ is exalted above all the powers of the world (Romans 8:38-39).—Kindred sections: John 17:0.; 1 Corinthians 15:0., and others.
Tholuck: “This inheritance will far outweigh all suffering, and must be awaited with steadfast hope (Romans 8:18-27). But as far as we are concerned, we can suffer no more injury; the consciousness of God’s love in Christ rests upon so impregnable a foundation, that nothing in the whole universe can separate ‘him’ from it” (Romans 8:28-39).—Meyer finds, in Romans 8:18-31, “grounds of encouragement for the συμπάσχειν, ἲνα κσυνδοξ. To wit: 1. The future glory will far outweigh the present suffering (Romans 8:18-25). 2. The Holy Spirit supports us (Romans 8:26-27). 3. Every thing must work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28-31). Undoubtedly these things are grounds of encouragement; yet the Apostle evidently designs to encourage by a copious and conclusive didactic exposition of the certainty of the Christian’s hope of future glory, in face of the great apparent contradictions of this hope—an exposition which, in itself, has great value.
[Alford (Romans 8:18-30): “The Apostle treats of the complete and glorious triumph of God’s elect, through sufferings and by hope, and the blessed renovation of all things in and by their glorification.” (Romans 8:31-39): “The Christian has no reason to fear, but all reason to hope; for nothing can separate him from God’s love in Christ.”—Hodge, making the theme of the chapter “the security of the believer,” finds, in Romans 8:18-28, a proof of this “from the fact that they are sustained by hope, and aided by the Spirit, under all their trials; so that every thing eventually works together, for their good.” In Romans 8:29-30, another proof “founded on the decree or purpose of God.” In Romans 8:31-39, yet another, founded “on His infinite and unchanging love.”—R.]
First Paragraph, Romans 8:18-27
Romans 8:18. For I reckon, &c. [λογίζομαι γἂρ, κ.τ.λ. Γάρ connects this verse with Romans 8:17, introducing a reason why the present sufferings should not discourage (De Wette, Philippi). Calvin: Neque vero molestum nobis debet, si ad cœlestem gloriam per varias afflictiones procedenoum est, quandoquidem, &c. Stuart prefers to join it to “glorified with Him;” “we shall be glorified with Christ, for all the sufferings and sorrows of the present state are only temporary.” The connection seems to be with the whole thought which precedes. The verb is thus expanded by Alford: “I myself am one who have embraced this course, being convinced that.” It is used as in Romans 3:28; see p. 136.—R.] Now by his view of the magnitude of future glory, as well as by his conviction of its certainty, he estimates the proportionate insignificance of the sufferings (certainly great when considered in themselves alone) of the present time, since they, as birth-throes, are the preliminary conditions of future glory.
Insignificant, οὐκ ἂξια, not of weight; a stronger expression for ἀνάξια. They are not synonymous.69 The νῦν καιρός is the final, decisive time of development, with which the αἰὼν οὗτος will terminate.
In comparison with the glory which shall be revealed [πρὸς τὴν μέλλουσαν δόξανἀποκαλυφθῆναι. On πρός after οὐκ ἂξια, in the sense of in relation to, in comparison with, see Tholuck, Philippi in loco.—R.] Τὴν μέλλουσαν is antecedent, with emphasis. [To this Alford objects]. That glory is ever approaching, and therefore ever near at hand, though Paul does not regard its presence near in the sense of Meyer, and others.—In us [see Textual Note1]. The εἰς ἡμᾶς does not mean, as the Vulgate and Beza have it, in nobis [so E. V.]; it is connected with the ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. If it is imparted through the inward life of believers and through nature, it nevertheless comes from the future and from above, as much as from within outwardly, and it is a Divine secret from eternity in time—therefore ἀποκἀλυψις.
Romans 8:19. For the patient expectation [ἡγὰρ . On ἀποκαραδοκία. comp. Philippians 1:20. The verb καραδοκεῖν means, literally, to expect with uplifted head; then, to expect. The noun, strengthened by ἀπό, refers to an expectation, which is constant and persistent until the time arrives. The idea of anxiety (Luther) is not prominent. (So Tholuck, Philippi, De Wette, Meyer.) See below also. Tholuck remarks, that the strengthening of the attributive notion into a substantive makes a double prosopopœia, “not only the creature, but the expectation of the creature waits.”—R.] The γὰρ introduces the first proof of his statement from the course of the whole κτίσις. It may be asked, Shall the future glory be shown in its grandeur (Chrysostom [Hodge, Alford], and most expositors), its certainty (Fritzsche, Meyer), its nearness (Reiche), or its futurity (Philippi)? Tholuck, in its grandeur and certainty.70 If both must combine in one idea, then it is the truth or the reality of the glory, as such. The elements of its grandeur, as of its certainty, are united in the fact that the developing pain of the external κτίσις, as of the inward life of believers—indeed, the groaning of the Divine spiritual life itself—labors for it and points toward it; that it will consist in the removal of all vanity and corruption in the whole natural sphere of mankind.
Of the creation, τῆς κτίσεως. The great question is, What is the κτίσις? Lexically, the word may mean the act of creation, as well as what is created, the creation;71 but actually, the question here can only be the creation in the broader or more limited sense. Tholuck: “κτίσις in the passive sense can mean the same as κτίσμα, the single creature; Romans 8:39; Hebrews 4:13. Ἡ κτίσις, Book of Wis 2:6; Wis 16:24; Hebrews 9:11; or even ὂλη ἡ κτίσις, Book of Wis 19:6; πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις, Jdt 16:17, the created world. But in that case, as also with ὂλος ὁ κόσμος (John 12:19), it is metonymically confined to the human world (Colossians 1:23; Mark 16:15; and also with the Rabbis, בְּרִיאָה כּל, &c.), or to irrational nature, exempting man.”
The explanations are divided into different groups:
1. The natural and spiritual world. The universe. Origen: Man as subject to corruption; souls of the stars. Theodoret: also the angels. Theodore of Mopsvestia, Olshausen: The whole of the universe. Köllner, Koppe, Rosenmüller(tota rerum universitas).
2. Inanimate creation. (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Beza, Fritzsche: mundi machina.)
3. Animate creation. a. Humanity (Augustine, Turretine,72 &c.; Baumgarten-Crusius: still unbelieving men); b. unconverted heathen (Locke, Light-foot, and others). Rabbinical usage of language: the heathen: כְּרִיאָה; c. the Jewish people, because the Jews were called God’s creation (Cramer, and others); d. the Gentile Christians, because the proselytes were called new creatures (Clericus, Nösselt); e. Jewish Christians (Gockel; for the same reason as under c.); f. Christians in general (καινὴ κτίσις, Socinians and Arminians).—Evidently there is no reference, on one hand, to the mathematical or astronomical character of the heavenly bodies, nor, on the other, to the real rational or spiritual world, but to a creature-life, which can groan and earnestly expect.
4. Inanimate and animate nature, in contradistinction from humanity73 (Irenæus, Grotius, Calovius, Neander, Meyer, De Wette) [Hodge, Alford].—[Schubert: “Even in the things of the bodily world about us there is a life-element which, like that statue of Memnon, unconsciously sounds in accord when touched by the ray from on high.”—P. S.] But the distinction from mankind must be confined to the distinction from the spiritual life of renewed mankind; for sinful mankind is utterly dependent upon nature, and even believers have their natural side (2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.). Nor can the universe, in its merely natural side, be altogether meant, since the Holy Scriptures distinguish a region of glory from the region of humanity in this life.
5. Tholuck: “The material world surrounding man.” The Scriptures very plainly distinguish between an earthly natural world related to mankind, and a region of glory. (See the ascension; 1 Corinthians 15:0; Hebrews 9:11, &c.) The former alone is subject to vanity, and hence it alone can be intended. But there is no ground for making divisions in reference to this human natural world. The Apostle assumes, rather, that this creature-sphere is in a state of collective, painful striving for development, which expresses itself as sensation only proportionately to the sensational power of life, and hence is more definitely expressed, appears more frequently, and reaches its climax in living creatures and in the natural longing which mankind feels (2 Corinthians 5:1). The real personification of nature in man is the final ground for the poetical personification of nature.
[6. The whole creation, rational as well as irrational, not yet redeemed, but needing and capable of redemption, here opposed to the new creation in Christ and in the regenerate. The children of God appear, on the one side, as the first-fruits of the new creation, and the remaining creatures, on the other, as consciously or unconsciously longing after the same redemption and renewal. This explanation seems to be the most correct one. It most satisfactorily accounts for the expressions: expectation, waiting, groaning, not willingly (Romans 8:20), and the whole creation (Romans 8:22). The whole creation, then, looks forward to redemption; all natural birth, to the new birth. As all that is created proceeded from God, so it all, consciously or unconsciously, strives after Him as its final end. What shows itself in nature as a dim impulse, in the natural man, among the heathen, and yet more among the Jews, under the influence of the law, comes to distinct consciousness and manifests itself in that loud cry after deliverance (Romans 7:24), which Christ alone can satisfy; and then voices itself in happy gratitude for the actual redemption. Olshausen aptly says: “Paul contrasts Christ, and the new creation called forth by Him, to all the old creation, together with the unregenerate men, as the flower of this creation. The whole of this old creation has one life in itself, and this is yearning for redemption from the bonds which hold it, and hinder its glorification; this one yearning has forms different only according to the different degrees of life, and is naturally purer and stronger in unregenerate men than in plants and animals; in them, the creation has, as it were, its mouth, by which it can give vent to its collective feeling. Yet the most of these men know not what the yearning and seeking in them properly mean; they understand not the language of the Spirit in them; nay, they suppress it often, though it is, meanwhile, audible in their heart; and what they do not understand themselves, God understands, who listens even to prayers not understood. But however decided the contrast between the old and new creation, yet they may not be considered as separated thoroughly. Rather, as the new man, in all distinctness from the old, still is in the old, so is the new creation (Christ, and the new life proceeding from Him) in the old world. The old creation, therefore, is like an impregnate mother (comp. Romans 8:23), that bears a new world in her womb—a life which is not herself, neither springs from her, but which, by the overmastering power that dwells in it, draws her life, with which it is connected, on and on into itself, and changes it into its nature, so that the birth (the completion of the new world) is the mother’s death (the sinking of the old).”—P. S.]
[This last view seems to be that of Dr. Lange himself. It is ably defended by Forbes, pp. 310–330. The limitation to creation, as capable of redemption, implies that only so much of creation as is linked with the fall of man, and subject to the curse, should be included. Thus it differs from 1 Chronicles 1:20, however, gives a hint as to the extent of this connection with man. The context renders such a limitation necessary. On the other hand, it differs from 4, in including man in his fallen condition. The reasons for excluding humanity have been given above. It will appear that, against this view, they are of comparatively little weight. Certainly the burden of proof rests with those who adopt 4; for man is the head of the creation, to which they apply κτὺσις; not merely as the final and crowning work of the repeated creative agency which brought it into being, but as the occasion of its present groaning condition. Besides, man, viewed on one side of his nature, is a part of this material and animal creation. It seems arbitrary to sunder him from it in this case. At all events, we may admit that his material body involuntarily shares in this expectation, to which his unregenerate soul responds with an indefinite longing. In this view the degradation of sin is fearfully manifest. Nature waits, but the natural man is indifferent or hostile. The very body which, in his blindness, he deems the source of sin, waits for glorification, while his soul uses its power over it to stifle the inarticulate desire. On the whole subject, see Usteri, Stud, und Krit., 1832, pp. 835 ff., Tholuck, Meyer in loco, Delitzsch, Bibl. Psych., pp. 57 ff. and pp. 476 ff. (a most profound and eloquent sermon on Romans 8:18-23). Comp. Doctr. Notes, and Dr. Lange, Das Land der Herrlichkeit.—R.]
For the earnest expectation of the creature. As the καραδοκεῖν means, strictly, to expect with raised head, it is very proper to regard the καραδοκία (intense expectation), and the ἀποκαραδοκία (Philippians 1:20) (intense longing, waiting for satisfaction), as an allusion to the conduct of irrational creatures in reference to the future transformation of the sphere of nature.
Is waiting [ἀπεκδέχεται. Here, also, the preposition implies the continuance of the waiting until the time arrives.—R.] Even the poor creatures, whose heads are bowed toward the ground, now seized by a higher impulse, by a supernatural anticipation and longing, seem to stretch out their heads and look forth spiritually for a spiritual object of their existence, which is now burdened by the law of corruption.74 Certainly this representation has the form of a poetical personification; but it cannot, on this account, be made equivalent, as Meyer holds (p. 255), to the usual prosopopœias in the Old Testament, although these declare, in a measure, the sympathy between the natural and human world. Meyer would exclude from the idea not only the angelic and demoniac kingdom, but also Christian and unchristian mankind. But how, then, would Paul have understood the groaning of the creature, without human sympathy?
The revelation of the sons (children) of God [τὴν ]. The children of God in the pregnant sense of His sons. The creature waits for its manifestation; that is, for the coming of its δόξα to full appearance (1 John 3:2) with the coming of Christ (Matthew 25:31), which will be the appearing of the δόξα of the great God (Titus 2:13); therefore the absolute ἀποκάλυψις itself,75 the fulfilment of all the typical prophecies of nature—and not only as complete restoration, but also as perfect development.
Romans 8:20. For the creation was made subject [ἡ κτίσις ὑπετάγη. Dr. Lange takes the verb as middle. It is the historical aorist, at the fall of man. See below. Comp. Genesis 3:17-18.—R.]. God was the one who subjected (so say most expositors)—[This is evident from the curse, if the reference be to the time of the fall.—R.];—not Adam (Knachtb., Capellus); nor man (Chrysostom, Schneckenburger); nor the devil (Hammond).
To vanity. Ματαιότης. The Septuagint, instead of חֶכֶל שָׁרְא רִיק. The word does not occur in the profane Greek; it means the superficial, intangible, and therefore deceptive appearance; the perishable and doomed to destruction having the show of reality. Earlier expositors (Tertullian, Bucer, and others) have referred the word to the μἁταια = idols, understanding it as the deification of the creature. Yet the question here is a condition of the creature to which God has subjected it. Further on it is designated as δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς. Therefore Fritzsche’s definition, perversitas (Adam’s sin), is totally untenable. But what do we understand by “subject to ματαιότης”? Explanations:
1. An original disposition of creation; the arrangement of the corruption of the creature. (Grotius, Krehl, De Wette. Theodoret holds that the original arrangement was made with a view to the fall.)
2. A result of the fall of man. (The Hebrew theology, Berechith Rabba, many Christian theologians: Œeumenius, Calvin, Meyer, and others). No. 1 is opposed by the ὑπετάγη, &c. [by οὐχ εκοῦσα, ἀλλά, which presupposes a different previous condition, and by the historical fact (Genesis 1:31); Meyer.—R.]; and No. 2 by the originality of the arrangement between a first created and a second spiritual stage of the cosmos (1 Corinthians 15:47-48).
3. We must therefore hold, that Paul refers to the obscurity and disturbance of the first natural stage in the development of our cosmos produced by the fall.76 As, in redemption, the restoration occurred simultaneously with the furtherance of the normal development, so death entered, at the fall, as a deterioration of the original metamorphoses, into the corruption of transitoriness. Tholuck approaches this explanation by this remark: “As the Rabbinical theology expresses the thought that man, born sinless, would have passed into a better condition ‘by a kiss of the Highest,’ so, in all probability, has Paul regarded that ὰλλαγῆναι of which he speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:52 as the destination of the first man.” Yet Tholuck seems, in reality, to adhere to De Wette’s view.
Not willingly. The οὐχ ἑκοῦσα cannot mean merely the natural necessity peculiar to the creature-world; it applies rather to an opposition of ideal nature, in its ideal pressure toward development, to the decrees of death and of the curse of their real developing progress (Genesis 3:0; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.). Bucer: Contra quam fert ingenium eorum, a natura enim omnes res a corruptione abhorrent.
[But by reason of him who hath subjected it, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξαντα. Dr. Lange renders: the creature-world subjected itself to vanity, not willingly, but on account of Him who subjected it, in hope. The force of διά with the accusative is on account of; but the E. V. is correct, indicating a moving cause—i. e., the will of God.—R.] This unwillingness is expressed, according to what follows, in the groaning of the whole creation. The translation: “it was made subject (ὑπετάγη, passive), by reason of Him who hath subjected the same,” is opposed to the logical conception. [The simplest grammatical as well as logical interpretation accepts the verb as passive, with a reference to God as “Him who subjected the same.” (So Meyer, Tholuck, Hodge, De Wette, Alford, and most commentators.)—R.] Moreover, the reference of the διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξαντα to man, to Adam,77 does not remove this logical difficulty, since, in that case, the ὑπετάγη would have to relate to another subject than the ὑποτάξαντα. We therefore find ourselves driven, with Fritzsche, to the middle construction of ὑπετάγη. Thereby we gain the idea, that even the disharmony which nature had suffered has become, in turn, a kind of order, since nature has been found in the service of corruption by virtue of its elasticity, relative dependence, plasticity, and pliability, and its absolute dependence upon God; and pious nature is all the dearer to God because it is subjected in hope. [So Hodge, accepting the middle sense: the creature submitted to the yoke of bondage in hope of ultimate deliverance.—R.]
[In hope, ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι. Not precisely in a state of, which would be expressed by ἐν, but resting on hope (De Wette: auf Hoffnung hin).—R.] This means not merely, “hope was left to it” (Tholuck), but it is also a motive of positive hope in suffering nature. Just as the fallen human world shall be led in its ἀποκατάστασις beyond its primitive paradisaical glory, so shall nature come through this humiliation to a richer elevation, namely, as the transformed organism of the glorified Christ and His joint-heirs. The ἐπ’ ἐλπίλδι must be joined with ὑπετάγη, not with διὰ τ. ὑποτ. (Vulgate, Luther, and others). [The question of connection is a difficult one. Of the two views here mentioned, Dr. Lange rightly prefers the former, since the latter would attribute the hope to the one subjecting, not the one subjected
(Alford). Ewald, making all that precedes in this verse parenthetical, joins in hope with Romans 8:19, and thus finds a reason for the emphatic repetition of κτίσις in Romans 8:21. See Textual Note78, where the view of Forbes is given. It seems to give greater clearness to the passage as a whole.—R.]
Romans 8:21. That the creation itself also [ὂτι καὶ αὑτὴ ἡ κτίσις. See Textual Note5. The current of exegesis sets strongly in favor of the view which connects ὂτι with ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι, in the sense of that. Alford, who, in his commentary, defends because, is one of the authors of a revision which adopts that. Meyer suggests that the purport of the hope must be given, in order to prove the expectation of the κτίσις as directed precisely toward the manifestation of the sons of God. Alford indeed objects, that this subjective signification of the clause would attribute “to the yearnings of creation, intelligence and rationality—consciousness of itself and of God;” but the same objection might be urged against the reference of κτίσις to inanimate creation, in Romans 8:19-20; Romans 8:22, as well as here. If the figurative idea of longing be admitted at all, it may be carried out to this extent with equal propriety. The repetition may be readily accounted for, either by considering Romans 8:20 parenthetical, or by regarding αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις as emphatic.—R.] This explains the hope of the creature-world introduced in the preceding verse. With Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, we regard the καὶ αὑτὴ as a higher degree, itself also, and not merely as an expression of equality, also it. Meyer says, that the context says nothing of gradation. But the gradation lies essentially in the fact that the creature-world constitutes a humiliation in opposition to spiritual life, especially for contemplating the old world.
Shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption [ἐλευθερωθήσεται ]. We do not hold (with Tholuck, Meyer, and others) that τῆς φθορᾶς is the genitive of apposition. For the question is, in the first place, concerning a bondage under vanity; so that the creature, even in its deliverance, will remain in a state of the δουλεία in relation to the children of God himself. The φθόρα is not altogether the same as ματαιότης, but its manifestation in the process of finite life in sickness, death, the pangs of death, and corruption; while the ματαιότης, as such, is veiled in the semblance of a blooming, incorruptible life. [There seems to be no good reason for objecting to the view of Tholuck, Meyer, Philippi, and others, that the bondage, which results from the vanity, and is borne not willingly (Romans 8:20), consists in corruption. This preserves the proper distinctions. The corruption is the consequence of the vanity; the unwilling subjection to a condition which is under vanity, and results in corruption, is well termed bondage.—R.] The alteration of the expression φθόρα into an adjective, “corruptible bondage” (Köllner), is as unwarranted as the translation of the ἐλευθερία τῆς δόξης by glorious liberty (Luther [E. V.]).
[Into the freedom of the glory of the children of God, εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης τῶν τέκνων τοῦ θεοῦ. The construction is pregnant. (So Meyer: Aecht Griechische Prügnanz. See Winer, p. 577.) We may supply: καὶκατασταθήσεται, or είςαχθήσεται, shall be brought or introduced into, &c. The freedom is to consist in, or at least to result from a share in, the glory of the children of God. Hence the hendiadys of the E. V. (glorious liberty) is totally incorrect. It makes the most prominent idea of the whole clause a mere attributive. Besides, were the meaning that expressed by the E. V., we should find this form: εἰς τὴν δόξαν τῆς ἐλευθερίας τῶν τέκ. τ. θεοῦ.—R.] The εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν can mean only the sharing in the liberty of God’s children by the organic appropriation on their part, and by the equality with the children of God produced by means of the transformation; but it cannot mean an independent state of liberty beside them. Their freedom will consist in its helping to constitute the glory, the spiritualized splendor of the manifestation of God’s children. As Christ is the manifestation of God’s glory because He is illuminated throughout by God, and the sons of God are the glory of Christ as lights from His light, so will nature be the glory of God’s sons as humanized and deified nature. Yet we would not therefore take the τῆς δόξης as the genitive of apposition, since the glory proceeds outwardly from within, and since it is here promised to nature as recompense, so to speak, in opposition to the corruption. It shall therefore share, in its way, in the glory belonging to God’s children. But why is not the ἀφθαρσία, incorruption, mentioned (1 Corinthians 15:45), in opposition to the φθόρα, corruption? Because the idea of corruption has been preceded by that of vanity. The real glory of the manifestation in which its inward incorruption shall hereafter be externally revealed, is contrasted with the deceptive, transitory glory of the manifestation in which the creature-world in this life appears subject to vanity. The elevation of the children of God themselves from the condition of corruption to the condition of glorification, constitutes the centre of the deliverance into this state of glory; but the creature is drawn upward in this elevation, in conformity with its dynamical dependence on the centre, and its organic connection with it.79
Romans 8:22. For we know that the whole creation [οἲδαμεν γὰρ ὂτι πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις]. The Apostle furnishes, in Romans 8:22, for we know, the proof of the declaration in Romans 8:21. Since he has proved the proposition of Romans 8:19 by Romans 8:20, and of Romans 8:20 by Romans 8:21, Meyer, without ground, goes back with this for to Romans 8:20 : ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι; De Wette [Philippi], to Romans 8:19. [If Romans 8:21 be taken as stating the purport of the hope, then Meyer’s view is the most tenable one. Philippi finds here a more general affirmation of the existence of the “patient expectation,” as an admitted truth.—R.]
Tholuck asks, Whence does the Apostle have this we know? and he opposes the view that it is an assumption of the universal human consciousness (according to most expositors), or rather, that the Apostle seems (according to Bucer, Brenz) to speak from the Jewish-Christian hope which rested on the prophets, as, even in Romans 2:2; Romans 3:19; Romans 7:14; Romans 8:28, the οἲδαμεν is understood best as the Christian consciousness.80 We must not subject the Apostle to the modern sense of nature. But we can still less reduce the Apostle’s knowledge to that of the prophets. The modern sense of nature, in its sound elements, is a fruit of apostolical Christianity; and as the harmony between spirit and nature has been essentially consummated in Christ, so, too, has the knowledge of the language (that is, the spiritual meaning) of nature been consummated in Him—a knowledge which was reproduced in the apostles as a fountain, and ready for enlargement. This knowledge is, indeed, universally human chiefly in elect souls alone, under the condition of Divine illumination.
Groaneth together and travaileth in pain together [συνστενάκει Ζαὶ συνωδίνει]. The συν in συνστενάζει and συνωδίνει has been referred, by Œeumenius, Calvin, and others, to the children of God; Köllner, and others, have viewed it as a mere strengthening of the simple word. Tholuck and Meyer explain it, in harmony with Theodore of Mopsvestia, as a collective disposition of the creature. The latter: βοῦλεται δὲ εἰπεῖν, ὂτι σύμφωνος ἐπιδείκνυται τοῦτο πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις. Estius: genitus et dolor communis inter se partium creaturœ. On the linguistic tenableness of this explanation, by accepting the presumed organization of nature in single parts, see Meyer, against Fritzsche. It is, indeed, against the reference of the συν to the groaning of Christians that this groaning is introduced further on as something special.
Reiche holds that συνωδίνει refers to the eschatological expectation of the Jews, the חֶכֶלֵי־הַמַּשֵיחַ, dolores messiœ; against which Meyer properly observes, that those dolores messiœ are special sufferings which were to precede the appearance of the Messiah; but the travailing of nature had taken place from the beginning, since Genesis 3:17. Yet Tholuck remarks, with propriety, that the Apostle must have been acquainted with that term of Rabbinical theology. Likewise the developing suffering of nature will ascend toward the end to a decisive crisis (see the eschatological words of Jesus). But the “dolores messiœ” comprise also ethical conflicts. Therefore this continuous travailing of the world’s development is related to the dolores messiœ, as the preparation is to the fulfilment, or as the judgment of the world, immanent in the history of the world, is related to the final catastrophe. The ὠδίνειν denotes the birth-pangs of a woman in labor. The figure is happily chosen, not only because it announces a new birth and new form of the earth, but because it reflects in travailing Eve the fate of the travailing earth, and vice versâ. Tholuck: “By pain, it will wrest the new out of the old; perhaps στενάζειν has reference to bringing forth (comp. Jeremiah 4:31), but better, as Luther explains the στεναγμοί, Romans 8:26, the groaning, earnest expectation, which is intensified by the being in travail which follows.” Yet the groaning also indicates the painful announcement of positive sufferings, which subsequently arise from the groaning of Christians for redemption (στενάζομεν βαρούμενοι, 2 Corinthians 5:4).
[Until now, ἂχρι τοῦ νῦν. Any reference to the future is forbidden by the use of οἲδαμεν, which refers to experience (Alford). While it is not necessary to insist upon an important distinction between μέχρι and ἂχρι (see p. 181), it would seem best to consider that the idea of duration81 is the prominent one here. If any point of time is emphasized, it must be that of the beginning of the groaning, when the curse of wearying labor and travail came upon man, and through him the curse upon nature.—R.]
Romans 8:23. And not only so, but even we ourselves [οὐ μόνον δέ, ὰλλὰ καὶ αὐτοί. See Textual Notes82 and7. The reading of the Vaticanusis followed here.] Meyer’s mode of stating the connection with the preceding verse is utterly incorrect: “Climax of the previous proof that the κτίσις in Romans 8:21 is correct in the ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι, ὂτι. Even we Christians would, indeed, do nothing less than unite in that groaning.” The principal thought is, not the deliverance of the κτίσις, Romans 8:20-21, but the future glory of the children of God, Romans 8:18. The first proof therefor is the groaning of nature; the second, which now follows, is the groaning of spiritual life. Therefore Christians do not unite in anywise in the groaning of creation, but vice versâ: the groaning of creation joins in the groaning of Christians. Consequently, we must not translate: “But also we (Christians) on our part,” &c., but: even we Christians ourselves—namely, we who are most intimately concerned. The expression καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς brings out prominently the truth that these same Christians, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, are also saved by hope, though at heart they must still groan and earnestly expect. Thus αὐτὸς ἐγὼ, in Romans 7:25, means: I, one and the same man, can be so different; with the mind I can serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Tholuck: “The difference between the readings seems to have arisen rather from purposes of perspicuity or style.” Augustine, Chrysostom, and others, hold that the connection—in which the subject is Christians in general—is decidedly against the odd limitation of the αὐτοί to the apostles (Origen, Ambrose, Melanchthon, and Grotius. Reiche, and others: the Apostle Paul alone. Others: Paul, with the other apostles). The former expositors maintain that the second καὶ ἡμεῖς αὐτοί consists, in a more intense degree, of the apostles.83 But the addition is rather occasioned by the contrast presented: saved, and yet groaning (“the inward life of Christians shines”).
Though we have the first-fruits of the Spirit [τὴν . The participle may be taken as simply defining the subject: we ourselves, those who have (Luther, Calvin, Beza, Hodge); or be rendered: though we have, despite this privilege. The latter is more forcible; the former sense would require the article οἱ (Tholuck, Philippi, Meyer, Alford). Ἀπαρχή in itself occasions no difficulty; it means first-fruits, with the implied idea of a future harvest. Comp., however, Romans 11:16.—R.] The ὰπαρχὴ τοῦ πνεύμ. is differently interpreted.
1. The genitive is partitive, having this sense: the apostles (they alone, according to Origen, ?cumenius, Melanchthon, and Grotius), and the Christians of the apostolic period, have the first foretaste of a spiritual endowment, which, when complete, will extend to all future Christians (De Wette, Köllner, Olshausen, Meyer). But by this division the Apostle would not only have adjudged to later Christians the full harvest of the Spirit, which is contrary to the real fact, but he would also have obscured rather than strengthened his argument by a superfluous remark. For it is a fact, which will ever remain perfectly the same from the time of the apostles to the end of the world, that the life of Christians in the Spirit is related to their physical perfection and glorification, as the firstlings are to the harvest. But the following division has just as little force.
2. Our present reception of the Spirit is only preliminary, in contrast with the future complete outpouring in the kingdom of heaven (Chrysostom, and others; also Huther, Calvin, Beza, Tholuck, Philippi [Hodge, Alford, Stuart]). Apart from the fact that this view is not altogether apostolical, it adds nothing to the matter in question, and removes the point of view: the inference of the future δόξα from the present πνεῦμα.
3. Therefore the genitive of apposition.84 The Holy Spirit is himself the gift of the first-fruits, if the completion of Christian life is regarded as the harvest (Bengel, Winer, Rückert, and others). The Spirit is the earnest, ἀῤῥαβόιν, of the future perfection (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:8). Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30; and 1 Peter 4:14, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς δόξης, are of special importance. Meyer’s only objection to this explanation is, that the Apostle’s expression would have been misunderstood, since the ἀπαρχἠ would have to be understood as a part of a similar whole. But the sheaves offered as first-fruits are not merely the first portions of the first sheaves collectively; they are the precious tokens and sure pledges of the full harvest, to which they constitute, if we may so speak, a harmonious antithesis. But the δόξα must be regarded as commensurate with the spiritual life; yet not as a new and higher outpouring of the Spirit, but as the perfect epiphany of the operation of the Spirit. Tholuck admits, at least, that this third explanation is also admissible with the second. On the singular explanations of Fritzsche and Schneckenburger, see Meyer.
Even we ourselves groan within ourselves [καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς στενάζομεν. We, although we have the first-fruits, are far from being complete; despite this, we groan within ourselves. The inward, profound nature of the feeling is thus emphasized.—R.] Groaning is the expression of the longing which feels that it is delayed in its course toward its object; expression of the inclination contending immediately with its obstacles.
Waiting for the adoption [ἱοθεσίαν . Wait for, await, wait to the end of (Alford). The adoption is already ours (Romans 8:15) as an internal relation, but the outward condition does not yet correspond (Meyer). Alford paraphrases: awaiting the fulness of our adoption.—R.]. The object of the longing is the υἱοθεσία, which believers wait for in perfect patience. This is here identified with the redemption of our body. It is the perfect outward manifestation of the inward υίοθεσία; it is the soul’s inheritance of the glorified life which is attained on the perfect deliverance of the body from the bondage of the first state of nature, and from subjection to death and corruption; see 2 Corinthians 5:4. The Apostle’s addition of “the redemption of our body,” proves that he does not mean merely the entire υίοθεσὶα, but this υίοθεσία viewed specifically as complete.
[The redemption of our body, τὴν . Epexegetical clause.] Τοῦ σώματος is explained by Erasmus, Luther, and others (also Lutz, Bibl. Dogm.), as redemption from the body; but this is totally foreign to the connection, and also to the matter itself. [Were this the meaning, there would probably be some qualifying term added, as Philippians 3:21 (Meyer).—R.] Tholuck explains the redemption of the body as applying to its materiality; this is also the object of the earnest expectation of the κτίσις. Perhaps this is from Origen and Rothe; see, on the contrary, 1 Corinthians 15:0. Tholuck’s quotation from Augustine is better (De doctr. christ.): Quod nonnulli dicunt, malle se omnino esse sine corpore, omnino falluntur, non enim corpus suum sed corruptiones et pondus oderunt; Philippians 3:21; Philippians 1:0 Cor. xv; The most untenable view is: deliverance from the morally injurious influence of the body by death (Carpzov, and others). [It is so natural to refer this phrase to the glorification of the body at the coming of Christ, that it is unnecessary to state arguments in favor of this reference (comp. Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:2 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff.). The redemption is not complete until the body is redeemed. Any other view is not accordant with the grand current of thought in this chapter. The fact that even here, where the longing of Christians is described, so much stress should be laid on the redemption of the body, the material part of our complex nature, confirms the view of κτίσις, which takes it as including material existences. In fact, since “even we ourselves” are represented as waiting for an event, which shall redeem that part of our nature most akin to the creation (in the restricted sense of Meyer, and others), it would appear that the subject here is not necessarily in antithesis to “creation,” but rather a part of it; “subjected in hope,” like the whole creation, but also as having the first-fruits of the Spirit, “saved in hope” (Romans 8:24).—R.]
Romans 8:24. For we were saved. (ἐσώθημεν.) Delivered, and participating in salvation. The dative τῇ ἐλπίδι, in hope, does not describe the means, but the mode of the deliverance. [So Bengel, and many others. Comp. Winer, p. 203. The phrase is emphatically placed. Luther is excellent: we are indeed saved, yet in hope.—R.] Even if we were to admit that the Apostle understood faith to be the hope here mentioned (Chrysostom, De Wette, and others)—which, as Meyer correctly observes, is controverted by Paul’s definite distinction between faith and hope,85—the admission of the dative of instrument would be too strong. But even if we accept the dative as denoting modality, it does not denote “that to which the ἐσώθ is to be regarded as confined” (Meyer), but the condition: in hope of. Therefore the ἐσώθημεν must be here explained conformably to the conception of the υἱοθεσία in Romans 8:23, not as being the principial attainment of salvation in the Spirit—which is already complete there—but as being the perfect attainment of salvation in glory. This has become the portion of Christians, but in such a way that their faith is supplemented by their hope. They have the inward υἱοθεσία in the witness of the Spirit; but the υἱοθεσία of δόξα in the pledge of the Spirit.
Now hope that is seen is not hope [ἐλπὶς δὲ βλεπομένη οὐκ ἔστιν ἒλπίς]. Tholuck: the second ἐλπίς is concrete, the object of hope. [This usage is common in emphatic phrases in all languages (Philippi). Comp. Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18, where ἐλπίς is objective.—R.] Luther: “The word hope is used in two ways. In one case it means great courage, which remains firm in all temptations; in the other, the finite salvation which hope shall get; here it may mean both.” Seeing means, here, the acquired presence of the object, which can be “grasped with the hands;” however, the beholding also may momentarily afford heavenly satisfaction; see 1 Cor. xiii.; 2 Corinthians 5:7.
For what a man seeth [ὂ γὰρ βλέπειτίς]. Thus the hope of believers proves that they are to expect a state of completion, but that they must wait for it perseveringly.
Why doth he still hope for? [τί καὶἐλπίζει; See Textual Note86. Adopting καί as well established, it seems best to take it as = etiam (Meyer). Why does he still hope, when there is no more ground for it? Comp. Hartung, Partikellehre, i. p. 137, on this use of Ζαί. Bengel: cum visione non est spe opus.—R.]
Romans 8:25. But if we hope for that, &c. Hope is no vain dreaming; it is proved as religious confidence in the ethical labor of patience. The ὑπομονή denotes perseverance amid obstacles; therefore always, also passiveness, or patience and steadfastness. But the connection here authorizes the predominance of the former idea. And though complete salvation comes from the future and from above, patience in this life must coöperate with its future—therefore: to persevere.87 Grotius; Spes ista non infructuosa est in nobis, sed egregiam virtutem operatur, malorum fortem tolerantiam.
Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also [ὡσαὑτως δὲ kαὶ τὸ πνεῦμα. Likewise (ὡσαὑτως) introduces, as contemporaneous with the “waiting” (Romans 8:23), the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit (Tholuck).—R.] De Wette and Meyer explain: The Holy Spirit. The latter commentator appeals to Romans 8:16; Romans 8:23. But, in Romans 8:23, the new spiritual life is spoken of,88 which certainly consists in the fellowship of the human spirit with the Holy Spirit, but is, nevertheless, not the Holy Spirit itself. To say of the Holy Spirit in himself that He groans—indeed, that He gives vent to groanings which are unutterable by Him—is altogether inadmissible. Neither can we, with Nösselt, substitute the gospel; nor, with Morus, the Christian disposition; nor, with Köllner, the Christian element of life. According to the opposition of πνεῦμα and νοῦς in 1 Corinthians 14:14, it is the new basis of life, which constitutes to the conscious daily life an opposition of the life which, though apparently unconscious, is really the higher consciousness itself, the heavenly sense of the awakened soul. As, in the unconverted state, the influences of the unconscious basis of the soul invade the conscious daily life with demoniacal temptation, so vice versâ, does the unconscious spiritual life of the converted man come as a guardian spirit to the help of the daily life. Therefore the groaning of the spirit itself (see Romans 8:15) corresponds with the groaning of the consciousness in its natural feeling. [This position of Dr. Lange is not in accordance with the view of the best modern commentators. Tholuck, De Wette, Ewald, Stuart, Hodge, Philippi, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Jowett, as well as the older commentators in general, all refer it to the objective, Holy Spirit. Olshausen, however, adopts the subjective sense. The proof must be very strong which will warrant us in referring it to any thing other than the Holy Spirit itself; for the Apostle uses τὸ πνεῦμα, as he has done in Romans 8:23; Romans 8:16, &c., where the Holy Spirit is meant. The only reason urged against such a meaning here is, that the “groaning,” &c., cannot be predicated of Him. But we have no right to depart from the obvious meaning, because, in the next clause, that is predicated which, we fancy, cannot be predicated of the Holy Spirit. The predicate in this clause cannot, with strict propriety, be referred to any spirit save the Holy Spirit. That Dr. Lange’s view weakens the thought, is also evident.—R.]
Helpeth our weakness [συναντιλαμβάνεται τῇ . See Textual Note89. On the verb, comp. Luke 10:40, where Martha asks that Mary be bidden to help her—i. e., take hold of in connection with. It requires a weakening of its force to make this applicable to the new spiritual life. The subjective side has been brought out in Romans 8:23-25. Hence a reference to the Holy Spirit accords with the progress of thought.—R.] Meyer urges, with Beza, the συν in συναντιλ: ad nos laborantes refertur. At all events, it would refer to only the conscious side of our effort. But it is clear, from the further definition, that ἀσθένεια is the only correct reading. Tholuck understands this ἀσθένεια as referring to occasions of invading faintness. But the Apostle speaks of a permanent relation of our weakness in this life, which certainly becomes more prominent in special temptations. This is the incongruity between the new principle and the old psychical and carnal life.
[The singular must be accepted as the true reading. It then refers to a state of weakness, already described (Romans 8:23). The dative, as in Luke 10:40, denotes not the burden which the. Spirit helps us bear (so Hodge, and many others), but that which it helps. (Alford: “helps our weakness—us who are weak, to bear the burden of Romans 8:23.” Meyer: “Er legt mit Hand an mit unserer Schwachheit .”) It should not be limited to weakness in prayer (Bengel), but is the general weakness in our waiting for final redemption.—R.]
For we know not what we should pray for as we ought [τὸ γὰρ τί προςευξώμεθα καθὸ δεῖ οὐκ οἲδαμεν. Τό belongs to the whole clause. Γάρ introduces an illustration of our weakness, and how it is helped. The aorist προςενξώμεθα, which we accept as the correct reading, is more usual than the future, but either is grammatically admissible. See Winer, p. 280.—R.] Tholuck holds that this not knowing refers to special states of obscure faith, and has a twofold meaning: ignorance of the object toward which prayer should be directed, and the language in which we should pray. But the supposition of special states is incorrect; otherwise the expression would be: we often do not know. But the language can by no means be under consideration, neither can a mere ignorance of the object be meant. Therefore De Wette and Meyer explain thus: we do not know what, under existing circumstances, it is necessary to pray for. We refer the καθὸ δεῖ as well to the heavenly clearness of the object of redemption as to the subjective purity, definiteness, and energy of desire corresponding to it.90 The conscious, verbal prayer is related to the spirit of prayer, as the fallible dictate of conscience is to the infallible conscience.
But the Spirit itself intercedeth [ἀλλ̓α̣ὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα ὑπερεντυγχάνει. On the omission of ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (Rec.), which Meyer finds in the verb itself, see Textual Note91. The verb occurs only here. The simple verb means, to meet; then, compounded with ἐν, to approach in order to make supplication (Acts 25:24, ἐντυγχάνειν); the ὑπερ seems to show that the supplication is in favor of the persons in question. Dr. Lange rejects this, in order to avoid a reference to the Holy Spirit.—Αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα brings into prominence the Intercessor, who knows our wants (Tholuck, Alford).—R.] Since the ὑπερεντυγχάνει must be read without the addition of the Recepta, we refer the ὑπερ to our want in not knowing what to pray for, as it is proper for us, and in harmony with our destiny. Tholuck regards the ὑπερ as merely a higher degree, as in ὑπὲρπερισσεύειν; Meyer [so Philippi] sees here a ὑπὲρ ἡμω̄ν, according to the analogy of ὑπεραποκρίνομαι, &c.
With groanings which cannot be uttered [στεναγμοῖς ]. Analogous to 1 Corinthians 14:14; against which Tholuck remarks, that there the subject in question is the human πνεῦμα. Meyer even declares that those explanations are rationalistic which do not interpret the πνεῦμα to be the Holy Spirit (Reiche: the Christian, sense; Köllner: the Spirit obtained in Christ). Chrysostom’s calling it the χάρισμα εὐχῆς, and Theodoret’s not understanding by the expression the ὑπόστασις of the Spirit, are declared to be an arbitrary alteration. Meyer does not accede to the opinion of Augustine, and most commentators, that the sense is, that man himself, stirred up by the Holy Ghost, utters groanings. It is rather the Holy Spirit himself; but certainly He needs the human organ for His groanings. He claims that the analogy, “that demons speak and cry out of men,” is adapted to this view. The analogy of demoniacal possession! Besides, Meyer, in his exposition of the ἀλαλήτοις, prefers the interpretation of most expositors, unutterable, to the opposite rendering, unuttered, dumb (Grotius, Fritzsche, and others), because it denotes greater intensity. But we get from this the result, that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God in His glory, not only groans, but also cannot utter His groans.
[Notwithstanding this attempt at a reductio ad absurdum, the view must still be held, that the Holy Spirit is here represented as interceding. To avoid this conclusion, Dr. Lange must first weaken the subject into the human spirit, and then the force of ὑπερ in the verb. It is far better to accept the obvious sense, and then explain it in a way which escapes the extreme conclusions of Meyer. The Holy Spirit is here spoken of as dwelling in us; in this indwelling He makes the intercession. This view presents no absurdity; it rather accepts the prominent thought of the previous part of the chapter (Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:16), and implies not only that, by this indwelling, we are taught to pray what would otherwise be unutterable (Calvin, Beza), but that the Holy Ghost “himself pleads in our prayers, raising us to higher and holier desires than we can express in words, which can only find utterance in sighings and aspirations” (Alford). So Hodge, Stuart, De Wette, and most commentators.—R.]
On the threefold view of ἀλάλητοις (not utterable, not spoken, not speaking), see Tholuck.92
Romans 8:27. But he who searcheth the hearts [ὁ δὲ ἐρευνῶν τὰς καρδἱας. Δέ is slightly adversative: These groanings are unutterable, but He, &c. The ἐρευνῶν describes God according to the Old Testament phraseology (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 7:10; Proverbs 15:11), as omniscient.—R.] In 1 Corinthians 2:10 it is said of the Holy Spirit that He searcheth all things; here, according to the just cited reference of the groaning Spirit to the Holy Spirit, this very Holy Spirit would be an object of the searching God. [This objection is of little weight, since the object of the all-searching God is the mind of the Spirit, hidden (even to us) in the unutterable sighings, &c.—R.]
The mind of the Spirit. His φρὁνημα; see Romans 8:6. His purely divine and ideal striving, but here as clear thought, denoting the excogitated sense of that language of groans. [If the reference to the Holy Spirit be accepted, then the sense not even excogitated by us is included.—R.]
Because he pleadeth for the saints [ὅτι. .. ἐντυγχνει ὑπὲρ ἁγίων.How can the human spirit, even when possessed by the Holy Spirit, be said to plead for the saints?—R.] The explanation of ὅτι by for [because], according to most expositors (De Wette, Philippi, &c.), is opposed by Meyer (in accordance with Grotius, Fritzsche, Tholuck, and others), who urges instead of it, that. A very idle thought: God knows the mind of the Holy Spirit, that He intercedes for the saints in a way well-pleasing to God. The οἶδε is perfectly plain in itself, even if not taken in the pregnant sense (with Calvin and Ruckert).93 He knows well that He, as the searcher of hearts (Psalms 139:1) and as hearer, is conscious of the thought and pure purpose of these holy groans. Wherefore? Because it is well-pleasing to God.
[According to the will of God (χατὰθεόν) is the correct paraphrase of the E. V.—R.] Not, according to Deity (Origen); nor before God, nor with God (Reiche, Fritzsche); nor by God, by virtue of God (Tholuck.—How can we hold that the Holy Ghost should intercede because of God’s impulse?), but according to God, in harmony with the Divine will (Meyer).94 The Divine impulse is, indeed, indirectly implied here; but then it follows again, that the groaning Spirit cannot be identical with the Holy Spirit. [Not with the Holy Spirit as without us, but as within us.—R.]
Second Paragraph, Romans 8:28-37
Romans 8:28. And we know [οἴδαμεν δέ. Meyer, Philippi, and others, take δέ as introducing a general ground after the more special ones in Romans 8:26-27. Alford finds it slightly adversative, the antithesis being found in Romans 8:22. The former is preferable. Οἴδαμεν, Christian consciousness.—R.] The subjective assurance of the future consummation reaches its climax in the fact that believers are lovers of God. But in this form it indicates the objective certainty, which is its lowest foundation. However, instead of the most direct inference, that those who love God are previously beloved by Him, and are established on God’s love (an inference controlling this whole section; see Romans 8:29; Romans 8:31-32; Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39), the Apostle applies this inference to the condition of Christians in this world. The whole world seems to contradict their hope of future glory. All things visible, especially the hatred of the hostile world, seem to oppose and gainsay their faith. And yet this fearful appearance can have no force, since all things are subject to the omnipotent and wise administration of God, on whose loving counsel their confidence is established. Still more, if all things are subject to God’s supreme authority, and this authority is exhibited in the development of His loving counsel, they know, with the full certainty of faith, that all things work together for their good. This follows, first, from the decree, plan, and order of salvation (Romans 8:28-30). It follows, second, from God’s arrangement, act, and facts of salvation (Romans 8:31-34). It follows, third, from the experience proved in the Old Testament, that the Lord’s companions in salvation and the covenant are His companions in suffering, as His companions in conflict; but as His companions in suffering, they are also His companions in victory, for whose glorification all surmounted obstacles are transformed into means of advancement (Romans 8:35-37). The conclusion (Romans 8:38-39) expresses so strongly the subjective, and also the objective certainty of the future completion, that we believe it necessary to make it prominent as a special paragraph.
That all things, πάντα; not merely all events (Meyer), or all afflictions (Tholuck) [Calvin, Hodge, Stuart]; for, besides events (Romans 8:35), all the powers of the world are mentioned (Romans 8:38-39).—Work together, συνεργεῖ.95 The beautiful and correct term, serve for the good of, must nevertheless follow the more specific definition. For the principal factor of the completion of Christians is the central one: Christ over them and in them, the love of Christ or the Spirit of glory, the free and dominant impulse of their new life. With this first and central factor there now coöperates the second and peripherical one—that course of all things and all destinies about them which is placed under God’s authority and Christ’s power, and constitutes their guidance to glorification.
For good, εἰς . Strictly, for good. The article is wanting, for the Apostle has in mind the antithesis: not for evil, injurious, and destructive working; and because every thing shall be useful to them, and promotive, in a special way, of their good. For the good is, the promotion of life. Every good thing of this kind relates, indeed, to the realization of their eternal salvation, but it is not directly this itself (Reiche). [Bengel: In bonum ad glorificationem usque.—R.]
Those who love God [τοῖς . Alford: “A stronger designation than any yet used for believers.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 6:24; James 1:12.—R.] The Apostle defines this expression more specifically with reference to its purpose, by the addition:
To those who are the called according to his purpose [τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν χλητοῖς οὖσιν]. Yet the addition is not designed to furnish a definition for the explanation of the name, those who love God (Meyer); nor did the Apostle wish thereby to qualify the preceding clause (Rückert), but to represent more clearly the foundation of the life of those who love God, &c. (Tholuck, Fritzsche, Philippi, and others). The intention or purpose of God is the rock of their salvation, and the same purpose directs all things. The love of believers for God is therefore not the ground of their confidence, but the sign and security that they were first loved by God. But the Apostle uses for this another expression, which indicates as well the evidence as the firmness of the love which has gone out for them. The evidence of their salvation lies in the fact that they are called by God to salvation (in the operative κλῆσις with which the gospel has pervaded their hearts). This evidence refers to the firmness of their salvation in the purpose of God; the genuine χλῆσις of true Christians depends upon the πρόθεσις, and testifies of it. See Doctr. Notes.96
Romans 8:29-30. In the following grand and glorious exposition, the Apostle represents God’s purpose as being unfolded and realized in its single elements. It is developed as the ante-mundane and eternal foundation of the historical order of salvation in the two parts, foreknowing and predestinating, with reference to the eternal limit, the glory. It is then historically realized in the saving acts of the calling and the justifying. It is finally completed in the glorifying of believers. The foreknowing proceeds, in truth, from eternity to eternity; the predestinating passes from eternity over into time; and finally, the glorifying passes from time over into post-temporal eternity, while in the calling and justifying the two eternities are linked together, and reveal eternity in time.
For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated [ὅτι οὓς προἐγνω, χαὶ προώρισεν]. The twice-repeated πρό comes under the treatment before the examination of the single elements. Tholuck: “According to a later view of Meyer, the πρό expresses only precedence before the call; but it is against the analogy of προγινώσχω in Romans 11:2; 1 Peter 1:20; and of προορἰζω in 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:11.” It is certainly clear that the Apostle will here establish the eternal end, the δὀξα, upon an eternal beginning (ἀρχή).
First element: Whom he foreknew. Tholuck says, that “προγινὡσκενιν has been explained in four different ways, and in such a manner that each of the accepted meanings has its predestinarian as well as its anti-predestinarian advocates.” These four definitions are: 1. To know beforehand; 2. To acknowledge beforehand, approbare; 3. To select, or choose beforehand; 4. To determine beforehand, decernere, prœdestinare.
The knowing beforehand was understood by the Greek and Arminian expositors in an anti-predestinarian sense as the foresight of faith; and by the Lutheran exegetical writers as the foresight of perseverance in the bestowed faith. Meyer: Foreknowledge of those destined for salvation. A knowing of the predestinated beforehand, as, according to Tholuck, was accepted by Augustine in later life, and by Zwingli, is very tautological.97 But this view passes over, in reality, into a second: approbavit; and we then have Tholuck’s arrangement, by which eight antitheses—four predestinarian and four anti-predestinarian—must be limited, yet not carried out. The approbavit is, indeed, defended in both an Augustinian and an Arminian sense. But, in the former, it coincides with the third view, elegit (Calvin, and others). But if the decernere is also understood in a predestinarian sense, to determine concerning a person, it is only a stronger expression for the elegit in the predestinarian sense. With respect to further treatment of this point, we must refer to the well-known commentaries.
If we turn away from the verbal explanation, there are really but two constructions of this passage, the predestinarian and the anti-predestinarian; in addition to these, there comes at most only the germ, or intimation of the possibility, of a third. The predestinarian explanation of the word προγινώσχειν by “to acknowledge,” approbare (Beza, and others), or by decernere, “to determine” (Luther: “ordained,” not foreseen), is linguistically untenable; but it is linguistically tenable when explained by to elect beforehand, to choose (Calvin, Rückert, De Wette);98 and now means predestination as a doctrinal truth, now as a temporary Pauline view, and now, in the most universal sense possible, the general election for salvation (De Wette, and others).
The anti-predestinarian interpretation of the expression is also varied: the seeing or knowing beforehand of those who are worthy through faith, of those endowed with faith, &c.; and again, in the sense of loving or approbans beforehand (Grotius, and others).
As far as a third exposition is concerned, the observation has been made that God’s foreknowledge is a loving knowledge (see Tholuck, p. 449), or a creative knowledge, a being placed in the idea of Christ (Neander, Apost. Zeitalter, p. 822).99 Yet Neander’s explanation does not go to the bottom of the matter. It is this: “Those whom God, in His eternal view, has known as belonging to Him, through Christ, have been predestinated thereto by Him.” We are, indeed, in want of a term which definitely expresses the truth that the loving or fixing knowledge is an absolutely original one, which determines the idea of the one to be perceived, but does not predetermine it.100 Meyer’s reminder, that προχγινώσχειν, in the classical sense, never means any thing but foreknowledge, has no weight here, where we have to do with an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the centre of the Christian doctrine of salvation. [See Meyer’s note.] The one collective Hebrew term for knowing, loving, being present at, and begetting (Genesis 4:1), is only a modification of the theocratic thought that God calls by name those who do not yet exist, as if He would be, and in order that He may be, their God (Jeremiah 31:3; Psalms 132:9; Psalms 148:6). “To call by name” (Isaiah 43:1), “to grave upon the hands” (Isaiah 49:16), and similar expressions, denote figuratively the unity of that knowing and loving which fix in idea the subject in its peculiarity (certainly in Christ), in order that, in consequence of the idea, they may be called into existence. The distinction of prescience and predestination in the first foundation of the world, is connected with a defective comprehension of the peculiar character of personal life. (See the Doctr. Notes.)
Second element: He also predestinated. The προορἰζειν presupposes God’s first determination of man,101 which establishes his individuality in relation to other individualities, and to Christ, the centre. Here the question is the predetermination of the historical destiny of the individual, the establishment of the historical guidance to salvation, just as all kindred definitions, together with προορἰζειν in Acts 4:28; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:5-11; ἀφορἰζειν in Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15; and ὁρἰζειν in Acts 10:42; Acts 17:26 (where we have ὁροθεσία also), are determined by the fundamental thought of the ὅρος, which is the limitation and condition in time and space, that are identical with the destiny in its relation to salvation, the object of man—a relation which reaches its climax in the τάσσειν (Acts 13:48). Therefore the Apostle also adds here the destination to conformity to the image of God’s Son, undoubtedly with reference to the definite conformity of the historical way of life—through sufferings to glory (Romans 6:4 ff.; 2 Timothy 2:11; Hebrews 2:9-11), and to historical confirmation and completion (Philippians 2:5-11, and elsewhere).
[To be conformed to the image of his Son, συμμόρφονς τῆς εἰχόνος τοῦ υἱοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. The word σύμμορφος is followed by the genitive here; by the dative, Philippians 3:21. Hence Stuart thinks it is to be taken as a substantive in this case; but Alford remarks that it is like σύμφυτος (Romans 6:5), in being followed by either. Comp. Kühner, ii. p. 172. It is the accusative of the predicate; see Winer, p. 214.—R.] Evidently, we have to deal here with a specifically new ordination on God’s part, though it is in harmony with the previous one. The meaning of μορφή comes into consideration in order to explain more definitely the συμμόρφους (to which we need not supply an εἶναι, because the predestination involves a predescription). Tholuck: “The term μορφή means frequently, but not invariably, the phase of the human form, as well as the form in general, and even the μορφὴ ἐπίων (see Plato, Phœd., pp. 103, 104). Aristotle distinguishes εἶδος, the inward forming power; μορφή, the phenomenal form; and ἐνέργεια, its concrete reality, &c., and συμμορφοῦσθαι, from the conformity of appearance or situation.”
The further definition, conformably to the image, or conformity of the image, which is still stronger, brings the idea of the phenomenal form still more strongly into the light. Therefore Theodoret, Augustine, Fritzsche, and Meyer, would confine the expression merely to a share in the glorified corporealness of Christ (Philippians 3:21), or to the δόξα (Romans 8:10). Meyer and De Wette maintain, contrary to Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, and others, that “fellowship of suffering is here remote;” against which view Tholuck observes, that the object is expressed by the subsequent ἐδόξασε. Tholuck, p. 450, says, in speaking of συμμόρφους, “that the grand thought of Christ, as the prototype of all humanity, elevated through sufferings to the δόξα and to the συμβασιλεύειν τῷ θεῷ, occurs in the Scriptures in interchangeable forms; John 12:26; John 17:22-24; Romans 8:17 (Ephesians 4:13); 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 3:21.” He also says, on p. Rom 451: “Since mention was made of the sufferings of Christians, many expositors (Calvin, and others) have been led, by reference to Hebrews 2:10, to suppose a conformity to the glory to be obtained through sufferings; but, as Cocceius remarks, this declaration of gradation is justified neither by the expression, nor by the Apostle’s purpose.” These two statements do not harmonize well. But the predestination of the suffering life, and of the end to be attained, is here a collective idea. The end is historical confirmation (“the Lamb that was slain,” Revelation 5:12; “these are they which came out of great tribulation,” Revelation 7:14), and the way thither is nothing else than the following of Christ crucified (comp. Hebrews 2:10-11). A sundering of the two elements thus destroys the specific character of the determination. As doubts in regard to the apparent conformation of believers with Christ himself have been raised into prominence, and attempts have been made to solve them, they will disappear of themselves, if we adhere closely to the idea of the συμμόρφους (see Tholuck, p. 451; Chrysostom: “Οπερ γὰρ ὁ μονογενὴς ἦνφύσει, τοῦτο καὶ αὐτοὶ γεγόνασι κατὰ χὰριν, &c.).
[The word σύμμορφος occurs only here and in Philippians 3:21, where the reference is to the body of Christ. (The cognate verb is found in Philippians 3:10, in connection with the death of Christ.) The view which restricts the meaning to the glorified corporealness of Christ (Meyer, De Wette), seems scarcely in keeping with the context. Doubtless this is included. We may then choose between the reference to “that entire form, of glorification in body and sanctification in spirit, of which Christ is the perfect pattern, and all His people shall be partakers” (Alford; so Philippi); or may extend it also to the present partaking in sufferings and moral character like His (Stuart, Hodge, Webster and Wilkinson, following Calvin, &c.). There seems to be no objection to this wide reference; in fact, the immediate context rather favors it, but the latter idea (moral character) has perhaps gained too great prominence, in the effort to justify thereby the fact of predestination, as predestination to holiness. The thought of sufferings is not so “remote,” as, besides being the keynote of the section (Romans 8:18), it is implied in Romans 8:28, and recurs in Romans 8:31, to be the prominent thought throughout the rest of the chapter.—R.]
That he might be the first-born among many brethren. The εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸνπρωτότοτον ἐν πολλοῖς is, at all events, a clause not merely of result, but of purpose. [The reference in the aorists to the past decree of redemption requires us to take this clause as telic.—R.] According to De Wette, the principal thought is, that He, the first-born, might be among many brethren; according to Meyer, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Tholuck: The chief thought is, the share of the ἀδελφοί in the possession of the First-born. The πρωτότοκος (Colossians 1:15-17) implies not merely the element of time and rank (Tholuck), but also that of causal priority; and this element cannot be wanting in the present passage.102 The expression therefore denotes, according to the prominence given to His conformity with believers, also his elevation above them; but it is an elevation which is in harmony with inward uniformity, a true fraternization.
We do not think it advisable to lay stress on either the many brethren or on the first-born. The real aim, after all, is Christ (for him, Colossians 1:16), but Christ as the first-born (not merely the μονογενής of God) among many brethren; therefore the people of His kingdom, a choir of brethren, are to be with Christ, and all around Him. [The end of the foreknowing and predestining is the glorification of Christ in us, His people. The ideas become as inseparable as the glorified brethren themselves are.—R.]
Romans 8:30. Them he also called [τοὑτουοκαὶ ἐκὰλεσεν]. The καλεῖν, like the κλῆσις, is without suffix, since the idea, prepared by the Old Testament להַקִ, is generally known and elucidated; in addition to this, there is a still greater New Testament fundamental conception. The sense is this: called to the community of Christ as to the communion of salvation, to the Supper of the Lord, to life, &c. But as election comprises a twofold idea, a historical (John 6:70) and a mystical or transcendental one, so does κλῆσνς also comprise a twofold conception (Matthew 22:14). Evidently, we have here to deal with the idea of an inward χλῆσις; that is, a κλῆσις become inward from a merely external one. Meyer denies that this κλῆσις relates to the inward operations of grace, but holds that the effects of the call result from the relation of preaching to the existing qualification of men. But such an effect is hardly conceivable without the operation of grace. Tholuck opposes any distinction between a vocatio externa and interna, between a vocatio inefficax and efficax. The idea may have been represented one-sidedly by predestinarian theologians; but the fact of the distinction is continually corroborated in every village church where the gospel is preached. We gain no clearer view by the remark, that the spirit of Plato is contained in the Platonic writings, for thousands have not found the Platonic spirit in them. This remark applies only to such spiritualists as, on the one hand, place the “dead” word without the spirit, or, on the other, the spirit without the word. We may enlarge by saying, that if the κλῆσις stands midway between προορίξειν and the δικαιοῖν, the specific idea necessarily becomes apparent. The καλεῖν is that effect of God’s word completed in the gospel, which is divided into illumination and awakening. It is prepared by the effect of the προορἰζειν: Laboriousness and burdensomeness (Matthew 11:28); it unites with these, and, by conversion through penitence and by believing confidence, prepares the δικίωσις for saving faith.103 But, of course, if the question is concerning the χλητοῖς, the χλῆσι also comprises the διχαίωσι, and even the beginnings of the δοξάζειν.—In that case, also the idea of the δικαιοῦν between καλεῖν and δοξάζειν results in the most definite way (see chap. iii.).
[Them he also justified, τούτους καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν. See the exhaustive notes of Dr. Schaff, pp. 130 ff., 138 ff.—R.]
And whom he justified, them he also glorified [οὓς δὲ ἐδικαίωσεν, τουτους καὶἐδόξασεν]. The exegetical writers begin here to wonder at the aorist, while their surprise ought to have begun at least with the ἐκάλεσεν. For, at the time when the Apostle wrote these words, only a very few of the whole future body of believers were really called. Therefore the aorist ἐδόξασε cannot stand here for the future (according to Vorstius and Glass), nor for the present (according to Köllner), nor in the sense of taking care of (according to Flatt). Meyer holds that the Apostle here describes the actually certain future glorification as so necessary and certain, that it is the same as if it had already taken place.104 Tholuck regards the aorist here as the prophetic preterite. [So Stuart.]
We will now consider more particularly the antithesis which Meyer calls special attention to—that Grotius, and others, have regarded the act of δοξάζειν as having only happened in the purpose of God,105 but that Chrysostom, and others, on the contrary, have referred the δόξα to the gift of grace in this world. The Apostle’s starting-point is evidently his present time, the fellowship of the κλητοί and of the δικαιούμενοι in which he stands. This is even literally established, in a certain relation, by the expression, καὶ ἐδόξασεν. For δοξάζειν means not merely to invest one with δόξα at the end of time, but to lead gradually by the πνεῖματῆς δόξης (1 Peter 4:14) to glory. The whole guidance of believers is δοξασμός in the biblical sense. This δοξασμός had therefore already begun for the companions of the Apostle, and, in his believing confidence, it was just as good as completed (see Romans 8:38-39).106 But if the Apostle had merely wished to describe this standpoint of the Christians of that day—that is, merely the standpoint of experience—he would have had to commence with the οὓς ἐκάλεσεν, and return from the οὓς ἐδικαίωσεν to προώρισεν, and finally to προέγνω. But he has changed the statement of his experience of that period into a doctrinal statement for all time, in order to exhibit the πρόθεσις of God in its full splendor. His sorites has then chiefly a historical meaning. Many had already completely passed over this stationed way; for example, Stephen, and James the Elder. In the same manner this way had, and will always have, to many, a distinguishing meaning; that is, it applies to the secure developing progress of the elect in a special sense. It has, finally, for all: a. a methodological meaning; that is, they experience here the final consequence of God’s saving acts in the ordo salutis; b. the meaning of evangelical promise. If they stand in the circle of the κλῆσις and δικαίωσις, they can be certain, retrospectively, of their election and foreordination (historical determination), and prospectively certain of their guidance to glory. Paul assumes throughout the ethical facts and conditions that correspond to these acts of God; but he does not name them here, because the connection requires that the superiority of the Divine ground of salvation to human weakness should alone be glorified107 (see Doctr. Notes).
Romans 8:31. What then shall we say to these things? [Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν πρὸς ταῦτα; On τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν, comp. Romans 3:5; Romans 4:1; Romans 6:1; Romans 7:7; Romans 9:14, where it introduces a false conclusion; here, and Romans 9:30, a correct one; De Wette.—R.] Tholuck: “Τί ἐροῦμεν is used here, contrary to the Apostle’s custom, in a conclusion which has not a doubtful character.” But the apparently doubtful element lies in the conclusion which might be drawn, that the Christian can have no opposition. He has, indeed, says Paul, no veritable opposition; all the opposition that he really has, only helps him. What follows from the fact that God has so securely established our salvation through all its stages?108 The conclusion is this:
If God is for us, who is against us? [Εἰὁ θεὸς ὐπὲρ ἡμῶν, τίς καθ’ ἡμῶν;] (Psalms 91:1-7). Every thing which is against us, in an earthly sense, must, in a heavenly sense, promote our welfare through God’s sovereignty. [How God is for us, has been set forth; the question therefore implies, not doubt, but joyous certainty. Hence the E. V. is not strong enough.—R.] This confidence of the Apostle, in opposition to the hostile forces of the world, assumes a bold and almost challenging tone. Tholuck: “There begins with this expression a series of victorious questions and triumphant answers, in reference to which Erasmus exclaims: ‘Quid unquam Cicero dixit grandiloquentius? ’ Just such a triumphant acclamation is found in 1 Corinthians 15:54.”
[Philippi: “In fact, as Romans 8:19-23 may be called a sacred elegy, so we may term Romans 8:31-39 a sacred ode; that is as tender and fervent as this is bold and exalted in matter and in manner; that, an amplification of ‘we do groan, being burdened’ (2 Corinthians 5:4); this, a commentary on 'this is the victory that overcometh the world' (1 John 5:4). Augustine, De doctr. christi, iv. 20, cites Romans 8:31 as an example of the grande dicendi genus, quod non tam verborum ornatibus cerutum est, quam violentum animi affectibus.—Satis enim est ei propter quod agitur, ut verba congruentia, non oris eligantur industria, sed pectores sequantur ardorem. Nam si aurato gemmatoque ferro vir fortis armetur, intentissimus pugnœ, agit quidem illis armis quod agit, non quia pretiosa, sed quia arma sunt.”—R.]
Romans 8:32. He who spared not his own Son [ὅς γε τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ οῦκ ἐφείσατο. Meyer, and others, take this as an interrogative answer to the preceding question. It does indeed answer it, but is, at the same time, an advance (see below). The enclitic γε has the force of even, quippe qui, but Alford is not justified in saying that this takes “one act as a notable example out of all;” for this is the crowning proof of love, including all the others, and hence establishing the main clause: how shall he not, &c.—R.] After the Apostle has described negatively, in Romans 8:31, the elevation of God’s children above the hostile world, he portrays it positively in Romans 8:32. The logical construction is as follows: God, who has already established our δόξα; is for us, with the whole energy of His purpose. a. He is for us in person as our protector, and therefore no person and no thing can be against us; b. He is for us to such a degree that He gave His Son109 for us. Οὐκ ἐφείσατο involves here two ideas: He did not save Him (Bengel: paterno suo amori quasi vim adhibuit), and, He did not spare Him.
But delivered him up for us all [ὰλλὰὑπὲρ ἡμῶν πάντων παρέδωκεν αὐτόν. On the verb, comp. Romans 4:25. On the preposition ὑπἑρ, in behalf of, comp. Romans 5:6.—R.]. Deliverance to death for us, for our redemption.110 The notion which would explain John 3:16 as a “deliverance to finiteness” (mentioned by Tholuck on p. 455), belongs rather to the philosophy of Schelling in his early period, than to the christological standpoint.
[Freely give us all things? τὰ πάνταἡμῖν χαρίσεαι; A question a majori ad minus (Meyer). Philippi and Meyer join καί with πῶς οὐχί, not with σὺν αὐτῷ. It is perhaps more grammatical, but the thought is still the same: that with Christ, and because of Christ, all else shall come.—R.] Τὰ πάντα. Tholuck: “Every thing which we need.” This is against Brenz, who explains thus: “All the blessings comprised in Christ.” But why not simply, every thing, in harmony with Romans 8:17 and 1 Corinthians 3:22? For, after all, we “need” every thing, and the “blessings comprised in Christ” are the whole universe. Therefore the σύν is not merely based on the idea of the προζθὴκη.
Romans 8:33-35. Two lines of the certainty of salvation have been drawn from the one fundamental idea of the λησις χατὰ πρόθεσιν; that is, of the assurance of salvation. There is, first, the line of the certainty of individual, inward, and personal salvation (Romans 8:28; Romans 8:30); the causa principalis: grace. Then we have, second, the line of historical salvation, which corresponds with the first line as the causa mediatrix. This latter appears as the almighty gift of salvation, in opposition to the contradiction of the world. As the Apostle looks at the fearful appearance of this contradiction, he now presents throughout the negative character of the historical salvation. That is, he develops the thought placed at the outset—that nothing can be against us, because God is for us; so very much for us, that He delivered even His Son for us. But the Apostle then brings out the fact, though more indirectly, that God will, with Him, also freely give us all things. Thus there is, first of all, the exalted mediation of salvation. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?”
Different constructions of the following three verses (Romans 8:33-35):
a. Romans 8:33-34 are antitheses which must be read as question and answer, according to our translation. [So E. V.] (See Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Fritzsche, Philippi [Stuart, Hodge), and others.)
b. The three answers also stand in the form of questions, thus: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? Will God, who justifieth, do it? Who is He that condemneth? Will Christ, who died for us, do it? (This is the view of Augustine, Ambrose, Koppe, Reiche, Olshausen, De Wette [Alford, Webster and Wilkinson, Jowett], and others.)
c. An altered form of presenting the antitheses: 1. Who shall lay any thing to the charge? Answer: It is God that justifieth; who, therefore, is He that condemneth? 2. Answer: It is Christ that died, &c., who also maketh intercession for us; who, therefore, shall separate us from the love of Christ? This construction of the antithesis, which was laid down by Origen, Chrysostom, and Theodoret, has been neglected by nearly all recent expositors, but is urgently recommended by Meyer. [Wordsworth follows it in his text, but is impressively silent on the subject in his notes. See Meyer, not only in defence of his own view, but for a resumé of other opinions.—R.]
Tholuck very properly remarks, in opposition to this third combination of sentences, as follows: “It can be le‘, satisfactory of all; for, if we adopt it, that rhetorical conformity of the sentences is lost which is apparent in the other constructions,” &c. But this construction not merely obliterates the grand simplicity of the antitheses, but also obscures their real order. The question, Who shall lay any thing to the charge? remains totally unanswered. But, on the contrary, the question, Who is He that condemneth? would receive two answers: first, the expression, “it is God that justifieth,” and afterward, “it is Christ that died,” &c. In addition to this, the clear thoughts, justification, in Romans 8:33, the atonement, in Romans 8:34, and holiness or glorification, in Romans 8:35-37, would be totally confused.
The second construction appears to be favored by the fact, that the third question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” seems, in turn, to be answered by a rhetorical question (tribulation, or distress, &c.?). But the third question is continued through Romans 8:35-36, and the answer to it follows in a positive declaration in Romans 8:37.
Thus elegance of both form and matter pronounces in favor of the antithesis of three questions and three answers. If it be objected, that the answers would be still strengthened by the form of rhetorical questions, we might reply, that they would indeed be strengthened even to overstraining and obscurity. For there are, indeed, accusers and condemners enough against believers, which is plain from what follows: tribulation, distress, persecution, &c. But the principal thing is, that they stand as accusers against the justifying God himself, and as condemners of the future Judge of the world, Christ the Messiah, who is the Saviour of believers; and therefore, that their charge and condemnation are not only impotent, but must even advance the glory of believers, just as tribulation, distress, persecution, &c., are not only unable to separate them from the love of Christ, but must establish them in His love as decided victors. But Paul could hardly have expressed, even in the form of a rhetorical question, the thought that God could be the accuser of believers, and Christ could be their condemner, even if we consider the question apart from the fact that he would thereby have destroyed the antithesis: if God be for us, who can be against us? Meyer remarks, against the former construction, that θεὸς ὁ δικαίῶν and τίς ὁ κατακρἱνων would be essentially correlative. This is altogether incorrect. The δικαίωσις removes the charge of condemnation; the atonement made by Christ abolishes the condemnation itself. That Paul did not write τίς κατακρινεῖ to correspond with the τὶς ἐγκαλέσει, is not only unimportant, but is based upon the supposition that there could be many accusers, but that there could be only one condemner at the tribunal. Meyer holds that, by the first construction, Christ must have been represented as Judge, in harmony with the ὁ κατακρίνων in Romans 8:34. But apart from the consideration that Christ opposes all the worldly condemnations of men pronounced on unbelievers, by interceding for them at God’s right hand, we hold that the reading Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς (the Sinaiticus favors the same), which seems to have been early given up from a misconception, serves as a satisfactory explanation. As, therefore, the first sentence is: God is the justifier, the second is this: Christ the Messiah, the expected Judge of the world, is Ἰησοῦς ὁ . The article before Ἰησοῦς is given with the adjective designations.111 Tholuck has declined to decide concerning the punctuation.
[The pointing adopted in the E. V. has been so fully defended by Dr. Lange, that the following remarks will suffice in addition. (1) Even the most rhetorical style would scarcely indulge in seventeen successive questions, without an answer, as view b. would maintain. (2) View c. disturbs the flow of the passage, without adding to this force. (3) The grand thought of the certainty of salvation seems to be even more fully established by accepting three questions and three answers following each in turn, while there is no reasonable objection to the correspondence thus claimed between each question and its answer.—R.]
Romans 8:33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [τίς ἐγκαλέσεικατὰ ἐκλεκτῶν θεοῦ; The verb is usually followed by the dative, only here with κατά. The article is omitted with ἐκλεκτῶν, giving prominence to the attribute of the persons (Meyer). That it refers to the persons under discussion throughout, is obvious.—R.] The idea of the ἐκλέγεσθαι theocratically resting on the Old Testament יחַבִּ, corresponds with that of the προγινώσκειν; but in the concrete name of the ἐκλεκτοί, it denotes the deepest establishment of the whole character of believers in the εὐδοκία of God (see Doctr. Notes).
It is God that justifieth! [θεὸς ὁ δικαιῶν! The expression is more energetic than θεὸς δικαιοῦ; comp. Matthew 10:20 (Philippi). The θεον͂, occurring immediately after θεοῦ, has a rhetorical emphasis (Meyer).—R.] According to Tholuck, the question really is the intercessor in opposition to the charge, and, on the other hand, the δικαιοῦν in opposition to the κατακρίνειν. But this would not correspond with the connection. As the authorized accusers, the law and the conscience, are silenced in the δικαίωσις, which God himself executes, we must here have in mind principally the weakness of the unauthorized accusers, at whose head stands Satan, κατὴγορος (Origen), who opposes Christians not only in heathen adversaries (Photius, Theophylact, Grotius), but also in Jewish adversaries. The δικαιωῦν has evidently here also a forensic meaning. Tholuck: “Luther excellently says, in harmony with the sense, ‘God is here.’ ”
Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth? The ὁ κατακρίνων declares, that in an authorized form there can only be one, the Messiah, but it is just He who is their propitiator and intercessor.
It is Christ, &c. [Χριστὸς , χ.τ.λ.] The Apostle expresses complete deliverance from condemnation in four essential elements of Christ’s redeeming work. In the two elements of His death and resurrection there is comprised full deliverance from the real guilt of condemnation (see Romans 4:25); and in His sitting at the right hand of God, and in His intercession, there is comprised His protection against the unauthorized accusers from without, and the condemnatory results of the injury of the new life from within.—Meyer: “μᾶλλον δὲ χαι,112 a higher degree of importance: immo adeo. The ὃς χαὶ has a somewhat festive sound.”
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [τίς ἡμᾶς χωρίσει ;] The reading τοῦ θεοῦ is but weakly supported. Meyer, with Tholuck, De Wette, Philippi, and others, properly says in favor of the construction Χριστοῦ, that it is the genitive subjective; and, therefore, that it denotes Christ’s love toward His followers (see Romans 8:37; Romans 8:39). But when he says that this forbids the interpretation of others who understand it to be love for Christ (Origen, Köllner [see Forbes, p. 332, on this view], and others), his remark is only correct in form; for, in reality, confidence in love on Christ’s part for His children cannot be separated from love for Him (see Romans 8:28).113 The afflictions which now follow are personified by τίς [instead of τί, which we might expect].
But how is the possibility of this separation to be regarded? Meyer: A possible sundering of men from the influx of Christ’s love by intervening hindrances. De Wette: The joyous sense of being beloved by Christ. Philippi: Afflictions can seem to us to be an indication of Divine wrath, and thus mislead us into unbelief in Divine love. Tholuck: The firmness of the consciousness of this Divine relation of love. The sense of the question is this: Can an affliction lead us to fall from the operation and experience of Christ’s love? By answering in the negative, there is assumed not merely the Divine purpose of grace according to the predestinarian view, and also not merely the purity and perseverance of faith according to the Arminian view, but the connection between the two, the new bond which is secured by the recognition of tribulation, distress, &c., as powers overcome by Christ, and made serviceable to His love itself.
Shall tribulation, &c. [θλῖψις, κ.τ.λ.] The forms of affliction are in harmony with the relations of Christians at that time, and especially of the Apostle; there is the apparently fearful number seven, but the seventh leads to the triumphant conclusion in martyrdom. First of all, believers are pressed into anxiety by the world. [On θλῖψις and στενοχωρία, see ii. 9, p. 99, the former external, the latter internal.—R.] Then there comes persecution itself, which drives them out to famine and nakedness; the end is peril, the danger of death, and sword, death itself.
Romans 8:36. As it is written [καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι. Ὅτι is the usual quotation-mark.] Psalms 44:22, according to the Septuagint.114 This Psalm contains a description of the sufferings which God’s people had to suffer for the Lord’s sake, and is therefore correctly regarded by Paul as a typical and prophetical prelude to the sufferings of the New-Testament people of God for God’s sake. De Wette does not regard the passage as a prophecy (Tholuck),115 but thinks that Paul probably cites it as prophecy. But even Tholuck’s expression, “a real parallel to the conflicts of God’s ancient people,” is by no means sufficient for the idea of typical prophecy, for the type is much more than a parallel.
Romans 8:37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors [ἀλλ’ ἐν τούτοιςπᾶσιν, κ.τ.λ . Some connect this with Romans 8:35, and hence Romans 8:36 has been made parenthetical; but there is no necessity for this, since the course of thought is unbroken, and this verse is antithetical to both Romans 8:35-36.—R.] That is, far beyond the necessary measure (ὑπερνιχᾷν). Recollection of prayers for persecutors (Stephen), hymns of praise in prison (Paul and Silas), and the joyous spirit of the martyrs.
Through him who loved us [διὰ τοῦἀγαπήσαντος ἡμᾶς. See Textual Note116.] Meyer refers the aorist to “the distinguished act of love which Christ has performed by the offering of His own life.” Though this reference is undoubtedly correct, there is something inadequate in the translation, loved. The aorist ἐπίστευσαν does not merely affirm that they believed, but that they became believers (see John 10:42); and thus the act of our Lord’s only revelation of love also involves here the continuation of that relation: who has proved and bestowed His love.—Through him. The reading διὰ τόν (Semler, Koppe: propter) is a smoother exegetical interpretation.117 Chrysostom, Theodoret, Bengel, and Fritzsche, refer the expression ἀγαπήσας to God: but on account of Romans 8:39, Rückert, De Wette, Tholuck, Meyer, and Philippi, on the contrary, refer it to Christ. This latter view is favored by the relation of the present passage to τοῦ Χριστοῦ in Romans 8:35, as the aorist serves as an intimation of the historical fact of redemption. The expression, “through Him that loved us,” denotes not only Christ’s assistance in general, but the power of His victory. As His death is principially our death, and His resurrection is our resurrection, so is His victory also our victory through faith (1 John 5:4). But the power of this victory is divided into the subjective principle of victory in the heart of believers, and the objective victorious principle of Christ’s rule at the right hand of God. Nevertheless, the Apostle does not say, “through Him who hath conquered for us,” because Christ’s love shall be manifested as the permanent motive of the free and ethical loving life of Christians in their faith.
Third Paragraph, Romans 8:38-39
Tholuck: “Ἔνθεος γενὀμενος, as Chrysostom says, embraces the whole world—who can rob him of his consciousness of the love of God?” But he has here passed beyond the consciousness of opposition which he had uttered in Romans 8:33-35. He rather proclaims here the absolute subjection of all the powers of the world to the consciousness, or rather conscious being, of God’s love in Christ.
The Apostle declares the immovableness of his confidence, first of all by the decided πέπεισμαι, I am persuaded. He follows this up by portraying the powers of the world in great antitheses, which not only describe the victorious career of the individual Apostle through the world and through time, but, in prophetic sublimity, comprise the whole victorious career of God’s people until the end of the world.
Tholuck distinguishes the antitheses thus: 1. Human events (death and life); 2. Superhuman spheres (angels, principalities; afterwards δυνάμεις); 3. Time (things present, things to come), in which he thinks that the δυναμεις belonging here, according to A. B. C., &c., disturbs the sense; 4. Space (height and depth). The more general form of this description in relation to the oppositions represented above, appears especially in the fact that here the question is evidently not merely concerning threatening or hostile powers, but also such as can exert a seductive, misleading, and relaxing influence. Accordingly, we have not merely to regard an objective influence of these forces, but also the possibility of the subjective misconstruction of their operations.
[Neither death, nor life, οὔτε θάνατος, οὔτε ζώή]. If we look closely at the possibilities above referred to, we shall see that, first of all, with death there is connected the fear of death and the darkness of the kingdom of death; and, with life, that there is connected the charm of life and the love of life, or even the apparent distance from the Lord (Hebrews 2:14; John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 5:5-6). On death and life, see Romans 14:8. Grotius: metus mortis, spes vitœ, which Meyer objects to; but his objection to Koppe’s interpretation, which is as follows, is more appropriate: quidquid est in rerum natura: aut vivat, aut vita careat.
Nor angels, nor principalities, οὔτε ἄγγελοι, οὔτε ὰρχαί. See Textual Note118, and below.] As far as the second category is concerned, the Apostle could not think that God’s angels should desire to separate him from the love of Christ, but, according to Colossians 2:0 :, the Gnostic Jews soon opposed a morbid adoration of angels to a pure and full resignation to Christ as their head; and even Pharisaic Jewish Christians would have been quite capable of adulterating the pure gospel, according to Galatians 1:8, by an appeal to angelic revelation. But it is well known how the subsequent worship of angels really led to an obscuring of the sun of Christ’s love.
The threat of the powers of the Gentile world then takes its place beside the Jewish angelic visions. It is plain enough that the ἀρχαί named with the ἄγγελοι cannot again mean “angelic powers” (Meyer). The Apostle had to deal more and more with the powers of the Gentile world (2 Timothy 4:17). The ἄγγελοι are interpreted by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Beza, Meyer, and others, as good angels, “because the evil angels are never called ἄγγελοι without some qualifying expression.” Meyer opposes the objection of Reiche, and others, that good angels could not make such an attempt to separate Christians from God, by saying that Paul, in Galatians 1:8, did not believe this possibility, but only presented it hypothetically. According to Clement of Alexandria, Grotius [Stuart], and others, the ἄγγελοι denote evil angels; but according to Bucer, Bengel [Hodge], and others, good and evil angels. Melanchthon has interpreted the ἀρχαί as human tyrants, because he correctly saw that they, being placed beside ἄγγελοι, could not themselves be angels.
[The difficulty in deciding the meaning of the word ἀρχαί arises from the fact that it is used in the New Testament in all the senses given above. The prevailing reference is undoubtedly to superhuman creatures (Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15). It seems more natural to take δυνάμεις (in its separate position) as “earthly powers,” especially as that meaning here gives an anti-climax. The disposition to insert δυνάμενς immediately after, shows that a classification of angels was assumed here (comp. Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). Whether we should understand good angels, or bad, or both, is more difficult to determine. To take “angels” as referring to the former, and “principalities” to the latter, gives an abrupt antithesis; to refer both to good angels, leaves evil spirits out of view in this extended catalogue, unless we find them named in δυνάμεις; to refer both words to both classes (Bengel, Hodge), is perhaps least objectionable, yet with this view the absence of any attribute is remarkable. Still, we infer from other passages that both good and bad angels were classified somewhat in this manner, ἀρχαί denoting a superior order. Comp. Lange’s Comm., Colossians, i. 16, p. 22.—R.]
The δυνάμεις, which Melanchthon interprets as the warlike hosts of tyrants, do not belong here, and therefore still less in the category of angels. They belong in the third category: Nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers [οὔτεἐνεστῶτα, οὔτε μέλλοντα,119 οὔτε δυνάμεις]. (See 1 Corinthians 3:22.) The present time was so grievous to Paul and the believers of his period, that they earnestly longed for the second coming of our Lord (1 Thess.); but even the future had a gloomy aspect, for our Lord’s coming was to be preceded by the apostasy, and by the appearance of Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:0 :). But with this appearance there were to come just these gloomy, seductive, and Satanic forces (ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασι ψεύδοις). We thereby hold that Tholuck’s objection, that the δυνάμεις120 would here “disturb the sense in a threefold way,” is removed (p. 463). The one objection, that it would disturb the bipartite rhythm, is removed by Meyer’s observation, that the Apostle first arranges by couples, and then combines the three parts twice more. According to Tholuck, the δυνάμεις would be first introduced, and then removed. Meyer urges that ἐνεστ. does not mean things present, but things standing before—those which are about to enter. Thus things present are distinguished from things to come. De Wette opposes to Glöckler’s interpretation of δυνάμεις as miracles, that of powers.
Fourth category: [Nor height, nor depth, οὔτε ὕψωμα, οὔτε βάθος.] The Apostle looks down from the height of an inspired sense of life, many times elevated to heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), which could well have become to him a temptation (2 Corinthians 12:7), into the depth of the demoniacal kingdom, with which he had to fight a spiritual conflict with his contemporaries (Ephesians 6:12), as well as into the depth of the realm of the dead in which he had, at all events, to pass through a painful unclothing (2 Corinthians 5:4); but he saw in the future altogether new forms of the world arise, whose strangeness and splendor, by their attractiveness, could be regarded as dissipating his view from Christ, the centre.
Tholuck: “ὕψωμα, βάθος. Explanations: Heaven and hell (Theodoret, and others; Bengel, Baumgarten-Crusius); heaven and earth (Theophylact, Fritzsche); happiness and unhappiness (Koppe); honor and shame (Grotius); lofty and lowly (Olearius); higher and lower evil spirits (Origen). Sapientia hœreticorum et communes υulgi furores (Melanchthon).” [The generic idea here is that of space. If a more specific definition is required, heaven and hell is the simplest explanation, though this cannot be insisted on as the precise meaning.—R.]
Nor any other created thing. In connection with the great antithesis of height and depth, the κτίσις ἑτέρα can hardly mean merely “any thing else created” (Meyer), or a creature in general (Luther, Tholuck).
Shall be able love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The love of God in Christ, or Christ himself, is now perceived by believers as the all-prevailing principle, and is therefore spiritually appropriated by them (Eph. i.).—The absolute δύναμις is for them also in the ethical sense. It is the completed revelation of the love of God in Christ, overcoming the world and bringing it into their service, by which believers are embraced, and which they in turn have embraced (Romans 5:8).
[Alford: “God’s love to us in Christ; to us, as we are in Christ; to us, manifested in and by Christ.” Stuart thus sums up: “This is indeed ‘an anchor sure and steadfast, entering into that within the vail;’—a blessed, cheering, glorious hope, which only the gospel and atoning blood can inspire.”—On the parallelism between chaps. Romans 5:0 : and Romans 8:0 :, see Forbes, pp. 333 ff.—R.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
First paragraph, Romans 8:18-27
A. The groaning of the creature121 (Romans 8:18-22).
1. The Scriptures ascribe to the whole universe, even to the heavenly regions, the necessity of the renewal of created being by transformation (Psalms 102:26-28; Isaiah 51:6; Revelation 21:5); but they distinguish between the regions of glory, which are renewed, and the present form of the world, which must be renewed by passing through corruption and the destruction of the world (2 Peter 3:10, 23). The throne of God, the ascension of Christ. Even astronomy recognizes this great contrast between the regions of prevalent growth and of prevalent completed existence in the nature of light (see my work, Das Land der Herrlichkeit, pp. 42 ff.). But also in reference to the sphere of humanity, which does not embrace merely the earth (also Sheol), we must distinguish between the pure condition of nature in its antithesis to perfection (1 Corinthians 15:47 ff.), and the obscurity which nature has experienced in consequence of sin; see the present passage. According to the nature of the ἄνθρωπος κοïχός, his whole sphere stood in need of development—in need of a metamorphosis (2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:50); but this development has become abnormal through sin; and the metamorphosis has, by a metastasis, become death in the pregnant sense, φθορά, corruption. But from this correspondence of nature with the human world in the state of fall and decay, there also follows an expectation of their correspondence in the delivering restoration which will be also the completion of the normal development.
2. The Holy Scriptures everywhere render prominent the coherence and correspondence between the spiritual and natural world. There must be a heaven, because there are heavenly objects—because there is a God—because there are angels and saints. There must be a hell, because there are devils. Thus Paradise corresponded with Adam in his state of innocence; the cursed ground, with fallen man; the Promised Land, as the type of the future Paradise, with the typical people of God; a darkening and desolation of the land with every religious and moral decline of the people (Deuteronomy 28:15 ff.; Isaiah 24:17; Joel 2:0 :; Zephaniah 1:14, &c.), and with every spiritual period of salvation an exaltation of nature (Deuteronomy 28:8 ff.; Psalms 72:0 :; Isaiah 25:6 ff.; Isaiah 35:0 :; Hosea 2:21, &c.); and thus the sun was darkened at the death of Christ, and the renewal of the earth was announced by the earthquake at His death. Now this parallelism extends in a more intense degree through the New Testament period, both as to the overthrow of the old form of the world, and the sufferings preceding it (Luke 16:25; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:1 ff.), and as to the renewal succeeding it (Isaiah 11:6; Revelation 20-22).
3. It corresponds to the connection of the impersonal creature-world with the personal life of man, that the former participates in the anxious expectation of believing humanity for perfection. As nature in space aspired beyond itself, in so far as it received the impress of man’s nature, so also does it aspire, even in time, beyond itself, in so far as it shares with man his progress toward the change or transformation into the super-terrestrial and glorified form. The waiting of the creature for that perfection, as with erect head, just as it is with the human outlook, may be called prosopopœia; the fundamental thought itself, namely, its suffering, its sense of the impulse toward development—an impulse confined and disturbed by the abnormal condition—is a real relation, an actual course of conduct. We do not include herein the normal forms of death in the brute world. The fundamental idea of this appearance of death is no selfish struggle for existence, but the idea of sacrificing love. The weaker beast, which becomes a prey to the stronger, cannot and should not voluntarily offer itself upon the altar of life, even though it be only a beast; but when the beast in a torpid state pays to the stronger, as though in a dream, its tribute for the joy of its existence, there is reflected the voluntary deliverance to death in a higher region. The most apparent phenomena of the sufferings of the creature, next to the innumerable sufferings of human nature in subjection to diseases, wars, battles, pestilences, are the sufferings of the brute world as they appear to be immersed in the fate of the human world, and are represented in the noblest form in the sacrifice of the brute, and in the grossest form in the pangs of the brute. Yet not only over the brute world, but also over the whole realm of vegetable life, there has extended, with the morbid tendency of the human centre of the world, a morbid development of the most subordinate forms, such as we find in parasites and dwarfs, together with the rapid increase of the common and lowest forms above the more noble, and, in fact, an increase of degenerations of all kinds. But the apostolical, as well as the modern Christian and humane apprehension of nature, extends still beyond the perception of the real groaning of brutes and the degeneration of vegetable life. The sense of the most profound life perceives a groaning of the creature in the most general sense, first, as a longing, developing impulse of the creature-world toward perfection and to the second higher form of existence, and secondly, as a painful suffering under the law of an abnormal and more intense corruptibleness, and thirdly, as a mournful concert, a harmony of all the keynotes of the χόσμος in its homesickness for a new paradise. These keynotes were heard by the prophets (see No. 2, above); Christ has definitely characterized them in His eschatological discourse (Matthew 25:29, and the parallels in Mark and Luke); and Paul sketches them here in brief outline, while the Book of Revelation speaks of them in great figures. Through all the periods of the Church there extends a profound sense of this earnest connection between the moral and physical decline of the human world, and we notice its rëecho in the voices of the poets (Shakespeare, for example), down to the Romanticists of recent date (Fr. von Schlegel, Bettina). But in the department of the most recent literature, in which the sense of this anxious expectation and sadness is blunted, there has arisen on the side of the degenerating extreme a fantastical and gloomy view of the “battle for existence,” and it would not be surprising if even this materialism should, in turn, degenerate into dualism. Moreover, the expectation of the l‘ catasrophe refers back to the catasrophes underlying the creation of the world, and whose reflection in the Deluge is still proved by our recollection of the most remote antiquity.
4. The Apostle has described the δόξα in 1 Corinthians 15:54 as ἀφθαρσία. Peter speaks of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away (Romans 1:4). Here the δόξα means, on the one hand, the deliverance of the body, and, on the other, the freedom of God’s children. The body, therefore, in its new form, shall be exempted from the natural necessity of physical life; for, as the real body, it has put off, at death, the old bodily form with its sinful propensities. In this life it has become, in many ways, a source of temptation and hindrance to the inward life; but in its higher form it shall become the perfect outward expression of the inward life. To be wholly adapted to the spirit, and therefore not only exempt from the corruption, but also the constraint of nature, and to be wholly an organ, an expression, and an image of the spirit—these are the individual characteristics of the glorification in which nature also shall participate, since it is rendered free to share in the freedom of the glory of God’s children. In general, the conception of real ideality is the object to which they shall be raised; that is, an ideality in which its idea shall not only be delivered from all deformity, but shall even be elevated above the symbolism of the beautiful splendor in which poetry involuntarily becomes prophecy, into the real nature of the beautiful appearance. We shall find an analogue to the representation of the new form of things, if we compare the present form of the earth and of the creature-world with the rough forms of the earth and the gross forms of the creature, which, according to the testimony of paleontology, have preceded the present form of our cosmos (see my Land der Herrlichkeit; Vermischte Schriften, vol. ii.).
5. The different eschatologies of antiquity here come in for consideration. As for the relation of the Persian to the Jewish eschatology, it seems, after all, demonstrable that the originality of the theocratic eschatology is reflected in Parsism (Vendidad, Bundehesh), just as the Christian eschatology is reflected in the old German Edda. On the development of the Old Testament eschatology, see Tholuck, note on p. 422; Psalms 72:0.; Isaiah 11:6; Isaiah 25:8; Isa. 45:66; Hosea 2:21 ff.; Amos 9:13; Zephaniah, &c.; and on the Jewish-Rabbinical eschatology, see Tholuck again, p. 423. It is noteworthy that Rabbinical Judaism has even assimilated itself to heathendom, in that its expectation has become chiefly retrospective, like the longing of the heathen for the golden age (that is, an expectation of the grotesque restoration of sensuous glory), while the Old Testament anticipation of Israel, the “people of the future,” has been consummated in the eschatology of the New Testament. On the eschatology of the New Testament, we must refer to biblical and dogmatic theology (see Commentary on Matthew, pp. 418–434; 1 Corinthians 15:0.; 1 Corinthians 2:0 Peter, pp. 46 ff.). For remarks on ecclesiastical eschatology, especially on Luther’s discourses concerning the future form of the world; on the question de duratione brutorum; on the distortion of the end of the world into the gross representation of an utter destruction of the world by the Lutheran doctrinal writers of the seventeenth century; and on the restriction of the Apostle’s entire description to mere human relations, &c., see Tholuck, pp. 425–428.—It is a beautiful idea of Theodore of Mopsvestia, that “things visible and invisible” constitute a κόσμος, for the comprehension of which (consisting, as it does, of all created things together), in one pledge of love, man (consisting, as he does, of both worlds) was created; that, after his fall, the higher spirits alienated themselves from him; but at the prospect of his restoration, they dedicated themselves to his service, and now rejoice in his restoration, &c. This idea is more in place in the passage relating to the original founding of the new world in the absolute atonement (Colossians 2:20), than in the present passage, relating to the glorification of the present world.—We can avoid all fanciful ideas in regard to the question de duratione brutorum, and apply Christian principles only, by treating it in brief allusions:
(1) The morbid sundering of types analogous to the formation of human heathendom. The opposite must therefore be a return of nature to collective fundamental types.
(2) The morbid increase of individuals, analogous to the extravagant generation of the human proletarian. The opposite is the preponderance of constant existence over an excited growth.
(3) The rise of a preponderance, of the most subordinate forms, of parasites, of forms doomed to decay. The opposite is the dynamical dominion of pure forms, the negation of parasites.
(4) The reflexive formation of the morbid form of death in original, ideal forms.
(5) The absolute connection of the creature thus idealized with man, and its appropriation by man.
Here, as well as to the following paragraph, belong Psalms 72:0.; Isa. 45:66; John Walther’s hymn, “It makes one heartily rejoice;” G. Arnould’s hymn, “O Breaker of all bonds;” Schiller’s poem, “Oh, from this valley’s depths;” and expressions of Fr. von Schlegel, Bettina, and others, on the anxious expectation of nature.
6. The most prominent views on eschatology may be distinguished thus: (1) The Gnostic-dualistic view, with which we must also unite the recent theosophic views in general; (2) The Positivist, which holds to an absolute catastrophe without interpositions; (3) The Rationalistic, which does not get beyond the notion of a gradual idyllic improvement of nature and humanity; (4) The christologico-dynamical, which defines eschatology from the centre (which operates as a principle), of the death, the resurrection, and the glorification of Christ. This is also essentially the patristic view. To modern philosophical unbelief the beginning of the world, as well as its end, is sunk in mist and night, because to it the centre of the world—the historical Christ—is sunk in mist and night.
The christological and dynamical view stands in particular need, at the present time, of a vigorous development. It appears everywhere throughout the Scriptures, and is strongly expressed in Ephesians 1:19, and also in Philippians 3:21. Tholuck: “It is noteworthy that in Philippians 3:21 the same ὑποτάσσειν, which here expresses subjection to matter, denotes the operation of Divine power through which matter shall be glorified.”
B. The groaning of believers themselves (Romans 8:23-25).
1. The Apostle speaks of a twofold testimony of the language of groans, which is further divided into a threefold one. The creature groans in its painful struggle for perfection; the life of believers groans. But as believers groan in their consciousness and conscious sense of life, so also does the spirit, in its ethical struggle, groan in the ground of its life.
2. The groaning is related to tears, as labor is to rest. Tears relieve the passive resignation of the soul to God’s counsel amid its conflict with the hindrances of life; the groaner labors in his recourse to God’s act in heaven against the power of hindrances. Tears flow from this opposition, since they come from God; the groaner protests against the opposition by appealing to God. Both are twin children of the ὑπομονή, which now proves itself as patience and now as steadfastness. Compare the history of the groans and tears of Christ. On the great power and importance which tears and groans have as signals of the most extreme distress of the invisible world in conflict with the visible, and of the higher in conflict with the lower, compare the evidences of the Holy Scriptures by the aid of a concordance. Herder: “The smoke from the burning forest does not rise so high heavenward as does the burdened man’s groan” (see James 5:9).
3. The idea of the ἀπαρχή denotes not merely the first beginning—harvest, for example—and not only the most excellent, but also the pledge and representation of the future totality which is assured in the successful beginning. But so is God’s Spirit the pledge of glory. See the Exeg. Note.
4. Without a comprehension (which is often very defective) of the relation between the principial Christian life and the same life in its broadest completion—which is suggested even by the development of every grain of wheat—it must appear a wonderful thing that the believer already possesses adoption, according to Romans 8:16, and that, according to Romans 8:23, he first expects the adoption with groaning; that he has righteousness, and yet must strive after righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8); that he is truly delivered and saved, and yet is only delivered and saved in hope. The grand and mysterious elaboration of this development renders its comprehension more difficult, and therefore many speak of an ideal possession, and the like. The principial possession is, indeed, also an ideal one, in so far as the idea of perfection is, contained in the principle, and always appears more grand from it, but the realization of the idea is only begun in it; it perfectly exists as a foundation in the germ. On the variety of such antitheses as βασιλεία, σωτηρία, and ἀπολύτρωσις, see Tholuck, p. 436. Theodoret has even perverted the antithesis into that of ὄνομα and πρᾶγμα; the Socinians distinguished tenere fide and frui, Tholuck speaks, with De Wette, of a “partial definition of the idea of υἱοθεσία;” and Luther translated thus: “We patiently wait for the adoption, and expect,” &c. The Codd. D. F. G., in surprise at the expectation of the adoption, leave out the υἱοθεσίαν.
5. No grander and more glorious thing can be said of the original state of the human body, than that its full deliverance (from sinfulness, misery, death, decay, and perishableness) shall be its transformation to the glorious freedom of the children of God. That the resurrection of the flesh is also declared with the glorification of the body, comp. my Vermischte Schriften, vol. ii. pp. 232 ff.
C. The groaning of the Spirit imparted to believers (Romans 8:26-27).
1. On the contradictions arising from the identification of the groaning spirit with the Holy Spirit itself, comp. the Exeg. Notes. We are led here to the antithesis which the Apostle brings out in 1 Corinthians 14:15. It is the Christian, religious-ethical formation of an antithesis, whose physical foundation is the twofold form of consciousness originally peculiar to the present human life.122 Compare, on this point, Deutsche Zeitschrift für christliche Wissenschaft, &c., 1851, p. 242.
2. According to Tholuck’s view (p. 438), when the believer is in the greatest distress, he knows least of all how to find a verbal expression of his prayer. But, according to the Psalms, necessity teaches how to pray; the greatest distress becomes prophetical when recourse is had to God. But it is just in the calmest states that the believer needs most of all the interceding Spirit. Indeed, distress gives to prayer a strong expression of human feeling, and in so far Tholuck’s view is applicable to the prayer of distress in a more special sense. The intercession of the Spirit denotes the more direct access which God’s children, in their inmost heart, have gained to the Father through Christ, according to John 16:26. For the real Advocate with the Father is Christ (1 John 2:1); the Holy Spirit, as such, is the present Comforter of believers, in opposition to the world (John 14:16).123
3. The real nature of true prayer is the union of the human and divine Spirit, prompted by God’s Spirit. Hence the prophetical confidence of the Amen. This union, according to which God is not only the author and finisher, but also the disposer of prayer, is represented most of all in the mystical adoration of a spirit absorbed in communion with God. On this point, see the expression of Jelaleddin, in Tholuck, p. 443.
4. On the groaning of the creature, see Bucer’s beautiful expression, in Tholuck, p. 440.
Second Paragraph, Romans 8:28-37
A. The certainty of salvation in the saving purpose of Divine grace, as the causa primaria (efficiens) of salvation (Romans 8:28-30).
1. The certainty of salvation is divided into two lines, one of inward and individual life, and the other of external relations. Both have three starting-points in common: a. The causa primaria, the purpose of God (Romans 8:29); b. The causa meritoria, the gift of His Son (Romans 8:32); c. The causa apprehendens, or organica, faith in its development into the life of love (Romans 8:28). Believers are here called those who love God, because, in their love for God, the reflection of God’s love has become manifested in them. The progress of the expectation and joyfulness of personal life toward the dark and concealed ground of life, as to the absolute and spiritually clear personality, which is one with love itself, is not the ground, but the sign and evidence that our personal life has been appointed and called into being by God’s eternal counsel of love and grace. In our love for God there is revealed His love for us, and in our personality there shines the reflection of His personality. But with this there appears the dynamical central line of life—that of the Divine determinations of the persons allied to God—to which the whole succession and course of things is made subservient.
2. The divine πρόθεσις denotes the eternal relation of God to the course of the world called into being by Him, but also called to free self-development under His authority; just as is the case with the two terms βουλή and εὐδοκία. All these definitions denote God’s eternal thought and plan of the world; but they denote it in different relations. The εὐδοκία designates the central point of the Divine purpose, its anticipating love, the ideal perception and contemplation of the personal kingdom. Beside it there stands, on the one hand, the βουλή, God’s going to himself for counsel, the look of His intelligence at the necessities of the free development of the world; and, on the other hand, there stands the πρόθεσις, as the establishment of His government over the beginning, the middle, and the ultimate object of His institution of love. The εὑδοχία settles the children of salvation; the βουλή perceives the conditions of salvation; and the πρόθεσις determines the stages of salvation. But that this is not the decree of fate, but rather qualified and communicated according to the stages of the free spiritual kingdom, is plain from the very term used to describe Christians: that they are called according to the purpose—called, not compelled. Tholuck: “πρόθεσις. The πρό is not the temporal before, as in προέγνω, which Beza and Pareus hold, but as the prefix in προτίθεσθαι. Yet they are not merely nude, called according to a Divine decree, but according to one whose stages to the ultimate object of the ἐδόξασε are laid down.” But the idea of the χλῆσις appears here in a narrower sense as a definition of God’s children, characterized by penitence and faith, baptism and confession; the more general idea, on the contrary, appears in Romans 8:28.
3. All things and events must be subordinate and subservient to, and promotive of, the highest purposes of God—the realization of His kingdom of love, and therefore the salvation of His elect. Augustine: Deus est adeo bonus, quod nihil mali esse permitteret, nisi adeo esset potens, ut ex quolibet malo possit elicere aliquod bonum (Tholuck, p. 444).
4. And we know (Romans 8:28). We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but God knows the meaning of the groaning of our spirit, and we know, too, that all things work together for good to them that love God. This knowledge is not merely a direct confidence of the spirit, but is based upon the most certain argument: a. In our love for God, His love for us appears; b. But God reigns omnipotently, and disposes all things according to the counsel of His love; c. Consequently, all things must become providences of the loving God.
5. We hold that the passage in Romans 8:29-30 contains the whole Divine plan of salvation, from the first foundation to the ultimate object, and we have repeatedly treated it from this point of view (see my Positive Dogmatik, p. 956). We remark first of all, exegetically, that the passage in Ephesians 1:4-14 is an explanatory parallel to the present passage. As the foreknowing here precedes the predestinating, so there the choosing (Romans 8:4) precedes the predestinating (Romans 8:5); from which it follows that both the foreknowing and the electing mean essentially the same thing—an act preceding the predestination. To καλεῖν or κλῆσις in the present passage there corresponds in that passage ἐκαρίτωσεν, accepting, &c., in Romans 8:6, which the Apostle resumes in Romans 8:11, and specially elaborates. To the justifying here, there then corresponds there the following: “in whom we have redemption,” &c, in Romans 8:7. But finally, the glorifying here is reflected in the “wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom,” &c. But Paul also there refers all these individual parts to the “good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (in Romans 8:9). So that it plainly follows there that the “predestinating” relates specifically to the “purpose,” while the “purpose” appears to be qualified by the βουλή, “counsel,” as this latter is qualified by the “good pleasure.” But we learn, in reference to the first act, the “choosing” in the Epistle to the Ephesians, that election took place in Christ before the foundation of the world (see John 17:0.), just as we learn that the glorifying or guidance of believers to “glory” will be identical with being led “to the praise of his glory,” according to the idea that the beholding of the glory of God will constitute the glory of believers, and that the former will be revealed in the latter (1 John 3:2).—We may further observe, that a real difference exists between election and foreordination, or predestination, and that the προγινώσκειν cannot possibly mean foreknowledge, in God’s idea, of subjects already present (for whence would they have come into God’s idea?), but that it can only mean the loving and creative sight, in God’s intuitive vision, of human personalities for a preliminary ideal existence. The doctrine of predestination of Augustine, of the Middle Ages, and of the Reformers, could not reach this idea of election intellectually (Christian faith has always reached it in spirit), because the distinction between the idea of the individual personality of man and the idea of the “specimen of every kind” had not yet been definitely attained. It is now clear that such a “foreknowing” of God in relation to all human individuals must be accepted, because man is an individual thought of God; and that the same must hold good of “electing,” in so far as each individual is distinct in his solitary separation from all other individuals, and has a solitary call (see Revelation 2:17). But it follows from this that the foreknowing of the “elect,” when it has become manifest, must be accepted in the most emphatic sense, analogously to the fact that Abraham is, in God’s typical kingdom, the elect κατ’ ἐξοκήν, and that Christ is the elect in God’s real kingdom in the absolute sense, so that all His followers are chosen together with Him as organic members, according to their organic relations (Ephesians 1:0.). From both propositions it follows, further, that election does not constitute an infinite opposition between such as are ordained to salvation and such as are ordained to condemnation, but an infinite difference of destinations for glory; which difference, however, can be the basis of an actual opposition (see Matthew 25:24), and therefore is also combined with this. As the foreknowing expresses the collective foundation, the godlike spiritual nature of the elect as the product and object of Divine love, there is comprised in the electing not only their election from the mass of the world, but also the distinguishing feature of their καρίσματα and characters. In addition to the earlier perversions of this doctrine of the eternal foundation of personal essence—a doctrine of the highest importance to our times—we may add the recent assertion of Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, vol. i. p. 227), that the ἐκλέγεσθαι relates not merely to individuals, but to the entire body, and, accordingly, to individuals as members of the body. The Apostle says οὕς four times, and τούτους three times. After the ideal determinations of personalities themselves, there can now follow the predestination of their ὅρος in time and space, their whole lot (including the previously determined permission and control of the fall). For the foundation of the world corresponds to the history of the world. But the fate of each individual is designed to mature him, under gratia prœveniens, for conversion, and when this object is reached, it is his turn; he is τεταγμένος (Acts 13:48). From this it now follows that the “calling,” in a special sense, first makes its appearance with the theocratical and evangelical revelation and its preaching of salvation. Those in whom the outward call of God has become an inward one, are “called” in the specific sense; yet the typical “call” first becomes perfectly real in the New Testament. As the life-sphere of election is the spiritual kingdom, and the life-sphere of foreordination is the history of the world, so is the Church the life-sphere of the call. But if godly sorrow leadeth to salvation, and germinating faith to saving faith, the justifying will be realized. This becomes decided by the Spirit of “adoption,” which spirit, however, now begins to operate also as πνεῦμα τῆς δόξης, and in reciprocal action with it even the whole historical experience of God’s children becomes a δοξάζεσθαι, a guidance to glory. On the modes of this guidance, which have been but little developed doctrinally, see my Positive Dogmatik, p. 1064.
As far as the five divine saving acts are concerned, five human elements must correspond with them, according to the sphere of love and freedom. According to the christological idea, the Divine acts and human elements should come together in five points of union, somewhat as follows:
Call (as awakening and illumination).
Determination to salvation.
Pilgrimage, or striving.
Life of Prayer.
Godly life of Love.
If we reduce the five elements to three: foundation, execution, end (ἀρχή, τρόπος, τέλος), the two elements of execution—call and justification—denote the incipient and decided new birth (from water and the Spirit). The δόξα denotes regeneration in the sense of completion (Matthew 19:28). The sum of all the Divine operations taken together is grace; the sum of all the human elements is the growing freedom of God’s children; and the sum of all points of union is eternal life.
It is only from the standpoint of the call and of justification that man can look retrospectively at his ordination and election in the light of God’s love, and prospectively at his object, the δόξα. But if, on the other hand, he would infer his own justification from his assumed election, this would be a standpoint of self-deception, and he would make his own justification out of the fragmentary work of holiness, and this would become self-torment or self-righteousness. The believing sinking into the image and righteousness of Christ, is a sinking into the fountain of eternal life, which then sinks thereby, as though unobserved, into the heart.124
B. The certainty of salvation in its historical gift and establishment in Christ, in opposition to historical contradiction in persecutions (Romans 8:31-37).
1. The thesis of the perfect historical securities of the salvation of Christians. Romans 8:31 says: If God be for us, all the hindrances and restrictions to our salvation are nullified as such. Nothing can harm us. Romans 8:32 : Since God did not spare His own Son for us, He has given us already every thing in principle, in order to give it to us in His own time in reality; all the aids for our salvation are given to us; every thing contributes to our good.
2. The Apostle represents, in four distinct elements, the complete security of our perfect salvation in Christ. His death removes our deserved condemnation. His resurrection raises us above the sense of condemnation into the confidence and spiritual life of adoption. His sitting at the right hand of God protects us against all condemning powers, and is the pledge of our acquittal at the judgment. His intercession abolishes the last remains of condemnation in our life, and secures us against relapse. On the dissensus between the Reformed and Lutheran theology in reference to Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God, see Tholuck, p. 458. Tholuck decides in favor of the view that the right hand of God is ubique, and the sitting at the right hand of God indicates the Saviour’s entrance into, absolute freedom from all restraint. But if we will not regard the “absolute freedom from all restraint” in a purely negative sense, we are driven with this freedom itself to the positiveness of an absolute situation and standpoint in glory. On the views relating to the intercessio, see Tholuck, p. 459. According to Tholuck, the intercessio must be strictly regarded only with reference to Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1; according to Meyer, it is vocalis et oralis. But it may be asked, Is it analytical, or synthetical? The glorified Christ, in His eternal purpose of love, is himself, as the personal and complete Word, the personified intercession. He appears in the presence of the Father for us (Hebrews 9:24). For statements relating to this subject, see Tholuck, p. 461.
1. The Apostle has enumerated seven oppositions that can operate against us as temptations to relapse. There are seven, from the beginning of labor to rest. He here enumerates the forces which can oppose us in our fellowship of love with the Lord; these are ten in number. But this is the number of the finished course of the world. By height we might have in mind the ὕψωμα, in the sense of 2 Corinthians 10:5; and by depth, Revelation 2:24. Yet both terms are essentially the same, and we prefer the explanation given in the Exeg. Notes.
2. The assumption that different classes of angels are spoken of in this passage, has resulted in various changes of the text. Also in Ephesians 1:21, the Apostle has chosen expressions which comprise as well present powers of the world as future spiritual powers. The same holds good in reference to Colossians 1:16. Paul has given no ground for a definite hierarchy of angels; neither has Peter done so in 1 Peter 3:22. On Tholuck’s discussion concerning angelic classes, see pp. 461 ff.
3. There is a special need, in our day, of bringing forward the absolutely dynamical view of the world in opposition to a groundless and illimitable atomistic one. But the vital way to bring about this view, is the experience and developed perception of the absolute operation of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4. Thus chap. 8. advances from the certainty of freedom from condemnation, in Romans 8:1, to the certainty of eternal salvation, in Romans 8:39.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Romans 8:18-23. The groaning of the creature. 1. What are we to understand by “creature” here? 2. Why does it groan? 3. For what does it groan? (Romans 8:18-23.)—The magnitude of the future glory of God’s children. 1. It makes us forget all the sufferings of this present time; 2. It satisfies not only our expectation, but also the anxious expectation of the whole creation (Romans 8:18-23).—Why are the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared to the future glory? 1. Because our sufferings, however great, come to an end with this present time; 2. The glory, on the contrary, will continue forever (Romans 8:18).—Comparison of the sufferings of this present time with the glory which shall be revealed in us: 1. The former bring pain, cares, and tears; 2. The latter brings eternal health, peace, and joy (Romans 8:18).—The revelation of God’s children is a revelation of their life (concealed with Christ in God) of courageous faith, fervent love, and calm hope; Colossians 3:3 (Romans 8:19).—The creature in the service of corruption (Romans 8:21).—The creature transformed to glory (Romans 8:21).—Believers in the possession of not only the first-fruits of the Spirit (faith, knowledge, love, patience, chastity, &c.), but also in the possession of God’s full adoption, since the body also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:23).
Luther: God will not only make the earth, but also heaven, more beautiful. This present time is His working garb; afterward He will put on an Easter coat and a Pentecostal robe (Romans 8:18-23).
Starke: Wonder and rejoice, ye cross-bearers, for your heavy and wearisome sufferings are only a drop compared with the boundless sea of joys, and as a grain of sand in the balance against hundreds of thousands of pounds (2 Corinthians 4:17). “Non sunt condignœ passiones hujus sœculi ad prœteritam culpam, quœ remittitur; ad prœsentem consolationis gratiam quœ immittitur; ad futuram gloriam quœ promittitur;” Bernh., De Convers. ad cleric, c. 30 (Romans 8:18). The creature will not be utterly annihilated, but renewed, and placed in a more glorious state (Romans 8:21).—Hedinger: Woe to those who revile, torment, and abuse God’s creatures! (Romans 8:19.)
Spener: What would not a soldier suffer, if he knew that he should become a General? But here is a glory succeeding suffering, beside which all the glory of the greatest emperors and kings is only a shadow (Romans 8:18).—Roos: The sufferings of this present time are infinitely small compared with this infinite weight of glory (Romans 8:18).—The glory is contrasted with the corruption, and freedom with bondage. That which is glorious will last eternally; and that which is free may indeed be used and enjoyed by others, but is not in a state of bondage or slavery (Romans 8:20-21).—What is spiritual, will become completely spiritual, and, consequently, will be revealed in great glory. Paul calls this state of glory the state of adoption, because God’s children will then completely show their honor in themselves, fully enjoy their Father’s love—in a word, will be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:22-23).
Gerlach: As the mother in travail delivers the living child, as it were, from death, so does nature, groaning under the power of death, struggle to bring forth from itself a new and incorruptible creation. “Not you alone, but what is much lower than you are, and without reason and conscience, shall share with you your blessings. The creation will be free from the bondage of corruption; that is, it will no more be corruptible, but will keep pace with the glorification of your body. For as it became corruptible when you did, so will it again follow you when you become immortal. As a nurse who fostered a king’s son will herself enjoy his possessions as soon as he attains his father’s throne, so will it be with creation. Do you see how man everywhere goes ahead, and every thing happens for his sake? Do you see how the Apostle comforts the struggling one, and points him to the unutterable love of God? But he does not merely comfort; he also shows the certainty of what he says. For if the creature which was created for your sake has hope, how much more do you have hope for whose sake the creature shall enjoy all these blessings! Thus, when the son appears in his glory, shall men clothe their servants in more glorious robes to the honor of the son;” Chrysostom (Romans 8:18-23).
Lisco: The magnitude and universality of the future perfection (Romans 8:18-23).—All the sufferings of this present time, both physical and spiritual, which we must endure on the way to our future glorification, bear no comparison to this perfection. The proof of this is, that the creature, the whole creation, both irrational creation and every thing which is still outside of fellowship with Christ, is anxiously waiting for the revelation of the still concealed glory of God’s children, the truly new-born; in which glorification the whole creation will participate, for it is universal and great. The ground of this anxious expectation of the whole creation is partially owing to the subjection of the latter to vanity, and in part to the hope that it shall be delivered from that state which is subject to vanity, and shall participate in the glorious freedom of God’s children (Romans 8:18-21).
Heubner: “Temporal sufferings are a differential of the future glory which shall be revealed; that is, they are so infinitely small that they have no value compared with the future glory” (Silberschlag, Dreieinigkeit, vol. iv. p. 138).—The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us: 1. In respect to duration; 2. Quantity; and 3. Quality.—The sufferings are a mote, the glory is a hundred-weight; the former are but a drop, the latter a sea (Romans 8:18).—Paul designs to show: 1. The certainty of this future in opposition to doubters, as in 2 Peter 3:4, who say that all things continue as they were; he answers, by saying: No; nature does not remain unchangeable; nature itself has a tendency to transformation and completion; 2. The magnitude of salvation, for it is the object and limit of the whole creation; it must therefore be exceedingly abundant.—Revelation of the children of God. What will then be revealed? 1. The inmost and deepest nature of their hearts; 2. The distinguished grace of God toward them, which is the glorious destination to which God elevates them. To whom will the revelation be made? To themselves, to the angels, to the believing children of God, to the world, and to all devils (Romans 8:19).—The vanity to which the creature is subject is manifested specifically as follows: 1. The creation has lost its original charm, its beauty, its durableness, and its uniformity; 2. It has become corrupted by much that is injurious or useless; 3. It is now given over to abuse (Romans 8:20-21).—How is the self-anxiety of nature to be regarded? We must suppose nature to have a consciousness, a feeling, and that it would say: “What must I suffer! how must I be abused!” Supposing particular objects to speak, the sun would say: “How must I shine upon the wicked works of men! how am I compelled to see every thing!” The earth: “What must I bear! what blood must I absorb!” The gardens and fields: “How are we wasted in excess!” Gold and silver: “How are we perverted into idols!” Beasts: “How are we tormented and abused!” If the Almighty were to open the mouths of many beasts of burden, how would the irrational brutes complain against rational man! (Romans 8:22.)—The Christian is l’homme de désir (St. Martin), a man of longings.
Besser: The martyrdom of the creature is twofold, and its coronation will also be twofold: 1. It suffers death, under whose pains the elephant groans and the worm writhes; 2. It suffers violence and injustice from the ungrateful and malicious; and it suffers involuntarily, for it is subject to these through God’s authority (Romans 8:19). The glory of God’s children is freedom—freedom from sin and death—freedom from the tyranny of the devil and the world (Romans 8:21).—The Apostle says: We are waiting for the adoption. It is the mystery of Christianity, that we wait for what we already have, or that we are and at the same time are not what we shall be. We are righteous and sinful; we are holy and impure; we are kings and slaves; we are free and bond; we are living and dead; we are saved and condemned;—we are all the former, apart from ourselves, in Christ; we are all of the latter in ourselves, apart from Christ (Romans 8:23).
Romans 8:24-28. The salvation of Christians in the present life is a salvation: 1. In hope; 2. In patience; 3. In prayer (Romans 8:24-28).—The one Christian hope in distinction from the many worldly hopes. 1. It has a good ground—Christ, on whom we can build; 2. A certain object—eternal salvation (Romans 8:24).—What a man seeth he cannot hope for; if we therefore hope, the object of our hope must be invisible (Romans 8:24-25).—Christian patience: 1. In what does it consist? 2. In whom is it found? (Romans 8:25).—Intercession for us by the Spirit of God. 1. How does it take place? 2. With what results? (Romans 8:26-27).—It is only when we perceive our infirmities that God’s Spirit intercedes for us with unutterable groans (Romans 8:26).—A glance at the inmost life of prayer of God’s saints. We here perceive: 1. Our great weakness; 2. The comforting intercession by the Spirit of God; 3. God’s friendly hearkening to our prayer (Romans 8:26-28).—Praise God for His compassion shown in the Spirit’s helping us in our infirmities (Romans 8:26).—The unutterable groanings of the Spirit (Romans 8:26).—God knoweth the heart (Romans 8:27).—Are we also saints? Does God’s Spirit also intercede for us? Can we also hope that our prayer will be answered? (Romans 8:26-27).—Under what circumstances do we, too, know that all things work together for our good? 1. When we love God; 2. When we are conscious of our call (Romans 8:28).—The Christian view of human destiny (Romans 8:28).—How many men are still very far from knowing that all things must work together for good to them that love God! 1. Proof that such is the case; 2. Statement of the grounds of this phenomenon.
Starke: Impatience in distress arises from want of hope; 2 Kings 6:29; 2 Kings 6:31 (Romans 8:25).—Spener: We do not know what would always be useful to us, and, if left completely to our own choice, would often pray for things which might be injurious, rather than useful. We also do not understand how prayer should be best formed, and in such a way as most likely to be heard, especially in seasons when necessity is great, and the heart is perplexed; but the Spirit intercedes for us in the best way, with unutterable groanings (Romans 8:26).—We, in whom there are such groans, often do not ourselves understand what we pray for, for the anxiety of the heart is so great that it can express nothing more than a sorrowful but confident desire for the grace of God; but the remaining prayer is shaped by the Holy Spirit, and brought before God’s throne (Romans 8:27).—Roos: Here (Romans 8:27) the Holy Spirit intercedes for us as a wise father intercedes for his child, who does not know how to address a great nobleman as he should, when he puts into his mouth refined language and a fitting compliment.
Bengel: In this purpose of God lie concealed the very first roots of the justification and glorification of believers (Romans 8:28).
Gerlach: The personality of man is no passing show, and does not pass away into universal life; but it only lives truly a life of the spirit when the personal Spirit of God is the soul of its life—when God is in it—when the Spirit of the eternal fellowship of the Father and of the Son, of God and of His creation, is in it (Romans 8:26). By this means the prayer of the believing Christian first receives a strong and sure ground that the Spirit prays out of him; and by this means it becomes clear how such great petitions as the first three of the Lord’s Prayer are placed by the Lord in the mouth of the weakest believer (Romans 8:27).—It is God who worketh all in all for our salvation (Philippians 2:13); therefore all things, His creatures who live, move, and have their being in Him, coöperate for the same end; not with Him, or beyond Him, but in Him and through Him. Even all the evil that takes place on the earth coöperates for good; for the will of the creature, which tears itself asunder from its Creator, is evil, and the evil continues to exist in this will; but the evil that results as the work of this will is, in so far as it interferes with God’s order of the world, God’s own work, is overruled by Him for good. If a child or friend of ours is struck by lightning, or killed by a murderer, it is God’s work in both cases, so far as the matter concerns us; even God’s own retributive judgments, which requite the evil deed with evil, become a blessing to him who learns to love Him under the blows of His rod, so that then His penal justice is no more revealed therein, but purifying love and grace (Romans 8:28).
Lisco: Patience waits; it is established on hope, which is the direction of the spirit toward a future good. Hope is established on faith, which is the grasping of the promise that holds out the blessing; this promise, which is contained in God’s word, is the ground of faith; God’s word is therefore the ground of all (Romans 8:25).
Heubner: Hope is advanced faith (Romans 8:24).—To hope, and to act in hope, are the strength of the soul (Romans 8:25).—The heart of the Christian is a sanctuary, a dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).—Divine omniscience has a very comforting side. God knows the inmost faithfulness of the Christian’s heart. The true Christian desires to be searched, and to have his heart seen; the false Christian fears this (Romans 8:27).—“Deus nihil mali sinit accidere, ex quo non aliquid boni possit et velit elicere;”
Augustine (Romans 8:28).
Romans 8:29-39. Summary of the Christian order of salvation. 1. Election; 2. Ordination; 3. Call; 4. Justification; 5. Glorification (Romans 8:29-30).—The Only-begotten of the Father is at the same time the first-born among many brethren (Romans 8:29).—Let us never forget that we should be brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).—The call, justification, and glorification correspond to the threefold office of Christ (Romans 8:29-30).—Why do we, as Christians, not need to fear? 1. Because God, who delivered His only Son for us, and with Him will also freely give us all things, is for us; 2. Because Christ is here, who has finished His work for us; 3. Because we ourselves, for the sake of Him who hath loved us, are able to endure every danger, and to allow nothing to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39).—If God be for us, who can be against us? Or, God’s protection bids defiance to our enemies (in times of war) (Romans 8:31).—If God be for us, who can be against us? 1. Ask whether God is for us; 2. Look at the enemies (Romans 8:31).—The gracious gift of God’s Son (Romans 8:32).—Four believing and joyous questions of the Apostle, with the same number of answers evincing certainty of triumph (Romans 8:31-39).
Starke: The precious chain of the blessings of salvation, which far excels all golden chains and jewels (1 John 3:1-2) (Romans 8:30).—Even the smallest child of God can defy the whole world; therefore, what a great privilege all the children of God have! O man, be converted, and this day become a child of God! (Romans 8:31.)—Though the whole world condemn you, and cry out against you: “Crucify him! crucify him! away with him!” smile at it; for if God justifies you, nothing can condemn you (Romans 8:33).—“Hoc habet proprium ecclesia: dum persecutionem patitur, floret; dum opprimitur, crescit; dum contemnitur, proficit; dum lœditur, vincit; dum arguitur, intelligit; tune stat, cum superari videtur;” Hilarius, 1. 8, De Trinit. (Romans 8:37).—Strong heroic faith, which will allow nothing to separate from the love of God in Christ. Oh, Almighty God, arm us with the same sense, in order that we may remain true to death! 2 Timothy 4:8 (Romans 8:39).—Lange: What will it help you, poor man, if you have many great, rich, and mighty men in the world, and even a partial judge at the judgment? If God and your own conscience be against you, how soon will the table be turned against you? Job 9:4 (Romans 8:31).—Osiander: Even though Satan should make a row against our sins before God’s judgment-seat, he will not be able to accomplish any thing, but will be compelled to pack off to hellish fire with his charge (Romans 8:33).
Spener: It is the order of Divine beneficence that foreknowledge and foreordination take place in eternity, but the call, justification, and glorification occur in time (Romans 8:30).—He who has not hesitated to give the greatest blessing, will also not be sparing of smaller ones (Romans 8:32).
Roos: Many would be against us, but they are nothing against God (Romans 8:32).—Paul had previously spoken (Romans 8:32-34) of judicial charges, but now he speaks of hostile powers that would violently snatch us away, and separate us from the love of Christ, which he afterward calls the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).
Gerlach: The Apostle has now, in spirit, reached the top of the mount of glorification, and looks back once more at the transitory hindrances, and the victory of believers, in the midst of their unfinished conflicts. That which here disturbs the peace of believers, and threatens to deprive them of their comfort, is of a twofold character: it is inward and outward. Inwardly it is sin, outwardly it is tribulation; in part it is the necessity of life in general, and in part it is the temptations specially appointed for the Christian (Romans 8:31-39).
Lisco: The blessed certainty of the grace of their God strengthens believers to conquer all temptations and embarrassments (Romans 8:31-34).—As Abraham’s love of God strengthened him for the greatest and sorest sacrifice, so is the greatest expression of God’s love for us the gift of His Son; it is an act of love which infinitely exceeds all else that God has done for us as Creator, Preserver, and Ruler (Romans 8:32).—With the strongly established conviction of God’s grace toward us Christians, temporal sufferings, still less than those temptations (Romans 8:33-34), cannot lead us astray in our certainty of salvation and glorification (Romans 8:35-39).
Heubner: Christ is the true and real Ideal of human virtue, to whom we should be conformed, and to whom we are appointed as Christians to be conformed. The higher we think of Christ, the higher must we think of ourselves (Romans 8:29).—The Christian is a brother of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).—”Faith,” says Luther, “puts such courage into a man, that he can say, ‘Though all devils should pounce upon me, and all kings, emperors, heaven, and earth, were against me, I nevertheless know that I shall be sustained.’ He who has faith is in the Lord, and although he dies immediately, he must live again” (Romans 8:31).—Compare also Paul Gerhard’s excellent hymn, “If God be for me, I tread on all against me” (Romans 8:31).—The power of the Christian reaches further than his trials; his strength will never be wholly exhausted. And this strength is called love through Him who hath loved us; He, whose love raises us above all sufferings, strengthens us (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4).
Besser: The triumph of faith (Romans 8:31-39).
The Pericope for the 4th Sunday after Trinity, Romans 8:18-23.
Heubner: How the Christian regards the evils and imperfections of this world—the future rejuvenation of the earth.—The history of the earth. 1. What was the earth? A scene of God’s glory. 2. What has it become? A scene of sin and death. 3. What shall it become? Renewed, glorified, and a part of heaven. 4. Who will live on it? Matthew 5:5.—The comfort which the gospel gives the suffering Christian.—Appuhn: The connection of the creation with man: 1. The creature has fallen with man; 2. It serves him against its will; 3. It bears his image in itself: as men contend and fight together, so is it among the lower orders of creation; 4. It anxiously expects deliverance with man.—Genzken: The token of future glory: 1. The anxious expectation of the creature; 2. The expectation of believers.—Kapff: The deliverance of the groaning creature: 1. In nature; 2. In humanity in general; 3. In believers.—Ranke: The hope which Christians have of their future glory: 1. What is implied in this hope; 2. Its connection with the life of the Christian; 3. Its blessings.
The New Rhenish Pericopes: 1.Romans 8:24-30, for New- Year’s Day. Deichert: The great privilege of God’s children, to be able constantly to hope for the best. 1. It is only God’s children who know what is best; 2. It is only they who hope for it in a proper way; 3. Their hope rests upon the strongest grounds.
2.Romans 8:31-39, for the 13th Sunday after Trinity. Deichert: The blessedness of God’s child, who lies in His bosom in full faith of eternal love. 1. Such a child of God has every thing which can truly benefit him; 2. He is no more afraid that any thing can harm him; 3. He continues unseparated from eternal love.
On Romans 8:28. Schleiermacher: On improving occasions of public calamity. 1. They appeal to us to know ourselves; 2. They greatly benefit us by making us better acquainted with God himself. (Delivered in Halle soon after the French occupation.)
Lange: Christians, as God’s children, are heirs of future glory. 1. The right of inheritance established on the New Testament; 2. Anxious waiting for the decision; 3. Its eternal institution; 4. The opponents of the right of inheritance; 5. Its assurance; 6. The infinite value of the inheritance.—The anxious expectation of the creature, as contrasted with man without this expectation in our day, is the same picture on a large scale which Balaam’s ass presents on a small one. The Spirit in nature in opposition to the worldly-mindedness of skeptical natural philosophy.—Unspirituality in the garb of pretended natural philosophy, judged by its declarations: 1. Nature was not called into being by the Spirit of the Lord; 2. It does not testify to the dominion of the Spirit; 3. It does not strive for the revelation of the glory of the Spirit.—The true meaning of the groans: 1. Of the creature; 2. Of believers; 3. Of the Divine Spirit in their new life.—How does the case stand in reference to the battle of your life? 1. If God is not for you, every thing is against you, though every thing seems to be for you. 2. If God be for you, nothing is against you, though every thing seems to be against you. Nothing can harm us, for nothing can separate us.—Our fortress of rock: God’s love in Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Burkitt: How will God’s adopted children be made manifest? 1. In their persons; 2. In their actions; 3. In their condition.—The Holy Spirit intercedes for us: 1. By assisting us in duty; 2. By quickening our affections; 3. By enlarging our desires; 4. By setting us to groaning after the Lord.—Groaning denotes the strength and ardency of desire, which, through its fervency, puts the soul to pain and to a holy impatience till it is heard. If we want words, let us not want groans; Lord, let Thy Spirit help us to groan out a prayer when we want ability to utter it; for silent groans, proceeding from Thy Spirit, shall be heard in Thine ears when the loudest cries shall not be heard without it.
[Henry: Though the soul be the principal part of man, yet the Lord has declared himself for the body also, and has provided for it a great deal of honor and happiness. The future adoption of God’s children is: 1. The adoption manifested before the world, angels, and men. Their honor is now clouded, but God will then publicly own all His children. The deed of adoption is now written, signed, and sealed; then it will be recognized, proclaimed, and published. 2. It is the adoption perfected and completed. The children of God have bodies as well as souls, and the adoption is not perfect until those bodies are brought into the glorious liberty promised the children of God.—Difference between faith and hope: 1. Faith has regard to the promise; hope, the thing promised. 2. Faith is the evidence of things not seen; hope is the expectation of them. 3. Faith is the mother; hope is the daughter.—Scott: All that we owe to the flesh is a holy revenge for the injuries already done, and the hindrances continually given us; and instead of rendering our state doubtful, by living after it in any degree, we should, by the Spirit, continually endeavor more and more to mortify it, and repress all its actions.—Sin has filled the world with suffering, yea, with unspeakable disorder and misery; all creatures seem to proclaim man’s fatal apostasy, and to recommend the inestimably precious salvation of Christ. But the gospel opens a brighter prospect; a glorious crisis approaches, of which all things seem in anxious expectation.—Clarke: Fluency in prayer is not essential to praying; a man may pray most powerfully in the estimation of God, who is not able to utter even one word. The unutterable groan is big with meaning, and God understands it, because it contains the language of His own Spirit. Some desires are too mighty to be expressed; there is no language expressive enough to give them proper form and distinct vocal sound. Such desires show that they came from God; and as they came from Him, so they express what God is disposed to do, and what He has purposed to do (Romans 8:27).
[Hodge: Observe, 1. As there is a dreadful pressure of sin and misery on the whole creation, we should not regard the world as our home; 2. It is a characteristic of genuine piety to have exalted conceptions of future blessedness, and earnest longings after it; 3. The reason why all things work together for the good of God’s children is, that all things are under His control; 4. The plan of redemption, while it leaves no room for despondency, affords no pretence for assumption; 5. As there is a beautiful harmony and necessary connection between the several doctrines of grace, so must there be a like harmony in the character of the Christian.—The gospel is: 1. Wonderful; 2. Glorious; 3. Secure.—Barnes: Reasons why we are continued here in this state of vanity: 1. Christians are subjected to this state to do good to others; 2. Their remaining here shows the power of the gospel in overcoming sin, and in thus furnishing living evidence to the world of the power and excellence of that gospel; 3. It furnishes occasion for interesting exhibitions of character, and for increasing and progressive excellence; 4. It is a proper training for heaven.—Reasons why Christians do not know what to pray for: 1. They do not know what would be really best for them; 2. They do not know what God might be willing to grant them; 3. They are, to a great extent, ignorant of the character of God, the reason of His dealings, the principles of His government, and their own actual wants; 4. They are often in real and deep perplexity; and, if left alone, would neither be able to bear their own trials, nor know what to ask at the hand of God.—J. F. H.]
[Homiletical Literature on the Whole .—The homiletical literature on this chapter is very voluminous; we select the following, as being most important.—Bishop Cowper, Heaven Opened, &c., Works, 11 (1619); E. Philips, Certaine Godly Sermons, 243; Edw. Elton, Triumph of a True Christian Described (Three Excellent and Pious Treatises, 1653); H. Binning, The Sinner’s Sanctuary, &c.; being Forty-eight Sermons on the 8th Chapter of Romans, Works, 1, 257; T. Jacomb, Sermons Preached on the Whole 8th Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (only the sermons on the first four verses have been published, 1672); T. Horton, Forty-six Sermons upon the Whole 8th Chapter of the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans (1674); T. Manton, Forty-seven Sermons, Works, 2; J. Mestrezat, Sermons sur la 8e chap. de l’Epitre aux Romains (1702); T. Bryson, A Comprehensive View of the Real Christian’s Character, Privileges, and Obligations (1794); A. Short, The Witness of the Spirit with our spirit, Illustrated from the 8th Chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Bampton Lectures, 1846); O. Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus, as unfolded in the 8th Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (new ed., 1857).—Homiletical Literature on the Carnal Mind and Man’s Enmity to God.—C. Simeon, Works, 15, 195; Bishop Stillingfleet, Serm., 3, 294; B. Ibbot, Disc., 1, 365; J. Evans, Disc., 1, 93; J. Drysdale, Serm., 1, 213; R. Graves, Works, 4, 159; The Carnal and the Spiritual, Village Preacher, 1, 181; C. Simeon, Works, 15, 199; G. T. Noel, Serm., 2, 452; S. Charnock, Works, 9, 175; Archbishop Leighton, Serm., Works, 3, 195; J. Jamieson, Serm. (4) on the Heart, 2, 263, 381, 439, 465; G. Burder, Village Serm., 5; J. Venn, Serm., 3, 56; T. Dwight, Theology, 4, 441; C. Scholl, Serm., 158; E. Cooper, Pract. Serm., 5, 17; T. Chalmers, Works, 9, 66; H. Caulfield, Irish Pulpit, 2, 263; J. Cooper, Serm., 28; C. Simeon, Works, 15, 202; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons, 2, 362; J. Fenn, Serm., 52.
[Homiletical Literature on Life after the Spirit (Romans 8:13-14), and on the Spirit of Bondage and Adoption.—S. Clarke, Serm., 8, 23; Bishop Hall, Serm., Works, 5, 527; T. Jacomb, Morning Exerc., 3, 585; R. South, Serm., 5, 293, 326; T. Wilson, Serm., 1, 389; L. Atterbury, S. Clapham, Serm., selected, 2, 173; M. Hole, On the Church Cat., 1, 55; N. Carter, Serm., 155; I. Pearse, Serm., 219; D. Waterland, Serm., Works, 9, 325; R. Robinson, Village Serm., 267; T. Belshum, Disc., 1, 72; T. Biddulph, Plain Serm., 3, 168; H. Draper, On the Collects, 2, 275; C. Simeon, Works, 15, 270; Bishop Heber, Parish Serm., 1, 443; S. F. Surtees, Serm.; T. Knowles, Disc., 3, 267; A. W. Hare, Serm., 1, 77; W. G. G. Cookesley, Serm., 2, 254; C. Neat, Disc., 223; A. B. Evans, Serm., 230; H. E. Manning, Serm., 4, 27; A. Watson, Serm. (1843), 134; N. Meeres, Serm., 329; Bishop Wilberforce, Serm., 39; W. Howorth, Serm., 32; Bishop J. Jackson, Witness of the Spirit, 145; I. Williams, Serm., 2, 145; C. J. Vaughan, Serm. (1847), 77; C. Bullen, Serm., 43; H. Alford, Serm., 3, 309; J. J. Blunt, Plain Serm., 56; W. Gresley, Parochial Serm., 365; C. E. Kennaway, Serm. at Brighton, 1, 222; Bishop W. Nicholson, On the Apostles’ Creed, 99; J. Cameron, Opera, 536; J. Wallis, Serm., 153; E. Beeston, Serm., 375; J. Evans, Disc., 1, 350; J. Wesley, Serm., Works, 5, 98; B. Beddome, Short Disc., 8, 151; S. E. Pierce, Essay, &c., 149; C. Simeon, Works, 15, 276; J. H. Stewart, Serm., 189; G. T. Noel, Serm., 2, 471; W. Muir, On the Holy Spirit, 144; T. Ainger, Parochial Serm., 134; C. Neat, Disc., 239.
[Homiletical Literature on the Witness of the Spirit.—J. Donne, Works, 2, 42; I. Watts, Evang. Disc., Works, 2, 292, 302; P. Doddridge, Serm., 2, 378; 3, 1; Archbishop J. Sharp, Works, 5, 1; W. Stephens, Serm., 1, 287; Bishop Sherlock, Disc., Works, 1, 153; Archbishop Secker, Serm., 7, 221; T. Randolph, The Witness of the Spirit (1768); A View, &c., 2, 223; J. Wesley, Serm., Works, 5, 111; J. Dickinson, Sermons and Tracts; W. Hey, Tracis, 487; C. Simeon, Works, 15, 283; W. L. Bowles, Paulus, &c., 103; Bishop Philpotts, Orig. Fam. Serm., 2, 237; E. Cooper, Pract. Serm., 7, 380; C. W. Le Bas, Serm., 3, 89; S. Clarke, Serm., 2, 73; Forty Sermons, 205; J. Penn, Serm., 2, 125.—Homiletical Literature on the Groaning and Travail of Creation.—N. Homes, Resurrection Revealed, Raised above Doubts; C. E. Kennaway, Serm. at Brighton, 2, 34; J. H. Gurney, Serm., 173; J. H. B. Mountain, Serm., 95; A. Leger, Nouveaux Serm., 2, 168; H. Grove, Posth. Works, 2, 109; J. Wesley, Serm., Works, 6, 241; R. Balmer, Lect., 2, 507; H. Stowell, Serm. (1845); J. Cumming, Voices of the Night, 131; J. C. Dannhawerus, Crit. Sac. Theo., 2, 503; E. W. Goulburn, Bampton Lect., 269; A. Horneck, Serm. (1677); A. Townson, Disc., 224; F. H. Hutton, Serm., 306; W. Vickers, Serm., 233; J. Slade, Plain Serm., 7, 76; H. Hughes, Serm., 107; W. Cadman, Bloomsbury Lect., 10, 31; W. Fenner, Works, 1, 295; T. Boston, Works, 9, 263, 286; W. Cruden, Serm.; J. Martin, Remains; J. Garbett, Serm., 2, 187; Bishop Wilberforce, Serm. on Sev. Occ., 1; W. Richardson, Serm., 2, 146; T. Arnold, Serm., 1, 139; C. Marriott, Serm., 1, 179; R. Montgomery, God and Man, 311; E. B. Pusey, Serm., 2, 304.—J. F. H.]
Romans 8:2; Romans 8:2.—[The weighty MSS., א. B. F. G., and some fathers, read σε; but this might readily be repeated from the preceding syllable, -σεν. A. C. D. K. L., most versions, give με, now generally adopted. There is slight authority for ημᾶς. Freed me, is literal, and to be preferred to hath made me free, set me free. It refers to a definite past act (aorist).
Romans 8:4; Romans 8:4.—[The E. V. uses righteousness, very indefinitely, to translate several words of kindred meaning. Here it is obviously incorrect, as δικαίωμα means, literally, a righteous decree, ordinance, statute, act (see pp. 74, 184); and in this case refers to the summing up of all the requirements of the law, as fulfilled by Christ. Lange: Gerechtsein, requirement, is not strictly exact, but is adopted by Alford, Amer. Bible Union. Version of five English clergymen: righteous demand. See Exeg. Notes.
Romans 8:4; Romans 8:4.—[According to, is the phrase which now best expresses the meaning of κατά, though after (German, nach) is literal. It is becoming unusual in this sense.
Romans 8:6; Romans 8:6.—[The E. V., with its usual fondness for hendiadys, has departed from a literal rendering in Romans 8:6-7, at the expense of both accuracy and force.
Romans 8:6; Romans 8:6.—[Is not subject (E. V.), is correct, but the above emendation brings out the middle force of ὑποτάσσεται.
Romans 8:8; Romans 8:8.—[So then, is a gloss, rather than a translation. It is a difficult matter to reproduce all the delicate shades of antithetical force expressed by the frequently recurring δέ. Some alterations in the verses immediately succeeding have been made with this in view.
Romans 8:9; Romans 8:9.—[Have is conditional, but hath is preferable, as intimating more decidedly that the state of things really exists. For the same reason, dwelleth is preferable to dwell, in Romans 8:11.
Romans 8:11; Romans 8:11.—[The better supported reading is Ἰησοῦν; the article is inserted in some MSS., as also before Χριστόν. There is also the usual number of variations, so common when these words occur in the text.
Romans 8:11; Romans 8:11.—[Will, to express the simple future in the third person. The E. V. seems to prefer shall in such cases, and, indeed, some still defend it. The usage of the present time is undoubtedly against it.
Romans 8:11; Romans 8:11.—[Here two readings present themselves, supported by authorities of equal weight. The genitive: διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦν τοῦ πνεύματος is found in Rec., א. A. C., many versions and fathers, as is adopted by Lachmann, De Wette, Krehl. The accusative: διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα, is supported by B. D. E. F. K. L., many cursives and fathers, by Griesbach, Scholz, Fritzsche, Mill, Bengel, Tischendorf (in later editions), Meyer (who cites Lachmann also in its favor), Tholuck, Rückert, Alford, Wordsworth, Tregelles, Lange. It will be seen that a majority of critical editors adopt the latter reading. The reasons which have determined this decision seem to be, that two such readings could not have existed without one being a premeditated corruption. The question then arises, Which reading would best serve a polemic purpose, and hence be most likely to have been the corrupted one? That question is answered by the controversy between the Macedonians and Orthodox (latter part of the fourth century) respecting the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Macedonians charged the Orthodox with an alteration of the text into the genitive. The genitive can only mean, by means of His Spirit, &c.; while the accusative may include that idea of agency in connection with the thought, on account of His Spirit, &c. It is plain that the Macedonians had less motive to alter the text than the Orthodox. Alford thinks the variation dates back of this controversy, and is not due to either of the then disputant parties; but the same reason would hold good at a previous point of theological discussion. Lange well remarks, that, in any case, “the raising act of God is distinguished in this verse from the working of the Spirit.” Hodge sums up the internal evidence in favor of the common reading; but all his remarks only prove that the other is a more unusual reading, and hence likely to have been altered. It is better to follow the current of criticism, and adopt the accusative.
Romans 8:13; Romans 8:13.—[The simple dative πνεύματι is best rendered, by the Spirit. Through should be reserved as a translation of διά.
Romans 8:13; Romans 8:13.—[D. E. F. G., many fathers, have τοῦ σάρκος; but τοῦ σώματος is supported by א. A. B. C. K. L., and nearly all modem editors. The former was probably a correction, arising out of a misunderstanding of the passage.
Romans 8:14; Romans 8:14.—[Rec., K. L., have εἰσιν υἱοὶ θεοῦ; א. A. C. D., υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσιν; B. F. G., υἱοί εἰσινθεοῦ. The last reading is adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Tregelles. It is supported by the majority of the fathers, and the variations are more readily accounted for on the supposition that it is the original reading; εἰσιν, if once passed over, would be inserted at the beginning or end (Meyer).
Romans 8:15; Romans 8:15.—[The aorist ἐλάβετε refers to a definite past time; hence, did not receive, received.
Romans 8:16; Romans 8:16.—[See Exeg. Notes.
Romans 8:17; Romans 8:17.—[With him, is as proper here as in the preceding clause. See Exeg. Notes.—R.]
[It seems doubtful whether Dr. Lange means the Holy Spirit here; but as he certainly insists that the Holy Spirit is the agent producing this life, it is better to indicate it by printing this word with a capital letter.—R.]
[Alford thus heads the section: “Although the flesh is still subject to the law of sin, the Christian, serving not the flesh, but walking according to the Spirit, shall not come into condemnation, but to glory with Christ.” Hodge, making the theme of the Apostle “the security of believers,” gives the first verse a wide reference, both present and future, and considers the whole chapter a series of proofs of this proposition.—R.]
[Dr. John Brown renders γάρ, moreover, or would connect it with the thanksgiving in Romans 8:25. He refers this verse to sanctification, and Romans 8:1 to justification; hence would avoid making the former the ground of the latter.—R.]
[The absence of the article is not decisive against this connection, though it favors more the connection with ζωῆς. Still, the parallelism strongly supports that view which joins it with the verb.—R.]
[Law is here to be taken in the wide sense as = norm, principle, ruling power (comp. Romans 3:27; Romans 7:21-23).—P. S.]
[Dr. Hodge, following Witsius, takes the law of the spirit of life as = the gospel. His objections to the other views arise mainly from a too exclusive reference of Romans 8:1 to the forensic idea of justification. It certainly confuses anew the meaning of the word law, to adopt this interpretation. Even should it mean gospel, it must mean the gospel in its life-giving aspect, as wrought by the Spirit; or Paul would not have chosen such terms. If in Christ Jesus be joined with freed, then the reference to the objective ground of justification is implied in the statement of our subjective possession of it in Christ Jesus. (See Lange, above.) Agreeing with Calvin, in the main, we interpret: “The power of the life-giving Spirit delivered me in Christ Jesus (in virtue of union to Him the fulfiller of the law and the deliverer from the law) from the law of sin and death.”—R.]
[Alford paraphrases: all claim of sin on him is at an end—he is acquitted; but, as he admits, “we are on higher ground now.”—R.]
[The simplest explanation is that of Meyer and Philippi: “God condemned sin in the flesh—a thing which was impossible on the side of the law.” This takes it as nominative absolute, passing judgment in advance on what God did, so as to give prominence to the inability of the law, as well as a reason why God did it. On the grammatical objections to taking it as accusative absolute, see Meyer. Ἀδύνατον may be either active, = ἡ , or passive, = what was impossible. Tholuck urges the genitive in favor of the former, while Meyer contends that usage supports the latter.—R.]
[Wordsworth finds in our phrase an argument against the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.—R.]
[This interpretation, adopted by Hodge and Stuart, is rejected by every German commentator of note, even by Philippi and Alford. The passages in the New Testament (Hebrews 10:6; Hebrews 10:8; Hebrews 10:18; Hebrews 13:11; Galatians 1:4) which seem to favor it, all contain a distinct reference to sacrifices, independently of περὶ ἁμαρ. In Galatians 1:4 (see in loco p. 13), the “gave himself” introduces the same thought. The wider meaning, of course, implies such an expiation; but it is not brought prominently forward in this expression. (Philippi: um die Sünde sühnend zu tilgend; to which Meyer unnecessarily objects, since his own view includes this.)—R.]
[See Philippi’s view below. Hodge is decided in his preference for this interpretation, regarding all others as arbitrary, and contrary to the context.—R.]
[So Alford, Schaff. Stuart makes this antithesis with Romans 8:1 : “There is now no κατάκριμα for Christians; but there is a κατάκριμα of their carnal appetites and desires.” This he justifies by finding here “a paranomasial use of words;” but this mode of interpretation is of doubtful propriety.—R.]
[So Wordsworth, Webster and Wilkinson, Forbes. This view is, indeed, open to the charge of indefiniteness; but as the clause sets forth both what the law could not do, and what God did do in sending Jesus Christ, there can be little objection to a wide manning here, provided Romans 8:4 be applied definitely to the work of sanctification. Dr. Lange himself in the next paragraph reaches the same point.—R.]
[Wordsworth: “Sin had tyrannized over us in our flesh, as the seat of its empire; and by our flesh, as its instrument and weapon. But God used our flesh as an instrument for our deliverance, and for the condemnation of sin, and for the establishment of his own empire in us.”—R.]
[This seems doubtful. It is true that this is a condition of the final fulfilment, a condition which implies the Divine Spiritual power as its cause; but this is not the idea which is prominent here. The method is now introduced, so as to point out, in what follows, the difference between the workings of the law of the Spirit of life, and the law of sin and death, which find their corresponding expressions in the phrases: according to the Spirit, according to the flesh.—R.]
[It were better to say that it is the same idea under a different aspect. In Romans 8:4, with reference to the outward life; here, with reference to the actual state.—R.]
[In 4th ed., Meyer agrees with Tholuck, taking this second γάρ as explicative, according to classical usage. So Rückert, Stuart, Hodge. (De Wette, Alford, follow the view attributed to Meyer above.) The contrast, already indicated in Romans 8:4, is continued here.—R.]
[Φρόνημα (Lange: Gesinnung; Bengel: sentiment, in the French) means the disposition, which manifests itself in the Φρονεῖν (Romans 8:5). The E. V. is therefore correct in thought, though not in form.—R.]
[Meyer, who, as usual, limits “death” to eternal death, must define “life” in the same way. Life is the direct antithesis to death; but a subjective characteristic is added, as Bengel suggests, to prepare the way for the following description of enmity.—R.]
[It is easy to construct this inference: The mind of the flesh = death; because the mind of the flesh = enmity against God: therefore, enmity against God = death.—R.]
[For fuller discussions, see Tholuck, Meyer, and De Wette in loco.—R.]
[Accepting δικ. as implanted righteousness, we paraphrase as follows: But if Christ be in you, (though) your body indeed is dead (having in it the seeds of death, and about to die) on account of sin (whose effects are not yet totally removed), but your spirit (permeated by the Holy Spirit) is life (already and to be yet more truly so) on account of righteousness (implanted in you by the Holy Spirit, in virtue of your union to Christ).—R.]
[As Alford suggests: non solum de ultima resurrectione, would be more correct. For a very full discussion, both of the textual variations and the exegetical opinions, see Meyer in loco. He defends the exclusive reference to the resurrection of the body.—R.]
[Stuart follows Winer, p. 306, in governing the genitive by ὀφειλέται (so Fritzsche). This is harsh, and most commentators take the genitive as that of design or result, according to a very common usage.—R.]
[The most comprehensive idea of death seems to be demanded by the context. Granting that the antithesis is ζωῄ (Romans 8:10), the present and spiritual reference is still required. Romans 8:6 forms the best guide to the meaning of the terms here (so Tholuck).—R.]
[The New Testament uses the word generally in malam partem; and so here, whether in a more or less restricted sense. It does not refer to the definite acts so strictly as ἔργα, but includes the general conduct, &c. (Philippi).—R.]
[Dr. Lange does not seem to determine definitely in favor of either view. But his objection here is based on the assumption that our spirit is = self-consciousness. Is there not in Christians, during this time of witness-bearing, such a division still remaining, as to justify the interpretation which accepts a twofold witness? The witness is to the man as self-conscious, needing such testimony and borne both by the Holy Spirit, and the renewed nature, over against the remaining sinful nature. With our view of Romans 8:15, it is necessary that a new witness of this kind be introduced here. Philippi accepts the twofold witnessing here, claiming, however, that the other sense is possible only in case the reference in Romans 8:15 be to a filial spirit.—R.]
[On the witness of the Spirit, see Doctr. Note13, and the works referred to in the list of Homiletical Literature on this section.—R.]
[In Galatians, polemic necessity occasions a fuller and somewhat modified statement of this idea; see Lange’s Comm. in loco.—R.]
[The Jewish law gave a double portion to the eldest son; the Roman law made all children (adopted ones also) equal. (So the Attic law.) The point of this controversy about the reference to Jewish or Roman law of inheritance, is, that the former presents believers as heritors, sharing through the grace of Christ, the chief Heir, the latter, in in virtue of their sonship. Philippi calls the latter “profane, far-fetched, incongruous.” Meyer and Tholuck think it appropriate in an Epistle to the Romans, and say that the only legal basis for the illustration is the Roman law. On the other hand, the genitive Χριστοῦ, where the dative might properly be used, may be urged in favor of the other view. In any case, the right of the adopted children is through the mediation of Christ. The context points to fellowship with him, so that heirship in him is an appropriate thought. Schmoller (Galatians, p. 98) deems the whole controversy pedantic—R.]
[In Colossians 1:24, such sufferings are termed “the afflictions of Christ;” so intimate is the fellowship of Christ and his body, the Church. See also Hebrews 2:10.—R.]
Romans 8:18; Romans 8:18.—[It is difficult to render εἰς ἡμᾶς literally. In us (E. V.) implies that we are the subjects of the revelation, and this is the main thought. Alford renders: with regard to us; Lange: auf und an uns.
Romans 8:19; Romans 8:19.—[ Κτίσις occurs four times in Romans 8:19-22, with the same meaning. In Romans 8:22 it is best to render it creation, and in the other cases it should conform. Lange: die Kreatürliche Welt, Kreatur-Welt. On the various limitations of meaning, see Exeg. Notes.
Romans 8:20; Romans 8:20.—[Lange renders ὑποτάγη, unterwarf sich, adopting the middle sense; but as this sense is doubtful, the English text has not been altered.
Romans 8:20; Romans 8:20.—[In hope is not to be joined with what immediately precedes, hence a comma must be inserted. Griesbach and Knapp make οὐκ. . . ὑποτάξαντα parenthetical, but without sufficient reason. Amer. Bible Union also makes a parenthetical clause: but by reason of him who made it subject; yet this only seems to add confusion. See the next note.
Romans 8:20.—[Lange puts a full stop after hope. Meyer, and many others, a comma, connecting the next verse: that the creation, &c. (the purport of the hope). Forbes gives the parallelism thus:
19. a. Ἠγὰρ
b. τὴν ,
20. τῇ γὰρ ματαιότητι ἡ κτίσις ὑποτάγη,
ουκ ἑκοῦσα ,
21. a. ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ὅτι καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις ἐλευθερθήσεται
b. εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης τῶν τέκνων τοῦ θεοῦ.
19. a. For the earnest expectation of the creation
b. Is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God,
20. For the creation was made subject to vanity,
Not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it,
21. a. In hope, that the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption,
b. Into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
This makes the whole of Romans 8:20, except in hope, parenthetical, and connects Romans 8:21 with that phrase, as giving the purport of the hope. On this last view, Forbes does not insist, however. In hope is thus made to refer to both lines of the parenthesis, yet with a main reference to ἀπεκδέχεται, is waiting. The two lines of Romans 8:19 find their parallels in Romans 8:21, while a. a. refer to the expectation or hope that animates creation; b. b. to the final consummation to which it points. At the beginning of Romans 8:21, Lange reads denn, Alford, because, but Tholuck, Phillippi, Meyer, Amer. Bible Union, Noyes, five Anglican clergymen, &c., favor that, introducing the purport of the hope.
Romans 8:23; Romans 8:23.—[So, or this should be supplied; the meaning is: Not only it this so. The E. V. is therefore inexact. The latest revisions adopt so.
Romans 8:23; Romans 8:23.—[There is considerable variation in the text here, not affecting the sense, however. B. reads κα ὶαὐτοὶ τὴν ; adopted by Tischendorf, Meyer, Lange, Tregelles. The Rec. inserts ἡμεῖς after the second καί; א. A. C, Lachmann, Alford before it, so Tregelles, in brackets; while D. F. G., Fritzsche insert the same after the first καί. The original reading was probably that of B.; ἡμεῖς being inserted as an explanatory gloss, hence the variation in position (Meyer). As καί αὐτοί is repeated, it is better to render even we ourselves in both cases.
Romans 8:23; Romans 8:23.—[D. F. G. omit υἱοθεσίαν, which is strongly attested, however. The omission may have arisen from the thought that the word meant something already possessed, and hence was inappropriate here.
Romans 8:24; Romans 8:24—[The dative, τῇ ἐλπίδι, is not instrumental. Now is the better rendering of the logical δέ, which follows.
Romans 8:24; Romans 8:24.—[ א. A. C. K. L., read τί καί (Rec., Meyer, Wordsworth, Lange); B. D. F. omit καί (Lachmann, Alford. Tregelles). The latter reading gives the sense: Why doth he hope (at all)? the former, which is preferable: Why doth he still hope for? καί = etiam.
Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26.—[Instead of ταῖ ς. ἀσθενείαις (Rec., K. L.), which was probably a marginal gloss, א. A. B. C. D., most cursives, versions, and fathers, read τῇ ; adopted by most editors.
Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26.—[ א. A. B. C., Lachmann, Alford, Wordsworth, Tregelles, read προσευξώμεθα (aorist); D. K. L., Griesbach, Tischendorf, προσευξ ό μεθα. Both are grammatical, either may have been original; but the former is slightly better attested.
Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26.—[Ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (Rec. א3. C. K. L.) is omitted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Lange, Tregelles, on the authority of א1. A. B. D. F. G. Probably added for closer definition.
Romans 8:28; Romans 8:28.—[א. A. B. insert ὸ θεός (as subject) after συνεργεῖ. It is omitted in C. D. F. K. L., and rejected by most editors. The seeming necessity of some such subject led to its insertion, which was rendered easier by the presence of θεόν (immediately before). Lachmann, who retains it, inserts τὸ before ἀγαθόν, on insufficient authority.
Romans 8:33; Romans 8:33.—[In Romans 8:33-35, Lange adopts the punctuation followed in the E. V., except in this trifling particular. Very many, however, place an interrogation point after each clause. (See Alford, who incorrectly quotes Meyer as favoring this view.) Tischendorf and Meyer place a colon after δικαιῶν, and also after ὑπὲρ η̇͂ μῶν (Romans 8:34). Tregelles a comma after the former, a colon after the latter. The relation of the clauses, which involves the punctuation, is discussed in the Exeg. Notes.
Romans 8:34; Romans 8:34.—[After Χριστός, א. A. C. F. L. insert Ἰησούς (adopted by Lange). It is omitted in B. D. Κ., by Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles, and most editors. Hence the rendering of Lange (bracketed in the text) is doubly doubtful: first, on account of the dubious reading; second, as a somewhat forced exegesis. See Exeg. Notes.
Romans 8:34; Romans 8:34.—[Μᾶλλον δὲ καί (Rec.) is supported by D. F. K. L.; καί is omitted in א. A. B. C. (by Lachmann, Tregelles, bracketted by Alford), but, as Meyer suggests, was easily overlooked between δΕ and Εγ.
Romans 8:37; Romans 8:37.—[Instead of the well-supported τοῦ ἁγαπήσαντος, D. E. F. G., and many Latin fathers, read: τὸνἀγαπήσαντα; objectionable on both critical and exegetical grounds.
Romans 8:38; Romans 8:38.—[The order in א. A. B. C. D. F. is οὕ τεένεσ τῶτα, οὔ τεμέλλοντα, οὔ τεδυνάμεις; adopted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles, and critical editors generally. The Recepta puts οὔ τεδυνάμεις first (K. L., some versions). This may readily be accounted for; δύναμις is associated with ἅγγελοι or ἀρχή in Ephesians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Peter 3:22, hence the seeming necessity for a closer connection here. In Colossians 2:15, δυνάμεις is omitted, but in all the passages cited, ἐξουσία is found; hence we find it as a variation here, but very slightly attested.
Romans 8:39; Romans 8:39—[Τὶςκτίσις cannot, of course, mean creation here.—R.]
On the controversy between the Protestant and Catholic theologians in regard to the meritum condigni, as connected with this passage, see Tholuck, p. 421. [Comp. Philippi on both meritum condigni and meritum congrui. Also Calvin. As Dr. Hodge remarks, the idea of merit “is altogether foreign to the context.”—R.]
[The primary reference seems to be to its greatness; but a secondary reference to its certainty and futurity would necessarily be implied in “the patient expectation.”—R.]
[The English word creation has precisely the same twofold sense; but it always has a general reference when used in the passive sense. Κτίσις undoubtedly has a more special reference in many cases, but it would seem that the more general signification preceded the more special one, and hence that the limitation of meaning must always be derived from the context.—R.]
[This is the view adopted and defended at some length by Professor Stuart in an Excursus on this verse. Notwithstanding his able argument, the interpretation is entirely too restricted to meet with general acceptance. An instinct of immortality is assumed, and pressed as the main thought. Comp. Hodge, in opposition to Stuart’s view—R.]
[The reasons for excluding man are: 1. Believers are distinguished here from the κτίσις (Romans 8:23). 2. Such an expectation does not exist in mankind as a whole. 3.Romans 8:20; Romans 8:20 represents the subjection to vanity as unwilling, which is not true of man. 4.Romans 8:21; Romans 8:21 implies that deliverance shall take place, and we have no evidence that this is true of humanity as a whole. If Romans 8:21 gives the purport of the “hope” (Romans 8:20), then this reason is of little weight.—R.]
[Comp. the analogous Old Testament expressions: Deuteronomy 32:1; Job 12:7; Job 12:9; Psalms 19:2; Psalms 68:17; Psalms 98:8; Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 55:12; Isaiah 65:17; Ezekiel 31:15; Habakkuk 2:11. Also Revelation 21:0; 2 Peter 3:13; Acts 3:21.—R.]
[The reference to this event is undoubted. It is a new expression of the deep-seated consciousness of fellowship with Christ, which leads the Apostle to call this “the revelation of the sons of God,” not of the Son of God. It should be remarked, that our Lord calls it the coming of the Son of Man. The event is throughout regarded in a strictly soteriological aspect.—R.]
[The difference between 2 and 3 is slight. Both point to an actual curse at the fall; the latter only adds the thought, that the previous condition was not, after all, the final one, thus preparing the way for an explanation of “not willingly.” Both should, it seems, include the thought that the glorification to ensue will transcend both the original state and that which could be attained by a normal development.—R.]
[The objection to this reference is well stated by Alford: (1) The verb implies a conscious act of intentional subjugation. (2) The accusative (indicating the moving, rather than the efficient cause) is in keeping with the Apostle’s reverence; thus removing the supreme will of God to a wider distance from corruption and vanity. Meyer suggests that the absence of any explanatory cause presupposes a well-known subject; God had subjected it. Jowett makes Christ the subject: “on account of whose special work the creature was made subject to vanity.” This is novel, so, much so, that it seems far-fetched.—R.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Romans 8". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26