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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Romans 8

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-16

Sanctification in the Holy Spirit- In Romans 8:1-16 Paul reveals the secret to walking in the liberty of Christ Jesus, which is found as we learn to be led by the Holy Spirit. We learn from this passage that as we are led by the Holy Spirit we are led into the process of sanctification.

The Five Sense Gates- In 1967 the Lord gave Kenneth Copeland some insight into this passage in Romans. The Lord explained to him that the flesh in this passage refers to the five physical sense gates of our body. The five physical sense gates of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting is the method by which all information in the natural world is gathered into our minds. This is the way that man gathers information. The Lord also said to him that when you see the word "flesh" in this passage, substitute the phrase "five senses" and when you see the word "spirit" in this passage, substitute it with the phrase "Word of God." Thus, Romans 8:1 would read, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the "five senses," but after the "Word of God." Kenneth Copeland quotes the Spirit of God as saying to him:

"The way of most people is to go along day after day hoping nothing bad happens that they cannot handle. Then, when it does, they try to change things in a few moments of prayer and tears, not realizing that they actually caused what happened by putting certain spiritual laws into motion. Years of exercising the law of sin and death will produce the curse in one's life. Meditation continually on the lies of the devil (which is called worry) will build doubt and unbelief in one's spirit until it overflows in abundance into the mouth. Then, it is released in words of fear. Then, those words are acted upon. Acting upon words of fear brings worry to pass."

Kenneth Copeland inserts the comment that what a person has worried about would eventually come to pass. He goes back to quoting the Spirit of God as saying:

"Don't wait, start now, build a new future by exercising the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus with words of faith, love, joy and peace, producing thereby acts of faith, acts of love, acts of joy and a continual hope, expecting God's favor and His very best all the time.

Kenneth Copeland went on to say that the Law of the Spirit of Life is based upon three actions that we do: faith, courage and prayer. All three of these actions are based upon the Word of God. In contrast, the law of sin and death is based upon three opposite acts; fear, confusion and pressure. Fear can be defined as false evidence that appears real (which is what the five sense gates tell us). Confusion can be defined as darkness that protects fear from the light of God's Word. Pressure can be defined as the lust or drive to act upon the fear that is based is selfishness and strife. (Remember that the Scriptures say that where there is strife, there is fear and every evil work [ James 3:16].)

James 3:16, "For where envying and strife Isaiah , there is confusion and every evil work."

Copeland quotes Proverbs 14:12 as an example of a person who walks by his five senses.

Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a Prayer of Manasseh , but the end thereof are the ways of death."

In other words, living by the senses of the flesh is to be walking by the law of sin and death. This will bring a person to destruction. 173]

173] Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 3March 2003.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:1"There is therefore now no condemnation" - Comments- BDAG says that the Greek word κατάκριμα does not refer to the sentence of doom declared upon all those who are found guilty, but rather, the punishment itself. This means that the word κατάκριμα refers to the condemnation that passed upon Jesus Christ while on the Cross to pay for the sins of all of mankind. The opposite of justification is condemnation. For example, a judge says either guilty or innocent, either condemned or set free. In Christ Jesus we have all been made free from our sins so that we are justified before God.

The Lord said to Kenneth Copeland, "When you came to me in sin, I did not see you as a no-good sinner. That is how you saw yourself. I saw you the way I planned for you to be before the foundation of the world. Many people have rejected what I planned for them and they allowed death to reign in their lives until hell." 174]

174] Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

When believers do not understand their right standing with God through Jesus Christ, they find themselves living in their old condemnation. Thus, this condemnation may also refer to the condemnation that believers feel when they walk in the flesh, which has just been discussed in Romans 7:7-25. See Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am!" This self-condemnation is also mentioned in 1 John 3:20-22, "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

Romans 8:1 — "to them which are in Christ Jesus" - Comments- This phrase summarizes all of the truths that Paul has been teaching about the believer's identification with Christ in the previous chapters. F. W. Grant calls this phrase the language of complete identification with Jesus. It refers to all believers, great and small. It sums up our crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and exaltation with Him in the Heavenlies. The phrase "In Christ Jesus," "in Him," and "in whom," are used many times throughout the epistles as a way of summarizing our total relationship with Him.

It is a position by which God the Father sees no fault or sin in us, a place where we find the unconditional love of God abounding in our lives. Paul is about to close this segment of teaching by asking if God be for us, who can be against us ( Romans 8:31), and who is it that condemneth ( Romans 8:34); for nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord ( Romans 8:35-39).

Romans 8:1 — "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" - Comments- The phrase "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" is not found in the oldest and more reliable ancient Greek manuscripts. The verse ends in the Greek text with phrase "to them which are in Christ Jesus." Thus, we find many modern English versions omitting this phrase.

ASV, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

Rotherham, "Hence there is now, no, condemnation unto them who are in Christ Jesus."

NIV, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

RSV, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Perhaps this phrase was added later as an editorial note because the copyist felt this Romans 8:1 a was too strong of a statement to be true if it stood alone. In other words, how could a child of God walk without condemnation when he still fell into sinful acts.

However, we find this same Greek text "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" a few verses later in Romans 8:4, as an accurate description of what it means to be "in Christ Jesus," as it stands in contrast to being "in the flesh." Those who walk in the flesh are believers who walk according to the reason of their five physical senses, rather than the witness of their inner spirit, as stated in Romans 8:5, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2Comments- We have been delivered from the law of sin and death through our identification with Jesus' death, burial and resurrection ( Romans 7:6, Colossians 1:13). The law of sin and death simply states that the wages of sin is death, or eternal damnation ( Romans 6:23). The Law brought condemnation upon its followers, daily reminding them of their sins, requiring them to count their sins and reconcile each one with the proper sacrificial offering before atonement was granted. In contrast, the Gospel brings freedom from all condemnation, simply because Jesus took upon Himself this penalty, setting us free from all condemnation and judgment. Those who live in the kingdom of His dear Son live under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, because the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord ( Romans 6:23). This condemnation no longer applies to those children of God who are in Jesus Christ, and washed from their sins by His blood. Therefore, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." ( Romans 8:1)

Romans 7:6, "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."

Colossians 1:13, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"

Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The power of darkness ( Colossians 1:13) is descriptive of what holds mankind in sin, and living under the law of sin and death, since these people are bound by the elements of this world so that they cannot serve the Lord. If a person who has now been translated into the kingdom of God continues to walk and talk like someone who is under the power of darkness, then the laws of sin and death will continue to operate in his life. In order for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus to operate in his life, he must behave like a child of God is supposed to behave in the Kingdom of God. He must replace doubt and unbelief with faith in the Word of God. He must learn to speak the Word of God and be obedient to the Spirit of God.

When we, as believers, walk by the laws of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we are no longer bound by the laws of sin and death, and the powers of the darkness of this world. For example, the law of gravity is powerful and it never ceases to operate. However, there is a greater law than gravity, and these are the laws of aerodynamics. Therefore, the laws of aerodynamics can set us free from the law of gravity. This is clearly seen when we board an airplane and fly to another city. As long as we are in the airplane, the law of gravity has no power over our physical bodies. So we are free from it. But the moment we disembark, we are again subject to this law of gravity. In the same way, Paul is describing the battle that every believer faces as he struggles to walk daily in the law of the Spirit. If he ceases to operate within that law, he again becomes entangled and subjected to the law of sin and death. In ourselves, we have no ability to fly. The moment we are inside the airplane, we are set free from gravity and enjoy the freedom of flying. It is not always easy to walk in the law of the Spirit. For if it were easy, then there would be no struggle as Paul describes in chapter 7.

In addition, we may experience turbulence while flying high in an airplane, while the law of gravity fights against the laws of aerodynamics. We know that as long as we stay inside the airplane and follow its rules, the laws of aerodynamics will overcome the law of gravity. We will have to follow the pilot's instructions by sitting down and buckling our seatbelts, but we will overcome.

We may feel very unspiritual while struggling against the law of sin and death, just as we are uncomfortable while flying in turbulence. A person on the ground may be looking up in the air while we are in turbulence and say, "My, how wonderful it must be for those people to be flying so high in the sky." They only see our height, not our struggle. When Moses came down off of the mountain, he had a struggle with his anger, but the children of Israel were seeing the glory of God on his countenance. We should not become discouraged in the midst of our efforts to learn how to walk and live in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:3"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh" - Comments- The Law was weak in the sense it failed to save mankind from sin and bring him into a right standing with God. Mankind was bound by sin because of his sinful flesh. Hebrews 7:19 says that the Law made nothing perfect. The thing the Law could not do was to make the hearers perfect. The Law could not give life ( Galatians 3:21). Thus, the Scriptures read, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." ( Romans 3:23)

Hebrews 7:19, "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."

Galatians 3:21, "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law."

Romans 8:3"God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" - Comments- Thayer interprets of the phase "condemned sin in the flesh" to say that through Jesus, "God deprived sin…of its power in human nature…, broke its death sway…" (see κατακρίνω)

Jesus Christ did not have "sinful flesh," which refers to a "sin nature" because He was born of the seed of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, His physical birth from the womb of Mary gave Him the appearance of sinful man.

Jesus came to show us a sinless life in the flesh and to let us know that sin in the flesh is evil ( John 1522). It results in condemnation, or being guilty of eternal punishment. Jesus' death on Calvary served as God's judgment for all of mankind, so that it "judged sin in the flesh." This judgment upon Jesus Christ allowed the righteousness of the Law to be imparted upon us. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit now allows us to be led by the Spirit in order to overcome our fleshly passions and serve the Lord.

John 15:22, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:4"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" - Comments- Jesus came to earth in the form of a man and fulfilled the Law in order that the justification, which came by the Law, might be fulfilled in us through faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:4Comments- During the dispensation of the Law prior to Pentecost, man tried to live according to the Law, with the Adamic nature of sinful flesh. Man was without the new creation of his spirit driving him to serve God. He could still renew the mind and think righteously, but the Law showed man's sinful ways on the inner man. Now, with Christ in us, we live under the leadership of God's Spirit within us, so that we strive to bring our soul and body in the love walk towards God and man. In order to fulfill "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" ( Romans 8:2), we must walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. The fulfillment of the Law is the love walk ( Galatians 5:14, James 2:8). Jesus Christ walked in perfect love and obedience to the Father.

Galatians 5:14, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

James 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5Comments - The person who lives his life by following his five sense gates (hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching) will live by his fleshly compulsions, as described in Galatians 5:19-21. The person who learns to be led by the inner witness of his heart will follow after the ways of God as described in Galatians 5:22-23. Paul addresses this fact when writing to the Galatians saying, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." ( Galatians 5:16 )

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 — "For to be carnally minded is death" - Comments- Andrew Wommack says the phrase "carnally minded" does not necessarily mean "sinful" minded. Rather, it means that a person is allowing his mind to be dominated by his five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, touching and tasting. Carnal minded is allowing one's thoughts to focus upon the physical, natural realm rather than the spiritual realm in which our spirit lives. 175] The word "death" in this context means more than physical death. It can be broadly defined as sickness, poverty, depression, as well as physical death and eternal separation from God.

175] Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul & Body (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Andrew Wommack Ministries, Inc, 2005), 21.

Romans 8:6"but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" - Comments- To be spiritually minded we must abide in Jesus and set our affections on things above. When we set our minds on God, peace rules our hearts. For example, Bertha Smith tells of her missionary experiences in China during World War II. While the Japanese bombers flew overhead, she turned it over to the Lord and continued her quiet-time, even forgetting those planes. 176]

176] Bertha Smith, Go Home and Tell (Nashville, Tennessee: Baptist Sunday School Board, 1964), 85.

A Christian who is living contrary to the leadership of his spirit has no peace in his spirit.

Romans 8:6Comments- The carnal mindset puts someone on a course of destruction while the spiritual minded person sets himself on a course of blessings and peace. Many of the problems that we encounter in life today are the results of the way we thought yesterday. We are simply receiving the harvest of what we have sown ( James 1:14-15).

James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:8Comments- Those who walk in flesh cannot walk by faith ( Hebrews 11:6).

Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he Isaiah , and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Romans 8:9 But 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 not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:10 Scripture Reference- Note:

Romans 6:11, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:11 — "shall also quicken your mortal bodies" - Comments- Is this a reference to the first resurrection from the dead to a glorified body or does it refer to the born-again experience when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us for the first time? I believe that it is a reference to both.

If it is a reference to our mortal life here on earth as children of God, then what will the quickening of our mortal bodies by His Spirit produce except healing and a life of physical health. For this is how the divine manifests in the physical.

Paul became a living example of this.

2 Corinthians 4:11, "For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus" sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."

In the midst of his constant perils, persecutions and sufferings, his life became a constant miracle, a testimony of God's all sufficiency. Paul's body suffered abuse in order that the healing, sustaining, resurrection power of God might be made manifest to all.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:14Comments - In Romans 8:14 Paul uses the phrase "sons of God" for the first time in this epistle. He began this epistle discussing the depravity of mankind and God's standard of justification, as seen in the life of Abraham. He has been building up to this divine revelation of the believer's sonship in Christ Jesus through the course of this epistle..

Scripture References- See:

John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 — "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear" - Comments- It is fear that brings man into bondage ( Hebrews 2:14-15).

Hebrews 2:14-15, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that Isaiah , the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

Romans 8:15"the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" - Word Study on "Abba Father" - Paul is translating the Hebrew word "Abba" for a Gentile audience, so he uses the more familiar term "father." F. F. Bruce tells us that this is an Aramaic word that has come to be used even today when a Hebrew-speaking son addresses his father. However, the Jews in Jesus' day reserved this affectionate word strictly for family members. They used the more formal "Abi" (my father) or "Abinu" (our Father) instead. 177] Jesus was not following the customs of His day by addressing the Heavenly Father so affectionately. Paul followed this example of affection for God by addressing Him with the same words.

177] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 56.

Mark 14:36, "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Galatians 4:6, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

Comment - We have been adopted as sons. Therefore, God is our Father, so we call Him "Father." I lay in bed one night (July 21, 2002) after reading portions from Frances J. Roberts' book Come Away My Beloved. This book is about learning how to walk in an intimacy with God that is beyond the average Christian walk. As I lay down, I heard my little two-year old child's voice say, "Daddy." Her voice will instantly bring a reply from me. No other voice will move me to respond as quickly as the cry of one of my children. Then, I realized that it was God telling me to cry out to him as my heavenly Father, so that He could become intimate with me; for this is his greatest desire, to spend time with His children. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Do not wait to feel more worthy, for no man is worthy of My blessings. My grace by passes all thy shortcomings, and I give to My children because they ask of Me and because I love them, and I do not love one more than another. I give most liberally to those who ask the most of Me. For I love to have thee depend upon Me. This is why the Spirit within thee crieth ‘Abba - Father'. As thy father I anticipate thy dependence upon Me. Thou mayest by maturity outgrow thy dependence upon human parentage, but as My child, ye shall never "outgrow" thy spiritual sonship, nor shall thyself come into this position of father in human relationship. Thou shalt then appreciate even more fully My feelings toward thee. For thou shalt know by thine own human experience the love of a father, and the desire to care for and provide, and ye shall know more fully how much I love thee, and how ready I am to help thee, and how available I am to counsel with thee and give thee My support." 178]

178] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 110.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:16Comments - A child of God naturally knows that he has fellowship with God because of the activity of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. Jesus corrected the Pharisees regarding their belief that they were God's children because they descended from the seed of Abraham ( Matthew 3:9, John 8:39).

Matthew 3:9, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

John 8:39, "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham"s children, ye would do the works of Abraham."


Verses 17-28

The Fulfillment of our Justification Comes when We are Glorified by Divine Election: Glorification - Romans 8:17-28 deals with the topic of the redemption, or glorification, of the Church. The final stage of man's justification takes place at the time of our redemption from our mortal bodies ( Romans 8:23). This event is called glorification. Paul then launches into the lengthiest discussion of the doctrine of divine election found in the Holy Scriptures. He first explains that our struggles in sanctification will bring us into God's divine glory, for which we were divinely elected to share with Him because of His great love for us ( Romans 8:17-28).

Romans 8:23, "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:17 — "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" - Comments - We are God's children, and therefore heirs of His inheritance, and with our identification with Jesus Christ, we share in the first-born's inheritance.

Romans 8:17"if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" - Comments- Paul is about to list the ways that we suffer with Him in Romans 8:35 of this chapter.

Romans 8:35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

Notice that sickness is not listed in the ways that we are to suffer with Christ. He never suffered in sickness. Therefore, we are not able to co-suffer with Him in sickness because He never partook of it. We can only co-suffer with Christ in the ways that He suffered.

Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse.

1 Peter 4:13, "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ"s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

Romans 8:17Comments- Romans 8:1-16 has been telling us about the new life in the Spirit. If we are to walk in the Spirit, there are sufferings that we must partake of as Jesus Himself did.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18 — "For I reckon" - Comments- This kind of reckoning we do by faith in what God's Word tells us. We are asked to step away from carnal reasoning and embrace divine principles and revelations. Contrary to what we feel or what we understand or see, we now base our decisions and thought patterns upon the divine revelations of God's Word. Thus, we can clearly understand how the Pauline epistles take us through a process of indoctrination, transforming our minds to think as God thinks. In Romans 8:18, Paul weights the eternal and the temporal aspects of our life. He does this as a person who has been caught up into glory and looked into eternity ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-5). He has been given a glimpse of this eternal glory. Therefore, he was not guessing in this verse, but he was speaking from personal experience. However, he is asking us to "reckon" this divine truth as a fact.

Paul will use this word "reckon" nineteen times throughout the epistle of Romans ( Romans 2:3; Romans 2:26; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:3-6; Romans 4:8-11; Romans 4:22-24; Romans 6:11; Romans 8:18; Romans 8:36; Romans 9:8; Romans 14:14) since we learn to walk by faith and not by sight in order to work out our redemption in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18 — "shall be revealed" - Comments- In the Greek, this verb is the tendential future and is translated, "is about to be revealed." The Scriptures always bring the events of our new life in heaven and impending judgment close at hand, meaning that they are in the very near future simply because life on earth is really a moment in time compared to eternity. In other words, our earthly walk is not the extended, long period of time that our natural minds seem to think ( James 4:14).

James 4:14, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

Romans 8:18Scripture Reference- Note similar passages of Scripture to Romans 8:18 :

2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"

1 Peter 1:6-7, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"

There are going to be some glorious things revealed to us in heaven.

1. New heavens and a new earth:

2 Peter 3:13, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."

Revelation 21:1, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."

2. New physical bodies:

1 Corinthians 15:43, "It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power"

Philippians 3:21, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."

Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Psalm 17:15, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."

1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

We are being conformed to His image even now:

Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Romans 8:19Word Study on "earnest expectation" - Strong says the Greek word "earnest expectation" ( ἀ ποκαραδοκί α) (G 603) means, "intense anticipation."

Word Study on "creature" - Strong says the Greek word "creature" ( κτί σις) (G 2937) can also be translated "creation."

Comments- All of creation is said to be awaiting the manifestation, or the revealing, of the sons of God, who glorious nature will be made known. All of creation is waiting for the glory of God's children to be revealed. In this present age, God's children are not seen in the fullness of their glorious position in Christ, because the world walks in darkness and depravity. Christians are persecuted by the world rather than honored. However, there is coming a day when the children of God shall be glorified to the rest of mankind. This will begin at the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, when the dead in Christ shall rise from their graves, and all of God's children will meet Him in the air, and forever be with Him and share in His glory. We, as well as all of creation, are eagerly awaiting this manifestation of becoming like Jesus.

We are called "sons of God" in Romans 8:19 because of our "God" nature, which is a glorified nature. We read in 1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." We are daily becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. On that great day when we will shed our mortality and take on immortality, the Scriptures tell that we will become just like Him. Thus, we are best described within the context of this divine truth as "sons of God," partaking of His same divine nature.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Romans 8:20"For the creature was made subject to vanity" - Word Study on "vanity" - BDAG says the Greek word "vanity" ( ματαιό της) (G 3153) means, "emptiness, futility, purposelessness, transitoriness."

Comments- The book of Ecclesiastes describes this vanity to which mankind and creation has been made subject.

Ecclesiastes 1:2, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

Romans 8:20 — "not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope" - Comments- What is our hope? The next verse gives us the answer. Creation is in hope that God's children will be delivered from the bondage of corruption so that creation itself will also be delivered. We have hope of one day being brought back again into perfect fellowship with God.

Galatians 3:22-24, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith that should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

If God had not drive man from the Garden of Eden and subjected him to vanity, then we would not have any hope of redemption. We would forever continue in the fallen state in which we were bound.

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Romans 8:21 — "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption" - Comments- Creation also will share and partake of this glorious freedom from corruption and bondage.

The phrase "bondage of corruption" can be paraphrased, "slavery (of or to) decay." We are slaves to sin, which is working destruction in our lives.

Romans 8:21Comments- One day, creation will put off corruption and take on incorruption, just like the sons of God. Note in Psalm 65:8-13 how creation rejoices and longs for man to cultivate and use the earth.

Noah taking the animals onto the ark was a type and figure of God also delivering creation from corruption.

Romans 8:20-21Comments - God Subjects the World to Vanity- We see this corruption placed upon God's creation when He said, "cursed is the ground for thy sake…"

Genesis 3:17, "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;"

As creation followed man in his corruption, so will creation follow man in his glorification. As we have suffered with Christ so that we might be glorified with Him, so will creation follow this same law of co-suffering and co-glorification.

The earth has been in a process of decay and ruin every since the Fall in the Garden of Eden. This is because when man fell into corruption, everything under man's dominion also partook of this fall, which included death and corruption. As much as organizations today seek to preserve this earth and to return it to its proper order, there is no hope of this in the long run. Man's glorification must precede the restoration of the earth, as is explained in the book of Revelation.

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Romans 8:22Comments - All of creature, man and animals, now suffer in vanity. Mankind in included in this suffering in verse 23, "even we ourselves."

Anyone who has traveled the world and seen much of mankind, especially from God"s view, can sum up his observations with one word, "suffering." All of mankind is experiencing come degree of suffering, some more than others. In addition, all of the rest of creation is experiencing the same sufferings as a result of man"s sinful nature. My experiences of traveling abroad agree with this phrase "groans and travails."

Creation was made to praise God (See Psalm 148:1-14). In Psalm 65:13, the land rejoices and sings. Thus, we can see why creation can also groan. If it can praise the Lord, then it can groan.

Psalm 65:13, "The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing."

Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:23 — "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit" - Comments - The phrase "the first fruits of the Spirit" may be (1) the genitive of time- The early Church in the first century was first partaker of Pentecost, or (2) the genitive of quality- More anointing will be given in heaven.

Romans 8:23"even we ourselves groan within ourselves" - Comments - When we are saved, God recreated us anew from within. Hence, we ourselves groan within ourselves, which refers to our spirit man inside us. At salvation, we begin to overcome a carnal mind and fleshly lusts. Our defeats and struggles can cause much groaning within us, anxiously waiting to be clothed with our glorified body, free of any sin and corruption.

Romans 8:23"waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" - Comments - The "redemption of our body" is "the freeing of our bodies from earthly limitations." ( Ephesians 4:30) Redemption is the release from sin in the flesh ( Romans 7:24). We continually groan, waiting to be delivered from mortality ( 2 Corinthians 5:2-5). We will be released from this body of corruption, which is the adoption ( 1 Corinthians 15:42).

Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

2 Corinthians 5:2-5, "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

1 Corinthians 15:42, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:"

Romans 8:23Comments - Jesus Christ was given the Holy Spirit without measure ( John 3:34), but we have the Spirit by measure, as a first fruits or taste of what heaven will be like. It is a taste of what total redemption of soul and body will be like. Thus, "waiting for…. the redemption of our body." The NLT reads, "We have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory." BDAG translates this phrase, "as much of the spirit as has been poured out so far." (see ἀπαρχή 2b)

John 3:34, "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."

In Romans 8:26-27 Paul will explain the role of the "first fruits of the Spirit" in bringing the children of God to glory, or bringing them into the redemption from their mortal body. The imparting of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is to stand with them and strengthen them to live a holy life. Other passages on the first fruits of the Holy Spirit:

2 Corinthians 1:22, "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

2 Corinthians 5:5, "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

Ephesians 1:14, "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

The books of Job ,, Psalm ,, Lamentations , and other poetry is the expression of our inner man groaning for redemption from our mortal bodies.

Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

Romans 8:24Comments- We hope for the redemption from these mortal bodies, and this expectant, waiting, hope is what saves us. Our hope is the anchor of our souls. See:

Romans 5:1-5, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only Song of Solomon , but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

2 Corinthians 11:30, "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities."

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ"s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

James 1:2-4, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

See the word "hope" in the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hope is also called the "helmet of salvation" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:8).

1 Thessalonians 5:8, "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

Scripture References- Scriptures on hope:

Psalm 31:24, "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD."

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

1 Timothy 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;"

Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;"

Hebrews 6:19, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"

1 Peter 1:13, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Romans 8:25 — "But if we hope for that we see not" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Romans 8:25 — "then do we with patience wait for it" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 10:36, "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:26 — "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - Comments - "Likewise" - That Isaiah , just like we as believers groan together among ourselves, as Paul has just stated in Romans 8:23, "but ourselves also…even we ourselves groan within ourselves," so does the Holy Spirit join us in this travail. He will also intercede with "groanings" ( Romans 8:26), which is the same word used in Romans 8:23.

"the Spirit" - That Isaiah , the Holy Spirit, in contrast to man's eternal spirit.

Word Study on "helpeth" - Strong says the Greek word συναντιλαμβά νομαι (G 4878) means, "to take hold of opposite together, that Isaiah , co-operate (assist)." BDAG says it means, "take part with, help, come to the aid of." This word is used two times in the New Testament, both times being translated "help." The other use is found in Luke 10:40.

Luke 10:40, "But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me."

The Greek word συναντιλαμβά νομαι is used in the LXX in a number of places.

Exodus 18:22, "And they shall judge the people at all times, and the too burdensome matter they shall bring to thee, but they shall judge the smaller cases; so they shall relieve thee and help thee."

Psalm 89:22, "He shall call upon me, [saying], Thou art my Father, my God, and the helper of my salvation."

Word Study on "our infirmities" - The Textus Receptus reads, " ταις ασθενειαις ημων." However, the UBS3 reads, " τῇ ἀσθενείᾳ ἡμῶν." Thus, many modern translations read, "our (plural) weakness (singular)." For example, the ASV reads, "our infirmity." The Common Edition reads, "our weakness." Either way, this phrase refers to the sufferings that are caused as a result of our mortality.

The more we become aware of our weaknesses, the more we lean upon the Holy Spirit to help us. When we acknowledge our weaknesses, we become increasingly dependent upon Him.

Romans 8:26 — "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" - Word Study on "maketh intercession" - Strong says the Greek word ὑ περεντυγχά νω (G 5241) means, "to intercede in behalf of," and is a compound of ὑπέρ (G 5228), meaning, "above, beyond, across," and ἐντυγχάνω (G 1793), which means, "to chance upon, confer with, entreat (in favor or against)." BDAG says it means, "plead, intercede." This word is used one time in the New Testament. The TDNT says this word means, "to intercede for as a representative."

Comments - While the Greek word ἐντυγχάνω is used to describe Jesus Christ's intercession for the Church ( Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25), and of divine intercession in general ( Romans 8:27), the Greek word ὑ περεντυγχά νω is used in a unique manner to describe the way in which the Holy Spirit prays through the saints. Wayne Johnson says the Holy Spirit intercedes through us over, above, and beyond our ability to intercede, thus the need for the preposition ὑπέρ. 179]

179] Wayne Johnson, Sunday Class, First Assembly of God, Panama City, Florida, 14November 2010.

Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Romans 8:27, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

Comments - We do not see and understand in the natural realm all of the events taking place in the spiritual realm; thus, Paul uses the phrase "unutterable" groanings because we do not know what to utter or pray in the natural. Therefore, we must pray in the spirit. This is because we are now spiritual creatures serving a spiritual God and combating a spiritual devil. The only way to do this is to pray in the spiritual realm. The only way to operate in the spiritual realm is by the unction of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in this realm, and also within us as God's children. This means that it is the Holy Spirit using our tongues to pray. He is literally praying through us. Thus, the gift of tongues has been given to the Church in this dispensation. While we find the other gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation in the Old Testament, the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues has been given during the Church age simply because we have become spiritual children serving a spiritual God and fighting a spiritual warfare.

Scripture References - Note other Scriptures on the same topic of praying in the Spirit:

Zechariah 12:10, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only Song of Solomon , and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

1 Corinthians 14:14, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful."

Ephesians 6:18, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"

Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:27 — "And he that searcheth the hearts" - Comments - God the Father knows and hears these "unspeakable words" prayed in the Holy Spirit.

"knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit" - Comments - If God the Father is searching our hearts in order to know the "mind of the Spirit," then it means that the Holy Spirit is praying through us. This is done through praying in the Spirit, or praying in the Holy Ghost, or praying in tongues.

"because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" - Comments - God the Father hears and answers those things that we pray within His divine will and purpose for us ( 1 John 5:14). Within the context of the epistle of Romans , the Holy Spirit is interceding through us in order to set in motion God's plan of redemption for mankind. Thus, Romans 8:28-30 reflects upon this four-fold plan of redemption in which the Church participates through the work of the Holy Spirit.

1 John 5:14, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:"

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 — "And we know" - Comments - Paul wants us to know and understand with our minds how God is at work in every event in our lives. This is because such understanding of His divine providence becomes an anchor to our soul to secure us to our eternal hope of Heaven during the times of hardships we suffer here on earth, this hope of eternal glory that Paul has mentioned in the preceding verses. Paul said earlier that we do not know how to pray as we ought to pray; therefore, the Spirit of God prays through us with unutterable groanings. Although we do not understand what to pray, so we relinquish our tongues to the Holy Spirit as we pray in the Spirit the perfect will of God, we do certainly know that God will working out all things for a good outcome. Therefore, we are living by faith as we pray, trusting God will work things out for God in Him marvelous ways.

The believers at Rome probably perceived and discussed among themselves God's divine intervention in their lives since their salvation; thus Paul says, "and we know"; but they did not have the cognitive understanding of this plan of redemption until he delivers to the Church the epistle of Romans.

"that all things work together" - Comments - The phrase "all things" includes both good experiences and difficult times in life. Paul will soon says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." ( Romans 8:35-36) God is using all things to effect His purpose and plan in our lives so that we can enter our glorification and be with Him. The Lord once said to me, "The sweet and the bitter are used by God to mold and shape our lives." However, within the context of this passage, we must pray in the Spirit, or in tongues, for all things to work out for good; for without such type of prayer bad events will simply not turn around to be used for our good. Thus, without praying in tongues, we will not fulfill our individual destinies. The verb "work" is in the present tense in the phrase, "all things are continually working together." The present tense means God is at work every single day in our lives to bring us into conformity to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. If we could see our daily life from a divine perspective, we would see God at work for our good every single day.

"for good" - Comments - Paul then uses the phrase "for good" because God is able to use everything in our lives to mold and shape us for His divine purpose and plan in our lives, and because everything within His plan is good. Note that this verse does not say, "for our good," since God is working out everything in our lives for His good rather than our own person benefit; thus, God is working the good aspects of redemption for mankind. Paul will give us an example of this in Romans 9-11when he takes up the theme of Israel's redemption; for his greatest adversaries were the Jews. They caused him tremendous hardships; yet his perseverance in the midst of persecution was helping work out Israel's ultimate redemption. Another example is seen in the Creation Story, when God said that everything was "good," a statement that God never recanted. Because of man's fall into sin, God is working good to bring mankind and all of creation back into His divine order. Thus, some difficulties we face in life have no apparent outcome that we can call "good." Therefore, we must trust that God is able to work something good to His benefit in every situation, as we serve Him.

"to them that love God" - Comments - The Greek text of Romans 8:28 literally reads, "And we know that to those who love God all things He is working unto good, to those who are called according to purpose." The phrase "to those who love God" is placed at the beginning of this Greek sentence for emphasis. It now becomes clear that the condition we must meet in order for God's good to take effect in our lives is the "love walk." When we love God, we are also walking in love with mankind. When we walk in love with others during difficult times, God is able to effectively turn the situation around for good.

"to them who are the called according to his purpose" - Word Study on "purpose" - Strong says the Greek word "purpose" ( πρόθεσις) (G 4286) literally means, "a setting forth, and figuratively, "proposal (intention)." BDAG says it literally means, "a presentation," being use of the shew bread in the Temple ( Matthew 12:4, Mark 2:26, Luke 6:4, Hebrews 9:2), and it figuratively means, "a plan, purpose, resolve, will (of the divine purpose)," being used of man' purposes and resolve to carry out a plan ( Acts 11:23; Acts 27:13, 2 Timothy 3:10) and more specifically of God's divine purpose and plan of redemption for mankind ( Romans 8:28; Romans 9:11, Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:11, 2 Timothy 1:9). Thus, the Greek word πρόθεσις is used twelve times in the New Testament in both its literay and figurative sense.

Comments - God has called all men to partake of His purpose and plan of redemption, a plan explained in the following verses ( Romans 8:29-30) as the four-fold plan of redemption for mankind: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. God is at work in His children's lives through divine providence in order to bring each person's purpose to completion. In other words, our spiritual journey is a mirror image of His overall plan of salvation for mankind in that the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible are laid out to reflect this four-fold plan of redemption, and the span of our individual lives is also laid out in a four-fold plan.

Now, the purpose of hard times coming against the saints of God is to distract them, and thus hinder them, from God's divine plan for their lives. Therefore, besides walking in love, we must continue doing what God has called us to do as His servants. That Isaiah , we must stay focused on God's plan for our lives and fulfill it despite what the situation is in our life. John Chrysostom uses the example of Paul's thorn in the flesh to show how difficult times can work out for good for those who genuinely love God. He also uses the sufferings of Christ Jesus to illustrate how His suffering and death worked out for the most good of any single act of suffering in the history of humanity. Regarding man's calling, he notes that all are called, but not everyone obeys this divine calling (Commentary on Romans Homily 15). 180]

180] John Chrysostom, The Homilies of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans , Translated, with Notes and Incides, in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, vol 7, ed. E. B. Pusey (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 263-265.

Paul will discuss the Father's purpose for mankind in the next verse of this passage, which is to be conformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ so that man can be glorified and spend eternity in fellowship with the Father.

Illustration - Romans 8:28 reveals that God has a purpose and plan. In other words, He has something on His mind. When we engage in relationships in society, we meet people and learn what interests them. If we want to become their friend, we learn to share these common interests. If we want to only have a casual relationship with someone, we continue with our own lifestyle and pursuits and we only engage with this person occasionally, when our paths meet. In a similar way, if we want to become a friend of God, we must find out His interests and participate in those interests with Him. His purpose and intent since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden is to redeem mankind. This is always on His mind. When we become interested in His plan, we find Him becoming involved with our lives. He becomes our friend, and we enjoy spending time with Him because we share the same interests.

Scripture References- Note another verse in 2Timothy that refers to God's purpose in our lives:

2 Timothy 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

Romans 8:28Comments - Paul initially refers to God's purpose in Romans 8:28. In the next verse ( Romans 8:29) Paul is going to tell us more about God's divine purpose, which is to be conformed into the image of His Dear Son. The way this will be done is through His divine Plan of Redemption, which is made up of the Father's foreknowledge, the Son's justification, and our ultimate glorification. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this passage, it will involve the process of sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

Did not God's creation begin with chaos and disorder, and out of bad circumstances came something good; for God said, "It is good." In God's creation, the power of the Holy Spirit, working together with the spoken Word of Almighty God, produced order. They worked together to produce God's divine purpose and plan for His creation.

The same principle applies in our lives. When we go through difficult times, God's will is to produce something good out of it. However, it cannot be produced without us allowing the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives, and without the Word of God on our lips, causing circumstances to conform to God's plan in our lives. This is why this verse says, "to them that love God." Then, day-by-day, just as in the Creation, God will bring something good into our lives, until we too declare, "It is very good." As stated in the previous verse ( Romans 8:27), we must do our role by praying in the Holy Ghost, so that He can pray through us, so that God can work good out of every situation in our lives; for without prayer, good things will not result in every situation. In other words, all things are working for our good when we are praying in the Holy Ghost, or tongues.

Illustration (1) - Perhaps the best illustration of God working something out for good that was intended for evil is seen in the story of Joseph as he was sold as a slave by his brothers. As long as Joseph kept his faith in God and looked to Him to work something good in the midst of a trial, God was able to use him and eventually exalt him to a mighty position. The degree that we are willing to suffer for righteousness sake determines the degree that God can promote us for His divine service.

Illustration (2) - The Lord spoke to me tonight and said, "The bitter and the sweet are all used by God to mould and shape your life." This word came the same day that my sister-in-law named Dyan was told by her Muslim "husband" to leave her home and was only allowed to take one of her two children with her. It was "sweet" news for us that she has decided to leave this environment for the sake of her eternal salvation, but it is "bitter" news to know that her oldest child is being left behind. However, I know that God will work in her life in the midst of this heartache to draw her to Him and to work miracles for her as she learns to trust in Him. (18 January 2005)


Verses 29-39

Summary of God's Divine Plan of Redemption- Having taken us through God's plan of redemption for mankind in Romans 1:16 to Romans 8:28, Paul summarizes this four-fold plan as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification in Romans 8:29-30. In light of this exegesis of God's method of justification in Romans 1-8, Paul declares that every child of God is more than a conqueror because of God's great love for us ( Romans 8:31-39). Note that the word "sanctification" is not used in this four-fold plan of redemption. As Christians we want to place the process of sanctification immediately after our justification because we view God's plan of redemption as following the time-line of the Church's redemption; however, God's plan of redemption for the Church is subjected to His plan of redemption for Israel. In other words, God's plan of redemption for the Church follows the time-line of Israel's redemption, which Paul is about to explain in Romans 9-11. This means that the Church's sanctification in preparation for Christ Jesus' Second Coming is a part of God's plan to redeem Israel; but Israel's justification is not complete until they turn to Him at His Second Coming. Therefore, the word justification is used in Romans 8:29 in relation to Israel's time-line of accepting the Messiah, rather than the Church's time-line of the Second Coming.

The Father's Purpose and Plan - The epistle of Romans reveals God's plan of redemption for all of mankind, the Jew as well as the Gentile. Paul discusses this plan from the perspective of the Father, rather than the Son or the Holy Spirit. In other words, the office and ministry of God the Father is emphasized throughout the first eleven chapters of Romans. This passage of Scripture reveals how He made a plan in His divine foreknowledge to redeem mankind, that Isaiah , to bring every man into conformity unto His Son Jesus Christ. Although mankind fell into depravity, and all of creation followed this fall and was made subject to vanity ( Romans 8:18-28), God had a plan of redemption. In order to accomplish that plan, He designed four stages for redeeming mankind. In His divine foreknowledge, He predestinates us to be like Jesus. He then calls, He justifies, and He glorifies those who will accept and follow this plan.

Predestination- Paul says in Romans 8:29-30 that the destination, or purpose, of every believer is to become like Jesus Christ. To bring this about, we will need to follow this divine plan. God's ultimate goal is to restore mankind back to the same relationship that He had with Adam in the Garden. Thus, Paul describes Christ as the "last Adam" ( Romans 5:1-21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-49) because we are the seed of Adam and of Christ.

Calling- Regarding our divine calling from the Father's predestination, we see it mentioned in Romans 9:25, which tells us that we were called long before we answered that call. John Calvin explains that although we were predestined to bear each one his cross, God's calling involves the revelation of this plan to men. 181] God calls each man to salvation as a means of revealing to him that purpose for his existence in this life, which is to serve the Lord.

181] John Calvin, Commentary Upon the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans , trans. Christopher Rosdell, ed. Henry Beveridge (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1844), 229.

Romans 9:25, "I will call them my people." God called us years ago in Hosea"s time, not when we were first saved."

Justification - We then move into justification as we hearken unto this divine calling and believe in the redemptive work on Calvary. God the Father sent His Son to redeem us back unto Him. We are kept in this position of justification as Jesus now serves as our Great High Priest making intercession for the saints. The next step is not mentioned, but it is the role of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification. The reason is that Romans 8:17-39 places emphasis upon the glorification of the Church, which is the underlying theme of this passage. However, within the context of this passage of Scripture, our sanctification is part of the way the Father brings us through the phase of justification as it is He who sent the Holy Spirit from Heaven to dwell within every believer.

Glorification- This passage of Scripture brings us into the final phase our redemption, which is glorification. Glorify relates to verse 21of this passage, "into the glorious liberty" and to verse 23, "the redemption of our body." This process of being glorified in expounded more in chapter 9.

Romans 9:23, "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,"

Summary of Four-fold Plan of Redemption- These four phases of our redemption that Paul has laid out in Romans 8:29-30 essentially make up the definition of divine election from God the Father's perspective. It serves as a summary of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Romans 1:16-17), which was given to us by God to take us through His divine Plan of Redemption. This four-fold description includes the Jew as well as the Gentile, as Paul will make evident in Romans 9-11. This is one reason why no emphasis is placed upon the office of the Holy Spirit indwelling us and sanctifying us, since the Jews did not partake of this particular aspect of redemption.

While 1 Peter 1:2 refers to this same plan of redemption with emphasis placed upon our perseverance, Romans 8:29-30 places emphasis upon the Father bringing us into our glorification. While Romans 8:29-30 ends with our glorification, 1 Peter 1:2 ends with the sprinkling of the blood, which symbolizes our daily cleansing that allows us to maintain our position of justification in order that we may persevere.

1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."

We are More than Conquerors In Christ- The burst of praise and revelation into the depths of God's love in Romans 8:31-39 is a result of the first eight chapters in which Paul examines the depths of man's sinfulness and the extent to which God went to reconcile mankind back to himself. In contrast, Paul began his lengthy doctrinal discourse with a devastating description of human depravity ( Romans 1:16-32). He will end his exposition about the election of the Church by revealing the depth of God's boundless love for His elect.

The Father has been working for us and divinely intervening in the affairs of mankind in our behalf since the foundation of the world. He predestined us to be conformed unto the image of His Son. He called us when we heard the preaching of the Gospel. He is still divinely intervening in our lives every day. Jesus Christ was determined to be crucified for our sins from the foundation of the world. He came and died for us on Calvary to bring justification to us, and is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us so that we can maintain our righteous standing before God. The Holy Spirit was working in God with wisdom and power from the foundation of the world to give the Father insight into how to bring you to salvation and through the process of sanctification. He now lives in us and is at work in us day by day and moment by moment. What love God has for us! Paul will later burst forth into praise again in Romans 11:33-36 after discussing God's plan of divine election for Israel and the Gentiles in chapters 9-11.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29 — "For whom he did foreknow" - Comments- The Greek verb "foreknow" ( προγινώσκω) (G 4267) and its noun form ( πρόγνωσις) (G 4268) are used seven times within the New Testament ( Acts 2:23; Acts 26:5, Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2, 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:17). In the two instances these words are used in relation to man's foreknowledge ( Acts 26:5, 2 Peter 3:17), Wuest says πρόγνωσις means, "previous knowledge based upon circumstances." 182]

182] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973), 143.

Acts 2:23, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"

Acts 26:5, "Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee."

Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

Romans 11:2, "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,"

1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."

1 Peter 1:20, "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,"

2 Peter 3:17, "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."

Some scholars believe the words "foreknowledge" ( πρόγνωσις) and "to foreknow" ( προγινώσκω) mean more than "to know beforehand, in advance" (BDAG), and include the broader concept of pre-election, that Isaiah , making decisions in advance. However, other scholars adhere to a more limited and literal definition of προγινώσκω.

A. Pre-election - Those who believe the Greek word πρόγνωσις includes the concept of pre-election use the context of certain passages of Scripture to support this view. For example, Acts 2:23 says that Jesus was crucified by "the determinate counsel ( ὁρίζω) and foreknowledge ( προγινώσκω) of God." Strong says the Greek verb "determinate" ( ὁρίζω) (G 3724) means, "to appoint, decree, specify," and the noun "counsel" ( βουλή) (G 1012) means, "advice, counsel, will." Wuest explains that the Greek word βουλή was used in classical Greek literature to describe "a council convened for the purpose of administering the affairs of government," and it was used of "the camp-fire council of Zenophon and his officers" when they met each night to decide a "pre-determined course of action" for the following day's march. (Xenophon, Anabasis books 2, 4, 5, 6, 7) 183] He then applies this picture to the Trinity as they planned a course of action to redeem mankind from his fallen condition. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit convened and took counsel together, since it takes more than one person to conspire in a legitimate council. Wuest says the phrase "the determinate counsel" thus means that "these deliberations were for the purpose of determining something," which was to choose the Son to be crucified beforehand as a means of redeeming mankind. Wuest then makes the conclusion that the phrase "the determinate counsel" stands parallel and equal in meaning to the word "foreknowledge" ( πρόγνωσις) (G 4268) based on the Granville Sharp rule of Greek grammar. 184] He says the Greek word "foreknowledge" includes not only previous knowledge of circumstances, but within the context of Acts 2:23 it carries the idea of "foreordination," which is the way it is translated in 1 Peter 1:20, "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." Wuest says the word πρόγνωσις "speaks of the sovereign act of God foreordaining certain from among mankind to be saved." Wuest's argument fails in the fact that the Granville Sharp rule says that two Greek words in this construction are related, but it does not say that they have the same definition and meaning. For example, in the first example used by Sharp of Matthew 12:22, "the blind and dumb (man)," both attributes of blind and dumb relate to the same individual, but these two words do not have the same meaning.

183] William Barrack, Lexicon to Xenophon's Anabasis (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1872), see βουλευω, 28; Xenophon, Anabasis, in The History of Xenophon, vols 1-2, trans. Henry G. Dakyns, in The Historians of Greece, vols 8-9, ed. Thomas M. Alexander (New York: The Tandy-Thomas Company, 1909), vol 1: 195, 206, 207, 293, vol 2: 11, 34, 39, 40, 52, 54, 75, 116, 176.

184] Granville Sharp Rule One says, "When the copulative καί connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. nouns (either Substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connection, and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill,] if the article , or any of its cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle: i. e. it denotes a farther description of the first-named person…" See Granville Sharp, Remarks on the Use of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament (London: Vernon and Hood; f. and C. Rivington; J. White and J. Hatchard; and L. Pennington, Durham, 1803), 3.

James Dunn makes a similar argument using the context of Bible verses to justify the expansion the definition of πρόγνωσις to include pre-election. He argues that the use of προώρισεν and πρόθεσις within the immediate context of Romans 8:28-29 justifies this expanded definition of πρόγνωσις. He refers to two Old Testament passages that show God's foreknowledge at work in His plan of redemption for mankind ( Genesis 18:19, Hosea 13:5) and one that shows His foreknowledge and pre-determined counsel working together ( Jeremiah 1:5) to further support his claim. 185] However, there are no grammatical rules that require two different Greek words used in a sentence to carry the same or a similar meaning, although they relate to the same idea. It simply shows that these words reflect various aspects of a common topic, such as the blind and lamb man ( Matthew 12:22).

185] James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 38A (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Romans 8:29.

Genesis 18:19, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

Hosea 13:5, "I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought."

B. Prescience 186] - Wuest acknowledges that many scholars believe the word πρόγνωσις simply means, "the prescience of God, as Vincent puts it, not the idea of pre-election." 187]

186] Webster defines "prescience" as "knowledge of events before they take place."

187] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973), 143.

c. Conclusion- I have to disagree with Wuest's conclusion that "determinate counsel" and "foreknowledge" mean the very same thing. Within the context of Acts 2:23, these phrases can be complimentary, without sharing the same meaning. Jesus' death on Calvary was pre-determined and therefore, foreknown by God. God designed a plan of redemption for mankind through His pre-determined counsel, then He intervenes in the affairs of mankind based upon His foreknowledge of this plan. W. E. Vine contradicts Wuest's view of pre-election by saying, "God's foreknowledge involves His electing grace, but this does not preclude human will. He foreknows the exercise of faith which brings salvation." 188]

188] W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words with their Precise Meanings for English Readers (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, c 1940, 1966), "Foreknow, Foreknowledge," 119.

Romans 8:29 — "he also did predestinate" - Word Study on "predestinate" - BDAG says the Greek word προορίζω means, "decide upon beforehand, predetermine." This Greek word is used six times in the New Testament, always in reference to God's predestined plan of redemption for mankind ( Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29-30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:11).

Acts 4:28, "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done."

Romans 8:29-30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom of Solomon , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

Ephesians 1:5, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"

Ephesians 1:11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"

"to be conformed to the image of his Son" - Comments - Regarding the phrase "to be conformed to the image of his Song of Solomon ," the very meaning of the word "conform" implies change. BDAG says the Greek word σύμμορφος means, "having a similar form, nature, or style." We are to become changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. We have been born again in our spirit Prayer of Manasseh , which has become like Jesus Christ the moment we were saved. However, our outward Prayer of Manasseh , the mind and body, must go through a process of change as one partakes of God's Word. Change is not an easy process for an individual to go through. We tend to be creatures of habit, and we like to bed down into a certain lifestyle. In order for us to fulfill our individual destinies, we must be ready for change. This is a daily process, one decision at a time. We are to become like Jesus, which is the truest meaning of the word "Christians," or "little anointed ones." We are to resemble Jesus Christ in our behavior; we are to walk as He walked, in love, in power, in faith, in the anointing, casting out demons, crucifying our flesh daily and doing our Father's will. Of course, this requires us to change, and to leave behind our old lifestyles. This was God the Father's original plan in the Garden when He said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." ( Genesis 1:26)

Romans 8:29 — "that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" - Comments - Jesus Christ is the first to be resurrected from the dead and clothed with immortality. By His divine character and nature He is the "master copy," or example, of God's divine plan for all of His children. We are being moved along a course on our spiritual journey by the Holy Spirit that will conform us to be like Jesus Christ, to walk in His divine nature. We are called "brethren" simply because Jesus has become our "brother" after His resurrection ( Hebrews 2:11).

Hebrews 2:11, "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"

Romans 8:29 also tells us the reason He made man in His image is so that Jesus Christ would become the firstborn among men, and with this status Jesus Christ would hold the preeminence among all of mankind. He would be able to become our advocate as well as judge in man's redemption. Jesus Christ is the firstborn from the dead, that Isaiah , the first of the resurrection ( Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 1:6).

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Hebrews 1:6, "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."

Although we are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus, He still has the unique privileges that only the firstborn can receive. Note passages in the Scriptures about the firstborn:

1. The birthright.

Genesis 25:31, "And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright."

Genesis 43:33, "And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another."

2. The father's blessing- Jacob became lord over his brethren.

Genesis 27:4, "And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die."

Genesis 27:28-29, "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother"s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee."

3. The blessing of Jacob upon his two grandsons.

Genesis 48:15-22 - Joseph received one portion above his brethren.

4. Reuben.

Genesis 49:3, "Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:"

5. The firstborn are consecrated to God.

Exodus 13:2, "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine."

6. The firstborn of men are to be redeemed, and not sacrificed to the Lord like the firstborn beasts were sacrificed. Also, Exodus 34:20.

Exodus 13:11-12, "And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD"S."

Exodus 34:20, "But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty."

7. The firstborn of the sons belonged to the Lord.

Exodus 22:29, "Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me."

8. The Levites were taken in the place of all firstborn for the service of the Lord. Compare the fact that Jesus is an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. God hallowed all the firstborn, "they are Mine."

Numbers 3:11-13, "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD."

9. The firstborn were redeemed. They belong to the Lord- Numbers 3:40-51.

10. The Levites were purified to serve in the Tabernacle in place of firstborn, who were redeemed ( Numbers 8:14-22).

11. The firstborn are to receive a double portion of inheritance because the firstborn son is beginning of a man's strength.

Deuteronomy 21:15-17, "If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his."

12. The foundation of Jericho was laid at the cost of the firstborn's life.

1 Kings 16:34, "In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun."

13. The firstborn is usually chief, but here Judah prevailed.

1 Chronicles 5:1-2, "Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father"s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph"s:)"

14. Jehoshaphat gave to all of his sons riches, but to the first born Jehoram he gave the kingdom.

2 Chronicles 21:3, "And their father (Jehoshaphat) gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn."

15. The first born is normally the chief.

1 Chronicles 26:10, "Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for though he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)"

16. The firstborn of sons are to be brought to the temple to be redeemed.

Nehemiah 10:36, "Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:"

Illustration: Jesus was taken to the Temple in Luke 2.

17. The Lord exalted Jesus, His firstborn, to be higher than all the kings of the earth.

Psalm 89:27, "Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth."

18. Giving the firstborn is the greatest sacrifice.

Micah 6:7, "Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"

Therefore, Jesus, as the firstborn, has the preeminence.

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Just as the husband rules over the wife, so Jesus rules over the church.

Genesis 3:16, "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Note 1 Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ"s at his coming."

The Resurrection of the just will take place at Christ"s coming.

Luke 14:14, "And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."

Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 11:40, "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Romans 8:30Comments- Note that all the verbs found in Romans 8:30 are in the aorist tense, meaning that God has already predestined, called, justified, and glorified His elect. In other words, it is an accomplished act of God, and not something that we are working out. Yet, in the temporal, earthly realm this process of complete redemption has not yet taken place. However, because God does not dwell in the realm of time, but in eternity, He refers to His redemptive work in the aorist tense, being completed from the foundation of the world. Thus, the foreknowledge of God is reflected in Romans 8:30, so that we can rest in the fact that He is working out everything in our lives towards a good outcome, according to Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31Comments- John Chrysostom understands Paul to be reflecting upon our present sufferings. Paul would be saying, "What shall we say about our current tribulations? Since God is for us, every our tribulations are being worked out for us." In other words, there can nothing be against us, since God uses it all for our good. 189] However, has just listed all of the good things that God has done for us in the midst of our present sufferings. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and setting us free from condemnation ( Romans 8:1-16). We have become joint heirs with Christ Jesus and will be glorified with Him ( Romans 8:17-25). We have the Holy Spirit interceding with us and through us, working out all things for good ( Romans 8:26-28). We have been predestined to glorification by God the Father ( Romans 8:29-30). Therefore, Paul seems to be saying that with all of these things on our side, who can defeat us?

189] John Chrysostom, The Homilies of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans , Translated, with Notes and Incides, in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, vol 7, ed. E. B. Pusey (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 266-267.

It is also possible that Paul is reflecting back upon the entire eight chapters in this statement, which expound upon God's plan of redemption for mankind. This exposition is breath-taking when we realize our deep depravity and God's boundless love in redeeming us through His Son Jesus Christ.

God is for us.

New Testament

1. God is for us ( Romans 8:31)

2. God is with us ( Matthew 28:20)

3. God is in us ( 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16, 1 John 4:4)

Old Testament

1. God is for Israel

2. God is with Israel

3. God through the Holy Spirit is upon the Judges , priests, prophets, and kings

Scripture References- Note a similar statement in Micah 7:8-10.

Psalm 118:6, "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"

Micah 7:8-10, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets."

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Song of Solomon , but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:32 — "He that spared not his own Son" - Comments- God paid the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption.

Romans 8:32 — "how shall he not with him also freely give us all things" - Comments Many people want God's blessings without wanting "Him," that Isaiah , Jesus. They leave out the phrase "with Him," but it does not work without Him in our lives as Lord and Saviour. God freely gives us all things, as we are faithful "in Him."

Romans 8:32 — "how shall he not with him also freely give us all things" - Comments- If God did not spare His own Son Jesus in order to bless mankind, then He will certainly be willing to work all things together for our good, as Paul has stated in Romans 8:28. Jesus' precious blood that was shed on Calvary was of enough value to purchase everything we need to equip us for salvation and our future glorification. There is nothing left that needs purchasing. Figuratively speaking, Jesus walked in and bought the entire store. We simply need to walk in behind Him and pick up what we need. He has already covered the tab.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God"s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 8:33 — "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God"s elect? It is God that justifieth" - Comments- Satan is our chief accuser ( Revelation 12:10), trying to separate us from God by leading us into sin. Anyone who condemns a child of God is walking in wisdom that is "earthly, sensual, devilish" ( James 3:15). Even when a fellow believer stumbles, we are to help him, rather than condemn him. During Jesus' earthly ministry recorded in the Gospels, He never once condemned a sinner. He did rebuke the Jewish leaders for condemning the sinners, but He never spoke a word of condemnation against sinners simply because their sins were about to be paid for on Calvary.

Revelation 12:10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

James 3:15, "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish."

"It is God that justifieth" - Comments- How does God justify us? We know that we are justified before Him at the time of salvation. However, sin can separate us from this position of right standing with God. Therefore, the next verse tells us that God justifies us when we have done something to bring charges before His throne by the ministry of intercession of Jesus Christ as our High Priest. We must first confess our sins, so that Jesus will stand in the gap for us, and secure our right standing before God. Jesus offered His blood once for all so that it might cleanse us from daily sins once we confess them. In other words, our position of justification was granted at the time we believed in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and it is maintained by Jesus Christ as our daily intercessor.

Revelation 12:10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.'

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Romans 8:34 — "Who is he that condemneth" - Comments- The statement, "Who is he that condemneth?" implies, "Who is he that condemeth God's elect?" In other words, we understand from the previous verse that this statement refers to God's elect.

"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" - Comments- We are justified before God the Father when the accuser brings charges against us because of Jesus' present-day office as our Great High Priest.

Romans 8:33-34Comments- The Accuser of the Brethren and our Justification- Paul will ask the rhetorical question in Romans 8:33, "Who will bring an accusation against those who are walking in this divine plan of redemption. The following verse ( Romans 8:34) will ask who has made a judgment of guilt against them as a result of these accusations. The emphasis in Romans 8:33-34 will be place upon Christ Jesus' redemptive work of justification, but it will be presented from the perspective of the Father's plan since this passage of Scripture in Romans 8:17-39 emphasizes the glorification of the Church. It is God the Father who justifies His Elect because Jesus Christ is at His right hand interceding for those particular saints. Others, who are sinners, will not be justified when accusations are brought to the throne of God.

John Chrysostom notes that this passage in Romans is within the context of a Church who is being persecuted by society ( Romans 8:18; Romans 8:22; Romans 8:24-26; Romans 8:35-36). 190] These accusers looked upon the Church in Rome as a problem in society, and therefore, tried to find fault so as to bring them before the civil magistrates for punishment.

190] John Chrysostom, The Homilies of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans , Translated, with Notes and Incides, in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, vol 7, ed. E. B. Pusey (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 263-264.

Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Romans 8:22, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Romans 8:24, "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"

Romans 8:25, "But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

Romans 8:35-36, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."

We know from Revelation 12:10 that Satan is still the accuser of the brethren today.

Revelation 12:10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

Paul also warned Timothy about the adversary's opportunities to speak reproachfully against those with sin in the lives.

1 Timothy 5:14, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully."

This tells us that when we sin, we must be quick to confess our sins so that Jesus Christ has been given the authority to intercede in our behalf to the Father. This reminds us of the story in the opening chapters of Job when Satan presented himself before God and brought accusations against Job. The Lord said, "…and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause." ( Job 2:3) Thus, we see that Satan's accusations have the potential to move God against us. Job cried out for a redeemer to plead for his innocence, but there was none ( Job 9:33).

Job 9:33, "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:35 — "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" - Comments- The Greek word τίς (who) in Romans 8:35 is an interrogative pronoun, which can be translated "who, what, which, what sort of." Thus, we can translate the phrase "What shall separate us from the love of Christ," since it primarily refers to sufferings, and not people, although people are included in words like "persecution" and "sword." Also, we know that it is Satan behind every scheme to separate us from God's love and favor. If the devil can draw us into acts of sin that are unrepented, then he can lead us into a lifestyle of sin and we lose our righteous standing with God.

Paul will follow his rhetorical question of "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ" by giving a roll call of possible candidates and events that may qualify.

Romans 8:35 — "shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword" - Word Study on "famine" - Strong says the Greek word "famine" ( λιμό ς) (G 3042) means, "a scarcity of food." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 12times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "famine 7, hunger 3, dearth 2." Strong says λιμό ς comes from the primitive verb ( λεί πω) (G 3007), which means, "to fail, to be absent."

Comments- Paul is implying in Romans 8:35 that he has done without necessities and comforts on many occasions. He has tested God's love during times of tribulation, and has proven that God is with us during our difficulties. He has experienced "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword," and he has found God to be faithful.

Romans 8:35Comments- Paul first introduces the law of co-suffering and co-glorification in Romans 8:17, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." In Romans 8:35 Paul lists the various ways that we suffer with Him as "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword."

Romans 8:17, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

Paul gives himself as an example of someone who has partaken of Christ's sufferings in his second epistle to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."

2 Corinthians 6:4-5, "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;"

2 Corinthians 11:23-27, "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

From the epistle of Romans , we see that Paul partook of all of the ways that someone suffers for Christ. Not one verse mentions that Paul suffered by physical sickness for Christ, for the root of sickness is sin, and not sacrifice to God. In contrast, the root of sufferings for Christ is one's abandonment to the will of the Heavenly Father. Thus, sickness in the believer's life is not a scriptural way to suffer for Him.

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Romans 8:36 — "As it is written, For thy sake we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter" - Comments- That Isaiah , our sufferings become a sacrifice of worship, an act of worship. Note how the same concept of an animal sacrifice is used figuratively of the sacrifice of Christian service both here and in Romans 12:1.

Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Romans 8:36Comments- Romans 8:36 gives a quote from Psalm 44:22, "Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." Paul makes a similar statement in 2 Corinthians 1:9, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:" This verse describes the persecutions and tribulations that all of God's children experience in this mortal life. Remember that we have just been reminded in Romans 8:28 that God is working out all these hardships for a good end, so that they work in our behalf.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Romans 8:37Comments- Notice that this great promise of being more than conquerors in all things is conditional, made possible only "through him that loved us," that Isaiah , God the Father. However, many Christians do not walk in victory in certain areas of their lives. This is because they have not turned these areas of their lives over to the Lord and learned to trust Him. God's promises to us are always conditional to our walk of faith. It is His will and divine plan for our lives to walk in victory in every area of our lives. Fortunately, God is at work in the midst of "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword," working out good for us so that we become "more than conquerors" in spite of our trials. We simply must meet the condition of placing our trust in Him in the midst of every trial of life. Frances J. Roberts writes, "My promises are of no avail to thee except as ye apply and appropriate them by faith. In thy daily walk, ye shall be victorious only to the degree that ye trust Me. I can help thee only as ye ask. I shall meet you at every point where ye put action alongside thy prayers. Only as ye walk shall the waters of adversity be parted before thee." 191]

191] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 14.

The Greek text says that God "loved" us (past tense), rather than saying He loves us (present tense). This past tense may reflect back on the Cross where God demonstrated His great love towards mankind ( Romans 8:32).

Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Song of Solomon , but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Corinthians 2:14, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place."

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39Comments - The Love of God - Romans 8:38-39 closes Paul's discourse on God's justification of mankind through the New Testament Church by discussing the incredible, unspeakable, depth of God's love towards His children. In contrast, Paul began his lengthy doctrinal discourse with a devastating description of human depravity ( Romans 1:16-32). The phrase "neither death nor life" reflects the physical, natural realm in which we dwell. The phrase "nor angels nor principalities nor powers" reflects the spiritual realm that influences events in the natural realm. The phrase "nor things present nor things to come" reflects the realm of time. The phrase "nor height nor depth" reflects the realm of space. The phrase "nor any other creature" serves as a catch-all phrase that includes any possible entity that may not exist in the previous realms. When God created the heavens and the earth, the realms of time and space came into existence, as well as the physical world around us. Thus, Paul reflects upon the natural realm, the spiritual realm, and the realms of time and space in order to adequately include all possible things that influence our lives. All of creation has been made subject to one or more of these realms. Only God Himself is able to transcend these realms, and thus, His love for us transcends the events that take place within these realms.

God's love for His children is the driving force behind His plan of redemption for mankind. He transcends the realms of the natural and supernatural, of time and space, in order to redeem those whom He so dearly loves.

God's love towards us is effected through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him. The war against mankind is over, and God's wrath has been appeased. Within the context of this passage of Scripture in Romans , Jesus Christ is our intercessor, keeping us justified and under God's abiding favor ( Romans 8:34).

Illustration - For example, if a parent lost one of their precious children, there would be no hesitancy in one's willingness to give his/her life to recover this child; there would be no limit to their dependence upon spiritual matters, such as prayer; time would not weaken their love for this lost child; there is no distance that they would not travel to rescue him; there is no expense that they would not incur. This is the love that moves God to work in every aspect of our lives, in every realm of creation, to find us and bring us back to Him. Therefore, Paul will continue his doctrinal discourse to express the pain and sorrow within his heart for his own people Israel. This pain and sorrow is the produce of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him that expresses God's yearning to be reunited with His children who are lost.

Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse in Psalm 139:8 that reveal's God's presence and love for us wherever we are, "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Romans 8:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/romans-8.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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