corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.19
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Romans 8

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-4

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.

Some people talk about “getting out of the 7th chapter, into the 8th.” But who made this into an eighth chapter? Certainly, the Holy Spirit did not. There are no chapters in the Epistle as he inspired Paul to write it, the whole of it runs straight on without a break: “Therein therefore now no condemnation” — while struggling, fighting, warring, contending, —

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.

“Hath made me free” — that is, the real “I” of which he wrote a little while before — the true man himself: “’ The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ I have broken its bonds, I am a free man. Contending against its usurpation, I have escaped from under its yoke, and I shall yet tread sin under my feet, and God shall bruise even Satan himself under my feet shortly.”

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:

That he has done most effectually.

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

Oh, what a blessed thing it is to walk, freely, “not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” even though, all the while, there is, within the soul, this strife that the apostle has been describing!

This exposition consisted of readings from Romans 7, and Romans 8:1-4.


Verses 1-9

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.

My hearers, we are each of us, by nature, under the condemnation of God. We are not only subject to condemnation, but we are condemned already; and, on account of sin, there is judgment recorded in God’s book against every one of us, considered in our fallen state. But if we “are in Christ Jesus,” if we are made partakers of Jesus, if we have hidden ourselves in the cleft of the rock, Christ, and if our trust is solely in him, oh, precious thought, “there is therefore now no condemnation” for us. It is blotted out. The old judgment that was recorded against us is now erased; and in God’s book of remembrance there is not to be found a single condemnatory syllable, nor one word of anger written against any believer in Christ Jesus. Glorious freedom from condemnation! How may I know whether I have been thus set free? This is the question that should enter into each of our hearts. The answer is: “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” My hearers, after which of these are you and I walking? Are we following the flesh? Are we seeking to please ourselves, to indulge our bodies, to gratify our lusts, to satisfy our own inclinations? If so, we are not in Christ Jesus; for those who are in Christ Jesus “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” and every one of you who is fleshly and carnal is not in Christ, but is still under condemnation.

Romans 8:2-3. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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:

He did accomplish it. The law could not condemn sin so truly and so thoroughly as God did when he condemned sin in the person of Christ. O believer, let not thy sins grieve thee,-however great or however tremendous they may have been; weep over them, but do not be distressed about them, for they have been condemned in Christ Jesus. They may have been enormous, but if thou art in him, Christ was punished for thee, and God’s justice asks not for a second punishment for one offence. Christ offered once a complete atonement for all believers, and if I am a believer in him, there is no possible fear of my ever being condemned. There cannot be; for Christ was condemned for me, my sins were laid upon his head; and in the awful moment when he sustained the stroke of his Father’s vengeance, those sins ceased to be; and “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”

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

Mark, again, how Paul brings us to this as the great evidence of our being in Christ Jesus,-the not walking after the flesh. Now, every man, as he is born into the world, left to himself, is sure to “walk after the flesh.” It is only the man who has the Spirit of God put into his soul, who has the heavenly gift from on high, who will “walk after the Spirit.” It is not talking after the flesh, but it is walking after it, that condemns us, and it is not talking after the Spirit that will save us, it is walking after the Spirit that is the evidence of salvation; not talking, but walking. How many of you are there who are talkatives, who can talk religion, and give us as much as we like of it, but whose life and conversation are not such as become godliness! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If ye sow to the flesh, ye “shall of the flesh reap corruption,” but if ye sow to the Spirit, ye “shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

Romans 8:5-7. 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. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:

That mind with which we are all born is enmity against God, and however much refined or polished a man may be, however amiable or polite, however he may shine amongst his fellow-creatures, if he has not had a new heart and a right spirit, he is at “enmity against God,” and he cannot enter heaven until there has been a divine change wrought in him. Some of you suppose because you have never been guilty of any vice, because you have not indulged in any great transgression, that therefore you do not require the work of regeneration in your hearts. You will be mightily mistaken if you continue under that delusion until the last great day. “For to be carnally minded,” even though that carnal mind is in a body that is dressed in silks and satins, “To be carnally minded is death,” even though it be whitewashed till it looks like a spiritual one. “To be carnally minded,” even though you sow the carnal mind with a few good garden seeds of the flowers of morality, will still be nothing but damnation to you at the last. “To be carnally minded is death;” only, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:”

Romans 8:7. For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The opponents of the free-grace gospel, which it is our delight to preach, assert that men can be saved, if they will, and that men most certainly can repent, and can believe, and can come to God of their own free will, and that it is not through any defect in any powers that they have if they are not saved. Now, we are not over prone to controvert that point; but, at the same time, we do not understand the meaning of this verse if what they say is correct. It says here, “The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Some say that men could repent if it were their inclination. Exactly so; but that is what we assert,-that it never will be and never can be their inclination, except they are constrained to do so by the grace of God. Rowland Hill uses a very singular and odd metaphor in his “Village Dialogues.” Two parties are speaking together on this subject, and one of them, pointing to the cat sitting on the hearth says, “Do you see that cat? She sits there, and licks her paws, and washes herself clean.” “I see that,” said the other. “Well,” said the first speaker, “did you ever hear of one of the hogs taken out of the sty that did so?” “No,” said he. “But he could if he liked,” said the other. Ah, verily, he could if he liked; but it is not according to his nature, and you never saw such a thing done, and until you have changed the swine’s nature, he cannot perform such a good action; and God’s Word says the same of man. We do not care about fifty thousand aphorisms, or syllogisms, or anything else; God’s Word against man’s any day. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Men cannot come to Jesus, unless the Father draws them to him. We assert that, from first to last, the work of salvation is all of grace; and we are not afraid of any licentious tendency of that doctrine, or anything of the kind. God’s Word, in all its simplicity, must be preached, and we leave him to take care of his own truth. Blessed be God, this humbling truth is of far more use than the other doctrine, which puffs men up with pride, telling them that they can perform what most assuredly they cannot do. “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.

No man “in the flesh” can please God. Oh, what a sword this is,-a sharp two-edged sword against many of you, my friends! Some of you who regularly attend this house of prayer, and others of you who stray in here in the evening, you “are in the flesh,” and you “cannot please God.” Perhaps you have been attempting to do it. You have said, “I will attend the house of prayer regularly.” You cannot please God by doing that, so long as you are “in the flesh.” You may be as moral as you please, and we beseech you so to be; but unless you have the Spirit of God unless you are really changed in heart, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus, all that you can do, as long as you are “in the flesh, cannot please God.” Virtues, in unregenerate men, are nothing but whitewashed sins. The best performance of an unchanged character is worthless in God’s sight. It lacks the stamp of grace upon it; and that which has not the stamp of grace is false coin. Be it ever so beautiful in model and finish it is not what it should be. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot praise God.”

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 may have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

O beloved, we have need each of us to put ourselves in this scale! Come, preacher, be not too sure of thine own salvation. Come, church-member, do not be too certain of thine own regeneration. Come, Christian, put thyself in this scale: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” If he has not the Holy Ghost really dwelling in him, guiding him, directing him, teaching him, comforting him, supporting him, he is none of Christ’s. And if we do not exhibit the Spirit of Christ in our character,-if we have not gentleness, meekness, purity, holiness, benevolence, we are none of Christ’s. Ah, this will take some of your flimsy Christians to pieces. Half of your professors, we fear, will at the last be found not to have had “the Spirit of Christ.” It is one thing to profess religion, beloved, it is quite another thing to possess vital godliness. We may sit down at the communion table, but oh! if we never had the Spirit of Christ, we “are none of his.” We may plead our own goodness before the throne of God at the last; but Jesus Christ will say, “You have not my Spirit; you are none of mine;” and then, however much we may have striven to serve God, unless we have the Spirit of Christ, there shall be nothing for us but the fearful curse, “Depart! depart! depart!” “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Let us ask him for his Spirit; let us plead with him for his grace; and though some of you have never had it, yet if you now ask for it, our God is a gracious God, full of mercy, and exceedingly pitiful; whosoever calleth upon his name shall be saved; and though the chief of sinners, if you sincerely ask for pardon and for grace, you shall receive it at his hand. The Lord help you so to pray, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 66.; and Romans 8:1-9.


Verses 1-14

This wonderful chapter is the very cream of the cream of Holy Scripture. What a grand key-note the apostle strikes in the first verse !

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.

“No condemnation” — that is the first note of the chapter. In the last verse it is “no separation.” What glorious music there is here, — no condemnation to those who are in Christ, no separation of them from Christ! Happy are the people who have a share in this double blessing, and unhappy are the men and women who know nothing of it. We will read it again: “There is therefore now no condemnation, “There is a great deal of accusation, and a great deal more of tribulation, but there is no condemnation not the least hint of it. Some condemnation we might have expected, but “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

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

I have broken away from its thralldom; the new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the law of grace has set me free from the domination of the law of sin and death. Happy is the free man who is thus liberated by the grace of God.

Romans 8:3. For what the law could not do, —

God has done by his grace: “ What the law could not do,” —

Romans 8:3. In that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, —

Or, as the marginal reading renders it, “by a sacrifice for sin,” —

Romans 8:3-5. Condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;

Unregenerate men, the men who remain in the state in which they were born, the men who allow their lower nature to have the predominance, “they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.” That is all that they care about, all that they think about, all that they toil for, all that they really “mind.”

Romans 8:5. But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Those in whom there is a new life begotten by the Holy Ghost — these mind the things of the Spirit. Each nature seeks its own things, — the flesh seeks the things of the flesh, the spirit seeks the things of the Spirit. Judge ye, my hearers, to which case ye belong by this test, — for what are you living? That which you live for is the true index of your nature. Do you mind spiritual things or the things of the flesh?

Romans 8:6-7. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The old nature never will obey the law of God; it never can do so. What then is to be done with it? Improve it? Nay, my brethren, the only thing to be done with it is to let it die, and then to bury it. In baptism you have a most significant symbol of what is to be done with the flesh; you are to treat it as a dead thing, and therefore to bury it. Let the old life be crucified and put to death with Christ, and let the new life take its place.

Romans 8:8. So then they that are in the flesh —

Those who are still in the old nature, living for it, living to it, —

Romans 8:8. Cannot please God.

Men may wash this old nature, they may clothe it, they may decorate it, they may educate it, but there is no evolution which can produce grace out of nature. The child of nature may be finely dressed, but it is a dead child however gaudily it is attired. There is a vital eternal difference between the old nature and the new.

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.

Ye saints of Rome to whom Paul was writing, and ye who believe in Christ now: “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”

Romans 8:9. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

If Christ’s Spirit has not quickened you, you do not belong to Christ. Some ministers preach a very general sort of gospel in which everybody has a share, but the Bible knows nothing of that sort of gospel. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Do you know what it is to have the Spirit of Christ ? If not, my hearer, do not deceive yourself you are none of his. “If any man” — be he prince or magistrate, a member of Parliament or a doctor of divinity, — “ 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.

Hence the body suffers, the body is sick, the body decays, the body is under the dominion of death because of sin, but the Spirit is full of life because of righteousness.

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.

You believers may have a good hope concerning your bodies: “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies.” Wait a while, therefore; what God has done for your souls he will in due time do for your bodies also. This should make you long for the day of Christ’s appearing, as Paul says in the 23rd verse of this chapter, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” when Christ shall appear, and we shall be raised — “From beds of dust and silent clay,” —the body itself born a second time, regenerate like the soul.

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

We owe the flesh nothing; I mean the law of sin in our members, we owe nothing to that. It has been a curse and a plague to us; we are not debtors to the flesh, so we must not “live after the flesh.”

Romans 8:13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:

If you live simply to gratify your ambition, if you live for avarice, if you live to please yourself, if you live for any earthly object which can be comprised under the term “after the flesh,” you will certainly be disappointed, for you will die, and your hope will die with you.

Romans 8:13. But if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

If you seek, by the Holy Spirit’s power, to kill sin, if you try to crush all sinful desires, if you keep evil with a rope about its neck, if you mortify it put it to death, then you shall live. Holiness is the mode of the Christian; life, sin is the way of the sinner’s death

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


Verses 1-22

This precious chapter reminds us of the description of the land of Havilah, “where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good.”

Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,

There is no condemnation to them; that is gone, and gone for ever. Not only is part of it removed, but the whole of it is gone: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” This is their legal status before God,—in Christ Jesus, without condemnation; and this is their character:—

Romans 8:1. Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Their daily conversation is according to their new spiritual nature, and according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and not according to their fleshly nature, and the guidance of self and Satan.

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.

“It cannot any longer rule me; and it cannot now condemn me. I am free from it, for I am now under the new and higher ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:3-4. 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: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

If there are any men in the world who do keep the law of God, they are the very persons who do not hope to be saved by the keeping of it, for they have by faith found righteousness in Christ, aid now by love and gratitude are put under the power of the law of the spiritual life in Christ, and they so live, by God’s grace, that they do manifest the holiness of the law in their lives.

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

They care for nothing else: they are satisfied so long as their appetites are gratified. They are of this world, and the things of this world fill them to the brim.

Romans 8:5. But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Spiritual joys, spiritual hopes, spiritual pursuits,—these belong only to those who are spiritual.

Romans 8:6. For to be carnally minded—

To be fleshly minded

Romans 8:6. is death;

That is what it comes to, for the flesh comes to death at last; and, after death, it goes to corruption. If we live after that carnal fashion, this will be the end of our living: “death.”

Romans 8:6. But to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

For the spirit will never die, and the spirit has that within it which will bring it perfect peace.

Romans 8:7-8. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Those that have never been born again, so as to be “in the Spirit,” are still just as they were born “in the flesh,” so they cannot please God. Do what they may, there is an essential impurity about their nature so that they cannot be well pleasing unto God. We must be born again, we must become spiritual by the new birth which is wrought by the Holy Spirit, or else it is impossible for us to please God. O you who are trying your best to please God apart from the new birth, and apart from Christ, see how this iron bar is put across your path: “they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Go then to him, and ask him to give you of his Spirit, that you may be spiritual, and no longer carnal.

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.

It does not matter what he calls himself; he may be a preacher, he may be a bishop; but if he has not the Spirit of Christ, “he is none of his;” and if he has the Spirit of Christ, though he may be the most obscure person on earth, he belongs to Christ.

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

The grace of God has not changed that body; it still remains earth, dust, worms’ meat, and it must die unless Christ should come, and transform it by his coming. “The body is dead because of sin;” and hence come those aches and pains, that heaviness, that weariness, that decay, those infirmities of age which we experience so long as we bear about with us this body of death.

Romans 8:10. But the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

There is a living power within us which triumphs over this dying, decaying body. So we rejoice notwithstanding all our afflictions, trials, and depressions.

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.

There is to be an emancipation even for this poor flesh, a translation and a glory for it yet in Christ.

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

Certainly not, for we owe the flesh nothing. It keeps us down and hampers us, it is a hindrance to us, but we certainly owe it nothing; so let us not be subservient to it, let us not consult or even consider it, and especially let us never come under its fatal bondage.

Romans 8:13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:

It is a dying thing, and “ye shall die” if ye live after its dying fashion..

Romans 8:13. But if ye through the Spirit—

That living, immortal power—

Romans 8:13-14. Do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God:

Oh, high dignity and blessed privilege! As soon as ever we get away from the dominion of the flesh, and come to be led by the Spirit of God, and so become spiritual men, we have the evidence that we are the sons of God, for “God is a Spirit,” so his sons must be spiritual.

Romans 8:15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

We did have it once, and it wrought some good effect upon us for the time being; when we were under the Law, we felt ourselves to be in slavery, and that made us go to Christ for liberty.

Romans 8:15. But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Oh, blessed, blessed state of heart to feel that now we are born into the family of God, and that the choice word which no slave might ever pronounce may now be pronounced by us, “Abba”! It is a child’s word, such as a little child utters when first he opens his mouth to speak, and it runs the same both backwards and forwards, -AB-BA. Oh to have a childlike spirit that, in whatever state of heart I am, I may still be able to say, in the accents even of spiritual infancy,” Abba, Father”!

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

What better testimony can we have than that of these two witnesses, first of our own spirit, and then of the Holy Spirit himself, “that we are the children of God”? Note that this is not spoken concerning everybody. The doctrine of the universal Fatherhood of God in a doctrine of the flesh, and not of the Spirit; it is not taught anywhere in God’s Word. This is a Fatherhood which relates only to those who are spiritual; we are born into it by the new birth, and brought into it by an act of grace in adoption. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God;” this is a special privilege that belongs only to those who are spiritual.

Romans 8:17-18. 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. 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.

Do we suffer now? Then let us wait for something better that is yet to come. Yes, we do suffer, and in this we are in accord with the whole creation of God, for the whole creation is just now, as it were, enduring birth pangs. There is something better coming; but, meanwhile, it is troubled and perplexed, moaning and groaning.

Romans 8:19-22. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

See how it often weeps in the superabundant rain that seems like a minor deluge. Note how, at times, creation’s very bowels seem to be tossed and torn with pain and agony by volcanoes and earthquakes. Mark the tempests, tornadoes, hurricanes, and all kinds of ills that sweep over the globe, leaving devastation in their track; and the globe itself is wrapped in swaddling bands of mist, and shines not out like its sister stars in its pristine brightness and splendour. The animal creation, too, wears the yoke of bondage. How unnecessarily heavy have men often made that yoke!


Verses 1-31

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.

To my mind one of the sweetest words of that verse is that little word now.

“There is, therefore, now no condemnation” — at this very moment.

Walking under the power of the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus, there is, therefore, now no condemnation to believers. It is a logical conclusion, too, from something that went before. You and I are not absolved from sin apart from the truth, but there is a great truth at the back of it which necessitates it. “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

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

Sin and death cannot govern me — cannot condemn me — cannot destroy me. Another law has come in. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has brought me into another kingdom wherein I cannot be affected, so as to condemn me, by the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3-4. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The law of God was a good law, a just and holy law. It was weak, not in itself, for, verily, if righteousness could have been by any law, it would have been by the law of God. But it was weak through our flesh. We could not keep it. We could not fulfill the conditions of life laid down under it. Therefore, what the law could not do, God has now done for us. He has found a way of making us righteous through the righteousness of his own dear Son, whom he has sent in the likeness of sinful flesh. He has found out a way of condemning sin, without condemning us. He condemned sin in the flesh, but we escaped. And he has found out a way of making us practically righteous, too, through the abundance of his grace, enabling us to walk no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Blessed be God for this, for when we had broken his law, he might justly have left us to take the consequences; but he has stepped aside: he has gone beyond all that might have been expected of him, and brought in a law by which a remedy is applied to all our ills. Glory be to his name!

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

They live to eat and drink. They live for self-aggrandizement. They live for the world and its pleasures alone. It is according to their nature. Everything acts according to its nature. The wolf devours; the sheep patiently feeds. They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.

Romans 8:5. But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

God has given us, then, the Spirit to dwell in us, and now I trust we can say that we desire holiness, and righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost, for these things are the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6-7. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

It is so deeply vitiated, so thoroughly depraved, that so long as the fleshly mind exists, it will be in rebellion against God. “Ye must be born again,” for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Unless we are renewed, then, by the Spirit of God, we never shall be subject to the law of God; neither, indeed, can we be.

Romans 8:8-9. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 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.

Christ does not own any that are not indwelt by his Spirit. They may wear the Christian name; they may perform some acts which look like Christian acts; but all this avails nothing. You must have the Spirit of God within you, or else you are none of his; and what a thing it is to be “none of his.” “Verily,” says Christ, “I never knew you.” “But, Lord, we ate and drank with thee: thou didst preach in our streets.” But he says, “I never knew you.” They are none of his. Oh! dear friends, the highest point to which human nature can reach of itself falls short of being in Christ. There must be the Spirit of God dwelling in us, or else we are none of his.

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

Therefore, it suffers disease and pain, for the soul is regenerated, but not the body. If I may so speak, the regeneration of the body happens at the resurrection. It is then that it will receive its full share of the blessed work of Christ. “The body is dead because of sin.”

Romans 8:10-11. But the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 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.

So there is a complete deliverance provided for body, soul, and spirit. As Moses said to Pharaoh when he agreed to let the people of Israel go, but said that they must leave behind their flocks, “Not a hoof shall be left behind,” so no particle of our real manhood shall be left under the thraldom of sin and death. The soul is already emancipated, and the body shall be, by the Spirit which dwells in you.

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

For we owe the flesh nothing by way of gratitude or service. The flesh has dragged us down. The flesh has ruined us. We owe it nothing, except mastery of it. We are not debtors to it, to live after it.

Romans 8:13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:

It will die, and so will you, who make it your master.

Romans 8:13. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

“Mortify,” kill, put to death.

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

There may be a great many weaknesses and infirmities about them, but if they follow the divine leadership of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

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.

Is this true of you? “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Dear friends, hearing these words, can you respond to them? Are they true of you?

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

Many of you make a profession of being the children of God. Can your own spirit say that it is true? And is there, in addition to the witness of the Spirit within you that it is true? If not, unless there is a witness to our testimony, it avails nothing. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true”; and if he chooses to put himself on a level, as it were, with the rest of humanity in that respect, we cannot expect that our witness will stand for ought if it stands alone. No, there must be the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

Romans 8:17. And if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;

Oh that if — “if children.” There are some that get over all that. They believe in a universal fatherhood, which is not worth the words in which they describe it. This is a different fatherhood altogether.

Romans 8:17. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Oh! this blessed co-partnership — this fellowship: joint-heirs with Christ: taking part in the whole heritage — as well the heritage of suffering as the heritage of glory. “It shall bruise thy heel, but thou shalt bruise his head.” There is to be the heel-bruising for the Christ, as well as for us; but there is to be the head-crushing of sin and Satan for him and for us, too.

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.

Glory in us! Only think of that! You know the revelation that is in the book; but how grand will be the revelation that is in the man! “The glory which shall be revealed in us.” We shall be full of glory. And a part of God’s glory, which otherwise must have lain concealed, will be revealed in his people to his own praise forever and ever; but also to our own eternal joy.

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

There is something that the whole creation is waiting for, and it cannot come, till God’s children are manifested — till the glory is revealed in them.

Romans 8:20-22. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

“The whole creation.” It is the same word all through; so I have put the same word. The whole world is in its pangs and birth-throes, and there can never come its complete deliverance into the new heavens and the new earth, except there shall also be the manifestation of the children of God, and their deliverance from all that now hampers and hinders the divine life that is within them.

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

This is what we are looking for. Our manhood is not all soul: it is body, too. And here, as yet, this poor body seems to lie outside the gate, like Lazarus, while the soul rejoices in God. But its time of glorifying is coming. The trump of the archangel shall proclaim it.

Romans 8:24. For we are saved by hope:

As yet we are saved by hope.

Romans 8:24-26. But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doeth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 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.

That is a grand thing. We have got the first-fruits of the Spirit to be the pledge of all the glorious harvest. The very fact that the Spirit dwells in us is the conclusive proof that our bodies shall be raised from the dead. Meanwhile, the Spirit of God is helping us, as we groan and labour, towards the complete perfection. “The Spirit helpeth our infirmities.”

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.

Nor is it only the Holy Spirit who is thus helping us onward towards the grand finale.

Romans 8:28-29. 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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

And you know that he is the first-born in this sense — not only as the greatest, but that as the first-begotten from among the dead, he has risen from the dead. He has risen from the dead, and in this he leads the way for us all. “That he might be the first-born among many brethren.”

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.

No slips, no gaps or chasms, by the way. The foreknown are predestinated: the predestinated are the called: the called are justified: the justified are glorified.

Romans 8:31. What shall we then say to these things?

Shall we succumb under the sufferings of the body? Shall we yield to doubt because of all our heavy feelings, and the dullness that comes of the flesh? By no manner of means.

Romans 8:31. If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

We can get through all these difficulties, if God be with us.


Verses 1-32

Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, —

Observe that Paul writes “There is therefore,” for he is stating a truth which is founded upon solid argument. “There is therefore now” — at this very day, at this very moment, — “no condemnation” — none of any sort, — none that will lie in the Court of Conscience or in the Court of King’s Bench above: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Our forefathers used to read this verse, “There is therefore now no damnation.” One of the martyrs, being brought before a Popish bishop, the bishop said to him, “Dying in thy heresy, thou wilt be damned.” “That I never shall be,” answered the good man, “for there is therefore now no damnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.’” He had sought the very spirit of the text, for there is nothing that can condemn the man who is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1. Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This is the distinctive mark of a man in Christ Jesus. He does not let the flesh govern him, but the Spirit. The spiritual nature has come to the front, and the flesh must go to the back. The Spirit of the living God has entered into him, and become the master-power of his life. He walks “not after the flesh, but after 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.

And nothing else can do that. Every man is, by nature, under bondage to that which Paul describes as “the law of sin and death.” There is a law in our nature, which is so powerful that, even when we would do good, evil is present with us, and we cannot get away from that law, except by introducing another, which is “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” Dr. Chalmers has a remarkable sermon upon it. The Expulsive Power of a New Affection;” and it is this new affection for Christ, which is the accompaniment of the new life in Christ, which expels the old forces that used to hold us under bondage to sin and death.

Romans 8:3-4. 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: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The law never made anybody holy, and it never will do so. The law says to a man, “This is what you ought to do, and you will be condemned if you do not do it.” That is quite true, but the law supplies no power to enable us to do this. It says to the lame man, “You must walk,” and to the blind man, “You must see; “but it does not enable them either to walk or to see. On the contrary, our nature is such that, when the law issues its commands, there is a tendency in us at once to disobey them. There are some sins, which we never should have thought of committing if we had not been commanded not to do them, so that the law — not because of its own nature, but because of the wickedness of our nature, is weak and ineffectual for the producing of righteousness. But the Lord Jesus Christ has come, has lived, and has died, — died for us who are his people, and has put away our sins. Now we love him; now, being delivered from all condemnation, we love him who has delivered us, and this becomes the forge by which we are inclined to holiness, and led us further and further in a course, not merely of morality, but of holiness before God. What a blessed system this is, which saves the sinner from the love of sin, delivers a man from sinning, gives him a new nature, and puts a right spirit within him!

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

Flesh cares for flesh. The man who is all body cares only for the body. The man, whose mind is under subjection to his body, minds “the things of the flesh.”

Romans 8:5. But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Where the Holy Ghost is Supreme where the spiritual world has become predominant over the heart and life. There, men live for something nobler than the worldly man’s trinity, “What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?” The carnal life is only becoming to a beast, or a bird, or an insect. But when a man cares for his immortal spirit, and lives for divine and spiritual things, he has attained to the life that is life indeed.

Romans 8:6-7. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

As long as a man lives only for this present evil world, lives for self, lives under the domination of the flesh, he cannot really know God, or truly serve him. Such a mind as his “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

Romans 8:8. So then they that are in the flesh —

That is, those who are under its condemnation and power —

Romans 8:8-10. Cannot please God. 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. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

So that although Christ dwells in a man, he must not reckon that he will be free from suffering, and pain, and sickness, for the body has not yet risen from the dead, and does not yet feel the full effect of regeneration. The soul is risen from the dead by regeneration, and it therefore “is life because of righteousness;” and the body will, in due time, also share in the power of Christ’s Spirit. The day draweth near when we “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Romans 8:11-12. 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 quickens your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

We have got nothing good out of the flesh at present, for it is not yet “delivered from the bondage of corruption,” though it is to be delivered.

Romans 8:13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:

For the flesh is to die.

Romans 8:13. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify —

Or, kill —

Romans 8:13. The deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Shall a dying body, then, be my master? Shall the appetite for eating and drinking, or anything else that comes of the flesh, dominate my spirit? God forbid! Let death go to death, and the flesh is such; but the newly-given spirit of God, the spirit who has quickened us with immortal life shall rule and reign in us evermore.

Romans 8:14-21. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 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. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. 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.

For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed anew. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the Son of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. We are part and parcel of creation, and we shall draw it along with us. There shall be new heavens and a new earth. The curse shall be taken from the garden, thorns and thistles shall no longer grow there; and there shall be no killing or devouring in all God’s holy mountain. The galling yoke, which we have laid on the whole of creation by our sin, shall be taken off from it by our Redeemer.

Romans 8:22-23. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

We groan in unison with a groaning creation, and we shall not at present get rid of our aches, and pains, and sicknesses altogether.

Romans 8:24-32. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it? 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. And he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

This exposition consisted of readings from Romans 3:9-27; Romans 5:6-11; Romans 8:1-32.


Verses 1-34

The words we are about to read follow a passage in which the Apostle describes the conflict of his soul. It is rather singular that it should be so.

To catch the contrast, let us just begin at the end of the 7th chapter, 22nd verse.

Romans 8:22-25 and Romans 8:1. For I delight in the law off God alter the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Some simpletons have said that Paul was not a converted man when he wrote the closing verses of that 7th chapter. I venture to assert that nobody but an advanced Christian, enjoying the highest degree of sanctification could ever have written it. It is not a man that is dead in sin that calls himself “wretched,” because he finds sin within him; it is a man made pure by the grace of God, who, because of that very purity, tools more the comparatively lesser force of sin than he would have done when he had less grace and more sin. I believe that the nearer we get to absolute perfection, the more fit to enter the gates of heaven, the more detestable will sin become to us, and the more conflict will there be in our souls to tread out the last spark of sin. Bless God, beloved! if you feel a conflict, bless him and ask him that it may rage more terrible still, for that shall be one evidence to you that you are indeed out of all condemnation because you are struggling against the evil.

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.

I am not the bond-slave of it; I am the enemy of it; I am free from it, fighting against it, struggling like a free man against one who would bring him into captivity; but even though I sometime feel as if I were a captive, I know I am not, I am free.

Romans 8:3-4. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not niter the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This is our victory, that let the flesh lust as it may, we do not walk after it; we are kept by God’s grace; we are preserved, so that the bent and tenor of our life is after the rule of the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:5-6. 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. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Oh! what a death it is to us if ever the flesh gets the mastery; and if it had the mastery in us, we should know that we were in death still; but oh! what a joy, what life, what peace it is to have the Spirit ruling in us, so that we are spiritually minded. God give us this to the full!

Romans 8:7-8. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

We must be born again then. It is no use improving the flesh. The taking away of the filth of the flesh was the old law, but the burying of the flesh, that is the new. The plunging of it into the death of Christ is the very sign of the new covenant. Oh! to know to the full, the power of the life of God for the death of the flesh!

Romans 8:9-10. 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. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because off sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

That is why we have aches and pains, and infirmities, because the body is dead; that is, doomed to die, must die; it must see corruption unless the Lord come, and even in that case it must undergo a wondrous change; so we regard our body as dead. No wonder, then, that all those aches and pains and troubles of body do come upon us. The day shall come when, however, even it shall be delivered from the power of death; meanwhile, blessed be God, “the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

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.

The blessing of life is to come to the body too; it shall be immortal by-and-bye, delivered from all the infirmities and sorrows which sin and death have brought upon it.

Romans 8:12-13. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 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.

It is a live thing, and a quickening thing, for ye shall live.

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

God has not got a dead child; never had one. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

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.

First, love, and then sonship; he rises in his strain.

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

It is first a quickening spirit, and then a witnessing spirit, witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God. Now up again.

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

Up again: —

Romans 8:17. That we may be also glorified together.

Oh! what a rise is this from groaning under, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” up to this point, “That we may be also glorified together.”

Romans 8:18-19. 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. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

It is not merely that the Spirit will bless the body, but that spiritual men will bless the whole creation. Materialism, which is like the body inhabited by the spirits of saints, is to share in the bliss which Christ has come to bring.

Romans 8:20-22. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Just as our body is, so to speak, the world, the earth in which our spirit dwells: so this big earth is the body in which the Church dwells; and this body has its pains, so this creation has its pains; but as this body is to rise again, so this creation also, though it “groaneth and travaileth,” is to be brought into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” And What a world it will be when the curse that fell on it through the sin of Eden shall be removed by the glorious Atonement of Calvary; and when the blood of Christ which fell to the ground, which you will remember has never gone away from the earth, but is somewhere still, shall have fully redeemed the world, the whole world shall be a trophy of the Redeemer’s power.

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

Of course, we do groan within ourselves. Who said. we did not? And those brethren who say they never groan, I wish they would learn better. It is one of the signs of grace and marks of a child of God that he is not perfect, and does not think he is, but groans after it, cries after it. “We groan without ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” For this poor body still lies in measure under a curse, still with its pains, still with its carnal appetites and fleshly tendencies to hamper and to trouble it, but this we groan after — that this flesh of ours, and the whole creation in which we dwell, shall yet have a joyous deliverance.

Romans 8:24-30. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 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. 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. 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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

He speaks as if it were all done, because the major part of it is done in the saints, and it will only be a wink of the eye and it will all be done in every one of us who are believers. Let us look at it as done quite fully, even now, by hope that we are already glorified together.

Romans 8:31-32. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things!

What, indeed, what can we say? We are lost in wonder, love, and praise. Thus much, however, we can say, for it concerns our struggles while we are here below. Paul has got that shadow still ever him — of struggling against the flesh. What shall we say in the view of these blessed things concerning that struggle? Why, this: “If God be for us, Who can be against us?”

Romans 8:33-34. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 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.

Equally impossible; and if neither God nor Christ will condemn, what judge have we to fear? The Judge of all the earth, and the Judge of the quick and the dead — if neither of these condemn, condemn away who likes.


Verses 1-39

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.

“No condemnation”: that is the beginning of the chapter. No separation: that is the end of the chapter. And all between is full of grace and truth. What a banquet this chapter has often proved to the souls of God’s hungry servants! May it be so now as we read it. No condemnation even now. Many doubts, but no condemnation. Many chastisements, but no condemnation. Even frowns from the Father’s face apparently, but no condemnation. And this is not a bare statement, but an inference from powerful arguments. “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” This is where they are. “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” This is how they behave themselves, not under the government of the old nature, but under the rule of the divine Spirit of God.

Romans 8:2-4. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.

None keep the law so well as those who do not hope to be saved by it, but who, renouncing all confidence in their own works, and accepting the righteousness which is of God by faith in Christ Jesus, are moved by gratitude to a height of consecration and a purity of obedience which mere legalism can never know. The child will obey better without desire of reward, than the slave will under the dread of the lash, or in hope of a wage. The most potent motive for holiness is free grace. A dying Saviour is the death of sin. As we have been singing, we strove against its power until we learnt that Christ was the way, and then we conquered it.

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.

Everything according to its nature. Water will rise as high as its source, but it will not naturally flow any higher. The great thing, then, is to be brought under the dominion of the Holy Spirit, and of that new nature which is the offspring of the Spirit. Then we try to rise up to our source, and we rise vastly higher than human nature ever can under any force that you can apply to it. The new nature can do what the old nature cannot do.

Romans 8:6. For to be carnally minded

To have the mind of the flesh.

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

Flesh must die. Its tendency is to corruption; but the spirit never dies. Its tendency, its instinct, is growth, advance, immortality.

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

The old nature is hopelessly bad. There is no mending it. It is enmity, not merely at enmity; but it is absolutely enmity. It is not subject to God’s law, and you cannot make it so.

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

So long as we are under the dominion of the old nature, the depraved and-fallen nature, there is no pleasing God.

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.

Oh! this is a very wonderful fact, that the Spirit of God should dwell in us. I have often said to you that I never know which of two mysteries most to admire — God incarnate in Christ, or the Holy Spirit indwelling in man; they are two marvelous things, miracles of miracles.

Romans 8:9-10. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

The regeneration of the body, so to speak, is not performed in this life; Resurrection is tantamount to that. The body is still under the old law of death, and so we have pain and weakness, and we die; but the spirit, oh! how it triumphs, even in the midst of pain and weakness. “The Spirit is life, because of righteousness.” That will not die.

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.

So there is coming a time for your body to experience the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body. He does not say that he will give you a new body. Do not believe this modern doctrine. But he shall quicken your mortal body; that is to say, the same body, which is now subject to death, and so is mortal, is to be quickened at the resurrection.

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

What do we owe the old nature? Nothing, surely. Give it a decent burial. Let it be buried with Christ in baptism. Let the Spirit of God come and renew it. But we owe it nothing, and we are not debtors to it.

Romans 8:13-14. 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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Your “universal fatherhood” is rubbish. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” and none others. This is the essential to sonship — that we should have the Spirit of God within us.

Romans 8:15-16. 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. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

That is, when we have the Spirit, when we are renewed in the Spirit of our minds, when we come into the domain of Spirit, and quit the tyranny of the flesh. Then the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

Romans 8:17. And if children, then heirs;

It is not, of course, so in human families. All children are not heirs; but it is so in the family of God.

Romans 8:17. Heirs of God,

What a heritage! God himself becomes our heritage. We are heirs to all that God has, and all that God is.

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

The whole chapter is rather too long for our reading, so we will pass on to the 28th verse.

Romans 8:28. And we know

This is not a matter of opinion. This is scarcely a matter of faith. “We know.” We are sure of it. We have proved it.

Romans 8:28. That all things work together for good to them that love God,

They all work. They work in harmony. They work for one purpose. That purpose is for good.

Romans 8:28. To them who are the called according to his purpose.

That is their private character, which God knows, and which he reveals to them in course of time.

Romans 8:29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

This is their character, which they perceive, which others may in a measure perceive. We are to be like him then, conformed to his image; and if we be joint-heirs with him, what a joy it is that we are to be partakers of his nature, made like to him! Christ will be reflected, and in a measure repeated, in all his people; and this shall be the very glory of heaven, that, look which way you will, you shall see either Christ himself or his likeness in his people. If you have ever stood in a room that was full of mirrors everywhere, how wonderfully your own likeness has been repeated! And heaven shall be a mirror chamber, wherein Christ shall be seen in every one of his people. He did predestinate them to be conformed to the image of his Son.

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?

That glorification we cannot see as yet. It is in the excessive brightness of the future, just as his divine election is in the brightness of the past. These are the two columns on either shore; but the swinging bridge in between is this — calling and justification. These are joined in one, stud if thou hast either of these, thou mayest know thy predestination and thy future glorification

Romans 8:31. What shall we then say to these things?

Oh! have you not often said that? When you have studied the plan of grace, the covenant of God, have you not said to yourself, “What can I say to all this? It is passing wonder; It exceeds the power of comprehension, for the greatness of this glory. What shall we then say to these things?” Well, we will say something practical that shall cheer our hearts.

Romans 8:31-33. If God be for us who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

It may be read, “God that justifieth?” and properly may be read as a question.

Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,

He is the Judge. Will he who died condemn?

Romans 8:34. Yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

He alone is Judge. Has he done all this, and will he condemn us?

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?

These have been tried on the saints for ages.

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.

But has this divided them from Christ? Hear them all, as with united voice they answer.

Romans 8:37-38. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded,

Somebody asked, “Pray, what persuasion may you be?” Well, this is my persuasion.

Romans 8:38. That neither death, nor life, nor angels,

Good or bad.

Romans 8:38. Nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,

Hard and grinding as they may be.

Romans 8:38. Nor things to come.

Unknown mysteries dreaded.

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.


Verses 14-17

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

You can judge yourself, dear friend, by this test. Do you follow the Spirit’s leading? Do you desire continually that he should be your supreme Guide and Leader? If you are led by the Spirit of God, then you have this highest of all privileges, you are one of the sons of God. Nothing can equal that honour; to be a son of God, is more than anything of which ungodly kings and emperors can boast, with all their array of pomp and wealth.

Romans 8:15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

Ye did receive it once, and it was a great blessing to you. This came of the law, and the law brought you under bondage through a sense of sin, and that made you first cry for liberty, and then made you accept the liberating Saviour; but you have not received that spirit of bondage again to fear.

Romans 8:15. But ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

We who believe in Jesus are all children of God, and we dare to use that name which only children might use, “Abba;” and we dare use it even in the presence of God, and to say to him, “Abba, Father.” We cannot help doing it, because the spirit of adoption must have its own mode of speech; and its chosen way of speaking is to appeal to the great God by this name, “Abba, Father.”

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

There are two witnesses, then, and in the mouth of these two witnesses the whole truth about our adoption shall be established. Our own spirit — so changed as to be reconciled to God, and led in ways which once it never trod, — our own spirit bears witness that we are the sons of God; and then God’s own Spirit bears witness, too, and so we become doubly sure.

Romans 8:17. And if children, then heirs;

For all God’s children are heirs, and all equally heirs. The elder-born members of God’s family, such as Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs, are no more heirs of God than are we of these latter days who have but lately come to Christ. “If children, then heirs.” Heirs of what?

Romans 8:17. Heirs of God,

Not only heirs of what God chooses to give, but heirs of himself. There need be nothing else said, if this is true: “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.” “Heirs of God,”

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

Do you ever have in your heart a longing to behold the glory of God? Do you feel pressed down when you see abounding sin? Are your eyes ready to be flooded with tears at the thought of the destruction of the ungodly? Then, you are having sympathy with Christ in his sufferings, and you shall as certainly be an heir with him, by-and-by, in his glory.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 27 and Romans 8:14-17.


Verses 14-30

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

Not those who say they are “the sons of God,” but those who undoubtedly prove that they are, by being led, influenced, gently guided, by the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:15. For ye have yet received the spirit of bondage again to fear: but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

We did receive the spirit of bondage once. We felt that we were under the law, and that the law cursed us. We felt its rigorous taxation, and that we could not meet it. Now that spirit ‘has gone, and we have the spirit of freedom, the spirit of children, the spirit of adoption. I suppose that the apostle, when he thus spake and said. “ye,” felt so much of the spirit of adoption in his own bosom that he could not talk of it as belonging to others alone. He was obliged to include it thus’, and so he puts it, “Ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” He wanted to intimate that he himself also was a partaker of this blessed spirit. And woe to the preacher who can preach an adoption which he never enjoyed. Woe to any of us if we can teach to others concerning the spirit of sonship, but never feel it crying in our own souls, “Abba, Father.”

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

It corroborates the testimony of conscience. We feel that we are the children of God; and the Spirit of God comes forward as a second, but still greater and higher witness, to confirm the testimony that we are the children of God.

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.

It is to be all with him. With him in the suffering; with him in the glory; with him in the reproach of men; with him in the honour at the right hand of the Father. But if we shun the path of humiliation with him, we may expect that he will deny us in the day of his glory.

Romans 8:18. For I reckon

Judge, count it up, and calculate.

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

These sufferings, however sharp, are short, compared with eternal glory, infinitesimal, not worthy to be taken account of; like one drop falling into a river and lost in it.

Romans 8:19-21. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

There is a future even for materialism. That poor, dusky clod in which we dwell is yet to be illuminated with the light of God; and these poor bodies which are akin to the dust of the earth, and still remain as if they were not delivered, being subjected to pain, and weakness, and death — even they are yet to be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Romans 8:22-23. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

The soul has obtained its redemption. Therefore, our heart is glad, and our glory rejoicing. But our body has not yet obtained its redemption. That is to come at the resurrection. Then will be the adoption. “Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Oh! blessed fact! Though now, in common with the whole creation, the body is subjected to bondages, yet it shall be delivered, and we — the whole man, body as well as soul and spirit — shall be brought into the liberty of the children of God.

Romans 8:24-25. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Ah! brethren, if we could be all we should like to be, there would then be no room for the exercise of hope. If we had all that we are to have, then hope, which is one of the sweetest of the graces, would have no room in which to exercise herself. It is a blessed thing to have hope. Though I have heard that faith and hope are not to be found in heaven, I very much question it. I do not think they will ever die. “Now abide these three —faith, hope, and love”; for in heaven there will be room, surely, for trust in the ever blessed God that he will never cast us out from our blessedness —room for the expectation of the second advent — room for the expectation of the conquest of the world — room for the fulfilled promise of bringing all the elect to glory; still something to be hoped for; still something to be believed. Yet here is the main sphere of hope, and therefore let us give it full scope; and when other graces seem to be at a non-plus, let us still hope. I believe the New Zealand word for hope is “swimming thought,” because that will swim when everything else is drowned. Oh! happy is that man who has a hope that swims on the crest of the stormiest billow.

Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

And especially our infirmities in prayer, for there is where infirmities are mostly seen.

Romans 8:26. For we knew not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

I should have thought that it would have read, “But the Spirit itself teaches us what we should pray for.” But it does more than that. He goes beyond teaching us what we should pray for. He “maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Do you know what those groanings are? I am afraid that those who never had groanings which cannot be uttered will never know anything of that glory which cannot be expressed, for that is the way to it. The groanings that cannot be uttered lead on to unutterable joy.

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.

That is the philosophy of prayer. Whatever God’s will is, the Spirit of God writes it on the hearts of praying saints, and they pray for the very thing which God intends to give. As the barometer often foretells the weather that is coming, so the spirit of prayer in the Christian is the barometer which indicates when showers of blessing are coming. It is well with us when we can pray. If we cannot do anything else, if we feel that we can pray, times are not so bad with us as we might think.

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.

We know it: we are assured of it.

Romans 8:29-30. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

No breaking of these links. Where God gives one of these blessings, he gives the rest. There is no intimation of a failure somewhere in between. The predestinated are called, and the called are justified, and the justified are glorified.

Romans 8:31-33. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?

Who shall? Who may? Who dares?

Romans 8:33-35. It is God that justifieth. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

All these have done their worst.

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.

But have they divided the saints from the love of Christ? Have they made the saints leave off loving Christ, or Christ cease from loving his people?

Romans 8:37-39 Way, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. 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.

For which blessed be the name of the adorable Trinity, world without end!


Verses 14-39

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

Leading implies following; and those who are enabled to follow the guidance of the Divine Spirit are most assuredly children of God, for the Lord ever leads his own children. If, then, you are following the lead of God’s Spirit, you have one of the evidences of sonship.

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.

The spirit of bondage is the spirit of servants, not of sons; but that servitude is ended for us who are made free in Christ Jesus. We are no longer afraid of being called the children of God. We are not afraid of our own Father; we have a filial fear of him, but it is so mixed with love that there is no torment in it. Whether Jew or Gentile, we cry, “Abba, Father.”

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

Our spirit knows that we are God’s children and then God’s Spirit adds his testimony to the witness of our spirit that we are the children of God.

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.

This would not necessarily be true of any man’s family, for he might have children who were not his heirs; but, in God’s family, all who are born into it are born “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” We must take our part of Christ’s portion,— his portion here, and his portion hereafter; the rule for us who are in him shall be, “share and share alike.” He himself has said, “Where I am, there shall also my servant be;” and all that he has he will divide with us. Are you willing, dear brother, to take shares with Christ? If not, then I question whether you can be rightly reckoned among his saints.

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.

“Light afflictions” are contrasted with “an exceeding weight of glory.” Temporary afflictions, but for a moment, are to be followed by everlasting crowns that fade not away. What a contrast!

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

All creation is, as it were, watching and waiting on tip-toe for the day when God shall manifest his sons who are at present hidden. In due time, they shall come forth, acknowledged of God, and then shall the whole creation rejoice.

Romans 8:20-23. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 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.

We have already obtained salvation for our souls, but our body is still under bondage,— subject to weariness,— to pain,— to infirmity,— to death; but, by-and-by, with the new creation, our newly-moulded bodies shall be fit to live in the new world, and fit for our newborn souls to inhabit. This is the full redemption for which we are waiting.

Romans 8:24-28. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 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.. 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. 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.

“We know that all things work together for good.” That is a wonderfully positive statement, Paul. There are certain persons, nowadays, who say that we know nothing; yet the apostles constantly say, “We know this,” and “We know that.” These people tell us that there is a great distinction between believing and knowing,— but, evidently, it is a distinction of which the inspired apostles knew nothing at all. Read the Epistles of John, and note how he continually says, “We know, we know, we know,” and how frequently he adds, “We believe,” as though believing and knowing were the same thing. Agnostics may declare that they know nothing, if they please; but, as for us who do know, because we believe what we are taught of God in this Book, we will speak. He who has something to say has a right to say it; we know, and therefore we speak. Mark, brethren, how the apostle speaks here; he does not say that all things shall work together for good; no, but that they do work together, they are now working for your present good. This is not merely something which shall eventually turn out right; it is all right now, “We know that all things are working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” No sooner does the apostle mention that word “purpose” than he must needs found a long discourse upon it. He was not afraid or ashamed to speak of the purposes of God. There are some preachers who say nothing about God’s purpose, or God’s decree; they seem to be afraid of it, they say it is “Calvinistic doctrine.” Why, it was here, in the Scriptures, long before Calvin was born, so what right have they to call it by his name? Listen to what the apostle has to say:

Romans 8:29-30. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed, to the image of his Son, 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.

There is no separating these golden links of love and mercy. That foreknowledge, to which all things future are open and present, begins the deed of love. Predestination comes in, and chooses a people for God who shall be eternally his. Upon this, in due time, follows effectual calling, by which the chosen ones are brought out, from the impure mass of mankind, and set apart unto God. Then follows justification by faith, through the precious blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; and where this is, glory will certainly come, for “whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Romans 8:31-32. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?

Notice, it is not simply “freely give us all things;” but, “with him also freely give us all things.” You shall get all things with Christ; but you shall get nothing without Christ, for all the other gifts come in this one. God first gave us his Son; and he gives us everything in him.

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

Ring out the challenge in heaven itself; trumpet it through all the caverns of hell; let the whole universe hear it: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect ?” None can, for “it is God that justifieth,” and his justification blocks every charge that is brought against his people.

Who shall the Lord’s elect condemn?

‘Tis God that justifies their souls;

And mercy like a mighty stream,

O’er all their sins divinely rolls.

Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth ?

None will answer to that challenge, for

Romans 8:34-35. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?

Oh, this blessed question — this touching question! It seems to come at the end of all the others,— a rear-guard which effectually prevents our treasures from being taken from us. “Quis separabit?” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

Romans 8:35. Shall tribulation ?

That has been tried. Have not the saints been beaten like wheat upon the threshing-floor? Has not addiction been to them a stern test of the reality of their faith? But Christ has loved them none the less for all the suffering that he has permitted to fall upon them.

Romans 8:35. Or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

When they have been in famine or poverty, has Christ ever forsaken his saints? Ah, no! he has loved them all the more. Have any of these things separated us from our Saviour? No; but they have, to our own consciousness, knitted us even more closely to our Divine Lord. Cruel men have tried every form of persecuting the saints of God; they have been more inventive in the torments which they have applied to Christians than in almost anything else; yet no torture, no rack, no imprisonment, has ever divided them from Christ. They have clung to him still, after the manner of John Bunyan, who, when they said, that he might go free if he would promise not to preach the gospel, said, “I will lie in prison till the moss grows on my eyelids rather than I will ever make such a promise as that. If you let me out of prison today, I will preach tomorrow, by the grace of God.”

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.

But there has been no triumph over the saints in this case.

Romans 8:37-39. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

Not all that men on earth can do,

Nor powers on high, nor powers below,

Shall cause his mercy to remove,

Or wean our hearts from Christ our love.

Glory be unto his holy name! Amen.


Verses 15-31

Romans 8:15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

You did receive it once. You needed it. You were in sin, and it was well for you when sin became bondage to you. It was grievous, but it was salutary; but you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.

Romans 8:15. But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Does your spirit cry in that way tonight? Even if you be in the dark, yet if you cry for your Father, you will soon be in the light. There is no need to be distressed with any form of doubt so long as the Spirit makes this continual breathing, “Abba, Father, show thyself to me. Do what thou wilt to me. Let me taste thy love. Let me at least bow under thy hand.”

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

Our spirit feels the spirit of adoption, and so there is a double witness, the witness of our spirit, and the witness of God’s Spirit, that we are the children of God. In the mouth of these two witnesses the whole shall be established.

Romans 8:17. And if children, then heirs;

That does not follow in other cases, but it does in the case of the family of God. In a man’s family, only one son can be an heir; but in God’s family, of all is it declared “if children, then heirs.”

Romans 8:17. Heirs of God,

Not only heirs to God, but heirs of God. God himself is the heritage of his people; he belongs to them now, as an eternal endowment. “Heirs of God.”

Romans 8:17. And joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

We are to take the rough and the smooth, the bitter and the sweet, with Christ; and who will make any demur to that? If we are to be heirs with Christ, we do not wish to split the inheritance in pieces. Nay! we will take the cross as well as the crown — the reproach as well as the honour.

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.

He had just mentioned the sufferings. They are too little. They are mere specks in the sun. They are too small to be weighed in comparison with the exceeding weight of glory which God has prepared for us.

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

So great is to be the glory of God’s children that all the world is waiting for it. Every creature stands on tip-toe, looking for the coming of Christ and the manifestation of the redeemed. What must be the greatness of this thing which the whole creation has learned to expect?

Romans 8:20-21. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

We were in bondage, and we have come out in a measure into the liberty of the children of God. Now the world in which we live is in sympathy with us, and it is part under bondage because of sin, but it is only temporary bondage. There will come a day when the whole creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God — a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

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

Deep groans are in the world. Have you not heard of earthquakes? Do you not know how the whole world is in a tremor? There is something coming, and all the world is groaning for that coming. God makes the universe to be like an instrument of music played upon by the fingers of mortal men: so that when they are sorrowful, the world is sorrowful, and when they go forth with joy and are led forth with peace, then the mountains and the hills shall break forth before them into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. “We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

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

As yet the body is under bondage. The body is dead because of sin: hence those headaches — this palpitation of the heart — this heaviness of the day which incases us: but by-and-bye, as the material world is to be delivered from its bondage, so shall these bodies also pass away from all the encumbrance of weakness, and disease, and death, into a better state.

Romans 8:24. Far we are saved by hope:

As yet.

Romans 8:24-25. But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

What a lesson that is, and how seldom do we learn it! Oh! in this present state our main duty is, “Then do we with patience wait for it.” You want to have your cake and keep it. but you cannot eat it and keep it too. With patience wait for it. There see some fruits of the earth that are not ripe yet. You lay them by in store, and there are many good things that God has laid by in store for his people, and he says to us, “With patience wait for it:” Oh! but you would fain have heavenly joy on earthly ground. It would be a sorry misfit if it were so. But God keeps time and season, and there is harmony in his music. You shall have earthly sorrow on earthly ground, and you shall have heavenly bliss on the heavenly shore: but not till then. We do with patience wait for it.

Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities;

Especially our infirmities in prayer. I think that if anywhere our infirmities come out, it is in prayer: even the strongest are, on their knees, comparatively weak. How few there are among us that prevail with God. as Elias did! We ought to do so. We need, none of us, stop short of the fullest stature of a man in Christ Jesus. and a man of full stature in Christ would surely carry the keys of heaven’s treasury at his girdle. He would have but to ask, and to receive — to seek and to find. May the Spirit help our infirmities.

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.

See what little worlds we are. Microcosms, — to use a harder word; for as there are groanings and travailings in the whole creation, so are there such in the little world of our own heart. Only nature’s travail is but natural; but our travail is supernatural. It is the Spirit himself groaning within chosen breasts with groanings that cannot be uttered.

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.

When we ourselves hardly know the mind of the Spirit, he that searches all hearts knows it. When we feel as if we could not pray, yet the Spirit of God makes intercession in us, and the great Father reads the purport of the intercessions, and blesses us, not according to our knowledge of our own prayer, but according to his knowledge of what the Spirit means by those prayers. Have you never noticed that holy men of old sometimes spoke much greater things than they thought they should, for the Spirit of God in them spoke by them more than they themselves understood; and I believe that it is so in prayer. Oh! oftentimes the groaning, wrestling believer may have no inkling of the full purport of his own prayer, but 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 8:28. And we know –

Now we are getting upon a dear old passage which reads like music. There is no eloquence in the world that ever touches the eloquence of the Apostle here.

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

I do not like to hear this text quoted, as I often do, only in part — only half of it. “All things work together for good,” say people. “Oh! yes; somehow or other, good will come of it.” It does not say so here. It says, “All things work together for good to them that love God; to them that are the called according to his purpose.” A special purpose and object of God for a special people. And if you do not belong to this people, things are not working together for your good. No; but you may find that they will work together for your banishment from life and from the presence of God. Take your heed to this. The stars in their courses fight against you, if you fight against God; and the very earth groans and complains of bearing up your weight if you are a rebel against the Most High. You must, first of all, be reconciled so as to love God, and the eternal purpose must be wrought in you by your effectual calling from out of the world, or else you must not dare to intrude into the holy sanctuary of my text. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Of course, they do, for God loves them. “To them that are the called according to his purpose.” Of course, they do, for that purpose which called them is not consistent with anything, but a purpose of infinite love to them. The great eternal purpose encompasses all things that happen, and bends all to the grand object of the good of the called ones.

Romans 8:29-30. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

He spoke of it as if it were done because it is so sure, so certain to be done; he puts it down as a fact.

Romans 8:31. What shall we then say to these things?

Ah! indeed, what shall we say? If we had the tongues of men and angels, what could we say? Well, we will say this much at any rate.

Romans 8:31. If God be for us, who can be against us?

Those afflictions that we read of just now — these reproaches which we share with Christ — what of them? They are not worth calling anything. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”


Verses 18-39

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.

Paul made “the sufferings of this present time” into a matter of simple arithmetic and careful reckoning. He added them all up, and saw what the total was, he seemed to be about to state a proportion sum, but he gave it up, and said that the sufferings were “not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.” Did they stand as one to a thousand? No, else they had been worthy to be compared. Did they stand as one to ten thousand, — or one to a million, — or one to a million of millions? If so, they would still have been worthy to be compared; but Paul saw that there was no proportion whatever between them. The sufferings seemed to be but as a single drop, and the glory to be as a boundless ocean.

“Not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

That glory is not yet fully revealed; it is revealed to us, but not yet in us. What, then, shall we do in the meantime? Why, wait with patience, and bear our appointed burden until the time comes for us to be relieved of it; — wait, however, with hope, — wait, too, as we must, quietly enduring the pains and pangs which precede so glorious a birth. In this respect, we are not alone, as the apostle goes on to say, —

Romans 8:19-22. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

We live in a world that is under a curse, — a world that was made subject to bondage through human sin. What means this cold? What mean these fogs? What mean the general mourning and sighing of the air all through the winter? What mean the disturbances, and convulsions, and catastrophes that we hear about on all hands? It is the creation groaning, travailing, waiting, — waiting till there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, because the former things shall have passed away.

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.

Our soul has been delivered from the curse. The redemption of the soul is complete, but not yet that of the body. That must suffer pain and weariness, and even descend into the tomb, but its day of manifestation shall surely come. At the appearing of our Lord from heaven, then shall the body itself be delivered, and the whole creation shall also be delivered, so we wait in a travailing condition; and we may well be content to wait, for these pangs within us and around all signify the glorious birth for which we may wait in hope.

Romans 8:24-25. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

This is our attitude and our condition now, — waiting for the glory which is to be revealed in us, and accepting the sorrow which is appointed to us as an introduction to the joy which is to come to us mysteriously, through it but while we are waiting, we are not without present comfort.

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.

You must, I am sure, as children of God, often have felt that Spirit within you groaning in prayer what you could not express. How often have you risen from your knees feeling the utter inadequacy of words to express the desires of your heart! And you have felt that you had larger desires than you have been able to interpret. There have been mighty pangs within you telling of the presence of this wrestling spirit.

Romans 8:27. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,

When you do not know your own mind, God knows the mind of the Spirit, and that is the very essence of prayer. He “knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,” —

Romans 8:27. Because he maketh intercession for (or, in) the saints according to the will of God.

Whatever the spirit of God prompts us to pray for, is according to the mind of God, for it is not possible that the Holy Spirit should ever be otherwise than in perfect accord with the Divine Father. The eternal degrees, if we could read them, would convey to us the same truth as the impulses of the Spirit in our heart. And this is the true exploration of prayer, — that what God intends to do, his spirit leads his people to ask him to do; and thus there is no conflict between the eternal predestination of God and the earnest entreaties of his people. They are, in fact, the outcome of that very predestination.

Romans 8:28-30. 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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

These great truths must never be separated. Any one of these things befog true of us, it is most certain that the rest are also true. Now, my dear brother, you cannot read God’s foreknowledge, neither can you enter into the secrets of predestination; but you can tell whether you are called, or not; you can know whether you are justified by faith, or not; and if you get hold of those links, you have got a grip of that endless chain which is firmly fastened to the granite rock of eternity past, and which is also fastened to the rock of the glorious eternity which is yet to be revealed.

Romans 8:31-33. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

For so we think it ought to be read. That is another question. Can God lay anything to our charge after having justified us? Will he contradict himself?

Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth?

There is only One who can, for there is only one Judge, and that Judge is Jesus. So, the apostle puts it again in the form of a question, — shall he condemn us?

Romans 8:34. 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.

Shall he condemn us? It is altogether impossible.

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 ?

What a long list of ills! They seem to make up a Jeremiah’s roll of sorrow. Can they separate us from the love of Christ? They have all been tried; have they ever succeeded?

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.

But did they succeed in separating saints from the love of Christ even in the days of martyrdom?

Romans 8:37-39. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”


Verses 19-39

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

The whole creation is in a waiting posture, waiting for the glory yet to be revealed.

Romans 8:20-21. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Everything here is blighted, and subject to storm, or to decay, or to sudden death, or to calamity of some sort. It is a fair world, but there is the shadow of the curse over it all. The slime of the serpent is on all our Edens now. “The creature itself was made subject to vanity,” but it “also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

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

The birth-pangs of the creation are on it; the living creature within is moving itself to break its shell, and come forth.

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

That is our state now; at least, it is the condition of the most of us. Some of our brethren have gone ahead so tremendously that they have passed out of the world of groaning altogether; they are perfect. I regret that they are not in heaven; it would seem to be a much more proper place for them than this imperfect earth is. But as for us, our experience leads us, in sympathy with the apostle, to say that we are groaning after something better. We have not received it yet; we have the beginnings of it, we have the earnest of it, we have the sure pledge of it; but it is not as yet our portion to enjoy; we are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body;” for, though the soul be born again, the body is not. “The body in dead,” says the apostle, in the tenth verse of this chapter, “because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.” There is a wonderful process through which this body shall yet pass, and then it shall be raised again, a glorious body, fitted for our regenerated spirit; but as yet it remains unregenerate.

Romans 8:24. For we are saved by hope:

Hope contains the major part of our salvation within itself.

Romans 8:24-26. But hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

That same Spirit who gave us the spirit of adoption, that same Spirit who set us longing for something higher and better, “also helpeth our infirmities;” and we have so many of them that we show them even when we are on our knees.

Romans 8:26. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

There seems to be a good deal of this groaning; it is only in heaven that there are- “No groans to mingle with the songs which warble from immortal tongues.” But down here a groan is sometimes the fittest wheel for the chariot of progress. We sigh, and cry, and groan, to grow out of ourselves, and to grow more like our Lord, and so to become more fit for the glory which shall be revealed in us.

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.

That is the whole process of prayer. The Spirit of God knows the will of the Father, and he comes and writes it on our hearts. A true prayer is the revelation of the Spirit of God to our heart, making us desire what God has appointed to give to us. Hence the success of prayer is no difficulty to the predestinarian. Some foolishly say, “If God has ordained everything, what is the use of praying?” If God had not ordained everything, there would be no use in praying; but prayer is the shadow of the coming mercy which falls across the spirit, and we become in prayer in some degree gifted like the seers of old. The spirit of prophecy is upon the man who knows how to pray; the Spirit of God has moved him to ask for what God is about to give.

Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,

“All things.” That is a very comprehensive expression, is it not? It includes your present trouble, your aching head, your heavy heart: “all things.” “All things work.” There is nothing idle in God’s domain. “All things work together.” There is no discord in the providence of God. The strangest ingredients go to make up the one matchless medicine for all our maladies. “All things work together for good” — for lasting and eternal good, — “to them that love God,” that is their outward character, —

Romans 8:28. To them who are the called according to his purpose.

That is their secret character, and the reason why they love God at all.

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

Oh, what a glorious privilege is yours and mine, if we are indeed children of God! We are, in some respects, children of God in the same sense as Christ himself is; he is the firstborn, and we are among his “many brethren.”

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.

Notice that personal pronoun “he” — how it comes at the beginning, and goes on to the end. “Salvation is of the Lord.” This is so often forgotten that, trite as it may appear, we cannot repeat it too often: “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” You might suppose, from the talk of some men, that, salvation is all of the man himself; — that is free agency pushed into a falsehood, a plain truth puffed into a lie. There is such a thing as free agency, and we should make a great mistake if we forgot it; but there is also such a thing as free grace, and we shall make a still greater mistake if we limit that to the agency of man; it is God who works our salvation from the beginning to the end.

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

If God is that great working One who does all this, who can be against us? “Why, a great many,” says one. But they are nothing, nor are all put together anything at all, as compared with him who is on our side.

Romans 8:32-33. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth?

No, that is impossible; and if he does not lay anything to their charge, what cause have they to fear?

Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.

What, die for them, and then condemn them? Nobody can condemn them but the Judge; and if he is unable to condemn them, in consequence of what he has already done for them, then none can. But this is not all.

Romans 8:34. Yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Will he blow hot and mild, and first intercede for them, and then condemn them? It cannot be.

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

“Quis separabit?” That shall be our motto in every time of trial: “who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

Romans 8:35-36. 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.

They have all had their turn; but did any of them, or all of them put together, ever divide the saints from Christ?

Romans 8:37-39. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

Blessed, forever blessed, be his holy name! Amen.


Verses 23-39

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.

That is what we are waiting for: “ the redemption of our body; “ and we shall not wait in vain for it, for Christ is the Saviour of our body as well as of our soul, and the day shall come when even our bodies shall be free from pain, and weakness, and weariness, and sin, and death. Happy day! we may well look forward to it with the loftiest anticipations.

Romans 8:24-25. 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it?

This is our present position, patiently waiting for “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” patiently waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God,” for “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.”

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.

There is much in this chapter about groaning, and that is but natural, for it so largely concerns our present imperfect state; but, by-and-by, there will be “No groans to mingle with the songs which warble from immortal tongues.”

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.

This explains what to many is the mystery of prayer. The Holy Spirit, being himself God, knows the secret purposes of the divine will, and therefore moves the saints to pray in accordance with that will, and makes their supplications effectual through his own prevailing intercession.

Romans 8:28. And we know—

Paul, like John, was no agnostic; he did not even say, “We think, we imagine, we suppose.” No; “ we know”—

Romans 8:28. That all things work together for good—

We must not stop there, otherwise the statement will not be true, for all things do not work together for good to all men, but only—

Romans 8:28. To them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

How are we to know who they are who are the called according to God’s eternal purpose? The previous clause informs us, for both relate to the same individuals; “ them that love God” are “ them who are the saved according to his purpose.” We cannot peer into the pages of the Lamb’s book of life, yet we can tell by this simple test whether our names are recorded there, do we truly love the Lord? If so, all things are working for our present and eternal good, all things visible and invisible, all things friendly and unfriendly, all things in providence and grace.

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

What an eternal honour for all believers, that they might be among the “many brethren” of Christ, God’s firstborn and well-beloved Son! Here too, we see the purpose of God’s foreknowledge and predestination, that we should be “ conformed to the image of his Son.”

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.

You see that these great declarations relate to the same persons right through the whole series: “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate;... whom he did predestinate, them he also called,... them he also justified,... them he also glorified.” There is not a single link missing from the eternal purpose and foreknowledge of God to the everlasting glory in which the saints’ bliss shall be consummated. The practical question’s for each one of us to answer are just these, have I been “called” by grace out of nature’s darkness into God’s marvelous light? Have I been “justified” by faith, and have I peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ? Then, being called and justified, I may rest assured that I have been predestinated, and that in due time I shall be glorified.

“There, where my blessed Jesus reigns,

In heaven’s unmeasured space,

I’ll spend a long eternity In pleasure and in praise.”

Romans 8:31-32. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also give us all things.

After having given us his own Son, what is there that he can withhold from us if it is for our real good? Nay, he has already virtually given us all things in giving him to us.

Romans 8:33-34. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 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.

Well might the apostle ring out these confident challenges to heaven, and earth, and hell. As it is God that justifieth, who can bring any charge against his elect? Who can condemn those for whom Christ died, for whom he has risen, and for whom he is now making intercession at the right hand of God?

Romans 8:35-37. 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. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

“All these things” have only made the saints cling the more closely to their Lord, instead of separating them from him. Their persecutors thought they were triumphing over them, but it was the martyrs who were the victors all the while.

Romans 8:38-39. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

Paul had good reason for being persuaded that there was no separation for those for whom there was no condemnation, may we be among them by God’s grace! Amen.


Verses 26-30

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.

Groanings, then, are prayers, and prayers which the Spirit of God most certainly hears. And those desires which altogether exhaust language, or which cannot be put into language by reason of the exhaustion of our sorrow, these are nevertheless heard of God, for the Spirit of God is in 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.

That is, when the mind lies still, and God the Holy Spirit writes his will upon it, and also writes God’s will. Hence such prayers are sure to be effectual, for they are but the shadow of God’s secret purpose falling upon the soul as a kind of prelude to the coming fulfillment of that purpose. Saints’ prayers are prophets of God’s mercies. We are sure of it; we have no doubt whatever; we know it by experience, as well as by revelation.

Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,

Not yet “all mankind,” but these who “love God.”

Romans 8:28. To them who are the called according to his purpose.

For they would never have loved God if he had not called them to it, and had not purposed to call them.

Romans 8:29-30. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

One is tempted to linger over that golden chain, and examine every link. It will suffice, however, to observe that every link is well fastened to the next. Where there is the “foreknowledge,” which is alias the “forelove,” there is also “elect” — there must be “called” — there shall certainly be “justification,” and where that is, there must be “glory.”

This exposition consisted of readings from Romans 8:26-30; Revelation 21:10-27; Revelation 22 :l-5.


Verses 26-39

Romans 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

Oh, how many these are! Want of memory, want of faith, want of earnestness, ignorance, pride, deadness, coldness of heart, — these are some of our infirmities; but, thank God, we have the omnipotent Spirit of God to help us.

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.

These groanings are too deep, too full of meaning to be expressed in words. There are some things the Christian wants for which he cannot ask; perhaps he does not even know what it is that he wants. There is a vacuum in his heart, but he does not know what would fill it. There is a hunger in his spirit, but he knows not what the bread is, nor where the bread is, that can satisfy his wants. But the Holy Ghost can articulate these unuttered groans, and the deepest needs of our soul can thus be brought before God by his own Spirit. You, then, who find it difficult to pray, do not give up praying. The devil tells you that such poor prayers as yours are can never reach the ear of God. Do not believe him. The Spirit helps your infirmities: and when he helps you, you shall, you must prevail.

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.

It cannot be supposed that the Father does not know what is the mind of the Spirit, since they are one God, and, moreover, inasmuch as the Spirit of God never intercedes for anything which is not according to God’s will, we are sure that our heavenly Father will grant every Spirit-indited prayer.

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.”

Almost everything in this world looks to us to be in confusion, but to God’s eye all is in order. One wave dashes this way, and another that, but they are all working together, and they are all working with one great purpose too. Say not, Christian, “All these things are against me.” Ah, poor soul! this is the verdict of your unbelief, but you will know better than that one of these days. All things are working for you, and not one of them is working against you; therefore, be not dismayed. They are all working together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.

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

That was the very end and object of their predestination that they might become like Christ, their great perfect elder Brother.

“’Christ, be my first elect,’ he said,

Then chose our souls in Christ our Head

Before he gave the mountains birth

Or laid foundations for the earth.”

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

My soul, hast thou been called of God? Has the Spirit of God ever called thee? If so, rejoice in thy predestinator. Have no doubts and fears concerning that matter, for he would never have called thee if he had not intended to save thee from before the foundation of the world.

Romans 8:30. And whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

My son, dost thou believe in Jesus? Hast thou trusted in his precious blood? Then thou art justified. Never give way, then, to any fears concerning thine eternal salvation, for, as surely as there is a heaven, thou shalt be a partaker of its glories, for never was there a soul justified who was not afterwards glorified.

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

Hast thou the world against the Christian? What is the opposition of the world when God is on thy side? Is thine own heart against thee? What then? God is greater than thy heart. Is the devil against thee? Ah! he is mighty, but God is almighty, and he shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Paul was no fanatic; he was a man of great experience and of sound sense; yet he makes nothing of all our foes when God is on our side.

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

When God gave us Christ, he gave us everything, for all the blessings of this life and of the life that is to come lie hidden in Christ as the kernel is within the shell of the nut. What encouragement we have here for believing prayer! Christian, Christ is the golden key of God’s treasuries; you have but to use him aright, and whatever you need shall be yours.

Romans 8:33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?

Here is true boldness; Paul, who called himself the very chief of sinners dares to challenge anyone to lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Surely God can do so. No,” says Paul, —

Romans 8:33. It is God that justifieth.

He is both just and the Justifier of all who believe in Jesus, and they are

“God’s elect.”

Romans 8:34. Who is he that condemneth?

“Why,” saith one, “Christ, the great Judge, will condemn.” No, that he will not, for —

Romans 8:34. 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.

Christian, as Christ makes intercession for you, he will never condemn you. Did he shed his blood for you, and yet will he cast you into hell? Did he rise from the dead for you, and yet will he leave you among the dead and the lost? Think not so strangely of the Christ of God, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, and who will never condemn those who trust in him.

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?

They have been tried again and again.

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

What was the effect of this persecution? Were the saints turned away from Christ by it?

Romans 8:37-39. Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.


Verses 28-39

Romans 8:28-30. 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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, 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.

No breaks between the links of this chain. Foreknowledge is welded to the predestination: the predestination is infallibly linked with the calling, the calling with the justification, and the justification with the glorification. There is no hint given that there may be a flaw or break in the series. Get a hold of any one, and you possess the whole. The called man is the predestinated man. Let him be sure of that. And the justified man shall be a glorified man. Let him have no doubt whatever about that.

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

A great many, but they are all nothing. If God be for us, all they that be against us are not worth mentioning: they are ciphers. If he were on their side, then the one would swell the ciphers to the full, but if he be not there, we may put them all into the scale and reckon them as less than nothing.

Romans 8:32-33. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?

Who, indeed.

Romans 8:33-34. It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?

No one can, for: —

Romans 8:34. It is Christ that died,

And so put our sins to death.

Romans 8:34. Yea rather, that is risen again,

And so hath justified us.

Romans 8:34. Who is even at the right hand of God,

And so has carried us into heaven by his representing us there.

Romans 8:34. Who also maketh intercession for us.

Whose everlasting plea, therefore, silences all the accusations of the devil.

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?

They have all been tried. In different ages of the world, the saints have undergone all these, and yet has never one of them been taken away from the love of Christ. They have not left off loving him, nor has he left off loving them. They have been tried, I say.

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.

What is the result of it?

Romans 8:37-39. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

Halleluiah! Blessed be his name.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 138.; Isaiah 55:1-11; Romans 8:28-39.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Romans 8:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/romans-8.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology