Romans – Chapter 8
A verse by verse exposition of Romans Chapter 8
8:1-14 Evidence of Eternal Life is Resisting the Flesh to Live after the Spirit
8:15-23 Such a Spirit-led Lifestyle Is Evidence of Adoption as the Sons of God.
8:24-27 Further Benefits of the Holy Spirit Include Hope and Assisted Praying.
8:28-39 Eternal Life is by God’s Predestinated Decrees through His Son Jesus.
- Consider several divisions of Romans in order to appreciate the content and placement of this chapter.
- If we divide between doctrinal (1-11) and practical (12-16), this is the last before Israel (9-11).
- If we view the doctrinal section apart from Israel as 1-8, then this is the summarizing benediction.
- Paul reaches fantastic heights describing creation’s deliverance and our certain glorification!
- Romans chapter eight, a favorite of many, has three basic divisions that are useful for comprehension.
- Obeying and living by the Spirit is proof and assurance of salvation and eternal life (Rom 8:1-14).
- The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our present and future blessings of salvation (Romans 8:15-28).
- God has fully guaranteed salvation and eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29-39).
- Romans chapter eight is the third of doctrinal consequences of what Paul taught in chapters 1-5.
- Chapter six cleared grace of tending toward lasciviousness by virtue of baptism and servitude.
- Chapter seven cleared Paul of despising Moses’ Law but showed his damning inability to keep it.
- Chapter eight identifies the objects of salvation and the hope now and future for final deliverance.
- This is a great chapter of assurance and hope, but it also exhorts us strongly to holy, spiritual living.
- Assurance combines confidence in God’s promises and works with identification as His elect objects.
- We seek to divide salvation when and where we can by five phases, but they are not always divisible.
- Are there any ambitious enough to consider memorizing this chapter for its glorious declarations?
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
There is therefore.
- The use of therefore, a common practice of Paul, draws a conclusion from what went before.
- Paul had approved and explained the Law, but he admitted inability to fully keep it, which left him in a desperate situation indeed, from which Christ saved him (7:24-25).
- Paul had also declared in numerous other places that deliverance from universal guilt (the main objective of the first five chapters) was only by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
- This first verse has three great doctrines – salvation, union with Christ, and sanctification.
- Do not underestimate the value of this verse in your desire to grasp the rest of the chapter.
- The most pressing need by far for us is deliverance from our just and final condemnation, so the words no condemnation are glorious and wonderful words of salvation indeed.
- There is only one hope of eternal redemption of our souls, and that is in Christ Jesus, where we must be legally for His work to apply to us, so we must confirm we are in Him.
- The evidence of a justified man in Jesus Christ is a lifestyle after the Holy Spirit, rather than the lusts of the flesh, so practical godliness is put up front and center immediately.
- The now directs us to Calvary and heaven, which the Law saw only obscurely in the future.
- The Law was a hopeless system of bondage that offered no relief … until Jesus Christ.
- The Law was a schoolmaster, directing the church of God toward Jesus Christ (Gal 3:24).
- For wise and holy purposes, God did not send Jesus until the fullness of time (Gal 4:3-5).
- Salvation was God’s eternal purpose in Christ, but manifested in time (II Tim 1:9-10).
- The now directs us to practical obedience to be identified with Jesus Christ for eternal life.
- The gospel message of the New Testament declares free from the law of sin and death.
- Sin no longer has condemning dominion, for we are under the grace of the gospel (6:14).
- There is terrible and final condemnation, or damnation, upon all men apart from Jesus Christ.
- This fact is repeated (Jn 3:18-21; 5:24; I Cor 11:32; Heb 11:7; Jude 1:4; Rev 20:11-15).
- God will, and we should, condemn every sin practically (I Cor 11:32-34; Jas 3:1; 5:12).
- The condemnation under consideration here is eternal and final condemnation in hell.
- No matter how bad your life might get, it is nothing compared to eternal punishment.
- You and all men, women, and children are condemned to death and eternal punishment
- The truth of creation and providence condemns men without excuse (Romans 1:18-32).
- The truth of conscience condemns those who never had Moses’ Law (Romans 2:12-16).
- All men are sinners, guilty before God, and worthy of condemnation (Romans 3:9-20,23).
- Our father and representative, Adam, brought death and condemnation (Rom 5:12-19).
- The wages of sin, which we all have earned and God will pay, is death (Romans 6:23).
- A holy law only revealed our exceeding sinfulness and hopelessness (Romans 7:9-14,24).
- If you doubt any of this, then visit a hospital or nursing home or morgue and smell it, or ask, Why do babies die? Ask yourself what you will be doing the next day after death?
- But the text gloriously declares there is no condemnation in this sense on those described!
- Something has transpired to removed condemnation or damnation from off some men.
- The identity and explanation of this great deliverance and salvation is the gospel news.
To them which are in Christ Jesus.
- But God in glorious grace sent His Son to save the condemned for glorious life and liberty.
- The glorious gospel of Christ Paul preached told this powerful salvation (Rom 1:15-17).
- God does an internal work in some men for which He deserves praise (Romans 2:28-29).
- God justifies some freely by His grace through Jesus Christ’s redemption (Rom 3:24-26).
- It is a great blessing from God to not have our sins charged against us (Romans 4:5-8,16).
- As Adam represented those in Him, so Jesus represents those in Him (Romans 5:15-19).
- The gift of God, given freely by His grace through Christ, is eternal life (Romans 6:23).
- The great Deliverer from sin, death, and condemnation is Jesus Christ (Romans 7:25).
- If you doubt any of this, then watch the martyrs and others die in the Lord Jesus Christ!
- How does one get into Jesus Christ, to be delivered from sin, death, and condemnation?
- God elected and predestinated some in Jesus Christ before the world began (Rom 8:28-30; 9:22-24; II Cor 1:30; Eph 1:3-6; II Thess 2:13; II Tim 1:9; I Pet 1:2).
- They are in Jesus Christ legally for His redemptive work (John 6:38-39; 10:26-29; 17:2; Rom 5:19; 8:32-35; I Cor 15:22; II Cor 5:21; Eph 1:3-6; Col 3:3; I Pet 2:24).
- The Holy Spirit quickens and regenerates us in Jesus Christ (John 1:13; 3:6-8; Eph 2:4-6,10; 4:24; Phil 2:13; Titus 3:5; I Pet 1:2).
- We believe on Him, are baptized in Him, and put Him on practically (Rom 4:23-25; 6:3-5; II Cor 5:17; Gal 3:27; Ep 4:24; Rom 13:14; Phil 2:12-13; 3:8-9; II Pet 1:10; I Jn 2:5-6).
- Eating and drinking Jesus Christ is believing and obeying Him for union (Jn 6:39-65,56).
- We abide in Him practically, where we obtain strength to live for Him (John 15:4-5).
Who walk not after the flesh,
- Modern Bible versions remove this compound clause, and its sanctification, from this verse.
- There are three great doctrines taught here, not just two – and godliness is very important.
- Paul warned against Christianity having a form of godliness without power (II Ti 3:1-5).
- These compromising Christians fear godliness, so they invented the lordship controversy.
- The NIV reads, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- The NLT reads, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
- The ESV reads, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- The HCSB reads, “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.”
- The NASV reads, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- For spiritual entertainment, The Message reads, “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.”
- The compound clause occurs again in 8:4, but emphasis is an inspired teaching method, as in Hezekiah’s three records, four gospels, Paul’s three conversion histories, etc.
- Those truly in Christ Jesus are characterized by a lifestyle separating them from other men.
- Deliverance and freedom from condemnation and damnation is by union in Jesus Christ.
- The character that indicates, evidences, or proves one in Christ is a life after the Spirit.
- This theme, of godliness marking and proving God’s elect, is taught throughout the Bible and is thoroughly presented here … https://www.letgodbetrue.com/sermons/pdf/salvation-by-works.pdf.
- God’s work of grace in a man’s life ordinarily works a change (II Cor 5:17; I Thes 1:2-4).
- God’s work of grace ordinarily motivates a change as well (II Co 5:14-15; I Thes 1:9-10).
- So in this compound clause, let us not just see evidence but also hear exhortation to duty!
- Those without abounding fruit are at best forgetful, at worst reprobates (II Peter 1:5-11).
- What is the character of those who are saved from condemnation, so as to give assurance?
- These are not conditions to obtain salvation, but rather evidential proof of true salvation.
- If we make them conditions, we have salvation by works and overthrow other scriptures.
- Walking is active, continuing, and progressive efforts in some direction to specific goals.
- Walking is a general lifestyle and mindset – it allows for steps temporarily off the path.
- Walking is not talking, as in our … if you are going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.
- You have two parts, if born again – a fleshly old man, and a spiritual new man (John 3:6).
- There is no good thing in your flesh; there is no bad thing in your spirit (Rom 7:18,25).
- You have indwelling sin in you, a principle and power of evil, in your own flesh (7:18).
- God’s sons wrestle and war with the flesh, for it is violently against Christ and the Spirit.
- They mortify or put to death those sinful propensities of the flesh in them (Gal 5:16-21).
- If you are still living a fleshly lifestyle, there is no evidence of being in Christ or of salvation.
- Paul blasted belly worshippers, who mind earthly things (16:17-18; Philippians 3:18-19).
- John blasted the same carnal lifestyle as not having any love of God (I John 2:4,15-17).
- Friendship with the world creates enmity with God, for the world is His enemy (Jas 4:4).
But after the Spirit.
- As Paul will declare more fully in coming verses, a child of God has the Spirit of God (8:9).
- They walk after the Spirit of God, Who is the leader and teacher of their conduct (8:14).
- They bring forth fruit of the Spirit that is taught internally and in the Bible (Gal 5:22-26).
- Paul further enhanced this descriptive of the elect in the verses following (Rom 8:2-14).
- If you are a child of God, then He is your Creator and your Saviour and your Possessor.
- The Holy Spirit is in you, and you are not your own, and you owe Him (I Cor 6:12-20).
- You are twice His by creation of you by His power and His purchase of you by His Son.
- The danger of not walking after the Spirit is eternal damnation and the reward is heaven.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
- The first verse of this chapter summarized two important points of doctrine Paul pursued.
- He lifted guilt and condemnation from those in Christ Jesus, and he will explain it (2-4).
- He described the character and nature of those in Christ Jesus, and He will explain (5-14).
- Our apostle made an inspired play on the word law, using it two different ways in one verse.
- He used it here as a rule of life, liberty, and conduct for the regenerate and unregenerate.
- He had introduced this obvious use of the word in the previous chapter (7:23), in which he described the conflict between two laws within him, which he now defines further.
- He will actually use the word law in a third sense in the following verse – Moses’ Law.
- What is a law? It is a rule, command, order of things, or influence imposed by an authority.
- This is the rule that each child of God has eternal life and Spirit power to live righteously.
- The purpose of the verse is to describe the regenerate man’s power to live victoriously.
- The regenerate are quickened by the Spirit of life to no longer be dead in sin (Eph 2:1-3).
- They are now able by His workmanship to live victoriously (Eph 2:10; Phil 2:12-13).
- There is a new controlling influence in the regenerate man to live righteously – the Spirit!
- There are two aspects to the law – eternal life in Christ Jesus and Spirit-provided power, for the context contains both – both are in 8:1, salvation in 8:3-4, and the Spirit in 8:5-14.
- You cannot have one without the other – if saved by Jesus Christ, you have the Spirit.
- You cannot have one without the other – if you have the Spirit, you were saved by Jesus.
- Paul just declared freedom from condemnation and Spirit-led living in the previous verse.
- Paul had previously described an inward man that delighted in the law of God and obeyed the law of God, which we understand to be his regenerated new man (7:22,25).
- Paul had earlier declared the gift of God overthrowing the law of sin and death (6:23).
- Paul had earlier declared that God’s gift of salvation included the Spirit’s presence (5:5).
- Every forgiven and regenerated child of God has the Spirit for living a sanctified life.
- There is power in a child of God – spiritual power by the Spirit of God to live for Christ.
- No less than Paul, Christ can and will strengthen you to live a righteous life (Phil 4:13).
Hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
- Our apostle made an inspired play on the word law, using it two different ways in one verse.
- What is a law? It is a rule, command, order of things, or influence imposed by an authority.
- This is the rule that the flesh will reject a revelation of righteousness to pursue sin and death.
- Paul had described a powerful sin force in him leading to sin (7:8-9,11,13-14,17,20).
- Paul had described a law in his fleshly members warring against the spiritual new man and bringing him into captivity to sin and its consequence of death (7:18,21,23,25).
- This binding law of his old nature had caused him to cry out with despair without Christ.
- Paul had described the binding law of wages bearing the result of death for sin (6:23).
- The Law of Moses had aggravated and increased his sinfulness by exposing his sin nature and its frequent displays of sin, which was its purpose (3:19-20; 5:20; 7:8,13; etc.).
- The believer is no longer condemned by this law and the Law, for God provided Christ.
- The believer is no longer powerless before this law, for the Spirit has given him power.
- We have been made free from sin’s legal condemnation and sin’s vital captivating power.
- Consider Paul’s repetitive comparisons between the law and grace (II Cor 3:6-9,16-18).
- We have the best of both worlds – peace with God and power to live obediently to Him.
- We are not free from ever sinning – but we are free from sin’s condemning hopelessness.
- We are not free from ever sinning – but we are free from sin’s dominion and tyranny.
- We can live in obedience to God and Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit given to us.
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:
For what the law could not do.
- There are two benefits to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and we must see both.
- There is the lifting of condemnation that leaves us legally righteous before God (8:1).
- There is the Spirit-provided power to live a holy and righteous life in Christ Jesus (8:1).
- In this verse and the next, Paul by the Spirit will explain the lifting of our condemnation.
- The Law of Moses (third law in the context) could not justify or sanctify by its holy precepts.
- As Paul extensively taught, Moses’ Law exposed his sinfulness (3:19-20; 5:20; 7:7,13).
- Moses’ Law only revealed legal condemnation and provided no power for obedience.
- There has never been a man but Christ Jesus that could and would keep all its precepts.
- The deficiency was not properly in the Law itself, but rather in the flesh of men under it.
In that it was weak through the flesh.
- The Law of Moses could not justify any man, for no man’s flesh could obey its commands.
- The flesh of Paul himself, and ours as well, cannot and will not obey God’s laws (7:18).
- The deficiency is not properly in the Law itself, but in Paul’s fleshly lusts against it (7:9-12).
- Paul clearly and strongly declared Moses’ Law was holy, just, good, and spiritual (7:12,14).
- What shall Paul or we do? The means of life and righteousness we cannot and will not keep!
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
- Here is where the glorious doctrine of substitutionary atonement and redemption is glorified!
- God sent His Son Jesus Christ to live under Moses’ Law and keep it perfectly for us!
- He was made under the Law of Moses as a Jew, so He was bound to keep it (Gal 4:4).
- We find from the very beginning that His parents kept its precepts for Him (Lu 2:21-24).
- His zeal for Moses included teaching and obeying the smallest precepts (Matt 5:17-20).
- God sent His Son Jesus Christ with a human, fleshly body to live a life with our nature.
- He was made in our likeness – a body facing temptation – but without sin (Heb 4:15).
- We are plainly told He was given our constitution, not that of angels (Hebrews 2:14-18).
And for sin.
- Sin is the transgression of the Law (I John 3:4), but Jesus our Lord did not transgress it.
- Instead, He was given our sins, and He died under the Law’s curse for them (Gal 3:13; Is 53:4-6,8,11-12; II Cor 5:21; Heb 9:28; I Pet 2:24).
Condemned sin in the flesh.
- He condemned sin by destroying its legal claims against us to free us from its condemnation!
- A perfectly obedient Man kept every precept of the Law and died as a Substitute for our sins.
- This glorious transaction condemned sin that overwhelms our flesh by a perfect fleshly life.
- Give God the glory! Do not let such wonderful things be mere doctrinal reflections! Glory!
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
That the righteousness of the law.
- The Law of Moses condemns every Jew (by revelation) and Gentile (by conscience) to death, because we have failed to keep its righteousness, which is necessary to stand before God.
- Who could keep every precept of Moses with a perfect heart to fulfill perfect righteousness?
- It is the Lord and He alone! Man has no glory of His own! We have no goodness we can claim, so let us publish His great name. (A song entitled, Who? by June Hawks Goins).
Might be fulfilled in us.
- God sent His Son in this glorious fashion and manner to fulfill perfect righteousness in us, which is fulfilled in us passively, rather than actively, by Jesus Christ’s substitutionary life.
- In the legal sight and forensic view of God, every one of God’s elect is perfectly righteous!
- We have been made the righteousness of God in the Lord Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:21)!
- Seventy weeks were determined to bring in everlasting righteousness by Messiah (Dan 9:24)!
- What is the gospel? It is the glorious news of this righteousness (1:17; 3:21-26; 5:19; 10:1-4).
Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
- Our apostle restated the evidence of those in Christ Jesus and bearing His righteousness.
- See the commentary and explanation of this phrase at its first occurrence above (8:1).
- Having explained the lifting of condemnation, Paul will now explain Spirit-led living.
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.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.
- There are two benefits to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (8:2); we must see both.
- There is lifting of condemnation that leaves us legally righteous before God (8:1), which Paul elaborated upon in verses 3-4, describing our Lord’s substitutionary atonement.
- here is the Spirit-provided power to live a holy and righteous life in Christ Jesus (8:1), which Paul will elaborate on for the remainder of this section of chapter 8 (verses 5-14).
- Those walking after the flesh do so by virtue of having a mind concerned with fleshly things.
- The once born man has one nature and no conflict – the twice born man has two natures and one large conflict (John 3:6; Gal 5:17; Rom 7:22-23).
- Two opposing lifestyles exist: “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:1,4).
- Walking after the flesh or the Spirit describes a lifestyle or manner of living in both cases.
- A person’s lifestyle or way of living is by the mind in setting preferences and priorities.
- Your lifestyle in thought, word, and deed is a choice, and you will give an account of it.
- Your daily choices are a sober responsibility, and they form your life; their consequences here are weighty, but they will be painfully terrible in the great Day of Judgment.
- Your choices to please the flesh or world make you God’s enemy (Jas 4:4; I Jn 2:15-17).
- Mind. 6. a. trans. To have in view, have a mind to (an action, plan, etc.); to contemplate, purpose, intend, aim at (doing something); also, to plan, provide for (something external to oneself). 7. a. To bend one’s attention to (e.g. something that one is doing or occupied with); to direct or apply oneself to, bring one’s mind or energies to bear upon, or practice diligently. [OED.]
- Minding earthly things marks belly worshippers, Jesus Christ’s enemies (Phil 3:18-19).
- Jesus rebuked even Peter for savoring devilish opposition to His crucifixion (Mark 8:33).
- Every choice is either the wide gate and broad way or strait and narrow (Matt 7:13-14).
- We either conform to this world’s lifestyle or transform by a renewed mind (Rom 12:2).
But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
- There is an ellipsis here, for there is no verb – it is supplied from the first clause of the verse.
- Those walking after the Spirit do so by having their minds concerned with spiritual things.
- It is a daily choice to set affection on things above – of God, eternity, and heaven (Col 3:1-3).
- Affection, or love or preference, is not accidental or circumstantial – it is a simple choice.
- Affection, or love or preference, is something you can direct toward an object, so do it!
- Where are your treasures? Life’s valuable things? Your heart will follow (Matthew 6:19-21).
- If you say you mind both things – Jesus Christ denies you! You cannot love both (Matt 6:24).
- A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). So get single minded (Jas 4:8)!
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
For to be carnally minded is death.
- Carnal. 1. Of or pertaining to the flesh or body; bodily, corporeal. Obs. 3. Pertaining to the body as the seat of passions or appetites; fleshly, sensual. 4. Not spiritual, in a negative sense; material, temporal, secular. arch. 5. Not spiritual, in a privative sense; unregenerate, unsanctified, worldly.
- Carnal in scripture is … contrasted to spiritual (Rom 7:14; 15:27; I Cor 3:1; 9:11) … or connected to this earth and worldly men (I Cor 3:3-4; II Cor 10:4; Heb 7:16; 9:10).
- The comparison here is between the unsaved and saved more than between carnal Christians and faithful saints, based on the context of 8:1 and 8:9 and 8:13, though carnal Christians put themselves in danger of God’s judgment, for they have no evidence of eternal life.
- Carnal mindedness is the same as minding the flesh and walking after the flesh – ungodliness.
- The close proximity of Paul’s use of mind dictates that it is the same as minding the flesh.
- Choosing to love or prefer earthly, fleshly, or worldly things leads to certain death.
- This is choosing to be belly worshippers and God’s enemies by loving earthly things.
- Demas left the apostle Paul, loving this present world, which we must hate (II Tim 4:10).
- We live in this present world, but we choose different living and looking (Titus 2:12-14).
- What is the death here that results from being carnally minded? Let every believer tremble.
- Based on context of legal condemnation and righteousness, we see eternal death (8:1-4).
- It is clearly eternal death, based on sure displeasing enmity with God Himself (8:7-8).
- It is clearly eternal death, based on the connected description of not being Christ’s (8:9).
- It is clearly eternal death, or the second death, based on the consequences (8:13-14).
- It opposes peace with God, comparing the next clause, for displeasing enmity with Him.
- Carnal living also brings death and strife practically, but that is not the emphasis here.
- The emphasis here is evidence of eternal death more than condition, based on the next clause.
But to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Being spiritually minded is not the condition, but rather evidence or result, of life and peace.
- What is it to be spiritually minded? Minding the things of God, Christ, eternity, and heaven.
- By our immediate context we know that minding the things of the Spirit is key (8:5).
- We again appeal to Colossians 3:1-3 as a great cross-reference helping us define such.
- What is the life and peace connected to being spiritually minded? Let every believer rejoice.
- Contrasted to the eternal death in the first clause, this is eternal life and peace with God.
- Instead of showing the evidence of being God’s enemies, we show ourselves His friends.
- By choosing the things of the Spirit of God, we show His presence in us and us His sons.
- There is a life of fellowship and peace with God by this means as well (15:13), but this is not the contextual emphasis of this passage, where we have strong evidence of eternity.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.
- Because opening this verse sets it forth as an explanation for the consequences stated (8:6).
- The carnal, natural, or wicked mind we have by nature hates God and loves sin (Eph 2:1-3).
- The carnal, natural, or wicked mind by nature thinks things of the Spirit foolish (I Cor 2:14).
- A person with only this mind shows himself God’s enemy and in danger by actions (Ps 5:5).
- A professing believer following this mind shows no evidence of eternal life, but of judgment.
- We use this text to define human depravity, but we as His saints must choose to put it off.
For it is not subject to the law of God.
- This is the law in Paul that he described as sin taking him captive against the Law (7:22-23).
- By nature we will not submit to God and His word governing any part of our lives.
Neither indeed can be.
- The natural man we have by nature and our first birth cannot and will not obey God’s Law.
- The enmity in the flesh of a natural man is so strong and pervasive as to make it impossible.
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.
But ye are not in the flesh.
- Paul turned from general propositions in the third person to personal words in the second.
- What did Paul mean that the Romans were not in the flesh? In what sense did he use flesh?
- Paul had been describing the unregenerate nature of man as flesh and carnal (8:6-8).
- We must rightly divide the word of truth lest we shame ourselves in doctrine (II Ti 2:15).
- There were still in their flesh bodies, for they were living prior to the resurrection (8:23).
- We will only be truly out of the flesh and separate from it when dead and then glorified.
- They still had their fleshly old man that opposed their spiritual new man (7:18,22-23,25).
- Therefore, we conclude that Paul elliptically meant that they were not in the flesh only.
- There was more to their constitutional makeup than only flesh, which was death (8:6-8).
- The condition for not being in the flesh was the Holy Spirit in them, not walking after Him, so Paul described their constitution rather than their practice or obedience.
- A believer with the Holy Spirit in Him had more than just his flesh to follow and obey.
- f you have believed on Jesus Christ, you have His Spirit to empower righteous living against the power of the flesh, which was the only power in you prior to regeneration.
- All saints still have their flesh, but with the Spirit they are not powerless under their flesh.
But in the Spirit.
- Contrary to having only a flesh existence, the Romans saints also had God’s Spirit in them.
- By the same reasoning in the first clause, we elliptically see them also in the Holy Spirit.
- We understand this compound clause by elliptically adding only and also, respectively.
- The horrible predicament of carnal thinking leading to death was not the only power in them.
- Paul condemned carnal and fleshly thinking as leading to death and evidence of it (8:6-8).
- But the believing Romans saints had more than that – they had what Paul had – the Spirit.
- Because of Spirit regeneration, they could follow their new man after the Spirit (8:1,4).
- Because of Spirit regeneration, they could mind the spiritual things of the Spirit (8:5-6).
If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
- The issue here is not the practical phase of obeying the Spirit, but the vital of having Him.
- There is a difference between a once born man and a twice born man – this is the point here!
- God’s elect are given the Holy Spirit of God at regeneration, faith, baptism, obedience, etc.
- When we are born again, the Holy Spirit creates a new man in us like Himself (John 3:6).
- When we convert and believe the gospel, He is given to us in further presence and power.
- Baptism is an important act of faith of identifying with Jesus Christ to obtain the Spirit.
- As we obey the gospel and Jesus Christ, the Spirit’s presence and power is increased.
- If we disobey God, we grieve and quench the Spirit for less power (Ep 4:30; I Thes 5:19).
- You can quench and grieve this Spirit to reduce His effect, but His power to live is there.
- Losing the Spirit’s power should terrify us, as Saul or David (I Sam 16:14; Psalm 51:11).
- Losing the Spirit’s power should terrify churches, as the warning to Ephesus (Rev 2:5).
- It is possible to provoke God enough for the Spirit to become your enemy (Isaiah 63:10).
- This is one of the most profound and glorious aspects of our salvation as the children of God.
- Jesus told His apostles it was expedient for Him to go away to send the Spirit (John 16:7).
- The Holy Spirit was not given until Jesus was glorified, for He was a spoil of His victory; but the day of Pentecost brought forth God’s gift through Christ (John 7:39; Acts 2:33).
- The Holy Spirit is God indwelling us as a seal of possession and earnest of performance.
- We are sealed as God’s children by His presence (Eph 1:13; 4:30; II Cor 1:22; Gal 4:6).
- The Spirit is the earnest, or performance bond, of the future (Eph 1:14; II Cor 1:22; 5:5).
- The Holy Spirit can provide power to the obedient believer like He did for Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, David, Jesus, Stephen, and many others.
- This aspect of our salvation should profoundly affect how we live (I Cor 6:19-20).
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ.
- Not all men have the Spirit of God, for not all men are God’s regenerate elect and obedient.
- If a man has only one birth – no second Spirit birth – he is only flesh going to hell (Jn 3:5-7).
- The Holy Spirit in a life makes all the difference in the world (John 14:17; I Cor 2:14-16).
- How can we know if we have the Spirit? Bear the Spirit’s fruit by His power (Gal 5:22-25).
- How can we know if we have the Spirit? Confess Jesus as Lord and live like it (I Cor 12:3).
- If a man lives continually in foolishness and sin, he shows no Spirit; but a man living righteously shows a spiritual new birth (I John 2:29; 3:9,24; 4:6-7,12-13; 5:1).
He is none of his.
- If the Spirit seals our salvation and is the earnest of heaven, then no Spirit means reprobation.
- It is our solemn duty to examine ourselves to make sure we are not reprobates (II Cor 13:5).
- The once born man is a reprobate – rejected by God. Do not say you cannot live for Christ!
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
And if Christ be in you.
- If you are born of the Holy Spirit to possess the Spirit, it is Jesus Christ in you by His Spirit!
- Connections like this … substituting Christ in you for the Spirit in you … are truly glorious; and this connection, comparison, or parallelism is found in 8:9 cp 8:10 and in 8:10 cp 8:11!
- Jesus promised He would by the Spirit indwell His own (John 14:18,20,21,23; 15:4,5; etc.).
- Note this stupendous fact! Christ in you! Jesus Christ in you! Yes! Yes! By the Holy Spirit!
- It is the Holy Spirit that bears witness of Jesus Christ within the heart of the elect (Jn 15:26).
- It is the Spirit of Christ that takes up residence in our hearts to cry Abba, Father (Gal 4:6).
The body is dead because of sin.
- Based on the presence of Jesus by His Spirit in the elect, their bodies are dead due to sin.
- Again we must rightly divide the word of truth to determine the sense of death (II Tim 2:15).
- The Romans’ physical bodies were not literally dead, or they could not have read the epistle!
- Yet we believe the physical body is under consideration by what immediately follows (8:11).
- The Romans’ physical bodies were doomed to death by the law of sin in them (7:23-24)!
- But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had broken its dominion over them (7:25; 8:2)!
- Paul drew a contrast here between the future of their bodies and that of their spirits by Christ.
But the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
- Paul drew a contrast here between the future of their bodies and that of their spirits by Christ.
- The Holy Spirit of God has implanted in us the constitution, principle, and power of life.
- We now have a spirit that is renewed by the Spirit to live forever in the presence of God, both after death without our body and for eternity with a glorified body, as we shall read (8:11).
- The basis on which this deliverance and salvation rests is the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
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.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you.
- Again, Paul restated and argued from his declaration of the Spirit of Christ in us (8:9-10).
- If this glorious fact of Christ’s Spirit in us is true, then even our dead bodies shall be raised.
- The role of the disjunctive but opening this clause is the contrast with dead bodies in 8:10.
He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies.
- Jesus Christ’s dead body was raised by the Spirit (Rom 1:4; Ep 1:20; I Tim 3:16; I Pet 3:18).
- He shall do the same to our dead bodies in a day coming soon (John 5:28-29; I Cor 6:14; 15:20-22,51-57; Phil 3:21; I Thess 4:14)
By His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
- Paul continued to repeat the glorious news that God the Holy Spirit dwelt in the Romans.
- The Holy Spirit gave them power to live resurrected lives, and He would also resurrect them!
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
- An intermediate summary of what he has covered in this chapter is indicated by therefore.
- Jesus Christ had saved Paul from the dominating power of sin in his bodily members (7:25).
- As a result there was no further condemnation on him or other believers in Jesus Christ (8:1).
- The power of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had given him ability to live victoriously (8:2).
- The righteousness of Jesus Christ in life and death had fully justified the saints (8:3-4).
- The presence of God the Spirit in believers made them totally different from other men (8:9).
- The power of the Spirit in believers gave their spirits and will give their bodies life (8:9-11).
We are debtors.
- When a great gift or gifts is given, men with integrity know and feel a great debt of gratitude.
- Paul reasoned very logically and simply that He owed Jesus Christ his life (II Cor 5:14-15).
- Paul confessed he was bound to give thanks to God always for His grace (II Thess 2:13).
- No wonder we sing, “I gave my life for thee, what hast thou given for me?” Selah!
Not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
- Since there is a conflict between the flesh and Spirit, which one should we choose to obey?
- Elliptically we should understand an unwritten clause … but to the Spirit, to live after Him.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.
- If we have not gotten the message yet (8:6), we should have it by Paul’s repetition here.
- If the summarized blessings of the Spirit did not provoke a debt of gratitude, then maybe a reminder of the consequences and evidence of living and walking after the flesh would!
But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
- Remember the evidence described already … they walk after the Spirit, not the flesh (8:1,4).
- We cannot in our own strength mortify the deeds of the body, but we can in His strength.
- Jesus declared that without abiding in Him and His Spirit, we can do nothing (Jn 15:4-5).
- Paul learned and practiced true contentment by Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:11-13).
- What does it mean to mortify the deeds of the body? To put all your sinful lusts to death.
- Mortify. To deprive of life; to kill, put to death. To kill; to destroy the vitality, vigor, or activity of; to neutralize the effect or value of; to deaden; to dull, etc.
- Compare to mortician, which is a man who prepares the dead for a proper burial.
- You have a mortal body – it shall die (8:10-11); go ahead and puts its lifestyle to death!
- What do you need to put to death? Your sinful members on earth (Col 3:5-9).
- What is the life considered here? It is eternal life in heaven with Jesus Christ as a son of God, for that is what has been presented before, and it is what shall now be presented by Paul.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God.
- The evidence of salvation and adoption as the sons of God is by minding the things of the Spirit of God and walking after Him and His leading. Are you bearing His fruit in your life?
- We should by creation, salvation, and possession be holy in body and spirit (I Cor 6:19-20).
- What does it mean to be led by the Spirit of God? It means to walk after the Spirit and be spiritually minded by the power of the Holy Spirit in you.
- Paul described a lifestyle without murmurings or disputing that was blameless and harmless and shined a light against the darkness of a crooked and perverse nation (Phil 2:14-15).
They are the sons of God.
- Jesus identified God’s children by loving their enemies with His character (Matt 5:44-45).
- There is no greater concern of every believer than to prove that he is truly a child of God.
- The Holy Spirit inspired John to use most of his first epistle to give the evidence (I John 3-5).
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.
- Paul continued about the Holy Spirit, but he transitioned to His present and future blessings.
- The epistle introduced the Holy Spirit’s ministry with one comforting verse earlier (5:5).
- So far in this chapter, Paul had mentioned the Spirit nine times (8:1,2,4,5,9,10,11,13,14).
- He strongly identified the crucial necessity of having the Holy Spirit within you (8:2,9).
- He stressed the Spirit in mortifying our flesh and giving evidence of salvation (8:1,13).
- Paul now proceeded further to show the Holy Spirit confirming incredible facts to the elect (8:15-16) and doing marvelous things for them (8:26-27).
- The Holy Spirit is an incredible gift from God for personal comfort (John 7:38-39; 14:16-18,23-26; 16:7; Acts 2:33; 9:31; 13:52; Gal 3:2; etc.).
- He had just introduced a very glorious thought for the first time – believers as sons of God!
- Thus far in Romans there has been no mention of adoption or our sonship … until 8:14!
- God emphasized justification, but it falls far short of adoption, though necessary for it.
- Remember, your existence and salvation or not are for the glory of God and nothing else.
- Remember, justification brings some glory to God, but what of adopting rebel enemies!
- Adoption is seriously superior to justification and the other facets of salvation of the gospel.
- Justification compared to adoption is like the foundation and infrastructure of a building or city compared to the beautiful and shiny edifice and its lobby or its glistening skyline!
- Justification and adoption, both necessary parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, are like the difference between the peas and carrots in a meal with the dessert that comes at the end!
- Justification frees from condemnation to a righteous standing … adoption makes sons!
- A presidential pardon of a criminal is one thing, but a president adopting one is another!
Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.
- Rules for capitalization for names of Deity were not set in 1611 when the King James Version was made, and the translators sought to avoid interpretation in their translation, so there are no occurrences of a capitalized Spirit in this chapter, or hardly anywhere else.
- We accept this clause of both the Spirit’s ministry and the spirit of believers under the O.T.
- The Spirit’s giving of the Law on Sinai was a dreadful event (Ex 19:16; Heb 12:18-21).
- The result was great fear and bondage: the Law condemned (Gal 4:24-25; II Cor 3:6-9).
- The Old Testament sacrifices did not free consciences (Heb 9:9; 10:1-3 vs. 9:14; 10:22).
- The Law was a schoolmaster to drive us to Christ (Gal 3:24). How? By fear and bondage!
- The Spirit gave witness under the O.T. of bondage, fear, guilt, sin, condemnation, etc.
- Paul generalized about the fear of death and its resulting bondage, which is surely true of the Jews under Moses’ Law; but it is also true of all men, even the religious (Heb 2:15).
- There are other senses of a spirit of fear we cannot ignore, though not the emphasis here.
- How many Catholics do penance and pray for the dead through ignorance of the gospel?
- We must remember there is another spirit that is not the Holy Spirit (II Co 11:3-4,13-15).
But ye have received the Spirit of adoption.
- The comforting ministry of the Spirit is a different and greater gift of the New Testament.
- Compare the glorious words of the apostle here with what Moses gave under the Law.
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the N.T. is to testify of Jesus Christ (Jn 15:26; 16:14).
- The Holy Spirit testifies of the new covenant of righteousness, peace, and justification.
- But far beyond that, He testifies and witnesses within the elect of their adopted sonship!
- Paul had introduced the doctrine of the Holy Spirit with comfort and assurance (5:5).
- The Holy Spirit is the earnest and seal of our salvation (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; II Cor 1:22).
- The Holy Spirit is not given to make us sons, but rather because we are sons (Gal 4:6-7).
- Adoption is the greatest facet of salvation revealed by the gospel of God’s glorious grace.
- John wrote about it in terms that indicate its glorious and superior nature (John 3:1-3).
- This is the most stupendous mystery of the universe revealed in the gospel (I Cor 2:6-16).
- Other religions can have their esoteric mysteries for their sages, but they cannot compare.
- Will you exalt reincarnation … coming back as something else to die again, and again?
- Fantasize of a happy hunting ground with unlimited buffalo and a squaw with teeth?
- Will you blow yourself to smithereens with a belly bomb for palm trees and 72 virgins?
- For more about facets of salvation … https://www.letgodbetrue.com/sermons/pdf/facets-of-salvation.pdf.
- For more about adoption as sons of God … https://www.letgodbetrue.com/sermons/pdf/sons-of-god.pdf.
Whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
- The Holy Ghost can and does powerfully affect the hearts and thus the voices of men.
- Remember, we already learned that it is the Spirit that helps us mortify the flesh (8:13).
- God prepares the heart and disposes the lips of men to answer (Pr 16:1). Give Him glory.
- If you can say sincerely that Jesus Christ is Lord, it is by the Holy Spirit (I Cor 12:3).
- Abba. An Aramaic, Chaldean, Hebrew, and/or Syrian transliterated word, father, or O father.
- Followed by its translation, Father, the inspired compound repetition has extra weight.
- The Jews after being in Babylon adopted Chaldean words and created compound phrases.
- But earnestness in speech uses similar repetitions (II Kings 4:19; Jer 4:19; Ps 22:1; 43:4).
- Jesus used this same construction in prayer during great grief in Gethsemane (Mk 14:36).
- Paul by the Holy Spirit used this same construction in a similar context in Galatians 4:6.
- Taking from our Lord and Saviour’s circumstances, we see great affection and total trust.
- We should, in any situation, no matter how bleak, call upon the Father of lights (Ja 1:17).
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
The Spirit itself beareth witness.
- While the Holy Spirit leads us to external fruit (Gal 5:22-23), He also bears internal witness.
- Jesus promised the Holy Spirit from God to testify and bear witness to us (Jn 15:26; 16:14).
- The Holy Spirit reveals hidden and secret things that would otherwise not be known by man, even the deep things of God, which have been communicated in Scripture (I Cor 2:10-13).
- Consider closely, related to this context, that the Spirit reveals our inheritance (Eph 1:17-18).
With our spirit.
- The Holy Spirit gives internal revelation and witness to our own spirits (Romans 5:5; 15:13).
- Our inner man is then able by faith to know and enjoy the full love of Christ (Eph 3:14-19).
- The Holy Spirit changes our natures and produces fruit proving sonship (I John 3:24; 4:13), but yet the instruction here is beyond evidence of eternal life to personal assurance of it.
That we are the children of God.
- God the Holy Spirit confirms in personal assurances to our own hearts that we are God’s.
- Paul had described it earlier as shedding abroad in our hearts God’s love for us (Rom 5:5).
- Paul assumed this ministry of the Holy Spirit to the Philippians (Phil 2:1). Is it true of you?
- He will describe the effect of the Spirit including a groaning for bodily redemption (8:23).
- This personal relationship with the Holy Spirit works both ways, so take heed (Eph 4:30).
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.
- Here we have an inspired conjunctive rather than an inspired disjunctive! A coordinating conjunction, tying together the introduction of adoption and sonship to what that involves!
- There is more! Much more! What does adoption as sons mean? What may we assume?
- Introducing adoption and sonship (8:14), Paul explained the Spirit’s witness (8:15-16).
- That Jehovah God would adopt rebellious and wicked enemies to be His sons is glorious!
- But there is more, because adoption as sons indicates a tight commitment by God to us.
- While the language of scripture about salvation describes it by many different facets to facilitate our understanding, yet God chose filial terminology and will argue from it!
If children, then heirs.
- If the facet of salvation called adoption is true, then by definition it includes inheritance!
- This is logic, and simple logic at that, both certain and glorious in its blessed implications.
- God tells fathers to provide for sons (Pr 13:22; 19:14; II Cor 12:14), and He will do better!
- A weakness of the analogy is that our Father cannot die! We get Him and His inheritance!
Heirs of God.
- What does it mean to be an heir of God? May we ask, what will we inherit being God’s heir?
- Paul reasoned with Corinth to end fighting by stating ownership of all things (I Cor 3:21-23).
- John begins to close out Revelation with a similar declaration of inheritance (Rev 21:7).
- Our inheritance includes heaven and its mansions (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2-3).
- Whatever Abraham sought by God’s promises are ours (Gal 3:16,29; Heb 11:10,16)!
- Our inheritance depends on and results from God’s predestinating sovereignty (Eph 1:11).
- Our inheritance includes eternal life, for which we now hope, or wait (Titus 3:7).
- To make sure you were not discouraged or in doubt, God swore about it (Heb 6:17-19).
- It is permanent, undefiled, does not fade and totally different from all we know (I Pet 1:4).
And joint-heirs with Christ.
- If we are sons of God, then we must be brothers of the Son of God Himself, Jesus our Lord.
- If we are brothers of the Son of God Himself, then we will be joint-heirs with our brother.
- If we joint-heirs with our brother Jesus Christ, then we own all things (I Cor 3:21-23).
- God’s predestinating grace designed salvation for there to be a family of brothers (8:29).
- Our Lord Jesus Christ has been crowned with great glory, honor, and power (Hebrews 2).
- We shall be like Him (I John 3:2), and some of the comparison will stoke your faith.
- He will judge angels … and we shall do so with Him (I Cor 6:2-3)! Hallelujah!
- He is on a white horse … and we will be on our own white horses (Rev 19:11,14)!
- He has a rod of iron to rule … and we will have our own to rule (Rev 2:27)!
- He is sitting on a throne … and we will do so as well with Him (Rev 3:21)!
If so be that we suffer with him.
- Suffering is not a condition for adoption or glorification, but rather confirming evidence.
- The use of if here is not conditional, and such constructions must be rightly divided.
- We have made such a division already in verses 1-14 about walking after the Spirit.
- We are not monks or nuns of the Roman church or worshippers of Baal.
- Suffering is our duty to Him Who suffered (Matt 16:24; John 12:25-26; Acts 14:22).
- Suffering is our evidence (II Cor 1:7; 4:8-11; Phil 1:28-29; II Tim 2:12; 3:12).
- Suffering is our blessing (Rom 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; I Pet 4:12-13).
- Such constructions are not conditional, but rather encouraging to do so (Rev 2:7; etc.).
- Suffering with Jesus Christ is to suffer in kind, not in timing, for His suffering has ended.
- He suffered according to the will of God, and so should we, not for faults (I Pet 4:16).
- He suffered for well doing, and we want to follow His example (I Pet 2:19-23; 3:16-18).
- Will you live sacrificially for others, as the Lord Jesus did (I John 3:16).
- Submission to the will of God over our own wills in faith (Phil 3:10; I Pet 4:19).
- God adopted us for His glory; we glorify Him by enduring suffering for Him (I Pet 2:19-20).
- The hope of final adoption, certain waiting, should motivate us to suffer with Him (I Jn 3:3).
- It is good for us to remember His suffering at His Table and to commit ourselves to the same.
That we may be also glorified together.
- Our Lord was received up into glory (I Tim 3:16), and He shall soon take us there as well.
- In His glorified Person and office, He is now far above the angelic host (I Pet 3:22; Heb 1:4).
- After enduring and despising the cross, He is at the right hand of God on high (Heb 12:2).
- He has a glorified body, which shocked John (Rev 1:17), which we shall have (I John 3:2).
- See further details of this glorification with Christ by the comments above under joint-heirs.
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.
For I reckon.
- Reckon is an accounting term for calculating (Lev 25:50; 27:18,23; Matt 18:24; Rom 6:11).
- Paul analyzed and compared present suffering against future glory to estimate values.
- He had written that suffering with Christ brings glory with Him (8:17), is glory worth it?
- We reckon, count, when we sing, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”
- David reckoned that God’s wonderful works cannot be rightly numbered (Psalm 40:5).
- When Paul makes a reckoning, we should remember this is an inspired comparative analysis!
- Solomon was more qualified for Proverbs and Ecclesiastes than any man, and his words should carry great weight; but yet we read and believe more thoroughly by inspiration.
- Paul suffered more in the cause of Christ than any other (II Cor 11:23-33; 12:7-10).
- Paul had a glimpse of glory in the third heaven to support his analysis (II Cor 12:1-4).
- Our faith is most reasonable, and it should be measured logically, as Paul did (II Co 5:14-15).
- It is the wicked under the influence of the devil himself that mock religion as a crutch.
- The wicked and the devil have no future or hope, so let them vainly mock all they wish.
- It is our wisdom to wisely measure and compare this life against the next, lest we be deceived by the world’s pleasures or the lives of the wicked (Psalm 17:15; 37:1,9-11; 49:15; 73:3,24; Prov 10:28; 11:7-8; 14:32; 23:17-18; 24:19-20; Matt 5:10-12; Heb 10:34-37; 11:24-27; etc.).
- David taught us to number our days, lest we waste our lives and squander grace (Ps 90:12).
That the sufferings of this present time.
- Sufferings of this present time are various afflictions, life’s vanity, and persecution (8:35).
- Man is afflicted variously that is individually unique only by circumstances, for our bodies, relationships, and everything we deal with is commonly corrupt (I Cor 10:13).
- Man, as did Solomon, finds life is full of vanity and vexing to the human spirit (Ec 1:14).
- The sons of God have further suffering from the chastening hand of God (Heb 12:11).
- The sons of God have further suffering by persecution from their enemies, who hate God and them (II Tim 3:12; II Thess 1:3-7; I Pet 1:6-7; Prov 29:10; John 15:18-19).
- The sons of God have further suffering by fleshly temptations and rejecting worldly pleasure (Matt 5:27-30; Luke 9:23; 14:25-27; Heb 11:24-25; I Pet 2:11; I John 2:15-16).
- Sufferings of this present time are severely limited by each person’s short life in this world.
- Human life expectancy has been and remains around 73, just as Moses said (Ps 90:10).
- One limit to human suffering is death, either by excessive suffering or other causes.
Are not worthy to be compared.
- No matter how well we identify and measure our suffering, it is nothing in comparison.
- No matter how much we suffer or think we suffer presently, it is nothing in comparison.
- The differences between cases of suffering is far less than thought, but it still is nothing.
- The point here is not proof of future glory, but rather the incomparable value of future glory.
- The same comparison is made elsewhere in delightful, reckoning terms (II Co 4:16-18).
- The comparison invites us to the following verses where incomparable glory is explained.
- All present suffering of any kind, ordinary and extraordinary, will be lost in eternal glory.
- Paul introduced this expectant hope of the believer over suffering earlier (Rom 5:2-5).
With the glory.
- We understand glory in this context as perfect bliss in a wonderful world without suffering.
- Jesus suffered with our temptations, but He then obtained glory (I Tim 3:16; I Peter 2:11).
- He saw this future for Himself, and He prayed for it as He approached suffering (Jn 17).
- Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for suffering, but then came glory (Heb 2:9).
- The glorious joy Jesus saw with God caused Him to endure and despise suffering (Heb 12:2)
- David had prophesied of our Lord’s view of heaven as His sustaining strength (Ps 16:8-11).
- This view of eternal glory led martyrs to cheerfully endure torture and death (Rev 2:10; 12:11; 21:7), which worldview and life view you can learn by reading about them.
Which shall be revealed in us.
- The glory that completely overwhelms any suffering in this present life shall be seen in us.
- There is much more here than glory being revealed to us, which is not what the Spirit wrote.
- Paul wrote of Jesus being glorified in us (II Thess 1:10; Col 3:4; John 17:22)! Glory!
- John declared we would be like the Lord Jesus Christ in appearance (I John 3:2). Glory!
- We are the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, and He will glorify us for His glory!
- The context here includes the redemption of our bodies (8:23) and glorification (8:30).
- Paul wrote elsewhere about God’s great power in changing our vile bodies (Phil 3:21).
- Paul wrote more extensively about this coming change in our bodies (I Cor 15:35-44).
- The change is so great we can mock death and see reward in His labour (I Cor 15:51-58).
- Though suffering horribly, Job saw this day afar off and counted on it (Job 19:25-27).
- Such hope (sure expectation) should cause faithfulness in suffering (I Pet 1:13; 4:12-13).
- See the notes above under joint-heirs with Christ of how much glory we shall receive.
- God has all glory, and the sonship and inheritance in context must include His glory (8:17).
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
- The coordinating conjunction for tells us that there are reasons to justify the previous verses.
- Paul introduced future glory with Christ in 8:17 as heirs of God, evidenced by suffering.
- Paul’s point in 8:18 was the superlative excellence of future glory over present sufferings.
- He had declared surpassing glory would be revealed in God’s children, so he proceeded.
- He will add more to this idea of our coming glory in verses shortly following (8:21,30).
- Why this passage (19-23)? The qualitative glory of adoption and comfort for suffering.
- How important are these things to you? They are indescribably superior to anything in your life and all things in your life! They put everything else, good or bad, in the dark!
- He then illustrated and explained aspects of this superlative glory in this and the next verses.
- He also included a further confirmation and explanation of the sufferings of the present time.
- As in 8:18, there is little to no effort or emphasis for the certainty or truth of future glory, but rather on the superiority of future glory and the cause and reason of present difficulties!
- Is our glory certain or not? Reconcile future adoption (8:23) with past glorification (8:30)!
- On the basis of the stupendous blessings for the elect in their future glorification, our inspired apostle breaks forth in poetic description of its consequences on the universe in a personification that is somewhat rare in the New Testament. Listen to Paul wax eloquent!
The earnest expectation.
- An earnest expectation is a fervent desire, a craving need, or sincere dependence on an event.
- Earnest. Of persons: Serious, as opposed to trifling; usually in emphatic sense, intensely serious, gravely impassioned, in any purpose, feeling, conviction, or action; sincerely zealous. [OED]. Compare to II Corinthians 7:7; 8:16; Philippians 1:20; Hebrews 2:1.
- Expectation. The action of waiting; the action or state of waiting for or awaiting (something). The action of mentally looking for someone to come, forecasting something to happen, or anticipating something to be received; anticipation; a preconceived idea or opinion with regard to what will take place. [OED]. Compare Ps 62:5; Pr 11:7; Lu 3:15.
- Paul used this very combination for total confidence in God to deliver him (Phil 1:20).
- Furthermore, the context right here will equate our waiting for glorification to it (8:23)
- These are human terms that we can identify with, but here they are part of a personification.
- The next phrase leads to a conclusion that we have a personification here, which is a figure of speech that uses personal names or qualities for an abstract or material thing.
- Personification. Attribution of personal form, nature, or characteristics; the representation of a thing or abstraction as a person: esp. as a rhetorical figure or species of metaphor. [OED].
- Compare use of Mother Nature, Lady Liberty, Father Time, Uncle Sam, and others.
- Compare Proverbs 8 and 9, where wisdom is personified as a woman named Wisdom, where missing the personification results in some of the most absurd interpretations, including the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ as a little daughter playing before God!
- If personification, then human terms like earnest expectation are viewed differently, for the irrational creature or inanimate matter cannot literally think or perform as described.
- There is no necessity to deduce from personal attributes that the creature must be man, for the figure of speech is valid and used in the Bible, so we rightly divide (II Tim 2:15).
- Consider Bible examples of material things with personal attributes, as fields being joyful and trees rejoicing (Ps 96:12), little hills rejoicing and valleys shouting and singing (Ps 65:12-13), and mountains and hills singing and trees clapping their hands (Is 55:12).
- This personification is somewhat rare in the New Testament, but the transcendent glory of the subject called forth our apostle’s passionate and poetic description by the Spirit.
Of the creature.
- The word creature here is said to be one of the most difficult words in the New Testament.
- Some commentators believe this is a passage in Peter’s mind when describing the difficulty of Paul’s epistles that lead to the destruction of the unlearned (II Pet 3:15-16).
- By considering Peter’s new heavens and new earth in context (3:10-14), it is possible!
- Many words are used in more than one sense in our common speech and in the word of God.
- What is a board? A piece of sawed lumber? A place to post notices? A place for drawing with chalk? A group of senior executives and advisors to direct a company? The side of a ship? Daily food, especially when furnished for pay? A flat surface for playing games?
- Paul told Timothy in studying scripture he was to rightly divide such things (II Tim 2:15).
- The same word used in different places or ways may not mean the same thing at all.
- It is by context that we determine the sense of any word, not its spelling or use elsewhere.
- You early learned the best way to know a word and sense by asking for it in a sentence!
- We use a two-step approach for such issues. What can it not mean? What does it mean?
- What is the creature? It cannot include sinful men outside the election of grace.
- The context states the creature has expectant hope and waits for glorious liberty (19-21).
- This is not true of reprobates, for they have no good expectation awaiting them at all (Pr 10:28; 11:7,23; Matt 23:33; Rom 9:22; II Pet 2:3,17; Jude 1:4,13).
- What is the creature? It cannot include the devil and his angels.
- The context states the creature here has expectant hope of glorious liberty (19-21).
- This is not true of the devil and his angels, for they are reserved to eternal torment with no good expectation awaiting them (Matt 25:41; Jude 1:6; II Pet 2:4; Matt 8:29).
- Furthermore, though damned for sin, these spirit beings are not under the bondage of corruption in any comparable way to man’s body or his environment and universe.
- What is the creature? It cannot include the elect and holy angels of God.
- The context has the creature subject to vanity, bondage of corruption, and pain (20-22).
- This is not true of the chosen angels, who are forever in God’s presence and are ministers of the saints (Psalm 103:20; Matt 18:10; Luke 20:36; Heb 1:13-14; 12:22; Rev 5:11).
- These spirit beings are not under the bondage of corruption in any comparable way to man’s body or his environment and universe (I Cor 15:50).
- What is the creature? It cannot include or be the Gentiles (as some say), or Jews (as others).
- To propose Gentiles as unwilling participants in vain idolatry is ludicrous (Rom 1:18-23).
- Paul’s context before and after eliminates Jew-Gentile distinctions (Rom 3:22; 10:12).
- Paul’s context before and after is spiritual adoption, not a national (Rom 8:14-15,28-39).
- The theme of this part of the chapter is adoption as the sons of God (Rom 8:16-17,23-28).
- Most Gentiles are not in the election, so they have no part in the earnest expectation here.
- God’s election and hope of glory is not racial or national (Rom 9:24; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).
- The Gentiles as the creature are not waiting to see which Jews will become sons of God!
- It is disgraceful and shameful that such thoughts would ever originate in a thinking man.
- The Gentiles could not care less about Jews being God’s sons: they despise them as Jew
- What is the creature? It cannot include or be the converted elect as new creatures in Christ.
- It is true that Paul used “new creature” for converted sons of God (II Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15), but he also used creature for barbecued ribs (I Tim 4:4)! We must determine the sense!
- The bare similarity of “new creature” proves no more than “board” illustrated above.
- In fact, if we read with a little care, we see that creature and new creature are different, for a new creature is a new creative work resulting in the new birth, but this is not 8:19!
- If we run with this simplistic naivete, we have sons of God waiting for the sons of God!
- When Paul wanted to describe our waiting, he uses no such confusing double-talk (8:23).
- The creature is distinguished from the children of God by itself and also (8:21)!
- The creature is distinct from the children of God by they, ourselves, and also (8:23a)!
- The creature is distinct from the children of God by use of even we ourselves (8:23b)!
- Throughout this short section the creature and whole creation are distinct from children.
- What is the creature? The Holy Spirit declares that it is the inanimate and irrational creation.
- By rejecting the options that cannot possibly be true, we are left with only another option.
- The Holy Spirit used creature in 8:19-21, but then He used whole creation for it (8:22).
- The context satisfied our inquiry, so we may return to 8:19-21 and use whole creation.
- We can grasp whole creation in this context, and it agrees with scripture and experience.
- The point is so clear that the Spirit assumes we know it groans and travails in pain (8:22).
- The word and concept of creation have already been declared in this book (Rom 1:20,25).
- By considering what is said of the creature in 8:20-22 and comparing it to scripture and experience, which we will do shortly, we know the material universe is the creature.
- Therefore, we conclude the creature is the whole creation, excluding wicked men, both kinds of angels, and the sons of God, leaving the material universe, the earth, and all in it.
- The creature here is a singular collective noun or personification for the whole creation.
- Compare Proverbs 8 and 9, where wisdom is personified as a woman named Wisdom.
- The Spirit intended the material universe … inanimate matter and irrational creatures.
- Keep your focus right: the emphasis is not on the whole creation, but rather how the stupendous coming events for God’s elect will affect the whole creation. You are the focus!
- The first Adam of our race corrupted the original creation by his sin, including himself.
- The second Adam of the elect will restore the original luster God created and intended.
- The glorification and manifestation of the sons of God will be the jubilee of the universe!
Waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
- The creature, or the whole creation, is waiting for a coming event involving the sons of God.
- Remember, the definition of earnest expectation is a fervent waiting for a coming event.
- The whole creation of matter and animals is subject to vanity but waiting with hope (20).
- The whole creation now under bondage awaits its deliverance into glorious liberty (21).
- It presently groans and travails in pain, but awaits a coming change like ours (22-23).
- The manifestation of the sons of God is the final phase and event of salvation of the elect.
- The whole universe was created to display the glory of God in adopting sinful men.
- Consider these passages among many: Prov 16:4; Matt 25:31-46; Rom 9:22-24; I Cor 15:22-24; II Thess 1:7-10; I Pet 1:3-9; Rev 4:11; 20:11-15; etc.
- Manifest. To make evident to the eye or to the understanding; to show plainly, disclose, reveal. [OED]. Compare Bible usage in Eccl 3:18; Luke 8:17; Rom 1:19; I Cor 3:13; etc.
- To manifest a thing is to display it clearly, as a ship’s manifest reveals its hidden cargo.
- Future glory is a key to this section (8:17,18,21), and glorification is the end event (8:30).
- We were predestinated to be conformed to Christ’s image and be His brethren (8:29).
- But the predestinated brothers of Jesus Christ do not receive the inheritance until the end.
- We will not be fully adopted or glorified until given glorious new bodies (I Co 15:50-57).
- The sons of God are presently unknown to the world, but they shall soon be made manifest.
- The world does not know them now, just as it does not know their God or His Son (I John 3:1; I Cor 2:7-8,15; John 15:18-19; 16:3; 17:25; Gal 6:14; Col 3:3; etc.).
- Jesus Christ shall own them, without shame mind you, before His Father (Heb 2:10-13)!
- The momentous event of checking the book of life will be an incredible event for all men.
- The Son of God will judge those on both His right and left hands (Matthew 25:31-46).
- The great Day of Judgment is the cataclysmic event the New Testament promotes, not the foolish notions of Scofield and others about a 7-year tribulation or Jewish millennium.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
For the creature.
- We have already learned in the comments on verse 19 that this is the whole creation (8:22), or the material universe made up of inanimate matter and irrational creatures, excluding all men and angels. For the reasons for this important and certain conclusion, see verse 19.
- After expectant waiting in 8:19, Paul described other aspects of the creature’s present state.
- Here is the reason for the creature’s expectation of deliverance when the elect are delivered.
Was made subject to vanity.
- This is a passive voice phrase, for the creature did not willingly submit, but was subjected.
- A power outside the whole creation put it under subjection to vanity – its Creator God.
- This was not the choice of the creation, for it could not and did not bring vanity on itself.
- This was not the choice of the creation, for it in actuality and reality had no will anyway!
- Some ascribe it to Adam, but his sin subjected him; it did not give him power to subject; though his sin brought death on men (5:12-14), yet it was God that executed judgment.
- This passive construction refers to God’s curse of the earth and other things in Eden.
- Vanity describes things that are empty, futile, unprofitable, without value, and worthless.
- Vanity. That which is vain, futile, or worthless; that which is of no value or profit. The quality of being vain or worthless; the futility or worthlessness of something. [OED].
- By reading and comparing, we see the vanity here opposed to the liberty in the next verse, so we grasp a restrictive, restraining bondage of corruption that hinders its full glory.
- The wise preacher and king, Solomon, summarized life as mostly vanity (Eccl 1:2; 12:8).
- The best spiritual comparison is Psalm 78:33, which describes Israel’s tedious, fruitless, hopeless, back-and-forth, around-in-circles existence in the wilderness until all died.
- Compare other Bible uses of this term (Job 7:3; Psalm 39:5,11; 62:9; 94:11; 144:4; Isaiah 40:17; 41:29; 44:9; Jeremiah 16:19; Ezekiel 13:6; Ephesians 4:17).
- The universe is in a constant downward spiral from order and design to chaos and confusion.
- Decay, deformity, dysfunction, and death are only a few words to describe vanity we can see.
- The Bible describes the subjection of the earth under vanity by God’s sovereign judgment.
- The first place to consider is God’s judgment for sin in Eden, where a list of curses and judgments against humanity, the devil, and the creation are found (Gen 3:14-24); but before we even get to the list, we encounter shame for nakedness, fear, guilt, and blaming one another, which are all symptoms of a dysfunctional and vain existence of man.
- First, God cursed the serpent, for it was subjected to the punishment and bondage of slithering around in the dust, which it has done for the last six thousands years (3:14)!
- Second, God put enmity between women and snakes, which is universally true (3:15).
- Third, God multiplied sorrow and conception for women in childbirth, and she was further subjected under her husband due to her weakness in the fall (3:16).
- Fourth, God cursed the ground for Adam’s role, and He promised sorrow in labor for the entirety of life, for the ground would not yield fruit bountifully like it could (3:17).
- Fifth, God also cursed the ground with thorns and thistles, and He forced man to become a farmer, rather than enjoy the natural bounty and variety of Eden’s trees (3:18).
- Sixth, God’s curse on man included strenuous labor and sweat to survive, rather than the paradisiacal existence he had squandered in Eden’s lush garden (3:19).
- Seventh, God killed an animal to cloth them, bringing death to irrational creatures for the first time, which was not directly due to the fall, but rather God’s choice (3:21). See next phrases. We assume Abel kept sheep for clothing and sacrifice, not meat (Gen 1:29; 9:3).
- Eighth, God put wonderful living in the Garden off limits, so He drove Adam and Eve out of it, and Adam had to take up farming resistant soil to survive (3:22-24).
- Since God ordained killing animals for clothing and sacrifice, and since all animals were originally herbivores (Gen 1:30), we assume that only now after the Fall did they begin killing and eating each other, which is part of the vanity to which they were subjected.
- If any object that God lifted the curse on the ground due to Gen 5:29 and 8:21, it should be understand that those verses at the most only guarantee no further curse (Rev 22:3).
- Consider the issue of human longevity: what happened? Adam lived 930 years, but about 2000 years later, Moses wrote Psalm 90 and declared life expectancy to be 70 years!
- The whole creation did not willingly choose this punishment: Adam and Eve caused it by sin.
- A power outside the whole creation put it under subjection to vanity – the Creator.
- This was not the choice of the creation, for it could not and did not bring vanity on itself.
- The whole creation did not willingly choose this punishment: God Himself chose to do so.
But by reason of him.
- As in all events, The LORD Jehovah worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
- He chose to curse the earth and other aspects of creation for His own reasons (Deut 29:29).
- As noted above, this cannot be Adam, for he was subjected as well by God the Subjector!
Who hath subjected the same in hope.
- God’s subjection of the whole creation under bondage included its future deliverance, for He is fully aware and cognizant of His future intentions regarding the creation (Acts 15:18; etc.).
- Animals, plants, and heavenly bodies do not actually hope … it is still Paul’s personification.
- Here is a reason to reject any other definition for creature: evil angels and men have no hope, elect angels do not need any, and elect men are not subjected to it, but rather comforted by it.
- We believe and understand Abraham had hope (different from creation’s hope) of a better world, enduring city, and heavenly country, for his actions declared so (Heb 11:8-10,13-16).
- He owned no property in Canaan except the family cemetery, yet God promised it and the world as an inheritance, which we understand of the new earth (Acts 7:5; Rom 4:13)!
- David and Jesus spoke of God’s elect inheriting the earth (Ps 37:9,11,22; Matt 5:5; etc.).
- Paul told Corinth to grasp their ownership of all things, even the world (I Cor 3:21-23).
- There is no reason to read the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 in here, because the hope is based on God’s plan to restore the heavens and earth (8:21), not any justification by Christ for beasts!
- The creation has no guilt in its bondage, for it is inanimate and irrational; therefore there is no need for a Mediator, as in the case of the elect human family (I Tim 2:5; etc.).
- If Genesis 3:15 is considered at all, it is in light of what the Seed of the woman did in redeeming the elect, which by their future deliverance will greatly affect the creation.
- The plan of redemption was always preeminent, for that is the reason for creation and the fall of Adam and Eve, and God used cursed childbearing for salvation (I Tim 2:15).
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Because the creature.
- The word because is here to provide the reason for the hope of the creature’s future rescue.
- This hope for the creature’s future was introduced as the last word of the previous verse.
- Remember, animals and matter have no literal hope, but this is Paul’s personification.
- The creature (its personification) earnestly expects and hopes for a coming deliverance timed with the manifestation of the children of God (8:19) and similar to it (8:21).
- We have already established this creature as the whole creation of animals and matter (8:19).
- Glory to God for distinguishing the creature from the children of God right here by words.
- The pronoun itself, referring to the singular collective noun creature, is one proof of division.
- This singular, impersonal pronoun is distinct from the plural, personal children at the end.
- Itself is a reflexive pronoun, or emphatic pronoun, in this usage, drawing attention to the noun creature, which clearly distinguishes the creature from the plural children later.
- The creature, separate and distinct from children of God, shall itself enjoy their liberty.
- Two examples of a similar use of this reflexive pronoun are here in this chapter (16,26).
- The Spirit’s use of itself and also right here distinguish the creature from the children.
- The adverb also, for two different and distinct things in context, is a second proof of division.
- The word also, an adverb here modifying delivered, shows two objects of deliverance.
- There will be two objects delivered in the future from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty – the creature itself and the children of God.
- We see a similar important use of also in identifying two distinct figures in I Peter 3:21.
- The Spirit’s use of also and itself right here distinguish the creature from the children.
Shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.
- A new universe is coming, which will be altogether changed and new, replacing what we see.
- David prophesied of Jesus changing the universe as changing clothes (Ps 102:25-26), and Paul picked up this prophecy and quoted it again in the New Testament (Heb 1:11-12).
- Jesus taught His generation that heaven and earth would pass away (Matt 5:18; 24:35).
- Peter plainly prophesied the physical universe being entirely remade (II Pet 3:10-14), and his reference to Paul’s epistles dealing with the same things likely intends Rom 8:19-23!
- John prophesied God would make all things new in a new heaven and earth (Re 21:1-7), after he wrote that he saw the heaven and earth flee away at the great Judgment (20:11), before he wrote there would be no more curse, as from God’s judgment in Eden (22:3).
- We have consciously left out Isaiah’s verses about a new heaven, earth, and economy of the creation (Is 11:6-9; 65:17,25; 66:22), for the context there calls for an interpretation and application to the gospel era of Jesus Christ after His first coming, rather than the changing of the material universe at His second coming, which choice we trust is rightly dividing the word of truth between two different senses of the same words (II Tim 2:15).
- We have also consciously left out Peter’s words in Acts 3:21 on these same grounds.
- The natural creation will be delivered and restored in the last phase of salvation at Judgment.
- The bondage of corruption, the decay around us by the second law of thermodynamics, shall be lifted from the creature, when sin is finally eradicated for liberty for God’s sons.
- Peter described it quite plainly as a new heaven and a new earth (II Peter 3:10-14).
Into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
- The glorious liberty of the sons of God is their glorification when they will have glorified bodies capable of things they can only now imagine, as described in I Cor 15:35-54.
- The elect children of God will be free from all the curses, disease, destruction, and death that plagues this earthly existence in our presently corrupting physical bodies.
- Liberty is another word for freedom, and our bodies and lives shall be free of the present pain, sorrow, and tears that God shall wipe away in our final and total deliverance.
- While the children of God will be thus delivered, so will the whole creation considered here.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
For we know.
- Here is universal knowledge that we should understand: everyone recognizes that this world is not heaven: that things are not right: that life is filled with disasters, pain, sorrow, trouble, and vanity of all kinds, for animals and matter all show chaos, confusion, destruction, etc.
- When men mock our interpretation, especially by missing the personification and scorning the idea of a tree or rock groaning, they confess their own ignorance of a universal verity.
That the whole creation.
- We have already proved that this is the creature, and we have defined the creature (8:19).
- The apostle assumes that we understand the animal kingdom and matter of the universe is under the burden and curse of sin, and by the personification is groaning to be delivered.
Groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
- Animals, birds, fish, and matter do not actually groan, but this is part of the personification.
- The Spirit’s use of the adverb together indicates the plurality of the creatures in the creation, which should help readers identify the collective noun and then the plural pronoun they next.
- The groaning continues in the present by virtue of now, for the deliverance is yet future.
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.
And not only they.
- The distinction between first person and third person in the first two phrases of this verse is further proof of the creature not being the same as the children of God.
- Introduced by the adverb together in the previous verse, here the creature is referenced by the plural pronoun they, for the whole creation is made up of many different creatures.
- This switch from a singular collective noun to plural nouns and pronouns is illustrated well in I Timothy 2:9-15, where women, the woman, a woman, and they are used interchangeably.
But ourselves also.
- The distinction between first person and third person in the first two phrases of this verse is further proof of the creature not being the same as the children of God.
- And again, the Holy Spirit added the adverb also indicating two categories, as in 8:21.
Which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
- The firstfruits of the Spirit are apostolic privilege of His presence or earnest of future glory.
- He addressed the Romans (and us), for the description before and after is of universal traits of God’s elect in all ages and at all times. There is no generational distinction.
- Comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Cor 2:13), we choose the obvious sense of the Holy Spirit being the earnest, downpayment, or performance bond of our inheritance (Eph 1:13-14), where Paul used nearly identical terminology to that of this verse.
- The Spirit as the earnest of our future blessings is restated elsewhere (II Cor 1:22; 5:5).
- Paul had actually introduced this concept earlier in Romans about the Spirit (Rom 5:5).
- Since God has given us the firstfruits of this future harvest (our inheritance), we know that everything else will follow by virtue of this earnest and the definition of firstfruits.
- It is this exact sense the same apostle used about our future resurrection (I Cor 15:20-23).
- Firstfruits were the initial wheat harvest, which was observed at Pentecost, before the final total harvest ingathering, which was celebrated with feast of booths (Exodus 23:16).
- What role does the Spirit have in this chapter and related to this subject? An internal witness!
- The entire chapter deals more with the Holy Spirit than maybe any other single chapter.
- Having introduced sonship, the Spirit is our internal witness of adoption (8:14-16).
- Part of this witness of adoption is the confirmation and joy in our future glorification.
Even we ourselves groan within ourselves.
- The Holy Spirit again, many times now in this context, restates by language and grammar that the creature and the sons of God are two distinct, different, and separated categories.
- Let no reader be so confused or dishonest that they mingle these two different categories.
- The adverb even emphasizes the unique identity of the believers from the whole creation.
- The adverb even expresses an extreme case of the more general proposition of the whole creation groaning e.g. not only is the whole creation groaning, but even we believers do.
- The reflexive pronoun ourselves further emphasizes the distinct identify of believers here.
- The groaning here is not due to doubt or fear, but rather desire to be glorified (II Cor 5:1-2).
- The Spirit in context, which bears witness with our spirit (8:16), enhances and intensifies our groaning by bearing witness of our adoption and the coming glory of our adoption!
- Like the whole creation, groaning under its bondage of corruption, we believers also groan in our desire for the redemption of our bodies from the presence and effects of sin.
- Life has pain and trouble from conception to death by the effects of Adam’s and our sins.
- The righteous have many afflictions in body and soul (Ps 34:19; 71:20; II Cor 4:7-11).
- Each time you are sick or have a birthday, you recognize the bondage of corruption.
- Believers rightly groan for this change, as repeated elsewhere (II Cor 4:16-18; 5:1-5).
Waiting for the adoption.
- Here is proof of phases of salvation, even as they apply to individual facets like adoption, for Paul has declared adoption already complete (8:14-17), but here is a phase yet future (8:23).
- So certain is this final phase of adoption, our bodily resurrection, it is in the past tense (8:30).
- On what basis is our final adoption so certain? God having already given His Son (8:32)!
- Since it is so certain, how can we be moved by a few men against us in this life (8:31)!
To wit, the redemption of our body.
- Our bodies must be changed – corruptible flesh and blood cannot inherit glory (I Cor 15:50).
- Our bodies must be changed – we are constantly groaning about their corruption (Rom 8:23).
- Our bodies will be redeemed, bought back, from the consequences and penalty of sin and the corruption of the grave, when Jesus our Lord raises them from the dead and changes them!
- The creature is bound by corruption (8:21), but we know our bodies are truly bound by it.
- Our bodies shall be changed, and this is a mystery of the gospel, revealed to us (I Cor 15:51).
- Jesus shall shout with His mighty voice and raise all dead bodies (John 5:28-29; I Thes 4:16).
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
For we are saved by hope.
- The coordinating conjunction for takes the lesson of 8:17-23 and applies it to daily living.
- Paul declared that we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ of God and future glory (8:17).
- He further wrote that the future glory with Christ far surpasses any suffering now (8:18).
- Along with God’s sons, the whole creation groans for this great day of liberty (8:19-23).
- What do these glorious prophecies have for us in practical value? Hope for the future!
- Though lives now may be poor and heavy with suffering, there is great hope for saints.
- The Christian religion is one of great hope, and this hope must be explained and emphasized.
- Paul declared it simply and directly as a miserable religion without hope (I Cor 15:19).
- A life of self-denial and persecution is foolish and painful … without future resurrection.
- Future hope must be taught and retained for salvation from such misery (15:1-2), and it is this doctrine that saints must share to avoid the hopelessness of others (I Thess 4:13-18).
- It greatly affected Asaph, when he forgot to maintain a future perspective (Ps 73:2-14).
- What is the cure? Go to the sanctuary and relearn that this life is nothing (Ps 73:17-24).
- David in other places taught such lessons of hope (Ps 17:13-15; 37:1-11; 49:12-15; etc.).
- It is an important part of the gospel to direct the eyes and hearts of saints toward heaven and away from their present circumstances of any sort, either good or bad (Rom 5:2; II Cor 4:17 – 5:8; Gal 6:14; Col 3:1-4; I Thess 1:9-10; II Thess 1:4-10; 2:16; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 11:24-27; I Pet 1:3-9; I John 2:15-17; 3:3; etc.).
- We are strangers and pilgrims here, so God’s children are generally poor and detached from this world, living in it but not being a part of it (Jas 2:5; I Pet 2:11).
- Examine yourself to see if your trust and hope is in the LORD alone (Jeremiah 17:5-10).
- Of all men on the planet, we have the basis for the greatest and surest hope of all. Glory!
- Consider the hope of reincarnationists … coming back as a grasshopper for snake food!
- When the world says, “Hope springs eternal,” their optimism is based on nothing at all.
- Our blessed God and Father went to the trouble of providing for our hope (Heb 6:17-20).
- When circumstances or spirits discourage us, we must choose to hope in God (Ps 42:5).
- Arminians, who use sound bites like 10:13, should admit hope as the condition for salvation!
- If they were honest with scripture, this verse declares salvation is by hope, not by faith.
- They wax long and loud that all you have to do is believe … but this verse says hope!
- They also ignore I Cor 15:1-2, for it teaches losing salvation through forgetfulness.
- Without the knowledge of the five phases of salvation, such verses can be problematic.
But hope that is seen is not hope.
- Our hope is based on faith in God’s revelation (8:17-23), for the promises are not yet visible.
- The lesson is simple enough, but important: hope is for those things we cannot yet see.
- Faith is substance of things hoped for and evidence of things you have never seen: it is that good, based on God’s promises, for He cannot lie, and they are certain (Heb 11:1).
- Believing, or faith, is the basis for abounding hope by power of God’s Spirit (Ro 15:13).
- Noah had never seen rain, but he believed God and built an ark to save himself (He 11:7).
- Abram and Sarah were too old to have children, but they believed God (Rom 4:18-21).
- Moses knew Israel was no match for Pharaoh, but he left Egypt anyway (Heb 11:24-27).
- Joshua had never seen city walls fall flat from marching in circles, but they did anyway!
- Peter had fished all night without taking anything, but he obeyed the word and succeeded.
- Job had not seen his Redeemer yet, but he believed with great confidence (Job 19:25-27).
- John described this predicament in light of his declaration of being God’s sons (I John 3:1-2).
- So we walk by faith, not sight. If you can see it, it is temporary and means little; if you cannot see it, it is eternal and dwarfs things you can see by any measure (II Cor 4:17 – 5:8).
For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
- If you have a thing in hand; if your desire has been fulfilled, there is no further role for hope.
- Hope will disappear in heaven, for we will see and experience everything we now hope for.
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
But if we hope for that we see not.
- Though we do not yet see our deliverance, it is sure; and we wait for it trusting God in hope.
- The nature of hope is future expectation looking beyond present realities, knowing things present are only temporary, much as Paul had explained about the creature (8:19-20).
- Afflictions are seen and real, and our unseen future glory is not seen; but we look for it anyway, because God’s promises of its certainty are more than sufficient (I Pet 1:3-9).
- A believer’s hope is not in doubt, but a certainty by God’s truth and power (II Tim 1:12).
- But what do we see … the wicked prospering, things temporal, and other discouragements.
- Remember Asaph and David’s lessons mentioned in the previous verse’s comments.
- The more you allow carnal inputs of this present life, and the more you think about them, and the more you talk about them, and the more you pursue them … you destroy hope.
- Men who love this life … let them have it … it is all they have, for they will never see light: they are belly worshippers, and what they worship is vanity and vexation anyway!
- It is the duty of saints to help each other avoid the carnal inputs of life, think about heavenly things, talk about heavenly things, and pursue heavenly things (I Thess 4:18).
Then do we with patience wait for it.
- A believer’s hope is not in doubt, but rather a patient waiting for a certain, sure future event.
- Faith and hope are closely related – the former believing God, the latter expecting the results.
- Unbelievers are hopeless by afflictions and things they see; but believers always have hope regardless of what they see or experience, for faith in God’s word is the basis of their hope.
- Let the Thessalonians be our example, who turned from idols to wait for Jesus from heaven.
- The most important lesson from these two verses is our duty and privilege to help each other get our eyes off this world’s “prosperity,” enticements, and suffering and look to heaven.
- If we fail to do so, then we will have widespread failures like Asaph in Psalm 73.
- If we choose to do so, we can build a church of strong faith and great hope like martyrs.
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.
Likewise the Spirit.
- This section (26-27) opens with likewise, a connecting adverb with one of two meanings.
- It can mean in the same or similar manner, or it can mean in addition or moreover.
- But the more important question is what two things are being considered as similar.
- Does the Spirit help us two different ways, or is the Spirit compared to another helper?
- We choose the latter, because the Spirit and hope work very differently to comfort us.
- The immediate preceding context is describing the blessing and value of our hope.
- Therefore, we understand this adverbial conjunction to mean in addition or moreover.
- The Christian religion has two very important components taught in this small context.
- We are saved by hope (8:24) … hope is essential for both spiritual and natural prosperity.
- We are saved by the Holy Spirit (8:2,10,13) … Spirit power and testimony is essential.
- And the two work together gloriously, for it is the Holy Spirit that supplies hope (15:13).
- The Spirit is God Himself. It is not our spirit, the human spirit, or anything of ourselves.
- The Spirit is God Himself. We cannot demote the Spirit to a force, presence, influence, etc.
- We have already been plainly told that every true believer in Christ has the Holy Spirit (8:9).
- Ministries of the Holy Spirit … https://letgodbetrue.com/sermons/index/year-2017/the-holy-spirit-in-ephesians/.
Also helpeth our infirmities.
- Paul introduced suffering as he opened this section about the Spirit and our hope (8:17-18).
- He further described the bondage of corruption and groaning of previous verses (8:21-23).
- He will continue about suffering as he moves to the favorite text about all things (8:28).
- He will continue about suffering as he moves past predestination to our assurance (8:35-39).
- The Spirit does not remove our infirmities, and the Spirit does not do everything for us.
- The Spirit helps us … and this is essential to fully grasp the blessing and power of the verse.
- We still must pray, and we pray diligently, constantly, and according to the Bible’s rules.
- The Spirit does not pray for us when we do not pray, for it is our duty to do so (Jas 4:2).
- The Spirit does not help us when we grieve or quench Him (Eph 4:30; I Thess 5:19).
- He helps in many ways, but the rest of the verse limits the form of help under consideration.
For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.
- One consequence of sinful natures and weak constitutions is not knowing what to pray for.
- This is hard to imagine, but it is often true, sometimes known and sometimes unknown by us.
- Note that this clause indicates that we are confused about the content and manner of praying.
- If you are not a praying Christian, you are likely not a Christian, and you will not grasp this.
- How do we know not what to pray for as we ought? Surely we can pray rote RCC prayers.
- We pray for things to consume on our lusts missing the danger of those things (Jas 4:3).
- We do not know what would truly be best for us and/or our situation of need.
- We are not as spiritually minded with eternity’s values in mind as we should be.
- We do not know what God might be willing to grant us in the largesse of His will.
- We have imperfect knowledge of God’s character, purposes in trials, principles, etc.
- We are often in deep perplexity by overwhelming confusion, disappointment, or fear.We see so little of the present let alone the future that we are rendered quite ignorant.
- We think we understand the reward of Psalm 37:4, but cannot it be fulfilled two ways?
- What do we get from our Father for being carnal, ignorant, and stupid? No rebuke, just help!
- He knows our frame and pities us like a good father, which we can remember (Ps 103:13-14).
But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.
- Does the Spirit do this independently of us, or does He do it in companionship with us?
- The Bible plainly teaches several things about the Holy Spirit and prayer
- If we are not praying and are living carnally, we quench and grieve the Holy Spirit.
- If we are not praying and are living carnally, the Spirit becomes our enemy (Is 63:10).
- We are commanded to pray, and we will not ordinarily obtain our needs without it.
- We have not because we ask not, for God has made this means open to us (James 4:2).
- We must pray in the Spirit without grieving or quenching, but humble instead (Eph 6:18).
- Therefore, among other reasons, the Spirit assists our praying; He does not pray instead.
- The Holy Spirit enhances our praying in content and manner, our two inherent problems.
- The Holy Spirit does this both with us and for us, if we are obedient praying children.
- He can pray according to the will of God more perfectly than we can, for He is God.
- He can pray more fervently than we can, for He can pray with His own divine groanings.
- Praying in the Holy Ghost is an expression used at least twice (Eph 6:18; Jude 1:20-21).
- We pray in the Spirit when spiritually minded (8:5-6) and mortifying the flesh (8:13-14).
- We walk in the Spirit by living the described lifestyle pleasing to Him (Gal 5:16-26).
- We cannot assume the Holy Spirit will pray for those who do not pray, for that would not be praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20-21), and it would grieve and quench the Spirit.
- We let the context guide the balance, for the Spirit works with our spirit (8:15-16; Gal 4:6).
- The Spirit inspired other verses showing balance (II Sam 23:1; Ps 45:1; Mat 10:19-20).
- We should pray for this grand blessing and other helps of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
- As shown above already, the Holy Spirit helps us … He does not do it all for us.
- Paul will later in this epistle explain that believing activates Spirit power (Rom 15:13).
- Love the reflexive, or emphatic, pronoun itself again, as it was used with the Spirit in 8:16.
- Prayer and intercession are the same thing, as the Spirit aids us in doing what we cannot do.
- As a supercharger or turbocharger require rpms to activate and operate, so the Holy Ghost.
With groaning which cannot be uttered.
- Suffering and groaning by believers and creature have been introduced (8:17-18,22-23).
- Here is the manner of praying, our fervency is greatly multiplied with and for us by Him.
- Paul will take up the content of spiritual praying in the next verse according to God’s will.
- We are seldom so fervent as to pray with groaning, but the Holy Spirit provides fervency.
- Though we may be afflicted with dullness in praying at times, He groans with/for us.
- Though we may be afflicted with doubts about our intensity, He groans with/for us.
- If you are groaning out of discontentment or covetousness, it does not count here.
- If you are groaning out of faults and punishments of your own, it does not count here.
- There are desires and needs of our emotional hearts that cannot be verbally expressed.
- The groaning in context is internal groaning, not audible groaning, though not excluded.
- When we are a loss of how to earnestly and fervently express ourselves, the Holy Spirit can.
- Consider … the Spirit can utter anything – there is nothing too hard for Him to explain.
- Consider … the Holy Spirit can add God’s own bowels – for He is God in all ways.
- Consider … by this context of helping and groaning our prayers are better two ways.
- Compare this to Psalms about the human spirit being overwhelmed (Ps 55; 61; 77; 142; 143).
- David was so overwhelmed at times that he could hardly get past God forsaking him.
- The Holy Spirit helps us communicate to God feelings we cannot rightly communicate.
- Some of the greatest prayers have few or no words, as the sighing of Israel in Egypt.
- Jesus in Gethsemane, sweat drops of blood, for He had the Holy Spirit without measure.
- What does God search to hear groaning? His own Spirit? No! He searches our hearts (8:27).
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.
And he that searcheth the hearts.
- God searches the hearts of all men, so silent prayers of the heart are fully heard (Jer 17:10).
- The blessing here is the Spirit’s help in our hearts, not the Spirit doing everything for you.
- In the matter of prayer, how important is it to you that your Father searches your heart?
- Do you remember that He counts your wanderings and has your tears in His bottle (Ps 56:8)?
- Our Father comes searching our hearts … what a Lover of our souls! … and the Spirit helps our groaning of deepest desires that we cannot rightly describe or explain.
- This relationship and blessing of sonship is only for spiritually minded, praying Christians!
Knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit.
- Before was the manner of praying, our fervency is greatly multiplied with and for us by Him.
- Paul now takes up in this verse the content of spiritual praying according to God’s will.
- What man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of man that is in him (I Cor 2:11).
- What man knoweth the things of God, but the Spirit of God, Who is God (I Cor 2:11).
- How well does your Father know your needs? Better than you do! by His Spirit in you!
- But God put His Spirit in us to communicate the uncommunicable to Him without any loss.
- Of course He knows the mind of the Holy Spirit independently considered, but this is yours.
- The Spirit’s mind is His intercession with you in proper content and manner for great effect.
Because he maketh intercession for the saints.
- The Holy Spirit takes your incommunicable feelings and corrects ignorant content to God.
- He does it with you, as you walk closer and closer, and as you pray closer and closer to Him.
- As a supercharger or turbocharger require rpms to activate and operate, so the Holy Ghost.
According to the will of God.
- God has a secret will that will never be changed or overturned in any matter (Deut 29:29).
- Since His secret will is none of our business, we cannot know to obey it or violate it.
- But the Spirit, being God Himself, can easily direct our prayers according to this will.
- God has a revealed will that we seek to learn and apply to all aspects of our lives (De 29:29).
- The Holy Spirit leads us by internal witness and instruction to pray for God’s perfect will.
- The issue here is content of our prayer, for He earlier dealt with our fervency in prayer.
1. This is a favorite Bible chapter for some, and this verse 8:28 may be a favorite verse of some.
2.Without severe persecution and tribulations, we cannot fully appreciate this verse, but let us try.
3.We need a martyr’s mind, for these brethren suffered, something we hardly know (8:17-18,26,35-36).
4. By appreciation and remembrance of this verse, you can be faithful and fearless in any circumstance.
5. This verse declares an axiom of true Christianity and apostolic religion of God’s care of His children.
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.
And we know.
- This verse is a transitional verse, in that it takes us from dealing with suffering to salvation.
- The first half of the verse is connected to the suffering in the prior context (8:17-27).
- The second half of the verse connects to the salvation in the following context (8:29-39).
- And is an important conjunction here that ties this verse to the earlier content of the chapter.
- There are two things in the immediate context to which Paul appends this great axiom.
- First, the hope of future glory helps support believers during trials in this life (8:17-25).
- Second, the Spirit’s prayers with us and for us are further helps under affliction (8:26-27).
- In addition to these two helps, God’s providence ruling all for good is icing on the cake.
- We limits the subjects of this verse to Paul, the elect saints to which he wrote, and us (8:1-7).
- Paul wrote to those saints beloved of God (1:7), which he will use here shortly (8:38-39).
- It is a special privilege to have beautiful feet bring the glad tidings of good news to us.
- Paul had already granted them a work of the Spirit declaring God’s love for them (5:5).
- If we love Him, as this text states (8:28), it is by God’s prior love for us (I John 4:19).
- The wicked never even think of God, until He changes them (Ps 10:4; Jn 6:44; Ac 16:14).
- Many do not know this axiom: all worldlings and poorly taught or carnal believers.
- The children of God know certain things by revelation that are essential for spiritual success.
- God’s revelation of truth, in this case of His care, is a special privilege to be maximized.
- The operation of the LORD Jehovah in the world is a great revelation by God’s mercy, and knowing the care by which He operates for His elect is a great comfort of that mercy.
- However, if you are a wayside hearer, this word has been snatched from you for despair.
- Believers should be fully and finally grounded in God’s love and sovereign care of them.
- Fearful and unbelieving talk about having a weak and unsure hope is not truly scriptural.
- Paul was persuaded God would keep his soul that he had committed to Him (II Ti 1:12).
- Are you solidly established with knowledge to keep from slipping (Psalm 26:1; 62:2,6)?
That all things.
- God’s children can rest in the fact that all things in their lives are under His government.
- The prior context has things of suffering (8:17), corruption (8:23), and infirmities (8:26).
- The context after emphasizes very negative things of suffering and martyrdom (8:35-36).
- The following context has positive things of God’s gracious salvation (8:29-31,37-39), which are introduced and connected to this axiom by the coordinating conjunction
- All external things in a believer’s life are moving under God’s hand toward great good!
- Here is fabulous comfort for the children of God while suffering in this present world.
- But what about sinful things, acts of sin, and foolishness pursued to our own hurt?
- While God can and does overrule folly and sins for our good, this is not the context, and this does not give us the liberty or presumption of doing evil that good may come (3:8).
- Do you ask about David’s heinous sin? It was the source of Solomon (II Sam 12:24-25), but only after great grief and perpetual trouble in his life because of that sin!
- Did Paul’s past as Christ’s enemy help or hurt his ministry (Gal 1:23-24; I Tim 1:12-16)?
- Many sinners know their sins help them love Christ and mercy (Luke 7:47; Matt 18:28), but they despise those sins and no longer live in them, because they have truly repented.
- We do not believe the sins of Lot and Samson were working together for their good, for these two children of God squandered the grace of God in their lives in many respects.
- The sins of the Corinthians took many home early, but damnation is not good as here.
Work together for good.
- The events of life, natural and spiritual and eternal, all work together, coordinated by God.
- Only one mind could coordinate all the aspects of your life for His glory and your profit.
- You can only by great effort arrive at one percent of the factors affecting your life, and they are all interrelated to other factors, the majority of which are out of your control.
- We should learn to the take the bad with the good, for they work together profitably.
- We may be overwhelmed by all the circumstances and events in life, but God is not.
- But not only do all things work together for God’s children, they work together for good!
- Can you see good from evil in Joseph’s life and believe God will do so for you, if you are as faithful as Joseph was? If you are not as faithful, there is not as much hope for you.
- Daniel and Esther are two more such examples of God’s providential government of all things turning great pain into great gain, but this providence is mainly for acts of God.
- Consider David’s attitude toward affliction and chastening in his life (Ps 119:67,71,75), which Paul would elaborate on further in his epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:5-13).
- Paul has already shown the spiritual good that come from tribulations (5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4).
- Can you think of any good that came out of the trials of Job? How about God’s glory? his wife’s folly? his instruction? his friends’ instruction? doubling of all assets? a book of the Bible? an opportunity for Elihu? an example of the Lord’s pity (Jas 5:11)? And more!
To them that love God.
- The wonderful words and comforting promise of this verse only apply to them that love God!
- There is no value in these words simply used as a mantra by those who do not love God
- If you are living a carnal existence befriending the world, there is no comfort for you.
- Those who love God are the righteous, and God blesses them (Psalm 34:12-22; 128:1-6).
- Loving God is not some mental assent about love, but a heart filled with love for Him.
- To truly love God you must love Him supremely with total devotion and keep yourself there.
- Loving God is the first commandment and must be done with all your being (Deut 6:5).
- Any flirting with the world makes you a spiritual adulterer and enemy of God (Jas 4:4).
- Loving God is something you must work at keeping or restoring (Jude 1:21; Rev 2:4-5).
- If you are elect but not loving Him, some things will come on you for chastening only.
To them who are the called.
- Those who love God with this promise are also identified as them who are the called of God.
- If any man loves God, it is because God has already called him to this love (I John 4:19).
- What does it mean to be called of God? It means God chose and appointed you His child!
- Your calling is your chosen or appointed role or vocation (I Cor 7:17-24; Eph 4:1 cp 5:1).
- God’s call can be appointment, or regeneration as a son, or the gospel call to act like one.
- The call here is different and more than an invitation, offer, or request for us to choose.
- It is God’s charge, command, order, and ordination that result in us being sons of God.
- The Romans were called of God (Rom 1:6-7), or elect of God (I Cor 1:24-29; I Pet 1:2).
- The point here is that the declared facts of 8:28 are only for those called of God to be His.
- God’s purpose to work all things in their lives together for good is only true of His sons.
- Observe the strong passive voice of this phrase, which exalts God and minimizes man.
- It does not say, “To them who are calling,” or, “To them who have called.” No, not at all.
- It does not even say, “To them who are called,” or, “To them who have been called.”
- It identifies them as the called, which emphatically intends those God Himself has called.
- The gospel call to be sons is nothing compared to God’s authoritative call, appointment, ordination, or regeneration to be His sons (Matt 22:14; Rom 9:11; Eph 1:3-12; I Pet 2:9).
- The gospel call always follows God’s sovereign call (I Cor 1:22-31; II Thess 2:13-14).
- There is more about this operation of calling in the golden chain of grace next (8:29-30).
According to His purpose.
- The calling or vocation we receive from God is according to his purpose, not at all our own.
- Salvation and calling are by God’s eternal purpose in Christ, not our works (II Tim 1:9).
- If God has been merciful to you, it is according to His own good will (Matt 11:25-26).
- The purpose of God in our lives as vessels of mercy has a most good and glorious end!
1. If the verse is for those that love God, then what are you going to do right now about that?
2. If you have slipped and love other things in competition with God, then confess and repent.
3. If you have slipped and do not love God as you have at other times, then confess and repent.
4. If God’s word is true, then you will bear up under afflictions, because God will work good.
5. You will remember that chastening for your sins may bring good but will not be pleasant.
6. You will remember that Lot and Samson could not actually claim this text for much profit.
1. Predestinarian or Baptist? Most think you must choose one or the other, but Bible Christians are both.
2. The great drama of creation and salvation is for the glory of God in Jesus Christ before the angels.
3. The reason you exist has never been about you – it has always been about Him – the glory of God.
4. We only – believers in Christ – can say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
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.
- The coordinating conjunction for shows this verse explains his purpose for the called (8:28).
- Our sonship (8:14), future glory (8:17), and future adoption (8:23) are by God’s purpose.
- Eternal glory in heaven is not by possibility, proposal, proposition, provision, or appeal.
- His purpose is exalted above all other aspects (Rom 9:11,17; Eph 1:11; 3:11; II Tim 1:9).
- Sonship is not a possibility, but God’s purpose (Jn 6:38-39; 10:26-29; 17:2; Heb 2:13).
- The personal pronoun whom indicates and reminds us of personal election as sons of God.
- Your name was written in the book of life before the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8; Eph 1:4).
- So extensive is God’s knowledge of you that your very hairs are numbered (Matt 10:30).
- God said He was better than a new mother with their names on His palms (Is 49:15-16).
He did foreknow.
- Foreknowledge does not lead to God’s purpose, but rather God’s purpose to foreknowledge!
- God’s purpose begins in foreknowledge, which is beyond omniscience; it is love beforehand!
- The Spirit’s carefully chosen words say it is whom He foreknew, not what He foreknew.
- This is far beyond bare omniscience, for His bare omniscience has foreknown all men.
- This is far beyond bare omniscience, for His will is supreme in salvation (9:15-16; etc.).
- This is far beyond bare omniscience, as He will declare He never knew many (Mat 7:23).
- What God foreknew about us by bare omniscience, for He did inspect and examine our race, was universal sinful rebellion, without a single exception (Ps 14:1-3; 53:1-3).
- To know in the Bible has another sense different from bare knowledge, one of special affection, approval, benevolence, and design (Gen 4:1; Psalm 1:6; Jer 1:5; Amos 3:2).
- He shall deny He ever knew the wicked – He never loved them (Matt 7:23; Ps 5:5; 11:5).
- He loved His elect from everlasting, and He always shall (Jeremiah 31:3; Eph 1:4; 5:25).
- These are the elect that Paul will identify by the same root in a future chapter (Rom 11:2).
- God’s choice and love of the elect also predestinated them to adoption (see Eph 1:3-6).
He also did predestinate.
- God’s purpose toward His elect builds from affectionate foreknowledge to predestination.
- Predestination, though hated and unpopular today, is a Bible doctrine we should and do love.
- This Bible doctrine, which makes us predestinarian Baptists, is here and in Eph 1:5,11.
- It is not our choice to believe predestination or not. It is a Bible doctrine by revelation.
- What does it mean? It means God determined and guaranteed our destination beforehand.
- In this particular context the destination is glorification in heaven as the sons of God.
- In the other uses of the word, it is also our adoption and inheritance as sons (Eph 1:5,11).
- Man is so arrogant that he assumes he has the right to make all choices of heaven or hell, though he forfeited them in Eden and all other life aspects are by a choice made for him!
- Man in Eden and every day chooses his future destiny – the lake of fire for eternity.
- Arminians have God predestinating men to hell just as much as any doctrine of salvation.
- There is no logical way to believe the God of the Bible and reject predestination of men.
- If God knows all that will happen on certain conditions, why did He bring them to pass?
- If God knew who would not believe on Christ and be saved, why in the world did He create them knowing this certain outcome? He predestinated them to damnation.
- But the Arminian confuses things horrifically by having God frustrated, trying to save them, and loving them as much as those in heaven. How is this love by a perfect Being?
- Predestination precedes, rather than follows, conforming, for it is unconditional election!
- When God viewed man, He saw no man seeking Him or doing righteousness (Ps 14:1-3).
- It is God’s predestination that brings about His work in us that changes us (Phil 2:12-13).
- Before predestination can occur, the objects of it must be chosen and segregated, which is understood by God’s purpose (8:28) and foreknowledge (8:29) and many other scriptures.
To be conformed.
- Predestination does not lead to presumption, Fatalism, or carnality as our opponents claim, because the object of predestination and the evidence of predestination are Christ-likeness!
- The ignorant or the malicious charge predestinarians with Fatalism or antinomianism, for they despise the doctrine and do not want to consider a truly Biblical explanation of it.
- A popular, easy way to reject predestination is to say, “Then I could live any way I wish.”
- Predestination’s goal is clear, and present grace agrees with it (Phil 2:12-16; Tit 2:11-14).
- Predestination’s evidence is clear, and it bears present fruit (I Thess 1:2-4; II Pet 1:5-11).
- This is the object of our predestination, which cannot be a condition for it, by definition!
- Believe the truth of predestination, but it will do nothing for you like conformation will.
- This conforming is God’s work resulting in us glorified like Christ (8:17-18,30; I John 3:2).
- God will do all necessary work, which is considerable, to make wild sinners like Jesus!
- This finished product of glorified human sinners astounds the angels by God’s grace and wisdom, for He entirely overlooked their sinning brethren to reach lower to humanity.
- We let the context, especially 8:30, lead us to emphasize the final phase of our salvation.
- This glory was introduced in 8:17-18, illustrated in 8:19-23, and clearly named in 8:30.
- While regeneration is an enormous change, final and total glorification is very great.
- Remember that we cannot inherit heaven in our present bodily condition (I Co 15:50-51).
- We see glorification rather than conversion, as scripture and experience prove, for we reject a doctrine of perseverance that guarantees practical sanctification to such a degree.
- We will never be fully conformed in the practical phase of salvation in this life, though we should strive for it as much as possible, but not the absolute sense of glorification.
- While we seek to be conformed, and it should be the highest priority, more is to come.
- Any frustration you may now have at not being conformed as you wish will soon end!
- Let us consider the superiority of our conformation to our knowledge of predestination.
- The practice of the C-word here is more important than knowing or teaching the P-word.
- An Arminian conforming his life to Jesus Christ is great than a worldly predestinarian.
- Of course, we would like both … to know the doctrine and to zealous keep its intent.
- It is very easy to be content, haughty, and secure in our rare belief in predestination.
- But arrogant presumption in the doctrine and hypocritical living will bring fierce wrath.
- The fad of WWJD bracelets like the phylacteries of the Jews is against Christ (Mat 23:5).
To the image of His Son.
- The image of a thing is its likeness or resemblance (Luk 20:24; I Cor 11:7; 15:49; Heb 10:1).
- Jesus is the image of God: the visible likeness of Him (Jn 1:14; II Co 4:4; Co 15; He 1:3).
- Jesus is the image of God, so our conforming to Him is conforming to God, our Father.
- Jesus is the preeminent pattern for our future glorification and present sanctification.
- We can find far too many faults with men like Joshua, David, Solomon, Peter, and others.
- God was offended when Peter suggested Elijah and Moses as peers to Christ (Matt 17:5).
- God alone can conform us to the heavenly, glorified nature of our risen Lord and Saviour, which He will do in the great day that is rapidly approaching when we are resurrected.
- But I must ask, How closely do you resemble Jesus Christ of Nazareth in character now?
- If the end of predestination is conformation to Jesus Christ, what should be apparent now?
- If Christ-likeness is God’s long-term goal for the elect, has He started the project yet?
- If Christ-likeness is God’s long-term goal for the elect, do you show preparatory work?
- God does much and commands much in the conformation process before resurrection.
- He regenerates us by the power of His Spirit, which should result in a spiritual new man.
- We were quickened for a purpose – good works He has ordained for us (Eph 2:1,10).
- Regeneration gave you a new man in Christ’s image, for you to put on daily (Col 3:8-11).
- This Spirit power in N.T. believers can conform you to Christ’s glory (II Cor 3:17-18).
- Is Jesus Christ your vine, and are you abiding in Him (John 15:1-8)? Fruit must show!
- He sends His gospel ministers to tell us how we should live to be more like Jesus Christ.
- Gospel ministers are for the perfecting of the saints to Christ’s full stature (Eph 4:12-13).
- They jealously seek to present hearers perfect in Christ Jesus (Col 1:28; II Cor 11:2).
- Conversion includes hunger for God’s word to grow in Christ (I Pet 2:1-3; II Pet 3:18).
- From baptism to our response to God’s mercies to preparation for His coming, we must show a new lifestyle radically different from before and others (Rom 6:4; 12:1-2; 13:14).
- True conversion results in a man being a new creature in Christ (II Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).
- If you take the name of Christ as a Christian, then you are to walk like Christ (I John 2:6).
- He chastens us for our profit to be conformed more closely to the standard of Jesus Christ.
- Natural fathers chasten more for their pleasure and He more for our profit (Heb 12:10).
- Chastening is only valuable in the process if we are exercised righty by it (Heb 12:11-14).
- Affliction is to bring us back to our conforming process after straying (Ps 119:67,71).
- If you are not conformed and conforming, then you have no evidence of being predestinated!
- Why attend a predestinarian church, if your life does not match the goal and proof of it?
- If your righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, you are reprobate (Matt 5:20).
- If you neglect God’s will in any area, you are in danger (Matt 7:21; Mk 3:35; I John 2:4).
- It does not matter, and it will not affect your Judge at all, that you believe the doctrine.
- As some have said, Is there sufficient evidence to condemn you as a devout Christian?
That He might be the firstborn.
- While we will be conformed in many respects to be like our Lord, we shall not be equals.
- Among all the many children in God’s family, Jesus will be very preeminent (Col 1:18)!
- We shall be joint-heirs with Jesus as brothers, but He shall be the Firstborn (Col 1:15-18).
- Firstborn is a title of preeminence and importance, not a descriptor of actual birth order, for Abel was born first of all in the family of God, but Jesus 4000 years later is the firstborn.
- Yet Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, because He is the first with a resurrected body
- A day is coming, described here (8:17-25), when Jesus will own us as family (Heb 2:13).
- Is the man Christ Jesus the preeminent One and vital relationship in your life? Why not?
Among many brethren.
- God’s purpose in creation and saving sinners is to build a great family with Christ (Ep 3:14).
- The drama of the whole universe is God’s display of saving grace in perfecting sinners!
- There is a great church in heaven, the general assembly, of Christ’s brethren (Heb 12:23).
- What are you doing to help the younger and weaker brothers be more like the older Brother?
- The basis and ground of the liberty of the sons of God is God’s predestination (8:29-30).
- How many brethren would Jesus Christ have if eternal glory were left up to man’s will?
1.If you are not conformed to Jesus Christ in lifestyle, there is no evidence you are predestinated.
2.You will give an account soon of your life, what more could He possibly have done for you?
3.He has warned you in every way possible and given you a perfect example? What is damning you?
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.
- God’s purpose extends beyond foreknowledge and predestination to other spiritual blessings.
- It is our wisdom to see there are no additions or subtractions throughout the golden chain!
- For each man that ends up glorified in heaven, it is because God predestinated him to it.
- God’s operations are five – not mutually exclusive, exhaustive, or in order. For various orders, see John 1:12-13; II Tim 1:9; I Pet 1:2; II Pet 1:10; Jude 1:1; Rev 17:14.
- Remember that all O.T. saints were called before legal justification, no matter what it is.
- Foreknowledge is electing love; predestination determining purpose; calling appointment and regeneration; justification legal satisfaction; and glorification final condition.
- God can use the past tense for all operations, since He is God (Rom 4:17; Acts 15:18).
- All those God predestinated, He will also call, for there is no interruption to His final goal.
- God’s call is His appointment, ordination, and regeneration of sinners to be His sons.
- When God chooses a man’s vocation, He appoints him to it and enables him for it, which is the same as our vocation as sons of God (I Cor 7:17-24; Ex 31:1-5; Eph 4:1; 5:1).
- When we see a man able and skilled at a profession, we know he has found his calling!
- This is not a phone call, a minister’s call, an invitation, an offer, a request, or such thing.
- This is not a gospel call, for that is not guaranteed between predestination to glorification; and all these operations of grace in this list are God being for us, not us being for us!
- We reject an “effectual call,” for we do not believe the gospel is used in our eternal, legal, vital, or final calling, only in the practical call of conversion to know and act as sons.
- Calling in this context refers to our high and holy vocation as God’s sons, and it includes the unconditional enabling of being regenerated and made sons (compare Rom 9:11).
- Our calling is our appointment to be sons for an inheritance (Eph 1:3-12 cp 1:18).
- This saving call was according to God’s eternal purpose and grace in Christ (II Tim 1:9).
- Paul was called to be an apostle, or appointed and ordained to it, if we compare the verbs the Spirit used (Rom 1:1; II Tim 1:11; I Tim 2:7; Gal 1:15-16; Acts 13:1-3).
- The gospel is believed by those who are called beforehand, or the chosen ones ordained to eternal life and born again (I Cor 1:18,24-29; Acts 13:48; Jn 1:13; 3:3; 5:24; 8:43,47).
- The gospel call goes to many, but only the chosen are His (Matt 22:14; John 8:31,44).
- Jesus Christ calls sinners to life by His voice, as He will resurrect bodies (John 5:25-29).
- All those God calls, He will also justify, for there is no interruption to their final destination.
- Justification includes removing all guilt and the imputing of Jesus Christ’s righteousness.
- Any reader of Romans already understood free justification through Christ (3:19-28).
- Justification is the legal term used to describe our guiltless righteousness (II Cor 5:21).
- The love and kindness of God justified us by His grace through Christ Jesus (Titus 3:4-7).
- All those God justifies, He will also glorify, for there is no hindering their final destination.
- Paul had already indicated the hope of glory to these suffering brethren (8:17-18,21).
- Final glorification will include the adoption and redemption of our bodies (8:23).
- Paul elsewhere wrote of our incorruptible bodies (I Cor 15:35-57; II Cor 4:17 – 5:8).
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
- What are these things we should understand in this place? They may include a great deal.
- There is no condemnation for those in Christ, in spite of sinful members (7:17; 8:1-16).
- God will soon manifest us to the universe as His dear and glorious children (8:17-25).
- The Holy Spirit of God prays for us in our infirmities in ways above our ability (8:26-27).
- All things in life and in time work together by God’s sovereign will for our good (8:28).
- All God’s eternal purposes and operations work toward our final glorification (8:29-30).
- What conclusion then can we draw from 8:28-30 about suffering (8:18) or infirmities (8:26)?
- What should our hearts, minds, and throats say in response to such glorious words?
- What an overwhelming declaration has been made about our present and our future!
- He works all things of this life for our good and all spiritual things for our eternal glory!
- We should shout, “Hallelujah!” We should sing, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty!”
- Why would the great and terrible God do such things for us? For His own good pleasure!
- We should never be discouraged or fearful of anything in life or death, present or future!
- Paul raised a question from what he had written, and then he gave the inspired answer to it!
- If God is on our side and working all these things in our favor, no enemy can oppose us!
- If God is on our side? This is no doubtful matter at all! The previous 30 verses prove it!
- We are invincible in life or in death, in pain or in prosperity, because of God’s great gifts!
- All the operations of grace are certain and sure to those elect called by God’s purpose.
- What doubts can possibly be raised when such certain operations have been given us?
- What kind of doubts, fears, or anxiety is appropriate in light of these precious promises?
- If we are glorified in the sure and ultimate purpose of God, who can hinder His purpose?
- This confident and triumphant spirit of the righteous over their enemies is for all His saints.
- God told Abram after his great victory that He was his shield and great reward (Ge 15:1).
- Moses exhorted the Israelites their superiority to all foes through their God (Deut 33:29).
- David rejoiced that by His God he had run through a troop and leaped a wall (Ps 18:29).
- Isaiah encouraged himself and others in the defense that God would make (Isaiah 54:17).
- Jeremiah encouraged himself of the good outcome by having God on his side (Jer 20:11).
- Paul exhorted the Hebrew saints to boldly declare their total trust in God (Heb 13:5-6)!
- John declared that true believers have a greater ally in them than in the world (I Jn 4:4).
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?
- To confirm what he wrote of God being for them (8:31), he appealed to God giving His Son.
- The great proof of God’s love for His own is the gift of His Son (John 3:16; I Jn 4:9-10).
- There is in these words the inspired implication that God gave the dearest gift He could.
- He did not spare, delivering Him to bruising and death for enemies (Is 53:10; Ro 5:8-10).
- Abraham spared not his own son for God, but God spared not His own son for enemies!
- Compare Eli sparing his wicked sons and David sparing Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah.
- Fathers spare their sons wherever they can by whatever means, but God spared not His!
- The sending of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, argues powerfully from the greater to the lesser.
- The Bible argues from the lesser to the greater (Matthew 6:28-30; 7:9-11; 10:29-31).
- The Bible argues from the greater to the lesser (Matthew 10:24-25; I Corinthians 6:3).
- If God sent Jesus to die for you, which is the costliest gift He could give, you shall surely receive all the other benefits as well, which are less costly than sending His own Son.
- How could God send His greatest gift for His sons and not also give everything else?
- There is nothing else in heaven worth more than His Son, so all heaven shall be yours!
- If you do not receive all the benefits, either God is a liar or Jesus did not die for you.
- The objects of Christ’s death are us all, which limits it to Paul, the elect Romans, and saints.
- We are not confused by this “all,” for it is an “all” limited by its modifier and context.
- Paul, the Romans, and saints like the Romans were the objects of these words (1:1,7,15).
- Justification and glorification are for the predestinated (8:29-30) and elect (8:33), only!
- Compassion, mercy, and future glory are only for those chosen by God (Rom 9:15-24)!
- This verse is not for a tract that was to be passed out with hotdogs at Rome’s Coliseum!
- This verse is not for a placard that was to be held up in the end zone at Christian killings!
- This is a loving guarantee of eternal life from the Holy Spirit for the elect chosen by God.
- No one for whom Jesus died will face hell, for they will surely, freely obtain all things.
- But Arminian heretics loudly claim Jesus died for all men in a vain attempt to save all.
- If God delivered up Jesus for all men, then all men shall receive all spiritual blessings; but since this is certainly not the case, then God did not deliver Jesus up for all men.
- If Jesus died for all men, and all men do not receive all the spiritual blessings attached to Him, then the “all things” must be dependent on what men do for Christ, which is false!
- If Jesus died for all men, and many do not receive “all things,” then God failed Christ, or Christ was not worth enough to justify all things, or God is a liar! Which will you have?
- If Jesus died for all men, then He died for more than the foreknown and predestinated!
- If Jesus died for all men, then He died for those who shall be separated from His love!
- If Jesus died for all men, then He died for the vessels of dishonour and wrath (9:21-22).
- Since Jesus died only for His elect church, the text stands in its clear sense and full glory.
- John Owen, in his work, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” used the text well.
- Jesus Christ and all spiritual blessings in Him are gifts freely given (Romans 3:24; 5:16,18).
- It is not an offer, as many portray, in which you must do something to make it yours.
- Jesus offered himself to God, by the Spirit, and was accepted for the elect (Heb 9:14).
- God gave the elect to Jesus; He gave Jesus for the elect, and Jesus gives them eternal life.
- Did Jesus Christ die for you, thus guaranteeing all other benefits? Can you be persuaded?
- If you believe the gospel of Christ, then He died for you (Rom 10:9-11; II Thess 1:10).
- If you have believed, add to faith the things that please God (I Thess 1:2-4; II Pet 1:5-11).
- We should ask ourselves, “How shall we not in return give Him all things?” (II Cor 5:14-15).
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
- To confirm his words about no one being against them (8:31), Paul appeals to justification.
- If God is for us from foreknowledge to glorification, no one can by any means charge us.
- Though we do sin and might fear charges of sin from devils or men, God justified us!
- No man of any religion can lay charges against God’s elect. They are perfectly righteous!
- The devil might afflict them with fiery darts of doubt about salvation, but God justifies!
- Judaizing enemies of the gospel could visit from Jerusalem and charge, but God justifies!
- Pagan Nero could charge with capital sedition or treason against Rome, but God justifies!
- Pope Innocent III could charge with heresy and eternal damnation, but God justifies!
- No man can charge the elect with sin … nor charge them with conditions to be justified
- Elect here refers back to God’s foreknowledge and predestination (Eph 1:3-6 cp I Peter 1:2).
- God made the choice and predestinated those chosen to be accepted in Christ (Eph 1:3-6).
- Justification is by Christ’s obedience and blood sprinkling, based on election (I Pet 1:2).
- God is the justifier, for He is Judge, and He accounts His Son’s righteousness to and for us.
- Paul stated them free from condemnation when opening the chapter (8:1-4 cp 3:24-26)!
- Justification is based fully in the love, kindness, and grace of God in Christ (Titus 3:4-7).
- Here is justification defined: freedom from any charges that would make a person guilty.
- There is also another side, and a superior one at that, which states we are made righteous!
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
- To confirm what he wrote of justification, Paul appealed to Christ’s death and intercession.
- Who is he that condemneth? God’s sons struggle against conscience, enemies, and the devil.
- Paul stated them free from condemnation when opening the chapter (8:1-4 cp 3:24-26)!
- The elect know by conscience they are sinners and under God’s condemnation (7:24).
- Enemies, like the Jews, condemned such believers that justification was by Moses’ Law.
- The devil, which cannot accuse us to God due to Christ, accuses us instead (Rev 12:10).
- Enemies, like the Romans, condemned these poor saints to death with false charges.
- They were despised as the offscouring of the world, but Jesus died and lived for them.
- Let all men, devils, or angels, conscience, reason, or fear condemn … it cannot be done!
- Neither Caesar or pope of Rome, or any civil or religious ruler, can condemn the elect.
- The situation of the elect before God is absolutely safe due to Christ’s past and present work.
- Can you see all four aspects? His death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession? Glory!
- Each of the four answers the question, but all four combine for the greatest assurance!
- First, no one can condemn the elect, because Jesus Christ the Son of God died for them.
- Our Lord’s death was a legal transaction – for our sins; therefore, no one can condemn!
- If any condemn us for sin, Christ died for our sins, and He is the Son of God and Judge!
- Only Christ could condemn us, but He will never do so, for He lives with God to save us!
- There is one perfect Mediator between God and men, and He died for us (I Timothy 2:5).
- Second, no one can condemn the elect, because Jesus Christ the Son of God lives for them.
- Jesus died for us, and lest we forget or others accuse, He is alive after His resurrection!
- Not only is He alive for us, but He has the keys (authority) of hell and death (Rev 1:18).
- We remember His death at the Lord’s Table, but it is a joyful occasion, because He lives!
- If He had not risen from the dead, then sin, death, or the devil defeated Him (I Co 15:17).
- He rose victoriously over all enemies, so we can mock with impunity (I Cor 15:55-57).
- Third, no one can condemn the elect, because Jesus Christ the Son of God reigns for them.
- He is crowned with glory and honor at God’s right hand as evidence of His total success!
- His work completely and God’s approval secured, He was given a seat by God’s throne.
- He is Lord of the universe and there is no devil, angel, or man that can move against us!
- Who can speak against this Prince or those He loves, for His two-edged sword is ready!
- Fourth, no one can condemn the elect, because Jesus the Son of God intercedes for them.
- He is at the right hand of God, where He lives forever to intercede (Rom 5:10; Heb 7:25)!
- This present and continual intercession at God’s right hand is exalted above His death!
- He is the Surety of His people, and He lives to guarantee the full completion of His work.
- He is Advocate, High Priest, Mediator, and Propitiation of our faith (Heb 3:1; I Jn 2:1-2).
- We reject versions like the NSRB turning the verse into a question of Christ condemning us!
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
- The issue here is not the certainty of our love for God, as some (Barnes), but His love for us!
- Jesus Christ died for us and intercedes for us, but how certain and sure is His love for us?
- Though it should not have to be said, this is Christ’s love for His own, not theirs for Him.
- The use of the personal pronoun who reminds us that most of our troubles are by persons.
- There are seven terrible troubles of believers listed here, but persons usually cause them.
- His legal work to justify us is certain (8:33-34), and so is His affectionate desire for us!
- If you have doubts about the constancy and eternity of Christ’s love, what is the cause?
- Nothing in heaven, earth, or hell could possibly alter the love of Christ for His brethren!
- You may be separated or forgotten by all other lovers, but never by the Lover of Sinners!
- For Christians in others times, facing persecution and martyrdom, these words were precious!
- Without suffering persecution and tribulation in a pagan capital, we may miss the sense.
- By considering saints at other times, these are very practical worries (Hebrews 11:35-40).
- Daniel and Revelation prophesy such calamities on saints (Dan 7:21,25; Rev 13:7; 17:6).
- But who could give better testimony to this fact than our brother Paul (II Cor 11:22-33)?
- Tribulation will not separate us, Paul and most saints suffered tribulation (Matt 5:10-12; 10:28-31; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Phil 1:28-30; Heb 12:3; I Pet 4:12-14; Rev 7:9-17).
- Distress will not separate us from Christ’s love, for hard circumstances pressing our minds will not alter His work or affection (II Cor 4:8-10; 6:5; 7:5; 12:10; II Tim 2:13).
- Persecution will not separate us, for Christ was persecuted, and it is a token of salvation (Matt 5:10-12; II Thess 1:3-5; John 15:18-21; II Cor 4:8-10; II Tim 3:12).
- Famine will not separate us, though God’s providence or His enemies starve us, for He is preparing the marriage Supper of the Lamb (II Cor 4:11-12; 11:27; Rev 7:9-17; 19:9).
- Nakedness will not separate us, though saints have been destitute of clothes, for He will clothe us with Christ’s righteousness (II Cor 11:27; Heb 11:35-38; Rev 7:9-17; 19:8).
- Peril cannot separate from Christ, which are all the dangers of trials, torture, banishment, imprisonment, family separation, and such like (II Cor 11:26; Heb 11:35-40; Rev 1:9-10).
- Sword cannot separate from Christ, which is metonymy for death by the sword, or capital punishment, like James and others (Acts 7:55-60; 12:1-2; Rev 2:10; 6:9-11; 12:11).
- There can never be the same sound assurance of Jesus Christ’s love for those who think that His love and the benefits of it depend on fulfilling conditions with Him by whatever means.
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
- To confirm a backdrop of martyrdom, Paul drew from a psalm about afflictions and death.
- Roman suffering contributes to the background and context of this chapter (8:17-18,26).
- And it is this suffering and possibility of death that prompts the terminology (8:35,38).
- Daniel and Revelation prophesy such calamities on saints (Dan 7:21,25; Rev 13:7; 17:6).
- The quotation is from Psalm 44:22, where discouraging troubles of O.T. saints is described.
- The psalmist described the people of God being devoured by their enemies (Ps 44:9-22).
- Twice, including Paul’s verse, the psalmist suggests sheep for slaughter (Ps 44:11,22).
- It sometimes appears from a natural view that God’s people are but slaughtered sheep.
- The persecution, suffering, and infirmities of the Romans were not new. Take consolation.
- The wicked always hate the righteous and will persecute when convenient (Pr 29:10,27).
- Persecution (and death) began with Abel and would continue to the end (Re 2:10; 12:11).
- What is the cause of this slaughter? For Christ’s sake, for they will give worship to no other!
- The martyrs would not bow to trials before the Romans or inquisitions by the Catholics!
- It did not matter what pain they would endure, they would not accept Catholic heresy.
- Has God forgotten His own? Never! Every tear is in His bottle, and every drop of blood shall be revenged (Ps 56:8; Rev 6:9-11; II Thess 1:8; Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 16:5-7; 18:20,24; 19:2)!
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
- Paul here answered the question he had asked in 8:35 about separation from Christ’s love.
- Nay is no way! There is no way the seven things above separate us from Christ’s love!
- Listen to our apostle by the Spirit’s inspiration … all these things … more than! Glory!
- Let us say again with our dear brother, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Glory!
- Rather than vanquish these things, God makes them work together for our good (8:28)!
- We may more than conquer these things … we abuse them, use them, and profit by them!
- So far from keeping us from God, He uses them to perfect, comfort, and reward us!
- Rather than feel defeated by afflictions or trouble, we are more than conquerors of them!
- God uses the tribulations enemies throw at us for our perfection (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4)!
- In the light of the horrific retribution that is coming, the little bruises we get here are nothing!
- Rather than feel like losers before great enemies, the martyrs went victoriously to heaven.
- The Prince of the kings of the earth will never forsake or ever lose one of us (Jn 6:38-39)!
- Our ability and certainty to conquer and overcome all enemies is by our loving Conqueror!
- There is no redundant repetition … of Christ’s love (8:35) or God’s love in Christ (8:38-39).
- Hebrews records the calamities of the saints in the inter-testamental period (Heb 11:35-38).
- Daniel and Revelation prophesy great calamities on saints (Daniel 7:21,25; Rev 13:7; 17:6).
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
- The issue here is not the certainty of our love for God, as some (Barnes), but His love for us!
- Paul was persuaded, which is to be fully convinced of a thing; and we should be as well.
- Persuaded. To arrive at a certain or assured belief; convinced, assured, certain, sure.
- The sense is certain convincing (Matt 28:14; Rom 4:21; 14:14; II Cor 5:11; Heb 11:13).
- Paul was fully persuaded that God could and would keep his soul in safety (II Tim 1:12).
- God has given us the same spirit of faith to believe and be persuaded (II Cor 4:13-14).
- Death cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which all the elect should be persuaded.
- Death is the great disrupter, interrupter, and separator of earthly love and relationships, which is why wedding ceremonies often include the final words, “till death do us part.”
- Death is the coldest, cruelest, and most certain enemy we have to all other love we know.
- But death takes us to the Lord as a doorway or ticket to heaven (II Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23)!
- But death is simply our bodies sleeping in Jesus until the resurrection (I Thess 4:14)!
- Because Jesus Christ defeated death by His own death (I Cor 15:54-57; Heb 2:14-15)!
- Life cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which all the elect should be persuaded.
- Our minds, especially melancholies, fret and worry about what troubles life will bring.
- Life is filled with changes, disappointments, disasters, diseases, failures, losses, etc., etc.
- Our lives are so uncertain that we cannot even boast of tomorrow (Pr 27:1; James 4:14).
- Though the devil may disrupt a life from within or without, God’s love is fully certain.
- Angels cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which all the elect should be persuaded.
- Good angels cannot and will not, for they are the servants of God’s children (Heb 1:14).
- Good angels cannot and will not; they desire to look into God’s love for us (I Pet 1:12).
- Evil angels cannot separate us, though they would if they could, for they all under the rule of Christ (Mark 1:25; 9:25; Luke 4:8; I Pet 3:22; Jude 1:9; Rev 12:9-17).
- Principalities cannot separate us from God’s love, of which all the elect should be persuaded.
- Principality. A principal ruler. The position, dignity, or dominion of a prince.
- Angelic principalities, or good and bad angels, will not (Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:15).
- Human principalities cannot separate us, only spirits and bodies (Luke 12:4-5; Titus 3:1).
- No matter the cruel and vicious persecution of martyrs, God still loved them and has a special place in heaven for them (Acts 7:56-60; Rev 6:9-11).
- Powers cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which the elect should be persuaded.
- Power. The governmental authorities or rulers in heaven or in earth are called powers.
- Jesus Christ openly triumphed over all spiritual principalities and powers (Col 2:13-15).
- Things present cannot separate us from God’s love, of which the elect should be persuaded.
- If you worry about the present, there is nothing among things now that can separate you.
- Are there failings, fears, or foes that you are facing now? They cannot alter God’s love!
- Things to come cannot separate us from God’s love, of which the elect should be persuaded.
- Since we do not know the future, you may worry about it, but nothing can separate you.
- Though we doubt or dread the unknown years ahead of us, they cannot alter God’s love!
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.
- The issue here is not the certainty of our love for God, as some (Barnes), but His love for us!
- Height cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which the elect should be persuaded.
- God is high above, but it does not affect His love (Ec 5:2; Job 22:12; Ps 102:19; 113:5-6).
- Heaven is high above us, but there is no one or thing there to come between God and us.
- There may be spiritual wickedness in high places, but it is no threat to His love (Ep 6:12).
- The difference between heaven and earth, God’s place and ours, is very great (Is 55:9).
- If we are lifted up in honor, a risk to our souls, it does not affect His love (II Sam 23:1).
- Though we might be lifted up in favor and joy, neither does this effect any change at all.
- Depth cannot separate us from God’s love for us, of which all elect should be persuaded.
- We are on earth below God, but it does not affect His love (Ecc 5:2; Ps 113:5-6; Pr 25:3).
- Conceived in the lowest place on earth like asses, but He loves us (Ps 139:15; Job 11:12).
- No matter how low we are debased or disgraced, He yet loves us (I Cor 1:26-29; Jas 2:5).
- The depths of Satan himself are nothing to fear for the child of God in His love (Re 2:24).
- Earth is very deep and far from God our Father, but there is no one or thing here to hurt.
- Any other creature cannot separate from God’s love, of which all elect should be persuaded.
- In case your imagination creates some other risk to losing salvation, the Spirit covers all!
- There is no being in heaven, earth, or hell that can disrupt or interrupt God’s love of you!
- There is no thing in heaven, earth, or hell that can dilute or divert God’s love for you!
- Though not listed, our sins cannot separate either (Ps 89:30-37; I Cor 11:32; I Jn 2:1-2)!
- The love of God for us is in the Beloved, and He shall always love us in Christ (Eph 1:3-6).
- We are in the hand of Jesus Christ and God; we cannot be plucked out (John 10:28-29).
- We are dead to this world, and our lives are hid in Christ in God for glory (Col 3:1-4).
- Jesus will not lose one of us; He will present all of us to God (John 6:38-39; Heb 2:13).
- The glorious love of God and Christ for us is able to fill us like nothing else (Ep 3:14-19).
- He that spared not His own Son for us shall surely love us forever and ever (8:31-35).
- There is no redundant duplication of Christ’s love (8:35) and God’s love in Christ (8:38-39)
- Believest thou this, reader? Upon this written foundation you can build a solid and successful life.
- Because it is hard to believe the great Creator God with eternal power chose to save rebel men, God gives assurances to His children in passages like this to confirm and reassure them (Heb 6:13-20).
- This is one of the great passages of scripture where the inspired apostle became a holy orator for God!
- These are not mere sound bites to memorize; these are the words of the living God full of meaning.
- These verses are the glorious promises and guarantees of our security in Christ for time and eternity.
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said or promised to you? These words are infinitely better.
- Do you wonder if you are one of God’s elect? Run to Christ in humble faith and serve Him forever.
- If the blessed God did these things for us through His Son Jesus, what should we be doing for Him?
- If the martyrs could die for the word of God and Jesus Christ, can we live for Him by the same word?