ROMANS, CHAPTER 8.
MY LIFE IN THE SPIRIT OVERWHELMINGLY
The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the
law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-4).
"(1) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ
Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from
the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, weak as it was
through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh:
and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the
requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to
the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4.
Paul told us in different words in chapter 5 that there is no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus. In Romans 5:1 Paul said, "Therefore having
been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ." And in Romans 5:9 he said, "Much more then, having been justified
by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." The
blood of Christ has satisfied God and our sins have been forgiven. There is
therefore now no condemnation before God. Wh Paul said in chapter 5 had
to do with the sins of our past. Our justification put us in a position where
God could add us to His church as Christians. Why did Paul then say again
in chapter 8 that "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are
in Christ Jesus? Was he just trying to strengthen what he had said earlier?
Or was he presenting some new point?
Beginning with Romans 5:12 and continuing through Romans 8:39, Paul
actually made a new point to Christians to teach them how to "bear fruit for
God." That is why Christians were made children of God and given th new
name Christian, that they might be useful to Christ and "bear fruit for God."
When we first became Christians, we did not automatically become useful to
Christ. We had more steps to take before Christ could enter into us and work
through us. When we became Christians, God created within us a new man
that is His man, that belongs to Christ. But this is an entirely new experience
for us. We are still living in the fleshly body of the old man. The old man is
powerful and we do not know how to break away from him. Indeed, we do
not even realize in how many ways the old man still has a hold on us. He is
entrenched. He came to us through Adam. The only thing he knows to do is
strive against God's law. Of course, he ends up fighting against God's law.
The sin of the old man is to keep us struggling with the law.
In chapter 7 Paul told us all about the "carnal I." "For I know that nothing
good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh: for the wishing is present in me, but
the doing of the good is not. ... I joyfully concur with the law of God in the
inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war
against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which
is in my members." Then, Paul dramatically pointed out that we must be free
from the law of sin in our members in order to "bear fruit for God."
(Romans 7:18-24). While we are alive on earth, we are constantly tempted to
try to work for Christ in the realm of the old man.
I may say to myself that Christ told me to do this or that. I reason that I must
do what Christ told me to do. I don't see that what I am trying to do as a
Christian is just like what I tried to do before I became a Christian. I am
looking upon God's grace as a law which I must keep or I will perish. I feel
that I must choose an avenue of work and that I must drive myself to
accomplish it for Christ. In all of this the inner conflict which Paul wrote
about in chapter 7 comes into my life. I experience the failures which Paul
wrote about in chapter 7. I go on striving and I go on failing. Along the way I
may convert some to repentance and baptism into Christ. But I, myself, am
still aware of defeat. Inwardly, I am condemned because I am still trying to
obey law and I can't do it. I am well aware that I am not doing what I should.
But I keep striving. All the time I am playing into the hands of Satan and I do
not realize it. I am trying to use the old man, who is a prisoner of the law of
sin, a slave of Satan, to "bear fruit for Christ." This is exactly what Satan
wants me to do. Then Satan can accuse me before God. "See, he is not
keeping God's law," says Satan. "He is therefore under condemnation."
That is why Paul wrote again in Romans 8:1, right after the discussion of
chapter 7, that "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus." He wrote this for Christians, for us who have failures in our
lives. We are "in Christ Jesus." We have subscribed to a life of faith in
Christ Jesus. In faith, we have been set free from "the body of this death."
We understood that when we were baptized and became Christians, we were
set free from the condemnation of our past sins. Perhaps we did not realize
that Christ, at the same time, freed us from the future condemnation that
comes from the continued presence of the law of sin and death in our old man.
In Romans 8:2 Paul told us how God's provision works in order to free us
from the law of sin and death. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has set you free from the law of sin and of death." He set us free from one law
by means of another law which He set in motion in our lives when we were
added to Christ Jesus. That new law which He set in motion for us is "the law
of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." It is a stronger law "the law of sin and
One may demonstrate how one law can take precedence over, or annul the
effect of, another law. Hold an object, say a piece of chalk from the
blackboard tray, in the air. Let the piece of chalk fall from your hand to the
floor. That demonstrates one law, the law of gravity, which draws everything
of weight towards the center of the earth. Next, hold the chalk in the air
again with one hand. But this time, when you let the chalk fall, hold your
other hand under it and catch it, thereby interrupting its fall to the floor. The
"law of life in your body" has taken precedence over the "law of gravity."
The piece of chalk has not been allowed to meet the doom of falling to the
floor. In this case, the "law of life in your body" is stronger than "the law of
gravity" on that piece of chalk. You have not changed the "law of gravity."
It still operates. But you have overcome it with a stronger law, "the law of life
in your body." You have used your hand to keep the chalk from falling to the
In a similar way, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" nullifies "the
law of sin and death." It does not change "the law of sin and death," which is
in the members of my old man. But it is a stronger law and it can nullify the
effect of "the law of sin and death." It can "set us free" from that law of sin
and death that still dwells in our old fleshly man.
In Romans 6:23 Paul said that "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord." Then in Romans 8:2, Paul said "the law of the Spirit of life
in Christ Jesus has set you free" (past tense). You were already "set free"
but, perhaps, you did not realize it. This "freedom" of Romans 8:2 is not a
new gift. It is a part of the same gift that which came through the death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ. It reminds us of what Peter said in Acts
2:38, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Now we learn
in Romans 8 that, if we walk in accordance with this "gift," the Holy Spirit,
we can be free of the law of sin and death which is in our members. And then
we can carry out God's purpose for us as Christians; that is, we can "bear
fruit for God."
In Romans 8:3-4 Paul spoke of two great ways in which God has assisted us in
living the Christian life. In vers 3 Paul reminded us of what God has done for
us. "He condemned sin in the flesh." In verse 4 he told us what the Holy
Spirit will do in us as we live the Christian life. The Holy Spirit will fulfill
"the requirement of the law in us" as we "walk according to the Spirit."
In verse 3 Paul said that God did for us what the law could not do for us. He
sent His own Son to live a human life in the flesh and to doe in our place for
sin. In so doing, God "condemned sin in the flesh" of the Christian. Paul
wrote the Roman letter to Christians, not to alien sinners. The phrase "sin in
the flesh" referred the continuing sin of the Christian.) Christ took with Him
to death representatively all that belonged to the old creation in us, whether
we call it "our old man," "the flesh," or the "carnal I." Thus God struck at
the very root of the trouble in us caused by the "law of sin and of death in our
members." He removed the fundamental ground of our weakness. He
"condemned sin in the flesh." In verse 1 Paul spoke of the condemnation
which we receive from our mind when we try to serve the law of God but
actually serve the law of sin. Our mind condemns us. Not only has Christ set
us free from this condemnation, but He has turned the tables and He has
condemned sin in the flesh. He overcame the "law of sin." But that was just
the first step.
In verse 4 Paul said that the requirement of the law has to be fulfilled in us.
The actual language was, that "the requirement of the law might be fulfilled
in us." This language has the implication of an imperative, does it not? It
implies that the requirement of the law must be fulfilled in us during our life
on earth as a Christian. Is Paul's statement consistent with the freedom from
law that we are to enjoy in Christ?
In my past cursory only study of the Roman letter, I missed this point. I did not
grasp the implication of verse 4. I thought that I had learned that Christ had
fulfilled the law by living a perfect life under law as a human being on earth.
He did not once break law. Then, He willingly gave His life His life as though
He was a sinner, when in fact He was not. He fulfilled the law on our behalf,
actually dying for our sins, not His own sins. Therefore, I reasoned, that we
are justified from the condemnation of the law through Christ who was the
propitiation for our sins. Christ died once and for all to accomplish this. He
does not ever have to die again. And we who have lived in all the years after
He died (as well as those who lived in the years even before He died), have
reaped the benefit from it. I erroneously concluded that there was no further
on-going requirement of me during my life as a Christian.
But then, I realized in studying Romans 8:4 that Christ did everything for us
"in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us," not that we
would have nothing else to do. Even though Christ fulfilled the law, there is
still something that has to be "fulfilled in us!" And this requirement, that has
to be fulfilled in us, is a necessary requirement to allow us to be useful to
Christ, to bear fruit for God in our Christian lives.
Again, Paul told us that in chapter 7 that we were not going to get anywhere
trying to fulfill the law by our own personal fleshly power. But the
requirement of the law must be fulfilled in us. Does this leave us between the
proverbial "rock and a hard place?" There is hope in Romans 8:2 which said
that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" has been given to aid us.
Paul gave us the answer to our question in Romans 8:4, the same verse in
which the seeming dilemma was posed. "The requirement of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the
Spirit." I finally realized that the dilemma, posed by the thought of the
impossibility that the requirement of the law could be fulfilled in me, was
solved in the phrase "who walk ... according to the Spirit."
What must we do, then, that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in
us? The answer: we are to "walk according to the Spirit" in order to have
"the requirement of the law fulfilled in us." This kind of walk is no
abridgement of our freedom in Christ. It is rather the opposite. We are
hampered in our Christian "walk" by the "law of sin and of death in our
members." The Spirit of Christ given to indwell us will continuously day by
day and moment by moment fulfill the requirement of the law in our members
if we will walk in Him. We do not have to have a constant struggle in the flesh
with law any more. The Holy Spirit within us takes care of all the current
requirements of the law through the "once and for all" death, burial, and
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul's admonition here in Romans 8:4, for a Christian to "walk according to
the Spirit," is another step of "obedience of faith" which will culminate in
"bearing of fruit for God" by the Christian. It is the fourth step in the steps
of progress toward usefulness in Christ's service which Paul began to discuss
in Romans 6.
The first step was for the Christian "to know" that his "old man" of sin died
with Christ and that a "new man" was created for him by God in Christ's
resurrection from the dead.
The second step is for the Christian "to reckon" that this "new man" is a
really practical basis on which to build a Christian life of service. Even
though the Christian is aware that he must sojourn on earth in the old body of
flesh, he is "to reckon" that, for all practical purposes of serving Christ, the
"old man" is dead and the "new man" actually lives.
The third step is for the Christian "to present" his "new man" to God and his
members as instruments of righteousness. Then the Christian is ready to be
used by the Spirit of Christ for the cultivation of God's fruit. The Christian
must remember, however, that fruit is produced by God. not by him. He is
just an "instrument of righteousness."
The fourth step was presented here in Romans 8:4. The Christian is "to walk
according to the Spirit." Much of the rest of chapter 8 is devoted to the
answering of the question of what it means to "walk according to the Spirit."
In the Flesh I Cannot Please God. (Romans 8:5-8).
"(5) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of
the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
(6) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life
and peace, (7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it
does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; (8)
and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:5-8.
In these verses Paul spoke of the action of "setting the mind." "The mind
must be set on things of the Spirit," said Paul. When we walked according to
the flesh, our mind was set on things of the flesh. Now, is we are going to
walk according to the Spirit, we must set our minds on things of the Spirit.
We are to do this so as to prevent being distracted by our flesh from the
leading of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. This action of "setting the
mind" is not a work of law. It is simply a surrendering of the mind to the
leading of the Spirit resulting in a walk where the Spirit leads.
It is the mind that controls the actions of the body. The ultimate action in
which we are interested is the action of "walking." (Of course, the term
"walking" is used metaphorically for "living the Christian life.") The action of
"setting the mind" governs the "walking," whether the "walking" is according
to the desires of the flesh or the desires of the Spirit. Then the results of
"setting the mind" determines the results of the "walking." Paul said that the
mind set on the flesh is death because "walking in the flesh" results in
spiritual death. Paul said that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace
because "walking in the Spirit" results in spiritual life and peace rather than
In Romans 8:7 Paul said, "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for
it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." In
this statement Paul summed up those portions of chapter 7 where he said that
there is a law of sin present in us that wages war against the mind and makes
us prisoners. Although the mind concurs with the law of God, it simply
cannot force the flesh into subjection to the law of God when the mind is set
naturally on things of the flesh. But now faith has been imparted to our
minds through Christ, and the Spirit of Christ indwells us. The Spirit leads us
to simple obedience of our faith rather than to perfect subjection to the law.
And obedience of our faith is just a "walk," not a "work of law."
Finally Paul stated flatly in Romans 8:8, "Those who are in the flesh cannot
please God." We must remember Paul's lesson of chapter 7. Trying to serve
God through "walking in the flesh" led only to the conclusion that all was
hopeless. Hope lies only in being set free from the flesh. It is clear in verse 8
that Paul wrote there about "pleasing God," not about being justified from
past sins. He wrote about justification of past sins in the first five chapters of
the Roman letter. But in chapters 6, 7 and 8 he wrote about sanctification,
that is, about being set apart to be useful to Christ as in the Christian life.
We cannot be sanctified in the sinful flesh. "Those who are in the flesh cannot
It may be helpful for us to analyze the interaction inferred in Romans 8:5-8
which occurs within the complete being among his spirit and soul and body.
The "setting of the mind" is an action involving human volition, the will
power of the soul. God created each human being as an agent of free will. It
is fully within the power of each human soul to choose and carry out actions
from among the various actions which are suggested by the inputs of that
human's body and spirit.
The body of flesh is that part of the human being that comes in contact with
the material world. The senses of the body bring into the apprehension of the
soul various inputs from th material world. These inputs are often evil
influences such as the "lusts of the flesh" for things of the world. But good
influences may also be received through the senses of the body, such as the
written symbols of the Bible which bring God's word through the senses of
sight into the mind, or the preaching of God's ministers which bring God's
word through the sense of hearing into the mind.
The spirit of the human being is the invisible part which comes in contact with
other invisible spirits in the realm of spirits. The human spirit "speaks" to the
mind of the soul through the functions of conscience and intuition. Quite
likely we do not become aware of our personal spirit until we read about it in
God's word. The scriptures intimate that the mind of the soul can be
influenced by evil spirits which come in contact with our personal spirit. (1
Timothy 4:1-2; 1 John 4:1-3) But Paul clearly stated in the context of
Romans 8, which we are now studying, that the "Holy Spirit bears witness
with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16) Thus we know
that the mind of our soul can be influenced by God's Holy Spirit through the
avenue of our personal spirit.
Additional insight into the functions and interactions of spirit, soul, and body
within the Christian was given by Paul in his 1 Corinthian letter. Paul said,
"The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee
immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the
immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and
you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:17-19) This infers that the Holy
spirit, who was given to Christians at the time of their baptism, lives within
the body in a most holy place. That place, made holy by God's Holy Spirit, is
the personal spirit of the Christian for the Christian is "one spirit with Him."
And the two spirits bear witness together that the Christian is a child of God.
Paul's mention of the body as a "temple of the Holy Spirit" brings to our
minds the Old Testament picture of the Tabernacle in which God's Spirit
dwelt with the Jews as they traveled through the Wilderness. This Tabernacle
had three parts, an Outer Court open to the world, a Holy Place open only to
priests of God, and a Most Holy Place open only to God's Spirit. This
Tabernacle seems to have been analogous to the Christian individual of the
Christian age. The Christian individual has three parts, the "outer court" of
the fleshly body which comes in contact with the world, the "holy place" of
the soul which is the essence of Christian as a priest of God, and the "most
holy place" of the human spirit in which the Holy Spirit of dwells.
The body of the Christian takes inputs from the world and presents them to
the intellect and emotions of the soul. And the soul issues outputs through its
function of volition which the body transmits to the world. On the other
hand, the spirit of the Christian takes inputs from the Holy Spirit and
presents them to the soul through its functions of conscience and intuition.
And the soul issues outputs of prayer and worship which the spirit transmits
through its function of communion back to the Holy Spirit. Thus the
Christian was said by Paul "to pray with the spirit" and "to sing with the
spirit." (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)
The understanding of the interactions within the Christian of his spirit and
soul and body gives us a deeper knowledge of Paul's word in Romans 8:5-8.
Paul's phrase, "For those who are according to the flesh," brings to our minds
a picture of the senses of the body in contact with the evil world, transmitting
evil inputs to the mind of the soul. Paul's phrase "Set their minds on things of
the flesh," brings us to understand that the choice of the soul is influenced
towards evil decisions by the evil inputs from the body. Paul's phrase,
"Those who are according to the Spirit," leads us to think of Christians whose
souls are influenced by the inputs of their spirit from their spirit's contact
with God's Holy Spirit. This imparts to the soul the desire to choose "the
things of the Spirit" to govern the life of Christians. Keeping in mind the
functions of the individual's spirit, soul, and body may help us understand
more fully the rest of chapter 8 of Paul's Roman letter.
My Mortal Body is Given Life Through the Spirit of Christ Who
Indwells Me. (Romans 8:9-11)
"(9) However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of
God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does
not belong to Him. (10) And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead
because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (11) But if the
Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised
Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit
who indwells you." Romans 8:9-11.
Paul wrote the Roman letter to Christians. (When one became a Christian he
was given the "gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38.) So you should know you
are not "in the flesh" but "in the Spirit," said Paul. If you don't have the
Spirit of Christ, you are not a Christian. Every Christian was given the Spirit
of Christ, and if you don't have Him, you do not belong to Christ. But if you
are a Christian, the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. You are to "walk" in that
Spirit and "set you mind" on the things of that Spirit.
Now we "know" that the body is dead. It died with Christ "because of sin."
We have "reckoned" it to be so. We have "presented" ourselves to God. Now
Christ is in us. The Spirit of Christ dwells in us and that Spirit is alive
"because of righteousness," the righteousness of Christ. It is no longer we
that live, but Christ lives in us! It is no longer we that work, but Christ works
We can be assured that all this is true. We can "know" it because Christ
Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father. In this we have faith. If we
have faith in Christ Jesus, then we can know that God can use us in His
service. Our usefulness in the Christian life was made possible by the death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ. And our usefulness comes only through
His Spirit who indwells us. Christ has no use for our fleshly man,. the old
carnal "me" of whom Paul wrote in chapter 7. Christ can only use our new
man. And the new man is only useful as a vessel to contain the Spirit of
Christ is the only One who has ever accomplished anything for God on this
earth and the only One who ever will. There is only one sense in which we
can accomplish anything for God. That is the sense that Christ accomplishes
it in us.
Perhaps this life of fruit-bearing for Christ is but training for life hereafter,
when we have been completely transformed and do not have to drag about
this body of sin and death. Then the law od sin and death will no longer have
any effect oin us whatsoever. Then we will see Him face to face, and faith will
be replaced by sight. But now while we are sojourners in this fleshly body of
sin, we must live by faith. Faith includes the "knowing" of the things
accomplished in us by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The
things accomplished include the death of our old man, the raising of our new
man, and the gift of the Spirit to dwell in us. Faith includes the "reckoning"
of these things as absolutely true so that we can live them here on earth even
before we enter the life hereafter. Faith includes the "presenting" of our new
man as a vessel for the Spirit's use. Faith includes letting that new man
"walk" as the Spirit of Christ leads him. Then we can be useful and bear fruit
for God while we live here on earth.
Being Led by the Spirit of God, I Become a Son of God. (Romans
"(12) So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live
according to the flesh- (13) for if you are according to the flesh, you must die;
but it by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will
live. (14) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of
God. (15) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again,
but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba!
Father!' (16) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are
children of God, (17) and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs
with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be
glorified with Him." Romans 8:12-17.
Paul said that we are "under obligation." Why? We are "under obligation"
because the Spirit dwells in us for a purpose. We are "under obligation" to
let the Spirit carry out that purpose. We are "under obligation" to "walk
according to the Spirit." Paul said in the opening chapter of Romans, "I am
under obligation both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and to the
foolish." Paul's obligation was to carry out the tasks into which the Holy
Spirit led him, and that was to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In the same
way, we Christians today are under obligation to carry out the Holy Spirit's
purpose in us.
Continuing to live according to the flesh, now that we have become
Christians, will result in our spiritual death again. We were dead before we
became Christians because we lived in the sins of the flesh. Now, after
justification from the sins of the flesh has been given to us through our faith,
we must live in continuing obedience to that faith. If we do not have faith that
our life according to the flesh was crucified with Christ, and we go on living
according to the flesh, we will die again spiritually. Continuing to live in the
flesh nullifies our gift from God.
But if we live in the Spirit, then the Spirit of Christ puts to death the deeds of
the body, and we will have everlasting life. Paul assures us in these verses
through the use of the present tense that the Spirit of Christ continues to put
to death the sinful deeds of our body. He understands and we are still
sojourners in this body of flesh. Thank God that this provision has been
made for us! Else what chance would we have, living in the flesh, a prisoner
of the law of sin in our fleshly members? The Spirit does this for us as we
walk in the Spirit. We haven't the capability to put to death the deeds 0of the
flesh by ourselves. But the Spirit of Christ can continue to put to death the
deeds of our flesh because Christ did it once and for all almost 2,000 years
ago. He put to death potentially at that time the deeds of all flesh. And now
His Spirit carries it out in us while we live on the earth, so that we can be
sanctified vessels for His use.
"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." Note
that we are to live a life that is "led." Our life as a Christian does not entail
our working. It simply entails our being "led" in our walk. Then, while we
are still sojourners in the flesh, we become "sons of God" just as we will be
when we depart this earthly life. If we are "in Christ," then His Spirit is "in
us," and when God looks at us, even as we live on this earth, He does not see
the sinful beings we are, He sees His Son. Those who have the Spirit of Christ
living in them, all of them, are counted as though they are sons of God.
In chapter 6 Paul told us to "present our members as slaves to righteousness."
We gladly present ourselves as slaves, but, in the graciousness of God, we find
that we are not treated as slaves. Instead we are treated as sons. A slave
might have cause to fear his master and might call out to his master for
mercy. Indeed, it was mercy for which we cried before we became Christians.
But with the Spirit of the Son of God within us, Christ can call out from
within us, "Father! Father!" And we can call out to God, "Father! Father!"
Christ within us bears witness to God that our call is legitimate. So we have
become heirs with the Son of God to the glory that belongs to Him. Let Him
dwell within us and we will be glorified with Him.
In verse 17 Paul conditioned our glorification with Christ with the phrase, "if
indeed we suffer with Him." This lead us to the next paragraph of the Roman
I Can Bear the Sufferings of This Present Time Because I Eagerly
Await My Adoption as God's Son. (Romans 8:18-25)
"(18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (19) For the anxious
longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (20)
For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of
Him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself also will be set free
from the slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of
God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains
of childbirth together until now. (23) And not only this, but also we ourselves,
having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (24)
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why
does one hope for what he sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see,
with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." Romans 8:18-25.
Paul made it clear that Christians do suffer, and will suffer as they walk in the
Spirit. Why must we suffer as Christians? We suffer because Christ lives in
us, and when Christ walks in this world, the world causes Him to suffer. If
He lives in us, He is made to suffer by the world, and we can't escape
suffering with Him because it is our life He is using now in which to live.
What happened to Christ when He came to earth 2,000 years ago? The world
did not recognize Him. Even His own people did not recognize Him. They
persecuted Him and would not rest until they had killed Him. The world
hasn't changed over the past 2,000 years. There are today great multitudes of
people who can't tolerate Christ. And if they see Him living in us, they will
not be able to tolerate us. See how the Apostle Paul suffered. It was because
Christ lived in him, that people made him suffer.
Now this does not mean that if we don't have Christ in us, we won't suffer. It
doesn't mean that we just start to suffer when Christ enters into us. It doesn't
mean that people of the world without Christ do not have any suffering.
Indeed, because of Adam and his sin, suffering is characteristic of this world.
Indeed, there is more suffering in the world than there is in Christ. And for
the world at the judgement, there is vastly more suffering ahead. Paul's point
here is that the suffering of Christians in Christ is temporary and can even be
overlooked when compared with the glory to be revealed to the Christians as
sons of God. We must all live and suffer on earth. Let us in our suffering be
with Christ rather than the world.
In verse 19 Paul spoke of the "anxious longing of the creation." And in verse
22 Paul said, "The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth
together until now." With the words "until now," Paul referred to a period of
time that started sometime in the past and lasted "until now." During this
time the "creation" has had an "anxious longing" and has "groaned and
suffered the pains of childbirth." When did this period of time start? The
word "creation" gives us a clue to the answer. The "creation," that which was
created by God, started when God created it. Sometime after it was created,
it started to "groan and suffer pains of childbirth." When did it start to groan
Before we try to answer that question, let's first try to decide what Paul
meant by the word "creation." We have already surmised that "creation" is
that which was created by God. Was Paul here referring to the earth and the
skies and the stars and the universe and all things inert as well as all things
living which God created? Perhaps yes. Perhaps Paul was personifying all
created things in the entire universe, both inert and living.
But there is another sense in which the word "creation" was used. In Mark
16:15, Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
The same Greek language word for "creation" (KTISIS) was used by Mark as
was used by Paul in the Roman letter. The "creation" referred to by Jesus in
Mark's account was capable of hearing and believing the gospel. So in
Romans, the "creation" that "groans and suffers the pains of childbirth" may
refer to all mankind, whoever could hear and believe the gospel message of
God. Since these thoughts on the suffering of creation follow right after the
thoughts of verses 17 and 18 about Christians suffering with Christ, it seems
logical that all these thoughts are connected. In verses 17 and 18 Paul wrote
about individual Christians suffering with Christ. In verses 20 to 23 he wrote
of the suffering of all humans collectively since the time of their creation, and
called them the "creation." With this point of view we can see why the
humans on earth, "all creation," needed to have the gospel preached to it. It
has been and is groaning and suffering pains, like those of childbirth, with
"anxious longing," waiting "eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God,"
which revealing comes only with the preaching of the gospel of Christ.
When did this groaning and suffering begin? Our thoughts must go back to
the Garden of Eden and the sin of Adam and Eve. God said to Eve, "I will
greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring
forth children." To Adam God said, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake ... In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return to the ground."
Then, "the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the
ground from whence he was taken." (Genesis 3:16-19). These words from the
Genesis record draw our minds immediately to the physical suffering of
childbirth and the other physical sufferings and death that Adam and Eve
brought upon themselves and all their progeny, even all mankind. Paul
informed us in Romans chapter 5 that not only physical death but also
spiritual death was brought to mankind by the sin of Adam. "Through one
transgression there resulted condemnation to all men ... through one man's
disobedience the many were made sinners." It was at this point in history that
the "creation" began to groan and suffer the pains of spiritual childbirth.
Who are born in this birth? "The sons of God." "The anxious longing of the
creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God."
In verse 20 Paul said, "The creation was subjected to futility." When Adam
and Eve were made to leave the Garden of Eden, when Eve was made to
suffer in childbirth, and when Adam was made to till the ground, it was God's
judgement upon them. They had chosen the "way of futility" when they
sinned. A just God could not withhold from them the immediate
consequences of their sin of lawbreaking. God, therefore, subjected them to
the "futility" which they had chosen. This step, the ejection of Adam and Eve
from the Garden of Eden and their subsequent subjection to futility, we
understand now to have been God's first active step toward their possible
reclamation into spiritual unity again with God. Since Adam and Eve had
chosen to take their own way without God, God let them learn the futility of
it. Since they had been created as free will agents, they had the just right to
choose their own way. God knew that they needed then to reap the
consequence of stumbling over the stumbling stone of God's law, that through
the shock of the obvious stumble, they might gain faith in God's grace to save
them from the ultimate consequence of their sin. The Biblical record does not
inform us whether or not Adam and Eve repented and turned back to God in
obedience of faith. But the fact that their son, Abel, is counted to have
salvation among the faithful (Hebrews 11:4), gives us some indication that
they might have returned to God's spiritual fold before their fleshly death.
But not just Adam and Eve were subjected to futility, all their progeny, that
is, all creation, was subjected to it also. Adam and Eve did not "will" their
own suffering. They were not in control. God was in control. God subjected
creation to futility, not just in a physical sense, but also in a spiritual sense.
God allows man during his fleshly life to attempt his own salvation just to
teach him that it is futile. Man in the flesh can only try to work out his
salvation through law. He cannot do it. He fails. It is futile. God has
subjected us all to futility. It has always been a part of God's plan for our
salvation. Until we find out that the way of our soul's own volition is futile,
we cannot be led to God's way of salvation. We, along with all creation cast
out of the Garden of Eden, were subjected to futility for our own good.
That this was a part of God's plan for mankind's salvation is borne out in
verses 20 and 21 where Paul said that it was all done "in hope that the
creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the
freedom of the glory of the children of God." Incorporated in God's plan,
which started with our subjection to futility, was the hope for freedom from
futility. In chapter 6 Paul pointed out that we were slaves of sin and the
corruption that sin brings. We were freed from that corruption through
Christ and we willingly became slaves of righteousness. But in verse 15 of
chapter 8 Paul told us that we are not treated as slaves but as children of God.
So it was God's plan to subject creation to futility as a step in bringing about
its freedom from slavery to sin into the freedom that children of God enjoy.
In verse 22 Paul said, "The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of
childbirth together until now." This presented the idea of continuous
suffering since the time of Adam even throughout the present time of the
existence of God's creation on earth. The reference to childbirth gave a
picture of a woman trying to give birth but not able to complete it. Therein
comes intense suffering which will be unto death if she cannot complete the
birth, death both to herself and to her child. By herself she cannot do it, but
needs the help of a doctor to rescue her and her baby from the predicament.
In a similar way, the whole creation has tried to give birth to "children of
God." But creation cannot do it. Spiritual death awaits if creation is not
helped by the Creator. Paul's point here was to assure that the help has come
already and creation has the help already in the form of "hope."
Paul's remarks about suffering and the pain of childbirth reminds us of Adam
and Eve and the fact that their experience with pain and suffering physical
death was a type of what also happens spiritually. All of Eve's children were
born in pain and all died physically. This is a type of what will happen
spiritually to creation if it cannot successfully give birth to the new creation of
God. But, in the spiritual case, God takes care of it. God brings forth the new
birth of the Spirit. Creation cannot do it alone. Its groans and sufferings
have been futile. Thank God, He has done it all.
"And not only this," said Paul in verse 23, "but also we ourselves, having the
first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting
eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Not only is it
true of God's creation, true of mankind in an overall sense groaning for
rescue from the sufferings of sin and death, but it is true in the lives of we,
ourselves, Christians, who are groaning to become useful to God. Even we
Christians who have the "first fruits of the Spirit" find it futile to try to serve
God by means of our own inherent will power. But God has made it possible
through the "first fruits of the Spirit" for us to become useful servants.
What are "the first fruits of the Spirit?" Paul spoke in Romans 8:11 about
the Holy Spirit who indwells us. The Holy Spirit was given to each of us when
we were baptized, said Peter in Acts 2:38. Paul also said in 2nd Corinthians
1:22, "God ... gave us the Spirit in our hearts as an pledge." "The first fruits
of the Spirit" seems to be the Spirit Himself who was given to us by God. The
Holy Spirit was given to us by God as a first fruit to us. God provides fruit
for us on which we feed. And God produces fruit in us on which those feed
whom we serve. Apparently, in this case, "the first fruits of the Spirit" refers
to the first fruits we receive after we become Christians, the Holy Spirit a gift
to us from God.
When we become Christians we still live on earth as sojourners in the fleshly
body. We cannot at that time actually receive the full harvest of fruit which
includes being with Christ at the right hand of God in heaven. We must live
on earth in the flesh for a while longer as we grow as Christians and serve
God on earth. So God sends the Holy Spirit to be in us during this interim
period. The Spirit is the "first fruits" we receive even while we live on earth.
Other fruit, such as the "glory of the children of God," will come later in
Just as the creation groans and suffers in futility, so our fleshly man groans
also as long as we live in the flesh. Paul's exclamation in Romans 7:24,
"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this
death?" was an expression of the groaning and futility which we feel within
ourselves even after we become Christians, and even after we have God's gift
of His Holy Spirit. We wait eagerly for our actual adoption as sons of God, a
state in which we will no longer encounter the futilities of the flesh. Living in
the flesh on earth, we have not yet been glorified with Christ. We wait
eagerly for the actual redemption of our body. We still live in a fleshly body
subject to death. We have not yet been "changed." We will have a body
when we go to live with Christ in heaven. But it will be a "changed,
redeemed, spiritual" body. We are eagerly awaiting that body. "In a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet ... we shall be changed.
For this perishable must put on imperishable, and this mortal must put on
immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:44, 50-54).
Paul went on to say in verse 24, "For in hope we have been saved" (past
tense). We have been saved already, not in final actuality but in "hope."
Living in hope of salvation is living as though we have already been saved.
It's living with full faith in the promised future. Paul spoke in almost all his
letters of "faith and hope." For Christians today, a great deal of our faith is
centered on happenings of the past. But our "hope" is belief in things to
happen in the future. So through our faith in the completed work of Christ,
we have a hope of being adopted as sons of God and having a redeemed body.
Indeed, we are called upon to obey God as though the hope has already been
realized. That includes "walking according to the Spirit who indwells us."
Paul continued in verse 24, "But hope that is seen is not hope; for why does
one also hope for what he sees?" We must remember that our hope is not full
reality yet. We have not "seen" our actual adoption yet. We have not
received our redeemed body yet. If we had "seen" these things already, then
it would not be hope but actuality. And that is why Paul has told us all this.
If we are going to be useful to Christ in this life, we have to get all these
fundamental truths straightened out in our minds. If we do not know about
the provisions Christ has made to enable us to walk now according to the
Spirit, even though we still have the flesh clinging to us, we will just go on
being subjected to futility.
In verse 25 Paul said, "But if we hope for what we do not see, with
perseverance we wait eagerly for it." So in Romans Paul is revealing to us
God's righteousness concerning the marvelous things we have to hope for,
how they have been assured to us through Christ, and how we can begin to
realize them even now. Knowing these things, we will eagerly wait with
perseverance for our hope to turn to sight. Blessed is the person who has the
hope Paul spoke of here.
The meaning of our "hope" is much more than the usual meaning of the word
"hope" as some people use the word in daily language. Some often say that
they "hope" something, meaning that there may be some possibility of it
happening, but that they don't fully know it will happen. They say they
"hope" it will happen merely because they have a desire that it happen. But
the "hope" Paul spoke of here includes a full, firm belief that it will happen, so
that the life lived now must become fully compatible with the thing hoped for.
The Spirit who dwells within Christians gives them this "hope." The "hope"
is strengthened by study of God's word. This is one of the results of "walking
according to the Spirit."
God Causes All Things to Work Together for Good for Those Being
Led by the Spirit. Romans 8:26-30.
"(26) And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not
know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with
groanings too deep for words; (27) and He who searches the hearts knows
what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according
to the will of God. (28) And we know that God causes all things to work
together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to
His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become
conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among
many brethren; (30) and whom He predestined, these He also called; and
whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also
glorified." (Romans 8:26-30).
Paul continued in verse 26 with the phrase, "And in the same way," referring
to what he had discussed in previous verses. In the same way that the Spirit
helps establish our hope and helps us wait eagerly with perseverance, He also
helps our weakness in other ways. We have learned from Paul's deep insight
into human nature that fleshly man likes to think of himself as self sufficient
and strong. But that has led to man's downfall. We are actually weak and
cannot help ourselves, especially when it comes to communication with the
spiritual beings of the spiritual realm. We now have access in prayer through
our personal spirits to the Holy Spirit of God who indwells us. Through the
Holy Spirit our prayers can be transmitted to the very throne of God where
Christ sits beside God the Father. But, we are so weak we don't know what
to say. We don't know what we need. We don't know what will really be
best for us. We have a very poor understanding of what goes on for "we do
not know how to pray as we should." This is a problem. But, praise God!
God has taken care of this problem also! "The Spirit Himself intercedes for
us with groanings too deep for words." There isn't anything that we really
need that hasn't been made available to us. The Spirit Himself sees to it that
our messages get untangled and translated into God's spiritual language and
placed before the Almighty Himself.
We can understand why we need the help of the Holy Spirit in our prayers.
We finite human beings don't even know who we are spiritually and how we
interact with respect to the infinite spiritual realm. We have difficulty dealing
with other human beings. How can we know how to pray acceptably and
intelligently to the infinite God, our Creator? Thank God for the Holy
Spirit's intercession for us!
In verses 26 and 27 Paul showed us how the three personalities of the
Godhead work together for us. In verse 27 Paul said, "He who searches the
hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is." We Christians are referenced
by the words, "the hearts." "The hearts" being searched are ours. The One
doing the searching is Christ. John said in Revelation 2:18 -23, "the Son of
God ... says this ... I am He who searches the minds and the hearts." So Christ
searches the hearts of the saints, the Christians, and finds the Holy Spirit
dwelling in these hearts. The spiritual Christ has a spiritual connection with
the spiritual "mind" of the Spirit. And the Spirit speaks to Christ with
groanings too deep for human words. Then Christ, who is at God's right
hand, intercedes on our behalf with God the Father. God will not ignore His
own Son and the groanings of the Holy Spirit. He sees that the saints belong
to His Son and He looks upon them as His children also.
In verse 28 Paul uttered a statement that might well be termed the "golden
text" of the Roman letter. "We know that God causes all things to work
together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to
His purpose." The same things that God has always caused to work together
for good to His Son, now also work together for good for those who belong to
His Son. And the same good that the Son has inherited, is also inherited by
God subjected us to the futility to which we insisted. Thank God that He did,
for it was for our good. As soon as we learned what a bad fix we were in, we
found our Savior "waiting" to rescue us. He redeemed us from our sins and
took us "under His wing." God created in us a new man and placed His Holy
Spirit in us to lead that new man. God called upon us through Christ to be
useful citizens in His Kingdom. And when we discovered that we are too
weak and hindered by the flesh to be useful to God, we find His Spirit
working in us to make us useful vessels, using our very weakness to advantage
for God. Even the suffering which we inevitably have in the flesh, God turns
to the advantage of His saints.
"God causes all things to work together for good," Paul said. "Good" in this
context is not necessarily what we commonly think of as good, but it is what is
"absolutely good" like "God is good." This "good" is in the context of God's
eternal purpose. It comes to "those who are called according to His purpose."
To be "called according to His purpose" is the greatest good that can possibly
come to us. Gold's purpose will inevitably come to pass. "God causes all
things to work together" to bring about God's purpose. To become a part of
God's purpose is to become an instrument of God that helps bring about His
purpose. It is the greatest good that can happen to us. So, all things working
together to bring about God's purpose will be for our good also. Everything
connected with God's purpose is good.
That God makes all things good for us does not mean that we will have no
more trouble or suffering in the flesh. But it does mean that when bad things
happen to us, they will be for our good in our spiritual life. Bad things cannot
separate us from the love of God, Paul said in Romans 8:39. And the Apostle
Peter said in 1 Peter 3:9, "You were called for this very purpose that you
might inherit a blessing." The blessing which we inherit is the good which
God causes all things to work for us.
Who are those "called according to His purpose?" And how are they called?
The gospel is God's call to us to align ourselves with His purpose. God's call
is through the gospel, Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:14.: "He called you
through our gospel that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We have the power of choice. We can answer the call or we can ignore it. If
we answer the call, then we can be said to be those who are called. If we
ignore the call, we cannot be said to be those who are called. If we don't
answer the call, we do not allow ourselves to br aligned with God's purpose.
Things cannot work to our good if we are at cross-purposes with God's
Paul went on to say, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become
conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among
many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom
He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also
glorified." Paul spoke here of Gold's perspective of His human followers. We
do not know, nor can we imagine fully, God's perspective. But the Holy Spirit
prompted Paul to say these words for the purpose of imparting some
knowledge to us. As we consider these words, look first at the tenses of the
verbs. They are strange indeed to the sensibilities of human beings.
First let's consider the phrase, "For whom He foreknew." God knew some
people before. The verb "foreknew" is past tense. To whom does the
pronoun "whom" refer? It does not necessarily refer to individual persons,
but most likely to a class or type of people. "He also predestined (past tense)
them to become" something. He "foreknew" a people and He "predestined"
them in the past at the time He "foreknew" them. He planned their destiny
according to His purpose. The thing planned and purposed for them
sometime in the past was for them to become conformed to the image of His
Son. The image to which they were to become conformed was the image into
which Christ was the "first-born." So Christ was to be born first into the
image, and then the foreknown people were to be conformed to that image.
Then those whom He predestined, He called (past tense), and those whom He
called He justified (past tense), and those whom He justified, He also glorified
This was an outline of God's plan for those He foreknew. They were to
become something which Christ was to become first, then they after Christ.
Then they were to be justified and glorified, but their justification and
glorification was spoken of in the past tense also. Everything is in the past
tense except that it is clear that some things were to happen before others.
The One executing these actions is God. God's perspective, then, is clearly
outside our human time system. His perspective sees our past, present, and
future at once, and puts our future in His past. Understanding that is one of
the keys to understanding this passage. Note also that Christ was the first-born among many brethren. To God, Christ was first, even though to us, He
lived on earth after many of those whom He saved and to whom He became a
Another key to understanding the passage is to understand "whom God
foreknew." From the context with verse 28, we see a connection between
"those whom He foreknew" and "His purpose." Who was connected with
God's purpose? These are the ones He foreknew. These are the same ones
whom Paul spoke of in verse 28 for whom God causes all thing to work
together for good. As we look back at the broad context of chapter 8, we see
that these are the ones to whom there is no condemnation because they are in
Christ Jesus. These are the ones in whom the Spirit of God dwells and who
are walking according to the Spirit. If we go on back to chapter 6 we
remember that those of whom Paul spoke were those "who have been
baptized into Christ Jesus." Those whom God foreknew, then, are those who
have been baptized into Christ Jesus!
Now another question. Did God foreknow and predestinate only certain
individual, and them only, to be baptized? Or did He foreknow and
predestinate a class of people, all those who would choose to be baptized?
Jesus Himself answered the questions. "For God so loved the world that He
gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish
but have eternal life." Anyone may believe, repent, and be baptized, and be
justified, and be glorified. The Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is
not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." It is up to
man's choice to come to repentance and be baptized. When a person acts on
that choice, God then adds them to the group whom He foreknew. When one
becomes a part of that group, his glorification may then be spoken of in the
past tense, for it is assured.
And now we see another connection between creation's groans and suffering
under the pains of child-birth (Romans 8:22), and Christ the "first-born." If
Christ was the "first-born," others were to be born after His likeness. And
these others born after His likeness are the ones whom creation tried to give
birth to, but couldn't without the help of Christ and God and until Christ was
In verses 28 through 30 Paul laid out God's grand design and work in behalf
of His people on earth. In verse 27 Paul pointed out that the Spirit intercedes
for us according to the "will of God." In verse 28 Paul said that all things
work together for good to those who are called according to "His purpose."
The things of greatest importance, then, are "God's will" and "God's
purpose." These will be carried out. The subject of chapter 8 is God's
purpose for Christians. God foreknew and predestined Christians to carry
out His purpose. What is that purpose? It is that we all might become
"conformed to the image of His Son."
To be "conformed to the image of His Son" means to let our new self be
renewed to the true knowledge according to the image of Christ who created
the new self in us in the first place. Paul said in Colossians 3:16 that the way
to have Christ in you, or to be conformed to His image, was to "let the word of
Christ richly dwell within you." In Romans 8:4-5 Paul said something very
similar, "walk according to the Spirit" and set your mind on "things of the
God foreknew and predestined us to be called to a walk according to the
Spirit which brings us into conformation to the image of His Son. We start
this walk justified from our sins and we finish the walk sanctified and
glorified with His Son.
I overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved me. Romans
"(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against
us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (33) Who will bring a
charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; (34) who is the one
who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who
is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for 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? (36) Just as it is
written, 'For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long: we were
considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' (37) But in all these things we
overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. (38) For I am convinced
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other
created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39.
"What then shall we say to thee things?" Let's pause a moment and consider
the things Paul has mentioned in his Roman letter. How do all these things
"If God is for us, who is against us?" Although Paul said this as a question, it
was a question with an answer then so obvious that it really served as a
summary of much Paul had already said in the Roman letter. Obviously, if
God is for us, no one could possibly prevail against us. If anyone should dare
to be against us, it would be futile. There is no way for anyone to prevail
against God's purpose. For eight chapters of the Roman letter Paul has been
testifying of all the things God has done for us. Every problem that has ever
been in the way of mankind's salvation God has solved. Everything that can
prevent God's children on earth from bearing fruit for God, God has moved
aside. Everyone who has been or is against God or His children has been
removed. God has carried out His purpose to "justify" us and then to
"sanctify" us. It has all been done before we were born on earth. It is now
simply up to us to "walk" according to the guidance of His Spirit which He
gave us. God is definitely and eternally "for us." Who, indeed, can be against
"He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how will
He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Again, the question now has
an obvious answer, if we have paid attention to what Paul has taught us in the
first eight chapters of his Roman letter. It was God's purpose to do
everything through His Son, everything that needed to be done for us. He has
completed this purpose in His Son. God gave His Son as a sacrifice, a sin
offering for us. He gave His Son as a propitiation which God then accepted as
satisfaction for our offenses. He glorified His Son at His own right hand to act
as our High Priest and Advocate. All this was done for the purpose of giving
us all things. Could anyone think that God, having done all that, will now let
it come to nothing? God will absolutely carry through and freely give us all
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the One who justifies."
There once was one who brought charges against us, who accused us day and
night. But the Apostle John wrote, "But now the salvation, and the power,
and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ has come, for the
accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our
God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life
even to death." (Revelation 12:10-11).
The old accuser now can only influence us in our flesh. When we try to
accomplish anything for God through works of law, the accuser has
something for which to accuse us. But the blood of Christ has overcome him,
and if we "walk" now in our "new self" according to the Spirit of Christ
which has been given to us, no one can bring a charge before God against us.
For the fruit that we now bear is not our fruit but the fruit of God's Spirit.
The lack of accusation against us is not because we already have become
perfect, but because the Spirit of God is perfect and "bears witness with our
spirit that we are children of God." The accuser does not dare come near
God's Holy Spirit. He has already been thrown down from God's throne in
"Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who
was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."
Satan would like to bring us before the judgement seat alongside of him so we
also will be condemned. But the "just" God who will "in justice" condemn
Satan and those with him, is also our "justifier." He became our "justifier"
through His giving of His Son to die for us. He raised that Son and set Him at
His right hand to be our continuous High Priest and Advocate. If Satan tries
to get us condemned now, he has to get Christ condemned first, and there is
absolutely no chance of that.
Obviously, considering how God loves us, considering what Christ has done
for us, considering Christ who He is and where He is now, no one or no thing
can separate us from His love if we "walk" in His Spirit. "Shall tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
Friends, Gold has not promised to take away tribulation, distress, persecution,
famine, nakedness, or sword during our lives on earth. But He has promised
to use them to bring about our "good according to His purpose." He has
promised us that no one other than our own individual selves, can "separate
us from the love of Christ."
Paul's quotation in Romans 8:36 was quoted from Psalms 44:22. It pointed
out that the truth of verse 35 has always been true. That is, it has always been
true that God produces "good according to His purpose" even though "for
Thy sake we (God's people) are being put to death all day long; we were
considered as sheep to be slaughtered." Gold's purpose always has been and
is now being carried out. The prophets of old were put to death by the world,
but in spite of their death, God's purpose was carried a step further, until the
Lamb of God Himself was put to death. This great "hurt" which Satan
intended toward God and all His creation, God turned into a sacrifice for the
forgiveness of the sins of His creation. But the faithful people of old, as well as
the faithful people of these last days, although beset by tribulation and
distresses of all kinds from Satan's world, are actually "more than
conquerors!" The end result is greater than any worldly victory we can
God does not promise that we can conquer all hatred among people of the
world, or stop all hunger in the world, or stop all wars in the world. If we
could do something in the world to bring peace among all the people, we
might say that we ourselves are conquerors. If we could distribute the food of
the world to dispel all hunger, we would be "conquerors" in the eyes of the
world. But God's ways are paradoxical to the ways of the world. Jesus, the
Son of God, advised us that the poor will always be with us, and that we must
help the poor whenever we have opportunity. (Mark 4:7). But God has not
promised us that we will be able to straighten out the whole world. God has
said, through Paul, that in spite of the sinful occurrences in the world, we will;
be "more than conquerors." We will "overwhelmingly conquer" all worldly
things through Jesus who loves us. We can do it because each of us is united
with the love of God and Christ. Walking in the Spirit, we are to do things
which would otherwise be impossible.
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor
any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Paul's list of things which cannot
separate us from the love of God are all "created things." These things are all
things God created directly or things which resulted from God's ejection of
Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden into the world as we know it.
Human beings born (created) into the world have brief fleshly lives but also
are subject to fleshly death. From a worldly, fleshly, viewpoint it may appear
that such brief lives ending in death have separated mankind from the love of
God. the Great Spiritual Creator. But the world does not "see" the true life of
the spiritual soul and spirit of mankind, nor does it "see" the invisible Spirit of
God. God's love is for the "complete" human being, "spirit and soul and
body." (1 Thessalonians 5:23). And God's love transcends the mere flesh.
Paul was convinced that neither death, nor life could separate us from the love
"Angels" are mentioned as "created things" in the list of things which cannot
separate us from the love of God. Indeed, the "angels," spiritual beings, were
created by God. And we have read in the Bible of myriads of angels who act
as messengers and emissaries to carry out the will of God. For instance, the
Hebrew letter spoke of some angels as "ministering spirits, sent out to render
service for the sake of those who inherit salvation." (Hebrews 1:14). In other
words, some angels are sent to render invisible service for the sake of
Christians who are undergoing tribulations and trials in the world. We can
scarce think of these angels as attempting to separate us from the love of God
for they are helping us to stay in His love. But there are other angels who are
attempting to separate us from God. The spirit of God prompted John to
write, "And the great dragon was thrown down (from heaven), the serpent of
old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was
thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him."
(Revelation 12:9). The disciples of Jesus once spoke of the "demons" who
were subject to them in the name of Jesus. Jesus then said, "I was watching
Satan fall from heaven like lightning." (Luke 10:17-18). From these and
other scriptures we know that there are spiritual beings, angels, who do
attempt to separate us from us from the love of God. But Paul was convinced
that they cannot, if we remain "in Christ Jesus."
Paul listed "principalities" as being a worldly force which cannot separate us
from the love of God. The word "principality" is from the Greek word
ARCHE meaning "beginning." Since this word is included in the list of
"created things," it seems to mean things which have had their "beginning" in
Satan's world such as the governmental powers which, of course, will perish
when the world comes to an end. Although Paul said in Romans 13:1 that
there is no governing power except from God. we know that God has allowed
governing powers upon the earth which strive against His purposes. For
instance, in Old Testament days many of the governing powers around God's
chosen nation of Israel strove to wipe out the nation of Israel. Today some
governing powers strive against God's purposes, especially the freedom of
choice which God has purposed that all humans should have. But Paul was
convinced that such "principalities" cannot separate us from the love of God
if we will remain in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul continued his list of things which cannot separate us from the love of
God with: "things present" (any created thing already existing in the world),
"things to come" (anything which mankind or Satan may create in the world
in the future), "powers" (anything of worldly ability or power), "height" (any
high thing in the world), "depth" (any deep thing in the world), and finally
"any other created thing." In short, there is nothing in this world that can
separate one, who is in Christ Jesus, from the love of God. "We
overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."
(This has been taken from the book "God's Righteousness Revealed," a
commentary on the Roman letter by F. M. Perry
© 2002, F. M. Perry