Romans 8 Bible study


The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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Chapter 8

The Liberty of Life in The Spirit


8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


All those who are in Christ, that is, all who have received Him as Saviour, are governed by the new spiritual nature they have received rather than the sin nature which governed them outside of Christ.


Paul as already shown how the sin nature has been dealt with judicially as a governing force in our lives by being put to death on the cross. It has been replaced as a governing force by a new nature, which owes its existence and operation to the resurrection life of Christ. Since the new nature controlling us is not subject to the law of sin, there cannot possibly be any condemnation for those who are in Christ.


8:2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.


Christ died and rose again that by faith we might receive him into our hearts and be born again. When this happens we receive a new nature which loves God’s law, longs to do His will and cannot sin. Our spirits, once dead in sin, have been made alive with Christ. As a law, sin is still present in our lives, but the new nature gives us power to live for God and secures for us the ultimate victory.


8:3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,


Because of our sin and inability to keep it, the law could not save us but only condemn us. What the law could not do, the Lord Jesus has done. He has made a way for us to be liberated from sin and its power by becoming a sin offering for us. He bore our sin in his own body on the tree  - not only our sin but our sin nature which was judged and condemned on the cross. Christ has dealt effectively with sin once and for all. Heb 10.11-14. That is why, though the sin nature may be present in a Christian (as discussed in ch7) its deeds are not laid to his account. Christ in us brings freedom from the law of sin and death.


8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


The law is no longer the basis of our acceptance with God, for the work of Christ is. The law is not a ground for justification, but a basis for conduct, since it reveals God’s holy requirements. Since the law is spiritual, we are not talking about commands to wash, eat or sacrifice in certain ways - the ceremonial law was a figure of what was to come and has been abolished. But the moral law is an unchanging statement of the character of God, summed up by Paul in Rom 13 .10. Christ in us enables us to fulfill the spirit of the law of God, which is now written in our hearts. Heb 10.16


Before we were born again this was impossible. We were dead in sin, and sin was the only law that governed our lives. Now, although the law of sin is still present, it is not predominant. It does not govern our quickened spirits, although it still tries to keep control our bodies. Believers have been given a new life principle, that they might not fulfill the desires of the flesh, but seek to fulfill the desires of the Spirit.


8:5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.


Those who have not received the new nature of Christ cannot appreciate the things of God. Their hearts are set on the things of the flesh - they live only for this life and since their spirits are dead, they have no true understanding of the life of God. Their whole being is taken up with sin. By contrast those who share in the new spiritual nature of Christ are wholly taken up with spiritual things.


8:6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace,


Those outside Christ are carnally minded - in a state of death and separation from God. John 6.53 Eph 4:18


Those who are born of the Spirit are alive to God. We know God and enjoy him. We love him and seek to do his will. With our minds governed by the directions of the Spirit, we have peace with God- we live in harmony with him for since we love what he loves, our affections are fixed, as v5 says, on the things of the Spirit.


8:7 because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so.


The carnal mind is by nature opposed to God. It is “enmity” - hates God and all that is of God. Man’s unregenerate nature is so opposed to God that it cannot keep the law. Instead, the law serves to reveal the sinfulness of man. The law is spiritual (Rom 7.14) but carnal man is not, they are different in nature.


8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


Hence Paul’s conclusion: no one outside of Christ can please God.


8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.


By contrast, those in Christ are no longer slaves to sin, for we have been liberated by a new nature. God’s Spirit dwells in us and writes His laws in a spiritual way on our hearts and minds. He prompts us and gives us power to do, the things that please God. Only those with this new nature belong to Christ. People talk about “born again” Christians - there is no other kind.


The Victory of Life in The Spirit


Over the Depravity of the Body


8:10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.


There is nothing sinful about the body itself. We are talking about the law of sin at work in the body. So Paul returns to an earlier point - if Christ is in us, our sinful nature is reckoned dead. Though it is still subject to the law of sin and death, its deeds will not be laid to our account, for our spirit is alive - eternal life has already begun, because we have been justified in Christ (for righteousness).


Bruce paraphrases “If Christ dwells within you then while your body is still subject to that temporal death which is the consequence of sin, the Spirit who has taken up his abode in you, the living and quickening Spirit, imparts to you that eternal life which is the consequence of justification.”


Over the Mortality of the Body


8:11 Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.


Our receiving the Spirit is a foretaste or guarantee of what is to come, a quickening of our bodies from corruption and mortality to an eternal state of incorruption and immortality (1 Cor 15. 50-54) At present the Spirit compensates for the weaknesses of our body: sickness, tiredness, mental exhaustion etc. can all be overcome by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. Bruce describes this as “the intimations of a coming immortality.. conveyed by the Spirit even in this period of mortality.”


Over the Activity of the Body


8:12-13 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.


Since God has done this, we are indebted, not to do the bidding of our flesh, but God's Spirit. The life lived for the fulfillment of the flesh is death and enmity against God. But the life controlled by the Spirit is one where worldly desires are denied in favour of the will of God.


8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.


SFO says “To be led, we must first be mastered.” Only when our lives are controlled by the Spirit can we experience liberty. Our lives must be guided, guarded and governed by the Spirit. This “putting to death” of the life of the flesh in favour of the life of the Spirit is spoken of by Jesus as taking up the cross, or the plucking out of the eye that causes you to sin. Since we have received new life we count the past life of sin as dead, that we may live for God. This principle at work in our lives is evidence that we are sons of God.


BRUCE “If those who go on in conformity with the old order have the sentence of death within themselves, those who reckon the old order as belonging to the dead past and follow the guidance of the Spirit of God have the assurance that life immortal has already begun within them.Indeed, the fact that they are respond to the leading of the indwelling Spirit is proof that they are sons of God.”


The Certainty of Life in The Spirit


8:15-16 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God's children.


Believers are not slaves, striving to do the will of God to earn salvation. We have become sons of God by faith in Christ. So our motivation for serving God is love not fear. We have freely received the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to call God our Father and affirms us in our rightful position and privileges as sons. (Adoption) He communicates and affirms this truth directly to our renewed spirits, which have the witness in their own selves, since they are born of God


8:17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) — if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.


The Holy Spirit not only affirms that we are sons, but reveals that eternal life and the blessings it brings are truly ours. All that the Father has belongs to the Son and all that the Son has he shares with me. Not only in the future but right now tremendous spiritual resources are at our disposal as we share in all that is Christ’s (the inheritance he has “left” us). However, as Paul goes on to explain, if we share all things with Christ, then that includes his sufferings. Sharing in his suffering is an evidence that we will share in his glory too.


Redemption of the Body V 18 - 25


8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us.


In the previous verse Paul said that if we suffer with Christ we shall also be glorified with Him.  Going on from there he weighs up all the sufferings, the afflictions, persecutions, sicknesses, heartaches, sorrows, disappointments of life and says that they cannot be compared with the glory that will revealed to us and in us, it will surpass all things.


8:19 For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God.


The whole of creation is waiting expectantly, straining its neck forward it its eagerness for the sons of God to be made known (1 John 3:2).  


8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly but because of God who subjected it — in hope


God enslaved creation when sin entered the world through Adam (Gen. 3: 14,17) not because it had done anything, but with the enslavement a hope was given  (Gen. 3: 15).


8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God's children.


When the redeemed of the Lord are completely set gloriously free from corruption (1 Cor. 15: 53 - 54)in the age to come, then creation will be delivered from the curse.


8:22-23 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.


We see creation now under the curse not as it was in the beginning.  It is a creation that groans and is in pain  as a woman in childbirth and does so along with those who enjoy the first fruits of the Holy Spirit (the presence of the Holy Spirit with the believer as the firstfruits of the full harvest of the Cross W.E. Vine) who are waiting for the redemption of the body, that is, when the body will be freed from sin and death forever (2 Cor. 5:2).


8:24-25 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.


When we were saved we were saved with this hope; our bodies would be redeemed.   We do not see this now for if we did there would be no reason for hope because it would have materialized.   If we have a hope for that which we do not yet see and yet know will come to pass, then we will have patience to wait for it.


Predestined to be conform to the image of Christ


8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.


The Holy Spirit comes to help and bear us up in our weaknesses.   He is the Comforter and Helper that Jesus Christ promised He would send.   We do not know what to pray or how to but the Spirit Himself makes intercession within us for us which cannot be expressed in words only by groanings.


8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God's will.


God who knows the heart (Jer. 17: 10, John 2: 24)) and searches it knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes and pleads for believers in accordance to the will of God.


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


God has a plan and a purpose for all who are His therefore we can be assured that He works all things out for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purposes.


8:29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.


From the beginning God knew who would respond to the Gospel and had already  determined to fashion them into the likeness of His Son who was the firstborn among many.


8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.


Those who He foreknew would come to Him, He called and justified through Christ and He will also glorify them.


No Separation from God


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


Seeing then, what we have and who we are and what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, what more can be said?  If God is on our side who can be against us (Ps. 118: 6).


8:32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?


As God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us so He will freely give us all things by His grace.


8:33-34 Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.


In our redeemed relationship with God through Christ no one can make an accusation against us because God has justified us.   No one can  condemn us for Christ has died for us  and is rose again from the dead (Rom: 81).   He is at God's right hand continually making intercession for us.


8:35-36 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."


There is nothing in heaven in earth or under the earth that can separate us from the love of Christ.   Whether it is our sufferings, afflictions, troubles, persecutions, hunger or the danger of being put to death.   Psalm 44: 22 says that for the Lord's sake it is as if we are put to death all through the day and every day just like sheep who are led to be slaughtered.


8:37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!


In spite of all the things that happen to us, that seems contrary to being children of God, we are "more than conquerors" (we have a surpassing victory) through Christ who loves us.


8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul was persuaded beyond any doubt that neither death, life, angels, principalities, powers, anything from the past or in future, whether from below or above or anything else in creation will be able to separate the believer from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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