CHAPTER EIGHT OF ROMANS
Romans chapter eight is actually a continuation from where the Apostle Paul left off at the end of chapter five of Romans. At the end of chapter five Paul is talking about condemnation and justification. One man brought condemnation and the other brought justification. Chapters six and seven between five and eight are parenthetical. They are going into more of an explantion of what Paul was talking about in the previous chapters. Because of what Paul said, there would be questions that would arise; and so Paul in chapters six and seven addresses those questions: 'Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?'....'Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?'....'What shall we say, then? Is the law sin?'....'Did that which is good, then, become death to me?' If you start reading at the end of chapter five and then go directly to chapter eight you will see that there is a continuation of thought.
Verses 1-4: To be in Christ Jesus means that Jesus is in us. It means we have been born of His Spirit. Once you are born of the Spirit, you cannot become unborn of the Spirit. Once you have obtained eternal life, you cannot lose eternal life. That's why it is called an eternal life. If you make a decision to go out and fulfill the desires of your flesh to your heart's content; there is still not going to be a moment when you are in a state of condemnation. As Christians, the word condemnation is no longer in our vocabulary.
Hold on! Hold on! Hold on!....Don't everybody misunderstand. If you do go out and fulfill the desires of your flesh....you are still going to reap what you sow. You need to ask yourself the question....Why would you want to do that? You know exactly the outcome of what that produces. Yea, guilt is so much fun. But what's even more fun than guilt....is the quenching and the grieving that overwhelms you with a burden that feels like a blanket laying on you. We all know that experience. That's the life we've been rescued from. That's why we became a Christian. Through Christ the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death. We have been set free from it, so why would we want to go back to that life of sin and death? We go back to it because that's what we do as humans. As humans we do that before we are saved, and we do it after we are saved. That's why we need a savior. We need a savior to first obtain Salvation; and then after that, we need the same savior, to not maintain salvation (because that we have), but to maintain relationship.
God gave us the Law to reveal his righteous requirements that have to be met. This Law is directed at the sinful nature that is not able to meet those requirements. And this is no surprise to God. Our savior who became one of us, came into this world and he did meet those requirements. When we put our faith in him who did meet those requirements, it works for us as if we too are meeting those requirements, but without attempting to. God justifies us through our faith, apart from the Law (Rom. 3:28). Making that moment by moment decision to put our faith in Jesus is exactly the same thing as living according to the Spirit.
Verses 5-8: We as Christians have to choose to not live according to the sinful nature that is still there. If we do, the result of that is death. The definition of death is: the absence of life. The life of Christ is in us. When we choose to live according to the sinful nature, that means that Christ is no longer the one in control. It's the same, for all practical purposes, as if he is absent from us, even though he isn't. He's just waiting for us to give him back the control. The Apostle Paul says the same thing in Gal 5:4: 'You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.' We have momentarily broken off our relationship with him. In contrast, if we choose to be controlled by the Spirit, the result of that is life and peace. This is what pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 says: 'And without faith it is impossible to please God.'....therefore being controlled by the Spirit is the same thing as exercising faith.
Verses 9-14: If we are letting God live through us, then obviously he is in control. Only the believer belongs to Christ. Only the believer is a child of God. Christ the righteous one has given life to our human spirit resulting in our mortal bodies being raised from the dead as he was raised. And so because of this we are not obligated to live according to the sinful nature; because if we do, we will die. For the lost....death is the absence of the life of God for eternity. For the Christian....death is the temporal absence of the life of God until we choose to let him be in control again. He is still there. He hasn't gone anywhere. Putting to death the misdeeds of the body is done automatically by simply being led by the Spirit. The same thing is said in Galatians 5:16. Walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit is the same thing as choosing to put faith in Christ. As Christians, we can never lose our salvation. We are always (identity wise) 'sons of God.' But if we are not being led by the Spirit then we are not a 'son of God' (function wise).
Verses 15-18: As humans we do not have the ability to know what's going on inside another person. However, when God, who does have that ability, tells us in his Word about man in general, we can learn a lot about what's going on inside humans. I don't have to know a person personally to know that he is a slave to fear. Man is a slave to fear and that can include Christians also, if they choose to be. If man is not living the life that his Creator intended him to live, how is it that he is not a slave to fear? His whole existence is motivated from fear. The lost, as we once were, are always about the business of not letting that fear show. Everybody plays that same game of: I'm ok and so look at my successful life that proves I'm ok. Of course, the truth is: Until they come to Christ, their life is never ok.
Not only is man a slave to fear, but he is also a slave to sin (Rom. 6:6). Sin is unbelief. Unbelief is sin. If man is a slave to unbelief; then he is a slave to the fruit of unbelief. This would be the individual acts that come from unbelief: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander (Matt. 15:19). And then we have the list in Galatians 5:19.
God's Spirit tells our spirit that we are his children. How wonderful it is to be a child of God. How wonderful it is, to live the life for which our Creator intended. How wonderful and fulfilling it is, to tap into the truth. Because we are children, we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ....sharing in His inheritance.
Also we share in his suffering if we share in his glory. Verse eighteen from the Amplified Bible says that this glory 'is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us, and conferred on us!' We Christians of today, certainly do not suffer like the Apostles and the early church fathers. That is not to say that we do not suffer at all. Each of us have our own particular circumstances and trials just from living in this world. Jesus said: "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). In this Country so far, we are not put in prison for being a Christian. However, the way things are going, as we can all see, we should not be shocked at what next comes out of the mouths of Satan's puppets....also known as Congress.
Verses 19-23: I'm not a scientist, but evidently there is a cause and effect dynamic going on within creation, because of sin. There may be something going on out there that the politically bought scientists can measure and calculate that produces data; but I'm not going to trust anybody's interpretation of that data when it ends up being used to promote a political agenda. Think of the control that a government could have over peoples' lives if we all bought into this as they want us to. Whatever is going on has to do with sin and there is nothing that man can do to stop the decaying process. And the process is occuring at a rate similar to the rate of how labor pains work. The closer the baby gets, the more frequent are the pains. The closer we get to the end, the more frequent are the signs of the end. We the Church along with creation seem to be on the same course and schedule when it all culminates in both of us being redeemed.
Verses 24-27: God expects us to maintain hope. On this side of heaven, faith, hope and love remain. Love will always remain, but until we get to the other side we live by faith and hope. Hope is where our joy comes from. Hope is absolutely indispensable to a human's well-being. If people are not putting hope in God then they'll find something else to put hope in. However, that kind of hope is a false hope because it is a hope that is seen.
And so as hope bears us up in our weakness, so does the Holy Spirit pray and intercede for us in accordance with God's will. We do not even know what to pray for, but the Holy Spirit does with groans that words cannot express. God is taking care of us folks!
Verses 28-34: God is taking care of us so much so, that all things that are happening in our lives are working for our good. All things include the bad. The bad includes sinning. That is not encouraging you to sin by any means. It's simply the way that, as Christians, sinning works its way through us to bring us back into dependency upon God. That's a good thing! Maybe that's a reason why (after becoming born again) God left us with a sinful nature.
Don't you laugh when people (especially politicians) get up in front of a microphone or a camera wanting to recite scripture, as if what they are saying is pertaining to everybody. But primarily the message they want you to get is that what they are saying is, most importantly, pertaining to them. Yea, mister spiritual giant you got my vote! Christianity 101 tells me that if you are not a child of God, you're not going to be on the receiving end of God's blessings. The same spiritually ignorant people will tell you that they are a child of God. No! Only those who have recieved the life of Christ are children of God (John 1:12). And because we are children of God, we have been predestined. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. These are the blessings that the bride of Christ receives....not the world.
And in response to this we say: If God is for, who can be against us? What authority or entity out there has anything over us? Remember there is no condemnation whatsoever. It doesn't matter what state we find ourselves in....as a child of God....God is in control always. If things are happening to us that we do not like, they are happening because God is permitting them to happen. We simply do our part and continue to trust.
And what charge brought against us has any power over us. Let goofy Congress lable us as domestic terrorists. All that stuff is of the world and we are not of the world. Leave the world to its own. And do not compromise your faith by taking on the world. God did not call us to take on the world, he called us to believe (John 6:29). Our victory over the world is our faith (1 John 5:4).
Verses 35-39: Isn't it just like God to pick the Apostle Paul to write most of the New Testament. Who else had the experiences from such great extremes? He goes from being probably the most successful religious person of his time to becoming the most knowledgeable of God's love of his time. We're talking about the most religious of the religious. Heathens, pagans, thieves and murderers had a better chance of getting saved than the religious. Oh! the work that God can do in a person's life. Do you think Paul here wants us to understand that nothing will separate us from the love of God? We're not just conquerors, we are more than conquerors. Anything in all creation (has to include sin), will not be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Compare this with what David says in Psalm 136. The politically correct crowd of intolerance and not offending anybody at all costs would particularly have a huge problem with verses 17-21. God is such a threat to them!