In this chapter,[ 1 ] Paul discusses the wonderful life Christians enjoy. After giving the wonderful news that there is "now no condemnation," he says they are "free from the law of sin and of death." They "set their minds" on the things of the Spirit. "The Spirit of God dwells in" them. They are "led by the Spirit of God." "Children of God" suffer with Christ. They have been foreknown and foreordained. They are called and justified. They shall be glorified. Christ makes intercession for them. God's love for them is everlasting (see charts ROMANS 8 OUTLINE; CHRISTIANS NOW A and B).
Chart ROMANS 8 OUTLINE
1. No condemnation in Christ (Ro 8:1-4).
2. Carnal mind cannot please God (Ro 8:5-8).
3. Spirit indwells (Ro 8:9-11).
4. Spirit of sonship (Ro 8:12-15).
5. Spirit bears witness (Ro 8:16, 17).
6. Suffering and glory (Ro 8:18-25).
7. Spirit helps in prayer (Ro 8:26, 27).
8. All works together for good (Ro 8:28-30).
9. God's eternal love (Ro 8:31-39).
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ
Jesus,[ 2 ] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation [there is then, so there is, now no
condemnation].[ 3 ] "Therefore" refers back to chapter 7, and the fact that God set us free through Christ (see notes on Ro 7:25; 8:16). "No condemnation" is the corollary to forgiveness and justification (see note on verse 34). After the darkness of sin described in chapter 7, we enter the golden sunlight of salvation in Christ in chapter 8. With a glorious air of freedom, Paul lauds the wonderful forgiveness in Christ.
A similar plateau of rejoicing was realized in Romans 5:1, where Paul said we
are justified by faith and have peace with God. Outside of Christ, all accountable
adults are condemned. For the faithful in Him there is no condemnation!
Who condemns? There is a sense in which Christ does (see notes on Joh 5:22;
12:48; Ac 17:30, 31; Ro 8:34). However, the faithful in Christ have blessed
assurance of God's love, forgiveness of sins, Christ's intercession and eternal life
(Ro 6:23; 8:35; Heb 7:25).
To those who are in Christ Jesus [for those, to them, that are, which are, in Christ Jesus].[ 4 ] There are no unbaptized Christians. All Christians have been baptized into Christ, into His one body, the church (Ro 6:3; 1Co 12:13; Ga 3:27; Eph 1:22, 23; Col 1:18). What a joyous hope to be in Him! No philosophy, fraternity, pagan religion or even the Mosaic Law can come close to giving hope like He does.
In order to remain in the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, a person must be
in Him. One is baptized (immersed) into Christ (see Ro 6:3, 4; Ga 3:26, 27).
After one becomes God's child he must walk in the light of His word. He must
abide in the doctrine of Christ to continue to have God (1Jo 1:7; 2Jo 9). One may
separate himself from God when he goes away from the doctrine of Christ, not
abiding in it (2Jo 9).[ 5 ]
Who do not walk according to the flesh [ to those who walk not after the flesh] (see charts WHY A HOLY LIFE A and B).
But according to the Spirit [but after the Spirit, according to the spirit].[ 6 ]
This good phrase does not appear in some of the older manuscripts and is carried
by most modern versions. It may have been a gloss, something like a footnote or
marginal comment that, in the region of Syria, was eventually copied into the
text.[ 7 ] Nonetheless, the truth carried in these words in the KJV and NKJV is
expressed in verse 4.
For the law of the Spirit of life.[ 8 ] "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"
has provided something wonderful. Paul says it "has made me free from the law
of sin and death." James calls the law of the Spirit "the law of liberty" (Jas 1:25;
2:12). This is a beautiful way of saying Christ influences, directs, constrains and
incites Christians to faithfully serve Him. The law of the Spirit of life offers men
and women the power of God to salvation (Ro 1:16). Paul called the same law the
"law of faith" (Ro 3:27). It is the doctrine of Christ (2Jo 9). It is the faith (Jude
3). It is the law of God in the church age (1Co 9:21). Christ does not force or
coerce men to serve Him. They are no longer under a Law, a fundamental
purpose of which was to point out sin. Its violation brought death. Of course,
violation of the law of Christ is sin too (1Jo 3:4) but there is absolute forgiveness
available through it by the merits of Christ's atoning sacrifice.
In Christ Jesus [through Christ Jesus].[ 9 ] Sinners who are baptized into Christ
are freed from the Mosaic Law (see notes on Ro 6:3, 4; 7:6). Not only is
freedom accomplished EN in Him but also DIA through Him (see notes on Ro
7:25; Eph 1:3).
Has made me free [has set, hath made, me free, has freed me].[ 10 ] Solomon
observed that sinners are imprisoned by their own sins.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of
his sin (Pr 5:22).
Christ came set sin's prisoners free. Prisoners of sin are made free by the truth
of Christ (Lu 4:18; Joh 8:32). They are be free indeed (Joh 8:36). In Him,
people are "free from sin" (Ro 6:18, 22). There is "liberty" in Christ Jesus (Ga
I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the
Gentiles, To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those
who sit in darkness from the prison house (Isa 42:6-7; see Isa 61:1; Lu
From the law of sin and death [from the law of sin and of death].[ 11 ] Jesus
said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (Joh
8:34; see also Ac 8:23; Ro 6:16; 7:14; 2Ti 2:26; 2Pe 2:19).
Paul spoke of "the law of sin" that is served by the flesh (Ro 7:25). The Law
of Moses emphasized the tragic results that resulted because of man's sins (see
note verse 3). It was weak because of man sins. It was weak because it provided
no means of absolute pardon. Instead, it brought death (see chart WEAKNESSES
OF THE LAW OF MOSES). Christ delivered from the power of sin, from the
curse of death and from the Law (Ro 7:6).
For what the Law could not do [for wherein the Law was weak].[ 12 ] The Law
of Moses pointed out that sin was wrong in God's sight. It assigned strict
penalties for its violation. Yet it could not condemn sin in the manner that God
did. Under it, sins were "passed over." They were remembered again year by
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not
possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins (Heb 10:3,
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same
sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Heb 10:11).
Under the Law, there was never any permanent forgiveness as is now obtained
freely through Christ (Heb 10:12, 14). So how does God condemn sin? Not by
just saying it is wrong. The Law did that. He condemned it in a greater and more
significant way. He condemned it in that He defeated it for all eternity. He did
this by the marvelous sacrifice of Christ on the cross by which sin is atoned.
In that it was weak through the flesh [weakened by the flesh, because of the
weakness of the flesh].[ 13 ] The major weakness of the Law was that it required
obedience that man was never able to flawlessly achieve. Neither did it provide
complete forgiveness (Heb 10:4). Because those under the Law were not
permanently forgiven they, as well as the Law, were termed "still without
strength" (Ro 5:6). The Greek does not justify a paraphrase such as, "In that it
was weakened by our sinful nature."[ 14 ]
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment
because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing
perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through
which we draw near to God (Heb 7:18, 19).
God did by sending His own Son [God, sending, having sent, has done
sending, his own Son].[ 15 ] God did what the Law was powerless to do. That is,
through Christ He condemned sin. It was condemned as Christ atoned for it. He
conquered death and "led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8).
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of
them, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:15; compare Joh 12:31).
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself
likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who
had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb 2:14).
In the likeness of sinful flesh [in the form of flesh of sin].[ 16 ] The "likeness
of sinful flesh" describes the humanity of Jesus. He came not in sinful flesh, but
in its likeness. He was human, yet sinless. This in no way is intended to deny
His Deity (see note on Joh 17:5).
The following statement will probably surprise readers of the NIV.[ 17 ] HUMAN
FLESH IS NOT SINFUL BY NATURE! Neither is it sinful by heredity or by birth. The
supposed acquired characteristic [sin of Adam] cannot be passed on through
chromosomes or genes. It is amazing that some people apparently believe that
Adam's sin could have somehow attached itself to the Y-chromosome.[ 18 ] Why do
they assume acquired characteristics are passed on only through the male and not
through the female? But, someone says, "Don't you know, sin was not passed
on in the physical body but through the spirit?" Well, what about the fact that
God is the Father of spirits (Nu 16:22; 27:16; Ec 12:7; Zec 12:1; Ac 17:28; Heb
When Adam and Eve were first created, they had all that belongs to human
nature. Sin came into their lives as a foreign element. Sin [was] no more
a part of their nature nor ours than dust in the eye is a part of the nature of
the eye. Because the desires, appetites, and passions of the flesh so often
lead to sin, flesh is called sinful. But we should remember always that
fleshly desires lead to sin only when the mind, or heart, purposes to gratify
the flesh in an unlawful way.[ 19 ]
On account of sin [and for sin, relating to sin].[ 20 ] Men were sinful because
they violated God's Law (1Jo 3:4). They did not inherit Adam's guilt but they
were troubled by the consequences of his sin (compare Eze 18:20). Our Redeemer
was sinless (Isa 53:9; Lu 23:41; 2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1Pe 1:19; 2:22;
1Jo 3:5). Other passages that do not specifically state He was sinless, imply it
(see Joh 8:46; Ro 13:14; Ga 5:16, 24). Men were sinful. Christ was not. Yet
he was like sinful man. He took upon Himself "the form of a bondservant, and
coming in the likeness of men" (Php 2:7). He partook of flesh and blood, and
"suffered being tempted" (Heb 2:18). He died like sinful man but there was a
remarkable difference. He died for sin, not because He had committed it.
Just what does God do "on account of sin" or "for sin"? He not only condemned
it but He has made a way for it to be forgiven (see chart WHAT GOD DID/DOES
He condemned sin in the flesh [condemned, has condemned, sin in the
flesh].[ 21 ] Some translators[ 22 ] who rendered this phrase, "And so he condemned
sin in sinful man" made a vain attempt to explain the sense. However, they surely
did not understand it. God condemned sin in the flesh in that He sent Jesus who,
in that very flesh, lived a sinless life. He became the sacrifice "to put away sin"
(Heb 9:26). He condemned sin when He atoned for it. He robbed it of its power
that otherwise would have brought everyone eternal death (see notes on From one
offense resulted in condemnation at Romans 5:16; Judgment came to all men
resulting in condemnation at Romans 5:18 and For what the law could not do at
That the righteous requirement of the law [in order that the just
requirement, the ordinance, the righteousness, of the law].[ 23 ] There are two
consequent requirements of the Law (see chart REQUIREMENTS OF THE
LAW). First, although He gave Himself, Christ was "required" to pay the just
penalty for sin. Then the righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled when
sinners become Christians (see Lu 1:6; Ro 2:26; 5:16; Heb 9:1).
Might be fulfilled in us [should be fulfilled in us].[ 24 ] The righteous
requirement of the Law is fulfilled in Christians (see chart REQUIREMENT OF
THE LAW FULFILLED IN CHRISTIANS). They are not under the Mosaic Law
and are not obligated to obey any of its rules. Rather they are to "fulfill the law
of Christ" (Ga 6:2; compare Jas 1:25). The "law of Christ" is the law that came
"out of Zion" (Isa 2:3). The "righteous requirement of the law" is fulfilled when
sinners are forgiven by the merits of the blood of Christ. It continues to be
fulfilled in them as they remain faithful to Christ (see 1Jo 1:7).
1. In newness of life (Ro 6:4).
2. Not according to the flesh (Ro 8:4).
3. According to the Spirit (Ro 8:4).
4. Becomingly, properly, decently, honestly
(Ro 13:13; 1Th 4:12).
5. Not like mere men (1Co 3:3).
Who do not walk according to the flesh [who walk not after the flesh].[ 25 ]
The "requirement of the law" or "ordinance of the law" is not fulfilled in
unfaithful Christians who walk after the flesh (see note on Ro 8:13). Some
versions that are strictly paraphrases are misleading. For example, one says, "who
do not live according to our sinful nature."[ 26 ] Another reads, "whose conduct,
no longer under the control of our lower nature"[ 27 ] (see chart IS SIN PART OF
MAN'S NATURE? at verse 3). Christians are not to continue in sin (Ro 6:1, 2).
They are not to practice the "works of the flesh" (Ga 5:19-21; see chart WALK
A, B and C. They have "put off the old man with his deeds" (Col 3:9; compare
But according to the Spirit [but after the Spirit].[ 28 ] The promise of the
righteous requirement of the Law being fulfilled is only to Christians who walk
"according to the Spirit." The church age is the age of the Spirit. Christians are
to "walk in the Spirit" and do not carry out "the lust of the flesh" (Ga 5:16).
They are "filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18; Col 3:16). "If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit" (Ga 5:25). Walking according to the Spirit is
required of them. Dear reader, are you walking according to the Spirit? If so,
you will not go wrong (1Jo 1:7). If not, you are walking in darkness and are lost
(1Jo 1:6; 2:11). It is that simple (see also Joh 8:12; Eph 5:8).
8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of
the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh [for they that are after, living
according to, flesh, the flesh].[ 29 ] Some paraphrase versions[ 30 ] show an apparent
Calvinistic agenda. Their repeated insertion of "sinful nature" or "lower nature"
implies that man has inherited a depraved and sinful nature from Adam.
According to Scripture, this is not the case (see Eze 18:20).
Set their minds on the things of the flesh [mind, do mind, have their minds
on, things of the flesh]. [ 31 ] Those who live "according to the flesh" have a fleshly
mind-set. They dwell on things of the flesh, set their affections on earthly things
and often make plans to achieve them (see Col 3:2). Sins, whether pleasurable or
not, are their goal. In Scripture, sexual sins are listed along with pride, anger,
wrath and drunkenness (Ro 1:30; Ga 5:19-21; 2Ti 3:2). "A look at a fellow's
magazine rack or his video tape library will tell you a lot about him"[ 32 ] (see Mt
16:23; Php 3:19; Col 3:2).
But those who live according to the Spirit [and they that are living according
to, after, Spirit, the spirit]. [ 33 ] Spiritually minded persons have righteous
character and lofty goals. They engage in wholesome activities (see Ga 5:16-26).
They set their mind on "things above" (Col 3:2).
The things of the Spirit [set their minds on spiritual things].[ 34 ] They that live
"according to the Spirit" feed regularly upon the Word inspired by the Spirit.
They lead pure lives, are generous and kind to the poor. They pray (Ro 8:26) and
attend worship regularly (see Heb 10:25). They are known for love to God (Ro
8:28) and humility (Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5).
1. Enmity against God (Ro 8:7).
Friendship with God.
2. Not subject to the law of God (Ro 8:7).
Obedient to God's law.
3. Cannot please God (Ro 8:8).
Pleasing to God.
4. Attitude of worldliness (1Jo 2:15, 16).
Godly, spiritual attitude (Col 3:2).
8:6, 7 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life
and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not
subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
For to be carnally minded [to set the mind on the flesh, for the mind of the flesh].[ 35 ] Those in the flesh walk "according to the flesh" (verse 4) and are "carnally minded." That is, they have the mind set on the flesh (verses 6, 7; compare Mt 16:23; Ro 12:1, 2; Php 2:5; Jas 4:4). The "carnal mind" is a of the flesh. It is works to fulfill the desires and propensities of the flesh (see Ga 5:19-21; 1Jo 2:15-17).
Is death [is death].[ 36 ] Paul equates the mind set on the flesh with spiritual
death. This worldly way of thinking is adverse to righteousness, hostile to God
and will lead to hell (see verse 7; Re 21:8).
But to be spiritually minded [but to set the mind on the Spirit, but the mind
of the spirit].[ 37 ] To "be spiritually minded" is to have an inner inclination to do
right, to walk in newness of life (Ro 6:4; 2Co 5:17). Christians have thought-patterns of the Spirit. In part, this consists of life and peace. They walk in
"newness of life" and enjoy abundant life on earth (Joh 5:40; 10:10). They have
"peace with God" (Ro 5:1) and enjoy "the peace of God" (Php 4:7). They
worship "the God of peace" who is with them (Php 4:9). They have "hope of
eternal life" (Tit 1:2).
Is life and peace [life and peace].[ 38 ] The gospel offers good tidings of "peace
through Jesus Christ" (Ac 10:36).
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How
beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring
glad tidings of good things!" (Ro 10:15).[ 39 ]
At the birth of Christ, the heavenly host praised God.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
goodwill toward men!" (Lu 2:13, 14).
And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those
who were near (Eph 2:17).
Peace by Jesus Christ coincides with salvation in Christ. The gospel of peace
is the power of God to salvation (Ro 1:16).
Because the carnal mind [for the mind that is set on, the mind of, the
inclination of, the flesh].[ 40 ] Before the Noahic flood, with few exceptions, the
wickedness of man was great in the earth.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Ge
6:5; compare Ge 8:21; Ps 14:1-3; 53:1-4; Jer 17:9; Ro 8:6).
Is enmity against God [is hostile to God].[ 41 ]
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world
is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of God (Jas 4:4; compare Isa 59:2; 1Jo 2:15).
For it is not subject [it does not submit, submit itself]. [ 42 ] The fleshly mind-set is unwilling to submit in obedience to God's NT law. Jews were once
described as "a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set
its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God" (Ps 78:8). Prior to the
fall of Jerusalem,[ 43 ] the Jews did not submit to God's Law.
But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and
departed (Jer 5:23).
To the law of God [to God's law].[ 44 ] Here "the law of God" is not the OT
Mosaic Law but rather the NT law that applies to Christians.[ 45 ] It is the law of
Christ also called "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (see note on verse
Nor indeed can be [indeed it cannot, neither, for neither, indeed can it be,
for it is not able to do so].[ 46 ] There is no compromise between righteousness and
evil. No one can serve two masters. As long as a person keeps his mind set on
the flesh he is in rebellion against the will of God. There is no way for him to be
subject to God's law until he turns to the Lord in repentance and renounces his
8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
So then, those who are in the flesh [but, and, they that are in, those living
after, flesh].[ 47 ] "Those who are in the flesh" are all those out of Christ plus
those Christians who have backslidden from God's holy way (see note on Ro 7:5).
Once again, it is necessary to point out that the NIV does not translate HOI DE
EN SARKI ONTES they that are in the flesh but instead inserts (as if it were a
part the text itself) the comment, "those controlled by their sinful nature." By
doing so it implies that one is controlled by his sinful nature! According to
Calvinism, the sinner is so totally depraved that he cannot do even one good thing
without the Holy Spirit first working directly upon his heart[ 48 ] (compare the chart
IS SIN PART OF MAN'S NATURE at verse 3). I reject the Calvinistic view.
It makes God responsible for selectively saving certain people and arbitrarily
damning others without any conditions whatsoever on their part. It makes a
mockery out of gospel invitations addressed to "Whosoever will" or "Whoever
desires" (see Re 22:17).
Cannot please God.[ 49 ] "Cannot please God" is what happens when a person
lives a rebellious, worldly life. Nobody in sin and away from God can please Him
so long as he remains in that state.
Verse 8 has been used to bolster the shaky and ugly doctrine[ 50 ] of total
depravity. The verse does not teach that a person cannot perform any good action
whatsoever. However, according to Calvinism, a sinner cannot believe, repent
and obey the gospel in baptism until and unless God operates directly upon his
heart. Passages that teach faith comes by hearing the word of God mean just that
(Joh 20:30, 31; Ro 10:17). Multitudes of sinners have heard the gospel,
responded to the Lord's invitation and, by doing so, pleased God. Any doctrine
that discourages gospel obedience is of Satan. If preaching the truth cannot affect
the minds of sinners, it cannot produce faith in them. Then why did Peter, Paul
and others spend so much time preaching? If no one can voluntarily respond to
the gospel invitation, why extend it?
But you are not in the flesh [but ye, but you all, are not in flesh, living after
the flesh].[ 51 ] For a comment on the NIV's "not controlled by your sinful nature"
see note on So then, those who are in the flesh at verse 8. Those "not in the
flesh" are Christians who are living a godly, spiritual life in Christ (see notes on
Ro 7:18; 8:8).
But in the Spirit [you are in the Spirit, but in Spirit].[ 52 ] In spite of the fact
that some versions capitalize "spirit," this does not mean the Holy Spirit. Instead,
it is equivalent to serving "in newness of the spirit" (Ro 7:6) or walking "in
newness of life" (Ro 6:4). One who is "in the spirit" is a Christian. Those "in
the spirit" endeavor to live according to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The
NEB gives the approximate sense with the paraphrase, "You are on the spiritual
If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you [if, if in fact, if so be that, God's
Spirit, dwell, dwelleth, in your midst].[ 53 ] When one walks in close fellowship
with God he desires to please Him and obey His every command. The same
desire reigns in the heart of one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. One can be
pleasing to God only if he is "in the spirit" and not in the flesh (see chart
PLEASING GOD at verse 8).
Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ [any one, but if any man, has not, hath not, have not, who does not have, the spirit of Christ].[ 54 ] When the second person of the Godhead literally indwelt the physical body of Jesus, He was an object of worship. If the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, as a person, actually and literally indwells Christians, would that not also make them objects of worship? Most agree that Christ and the Father do not personally and actually indwell Christians. It should be understood that "the Spirit of Christ" dwells in them in the same manner, not personally, but by faith (Eph 3:17).
He who has ECHON has [holds fast] the Son ECHEI has [holds fast to] life
[literally, the life]" (1Jo 5:12).
Whoever has the Son has the life that is in God's Son (see 1Jo 5:11). Albert
Barnes was right when he wrote:
The meaning is not that there is a personal or physical indwelling of the
Holy Ghost, but that he influences, directs and guides Christians, producing
meekness, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc.,
Galatians 5:22, 23.[ 55 ]
He is not His [does not belong to him, he is none of his, not of him].[ 56 ]
When one refuses to allow the Spirit of Christ to influence, direct and guide his
heart, he is not a Christian. Such a person is lost.
8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit
is life because of righteousness.
And if Christ is in you [but if Christ be in you, is with you].[ 57 ] Vine holds to an actual and absolute indwelling of the Holy Spirit whereas Thayer is more moderate. His view is that not the person of Christ but His mind, power and life indwells the Christian. Christ indwells "by the faith of the Son of God" (Ga 2:20).
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ dwells in Christians, but not bodily or
personally. He dwells in them to the extent that His teachings influence and
control their lives. This is in line with Paul's statement:
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in
you (Ga 4:19).
Paul implied that Christ would again be formed in the Galatians when they
rejected false teaching and returned to living by to the truth of God's word. He
knew "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" (Eph 3:17). And that
faith comes by the word of God (Ro 10:17).
The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are equivalent terms. Thus the phrase
"If Christ is in you" means the same as "If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you"
(verse 9). Christ in Christians "refers to the mind, the disposition and the
character of Christ which the Spirit imparts through His teaching."[ 58 ]
Perhaps a reason for much misunderstanding is that the Holy Spirit is invisible.
Not only that, but He is a person whose influence, power or word is sometimes
referred to in the Scriptures as "the Spirit" (see Joh 6:63). It is amazing that some
writers understand the Father and the Son to be persons (personalities) but they
think of the Holy Spirit as some kind of incomprehensible, mysterious and
impersonal force or influence. The Holy Spirit is a person too, not just a power
or influence. There are three manifestations or personalities of Deity: Father, Son
and Holy Spirit. They are all one, at least in unity of purpose, truth and love. It
is inconceivable that one of the Godhead could indwell the Christian without the
The body is dead because of sin [although your bodies are dead because of,
on account of, sin].[ 59 ] The physical body is not now really and truly dead but
is "as good as dead" because it is sure to die (see Heb 9:27; see Thayer in above
footnote). In another sense, the body is dead in that it is crucified with Him, "that
the body of sin might be done away with" (Ro 6:6).
But the Spirit is life because of righteousness [your spirits are alive, but the spirit is alive, on account of righteousness].[ 60 ] One whose spirit is alive is constantly sowing to the Spirit.
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who
sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Ga 6:8).
Some versions appropriately do not capitalize "spirit." The human spirit is alive
because of righteousness by means of the gospel[ 61 ] (see note on verse 6).
8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies
through His Spirit who dwells in you.
But if the Spirit of Him [if, and if, but, the Spirit of the One].[ 62 ] The Spirit
that raised Christ is the Spirit of God (see charts WHO RAISED CHRIST? A and
Who raised Jesus from the dead [that raised up Jesus from the dead, from
among [the] dead].[ 63 ] The Spirit of God miraculously raised Christ from the
Dwells in you [dwelleth, dwell, in you, lives with you all].[ 64 ] (see note below on Through His Spirit who dwells in you).
He who raised Christ from the dead [he that raised up, has raised up, Christ
Jesus, from among the dead].[ 65 ] Raising the dead was efficiently accomplished
For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son
gives life to whom He will (Joh 5:21).
The living God raised up Christ but Christ also has life within Himself (Joh
5:26). Both the Father and the Son possess the kind of power that can create life
and raise the dead (compare Ro 8:11).
Will also give life [shall give life also, shall quicken, shall also quicken, shall
make alive].[ 66 ] The resurrection of Christ inspires Christians to live a "risen
life." Paul wrote about this to the Colossians:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God (Col 3:1; compare 3:16;
1Pe 1:13, 14).
There are at least three interpretations of the present verse: (1) The Spirit of God
gives life here and now in the sense of enabling the body of flesh to do good
works for God.[ 67 ] For reasons given elsewhere, I reject this view outright. I
agree, however, that the Christian serves God with his body (see Ro 12:1; 1Co
6:20; Php 1:20). (2) The Spirit will someday literally enliven the Christian's
physical body in the resurrection at the last day.[ 68 ] The Spirit does not indwell
sinners but they too will be raised. However, there is something special for
children of God at the manifestation of Christ (see notes on Php 3:11; 1Jo 2:28;
3:2, 3). (3) As in a temple, the Spirit indwells forgiven Christians. Faithful
worship and service are acceptable to God (see Ro 12:1, 2; 2Co 4:11).
To your mortal bodies [your mortal bodies also].[ 69 ] I am inclined to think this
has to do with giving life to the mortal body on the resurrection day. Certainly
the Holy Spirit is not required to literally indwell the decaying fleshly body in a
grave or the dust into which it disintegrates in order to give it life. Nevertheless,
He will powerfully and marvelously raise the physical body.[ 70 ]
Through His Spirit who dwells in you [by, on account of, his Spirit, which
dwells, that dwelleth, in your midst].[ 71 ] Thayer points out that every time the
NT refers to the Spirit of God dwelling in Christians it is metaphorical. That is,
deity does not actually, literally and bodily dwell in them. Yet the Scripture
plainly states that God's Spirit dwells in Christians. By His resurrection power,
life will be imparted to mortal bodies at the final coming of Christ (see 2Ti 1:14).
The church is the holy temple of God. The Spirit dwells in the midst of the
church (1Co 3:16).
8:12, 13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-- not to the flesh, to live
according to the flesh. 13 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.
Therefore, brethren [so then, brethren].[ 72 ] Paul draws a grand conclusion
from the discussion he began in chapter 6 with special attention to his discourse
on the Spirit in chapter 8.
We are debtors [we are under obligation].[ 73 ] Christians are not in debt to the
flesh. In fact, the flesh is to have been put away or put to death (Col 3:5, 9). We
are not obligated to pamper or gratify it. Many seem to be trying to resurrect it
in order pay it a debt they do not owe. Look at some of the reasons we are not
debtors to the flesh (see chart NOT DEBTORS TO THE FLESH).
1. For he who has died has been freed from sin
2. For you are not under law but under grace (Ro 6:14).
3. Crucified with Christ (Ga 2:20; 5:24; Col 2:11).
4. If you live according to the flesh you will die
Not to the flesh.[ 74 ] It is better to translate what the Holy Spirit inspired than
to insert a Calvinistic paraphrase to alter the original doctrine of the text. To do
the latter gives the impression that the translators think they know more than God
does.[ 75 ] It is bad enough for people to foist a non-biblical doctrine upon others
but to do so within the pages of the Bible is indefensible. Translators who do this
should take careful note of Revelation 22:18, 19.
To live according to the flesh [to live after the flesh, according to its
desires].[ 76 ] To live according to the flesh is to mentally or literally be involved
in fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath,
malice, railing, shameful speaking and lying (Col 3:5-9). "Shall we continue to
sin?" Paul then answered, "Certainly not!" (Ro 6:1, 2; see chart WHY NOT TO
LIVE AFTER THE FLESH). Now, subsequent to that, he has reasoned through
two additional chapters. His final conclusion is: Christians are under no
obligation to live according to the flesh!
For if you live according to the flesh [for if ye live after the flesh, according
to flesh]. [ 77 ] Spiritual death is the compensation for living after the flesh. If a
Christian sows to the flesh, corruption is the outcome (Ga 6:8). For comments on
"According to your sinful nature"[ 78 ] see note To live after the flesh at verse 12
also on verses 3 and 8 and footnotes.
You will die [ye must, shall, ye are about to, die].[ 79 ] This is a solemn thought
indeed. Perhaps in one sense, a person begins his eternal death on earth, but this
verse has a finality about it that reaches past the judgment to the second death (see
Re 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). Notice that Paul is writing to Christians. If they live
after the flesh, they will fall from grace and be lost eternally, forever banished
from the presence of God (see Ga 5:4, 19-21).
But if by the Spirit [but if ye through the Spirit, but in spirit if you].[ 80 ] Some versions do not capitalize "spirit" in order to imply that it is the human spirit, the inner nature of man. According to this view, the spirit of man puts to death the deeds of the body. Nevertheless, the human spirit should be led by the Spirit of God (see verse 14). Adam Clarke advised Christians.
Seek that grace and spiritual help which the gospel of Christ furnishes,
resist, and by resisting, mortify the deeds of the flesh."[ 81 ]
David Lipscomb shared the same view. He wrote:
If through following the law given by the Spirit of life we restrain and
control the desires of the flesh, we shall live with Christ.[ 82 ]
Regardless of the position regarding the indwelling of the Spirit, all will surely
agree that He leads through the Word. Some argue for an additional, internal and
direct power. In doing so, they imply that the word of God is not sufficient. But
Paul said it is (see 2Ti 3:16, 17)!
You put to death [ye put to death, do mortify].[ 83 ] Paul gave the Ephesians
a reason for putting to death the deeds of the old man. He said it "is being
corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit" (Eph 4:22; compare Col 3:5-11).
The deeds of the body [the works of the body].[ 84 ] In explaining how to put
to death, put off or put away the conduct of the old man, Paul details such things
as lying, anger, corrupt speech, bitterness, clamor, loud quarreling, evil speaking
and fornication, all of which should be stopped (Eph 4:25-5:5).
You will live [ye shall live].[ 85 ] "Live" is the opposite of death which was just
mentioned. Newness of life begins after conversion but finds its completeness in
eternity. "You will live" looks forward to post-judgment day life everlasting.
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God [for all who are led by the Spirit
of God].[ 86 ] Those led by the Spirit are contrasted with those following the Law
(see note on Ga 3:3). Those who are being led by the Spirit, and no others, are
sons of God. Excluded are all unfaithful Christians and all those in denominations
who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ, even those who may be fleshly
descendants of Abraham.
The Spirit of God leads through His Word. Those so led first of all become sons
of God (see chart LED BY THE SPIRIT). It is important for Christians to be
continually led by the Spirit in order to remain faithful as sons of God.
These are sons of God [are, they are, children, the sons, of God].[ 87 ] In the
OT, angels or supernatural beings were sometimes called "sons of God" (see Job
1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps 89:6; compare Da 3:25).[ 88 ] In the NT, those receiving Christ
were given "the right to become TEKNA children by birth of God" (Joh 1:12;
compare Joh 3:3-5). All those whom God receives are His sons (2Co 6:17, 18).
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph 1:5).
Sinners become sons of God by faith and baptism (Ga 3:26, 27).
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into
your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a
slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ (Ga 4:6,
7; compare Ro 8:16, 19; 1Jo 3:1, 2).
By adoption as a son, one is legally privileged and entitled to an inheritance. In
various figures, sons of God are begotten, are born [again] of noble birth, are
heirs of heaven and look forward to the redemption of the body and immortality.
A ROMAN SON
1. Property of his father.
2. His father entitled to his earnings.
3. Never became "of age" while his father lived.
4. Ownership transferred by "true sale."
5. Father could put a son to death.
THE ADOPTION PROCESS
1. A transfer of PATRIA POTESTAS [fatherly control].
2. By "symbolic sale" with copper and scales.
a. First father bought him back twice, but not thrice.
b. VINDICATIO [legal transfer].
c. Seven witnesses required [compare witness of Spirit] (Ro 8:16).
STATUS OF THE ADOPTED SON
1. Considered same as a natural son.
2. Could no longer inherit from natural father.
3. Old debts canceled [a loophole later plugged].
4. Natural family regarded him dead.
(Barclay 110, 111; Vincent 3.91)
8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you
received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
For you did not receive [for ye received not, have not received].[ 89 ] This is
interesting because elsewhere Paul calls himself a bondservant of Christ. In the
present verse, he emphasizes an intimate relationship with deity instead of
servitude (compare Ga 4:6, 7 quoted above).
The spirit of bondage [a spirit of slavery].[ 90 ] The "spirit of bondage" is not
a living being, certainly not the Holy Spirit. It is the attitude or disposition of a
slave. Those under the Law may have had the spirit of bondage (see Mt 23:4; Ac
15:10; Ga 5:1). So did those devoted to idols as well as those enslaved to various
sins of the flesh.
Again to fear [to fall back into, unto, fear, to be afraid, again for fear].[ 91 ]
The word "again" suggests that former law-keeping Jews or as idolatrous Gentiles,
the Roman Christians were then in fear (see Ga 4:9). Attitudes of bondage and
fear are not characteristics of Christians, because those in God's family are sons
with attitudes of trust and love.
But you received the Spirit of adoption [but ye received, have received, a
spirit of sonship, of adoption].[ 92 ] Just as the spirit of bondage is a disposition,
the spirit of adoption is also an attitude or disposition. This is explained by both
Arndt and Thayer (see footnote). Roman law stated that an adopted son not only
inherited but assumed the burdens of the new family.[ 93 ]
Some think the spirit of adoption is the Holy Spirit. There is considerable
misunderstanding here. In the early manuscripts, all Greek letters were capitals.
Any capitalization in English versions is due to the opinion of translators, not
inspiration. There is no article before "spirit" in the Greek. This strongly
suggests that it is not the person of the Holy Spirit. Contextually, the spirit of
adoption is the opposite of the spirit of bondage, a disposition. "A better
rendering would be:
The state of mind that belongs to slavery and the state of mind that belongs
to adoption.[ 94 ]
By whom we cry out [when, whereby, in which, we cry]. [ 95 ] The Christian
is not shy or hesitant in calling God Father. He is so addressed by them as they
come boldly before His throne of grace in whole-hearted singing and fervent
prayer (Heb 4:16; see Ex 14:15).
Abba.[ 96 ] Note that Arndt and Ginrich disagree with Thayer who describes
"Abba" as the "emphatic state" (see footnote). The spirit of sonship is evident
here. Jewish tradition forbade slaves to call their master Abba. Greek-speaking
Jews addressed God as HO PATER the Father in their own tongue as well as
ABBA Father [in Aramaic] in order to express their sonship. For certain ones,
"Abba" must have became almost another name for God. In the same way, nearly
every prayer leader today appropriately calls God "Father." In this sense, Father
is almost equivalent to Abba. In prayer, every Christian, every spiritual son and
daughter of God, frequently calls upon Him as Father. Those who do not take
advantage of this opportunity probably do not realize the magnificence of the
Father.[ 97 ] Was God the Father of the Jews under the old covenant? Yes, He
was (De 32:6; 1Ch 29:10; Ps 68:5; Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:4; 31:9 Mal 2:10).
They were His children because they were created, formed and redeemed by Him.
He called them by name (Isa 43:1). Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Our
Father" (Mt 6:9; Lu 11:2; compare Mt 7:11). At His crucifixion, He Himself
addressed God as Father (Lu 23:46).[ 98 ]
Christians pray, "Father, forgive our sins through Christ." God is their Father
by virtue of the new birth. In the present figure, He is their Father by adoption.
They are His children, members of His household, His family (2Co 6:18; Eph
2:19; 1Ti 3:15).
There are three conditions of faithfulness laid down in this chapter (see chart
CONDITIONS OF FAITHFULNESS). Without dread, faithful children of God
cry to their loving God saying, "Abba, Father" (see also Eph 1:5). Calling Him
Father suggests that a decision has been made to be His obedient child.
But I said: "How can I put you among the children and give you a pleasant
land, a beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?" And I said: "You shall
call Me, `My Father,' and not turn away from Me" (Jer 3:19).
It also implies reverence and fear.
And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to
each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here
in fear (1Pe 1:17; see also 1Pe 1:21, 22; 2:1, 5).
8:16, 17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children
of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with
Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
The Spirit Himself [it is the Spirit himself, itself, the same spirit of
sonship].[ 99 ] Harold Littrell has an interesting concept of verse 16. He has
pointed out what he conceives to be a translation error in standard versions of the
Bible. Instead of "the Spirit Himself" he renders it "the same spirit of sonship,"
identical to the spirit of adoption (see verse 15). The spirit then would be the
consciousness of being a child of God rather than a slave. According to Littrell,
that inner awareness sense, spirit or feeling is what the writer is relating by
"spirit." He cites Luke 2:38; 10:7,21; 12:12; 13:1; 20:19; 23:12; 24:13,33; Acts
16:18 as examples of the use of the Greek AUTO as "same" or its equivalent. I
remain skeptical of Littrell's interpretation. Be careful not to think that mere
emotions or feelings guarantee that one is who he thinks he is (Ga 6:3). Many
poor, demented souls think they are Shakespeare, Lincoln or even the Messiah.
Ruling Jews mistakenly thought they were spiritual sons of Abraham (Mt 3:9; Joh
8:33, 39). No passage, especially this one, teaches that the Spirit bears witness
to us through subjective feelings. In the following notes, I will assume that the
meaning is "the Holy Spirit Himself."
How does the Spirit bear witness with our spirit? And to whom does he testify?
After having been born anew, by obedience to the gospel, the human spirit bears
witness to others as a person explains how he became a child of God. The Holy
Spirit does the very same thing. He does so in verse upon verse in the NT. There
can be no mistaking His testimony (see Mk 16:16; Joh 3:3, 5; Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro
6:3, 4; Ga 3:26, 27; 1Pe 3:21). Some tend to argue against the plain meaning of
the Scriptures. Please! Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through His
He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because
you are not of God (Joh 8:47; compare 1Co 14:37).
Bears witness with our spirit [bearing witness, beareth witness, with our
spirit].[ 100 ] The Holy Spirit has borne witness to man in three ways: (1) by the
words of a living prophet; 2) by miracles; (3) by the written words of Scripture.
Sometimes MARTUROMAI to summon as a witness merely suggests to testify or
solemnly protest[ 101 ] (see Ga 4:6; 1Jo 3:24; 4:13; 5:6). This is the sense Paul
used the word to the Ephesian elders:
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men
(Ac 20:26; compare Re 22:18).
Under OT Law, two or three witnesses were required (Nu 35:30; De 17:6;
19:15). This principle is continued in the NT (Mt 18:16; 2Co 13:1; 1Ti 5:19;
Heb 10:28). According to Roman law, witnesses of an adoption could be called
upon to prove the validity of sonship in order to confirm an inheritance. The
adopted son would bear witness. Along with him, one or more of the other
witnesses would testify. The seven witnesses were not called to assure the son of
his own sonship. He knew about that because he had undergone the adoption
procedure. Neither were they called to assure his adopted father. He was present
at the procedure too. They testified to others to prove that he was truly adopted
and entitled to an inheritance. In a similar fashion, the Holy Spirit testifies to
others along with our spirit that we are God's sons. The Holy Spirit with our
spirit bears witness. Our spirit cries "Abba, Father!" The Spirit also says,
"Abba, Father" (Ga 4:6).[ 102 ]
In Scripture, the Spirit is never said to bear witness by mysterious, subjective
feelings or so-called "leadings." He is primarily a teacher (Joh 14:26; 16:13; 1Jo
2:20, 27). He gives His testimony in words. Does He give us assurance that we
are children of God? Of course He does! In the first century, He gave assurance
by miracles (Mk 16:20; 1Th 1:5; 1Jo 4:13) but this is not the same as bearing
witness in words (see chart HOW THE SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS).
The Hebrew writer specifically states:
God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various
miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Heb 2:4).
In our day, the Spirit bears witness through the language of the Bible, the Spirit-revealed word of God. Assurance is given by written miracles and by fulfilled
prophecy. In addition, events such as the conversion and life of Paul confirm the
truth of the gospel (Php 1:7; 1Ti 1:12). In a broad sense, anything that validates
the revealed word bears witness. It assures others that those who have believed
and obeyed the gospel are Christians and truly the sons of God.
That we are children of God [that we are the children of God, God's
children].[ 103 ] Legally, Christians are God's "children" or "sons" by adoption.
They are also His children by regeneration, by the new birth (Joh 3:3-5). The
word "children" hints that Christians are dependent upon God (see verse 21;
compare Eph 5:1; Php 2:15). As His children "give answer"[ 104 ] to other people
concerning their faith, the Holy Spirit, through the written word, confirms their
testimony. He bears witness to others along with their spirit.
And if children, then heirs [and if children, heirs also].[ 105 ] Adopted HUIOI
sons are heirs just the same as children born into a family. The word in verse 17
is TEKNA children. Via adoption or the new birth, God accepts sinners as His
own children (see note on Ga 3:29).
Heirs of God.[ 106 ] Under Judaism, the oldest son received a double portion of the inheritance (De 21:17). Daughters, at least in some cases, could also inherit (Nu 27:1-11; De 21:15-17). Under Roman law, all children inherited equally. The expression "heirs of God" refers to the promise of salvation. That promise was first made figuratively to Adam and Eve (Ge 3:15). It was made more fully to Abraham (Ge 12:1-3; compare Ro 4:14; Ga 3:29; Eph 3:6; Tit 3:7; Heb 1:14; 6:17). The inheritance of the "heirs of God" is eternal salvation in Christ Jesus. Penitent sinners are made God's children by faith and baptism (Ga 3:26, 27), a process open to both men and women (see Ac 8:12; Ga 3:28).
And joint heirs with Christ [and heirs, and fellow heirs, with Christ, Christ's
joint heirs].[ 107 ] Jesus has been appointed heir of "all things" (Heb 1:2; compare
Ps 2:8; Heb 2:8). God holds back nothing from His Son nor from His fellow-heirs. Christ the heir came to earth and was killed by the very ones who
considered themselves heirs of the promise to Abraham (Mt 21:38; Mk 12:7).
Christians, as heirs with Him, should expect to suffer with Him (Joh 15:18, 20,
21). Some of the early saints suffered at the hands of persecutors who thought that
punishing Christians was doing God service (Joh 16:2; Ac 26:9).
If indeed [provided, if, if so be].[ 108 ] Suffering an assured for the Christian.
From other Scriptures, we must interpret "if so be" as necessity. Faithfulness in
suffering leads to eternal salvation. The degree of faithfulness that endures
suffering for Christ is essential to salvation (Re 2:10, 13; 12:11; 17:14).
We suffer with Him [that we suffer with him].[ 109 ] Christ warned His
disciples that they would suffer with Him (see (Mt 10:38; 16:24; Mt 20:23; Joh
16:33). Christians also share in His sufferings, even now. Not only must they
suffer as Christians but they must not deny the Lord.
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, he also will
deny us. If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself
(2Ti 2:12, 13; see Mt 10:22; Ro 8:32; Php 3:10; 1Pe 3:14, 15; 4:16).
That we may also be glorified together [in order to be, that we may be, also
glorified with him].[ 110 ] Heavenly glory with Christ follows faithfulness in
suffering with Him (see note on The redemption of our body, verse 23).
8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For I consider [I consider, for I reckon, estimate].[ 111 ] Paul contemplated the
incorruptible prize awaiting him and all the faithful (1Co 9:25; 2Ti 4:8).
That the sufferings of this present time].[ 112 ] Paul's letters to Galatia,
Philippi, Thessalonica and Corinth were already written. From them, we know
that he had already endured many trials (Ga 6:17; Php 1:12-14; 1Th 2:2). He
listed some of his own intense sufferings (2Co 4:8-11, 17; 11:23-28). He was
fully aware that there were more persecutions to come (Ac 20:23; Php 1:16).
Others too had suffered a great deal. For example, the Jerusalem church had been
scattered because of bitter persecution. Saul of Tarsus had an aggressive part in
that (Ac 8:1-3; compare Heb 10:34). Some of the Thessalonians had been
"troubled" (2Th 1:7) and the Philippians were severely persecuted (Php 1:29).
Are not worthy to be compared [are not worth comparing]. [ 113 ] Paul now
contrasts present suffering with future glory. He considered sufferings to be the
trivia of earth. To him, they were insignificant, unimportant and as nothing
compared to the ultimate glory of heaven. He knew there would come a time of
rest from it all (2Th 1:7). He contemplated the incorruptible prize awaiting him
and all the faithful (1Co 9:25; 2Ti 4:8).
1. Glory outweighs the suffering (Ro 8:18;
2. The creation suffers (Ro 8:22).
3. The physical body will be redeemed (Ro 8:23).
With the glory [with the coming glory].[ 114 ] The worst persecutions of
Christians are like sand in the shoe compared with the radiant splendor of the
heavenly destination. They are like dust in the eye compared to seeing the
majestic beauty of heaven. There will be rest from the weariness of earth (Isa
57:1, 2; 2Th 1:7; Heb 4:9; Re 14:13). There will be a glorious reward for
faithful saints who suffer with their Christ (Mt 5:11, 12; 2Ti 2:12; Heb 10:34;
11:26; Re 20:4). There will be no more tears (Re 21:4) but instead, joy (Ps
Which shall be revealed in us [to be, that is to be, revealed to us].[ 115 ] This
verse sets forth the wonder and glory of heavenly life. Because of limited ability
to comprehend it, this has not yet been fully disclosed but we know that nothing
else can compare with it. The rest of the chapter is related to this great truth.
Although not fully comprehended, Christians, with a steadfast hope, look forward
to it with great anticipation. Why is there so little teaching about heaven? One
reason may be that none of us has experienced it. Another reason is that in
Scripture it is mostly described in figurative language. The full realization of it
is yet to come.
8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing
of the sons of God.
For the earnest expectation [for with eager longing, hope, for the anxious
looking out].[ 116 ] It is interesting that Paul does not say the creation is waiting,
but the "earnest expectation" is waiting. As long as earth stands, the expectation
will be in anxious hearts waiting for "the revelation of the sons of God." Unless
this language is highly symbolic, it could not possibly apply to the non-human
creation. How do rocks, plants and animals eagerly expect the revealing of the
Sons of God? To what spiritual truth does the symbolic language allude if not
applied to human beings?
Of the creation [the, of the, creature].[ 117 ] "The creation," in this passage,
means the human creation or mankind (as in Mk 16:15; Col 1:23) and, in a special
and limited sense, to the creation in Christ (2Co 5:17; Ga 6:15). To my
knowledge, there is no biblical support for the idea that the irrational or inanimate
creation eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God. Certainly we are not to
understand that it refers to unsaved people inasmuch as they have no valid hope.
Is there any sense that the mineral creation eagerly expects the resurrection (see
note below on For the revealing of the sons of God)? In no way do atheists
eagerly await "the revealing of the sons of God." Various opinions are given in
the footnote.[ 118 ]
Eagerly waits [waits, waiteth, expects]. [ 119 ] Perhaps the non-human creation
may be said to wait persistently, but not eagerly nor expectantly. Passages that
present inanimate objects such as trees and mountains rejoicing or with other
actions or emotions all refer in some way to living beings (see Ps 19:2; Isa 11:6;
14:8; 55:12; 65:17; Eze 31:15; 37:1-10; Hab 2:11). Thus the present verse refers
to the creation in Christ, to Christians, to those who "have loved His appearing"
(2Ti 4:8; Heb 9:28).
For the revealing of the sons of God [the revelation, for the manifestation of,
the children of God].[ 120 ] Christians are sons of God (Joh 1:12; 2Co 6:18; Ga
4:7; Php 2:15; 1Jo 3:1). They know they are saved (1Jo 3:14, 19, 20; 4:13) and
the Lord "knows those who are His" (2Ti 2:19). However, when a person is born
anew, the inner change may be as undiscernible to others as the wind (Joh 3:8).
The forgiveness that takes place in the mind of God may be unknown to others.
On the judgment day, secret things will be brought to light (Lu 8:17; Ro 2:16).
Unproductive branches, like tares that resemble wheat, like will be burned (Mt
13:30; Joh 15:6). Christians look forward to the happiness and blessings of being
with the Lord (see 2Co 5:1-4). On the great judgment day, the true sons of God
will be revealed (Mt 13:43). On that day, there will also be a revelation of the
Lord with His angels, perhaps identified as "sons of God" in the OT (see Job
38:7; 2Th 1:7).
8:20, 21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because
of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be
delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the
children of God.
For the creation [for the creature].[ 121 ] Human creation was subjected to
Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the
children of men? (Ps 89:47).
Was subjected to futility [was subject, was made, has been made, subject,
to vanity].[ 122 ] The trials and tribulations of life prove, test and prepare
Christians for eternity (Ro 5:3-5; Heb 12:3-7; Jas 1:2-4). Physical decline and
death is the lot of Christians and sinners alike (1Co 15:53; 2Co 4:16; 5:1; Heb
9:27). The frustration of change, decline and decay plagues older people. They
are sure that death will come (Job 4:19; 10:9; Ps 89:48; 103:15, 16; Ec 3:20).
Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes
forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not
continue (Job 14:1, 2).
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing
before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor (Ps 39:5
NKJV); Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity (Ps 39:5
ASV; see 62:9; Ec 6:12).
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"
(Ec 1:2; 12:8).
Not willingly [not voluntarily, of its will, its own will].[ 123 ] The insertion of
the phrase "not willingly" by the Holy Spirit suggests that He did not have in mind
the non-human creation because that creation does not possess a will. Mankind
willingly became vain but was unwillingly subjected to the kind of vanity
mentioned here. It was due to the consequences of his sin.
But because of Him [but by the will of him, but by reason of him, of the
One].[ 124 ] God is the one who subjected mankind to vanity. He said to Adam,
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return
Man is not the "master of his fate" (see Jer 10:23). God is in control. He
subjected the creation to vanity. He provides its salvation.
Who subjected it [who hath subjected the same].[ 125 ] Since the creation was
subjected to vanity "in hope," it is intimated that it was God who did the
subjecting, for only with Him there is hope (Eph 2:12).
In hope.[ 126 ] The Creation in Christ (Christians) are the only ones who enjoy
true hope. The non-human creation is not really waiting in hope. Hope involves
the God of hope.
The great problem of God permitting suffering has perplexed the greatest of
minds. Whole volumes have been written about it. To atheistic philosophers, this
may seem to be unanswerable. However, the problem will eventually be resolved
if Christians will only patiently wait in hope (see 1Co 15:25).
[8:21] Because the creation itself [that the creation, creature, itself].[ 127 ] The
correct translation is "creation" but the meaning is human creation. Versions that
have "the universe" are not translations, but interpretations and poor ones at that.
Paul is discussing reasons for the hope of Christians. The entropy[ 128 ] and decay
of the universe, together with the suffering and death of organisms in various food
chains, do not offer Christians any hope. If we understand Paul to refer to the
creation in Christ, the passage makes sense. Christians endure trials but one day
will be delivered from them as they are ushered into the glorious liberty of the
sons of God.
Also will be delivered [will be, also shall be, set free, freed from
serving]. [ 129 ] Those who hold the view that the creation to be "delivered" is the
material earth, including animals and plants, have difficulty harmonizing the idea
of hope with passages that tell of the fiery end of the material world (see Job
14:12; Isa 34:4; Lu 21:33; 2Pe 3:10-12; Re 20:11). Just how they conceive the
creation to be "delivered" I have not the slightest idea. Do they envision animals,
plants, bacteria and possibly viruses being raised to life again?
From the bondage of corruption [from its bondage to decay, that which
brings destruction]. [ 130 ] The bondage of corruption implies sin and death just as
the next phrase implies redemption and resurrection (see 2Pe 2:19).
Into the glorious liberty [and obtain the glorious liberty, into the liberty,
unto the freedom, of the glory].[ 131 ] There will be an unconditional and
universal resurrection of all mankind (Joh 5:28, 29). There will be a very special
deliverance for the children of God.[ 132 ] In heaven, the children of God will be
set free from all evil, harm, suffering and death that have been caused by sin in
Of the children of God [of God's children].[ 133 ] The resurrection body will
be glorious (1Co 15:42, 49; Php 3:21). To be with Christ will be to share in His
glory (Ps 73:24; Col 1:27; 3:4; 1Th 2:12; 2Th 2:14; Heb 2:10).
For we know [we know].[ 134 ] Paul assumed that his readers were familiar with
the groaning of the creation.
That the whole creation [that the creation].[ 135 ] Some think the whole
universe "groans." If so, it is only symbolic of the groaning done by human
beings (see note on Of the creation, verse 19).
Groans [has been groaning, groaneth, groans together].[ 136 ] Paul understood suffering humanity to groan.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation
which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found
naked (2Co 5:2, 3; see note on Even we ourselves groan within ourselves at
And labors with birth pangs [in travail, and travaileth in pain, and travails,
and travails in pain].[ 137 ] Human life is not easy. Sinners do not suffer with
Christ but they do suffer. They endure whatever is the lot of all mankind. They
are weary and heavy laden with sin, fears, anxieties, frailties and pain. If they do
not become Christians, they will suffer eternally. Conversely, some of the same
earthly ills that plague sinners are also companions of Christians. In addition to
the suffering common to all, Christians suffer with Christ.
Until now [together until now].[ 138 ] "Until now" proves that the suffering Paul
speaks of is not eternal torment in hell. It was happening right up to the time he
wrote but was not required to cease then.
8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we
ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the
redemption of our body.
Not only that [and not only so, they, they only, the creation].[ 139 ] Something
new and different is added in the thought here. Even the apostles were groaning
But we also [but we, but even we, ourselves, ourselves also]. [ 140 ] Even
though Paul had received the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5),
he includes himself and the other apostles among the groaners. The miraculous
outpouring did exempt him from suffering (see notes on Ac 9:16; Php 1:16).
Who have the firstfruits of the Spirit [which have the first-fruit of the
Spirit].[ 141 ] Primary reference is to the apostles who received the baptism or
outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Ac 2:1-5; 2Co 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14; Tit
3:5). Even the apostles groaned because of their burdens and their longing for
heaven (see 2Co 5:1-5).
Even we ourselves groan within ourselves [we also ourselves groan inwardly,
in ourselves]. [ 142 ] Paul included himself with the groaners when he wrote to
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life (2Co 5:4; see note on Groans, Ro 8:22 above).
1. Jews in the OT had "the adoption" (Ro 9:4).
2. Christians have already been adopted--"because you are sons" (Ga 4:6).
a. Predestined to adoption as sons (Eph 1:5).
b. Sons of God through faith, baptism (Ga 3:26, 27). c. Made sons of God in Christ (Ro 8:16).
d. Received spirit of adoption (Ro 8:15).
e. No longer a slave, but a son (Ga 4:7).
3. Eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body (Ro 8:23; compare 7:24).
Eagerly waiting for the adoption [as we wait for adoption as sons, waiting
for our adoption, expecting, as adopted children, awaiting adoption].[ 143 ] The
adoption for which Christians wait is not their becoming Christians or to the
destruction of Judaism but to the bodily resurrection at the end of time.
The redemption of our body [to wit, the, that is the, redemption of our
bodies].[ 144 ] Redemption of the body is synonymous with being "glorified" (verse
17). It relates to "the glorious liberty of the children of God" (verse 21). By
metonymy of the cause for the effect, it is understood to be the inheritance of
adopted sons, specifically the future bodily resurrection. The body that faithful
Christians will receive at the resurrection is a spiritual and immortal body (1Co
15:42-44). The mortal body is also made alive in the present for service to Christ
8:24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for
why does one still hope for what he sees?
For we were saved in this hope [for in hope, this hope, were we saved, for
we are saved, have been saved, by, in, hope].[ 145 ] Salvation occurred at a
definite point in time. At baptism, Christians were saved with a view toward the
object of their hope (see Ro 6:5). According to Lenski:
We were saved "for the hope," the great object of our hope, the one of
which Paul has been speaking (hence the article), the glory about to be
revealed, the liberty of the children of God.[ 146 ]
This verse explains a little more about the redemption of "our body" (verse 23).
At the time Paul wrote, it had not been realized by Paul or by the saints at Rome.
It was hoped for (see Tit 1:2). A woman in pains of childbirth hopes for a healthy
baby. Suffering Christians hope for a glorious resurrection to eternal life with
Christ. The hope and expectation of heaven and an immortal, spiritual body
provides an incentive to persevere and to remain faithful (see Re 2:10).
But hope that is seen is not hope [now hope seen, that is seen. is not really
hope].[ 147 ] We do not yet see the heavenly glorified state. In fact, it does not yet
appear "what we shall be" (1Jo 3:2). The redemption of the body is accepted by
faith. Our belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ is so strong that acceptance
of teaching about "redemption of the body" amounts to a hope "both sure and
steadfast" (Heb 6:19; Col 1:5; 1Ti 1:1; Heb 6:18).
For why does one still hope for what he sees? [for who hopes, hopeth, for
what, that which, he, a man, anyone, seeth, why should we, doth he yet, hope
for, hope for that which we see, why does he also hope?]. [ 148 ] The resurrection
was not "already past" (2Ti 2:18). It was something all Christians looked forward
to in hope. This shows there is more awaiting the Christian than a happy, earthly
8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with
But if we hope for what we do not see [but if we hope for that, for that
which, we see not, but if what we see not we hope].[ 149 ] The Christian hope is
for something not seen as yet (compare Heb 11:1).
We eagerly wait for it [we, then do we, wait for it, expect]. [ 150 ] Life, for
many Christians, is a time suffering, toiling and waiting. They eagerly expect,
wait and long for the coming of Christ (2Ti 4:8). They wait for their adoption,
for the redemption of their body (Ro 8:23).
With perseverance [with patience, in patience].[ 151 ] Christians are steadfastly and patiently enduring the sufferings of the present life in hope for the unseen reward (see Heb 11:13, 27).
8:26, 27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know
what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who
searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes
intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Likewise [and in like manner].[ 152 ] This refers back to "wait for it" (verse 25).
Whether in weakness or difficulties, in illnesses or persecution, because of a bright
and sure heavenly hope, the human spirit waits longingly, sometimes groaning
agonizingly. It waits patiently through ordeals of anguish and suffering because
of hope (see Re 5:8; 8:3, 4).
The Spirit also helps [the Spirit helps us, also helpeth, joins also its
help].[ 153 ] The word "helps" implies that someone is standing on the other side
to help. Only one other time in all the NT is this Greek word used. It occurs in
the story of Mary and Martha.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and
said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Therefore tell her to help me" (Lu 10:40).
Perhaps Martha was lifting one end of a heavy table, or another heavy object, and wanted Jesus to tell Mary to take hold and "help" her to lift it. So it is that the Holy Spirit helps us. He helps us in prayer when we are weak, when we do not know what to pray for as we ought. He lifts with us. He does not do it all; neither do we. He stands on the other side and helps.[ 154 ]
In our weaknesses [our, to our, infirmity, infirmities, weakness]. [ 155 ] The
Holy Spirit helps us in our infirmity, that is, when we are weak.
For we do not know [for we know not].[ 156 ] Christians today are not
miraculously endowed with knowledge. Certainly they are not given instant
instructions on how to offer a particular prayer. They do not have the personal,
actual and bodily indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are not taught "all things"
by inspiration. People today are not gifted as were some in the first century (see
1Jo 2:27). However, then (and today) distraught saints relied on the Holy Spirit
to help in prayer. Even though present-day saints do not claim a personal, actual,
miraculous indwelling of the Spirit, the personal Holy Spirit is just as active for
the praying Christian today as in the first century. Bear in mind that the Spirit
exerts an influence on God, not directly upon the Christian's heart.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter did not really know what to say when
he suggested the building of three tabernacles (Mk 9:5; Lu 9:33). Likewise, I
admit that I am often lacking in the mental efficiency and competency necessary
to analyze the world's problems or my own. I am not able to skillfully figure out
the best way to pray. Sometimes terror, anxiety or grief overwhelms to such an
extent that my prayers may be little more than words of helplessness or merely an
agonizing cry or groan. It is then that I believe the Holy Spirit takes over and
makes a plea to God on my behalf.
What we should pray for [how to pray, what to pray for].[ 157 ] Sometimes
sincere prayers take the form of familiar words like, "Guide, guard and direct us."
Some with creative expressions beautifully express petitions to God in picturesque
language. At times, Christians may only groan, "Oh, God!" At such moments
the Holy Spirit assists with an interpretation of their needs to the Father who
knows and understands the mind of the Spirit. It is thus that the sweet incense of
the prayers of God's people ascends before the great and merciful throne in
1. Humility; turning from wicked ways (2Ch 7:14).
2. Search for Me with all your heart (Jer 29:13).
3. Believe (Mk 11:24).
4. Cry out day and night to Him (Lu 18:7, 8; Ac 12:5).
5. In the name of Christ (Joh 14:13; Eph 5:20).
6. Confess trespasses; effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (Jas 5:16).
7. Keep God's commandments (1Jo 3:22; 5:14).
As we ought [as is fitting].[ 158 ] We ought to pray with the whole heart (Jer
29:13), in the name of Christ (Joh 16:24), believing (Mk 11:24) and regularly
(1Th 5:17; Lu 18:7). In the present verse, "What to pray for as we ought" has
to do with both the content and manner of prayer.
But the Spirit Himself [but the Spirit itself, but the same spirit of
sonship].[ 159 ] The reflexive pronoun "Himself" appears to identify the personal
Holy Spirit and distinguishes Him from a mere operation, force or agency.
Makes intercession for us [intercedes, maketh intercession, for us]. [ 160 ] The
Holy Spirit approaches the King of the entire universe in order to plead on behalf
of Christians. There is a distinction between a mediator, a go-between and an
intercessor. An intercessor pleads on behalf of another. Christ, our one mediator
has attributes of both God and man. He comprehends the claims of God and the
needs of man. He bridged the gap between God's justice and His love in that He
died for us (see note on Ro 3:26). In recognition of the difference between being
mediator and intercessor, we may say that in addition to being mediator, He
intercedes (Heb 7:25).
With groanings [with sighs, groaning].[ 161 ] When Jesus saw Mary and the
Jews weeping at Lazarus' tomb, "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled" (Joh
11:33, 38). In the present verse, the groanings appear to be those of the one
praying (see various footnotes, especially Thayer's comments).
Which cannot be uttered [too deep for words, unspoken]. [ 162 ] The unuttered
groanings are not the communication of the omniscient Holy Spirit but of the frail
human who is unable to express himself in prayer as he should. The Holy Spirit
has no problem in expressing Himself.
1. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off (Ps 139:1, 2).
2. Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; so how much more the hearts of the sons of men
3. But, O LORD of hosts, you who test the righteous, and see the mind and heart (Jer 20:12).
4. But God knows your hearts (Lu 16:15).
5. You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all (Ac 1:24).
[8:27] Now He who searches the hearts [but he who, and he that, for the One
who, searcheth the hearts of men].[ 163 ] God searches hearts but in the present
context, Christ is the heart-searcher (see charts GOD SEARCHES THE HEARTS;
CHRIST KNOWS THE HEART; SUPERNATURAL KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS
at Joh 2:25).
1. Jesus knew their thoughts (Mt 12:25).
2. Jesus perceived their wickedness (Mt 22:18).
3. Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves (Mk 2:8).
4. He knew their thoughts (Lu 6:8).
5. Knowing their thoughts (Lu 11:17).
6. Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you (Joh 1:48).
7. He knew what was in man (Joh 2:25).
8. I am He who searches the minds and hearts
Knows what the mind of the Spirit is [knoweth what is the mind of the
Spirit, the aspiration of the spirit is]. [ 164 ] The Holy Spirit and the Father have
intimate fellowship and knowledge of each other's thoughts, designs, purposes and
Because He makes intercession [because it, the Spirit, maketh intercession, intercedes].[ 165 ] When Christians pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes with pleadings to God on their behalf.
For the saints [in behalf of saints].[ 166 ] Because of the intercession of the Holy
Spirit, God makes allowances for weaknesses of praying saints. Did He serve in
a similar way in OT days?
Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then
the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out;
and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their
groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and
with Jacob (Ex 2:23, 24).
"Saints" are those who have been baptized into Christ and are justified by faith
(Ro 5:1; 6:3, 4). Does the Holy Spirit also make intercession for sincere alien
sinners when they attempt to pray? The Scriptures are much less positive on this
point (but see Pr 15:29; 28:9; Joh 9:31; Ac 10:31). At times, even David's prayer
"returned to" his own heart (Ps 35:13; compare 66:17, 18; Job 27:8, 9)
According to the will of God [that in keeping with God's will, according to
God]. [ 167 ] The words "the will of" were supplied by translators. Other possible
words they could have chosen are "the purpose of" (verse 28), "the good pleasure
of," "the mercy of" or "the grace of" God. "Will" was an excellent selection
because it embraces most, if not all, of the other possible choices. The
intercession of the Spirit coincides with the will of God and His merciful nature.
What the Spirit does is in perfect harmony with Him who responds positively,
working all things together for good to those who love Him (verse 28).
Thomas W. Franklin paraphrased Romans 8:23, 26, 27 as follows:
We Christians, while we pray, have inner groanings (compare verse
23) and desires which our spirit finds inexpressible as it tries to
intercede on behalf of these heart-felt needs (verse 26). But Christ,
who searches our hearts (Re 1:1; 2:23) knows what these longings of
our minds and spirits are (verse 27) and makes intercession for us
(verses 27, 34) as He stands at the right hand of God (verse 34) as the
only mediator between God and man (1Ti 2:5).[ 168 ]
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
And we know [we know, but we do know].[ 169 ] It was commonly understood
by the early Christians that the loving God brings together, or turns about, events
and circumstances for the good of his loving children. Down through the ages,
He has expressed His love by working together all things for good, that is, for
their salvation (see note on Freely give us all things, verse 32). Christians express
love to Him by obedience and by sincere worship.
That all things work together [that in everything God works, that God works
all things, together].[ 170 ] In verse 32, "all things" is salvation and whatever
blessings pertain thereto. In the present verse, "all things" include tribulation and
persecution (see verses 35-39), especially as they point to eternal salvation (verse
29). God does not always work together all things for ease, pleasure and
prosperity but He does so for good (see Heb 11:35-38). He is able to override
earthly circumstances so that they will contribute toward the eternal redemption in
For good.[ 171 ] An enjoyable event is pleasant and seems good. When brethren
dwell together in unity it is both good and pleasant (Ps 133:1). Simply because
something brings pleasure or happiness does not guarantee that it is good. It is
difficult to see how distasteful or painful events could possibly be for good. For
example, Jacob had trouble seeing God's hand in his own life. He complained to
his sons, "All these things are against me" (Ge 42:36). Even so, God was
working things for his good just as He did for his sons (see Ge 50:15-20). Mary
chose that "good part," that is, she listened to the words of Christ. What she
chose was pleasant but it was also good inasmuch as hearing and obeying Him
leads to heaven (see Lu 10:42). "For good" in the present verse does not allude
to that which is fun but to that which leads to eternal life. Paul had this idea in
mind when he wrote:
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in
you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Php 1:6; compare Php
3. By a benevolent ministry (Heb 6:10).
1. By words of praise (Ps 18:1).
2. With heart, soul and mind (Mt 22:37).
4. By keeping His commandments (1Jo 5:3).
To those who love God [to them that love him].[ 172 ] Love is a prerequisite to
receive all of God's blessings. In the present verse, it is the only condition
mentioned. Love is more than an attitude. Like faith, it is active. It is put here
for the entire human response to the will of God. It implies prompt and willing
obedience. Those who truly love God become Christians and live faithfully.
Mainly, love is shown by keeping God's word (Joh 14:23; 1Jo 2:5; see chart
SHOWING LOVE TO GOD). David, Asaph and the sons of Korah expressed
love to God over and over in the Psalms (see Ps 42:1, 2; 73:25; 84:1-3; 116:1).
To those who are the called [with those who are called, (even) to them that
are called].[ 173 ] "The called" are "the children of the promise" (Ro 9:8) and
"children of God" (Ro 8:16, 21; 1Jo 3:1). In the present verse, they are
equivalent to "those who love God." They are Christians, people who have heard
the gospel call and who responded to it by faith and obedience.
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved
by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation
through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He
called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus
Christ (2Th 2:13, 14).
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called
EN in one body; and be thankful (Col 3:15).
1. All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Ro 8:28).
2. To those who are called (1Co 1:24).
3. Called to liberty (Ga 5:13).
4. God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness (1Th 4:7).
5. To which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ
6. To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ (Jude 1).
7. Those who are with Him are called, chosen,
and faithful (Rev 17:14).
There is emphasis upon the oneness of the body of Christ. The church is the
body of Christ of which He is the Savior (Eph 1:22, 23; 5:23). The body is the
church (Col 1:18). Diligent effort is necessary in order to be certain of heaven.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble (2Pe 1:10; compare Re 2:10).
According to His purpose [ according to purpose].[ 174 ] "His purpose" is God's
eternal purpose to save man "which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord"
(Eph 3:11; compare Eph 1:11, 12; 1Jo 3:8). He "saved us and called us with a
holy calling . . . according to His own purpose and grace" (2Ti 1:9; compare Tit
3:5). In the long ago, He devised a plan to save men, to make them His sons.
He kept it rather silent through the ages, except in promise, prophecy, type and
figure. He has now revealed it in the gospel of His Son (Ro 16:25, 26; compare
1Co 2:6-10; Eph 3:9; Col 1:25-28). Christians have been called by the gospel
(2Th 2:14; compare Mk 16:15, 16; Ro 1:16).
8:29, 30 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the
image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these
He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
For whom He foreknew [for those whom he foreknew, for whom he did
foreknow, because whom he has foreknown].[ 175 ] God planned all along for
Gentiles as well as Jews to be saved through the church, the one body of Christ
(Eph 3:5, 6). He did not alter His eternal design.
He also predestined [he has also foreordained, did predestinate, marked off
as his own, predestinated].[ 176 ] Since free choice and gospel response are
elsewhere attributed to man, the predestined ones make up a class of people
foreordained to salvation. That class is made up of individual men and women.
Was any individual ever foreordained to be lost? If so, I know not of it. Are all
foreordained to be saved? Apparently so.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires
all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Ti 2:3, 4;
compare 2Pe 3:9).
To whom does God's goodness that leads to repentance not apply (see Ro 2:4;
If God would have all men to be saved and His goodness leads them to
repentance, then why are some lost? Simply because they choose not obey the
gospel and live faithfully in Christ (Mk 16:15, 16; 2Th 1:7-9; Re 2:10). It is a
matter of personal choice.
Although God's children are foreordained to glory, those who do not continue
in the faith will be cut off (Ro 11:21, 22). People foreordained or appointed
beforehand to salvation must live as faithful Christians in order to arrive at heaven
at last. Some opt to "draw back" or "shrink back" to perdition or destruction (Heb
God's intended purpose can be changed by man either for ill or for good (see Jer
18:7-12; Jonah 3:20). God's intent was to save the Jews but they "stumbled" (Ro
9:32). His intent is to save all men. He will save all who obey the gospel and
To be conformed. [ 177 ] Conformity to Christ is not physical likeness (see 1Co
15:20, 23; Php 3:21). It involves being like Him in attitudes toward God, self,
others, sin and in disposition. It implies following Him in His faithfulness and
obedience (see Joh 8:29). Ultimate conformity to Him will take place in heaven.
"We shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man" (1Co 15:49). "We shall be
like Him" (1Jo 3:2).
To the image of His Son.[ 178 ] Christ is pre-eminent. He is the firstborn among many brethren (verse 29). It is God's will that all of His children be like His Son. He has ordained that they become like Him, not primarily in stature, color or in physical features. The likeness is one of character, obedience, blamelessness and innocence (Php 2:15). When Christians mature in Christ they have the mind of Christ (Php 2:5). They have the spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9). They are Christ-like in their daily lives.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure
That He might be the firstborn [so that, in order that, he should be the first-born].[ 179 ] To make "first-born" mean first in order of time is to miss its most
important meaning, that of exaltation and preeminence. The term "first-born" here
does not pertain to a literal, fleshly birth at all nor even to Christ's so-called
beginning in heaven. In part, it alludes to His resurrection (Ac 13:33, 34). He
is firstborn in the sense of preeminence. This explains what the purpose of God
is (verse 28). It is whatever is meant by Christ being "the first-born among many
brethren." It implies that His brethren will be raised from the dead as He was.
It is God's purpose that many become Christians, that they be like Christ in
holiness and faithfulness and that, like Him, they shall be raised from the dead.
Among many brethren [of many brethren][ 180 ] In the present verse,
"brethren" not only the saints who came forth out of the tombs after Christ's
resurrection (Mt 27:53). Neither are they super-Christians. They are all of the
saved ones in the church of Christ.
Christ is pre-eminent [firstborn] over all others in sinlessness, in resurrection and
in exaltation. With sins forgiven, his brethren are like Him in purity (see Ac 2:38;
1Jo 1:7, 9). They grow into His likeness as they allow His word to richly indwell
them (Col 3:16). They live pure lives because of the hope He gives them (1Jo
[8:30] Moreover whom He predestined [but whom, and whom, and those
whom, he did, he has, predestined, predestinate, foreordained, he marked off
as his own].[ 181 ] Those foreordained make up the saved group, that is, those
called, justified and glorified. God did not arbitrarily predestine only a few
individuals for salvation and the rest for damnation.[ 182 ]
These He also called [he, them he, these also he called, has called].[ 183 ] Men
and women are called by the gospel. The calling process involves hearing the
truth, being drawn by the Father's teaching and obeying the gospel (Mt 7:24-27;
Joh 6:44, 45; 2Th 2:14).
Whom He called these He also justified [and whom, and those whom, he has
called, these also, them he also, has justified].[ 184 ] When one is justified his
sins are forgiven. This is made possible by the sacrifice of Christ and is
appropriated by faith, repentance, confession and baptism (Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38;
22:16; Ro 10:9, 10).
And whom He justified, these He also glorified [but whom, and those whom,
he has justified, he also, them he also, these also he, has glorified].[ 185 ]
Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses the past tense (Greek aorist tense) to describe an
event absolutely certain to occur in the future. To Abraham, God said, "I have
made you a Father of many nations"[ 186 ] (Ge 17:5). The fulfillment was yet
future. After the golden calf incident, there was a real possibility that the
Israelites as a nation would be destroyed. However, the promise to Abraham was
renewed (Ex 33:1-3).
Before His death, Christ spoke of his blood as already "shed" or "poured out"
(Mt 26:28), His body as having already been "given" (Lu 22:19), and "broken"
(1Co 11:24). Paul spoke of his approaching death, saying, "For I am already
being poured out as a drink offering" (2Ti 4:6). The same manner of speech is
used here to give Christians assurance of heaven. Glorification is yet future
because it is our hope (see verses 24, 25).
Future glorification is just as certain as past justification. The only thing to
prevent Christians from being saved eternally or being glorified is their own
unfaithfulness. Christians have been washed, sanctified and justified (1Co 6:11).
The washing is that of the new birth (Joh 3:3, 5; Tit 3:5). Then and there a sinner
is saved (see Ro 6:17, 18).
8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be
1. Foreknowledge (Ro 8:29).
2. Foreordination (Ro 8:29).
3. Calling (Ro 8:30).
4. Justification (Ro 8:30).
5. Glorification (Ro 8:30).
What then shall we say to these things? [what shall we then say, then what
are we to say, to this, to these things?].[ 187 ] That God is for us is shown by His
working all things together for our good in giving us hope (verses 24, 25). On the
divine side, this is accomplished according to foreknowledge, foreordination,
calling, justification and glorification (verses 28-30).
If God is for us who can be against us? [if God be for us, who, who is,
against us?].[ 188 ] If God is truly for us (and He is), all obstacles to eternal
salvation can be overcome. The implication is that neither Satan nor anyone else
can significantly hinder Christians from faithfully serving God or interfere with
their reaching heaven. There is no question that God is for Christians. "If God
be for us" is equivalent to since He is for us.
8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how
shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
He who did not spare [he that spared not, yea, has not spared].[ 189 ] God did
not spare the angels that sinned. He reserved them for punishment (2Pe 2:4). He
did not spare the ancient world but destroyed it in the flood (2Pe 2:5). Others
were not spared (see Ex 12:29; De 7:23; 1Sa 15:18; Ro 11:21). He gave Him to
die on the cross for us. He did not spare Him (Lu 22:42; Re 5:6, 9, 12). He
determined and permitted His death according to His eternal plan (see Ac 2:23).
His own Son.[ 190 ] By the new birth and by adoption, Christians are sons of God
(Joh 3:3-5; Ro 8:15). In a special sense, Jesus is God's unique and proper Son.
He is His "Only Begotten" (see note on Joh 3:16).
But delivered Him up [but gave him up, but gave him over to death].[ 191 ] The suffering of Christ was not simply the result of a human decision made by Jews and/or Romans. They decided to reject and murder the Christ but being "delivered up because of our offenses" involved God (Ro 4:25; Ac 2:23). We esteemed Him "stricken, smitten by God and afflicted" (Isa 53:4).
For us all [for all of us].[ 192 ] Christ's blood is sufficient to save every person
in the whole world (Mt 20:28; 26:28; Ro 5:15, 19). Foreordination or
predestination as used in the Bible excludes nobody from the possibility of
salvation. His blood is effective for all who believe and obey the truth.
How shall He not with Him also [ will he not, how will he not, also with
him?].[ 193 ] God exhibited marvelous concern for mankind in making the ultimate
sacrifice of His Son. The cross is forever a sign of just how much He wants men
and women to be saved. Paul uses this point to argue that God will freely give
Christians a heavenly home. All spiritual blessings related to salvation are "with
Him," that is, they are enjoyed in connection with Christ. Note that in baptism
we are buried "with" Him (Ro 6:4). Our old man is crucified "with" Him (Ro
6:6; Ga 2:20). We shall also live "with" Him (Ro 6:8) and "in Him" (see Ro 6:3;
Freely give us all things [give us all things, favor us with, grant us, all
things].[ 194 ] Since God freely gave His Son, it would be out of character for Him
to balk at giving a heavenly inheritance to faithful Christians. He gives "good
things" to His own who ask in faith (Mt 7:11; Jas 1:5). Indeed, according to His
purpose, He will freely give His children "all things." "All things" include
everything incorporated in being fellow-heritors with Christ (verse 17).
8:33, 34 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also
risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for
Who shall bring a charge [who can bring any charge, lay anything to the
charge, bring an accusation?].[ 195 ] Unbelieving Jews who murdered Christ
charged Him with blasphemy (Mt 26:65). They regarded His followers as
blasphemers and liars (see chart CHARGES AGAINST GOD'S ELECT). In the
early centuries of the church, charges of treason, arson and refusing to worship the
emperor were levied once and again against Christians. When viewed from
eternity, these false charges amount to little. The importance of a saved
relationship with God dwarfs them all. Human criticisms, judgments and
persecutions are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed (see Ro
Against God's elect [of God's elect, chosen].[ 196 ] God's elect are Christians.
They are called by the gospel, baptized into Christ and justified by His blood (Ro
5:9; 6:3, 4; Ga 3:27).
It is God who justifies [it is God that justifieth].[ 197 ] The emphasis is upon God, the omnipotent, all-merciful God who "so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son" (Joh 3:16). He justifies. For all intents and purposes, all charges against the elect are dropped. Christians may be persecuted but He does not forget His saints. He strengthens them as they work out their own salvation. He is at work in them "both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Php 2:12, 13; see Heb 13:20, 21; 1Pe 4:11; Jude 1). False charges by Jews, Romans and others are insignificant compared to the blessings of His justification.
Who is he who condemns? [who is to condemn, who is he that condemneth,
then who condemns?].[ 198 ] Human judges are relatively unimportant when
compared with the all-powerful Christ who is Judge of the universe (Mt 28:18;
Eph 1:20-23). The futility of Satan's efforts to defeat Christians are ultimately
futile. The accuser of our brethren has been cast down (Re 12:10). Neither he,
nor human judges has power to ultimately condemn anyone (compare Isa 51:7, 8;
Jer 1:8; Mt 10:28; Lu 12:4, 5). Only Christ can do that. There is no question
that He is our Judge (Mt 25:32; Joh 5:22; Ac 10:42; 17:31; Ro 2:16; 14:10; 1Co
4:5; 2Ti 4:1; 1Pe 4:5). He has the power to condemn the soul but He is the very
one who did not come "into the world to condemn the world, but that the world
through Him might be saved" (Joh 3:17). It is not His desire or intent to
arbitrarily or dictatorially condemn anyone to hell. On the contrary, since He
came to save, He intends to do just that. His work as intercessor is performed for
that very reason.
It is Christ who died [is it, Christ Jesus, that died, has died]. [ 199 ] Because
of the construction of the following sentence, I take this phrase as a question, "Is
it Christ who died?" That He is on our side is clear. Our judge is the very one
who died that we might be saved! He is not out with a vengeance to condemn His
saints. It is not His will that any be lost. His aversion to arbitrary condemnation
is shown by His willingness to suffer and die for us.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Ro 8:1).
And furthermore [yes, yea rather, or rather, but rather].[ 200 ] This phrase lends great emphasis to the resurrection of Christ. If He was not raised, the rest of the gospel story does not matter. If He was raised, it was easy for the early Christians (and us) to accept all the other miracles and the entire gospel message.
Is also risen [who was, that was, that is, has been, raised up, also, raised from the dead, risen again].[ 201 ] The bodily resurrection of Christ is the king-pin of the gospel. It was universally preached by the apostles (Ac 2:24, 30-32; 3:15; 5:30, 31; 10:40, 41; 13:39, 33-41; 17:31).
Who is even at the right hand of God [and who is, who is also, at the right hand of God].[ 202 ] The Father made a promise to Christ that he would sit at His right hand.
The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your
enemies Your footstool" (Ps 110:1).
The "right hand" is figurative (consider carefully Re 3:21). It indicates that,
subsequent to His resurrection, the reign of Christ is universal over the church and
over all things (Eph 1:20-23). He is reigning with the power of Deity (compare
Mt 28:18; Mk 16:19; 1Ti 6:14-16; Re 11:15; 17:14; 19:16).
Who also makes intercession for us [who, indeed, intercedes, maketh
intercession, for us].[ 203 ] Still another reason for hope is the intercession of
Christ on our behalf. We do not expect the one who pleads for us to turn against
us. If He intercedes, how can He consistently follow up with condemnation?
8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Who shall separate us?].[ 204 ] "Who" is used figuratively for the actions that
enemies inflict on the saints. None of the troubles mentioned can come between
Christ and His love for Christians.
From the love of Christ.[ 205 ] The Greek plainly shows this is Christ's love for
us, not our love for Him. However, "We love Him because He first loved us"
(1Jo 4:19). Christians abide His love by keeping His commandments (Joh 15:10).
Shall tribulation [tribulation, shall trouble?].[ 206 ] "Tribulation" may take the
form of sickness, famine, terrorism, war or persecution. Paul begins a list of
troubles that perplexed Christians in the early centuries (for a discussion of Paul's
trials, see notes on 2 Co 4:8-12; 11:23-28).
Or distress [or anguish].[ 207 ] Anguish may be due to hardship, outward
circumstances or to the excruciating consequences of sin[ 208 ] (see Ps 38:18).
Or persecution.[ 209 ] Those truly converted are strengthened during persecution
(Lu 6:22; 1Pe 4:14). However, a new convert who has "no root in himself" might
be influenced to stumble in time of tribulation and persecution (Mt 13:21). No
doubt, Paul was thinking of the past when he persecuted the church, as well as
later when he himself suffered as a persecuted Christian (see Ac 8:1; 9:1, 2, 13,
21; 22:14; 26:10, 11).
Or famine [or hunger].[ 210 ] David's recognition of God's providence (Ps
37:25) and the promise of Christ in Matthew 6:33 that "All these things shall be
added to you" are not to be taken as an all-inclusive guarantee against hunger.
Some of God's faithful saints have actually been "destitute" (Heb 11:37). There
was a critical need for food in Jerusalem when Paul wrote the Roman letter. He
had already gathered much of great contribution for the poor saints but had not yet
delivered it to Jerusalem (see Ac 24:17; Ro 15:25-28; 1Co 16:1, 2; 2Co 8:1-4;
9:1, 2, 12).
Or nakedness.[ 211 ] At times, Paul suffered the privation of insufficient clothing
(see notes on 2Co 11:27; 2Ti 4:13).
Or peril [or danger].[ 212 ] Paul and others were often in jeopardy of being falsely charged, jailed, beaten or even killed (see note on 2Co 11:26).
Or sword.[ 213 ] Many Christians suffered from the hands of the state. The
sword was a metaphor for official punishment (see Ro 13:4). Paul would
eventually die by the literal sword of a Roman soldier (see notes on 2Ti 4:4-8).
8:36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are
accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
As it is written [according as, even as, it is written]. [ 214 ] The verse quoted
is from a contemplation of the sons of Korah.
But for Thy sake we are killed all day long; we are considered as sheep to
be slaughtered (Ps 44:22).
Since persecution was foretold by prophecy, Christians have become resigned to
it. Even so, they may have depression and doubts. Paul gives them assurance.
For Your sake [for thy sake].[ 215 ] The quotation from the Psalms may refer
first to troubles during the Babylonian captivity. At that time, the Jews were
persecuted because of their religion (compare Ps 137:1, 2). Psalm 44 voices a
plea to God on their behalf. Likewise, in the early centuries, Christians were
persecuted and killed for their faith. In substance their cry was, "We are suffering
for You, Lord. Will You not do something about it?" (compare Ps 42:9; Re
We are killed all day long [we are being killed, to death, all the day, all the
day long]. [ 216 ] David said:
Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt
speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long (Ps 38:12).
"All day long" alludes to something expected, usually protracted. It was
expected that Christians would be persecuted and killed on a regular basis.
We are accounted as sheep [we were, we have been, reckoned, regarded,
considered, as sheep].[ 217 ] In Jewish sacrifices many hundreds of sheep were
slaughtered (see Ex 29:38-42; Le 12:6; 14:10-18; Nu 28:9, 11, 16, 19, 26, 27;
29:1, 2; 7, 8, 13-36). For example, Passover lambs were selected on the tenth
day of the month for sacrifice on the fourteenth (Ex 12:3). Christ was led as a
lamb to the slaughter (Isa 53:7). Like Him, some of the early Christians were to
suffer martyrdom. There was no more pity for them than for slaughtered sheep.
For the slaughter [for slaughter, to be slaughtered, killed]. [ 218 ] Christians
certainly are not promised divine protection from all persecution. However, they
are given encouragement and strength to endure it (see 1Pe 4:11-14).
8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who
Yet in all these things [no, nay, but, in all these things]. [ 219 ] None of the
tragic events mentioned in verse 35 destroyed the faith of true Christians. They
were given strength as they kept in mind the great love of their Savior who had
suffered so much for them (see 1Pe 4:14).
We are more than conquerors [we win overwhelmingly, more than conquer].[ 220 ] Even in martyrdom, Christians are surpassingly victorious. Suffering for Christ never brings guilt or shame but calls forth victorious praise to God (1Pe 4:16; compare Lu 6:23; 2Co 2:14; 1Jo 2:13; 4:4; 5:4, 5). Joe Louis was heavyweight champion for a number of years. In order to keep his title, he had to fight again and again. Finally, he lost it. Through Christ, the Christian conquers eternally. No one can take the crown of a faithful Christian (see Re 3:11, 20; compare Joh 10:28).
Through Him who loved us [through him that loved, has loved, us].[ 221 ] The
love Christ has for us was mentioned in verse 35. However, the present verse
alludes to God's continuing love (implied by verses 38, 39).
8:38, 39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 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.
For I am persuaded [for I am sure, convinced].[ 222 ] Paul indicates his firm
belief in what he is saying (compare Ro 14:14; 2Ti 1:12).
That neither death nor life.[ 223 ] A list of opposites that cover a range of
difficult circumstances and troubles begins here. None of them can push the
Christian outside the sphere of God's love. Even execution or terminal disease
will not separate them from it.
Nor angels nor principalities [nor angels, nor rulers].[ 224 ] The expressions
"principalities" and "powers" were applied in Jewish theology to divisions of the
hierarchy of angels and as such were familiar to Paul's readers (compare Eph
1:21; Col 1:16).[ 225 ]
Nor powers [nor any powers].[ 226 ] Arndt, Thayer and others view the
"powers" as hostile spirits or apostate angels. My thought is that they may have
been the authorities such as the ruling Jews, the Romans and others who were
doing the persecuting (see Lu 12:11; Ro 13:1).
Nor things present.[ 227 ] "Things present" allude to troubles that were affecting
Christians at that very time. Paul writes about not being separated from Christ's
love for us. However, "things present" might have caused the love for Christ in
some to "grow cold" or "wax cold" (Mt 24:12). With so much dishonesty in
society, so many portrayals of sin, so much immorality and so much false
teaching, it is no wonder that some today respond in a negative manner to "things
present" and separate themselves from Christ.
Nor things to come [nor things to come].[ 228 ] In these eloquent remarks, Paul
does not even allude to things past. They have already been forgiven, forgotten
or overcome. However, more persecution loomed on the horizon.
[8:39] Nor height nor depth.[ 229 ] The highest officer or the lowest soldier
could not destroy Christ's loving care for His own. Neither could any demonic
power, regardless of its rank.
Nor any other created thing [nor anything else in all creation, nor any other
creature].[ 230 ] This includes anything else in the entire created universe that
might be unforeseen. Nothing whatsoever can separate from the love of Christ.
Shall be able to separate us [can, will be able to, separate us].[ 231 ] This is
parallel to Christ's statement that "Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My
hand" (Joh 10:28). It is possible that a Christian may "draw back" or "shrink
back to perdition or destruction (Heb 10:39) and fall from grace (Ga 5:4; Heb
12:15; 2Pe 3:17, 18) but no external force can separate a Christians from the love
that God has for them.
From the love of God.[ 232 ] The love God has for His children is constant, true
and permanent. Only the child of God himself can lose it (compare Joh 15:10;
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
Albert L. Peace
Which is in Christ Jesus our Lord [in Christ Jesus our Lord].[ 233 ] God's
love for men and women is designated as being "in Christ." Of course, God loves
sinners, but there is something special about His love for His own children. His
love is active. He not only loved the world in the past and gave His Son in the
past but He loves now and will continue to do so.
There is a great encouragement in Paul's beautiful language in these concluding
verses. Christians should never be faint, downhearted or discouraged.
Persecution should never cause gloom or depression. Despondency has no place
in their hearts. Thomas Moore, no doubt, had verses such as these in mind when
Come, ye disconsolate, wher-e'er ye languish;
Come at the mercy-seat fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts,
Here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
(Han 307); [did not] forego the infliction of that evil or retribution which was designed (Vine 1070); [did] not spare (Arndt 854; Thayer 650); he who did not spare (Lenski 564); since He did not spare (Williams); see Genesis 22:16.