Romans 8 - Outline of Romans (Book Notes menu page)
Powerful Sanctification - The believer's weakness is met by the provision of God (ch.8).
  1. the Deliverance from the flesh, by the Holy Spirit's power (v.1-11).
  2. the Realization of sonship, by the Holy Spirit's witness (v.12-17a).
  3. the Expectation of sons, by the Holy Spirit's working:
    to obtain all that God has purposed for us (v.17b-30).
  4. the Assurance of sons, by God's unquestionable love for us:
    of triumph over all that would oppose us (v.31-39).
   1. the Deliverance from the flesh, by the Holy Spirit's power (v.1-11).
8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
8:2 For the law
{ie., the principle} of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law
{ie., the principle} of sin and death.
8:3 For what the law
{ie., the Mosaic Law} could not do,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh:
8:4 That the righteousness of the law
{ie., the Mosaic Law} might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
There is, therefore, now...- ie., because Jesus Christ has delivered me (Rom 7:24,25a) condemnation...- This is emphatic: There is ''not one condemnation'' of sin within me,
neither from the Law, nor from the conflict with my old nature.
This statement stands in stark contrast to the experience of continual guilt in ch.7. them who are in Christ Jesus.-
(Some MSS omit the last line of v.1, which properly belongs only in v.4.)
Our deliverance is determined by being 'in Him,' not by our ability to 'walk.' cp. 1Cor 1:30
for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death.-
This is the explanation for the statement of v.1.
  • the law {ie., governing principle, controlling force} of the Spirit of life... -
    This 'law' is not a set of guidelines, but God's own life force working within the believer.
    The 'Spirit of life' is the Holy Spirit, who being God, is the essence of Life.
  • Christ Jesus...- The Holy Spirit and Christ are in complete union.
    Because the believer is 'in Christ,' the Holy Spirit is in the believer. cp. Joh 14:16-18; 1Joh 5:12
  • ...has made me free from the law of sin and death.- cp. Rom 7:23-25a
    In my best efforts, I had a 'will' to do good, but no power to perform it (7:18).
    • Spiritual Life is spontaneous. It is not dependent upon the power of my will.
      Rather, it flows from the Giver of Life, who has Life in Himself. cp. Joh 5:26; 7:38,39
    • Spiritual Life overcomes natural laws. For example, the law of gravity holds everything in its grip. Yet, a bird, supplied with life, is free from bondage to that law.
      ''Run! Run and do! the Law commands,
      But gives me neither feet nor hands.
      Better news the Gospel brings,
      It bids me fly, and gives me wings.'' [anonymous, quoted by McGee]
for what the law could not do...
  • in that {ie., since, because} it was weak through the flesh...-
    ''The anchor of the Law was strong in itself, but it would not hold in the mud bottom of the heart.'' [Stifler]
    The Law condemned the sinful acts of the flesh, with the sentence of death. But the Law could not reform the flesh to make it holy. Rather than removing sin from the flesh, the commandment only excited my sinful nature to further rebellion. Rom 7:5,8,9
  • God... - (God did what the Law could not do.)
    1. How did He do it?
      ...sending His 'own Son'...-
      God's 'own Son' is distinct from all other sons of God. (cp. v.14; Joh 3:16,17) the likeness of sinful flesh...- Note the wording carefully:
      It is not: ''in the likeness of flesh'' (for then He would be less than fully man).
      It is not: ''in the likeness of sin'' (for then He would be a sinner, unfit to be the Lamb).
      But ''in the likeness of sinful flesh''- He was a perfect man: fully human, yet, without sin. cp. Heb 2:14-18; 4:15; 7:26; 10:5
      ...and for sin...- Christ came to eradicate sin.
      His death removes not only the guilt of sin , but also the power and presence of sin.
    2. What did He do?
      ...condemned sin in the flesh...- He executed the Law's judgment (death) upon sin.
      He accomplished this work in His flesh, by His holy life and propitiatory death (Rom 3:24,25).
      In His death the sin nature of my flesh was dealt with completely (6:6-10).
    3. What was His purpose?
      ...that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled...-
      The Law demands true holiness of heart (Lev 20:7)... a thing that I cannot produce.
      ...might be fulfilled in us...- (not by us) us, who walk not after {ie., according to} the flesh, but after the Spirit.-
      These phrases describe what is true of us, not the means by which it is true of us.
      We found it impossible to live in righteousness through our fleshly efforts (ch.7).
      But because the Holy Spirit lives within us, we now live in holiness unto the Lord. cp. Gal 2:20
      This subject, mentioned briefly in Rom 6:4,5, will be explained more fully here.
8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
8:6 For to be carnally minded [is] death;
but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
for they that are... after the flesh... {or} after the spirit...-
Verses 5-8 contrast the principles of 'flesh' and 'Spirit'-
  • explaining the inadequacy of the flesh to fulfill the righteousness of the Law (v.3,4),
  • introducing the superiority of the Spirit empowered life.
do mind {GK=phroneo, have a mind for, aspire after} the things... of the flesh... {or} of the Spirit...-
Contrast the characteristic desires --
  1. of the flesh {GK=sarx}. cp. Mat 15:19; Eph 2:1-3; Gal 5:19-21; Col 3:8,9
  2. of the Spirit. cp. Gal 5:22-25; Col 3:1,2 (where 'set your affection' is GK=phroneo, lit., 'mind the things above')
The contrast in v.5 is similar to that in Rom 6:16, where the sense of 'obey' {GK=hupakoe, hearken to, give heed to} is similar to 'mind the things of...'
for to be carnally {GK=sarx} minded is death...-
The words 'carnally' and 'minded' (v.6) are in noun form in the GK. A more literal translation:
     'For the mind of the flesh is death.' [RV] cp. v.13a; Rom 7:5,24; Gal 6:8
Here, the word 'mind' is GK=phronema, the thought or content of the mind, the mindset.
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.- lit., 'but the mind of the Spirit is...' [RV]
  • life, v.13b
  • peace {GK=eirene, rest, quietness} - ie., Such a mind lives at peace with God (Rom 5:1), and in the peace of God (Joh 14:27).
  • ...the carnal mind is enmity {ie., hostile, opposed} against God...
  • ...the carnal mind is not subject {ie., does not subject itself} to the Law of God...
  • ...the carnal mind cannot be brought into subjection to the Law of God.
  • ...they that are 'in the flesh' cannot please God.
    Here is the root of my despair (in ch. 7): 'I myself' am unable to fulfill God's holy Law.
    Why then am I surprised and disappointed in myself for failing to obey God?
    Is it not because I have placed greater faith in myself than in God's Word?
    God says I cannot hope to please Him by my own effort.
    Therefore, I must place 'no confidence in the flesh.' Php 3:3,4; cp. Joh 3:3-6
    "As human beings we distinguish between good works and evil works; God, on the other hand, goes behind and makes a distinction as to the source of every work. The most excellent deed of the flesh brings down upon it the same displeasure of God as would the most defiled and wicked work, for they are all of the flesh. Just as God hates unrighteousness, so He abhors self-righteousness. The good acts done naturally without the necessity of regeneration or union with Christ or dependence upon the Holy Spirit are no less carnal before God than are immorality, impurity, licentiousness, etc. However beautiful man's activities may be, if they do not spring from a complete trust in the Holy Spirit, they are carnal and are therefore rejected by God. God opposes, rejects and hates everything belonging to the flesh -- regardless of outward appearances and regardless of whether done by a sinner or a saint. His verdict is: 'the flesh must die.' " [from "The Spiritual Man," by Watchman Nee] cp. Rev 3:15-19; 1Joh 1:9; Joh 13:8
8:9 But ye are not in {ie., in the realm of, (or) in the control of} the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if so be
{ie., since it is the case} that the Spirit of God dwell in you. {cp. Joh 3:6}
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
{cp. Gal 4:6}
8:10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin;
but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
'the Spirit of Christ' is one and the same as 'the Spirit of God.' The Holy Spirit...
  1. comes from the Father. Acts 1:4
  2. is given in the Son. Rom 8:2
  3. does not speak of Himself {ie., of the Holy Spirit}. Joh 16:13-15
  4. reveals Christ. Joh 14:21
  5. indwells believers (v.9: ye are... in the Spirit... if... the Spirit of God dwell in you...). cp. Joh 15:4,5
and if {ie., since} Christ is in you, the body is dead... the Spirit is life...- (v.10)
Is this merely a restatement of the struggle of ch. 7?
No. There, the struggle, between my new nature and my old nature, was waged by 'I myself.'
Here, the conflict is between the Spirit of God and my old nature. The victory belongs to Him:
  1. the body is dead because of sin. cp. Rom 6:1-3; Col 3:3
  2. but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Rom 6:4-7
    • 'is life...'- not merely 'alive'.
      You are indwelt by the One who is Life. cp. Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 3:3,4
    • because of righteousness.- ie., the gift of Christ's righteousness imputed and imparted by faith. cp. Rom 5:17
  3. the Spirit shall also give life to your mortal {ie., liable to death} bodies...- (v.11)
         The future resurrection of the dead is not primarily in view here.
    Rather, here we see God's ability to make our 'dead in sin' bodies alive to serve Him.
    Previously, we were told to 'reckon' ourselves dead to sin, but alive unto God. Rom 6:8-11
    Now, we are shown the power that makes this a reality in our experience. cp. Eze 36:26,27
The power of Sanctification is the power of God in His fullness.
  1. This power involves every member of the Godhead. Col 2:9-15
    • 'What the Law could not do' is accomplished by the Spirit of Life... God... His own Son (v.2,3).
    • The Holy Spirit who indwells believers is identified as: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ (v.9), Christ (v.10), the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead (v.11).
  2. This power, which dwells within those who are in Christ...
    1. delivers us (spiritually) from the condemnation of sin (v.1,2).
    2. delivers us (spiritually) from bondage to the old nature (which is in opposition to God), through death (the condemnation of sin in the flesh), so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us (v.3-8).
    3. delivers us (experientially) from the deadness of the flesh, by His Life living within us, so that the whole man (spirit, soul and body) may live for Him (v.9-12).
  3. This power is the power 'that raised up Jesus... Christ from the dead...' (v.11)-
    • Jesus, as the historical man, was the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for our sins.
      His death was real and irreversible, except by the power of God.
      The same power is capable of raising any dead man who trusts in Him (Joh 11:25,26; Rom 4:24,25).
    • Jesus, as the Christ, is the Covenant Head in whom all believers are represented.
      The power that raised Him from the dead gives life to all who are dead in Him. cp. v.10; Rom 6:4,5; 1Cor 15:20-22; Eph 1:19,20
   2. the Realization of sonship, by the Holy Spirit's witness (v.12-17a).
8:12 Therefore, brethren,
we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
{cp. Rom 6:12-15}
8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:
{cp. v.6}
but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
Therefore...- ie., because of the power of God working for us, and within us (v.9-11).
we are no longer 'debtors' {ie., under obligation} to the flesh {old nature} and its desires.
We are truly free to choose between the way of the flesh & the way of the Spirit.
But if ye live after {ie., according to} the flesh, ye shall die...-
Life according to the flesh leads to death. Why? Because...
But if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify {ie., put to death} the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live.-
Death, according to the Spirit, leads to Life.
  • What is to be 'put to death'? Not 'the body' (for without the body, we are no longer in the world), but, the 'deeds' of the body. cp. Col 3:5-9
  • How is this accomplished? '...through the Spirit.'
    (ie., by the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. v.11)
    By the power of my will, I may temporarily restrain some fleshly appetite, but I cannot totally disable it. Only the Holy Spirit can truly displace the sinful desires of my fleshly nature with His own desires. cp. Gal 5:16,22-25
  • Life, in Christ, is 'unto God' (Rom 6:8-10).
    (also see 2Cor 5:14,15; Php 1:20,21; Titus 2:11-15; Heb 13:20,21)
    Like our Lord, we are 'in the world, but not of the world' (Joh 17:11-16).
    Likewise, we are 'in the body, but not of the flesh' (1Joh 2:15-17).
for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. cp. v.5,9
God's sons...
  1. Are those who are 'led' by His Spirit.
    They respond to His Word and follow Him. cp. Joh 10:26,27; 1Joh 2:4,5
    The word 'for' (in v.14) refers to the previous verse: Because they follow the Spirit's leading, God's sons mortify the deeds of the flesh, and live to honor Him.
  2. Have not received again the spirit...- (v.15a)
       -- of bondage (to sin & death, v.2)
       -- to fear (of condemnation, v.1a).
    He, who brought us out of these things, would not return us to them. 2Tim 1:7; Heb 2:14,15
  3. Have received the Spirit of adoption (v.15b-17; Gal 4:5,6).-
    1. by the Spirit, we cry 'Abba, Father.'-
      'Abba' (roughly equivalent to 'Daddy') expresses tender love, and simple trust.
      The child of God naturally calls upon his Father in a time of need.
      In Mark 14:32-41, Jesus prayed because His soul was exceeding sorrowful unto death. Jesus advised His disciples to pray because 'the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'
      Despite our weakness, the old snares and fears need not hold us, for our Father is stronger than our enemies. cp. Psa 27:1
    2. by the Spirit, we are assured that we are truly 'born of God.'
      The Holy Spirit 'witnesses together with' our human spirits. cp. 1Joh 5:9-12
      • The word 'children' (in v.16,17) is GK=teknon, lit., 'born ones,' which stresses the nature received from the Father. (cp. Joh 1:12,13, where 'sons' {GK=teknon} should be translated 'children')
      • The word 'sons' (in v.14) is GK=huios {adult sons}, which speaks of an advanced relationship with the Father, with higher privileges and responsibilities.
      • The 'adoption of sons' refers to the placing of mature sons into the family business. At the moment of faith, the new believer is born-again as a child of God. But the transition from a child to an adopted son is a process of growth, which begins when we first put our faith in Christ (v.15; Gal 3:24-26; 4:1-6) and continues until we reach full maturity (cp. Eph 4:13-15), and enter into the things that our Father has prepared for us (v.23; 1Joh 3:1,2, where 'sons' {GK=teknon} refers to 'children,' who will not enter into full 'sonship' until Christ returns).
    3. by the Spirit, we are assured that since we are children, we are heirs of God. v.17
      This speaks of the final stage of the 'adoption of sons'.
      But we can only dimly comprehend what this means...
      • as 'joint heirs with Christ', we are loved by the Father, as He loves His own Son (Joh 17:23b).
      • as 'glorified together' with Him, we will be caught up in all that He is (Joh 17:22-25), and will live forever in perfect agreement with the Father's will and purposes (Titus 2:13,14; Php 3:21).
  4. Suffer with Christ (v.17b) -
    Christ suffered in two basic ways:
    1. He was rejected by men. Isa 53:3,4
    2. He was forsaken by God. Isa 53:5,6,10-12
      This second type of suffering, He bore alone, for us. We cannot enter into it. Christ suffered once for our sins, to bring us to God. He conveyed to us His righteousness and Life, that we might become sons of God. 1Pet 3:18
           But we can and will know the rejection of men. Those who are truly 'joint heirs' with Christ, will live in such fellowship with Him on earth that the world will reject us as it did Him (2Tim 3:12). Suffering is not a condition of sonship, but it is an evidence of sonship. (We do not suffer in order to become sons, but we will suffer because we are sons. Joh 15:18-21)
    Christ suffered for one basic reason:
    • because He chose always to obey the Father (Joh 8:28,29; Heb 5:8).
      Those who follow Him, find that this path is not an easy road, for it involves...
      1. death to the flesh...
      2. striving against sin, and the contradiction of sinners. Heb 12:1-5
      3. submission to the Father's chastening. Heb 12:6-11
   3. the Expectation of sons, by the Holy Spirit's working:
       to obtain the inheritance which God has purposed for us (v.17b-30).
  1. We have Confidence, in our present sufferings:
    our expectant hope awaits the future glory. v.17b-25
  2. We have Confidence, in our present weakness:
    the Spirit's perfect intercession secures the Will of God. v.26,27
  3. We have Confidence, in every possible situation:
    the Father's predetermined purposes accomplish our good. v.28-30
8:18 For I reckon {ie., account} that the sufferings of this present time
[are] not worthy
{ie., are of no account, of no weight} [to be compared]
with the glory which shall be revealed
{GK=apokalupto, unveiled} in us {ie., toward us}.
Consider the weight of Paul's sufferings (listed in 2Cor 11:23-28).
If these things are of 'no account,' what must the glory be? cp. 2Cor 4:17; Heb 12:2
8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature {ie., the creation} waiteth {lit., waits eagerly}
for the manifestation
{GK=apokalupsis, unveiling, revelation} of the sons of God.
The word 'manifestation' {GK=apokalupsis} is also used as the title of the last book of the Bible (Rev 1:1). The sons of God will be revealed, when Christ appears on earth the second time. cp. Col 3:4; 1Joh 3:2; Mat 13:40-43
How is it that even the inanimate creation longs for that future day?
8:20 For the creature {ie., creation} was made subject {ie., was placed under, was subjected}
to vanity, not willingly
{ie., not of its own will},
but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,
'Vanity' means 'emptiness,' a state that fails to meet its designed purposes. cp. Ecc 1:2-8
God did not create nature in this condition of vanity (Gen 1:31). Rather, it became so at man's fall into sin (Gen 3:17-19). The creation will be restored when man is restored.
8:21 Because the creature {ie., creation} itself also
shall be delivered
{lit., loosed, set free} from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty
{lit., the liberty of the glory} of the children of God.
cp. Isa 11:9,10; Heb 2:5-11 (which quotes from Psa 8); 2Pet 3:13
8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth {sighs, grieves}
and travaileth in pain together until now.
''All the voices of nature are in a minor key.'' [Stifler]
The wind moans... the earth quakes... the living creatures groan in pain and scream in their death throes...
8:23 And not only [they],
but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for
{ie., eagerly expecting} the adoption,
[to wit
{ie., namely}], the redemption of our body.
Groaning (rather than happiness) is normal, even for believers, in our present state (2Cor 5:1-5; Psa 6:6), while we wait for...
8:24 For we are saved by {in} hope {ie., confident expectation}:
Because of salvation by faith, the believer is in a condition of hope (Rom 5:1-5).
but hope that is seen is not hope:
for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
8:25 But if we hope for that we see not,
[then] do we with patience
{ie., endurance} wait for [it].
By faith, the believer has confidence in the promises of God that are not yet realized, and perseveres through present trials, in a state of eager anticipation of that future day when the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. cp. Hab 2:14; Rom 4:18; Heb 11:1; Rev 21:3-5
     The Spirit of adoption gives us this confident expectation that our Father will bring us into the glorious Kingdom that He has purposed for His sons.
   3. the Expectation of sons, by the Holy Spirit's working:
       to obtain the inheritance which God has purposed for us (v.17b-30).
B. We have Confidence, in our present weakness:
     the Spirit's perfect intercession secures the Will of God. v.26,27
8:26 Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
Likewise...- ie., just as the Spirit enables us to endure as we await the future glory, so...
the Spirit helpeth {GK=sunantilambano, takes hold with us and in the place of us}...-
...our infirmities {GK=asthenia, lack of strength, weakness}...
- - Where we are weak, He is strong. cp. 2Cor 12:9,10
- - This truth applies to every area of our lives. For example...
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
eg., our fleshly weakness inhibits discernment between 'my will' and 'thy will' (cp. Jam 4:3), and becomes overwhelmed in times of distress (cp. Psa 77:1-10).
but the Spirit itself {lit., Himself} maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered
{GK=alaletos, inexpressable in words, beyond speech}.
These groanings are both His and mine. The Holy Spirit intercedes in my behalf... alongside of me (to express what I cannot find words to say), and within me (bringing my heart & will into conformity with God's Will). Psa 38:8,9; 77:4; 139:23,24
8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.
He that searcheth the hearts - ie., the LORD (Jer 17:9,10), Christ (Rev 2:23)
...maketh intercession...- cp. Heb 7:25; 9:24
...for the saints...- Joh 17:9; in Heb 7:25, He prays for them "that come unto God by Him.")
...according to the will of God.- cp. Joh 14:12-14; 15:7,8; 1Joh 5:14,15
   3. the Expectation of sons, by the Holy Spirit's working:
       to obtain the inheritance which God has purposed for us (v.17b-30).
C. We have Confidence, in every possible situation:
     the Father's predetermined purposes accomplish our good. v.28-30
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
we know...- because of the Spirit's witness within us (v.16).
that all things...- even the 'groanings' of the flesh (v.22,23),
and the enemies that war against us (v.35,38,39).
work together for good...-
God, who oversees all things, orchestrates them to accomplish His purposes.
eg., He worked through Joseph's trials to preserve His people. Gen 50:20
But not everyone will know a good end. God's purposes are beneficial toward those who belong to Him. His purposes will be exercised in a different manner toward those who are in rebellion against Him (Joh 3:17,18,36; Psa 9:16,17).
to them that love God...- Love for God is not a pre-requisite for being called,
but an effect of the Spirit's working within the believer (Rom 5:5; 1Joh 4:19)
to them who are the called according to His purpose.- 'The called' are
those who have both received and accepted God's invitation. cp. Rom 1:6; 1Cor 1:23,24
The invitation is open to all. But 'the called' consist of 'whosoever will' come to Him. Rev 22:17; Joh 10:27-30
8:29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
whom He did foreknow...-
Who are these? His called ones, that love Him (v.28; cp. 1Pet 1:2).
When did He foreknow us? In eternity past. Eph 1:3-7
Why did He foreknow us? To accomplish His purpose in us (v.28; Eph 1:4).
How did He foreknow us?
  • Since God is eternal and omniscient, He knows the end from the beginning.
    That, which He knows ahead of time, will occur in time. cp. Isa 46:10
  • God's foreknowledge does not void human free will.
    Salvation is truly available for 'whosoever believeth...' (Joh 3:16-18; Rom 10:9-11; 1Joh 5:1).
    God foreknows our choices, and has determined to allow us to reap what we sow. cp. Joh 3:18,36; Heb 10:28,29
  • Yet, God's grace mingles mysteriously with His foreknowledge.
    For although no man 'seeks God' (Rom 3:11,12), He sought those who would be His, before they knew Him. cp. Luk 19:10; Acts 2:47; Eph 1:4; 2The 2:13,14
  • God's knowledge, of those He foreknew, goes beyond mere facts about them.
    He knew every one of His people personally, long before they come to know Him. cp. Jer 1:4,5; Amos 3:2; eg., Acts 9:13-16
He also did predestinate...- Note the word 'also.'
Foreknowledge and Predestination are not the same thing.
To 'predestinate' is 'to determine, from the start, the final outcome.'
  • This word is never used in reference to the lost. God does not predestine anyone to hell. Although, as noted above, He does allow men to continue on their chosen course to destruction (a course that He foreknew they would choose).
  • Who are those who are predestinated (in v.29)? Those whom God foreknew,
    ie., those who are the called according to His purpose, and who love Him.
  • For what purpose are they predestinated?
    • to be conformed to the image of His Son...-
      God predestinates men, not for heaven, but for holiness. cp. Php 1:6; 1Cor 15:48,49
      While God foreknows and calls those who will be justified by faith, as His born-again children, He does not predetermine anyone's decision for or against the Savior (Joh 1:12,13). However, all who become His children, are predestinated to reach full sonship. In Eph 1:5, the GK word 'huiothesia' {'appointment to sonship'} should be rendered: 'the adoption of sons.'
    • that He {Christ} might be the firstborn {ie., the head, the first in position, cp. Psa 89:27; Col 1:15,18}... among many brethren {ie., sons of God, who, like Him, are perfect in holiness, cp. Joh 17:24-26; Heb 2:8-13}.
8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called:
and whom he called, them he also justified:
and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
them He also called...-
The 'called' are those who not only receive but also accept God's invitation (v.28).
However, it is evident from scripture that God's involvement in 'calling' goes beyond 'inviting all,' to 'enabling some' to respond. cp. Eph 2:1,8,9 ('faith... not of yourselves'); Joh 6:37,44,45
     On the other hand, the chosen are not 'sealed' as His 'purchased possession' until after they trust in Christ. cp. Eph 1:4-5,13-14
them He also justified {ie., 'declared righteous'} - cp. Rom 3:24-26
Justification is the work of God, accomplished through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whereby Christ bore the wages of sin for the sinner, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to {put on the account of} the sinner who trusts completely in Christ and His death and resurrection in his behalf.
them He also glorified...- cp. v.17,18
''Heaven is not [so much] where His people shall be, but what they shall be.'' [Stifler] cp. 1Joh 3:1-3; 2The 2:13,14
In v.29-30, also observe that...
  1. The repeated pattern ''whom... them...'' emphasizes that ''the very ones [that] He foreknew, these without the loss of one, He glorified.'' [Stifler]
  2. All five verbs are in the past tense.- {did foreknow, did predestinate, called, justified, glorified}
    God's purpose is so certain, that it is stated as completed fact. Though our present sufferings are real enough to us, the eternal reality is that which is finished before God. (Isa 46:10)
  3. All five verbs are enacted by God Himself.- {He did foreknow... etc.}
    God's Person is the certainty of His purposes.
[For another discussion of Election, Foreknowledge and Predestination, see the Book Notes at Ephesians 1:2-6.]
   4. the Assurance of sons, by God's unquestionable love for us:
       of triumph over all that would oppose us (v.31-39).
   Seven questions bring out the security of the believer.
   (Numbers in brackets [ ] identify each of the seven questions.)
[1] 8:31 What shall we then say to these things?
What can we say? (in response to God's amazing provision for His children, outlined in ch.8)- -
  • ''How marvelous! How wonderful! is my Savior's love for me.'' [Hymn, ''My Savior's Love'']
  • ''What more can He say than to you He hath said,
    to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?'' [Hymn, ''How Firm a Foundation'']
[2] If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
Answer: No one can stand against us. All enemies, including Satan and his demons, will fall.
For they are no match for ''Him who with us sideth.'' [Hymn: ''A Mighty Fortress is our God'']
cp. Psa 27:1-3; 118:6; Eph 6:10-13
[3] 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
spared - The same GK word is used in the LXX of Gen 22:12, where God says to Abraham:
''...thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.''
God spared Isaac, but He gave His own Son as the Lamb. Gen 22:7,8; Joh 1:29; 3:16
how shall He not with Him also...- Since He freely gave that which was of surpassing value,
is there anything that He would withhold from us?
''He who could part with the costly jewel could readily give the little case in which it is preserved.
The mother who could give away her babe would wish its raiment to go with it.'' [Stifler]
freely give... {GK=charizomai, to give graciously} - cp. 1Cor 2:12
all things.- cp. 2Pet 1:3,4: all things for ''life and godliness...''
ie., every provision for our salvation (Rom 6:23) and sanctification (v.28-30).
[4] 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of {ie., make accusation against} God's elect?
[It is] God that justifieth
{ie., declares righteous}. {or, 'Shall God that justifieth?' [NScofRB]}
Satan is the tireless 'accuser of the brethren' (Rev 12:10).
But the supreme Judge, God Himself, has already 'declared righteous' His 'elect' {GK=eklektos, lit., chosen out ones}.
They have been declared righteous, not because they were worthy or above reproach, but because the righteousness of Christ was placed on their account (1Cor 1:26-31).
''To speak against God's people, impeaches the Judge and is in contempt of court -- Heaven's court.'' [Stifler]
[5] 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth {ie., pronounces judgment, passes sentence}?
[It is] Christ that died
{or, 'Shall Christ that died...?' [NScofRB]},
yea rather, that is risen again,
who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Christ is the One who would bring sentence (Joh 5:22).
But He takes the part of the accused, in the extreme.
The Prosecutor stands in our defense... having already taken our condemnation upon Himself:
who died...- He put away our sin in His death.
who is risen...- His work of justification is fully finished, as witnessed by His resurrection.
who is at the right hand of God...- It is He who occupies the chief place of authority. Heb 9:24
who maketh intercession for us.-
It is this One who has taken our case upon Himself. 1Joh 2:1; Heb 7:25
Besides this, this One loves us...
[6] 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
[7] [shall] tribulation {lit., 'pressing,' ie., affliction, oppression},
or distress
{lit., 'narrowness,' ie., anguish, dire calamity},
or persecution, or famine
{ie., scarcity of food, hunger},
or nakedness
{ie., lack of clothing}, or peril {ie., danger}, or sword {ie., death}?
8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long;
we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? cp. Joh 10:28-30
It is Christ's love for us that holds us secure. (Our security does not rest on our love for Him.)
But if He loves us,
why do these troubles plague His people, and shut out the light of His Presence?
His love is secured to us by His Word, not by our experience.
His Word says that even these things will accomplish God's good purpose (eg. v.28-30).
The outcome is predetermined by His love. Meanwhile, our Hope is in Him (v.24,25).
as it is written...- {v.36 quotes from Psa 44:22}
The world system is no friend of Grace. The persecution of God's people is one of Satan's prime purposes. Therefore, these troubles are to be expected (Joh 16:33). Yet, the very fact, that the Lord has forewarned us of these things, is evidence of His faithfulness to us (cp. Acts 5:41; Php 1:28-30). Paul knew this list of troubles from his own experience (2Cor 11:23-28).
  • v.36 presents ''The Sufferings of the Faithful.'' See Psalm 44 (in its entirety).
  • v.37 answers with ''The Victory of the King, and those who are His.'' See Psalm 45 (in its entirety).
8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
more than conquerors- GK=huper-nikao, super-victors.
ie., Those who not only conquer, but who cannot be conquered. all these things... (which seem to be against us)
...through Him that loved us.- The word 'loved' is past tense.
His present love for us is indispensible in confronting our enemies (eg., v.34,35).
But the victory is ours through His one historic act of love. cp. Gal 2:20; 1Joh 5:4,5
The victory is assured to us, by God's eternal love for His Son (v.38,39):
8:38 For I am persuaded,
{GK tense suggests: 'I have been, am, and continue to stand persuaded', cp. 2Tim 1:12; Heb 11:13}
that neither death, nor life, {cp. Rom 14:8}
nor angels, nor principalities,
{ie., evil angels, and demons of high rank, cp. Eph 6:12}
nor powers,
{ie., earthly governments, cp. Col 2:15}
nor things present, nor things to come,
{present trials press us, future troubles threaten ominously}
8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature
{ie., created thing, eg. 2The 2:3,4; Rev 13:1-f},
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
separate - The GK word is used of 'divorce' in Mat 19:6 (translated 'put asunder').
But nothing and no one can break the love relationship between God and His own.
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.-
God has expressed His love to all men in Christ.
Those who are in Christ can never be removed from the Father's love, because they are embraced in that same eternal love in which He holds His beloved Son. cp. Joh 16:27; 1Joh 4:9,10; Eph 1:6
In Christ, we are irrevocably God's children, and joint heirs with our Lord. cp. v.17; 2The 2:13-17

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