1. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(What is it there for?) In chapter 7 we discussed why we are now able to live apart from the law and no longer be bound to it. Because of this freedom given to us by God, those who are in Christ Jesus have no condemnation left. Our debt has been paid and we are no longer condemned to be slaves to sin.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
There is a law at work, which is called here ‘the Spirit of life’, which has set us free in Christ from the law of sin and death. What does the author mean by the Spirit of life? Since spirit (pneumatos) is capitalized here we know that the author is referring to God’s Holy Spirit. Law here is referring back to previous chapters when Paul identified that Christians are no longer slaves to sin and death, but are now slaves to righteousness, this is accomplished by the effectual work of the Holy Spirit, which gives life to the Christian, both in the temporal sense, but also in the eternal sense. (John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6)
3. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
Paul has already taught that the law is unable to make one holy, it is only useful for pointing out man’s sins, but cannot remove the stain of that sin. One needed to come and fulfil the entirety of the law in man’s place so as to be an acceptable sacrifice, or propitiation, for mankind’s sin. Paul says that God condemned sin in the flesh, He dealt with our sinful stain through Christ Jesus.
4. in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
So, the end result of Jesus’ sacrifice was to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law in those who walk according to the Holy Spirit- which is every believer in Christ since we are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit upon conversion.
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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Paul gives us a test for which people are which by looking at what they are pursuing, what they have set their minds on. If we are pursuing godlessness, or fleshly desires, we are living according to the flesh, and if we are pursuing God, we are living according to the Holy Spirit. What is your mind set on? If you were to do an honest evaluation of those things that you are pursuing, which category would they fall in?
6. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Pursuing fleshly desires produces only death, but pursuing God produces life and peace. We cannot find life and peace apart from God through faith in Jesus Christ. Think about it, can a thousand dollars add one more day to your life, can a million? Can power bring you everlasting peace with God? Does sexual immorality bring peace and life? Can anything in this world bring life and peace?
7. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Paul states that the mind set on the flesh cannot submit to God because it seeks to please itself, not God. Therefore, it is hostile to God who has commanded to be placed first as our object of worship.
8.Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Paul does not leave any grey area with this statement, he forcefully states that no one who is in the flesh can please God. What does this do to our worldview when we are faced with an ‘all-roads-lead-to-God’ theology? We know that it is only through Christ’s sacrifice that we can be reborn by the Spirit, and only by the Spirit can we live according to the Spirit, and only by living according to the Spirit can we please God, therefore the conclusion that these premises demand is that all who are apart from Christ Jesus will not please God- will not be justified in His sight, and will be subject to the wages that they have earned through their sinful folly.
Q. Would you please find some time alone with God and ask Him to reveal your motives? If you are living according to the flesh, will you pray for the Holy Spirit to sanctify you, and trust God to help you to walk according to the Spirit?
9. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
I can hear the sigh of relief from the church at Rome, and join with them at Paul’s words here! He states that if we are in Christ, then we are not in the flesh, we are in the Holy Spirit. He also states that anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to Christ.
10. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Those who are in Christ, who have been baptized into Christ, have been given the Holy Spirit, and now have life because of the Spirit.
11. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Paul is stating that if you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, which all who have been baptized into Christ do, then you will also be granted life (spiritually now and eternally) through the Spirit.
12. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
We do serve a master. We are under authority, but not to the flesh (the Law of Sin and Death).
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.
Following the desires of our hearts, when they are sinful desires, leads only to eternal death. Christianity is not an easy thing, following Christ is not a walk down an aisle, but is a committed service to the rightful King of Kings, Lord Jesus. This leads to life eternal for all who take up their cross and follow Jesus. (Mt. 16:24-26)
14 – 15. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
All who are lead by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus are counted as son’s of God Almighty! Sonship is not something that is mentioned flippantly here. Sonship infers an everlasting connection to our Heavenly Father with all the privileges of being an heir with Christ. Think about what the Apostle Paul is saying here through the teaching of the Holy Spirit; that we can cry out Abba! Father! Abba is an intimate word, not at all like the Catholic tradition of calling priests ‘father’ which was only a title, meaningless really, but is like the young child standing in the doorway, seeing their father come home and squealing, ‘Daddy’ in pure delight. We have been granted sonship through Jesus Christ!
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 fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to our souls that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that we are children of God. Paul goes on to show that if indeed we have been made children of God, then we are also heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ, with one stipulation being made – that we suffer with Him, so we may also be glorified with Him.
Q. How have you suffered with Christ? If you haven’t suffered with Him, why? Will you pray and ask the Holy Spirit for assurance that you are in the faith, that you are a child of the Living God?
18 – 25. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
How great was the suffering that Paul endured? It was exceedingly great, he was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, abandoned, humiliated, betrayed, among other trials; but notice that he does not consider them even worth comparing to the glory that he would see in the next life. He even explains that all of creation is longing for Christ’s return, that it was man who caused the corruption of this world, and that we see the groaning, likened unto childbirth, of this world under the weight of sin. Paul says that we, as believers, also groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for Christ’s return, for God to set all things right. He points out that we have not yet received this, but are assured of it so we can wait in patience for God’s will to be perfected.
26. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Paul points out that we are still weak, we still do not understand the purposes of God, and so we are unable to pray as He would have us pray; however, God has ordained that His Holy Spirit would intercede for us, Paul states, ‘with groanings too deep for words.’
27 – 28. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
He knows the plans He’s made for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and He will work all things together for good, for those of us called to His purpose. This promise is not a cliche saying that we use as a salve for wounded hearts, this is a Promise from God the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He promises that all His purposes are good, that we will see it worked out through His will. Oh what a rest we have in Jesus, that we can turn over all our troubles and cares to God, because He cares for, and loves us. (Matthew 11:27-30)
29 – 30. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
For those whom he foreknew! We are not the product of chance and circumstance. We are not the product of our choices. We were foreknown by God Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth! And the further promise is that He called us, He justified us, He glorified us in Christ Jesus! How does this change your perspective, that God chose you before the foundation of the world, that He holds you in His hand, that He has justified you in His sight, and that He has glorified you in Christ? (Matthew 22:14; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-14; John 6:37, 44; Abraham; Paul’s Conversion; the Twelve Disciples)
31. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Awesome! If God has predestined us to eternal adoption into Him, them who can stand against us? Think about it, the creator of the universe, the being which nothing can be greater, has predestined you, as a believer in Christ, to adoption through Christ; what can possibly overcome His will and severe the relationship?
32. He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Paul’s argument here is that if God did not spare His own Son in order to save us, how would He not also keep us until the end. Won’t he also provide us with all the righteousness we need in order to be brought safely into His presence at the end of our age, or this age?
33.Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Paul argues that since God is the greatest being, and He has chosen us to be saved, who could possibly bring a successful charge against us – He is the one who makes us righteous, who clears our ledgers.
34. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Because it was God’s work of salvation and He is the one who judges, who can stand in front of Him and condemn us to death? Even if someone did want to condemn us (like Satan does with Job) we have Christ in heaven at the right hand of God who is always interceding for us on our behalf . Christ is not only our Savior, but our High Priest – our intermediary with God (Hebrews 7).
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As Paul draws to a close in this section he renews our hope in Christ. If all of these things are true, that God has predestined us to be with Him forever and that no one can separate us from Him because Christ has interceded on our behalf to seal us for eternity, what can separate us from His love? The answer is nothing. God is not a man that He should change His mind (Numbers 23:19). God is truth and truth cannot go back on what He has done. So now that our hope has been founded, what should we fear? Nothing. This hope gives us cause to speak boldly for Christ, and to live a life for and about Him.