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Romans Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Romans 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.

condemnation. The word “condemnation” is the same in the Greek as “judgment.” The Christian is not to be judged as to salvation, since Christ has already been judged for our sins on the cross. As Christians, however, we will be judged for rewards or loss of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

after the Spirit. This clause beginning with “who walk” is not found in a few of the ancient manuscripts; however, it is not redundant, as some claim, since it is synonymous and descriptive of “them which are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

law of the Spirit. The “law of the Spirit of life” has invaded and opposed “the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23), thus freeing us from its bondage (Romans 6:14-18). We cannot obey God's law in the strength of the flesh, but as we reckon (that is, deliberately acknowledge) ourselves to be dead to sin and “alive unto God” (Romans 6:11), this doctrinal truth increasingly becomes practical truth in our lives.

Romans 8:3 For what the 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:

likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus Christ truly came “in the flesh” (John 1:14; xTerm 4:2), but only in the “likeness” of “sinful” flesh. Outwardly the flesh of His human body was exactly like that of other human bodies, but it had been preserved free from inherent sin by His miraculous conception and virgin birth, then kept free from actual sin by His sinless life. Thus His flesh was sinless flesh.

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 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.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Spirit of Christ. Note that, in this one verse, the Holy Spirit is called both the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ.” The terms are synonymous; thus, Christ is God, and so is the Holy Spirit.

none of his. To belong to the family of God, it is essential that a person have the Holy Spirit. No amount of religious devotion or good works will produce salvation and eternal life, but only “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). Every true believer in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14).

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 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.

quicken your mortal bodies. Our spirits have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and our physical bodies ultimately will be resurrected by the Holy Spirit, who continues to indwell our spirit bodies even after death.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 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.

adoption. We, as children of God by faith in Christ, have become “adopted” into the family of the Father. Jesus Christ Himself is still the only begotten of the Father, one with Him in divine essence from eternity, but we have the inestimable privilege of being adopted as sons and daughters by Him.

Abba. “Abba” is an Aramaic term of endearment for “Father.” Note also Mark 14:36. The combined use of the Aramaic and Greek might mean something like “dear Father,” or even “Papa.”

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Spirit itself. Because of the neuter pronoun here, some have wrongly concluded that the Holy Spirit is merely an influence, rather than a person. However, the Scriptures clearly teach that the Holy Spirit is as much a person as either the Father or the Son. He speaks (e.g., Acts 13:2), teaches (John 14:26), reproves (John 16:8), regenerates (Titus 3:5), baptizes (1 Corinthians 12:13), leads (Romans 8:14), produces fruit (Galatians 5:22), empowers (Acts 1:8), and does many other things that require personal action, including “bearing witness,” as noted. A very real evidence that we have indeed been saved is this inward witness in our hearts that we are truly born again into God's family. However, it is possible for the believer to quench this witness through willful rejection of His leading (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19), even though His presence still remains.

Romans 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.

joint-heirs. The Son has been given all the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth for “thine inheritance” (Psalm 2:8). He created all things and is “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). This is something of what it means for us to be adopted children and thus to share His inheritance! Note also Ephesians 1:11, 14; 1 Peter 1:4; etc.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

creature. “Creature” in Romans 8:19-21 is the same word as “creation” in Romans 8:22. This important passage (Romans 8:19-23) is the main New Testament exposition of God's primeval curse on His creation because of sin (Genesis 3:14-19), and its promised future deliverance. The latter awaits the unveiling to the world of all those who have been brought into God's spiritual family.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

vanity. “Vanity” is equivalent to “futility.” Because of sin, the creation was made to operate under a law which specifies a universal process of decay and death. This law of morpholysis is recognized by science as a basic principle pervading the whole universe. It is also called the law of increasing entropy (meaning turning inward) or the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Every system in the physical and biological worlds has a tendency to turn inward and “feed” on itself to maintain its structure and activity, but this simply causes it to run down, disintegrate and die, unless it somehow becomes opened to outside sources of energy, information, food, etc. Even if it does remain an open system, this internal tendency continues to act in opposition to the incoming energy. Since even the latter will eventually be exhausted, the whole creation is thus in bondage to this principle of futility, or “in-vainness.” But since this law has been imposed by God, He also can remove it, and so there still is “hope.”

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

corruption. “Corruption” is equivalent to “decay,” and this is yet another way of stating the entropy principle. Everything tends to decay, running down from a created state of organized complexity to one of randomness and disorganized chaos. This law is thus called a “bondage;” the universe is enslaved by it, and there is no natural principle available to supersede it. Such a law is clearly the exact converse of the notion of evolution, which views the universe as gradually organizing itself over long ages by natural processes into its present state of high complexity and activity. The entropy law, which is supported without exception by all observation and scientific study, thus seems to stipulate that evolution on any significant scale is impossible. It also explains the fact that it has never been observed to occur in the present and the fact that there is no evidence it ever occurred in the past!

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

whole creation. The reference to “the whole creation” indicates that the divine curse extends through the entire created cosmos, not just to the earth. Scientific observation has apparently confirmed this. That is, the law of entropy operates throughout the cosmos. Since it was man's sin that brought God's curse on the ground—that is, the very elements of the created earth, the “dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) out of which all things were made by God—it may be that his sin had universal repercussions. On the other hand, it may be that Satan's sin, which took place in the angels' domain in the heavens, brought on the curse there.

groaneth and travaileth. The creation is now travailing like a woman about to deliver children. Its delivery into the glorious new age to come is thus associated with the manifestation of the children of God.

Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

hope. The blessed “hope” of the Christian is “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

groanings. The whole creation “groaneth” (Romans 8:22), “we ourselves groan within ourselves” (Romans 8:23) and the Spirit “maketh intercession for us with groanings” (Romans 8:26). The Greek word (stenagmos) refers to intense, yet inaudible, sighing. We who believe in God, the entire creation of God, and God Himself, are all yearning for the day when “there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).

Romans 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 maketh intercession. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes intercession for us here on earth, as God searches our hearts, and the Lord Jesus “ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25) in heaven. What grace and blessing!

will of God. If we pray according to God's will, “we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (xTerm 5:14-15). Yet we often do not know what His will is. But then the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us “according to the will of God.” What comfort and assurance! No wonder “all things work together for good” for those who are the prayer requests of the Spirit.

Romans 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.

the called. Evidently those “who are the called” are the same as those “that love God.”

Romans 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.

foreknow. God's “foreknowledge” is much more than just having prescience of what will happen in the future, but its full meaning is beyond our finite comprehension. That foreknowledge precedes election is evident from 1 Peter 1:2, and that it precedes predestination is evident from this verse. The same word (Greek proginosko) is translated “foreordained” in 1 Peter 1:20, where it clearly speaks of more than merely knowing ahead of time what will happen.

Note also Acts 2:23, speaking of Christ as being delivered to be crucified “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” and Acts 15:18, which reveals that “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” His works surely were not planned merely by His foreknowledge of what they would be! Similarly, God “foreknew” that Israel would be His people (Romans 11:2), yet He later chose them by His own will. It clearly suggests planning ahead of time, not just knowing ahead of time. Nothing takes God by surprise; His decisions are not determined by our decisions. Yet in every case where God's planning and predestinating are involved (e.g., Acts 2:23), it is also true those who acted according to His foreknowledge carried out those acts of their own volition. He promises that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Yet He also says that “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Our finite minds cannot fully apprehend both truths concurrently, yet we can rejoice in both with our hearts! God understands, because His understanding is infinite, and we rest in that.

image of his Son. Those whom God has foreknown, and who have therefore come to Christ when God called, will one day be so transformed as to be like Christ Himself (Philippians 3:21; xTerm 3:2), with the family resemblance as His brethren. This is our pre-destiny!

Romans 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.

glorified. Once this marvelous sequence begins with God's foreknowledge of those He would call, it is carried through so inevitably that Paul can even speak of us as “glorified” in the past tense. It is already an accomplished fact in the mind and purpose of God.

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

Romans 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?

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

is risen again. We must never forget that the one making these amazing promises is the one who has defeated death and the grave. At least twenty-one times in Scripture He is said to be at God's right hand, and at least four times He is said to be interceding there for us.

Romans 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. This is perhaps the most marvelous passage in the Scripture that assures us of the permanence of our salvation. Seventeen things are listed which can never separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35, 38-39) climaxing with the comprehensive “any other creation.” On the corresponding significance of the number seventeen, see the notes on John 21:11.

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.