Romans 8 is one of those chapters that is full of power, mystery and sometimes just plain ol’ hard to follow. Here is a line by line commentary on the entire chapter. The goal is to let the word of God flow while shining some light into some of the wordy dark places. Your comments are most welcomed.
1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This is probably one of the greatest proclamations in all of the Bible. There is no condemnation, no condemning of those who walk or rather pursue not after carnal, fleshy desires but pursue after holiness and righteousness. The focus here is not the destination or the arrival but rather the journey. The journey will prove us, try us, test us and finally form us into the thing we pursue. Those walking after the flesh will do things of the flesh and will become that flesh. Those walking after the Holy Spirit will do those things of the spirit and will become that spirit.
Also notice in our pursuit there is no mention of perfection. Man is not perfect so he will stumble and fall. This has no effect on the pursuit just as long as we get back up and continue on. This verse is a microcosm for the Christian religion.
2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ frees us from the chains of the law. The law is black and white, do or die. The Spirit of Christ affords us the opportunity to fail. It all hinges upon our hearts desire, our goal and purpose. Is Christ our direction? Then any miss step will be forgiven if we are remorseful and repentant.
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:
The law was destine to fail for it was dependent upon man. Man can never live the life of the law for it requires perfection.
“The impotency of the law is not from itself, but from the condition of the subject with whom it hath to do. The law is weak to us, because we are weak to it: the sun cannot give light to a blind eye, not from any impotency in itself, but merely from the incapacity of the subject it shines upon.” (Matthew Poole)
Adam and Eve allowed sin into the skin thus eliminating any chance for man to succeed. But Christ put on man and defeated sin and the law.
4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
With the victory of Christ as man the righteousness of the law was fulfilled for man. Jesus walked the path of no condemnation and pursued the spirit and not the flesh.
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.
Here is the key to it all. We take on the persona, character and attributes of the spirit we pursue. If it is to satisfy the flesh we become greedy, needy, an ingrate, unkind and selfish.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
If it is the spirit we are after we become giving, caring, patient and loving.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Carnally or worldly minded is selfishness. It has one desire and that is to satisfy its own lustful hunger. Like a cancer it will consume all around it until there is nothing left but self.
To be spiritually minded is an outward expression of love. Where as to be carnally minded places self as the center of the universe, a spiritually minded person sees things in the exact opposite manner. The spiritually minded discover they are but a spec in an over-all picture of God’s endless creation. A spec which interplays with other specs which form the body of Christ. No one lesser, no one greater but all part of the over-all body of God and His creation. Uplifting and edifying your neighbor takes on an importance beyond self because it is our contribution to God and the body.
7&8) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The carnal mind is hatred of God. It is the exact opposite of God. The carnal mind is the antithesis of our Lord and typifies the spirit of antichrist.
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.
“If, “he is none of his” scares you and causes you to take an introspective look within yourself then good. You probably have nothing to worry about. Those who are concerned about leading a spiritual life are those who are at odds with a carnal life and are trying to avoid it.
“The flesh, the sinful principle, dwelt in them before; and its motions were the proofs of its indwelling; but now the Spirit dwells in them; and its testimony in their conscience, and its powerful operations in their hearts, are the proofs of its indwelling.” (Adam Clarke)
10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If Christ is in you then your spirit has been quickened. It is a live and lives in this current world of sin and carnality. The spirit mingles with your spirit and affords it discernment. Your eyes and ears are open and perceive the vain and empty things of this world. Your desires and affections tend to be misfits according to the world’s standard. Love, joy and peace take precedence over money, lust, power and notoriety.
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 is in a mortal body. The body will win out until the Lord quickens the spirit. God does so at His pleasure at His time. Something so holy within the body of sin. But God brings the spirit to life and the life of the body changes.
12&13) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 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.
We are forever in debt to the spirit which brought us to life. For if we just lived by the carnal body we would surely die. The body on a best case scenario is temporary. By living the life through the body we speed that process up. But the life of the spirit through Jesus Christ does liberate us from the weight and bondage of the carnal body. The spirit and the pursuit of the spirit frees us from all sin.
Spirit of God
14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
To recognize the spirit of the Lord for not all will. To recognize that the spirit of the Lord is the way, the truth and the life. To be so motivated as to follow him realizing the spirit is the spirit of truth. To feel and know the comfort and joy of detaching from the world and grabbing ahold of Jesus as our Lord and savior.
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.
Our adoption is predicated on our willingness to accept the Father. He has always been there for us. Bondage and fear does not come from the Father but rather the devil.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
The Holy Spirit mingles with our spirit. Two become one and typifies marriage. What we lack it completes. We become children of God. God’s spirit is a discerner of our thoughts and intents of our heart!
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.
We are heirs of the kingdom of God. Joint heirs with Jesus Christ. If we suffer with him. Now how do we suffer with Christ? Having the Holy Spirit alive inside of you. Pursuing things of the spirit and not of the world will separate you from the world and its desires. This will inspire ridicule for the world hates God but loves its own. For our faith to be real it must survive the test and trials and tribulations against our faith. Sometimes the test is blatant such as an atheist trying to prove you wrong. Sometimes the test and trial is subtle, such as maybe the cahier gave you too much change back. Don’t let the world trip you up.
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.
Here is another defining moment in the Bible. It doesn’t matter what we experience here on earth. The pain, sorrow, grief and angst quells to the glory we will receive in heaven.
“It ought not indeed to be grievous to us, if we must pass through various afflictions into celestial glory, since these, when compared with the greatness of that glory, are of the least moment.” He has mentioned future for eternal glory, intimating that the afflictions of the world are such as pass away quickly.” (John Calvin)
19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
We are the creature waiting for the glorious day of being adopted as sons of God
20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
We have been subjected to trials and tribulations, a lot like how Job was subjected. But we have also been made aware of the hope and promise of tomorrow.
21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We will be delivered from this present world and its chains and anchors of corruption into the perfect law of liberty and freedom in Jesus Christ. His yoke is easy. He offers peace and rest.
22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
It isn’t just us that are in pain and in need of a Savior. All of God’s creations groan and undergo agony in anticipation of the coming of the Lord. The world is in pain anticipating Christ.
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.
The pain of the body of sin waiting for redemption. To be freed from the bondage and shackles of this world. Freed to be united in spirit and in truth with our Lord and Savior.
24 &25) 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? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
The Christian life can be summed up in one word, hope. Our hope is an absolute confidence of the reality of the situation. Hope is not a probability or a percent chance of success. Hope is a definitive. Hope brings a reality into the present with a certainty of tomorrow. Hope is a child of faith and never waivers with the man pursuing God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.
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.
As we learned earlier, the “Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit”. It helps with our weaknesses, it intercedes and guides us in knowledge and opens our eyes to discern right from wrong. When we lean not unto our own understanding but that of the Holy Spirits and trust in it with all our heart then we follow the will of God.
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.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The spirit knows our heart. It knows the true intent of each and every motive and action. The spirit will propel us forward in Godly ventures and will curtail us in worldly attempts. The spirit can be thought of as the little voice inside. It is a voice we especially need to listen to when unsure of something or when you just get that “feeling” that something isn’t right.
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.
It will all eventually turn out great for the child of God. To those who actively prsue the spirit and respond to the call of God.
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.
Who did God foreknow? Who did God know even before they were conceived? The answer is simple-Everybody! God also predestinated each of us. This simply means that he made the way clear for all to follow. Does it mean we are forced to follow the way of God? No. But God paved the way, the truth and the life so we would be formed and fashioned as Christ was.
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.
God paved the way of holiness to follow. He then called those he foreknew. Those who chose to follow were rendered just and will be glorified in heaven.
31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
The unclean cannot pass over the way of holiness. When we are in God and God in us, when we are in the way of holiness, when the spirit is with us then nothing can prevail against us. Nothing can conquer for we become more than conquerors in God’s way.
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?
The ultimate price God paid was giving the world His son. His son became complete and all powerful and sits on the right side of God. Nothing compares to the price paid by Jesus for the salvation of mankind. All we have to do now is go to Him and he will, “freely give us all things”.
33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Who indeed besides the devil?
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.
Who can possibly condemn us when it is Jesus Christ who makes intercessions for us? The devil doesn’t have the sons of God to deal with. He has Christ he must confront!
35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Trials, tribulations, tests, proving’s all come in a variety of forms and shapes as well as in various durations. What is our weak spot? Can we survive one peril but fold under another? We are to examine ourselves daily to see where we are weak and where we are strong!
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:6)
36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
When we put our self in a place of complete trust and confidence in God and the power of His spirit we will find ourselves in places and positions that only divine intervention can save. The world will account us as sheep for the slaughter. But only through Christ as our Savior can we be accounted for as conquerors.
37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
All things are possible through Christ that strengthens each of us.
38 &39) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.
Here the evangelist describes all things, natural and supernatural, powers and creatures and things through time as unable to interfere or interject itself between the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Nothing can break that bond of love except for one thing. You. God will always love and will always avail himself to each of us. But each of us do have to accept the person of Him.
Won’t you? Won’t you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and receive the full power of God?