Romans Chapter Eight
I. Content of the Chapter
To Experience the Release of the Spirit in Christ Jesus
A. The principle of release:
1. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (v.1).
2. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (v.2).
B. The basis of release:
1. The Son of God had fulfilled the redemption in his flesh (v.3).
2. The accomplished works of Christ might be enjoyed by those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit
C. Why one should not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit?
1. 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 (v.5).
2. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (v.6).
3. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God (v.7-8).
D. How does the Spirit release us in us?
1. If the Spirit of God dwells in us, we shall no longer belong to the flesh, but the Spirit and Christ (v.9).
2. Our spirit is quickened since Christ has dwelt in us (v.10).
3. Our mortal bodies will be quickened because of the Spirit of God (v.11).
4. If we live by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (v.12-13).
【The Hope and Way of Being Glorified】
A. The glorious heirs:
1. The status of heirs ---- the Son of God:
a.For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (v.14).
b.For you did not receive the spirit of bondage, but you received the Spirit of adoption (v.15).
c. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit (v.16).
d.Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (v
2. The way of heirs:
a.To suffer with Him first and then be glorified with Him together (v.17b);
b.The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (v.18).
3. The influence of heirs:
a.The earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God (v.19-20).
b.The creation waits for the liberty of the children of God (v.21-22).
4. The hope of heirs:
a.Waiting for the adoption is the redemption of our body (v.23).
b.We shall eagerly wait for the hope with perseverance (v.24-25).
B. The assurance of being glorified:
1. Because the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us (v.26-27);
2. Because of all things work together (v.28);
3. Because of the will of God that He predestined:
a.The model of being glorified ---- His Son Christ (v.29);
b.The steps of being glorified ---- predestination, calling, justification and being glorified (v.30).
4. Because of the help of God:
a.No one can be against us (v.31-32).
b.No one can bring a charge against God's elect (v.33).
c. No one can condemn us (v.34).
5. Because of the love of Christ that cannot be separated from us:
a.To conquer all the tribulations through the Lord who loves us (v.35-37).
b.Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (v.38-39).
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Rom. 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”
YLT: “There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”;
Meaning of Words: “no condemnation”: be acquitted of a charge (a legal term), be able to (a common term);
Literal Meaning: the previous seven chapters present us two great obstructions of sanctification: one is the law, and the other is the flesh. Actually, the law is good (1Tim. 1:8). What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh. Therefore, the difficulty is caused by the flesh, not the law. “In Christ” is opposite to “in Adam”, namely “being in our flesh”. The only way for us to be delivered from difficulty is translation ---- to translate from the flesh to Christ. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. There are two meanings of “condemnation” in the original: one is to be judged guilty, and the other is to admit to be too weak to do something. Believers in the flesh can neither keep the law, nor escape from the responsibility. However, they are no longer weak and nor condemned.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Once a man has believed the Lord, he has obtained the position of being in Christ Jesus and is no longer condemned. How great and numerous our sins are. And how full the salvation we have received is!
2) God judges all according to his or its relation with Christ. All that is not out of Christ, and that cannot be unto Christ and that has not been united with Christ ---- no matter it is earthly, worldly, or even religious or “spiritual” ---- shall be condemned by God.
3) Whenever we see us outside of Christ, we shall condemn ourselves and find us useless and afflicted (see Rom. 7:24). Whenever we return to Christ, we shall not condemn us and be filled with joy.
4) In Christ Jesus, He takes all the responsibility for everything. Outside of Christ, we have to take all the responsibility for everything.
5) It is better and more reliable that the Lord takes the responsibility that we do. Therefore, we shall trust in Him and let Him take the responsibility. And we shall only note that He only takes the responsibility for “all that in Christ”.
6) In the ancient wars, if the troops were surrounded by the enemy troops, they had to break through the encirclement so that they could be saved and triumph. However, in the spiritual war of Christians, we do not break through outwardly, but hide ourselves inwardly in “Christ Jesus”. He is our best defense.
7) No matter what enemy or difficulty we meet, we should not struggle nor come out of Christ, but hold fast Christ and hide in Christ. Every difficulty shall be resolved and every enemy shall be overcome by Him if we let Him reign.
YLT: “for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin and of the death;”
Meaning: when we lived in the flesh and were bound by
the law of sin in our members, we would definitely sin and thus bring forth
fruit to death (see
Verse one and two explain that how the Lord Jesus delivers us from the law of sin in our members:
1) As long as we do not struggle in ourselves but hide us in Christ Jesus, we shall not always be condemned by our conscience because of constant failures.
2) When we wholly rest in Christ, His Spirit of life will start to work and
3) When the Spirit of life works, there will be a kind of eternal surpassing power, namely, “the law of the Spirit of life”.
4) “The law of mind” that we relied on before we were saved was from the life of “man” created by God (see Eccl. 7:29). “The law of sin which exists in our members” is from the life of the “devil” that seizes the body of man (see John 8:44). The power of the devil is stronger than that of man. No wonder that why the law of one’s mind cannot overcome the law of sin in the members.
5) Only the life “of God” can overcome the life “of the devil”. “The law of the Spirit of life” that is of the life of God must prevail over “the law of sin and death” of the life of the devil so as to deliver us from “the body of death” (Rom. 7:24).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) There is the Life in the Spirit, and the Law in the Life. The Spirit, the Life and the Law are three essences of one real thing.
2) If we want to obtain the power of “the law” in life to overcome sin and death, we have to walk in the life of God. Only by this, the law in God’s life will work.
3) Since the life of God is in us, the more we have grown up, the more power of the law will be manifested. Therefore, if we want to be a Christian that overcomes, we shall diligently seek to be grown up.
4) The life of God is connected with the Spirit (see John 6:63). Where the spirit is, there will be the life. The salvation in life lies in the Holy Spirit. In other words, the more freely we let the Spirit work in us, the more we will be saved in life.
5) If we do not walk in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have not walked in the newness of life. The Holy Spirit lives in our spirit. Therefore, we shall live in the spirit so that we can understand the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
6) “The law” is an eternally abiding power. The power of man’s willpower can temporarily overcome the power of the law. But man will eventually surrender because of the exhaustion of willpower.
7) We should conquer “a law” by “another law”. Only the “law” of the Spirit of God’s life can overcome the “law” of sin and death. But the “law” in man’s life cannot overcome it.
8) The “law” of the Spirit of life now dwells in us. The problem is that many believers have not known the treasure in them, but ask for help from other men and things.
9) The words “in Christ Jesus” are quite important. Besides the Lord, it is vanity of vanities. Even spiritual knowledge has no use. In the Lord, all that is of God will be given to us. How abundant!
10) If believers use their own power, he must be defeated even though he spares all his effort. However, if they rely on the life and power “in Christ Jesus”, they will be more than conquerors.
11) Christ has not only saved us from sins (Matt. 1:21), but is also delivering us from the law of sin and death everyday.
Rom. 8:3 “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, ”
YLT: “for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, did condemn the sin in the flesh,”
Literal Meaning: “for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh”, no one can do the whole law because of the weakness of man’s flesh (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16) so that the law perfects nothing (Heb. 7:18-19).
“God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh”, God deeply knows that the real reason for the failure does not lie in the law, but the flesh of man. Therefore, He devises the salvation for us. According to this salvation, God sent His only beloved Son Jesus Christ. “In the likeness of sinful flesh”, he was seemingly like the common people ---- he had the sinful flesh, but was holy, harmless, undefiled inside (Heb 7:26).
“On account of sin”, the Lord Jesus put on the sinful flesh to be the sin-offering so that He could bear sins and put away the sin of man (1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:26, 28).
“He condemned sin in the flesh”, He executes judgment on sin in His flesh, and it carries the following meanings:
1) The problem of sin is connected with that of the flesh. He who wants to deal with the problem of sin must deal with the problem if the flesh.
2) Sin has been restricted in the flesh. Once the problem of the flesh is resolved, the problem of sin is resolved thereafter.
3) Since the Lord Jesus paid the debt of sin in the flesh, we are no longer debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (v.12).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The flesh cannot do the law, so it can only be condemned, not be justified. Only when we are no longer in expectation of our flesh, can we be good Christians.
2) Since God declares that the law perfects nothing, we shall no longer have the idea of keeping the law, nor teach others to keep customs (Col. 2:20-23).
3) Christians shall not have confidence of ourselves, but confess that we are too weak to do anything. There fore, there will be turning points for us.
4) There is a strange phenomenon of man’s body ---- man is strong in things concerning sins, but is weak in things of keeping the law. The salvation of the incarnated Lord will deal with two aspects of difficulties: on one hand, it condemned sin in the flesh and dealt with the problem of sin in the flesh. On the other hand, He had fulfilled the law so that we can no longer walk in the flesh and still receive righteousness of the law (v.4).
5) We believers in Christ have been delivered from the bondage of the law, and have been delivered from the entanglement of the flesh.
YLT: “that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Literal Meaning: since we cannot “fulfill” the righteous requirement of the law through the flesh, we need the redemption of the Lord Jesus to exempt us from the responsibility of the flesh for the law ---- this is the passive aspect of the effect of the Lord’s salvation. In the positive aspect, He quickens our spirit (v.10) through His indwelling spirit of life so that we may walk according to our spirit, thus fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law.
From verse one to four, it mainly tells us that we who are in Christ Jesus have been saved by the Lord and are set free. Henceforth, if we use our freewill to walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh, we will be delivered from the harm of the flesh so as to lead a sanctified life.
Rom. 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. ”
YLT: “For those who are according to the flesh, the things of the flesh do mind; and those according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit;”
Literal Meaning: “for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh”, it does not mean that living according to the flesh is setting one’s mind on the things of the flesh. Living according to the flesh is one thing, and setting one’s mind on the things of the flesh is another. “According to” is passive, and “setting one’s mind on” is active and positive. “Mind”: to approve and second in one’s mind;
“But those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit”, since we are free now, we shall actively set our minds on right things ---- spiritual things, not carnal things; things above, not things on the earth (Col. 3:2). Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things. (Phil. 4:8).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Whether a man is according to the flesh or the spirit can be seen from what he sets his mind on ---- the flesh or the spirit. What a man sets his mind on manifests the man himself.
2) Our mind can control us most. If we set our mind earnestly on other things instead of the spirit, we can never walk according to the Spirit. If we want to walk according to the Spirit, we should set our minds on the Spirit.
3) There is a feature of the mind of the flesh ---- believing one’s self. Such man knows everything and has confidence in everything. There is also a feature of the mind of the spirit ---- believing not one’s self. Such man dare not say anything and trembles with fear.
4) All those who set their minds on the spirit will surely walk towards spiritual things and have new object and attachment in their life.
5) Margaret Barber said, “If Satan could control your mind, it could control most of your life.” If one’s mind has not been saved, he must have not been delivered from the flesh.
6) The guidance of the Spirit of God is not some fragmentary feeling, but a great provision for a normal Christian life as well as a free Christian life.
Rom. 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
YLT: “for the mind of the flesh death, and the mind of the Spirit -- life and peace;”
Meaning: there are possibly three conditions of man’s
mind: the first one is independent ---- that is neither carnal nor spiritual;
the second is carnally
minded ---- it will
finally become “the mind of the flesh”; the third is spiritually minded and is
transformed by the renewing of mind (
“Be carnally minded is death”, the mind of the flesh must cause spiritual withering and death.
“Be spiritually minded is life and peace”, the spiritual mind must bring about spiritual peace (Col. 3:15; Phil. 4:7) and spiritual growth and prosperity (1Tim. 4:15).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The spiritual mind is only governed by the commandment of God, not by the natural mind. Though the spiritual mind has no carnal assurance and is not by the natural thought, it brings about life and peace. Where there is no death, there will be full of rest.
2) If we are carnally minded, we will feel dead and withered in spirit. If we are spiritually minded and obey the guidance of the spirit, we will feel that we are filled by life and peace. This is the basic lesson that Christians should learn. We should take heed to learn it.
3) Life is satisfaction, and peace is rest. He who is spiritually minded is obeying the guidance of life so that his life shall be fed and his spirit shall have peace. Otherwise, we will feel empty and unsatisfied. If we have no peace, there must be problems.
4) The feeling of life is fullness instead of emptiness, firmness instead of weakness, brightness instead of darkness. Peace is a kind of inward gentleness, comfort and rest.
5) “Life” means that all the spiritual truth in us is living. “Peace” indicates that one surpasses all his circumstance and is not shaken by anything, without any accusation or struggle. We should ask ourselves: how much freshness is there in my life? How much grace have I experienced?
YLT: “because the mind of the flesh enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself,”
Literal Meaning: “because the carnal mind is enmity against God”, it is firstly the flesh that is enmity against God and strives with the Spirit of God (Gen. 6:3 the original; Gal. 5:17 the original), but the mind is willing to be subject to the law of God (Rom. 7:25). However, man’s the mind develops into “the carnal mind”, it is enmity against God (James 4:4).
“For it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be”, since the carnal mind is enmity against God, it can surely not be subject to the law of God. Even though it is willing, it can not do it. “Being not subject to”, it is the problem of disposition and nature; “cannot be”, it is the problem of power.
This verse illustrates that “the carnal mind is death” (the original).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) There is absolutely no hope in the flesh. We should not place hopes on the flesh, nor be in expectation of reforming the flesh.
2) He who is carnally minded is the natural man, who is by nature not subject to and cannot be subject to the law of God.
3) The flesh is weak toward sin, but is hardened toward God and is enmity against God and is not subject to and cannot be subject to the law of God. Therefore, God condemned the flesh and crucified it on the cross.
4) When we are delivered from the law, we are saved from the flesh simultaneously. How to be delivered from the flesh? We should see that the law has not requirement on us and we need no longer do anything.
Rom. 8:8 “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
YLT: “for neither is it able; and those who are in the flesh are not able to please God.”
Literal Meaning: “those who are in the flesh”, it shows that they not only walk according to the flesh and are carnally minded, and even totally live in the flesh.
“Cannot please God”, it suggests that though man lives in the flesh, he stills tries to please God through carnal efforts. However, man cannot please God in the flesh anyway (see 1Cor. 10:5).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) This verse suggests that he who is in the flesh still wants to please God. However, even though he wants to please God, he cannot please God.
2) The crucified One on the cross that day was a summation of all the “flesh” (see v.3), showing that God had given up all His hope of the flesh and placed all His hope on His Son Christ. Since God is so, why we are still in expectation of ourselves? Why do we still not give up all our hope outside of Christ but let Christ be our hope of glory (Heb. 12:2 Col. 1:27)?
Rom. 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. ”
YLT: “And ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God doth dwell in you; and if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ -- this one is not His;”
Literal Meaning: “but you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit”, the flesh is opposite to the spirit, so it means living in the spirit. To be a man who lives in the spirit, there are two pre-conditions:
1) “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His”, the one must have “the Spirit of Christ” so that he is a man of Christ, that is to say, he must be a Christian.
2) “If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…”, “the Spirit of Christ” who lives in Him is “the Spirit of God”. This Spirit should not be like a guest who lives temporarily, but like the house-owner who has the ownership ---- he can not only dwells in man abidingly but also abides in rest and does what he wishes (the meaning of the word “abide” in the original, see Eph. 3:17 the original). A believer in such condition can be counted as spiritual.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Conversely, if man is of Christ, he must have the Spirit of Christ. The greatest grace that a man who has been saved has received is the indwelling Spirit in him. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God. God is in Christ, and Christ becomes the Spirit.
2) This verse unveils that the Holy Spirit is in us, and we are in the Spirit. Our relation with Christ is: “he who abides in us and He in us (John 15:5)”.
3) Though the Spirit has entered into the one who has been saved, but the Spirit may have not been “dwelt” or “rooted” in him. Such believer can not be counted spiritual.
4) The spiritual one is he who lets the Spirit be his lord, not guest.
5) What kind man is a man who abides in the Spirit? It is the one who lets the Spirit be rooted in him. The Spirit is sent to abide in us and be our life. The Spirit is a person who abides in us and bears witness of the Lord Jesus.
6) A lot of men intellectually know the Spirit is a person, but do not know Him in experience and think that the Spirit is only a kind of effect. They do not know the Spirit abides in us ---- that is God Himself who abides in us. That the Spirit abides in us is the person of God abides in us.
7) Believers should devote themselves to God so that the power of the Spirit shall be manifested. The knowledge of the Spirit who is a person abiding in us will make us lose the freedom. Henceforth, we are no longer ourselves, for we have the Spirit who is a living person living in us. We should let Him in us freely work His power and all that is of Him.
8) The most appropriate way of life for believers is living in the Spirit. Christ died in the flesh but lives in Spirit. God places all the accomplished works and truth of Christ in the Holy Spirit so that all the works and truth will be living. Everything is dead without the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the truth of God will become the law. Without the Holy Spirit, the life of Christ will become letters.
Rom. 8:10 “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
YLT: “and if Christ in you, the body, indeed, dead because of sin, and the Spirit life because of righteousness,”
Literal Meaning: “and if Christ is in you”, it is the first complementary illustration of the first condition in verse nine. “Christ” and “the Spirit of God” as well as “the Spirit of Christ” are synonymous.
“The body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness”, on account of sin, the body of a man who has already received Christ in him has become the “body of death” (Rom. 7:24), but his spirit is quickened because of being justified by believing Christ (Rom. 5:18). Therefore, he is a man of spirit.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In the minds of many Christians, Christ today is sitting at the right hand of God in the heavens (v.34). But few have realized that Christ is in us, in our spirit (2Tim. 3:22). They only believe that they will see Him in the heaven in the future, but have not thought that they can draw near Him and have fellowship with Him today. No wonder that their spiritual conditions are not good.
2) The indwelling Christ has close relationship with our spiritual life. Today, He has become the quickening spirit (1Cor. 15:45) ---- who not only quickens our spirit, but also gives life to us and is the provision of our life.
3) According to verse nine and ten, we can firmly say that “Christ” and “the Spirit of God” as well as “the Spirit of Christ” are synonymous. Today, the Lord is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17) and He works in us. Therefore, our eyes should not only “look up to heaven”, but also gaze at Christ who dwells in us.
4) Chapter six of the Book of Romans tells us that we are in Christ (
5) We should not think that our sin has been dealt with and the root of sin has been pulled out. Sin still dwells in us (Rom. 7:21, 23). Therefore, we should not walk according to the flesh, nor be carnally minded, nor expect that we can reform our body.
6) Sin that dwells in us brings about death. The indwelling Christ brings about life to our spirits. Our spirits have been quickened, so life is in our spirit now.
7) Once the spiritual things are in the Spirit, they will be quickened. Everything is dead without the Spirit (see John 15:5). Only those have despaired of themselves will know the works of the Spirit.
8) Only by living in our spirits the accomplished works of the Lord on the cross can be fulfilled on us so that we will experience the life in Christ and all that of Christ.
9) “The body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness”, we should live continually in the Spirit. Whenever we are not living in the Spirit but in the flesh, it is “death”.
Rom. 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. ”
YLT: “and if the Spirit of Him who did raise up Jesus out of the dead doth dwell in you, He who did raise up the Christ out of the dead shall quicken also your dying bodies, through His Spirit dwelling in you.”
Literal Meaning: this verse is the supplementary explanation of the second condition stated in verse 9: “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead” is “the Spirit that dwells in us”, namely, “the Spirit of God”, “the Spirit of Christ” and “Christ”.
This verse means that God has raised Jesus from the dead and now the Spirit with great risen power abides in us. The Spirit in His dwelling place (namely, our spirit) will expand and distribute the divine life so that renew the thoughts, affection and will in our souls. Besides, the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2Cor. 4:10-11) so as to “give life to” our mortal and corruptible body (see 1Cor. 15:53-54).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Spirit not only gives life and power to the spiritual life of believers. That the Spirit dwells in believers indicates that even though their bodies are now subjective to corruption, they will rise again and receive the new life, just as the resurrection of the body of Jesus.
2) The body of believers will not only be raised and be glorified in the future, but also be able to bear witness of the resurrection today, for His risen life will penetrate into our soul from our spirit and will be magnified in my body (see Phil. 1:20).
Rom. 8:12 “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.”
YLT: “So, then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh;”
Literal Meaning: “therefore, brethren”, “therefore” shows that the following words are the summary of the previous paragraph.
“We are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh”, though the flesh is a trouble for believers to be sanctified, believers need not to live according to the flesh, for Christ Jesus has condemned sin in the flesh (v.3). We believers are no longer debtors to the flesh. We had to live according to the flesh (Eph. 2:3), but now we have been delivered from the flesh (Col. 2:11-12) through faith of the working of God who raised him from among the dead. We will never be bound and entangled by the flesh.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) This verse suggests that believers may still live according to the flesh. We should always remind us that we are no longer debtors to the flesh so we need no longer to live in the flesh.
2) This verse also tells us that since Christ has dwelt in believers, we should no longer live according to the flesh. In other words, Christians should not lead a life that is unworthy of the Lord ---- leading a low moral life that humiliates the Lord’s name.
Rom. 8:13 “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.”
YLT: “for if according to the flesh ye do live, ye are about to die; and if, by the Spirit, the deeds of the body ye put to death, ye shall live;”
Literal Meaning: in order to understand this verse, we need to know the meaning of the words “flesh”, “body” and “spirit” respectively:
1) “Flesh”, after the fall of man, sin entered into man’s body and made it corruptible, thus the flesh came into being.
2) “Body” refers to the visible physical body. This word has no evil meaning, except for a few places in the scripture.
3) “Spirit”, it is not the Holy Spirit or the spirit of man only, but both the spirit of man and the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the spirit of man inspired and worked by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
“For if you live according to the flesh”, as for the objective fact, the flesh of believers has been crucified with Christ (Gal. 5:24). With regard to the subjective fact, believers still have the possibility of living according to the flesh (see 1Cor. 3:1-3).
“But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body”, the body of a believer, the tool of manifesting his deeds, works according to the soul. When the soul (especially the mind) of a believer focuses on the flesh, the deeds of the body will be subjective to the flesh. However, if one’s soul focuses on the spirit, the deeds of the body will be subjective to the spirit (v.5).
“By the Spirit you put to death”, we believers shall inactivate the deeds of the body by putting them to death by the Holy Spirit and the spirit of man together.
“You will die…you will live”, the improper deeds of the body of believers will cause spiritual death. However, if one puts to death the improper deeds of the body by the Spirit, his spiritual life shall be increasingly living (see the commentary of verse 6).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If we live according to the flesh, we shall not only sin but also die, for sin brings about death and death follows sin. Where there is sin, there must be death. Sin defiles us and death weakens us. The extremity of weakness is death.
2) Since we can not deal with the lusts of the flesh nor overcome the sin through ourselves, we can only put the evil nature of the flesh to death and lead the new triumphant life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
3) The Holy Spirit has the slain power of the cross. When the Holy Spirit works in us, the slain power of the cross will penetrate into us to put all the passive things of us to death.
4) In chapter six, we are crucified with Christ. In this chapter here, we put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. Christ has fulfilled the work of crucifixion, and the Holy Spirit puts the deeds of the body to death. Christ has accomplished the salvation on the cross. If we are willing to obey Him, the Holy Spirit will accomplish the works on us.
Rom. 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
YLT: “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God;”
Literal Meaning: the above verses tell us that the spirits of believers cooperate with the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body in the process of believers’ sanctification through total reliance on the works and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Without the works of the Holy Spirit, we have no possibility of sanctification.
Since we have the communion and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it proves that we are sons of God. God has begotten us again (John 3:5, 8) so that we have the life of God (eternal life) and become partakers of divine nature (1Pet. 1:4).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Being “led” by the Spirit of God is being guided, revealed, pressed and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Such man who is led by the Holy Spirit must be able to put the deeds of the body to death to lead a holy life that pleases God.
2) Though we believers have male brothers and female brothers, all those who obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit before God are “sons” of God. Brothers are sons of God, and sisters are sons of God. Brothers and sisters are sons of God.
Rom. 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." ”
YLT: “for ye did not receive a spirit of bondage again for fear, but ye did receive a spirit of adoption in which we cry, `Abba -- Father.'”
Literal Meaning: “Abba” is a Syrian word. “Father” is a Greek word. Both of them mean father. When they are jointed together, we may feel more intimate and sweet. Our relationship with God is a son-father relationship in life. Therefore, we can approach with boldness to God (Heb. 4:16), and so we will never be bound as formalistic and trembling as a religionist under law for fear of sinning against God. The intimate and sweet feeling of us toward God is produced from the “the spirit of son”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The life that we have obtained is eternal life and the life of the Son of God. Therefore, we have the closest father-son relationship with God. When we cry “Abba Father”, we may feel glorious and sweet. How difficult to describe the feeling!
2) Once man has obtained the divine life, he will not only be conscious of sins but also know God Himself. To know that God is the Father is the feeling of this divine life. If one only knows in reason but has not met God, he will fear God and cannot touch God, so he will not feel that God is near and have no feeling of a child of God. Though he confesses the Father in the heaven in his mouth, he has no feeling inside.
3) What we have received is “the Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6). In other words, the Spirit that we have received is the Spirit that had descended upon the Lord Jesus in mighty power when He was baptized (Mark 1:10). The Spirit also brought Him in the wilderness (Luke 4:14) and provided power for Him to work wonders (Matt. 12:28) and made His life and service full of power (Luke 4:14, 18).
Rom. 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
YLT: “The Spirit himself doth testify with our spirit, that we are children of God;”
Literal Meaning: this verse reveals that the origin of the feeling of the children of God:
1) That is the Holy Spirit “Himself” who bears witness in us.
2) Our quickened spirit in us also “amen” this witness.
3) The “Spirit of adoption” is the Spirit.
4) The Holy Spirit and our spirit act in concert with each other and bear witness together.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit”, it shows that the Holy Spirit not only abides in us, but also works with our spirit closely. The two spirits become one.
2) “That we are children of God”, this is a witness in spirit. Every believer who has truly been saved will have this witness, no matter how long has he been saved.
3) We have immediately got the witness of the Spirit after we have been saved. Therefore, even a young believer can also feeling the working of the Spirit in us, so we can seek the guidance of the Spirit after we have been just saved.
Rom. 8:17 “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.”
YLT: “and if children, also heirs, heirs, indeed, of God, and heirs together of Christ -- if, indeed, we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together.”
Literal Meaning: “and if children, then heirs—”, the meanings of “children” and “sons” are different from that of “heirs”. “Children” means that we have immediately obtained the status on account of the divine life when we are born again. Everyone who has believed the Lord has the right to be a child of God (John 1:12). “Sons” means that the children of God are increased in life. Believers, no matter male or female, can both be the sons of God. All those who overcome in life will be the “male son” (see Rev. 12:5; 14:3-5). “Heirs” means that they are grown up in life and are accepted by God to inherit the glory which shall be revealed in the future.
Once believers have been saved, they are sure that they become the children of God (1John 3:1). However, the sons of God must be those who are led by the Spirit of God (v.14). And the heirs of God who shall inherit the inheritance of God (Gal. 4:1) must be full-grown men (Eph. 4:13).
“Heirs of God”, since we are the children of God, we have the adoption of children. Therefore, we shall be heirs of God sooner or later.
“And joint heirs with Christ”, we will inherit all with Christ in the future, and He will bring many sons into glory (Heb. 2:10). Therefore, here, it mentions that we are joint heirs with Christ.
“If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”. The forerunner that brings us into glory is made perfect through suffering (Heb. 2:10). Therefore, we who follow Him should have the mind of suffering (1Pet. 4:1). If we share in the sufferings of Christ, we shall share in the revelation of his glory (1Pet. 4:13).
“We suffer with Him”, it means being conformed to his death (Phil. 3:10), denying one’s self, disregarding the consumption of the outward man (2Cor. 4:8-11, 16-17), dealing with whole heart (1Pet. 4:1), refusing the temptation of Satan (Heb. 2:18) and learning to obey God (Heb. 5:8).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Children” is our status, showing that we have the son-father relationship of life with God. “Heirs” refers to our blessing, indicating that we can inherit all the fullness of God, especially the ultimate glory of God. It does not our illusion, but an open declaration in the scripture and a clear witness borne by the Spirit.
2) “Children” in the first half of this verse is unconditional, but “heirs” in the second half is conditional, that is to suffer with Christ: “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”.
3) The working of the indwelling Spirit is the guarantee for us to obtain the spiritual inheritance of glory and to foretaste the inheritance that we will inherit in the future.
4) The status of the glorious heirs is “the children of God”, which indicates that only the divine life and mysterious union are the only foundation of entering into glory. All that are of the flesh and man profit nothing (see John 1:12-13).
5) The way of the glorious heirs is “suffer with Him…be glorified together”, which unveils that the cross is the only way unto glory. If we want to enjoy the blessings of the heirs, we cannot escape the death of the cross. This is the way for the first-born, so it is for all the sons, for it is the predestination of God the Father.
6) Maybe we do not like suffering, but we need suffering. Remember that suffering is the embodiment of grace. We shall not be troubled by suffering. If we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.
7) The glory that everyone will obtain is different (see 1Cor. 15:41). The degree and condition of our suffering in the Lord is often connected with the degree of glory that we will obtain. The more suffering we have experienced, the more glory we will receive.
Rom. 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.”
YLT: “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time not worthy with the glory about to be revealed in us;”
Literal Meaning: Paul describes the suffering that believers are suffered at present as “momentary light” but the glory which shall be revealed in us as “being in surpassing measure an eternal weight” (2Cor. 4:17). Both of them have extremely enormous difference.
This verse indicates that the sufferings at present are unworthy to be compared with the glory in the future at all.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The glory in the future minus the present sufferings still remains much glory beyond computation. Therefore, we need not mind the sufferings at present.
2) The glory mentioned here is “the glory about to be revealed in us”. Therefore, such glory is not a sudden transition in a particular time that we should wait for, but an increasing spiritual reality that we can experience everyday and will be fulfilled on that day. The fact tells us that whenever we really enter into the affliction of the death of the cross, we will truly touch the glory of Christ.
3) If we really have the revelation of “the glory which shall be revealed in us”, our feeling and “consideration” will be delivered from the sufferings that we are suffered from. What deliverance! And we shall boast that they “are unworthy of” the glory!
Rom. 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
YLT: “for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God;”
Literal Meaning: “the creation”, the Bible exegetes have different explanations for this: 1) believers; 2) the world; 3) the universe. According to verse 23, we can see that “we” are separated from the creature, so the creation does not refer to believers. Some Bible exegetes think the creation can “expect earnestly and wait eagerly” and can “be willing” (v.20) and can “groan” (v.22), so it refers to the mankind. However, how can the world know the dispensation of God to “expect earnestly and wait eagerly”? It does not make sense. Therefore, it is better to interpret it literally. The creation is the creature, including angels and the whole creature presented by angels.
“The revealing of the sons of God”, why do the creation expect earnestly and wait for the revealing of the sons of God eagerly? The answer is given in the next verse.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Today, the world can not see we are the sons of God on us, for the time has not come yet and our bodies have not redeemed (see v.23). Our physical bodies are consumed day by day (2Cor. 4:16) and become old, sick and dead like the world.
2) Christians are men who do not seek the outward physical dignity and enjoyment today, but the growth of the inward spiritual life.
Rom. 8:20 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;”
YLT: “for to vanity was the creation made subject -- not of its will, but because of Him who did subject -- in hope,”
Literal Meaning: “for the creation was subjected to futility”, though the creation was created on account of the will of God (Rev. 4:11), if there is not the one who shall fill all things (Eph. 4:10) and manifest His fullness and glory (Eph. 1:23 the original; 3:21) though the sons of God (namely, the church), it is still vanity of vanities and all is vanity (Eccl. 1:2).
“Not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope”, the will of God is that one day we will reveal as “the sons of God” (v.19) in glory and be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (v.21).
Before the approaching of that day, though we have the status and life of sons of God, we have still not revealed as the sons of God completely. Therefore, we and the whole creation are still subjected to futility.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) After the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, all was subjected to futility (losing the purpose of their being created and having no single or special inclination). All things are subjected to futility today and wait for the revealing of the sons of God.
2) All is vanity. Only Christ is reality (John 14:6), and only Christ Himself is the goal of our pursuit.
YLT: “that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God;”
Literal Meaning: “because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption”, before the coming of that day, all the creatures (including the present condition of believers) are under the bondage of corruption now. It is not only shall the heavens and the earth grow old as a garment (Heb. 1:11), but also all things are changing (Col. 2:22; 1Pet. 1:18; Eph. 4:22). Therefore, we here expect to be delivered early.
“Into the glorious liberty of the children of God”, “into” means that:
1) The glory that will be revealed in the children of God is a surpassing realm for men to “enter into” (Heb. 2:10).
2) In that glorious realm, there is full of liberty of the Son of God, namely, the true liberty (John 8:36), which is free from any kind of bondage.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Sin made the whole earth under the curse. However, when the day of glorious redemption comes, all the imperfections on the earth will disappear.
2) The future of the whole creation rests with believers. The speed of the growth of our spiritual life influences the time when the whole universe enjoys the glory. Therefore, we should seek to grow in spiritual life for ourselves as well as all the creation.
Rom. 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
YLT: “for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.”
Literal Meaning: it follows the previous verse, indicating that:
1) In order to be delivered from the bondage of corruption and enter into the glorious liberty, one should go through the travails of childbirth, i.e. “suffering with Him” until Christ shall have been formed in us (Gal. 4:19).
2) Everything around us that we touch today groans silently toward us and expects earnestly to enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God early.
Rom. 8:23 “Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
YLT: “And not only , but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting -- the redemption of our body;”
Literal Meaning: “not only that”, it shows that the condition presented from verse 19 to 22 does not relate to believers.
“But we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit”, “the first-fruit” is the fruit that becomes ripe first and is the sample of all those fruits that will be ripe. “The first-fruits of the Spirit” have two kinds of interpretation ---- one is that the first-fruits are the first-fruits of the Spirit Himself and are the earnest and foretaste of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14); and the other is that the first-fruits are the first-fruits of the Spirit in us (Gal. 5:22) as well as the model of the full and sweet fruits of the Spirit in the future.
As far as the whole creation is concerned, we believers are a certain first-fruits of the creatures (James 1:18). The future of believers decides that of all the creatures.
“Even we ourselves groan within ourselves”, the normal response of all those who have been made partakers of Holy Spirit and have tasted of the heavenly gift and the good word of God (Heb. 6:4-5) is to desire more perfect enjoyment from their heart and even “groan” within themselves for the sake of having not received immediately.
“Eagerly waiting for the adoption”, what we groan and wait for is the “adoption”. As far as our status is concerned, when we were saved, we had already received the adoption (Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5) and were sons of God immediately (Gal. 3:26). However, as regards our experience, since we have not yet revealed as the sons of God completely (see the commentary of verse 19), nor inherited all the inheritance (see the commentary of verse 17), the adoption has not fully fulfilled on us.
“The redemption of our body”, the redemption of our body fulfills the adoption. Today, our weak, corruptible and mortal natural body will become strong, incorruptible and immortal spiritual body (1Cor. 15:42-54) one day. That day will be the day of “redemption” (Eph. 1:14; 4:30).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Holy Spirit is the first-fruit bestowed to us by God. We shall foretaste the perfect and full blessings God will reward us in the future through the experience and enjoyment of the indwelling Spirit in us.
2) Today, though we have become sons of God by receiving the life of the Son of God, we will obtain the adoption when the Lord comes again. The adoption refers to the redemption of our body that we will be delivered from the bondage of the old creation and enter into the glorious liberty of the new creation.
Rom. 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?”
YLT: “for in hope we were saved, and hope beheld is not hope; for what any one doth behold, why also doth he hope for?”
Literal Meaning: “for we were saved in this hope”, the so-called “be saved” here does not refer to the salvation of spirit (namely, the salvation of eternal life), nor the salvation of soul (James 1:21 the original), but the salvation of body, i.e. “the redemption of our body” in verse 23.
The salvation of our body will be fully fulfilled when the Lord comes again. Therefore, this salvation is not in our cooperation and pursuit, but in our expectation and hope.
“But hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?” The indwelling Christ (namely, the indwelling Spirit) gives us the glory of hope (Col. 1:27). This hope is seen on account of the eyes of faith, not the physical eyes (see 2Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1).
Rom. 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
YLT: “and if what we do not behold we hope for, through continuance we expect .”
Literal Meaning: since the hope mentioned in the previous verse can not be seen by physical eyes, the hope must not be health or good luck hoped by men in the world. Therefore, before the approaching of that day, we must have some grievous sufferings such as disease, so we should wait for the day with perseverance.
“Eagerly wait for it with perseverance”, here, it is not passive endurance for us, but positive perseverance.
Rom. 8:26 “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. ”
YLT: “And, in like manner also, the Spirit doth help our weaknesses; for, what we may pray for, as it behoveth , we have not known, but the Spirit himself doth make intercession for us with groanings unutterable,”
Literal Meaning: “likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses”, “likewise” indicates that this paragraph also relates to the previous one. When we wait for that day here with perseverance, we may encounter many occasions that make us weak, the Holy Spirit will condescend to us to comfort us and help us by dealing with the weakness (“help” in the original means “hand in hand” or “linking with one and another”)
“For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought”, many times, we are so weak that we do not know how to pray to God ---- it is too difficult to express our inward feeling.
“But the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”, when we groan (v.23), the Spirit will also groan with us together.
“With groanings which cannot be uttered”, it is not the Spirit cannot utter, but we cannot utter ---- “we do not know what we should pray”, nor how to speak forth the burden in us. Nevertheless, the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered so that our burden will be unloaded before God and our inward feeling will be expressed before God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”, this is one thing that the Spirit helps us most deeply and subjectively.
2) When we do not know what we should pray for as we ought at all, the Spirit sympathizes with us and makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Besides, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses by intercession. The Lord is also pleased to answer the prayers of those who cry out in weakness (see 2Cor. 12:8-9).
3) We often do not know how to pray for the sake of our infantility and infirmity, but God has sent His Spirit to make intercession for us. And the intercession of the Spirit is usually voiceless groanings beyond thousands of words. Therefore, true prayer may not need much speaking (see Matt. 6:7). Sometime, even though one does not know how to pray but just groans before the Lord, he can also be accepted by God as long as he groans from the depth of his heart.
Rom. 8:27 “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.”
YLT: “and He who is searching the hearts hath known what the mind of the Spirit, because according to God he doth intercede for saints.”
Literal Meaning: “now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is”, “He who searches the hearts” is God who hears prayers. If we ask him anything according to his will he hears us (1John 5:14). The previous verse shows that the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. The voiceless intercession of the Spirit is according to the will of God, so God must hear.
“Because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God”, there are not the words of “the will” in the original. “He makes intercession for the saints according to God”, it means that the intercession that the Spirit makes in us according to God is the intercession that God Himself makes in us through His Spirit.
Rom. 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.”
YLT: “And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose;”
Literal Meaning: this verse has the function of linking what comes before and goes after.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God”, when we are going through something that makes us feel weak, we on the one hand “do not know” how to pray to God for passing through the hardship and on the other hand we “know” that these things do not happen in vain but profit us.
“All things” refer to everything without exception. All things coming upon us will work together and profit us ultimately.
The secret of obtaining the good that all things work together lies in “loving God”. The influence of the same thing over those who do not love God and those who love God is totally different ---- the former may profit nothing, but the latter may benefit a great deal. Since God “searches the hearts” (v.27), He knows our heart towards Him. He who loves God from his heart will have good issues of life (see Pro. 4:23).
“To those who are the called according to His purpose”, those who love God are “those who are the called according to His purpose”. In other words, God calls us to love Him. If any one love not the Lord let him be Anathema Maranatha (1Cor. 16:22).
God calls us to love Him, for He has a predestinated will that will be fulfilled on us. Therefore, the Spirit also prays according to this will (v.27).
What is the will? It is stated in verse 29 and 30.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “All”, nothing befalls us suddenly. There is nothing that befalls us by chance.
2) We do not know what good we will receive and the way of working for that good. We do not know how many things we will go through, nor how much good we will receive. However, we know one thing that all things work for good to us. There is nothing that is not working for good to us.
3) We must believe that all things work together for good. Even the enemy is for good to those who are of God. All things are governed by God for good to us. Therefore, there is nothing that befalls us by chance. In the sight of us, what we are in the face of are complicated and confusing and we do not know the purpose or the way of fulfilling the purpose. However, we know one thing that all things work together for good to us. There is nothing that is not working for good to us.
4) “All things work together for good to those who love God”, it shows that everything is governed by the ruler of all for the purpose of giving us the spiritual profit. Therefore, Christians should not believe the matter of “fortune”, let alone seeking the forecast of one’s fortune (such as fortune-telling) or trying one's fortune (e.g. gamble, lottery and etc.).
5) “All things work together for good to those who love God”, this verse is known by many people. Only those who love God will enjoy the good of this verse. If you do not love God, there may be nothing working for good to you. God does not change all things, but change your heart. If you love God, though all things have not changed, they work for good to you.
6) Everything that we meet must have its value. However, when God works, we may receive good and may also block that good. It has great relation with our attitude. If we love God, all that which is of God works good for us. “To bring thee to Thy God, love takes the shortest route”.
7) When we run into problems, if we do not love God and yet have many pursuit, lust and interest outside of God, the good that God will give us will be delayed. Even though we go through many dealings, there still remains nothing in our spirit.
8) The answers that God answers our prayers are beyond our expectations. We seek endurance, but God gives us tribulations, for “tribulations work endurance” (Rom. 5:3). We seek obedience, but God gives us sufferings so that we may learn obedience from the things which we suffered (Heb. 5:8).
9) The way of victory and rest is obeying in every circumstance or trial from the hands of the Father who loved us so that we will ebjoy the good from the working of all things.
10) The Spirit He makes intercession for the saints “according to the will of God” (v.27). We who love God are those are called according to “His will”. It tells us that everything starts from the will of God. Obviously, we should give priority to the will of God in the spiritual pursuit including the prayers to God and loving God.
Rom. 8:29 “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.”
YLT: “because whom He did foreknow, He also did fore-appoint, conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be first-born among many brethren;”
Literal Meaning: this verse explains the beginning and purpose of the will of God.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined”, the will of God originates from His “foreknowledge” and “predestination”. “Foreknowledge” means God had elected us according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in the past eternity (1Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:4). “Predestination” indicates that God had predestined according to the good pleasure of his will, including the persons selected and the condition that they will attain to in the future (see Eph. 1:5; Acts. 13:48; 2Cor. 2:7).
“To be conformed to the image of His Son”, the purpose of the will of God is to make us “be conformed to the image of His Son”. It means that after we are saved ---- through the inside help and working of the Spirit as well as the outside work in the environment arranged by the hands of God ---- we will be gradually renewed and transformed, even as the Lord finally (Rom. 12:2; 2Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10).
“That He might be the firstborn among many brethren”, when we are totally like the Lord, the sons of God will reveal (v.19; see 1John 3:2). The will of God is to have and perfect many sons like His only beloved Son so that He (the Lord Jesus) will be the firstborn among His brethren (see Heb. 1:6; 2:10-12).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Considering we believers, the peak of Christ’s salvation is that the whole man is conformed to the image of the Son of God from inside to outside and from the spirit to the body ---- from “the Spirit is life because of righteousness” to “the mortal bodies are quickened” (v.10-11), namely “the redemption of our body” (v.23). As for God, He will have many “sons” through His “firstborn”. The only beloved and the sons will become one, namely, a corporate Son and a full Son, who will reveal in glory so that the fullness of Godhead will be perfectly manifested. This is the ultimate purpose of God.
2) In the eternal will of God, Christ is: 1) the pattern (v.29); 2) the center of giving gifts (v.32); 3) the basis of victory (v.37); 4) the shield of love (v.39). God firstly set Christ as the pattern and then gives all things in the center of Christ to work for us with the purpose of conforming us into the image of Christ. Meanwhile, He gives Christ to us as the shield of love to make us more than conquerors in the “conforming” of all things, thus fulfilling His good will on us. Oh! The full Christ is everything in the will of God.
Rom. 8:30 “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
YLT: “and whom He did fore-appoint, these also He did call; and whom He did call, these also He declared righteous; and whom He declared righteous, these also He did glorify.”
Literal Meaning: this verse generally describes the process of the advancing of the will of God.
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called”, the will of God concerning man originates from “predestination”, which includes foreknowledge, election and predestination.
The second step is “calling”. Believers are called by God (Rom. 1:7; 9:24). God calls men by the outside preachment of the gospel and the inside revelation of the Spirit (Rom. 10:14-21; Gal. 1:15-16).
“Whom He called, these He also justified”, the third step is “justification”. All those who believe the Lord Jesus are those who are justified by God (Rom. 3:26; Gal. 2:16). This justification includes remission, being washed, positional sanctification, reconciliation with God and obtaining the eternal life and etc.
“And whom He justified, these He also glorified”, the last step is “being glorified”, that is the redemption of our body, the full accomplishment of the adoption, being conformed to the image of the Son of God. Now, we have all been justified and are pressing on toward glory. Before not being glorified, we should all seek to grow in life, be sanctified in subjective experience and be renewed and change and etc.
(Note that “glorified” in the original was the past tense, showing that “being glorified” is an accomplished fact according to the eternal vision of God.)
Rom. 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ”
YLT: “What, then, shall we say unto these things? if God for us, who against us?”
Literal Meaning: here it means that since the will of God is making us be glorified, no one can hinder us from entering glory, because God Himself helps us. Is there anyone stronger than God?
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “If God is for us”, it implies that God is with us. We can be more than conquerors with the presence of God. “Who can be against us?” Yes, since God who creates and governs the universe is our shield, whom need we fear? Is there anyone or anything stronger or greater than our God?
2) Many believers may have not felt God is for us, but we should know that God does not help us according to the way we desire, but according to His good will.
Rom. 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?”
YLT: “He who indeed His own Son did not spare, but for us all did deliver him up, how shall He not also with him the all things grant to us?”
Literal Meaning: we may think that the free grace of God is forsaking His only beloved Son to redeem us and to justify us only (Rom. 3:24). However, since God is willing to deliver up His most beloved Son, is there anything else that He is unwilling to give us? This verse implies that since God has already paid the greatest cost for us, He will help us to fulfill the purpose at any cost
Rom. 8:33 “Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. ”
YLT: “Who shall lay a charge against the choice ones of God? God He that is declaring righteous,”
Literal Meaning: we may think that we are unworthy of being glorified. But no one (no matter man’s conscience or Satan) can bring a charge against us except for God. Since God has already justified us, He will never deny Himself (see 2Tim. 2:13).
Enlightenment in the Word: “God who justifies”, it is neither ourselves nor others, but God Himself justifies us ---- the only One who has the authority of condemning us and forgiving us justifies us. Therefore, we need not doubt the assurance of our salvation.
Rom. 8:34 “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 us. ”
YLT: “who he that is condemning? Christ He that died, yea, rather also, was raised up; who is also on the right hand of God -- who also doth intercede for us.”
Literal Meaning: we may think that the third step of sanctification is difficult, let alone the fourth step of being glorified. However, concerning our status before God, it is only Christ Jesus that has the right of judging us except for God. Since Jesus Christ has been dead for our transgressions and has justified us and risen from the dead (Rom. 4:25), He will definitely not raise any objection to our being justified. He is now the high priest on the right hand of God, and is always living to intercede for us. Therefore, He is able to save us completely (Heb. 7:24-25) so that we can be glorified.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord Jesus not only died for us to save us, but also intercedes and prays for us in the heaven after His resurrection. Oh, how full His love is, and how perfect His salvation is!
2) That the high priest who is on the right hand of the Most High intercedes for us is the origin of the believers’ victory in spiritual war (see Ex. 17:8-16).
Rom. 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? ”
YLT: “Who shall separate us from the love of the Christ? tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Literal Meaning: “who shall separate us from the love of Christ”? “Who” refers to someone, but what have been listed afterwards are some “things”. It seems that Paul intents to suggest that the seven kinds of suffering are the tools and methods used by the enemy to separate us.
In the whole Bible, the “love of Christ” has been mentioned three times including it (2Cor. 5:14-15; Eph. 3:14-19). The rest is the love of God. Actually, the love of Christ is the love of God. The love of Christ and the love of God are one.
“Shall tribulation?” “Tribulation” refers to the tribulation that we go through for the sake of the Lord.
“Or distress?” “Distress” refers to the difficult conditions that make us painful.
“Or persecution?” “Persecution” refers to the oppression caused by the Lord.
“Or famine, or nakedness?” “Famine” and “nakedness”, the feeling and shame in an impoverished condition;
“Or peril, or sword?” “Peril” it relates to all the crises that may bring danger; “sword” refers to the threat of death.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) We may have no confidence in ourselves, lest in extreme difficult conditions we humiliate the Lord who saves us. However, we forget that it is not we take responsibility for us, but the love of Christ. He has loved us and loved us to the end (John 13:1). There is no condition that can separate us from the love of Christ.
2) The love of Christ is the great motive and power in our tribulation. His love comforts us in our affliction and renews our strength in our weakness.
Rom. 8:36 “As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." ”
YLT: “(according as it hath been written -- `For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long, we were reckoned as sheep of slaughter,')”
Literal Meaning: this verse points out the necessary experience before being glorified.
“As it is written”, it is quoted from the Book of Psalm (44:22).
“For Your sake we are killed all day long”, “we”: all the beloved ones of God; “for Your sake”, it is for the sake of fulfilling the will of God; “are killed all day long”, it is always being suffered and taking the cross in one’s daily life.
“We are accounted as sheep
for the slaughter”, it is like the death of Christ (
Rom. 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
YLT: “but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us;”
Literal Meaning: “yet…through Him who loved us”, “yet” indicates that the tribulations above are unavoidable, but we have a way out. “Through Him who loved us”, the love of Christ is the answer of all the questions.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors”, “in all these things”, we can enjoy the power of Christ’s love when we are personally in these things. “Are more than conquerors”, here, we “are” conquerors, not “will be able to be” or “shall be”. It means that the result of the war is obvious even though the war has not started. Besides, we are “more than conquerors”, which implies that such victory is not narrow, nor exhaustedly, but sweepingly.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Here we are not conquerors by the Lord, but through the Lord. It is not we rely on Him by our power, but we go through Him. If we are through Him, we are conquerors.
2) We are conquerors in Christ ---- and are “more than conquerors”. Therefore, we shall stand firm in Him. Today, we need not fight for victory, but fight on account of victory. He that overcomes is the one who rests in the victory given by God.
3) It is in all these things, not outside of these things. We can be more than conquerors in all these things. The victory will especially be manifested when we are confronted with these things. Without these things, there is nothing for us to overcome. Many people think they can overcome without these things. However, the word of God tells us that we are more than conquerors in all these things. The love of Christ will enable us to overcome all the tribulation, distress, persecution, famine and peril. The love of Christ is a power that can make us overcome them.
4) All these things are distressing and bitter. But they are not bitter when we have tasted the love of Christ. This chapter shows that the love of Christ is provided for all those who are in distress.
Rom. 8:38 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,”
YLT: “for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,”
Literal Meaning: “for I am persuaded”, “be persuaded”, it shows that he has got a conclusion after full consideration and believes it complete.
The devil schemes to separate us from the love of Christ by these troubles, but they finally become all things that profit us, which fall into the category as follows:
1) The outside tribulations: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword (v.35);
2) The inside distress: death or life;
3) The power in spiritual realm: angels, principalities, powers especially the fallen spiritual power (see
1Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 2:2; 6:12;
4) The trial in time: things present or things to come;
5) The difficulty in space: height or depth (v
6) That which is not understandable: nor any other created thing (v.39b);
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Through” in the previous verse and “be persuaded” in this verse are the secrets for us to overcome the difficulty as well as the assurance for us to be glorified.
2) We believers should draw the same conclusion as the Apostle Paul: “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep for that day the deposit I have entrusted to him (2Tim.1:12)”.
Rom. 8:39 “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.”
YLT: “nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of god, that in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Literal Meaning: “any other created thing” refers to other thing that we cannot name or that is beyond one's expectations;
Here, “the love of God” is the “love of Christ” in verse 35, so it emphasizes that “the love is in our Lord Christ Jesus”. “Christ Jesus”, since the Lord had humbled himself and experienced various temptations and tribulations, He can know our infirmity and is willing to save us (Heb. 2:18; 4:15).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Take of one reason that the love is in Christ Jesus.
2) The love of God is changeless. Besides, the Lord Jesus is the intercessor, so we are safe. We can always rest in His love and never be worried or frightened.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
The Way of Sanctification
A. One shall not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (v.1-4).
B. One shall not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (v.5-7).
C. One shall not be in the flesh, but in the Spirit (v.8-11).
D. One shall put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit (v.12-13).
The Origin of Victory
A. The victory is based on the redemption of Christ (v.1-3).
B. The victory is based on the work of the Holy Spirit (v.4-30).
1. The Spirit gives the life (v.4-11).
2. The proof of the guidance of the Spirit (v.12-25).
3. The intercessions of the Holy Spirit (v.26-30).
C. The victory is based on God’s help (v.31-39).
1. The love of giving the love of the Son (v.31-34);
2. The love of giving everything (v.35-39).
D. The conclusion: nothing can separate us from the love of God.
What Believers Have Obtained
A. New position (v.1-4; see 2Cor. 5:
B. New life (v.5-13);
C. New relationship (v.14-17);
D. New hope (v.18-25);
E. New help (v.26-27);
F. New knowledge (v.28-30);
G. New guarantee (v.31-39);
The Body of Believers
A. How to overcome the deeds of the body (v.1-17)?
B. How to overcome the pains of the body (v.18-25)?
C. How to overcome the infirmity of the body (v.26-29)?
Three Kinds Grace
A. In the past ---- no condemnation (v.1);
B. Now ---- be preserved (v.28);
C. In the future ---- be glorified (v.30);
Four Aspects Works of the Holy Spirit
A. The Spirit of life delivers believers from the bondage of sin (v.1-4).
B. He who walks according to the Spirit has life and peace (v.5-8).
C. The indwelling Spirit brings the new life (v.9-11).
D. The Spirit of heirs is bestowed to the children of God as an earnest (v.12-17).
The Works of the Holy Spirit in Believers
A. The Spirit is the “Spirit of life” (v.2), so the Spirit brings about life.
B. The indwelling Spirit in our spirit quickens our spirit (v.9-10; John3:6).
C. If we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, the Spirit will expand into our mind (e.g. the soul) so that our minds will become “the minds of the Spirit” (v.5 the original).
D. The Spirit expands from our soul into our body (including every member) further by our cooperation of the mind, thus giving life to your mortal bodies (v.11, 13).
Seven Steps Works of the Holy Spirit for us
A. To have liberty in service (v.2);
B. To have power in service (v.11);
C. To overcome sins (v.13);
D. To lead in service (v.14);
E. To prove the children of God (v.16);
F. To receive help in service (v.26);
G. To receive help in prayer (v.26);
The Names of the Holy Spirit
A. The Holy Spirit (v.9, 11, 27);
B. The Spirit of life (v.2);
C. The Spirit of God (v.9);
D. The Spirit of Christ (v.9);
E. The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead (v.11);
F. The Spirit of adoption (v.15);
(Sons are different from children. The former focuses on privilege and status, and the latter relates to life as well as the meaning of great beloved ones.)
A. The flesh is weak (v.3) and is condemned (v.3). The flesh is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be (v.7).
B. He who is in the flesh walks according to the flesh (v.4).
C. He who walks according to the flesh must be carnally minded (v.5).
D. To be carnally minded is death (v.6).
The Confidence of Believers (v.9-18; 28-39)
A. Who can be against us (v.31-32)?
B. Who shall bring a charge against God's elect (v.33)?
C. Who is he who condemns (v.34; see v.1)?
D. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ (v.35-36; see John 10:28-29; 1Tim. 1:12)?
The Flesh(Rom. 8:12)
A. Do not be debtors to the flesh (v.12).
B. Do not walk in according to flesh (v.4).
C. Do not take forethought for the flesh (see Rom. 13:13-14).
D. Do not trust in flesh (see Phil. 3:3-4).
E. Do not bear the evil fruit of the flesh (v.13; see Gal. 5:19-21).
F. We should put the flesh to death (v.13; see
Three Kinds Works of the Holy Spirit
A. The guidance of the Spirit proves that we the children of God (v.14).
B. The intercessions of the Spirit prove that we are sons of God so that we can cry out, "Abba, Father". Since we have the spirit of children of God, we are no longer bondmen (v.26-27).
C. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (v.16).
The Confidence of Being Glorified
A. The guidance of the Spirit proves that we will be heirs of God (v.14-17).
B. The first-fruits of the Spirit in us enable us to have the hope of glory (v.18-25).
C. The intercessions of the Spirit help us to be conformed into the image of the Son of God (v.26-30).
D. We are more than conquerors through the Lord who loved us (v.31-39).
A. Groans of the whole creation (v.22).
B. We who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves (v.23).
C. The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (v.26).
A. The help of the Holy Spirit (v.26-27);
B. The help from all things ---- work together (v.28-30);
C. The help of God (v.31-33);
D. The help of the Lord (v.34);
E. One helps himself (v.35-39);
The Will of God (v.28-30)
A. The relation in the will of God ---- “all things work together”;
B. The general purpose of the will of God ---- “for good to those who love God”;
C. The content of the will of God: 1) foreknowledge; 2) predestination; 3) the effective calling; 4) justification; 5) be glorified;
Who Shall Separate Us from the Love of Christ (V.35)?
A. Shall tribulation? (see 2Cor. 4:8; e.g. Joseph)
B. Shall distress? (see 2Cor. 7:5; e.g. the beggar Lazarus)
C. Shall persecution? (see Acts 5:41; 12:1-12; 16:19-25; Matt. 5:10-12)
D. Shall famine? (see 1Cor. 4:11; 2Cor. 11:27)
E. Shall nakedness? (see 1Cor. 4:11; 2Cor. 11:27)
F. Shall peril? (see 2Cor. 11:23-27; e.g. Daniel and his three friends and Stephen)
G. Shall sword? (see Acts. 12:1-2; e.g. John the Baptism)
Tribulations in the World
A. From the tribulation to the summit of sword (v.35-37);
B. The two poles of one’s life ---- life and death (v.38);
C. Concerning the mysterious power ----“angels, or principalities, or powers” (v.38);
D. Concerning the time ---- “things present or things to come” (v.39);
E. Concerning the space ---- “height or depth” (v.39);
F. Concerning the created thing ---- “any other created thing” (v.39)
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou