The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Believer: as Against the Flesh, verses
1-13; as Witnessing our Sonship and Heirship—even though Suffering,
verses 14-25; As Helping our Infirmity by Intercession, verses 26, 27.
Great Purpose in His Elect: Conformity to Christ’s Image, and
Association with Him: Their Heavenly Destiny. All Earthly Providences
for their Good. Verses 28-30.
Triumphant Response of Faith to These Things! Verses 31-34.
No Separation from God’s Love, since it is IN Christ Jesus our Lord! Verses 35-39.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ
Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me
from, the law of sin and of death.
3 For, (the thing the Law
could not do, because it was powerless on account of the flesh) God,
having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteous result of the Law
might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to flesh, but
according to Spirit.
5 For those who are according to flesh,
the things of the flesh do mind; but those according to Spirit, peace.
7 Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not
subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8 and those being
in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in flesh but
in Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any
man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His 10 And if Christ
is in you, the body, indeed, is dead on account of sin; but the Spirit
is life on account of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him that
raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you. He that raised up Christ
Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through
His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
WE HAVE NOW COME
to that great chapter which sets forth that part in our salvation which
is exercised by the third Person of the Godhead, the blessed Holy
Spirit. Without Christ’s work on the cross there would be no salvation,
and without the presence and constant operation of the Holy Spirit,
there would be no application of that salvation to us,—indeed, no
revelation of it to us!
Let us therefore with the profoundest
reverence, and greatest gladness, take up the study here in Romans
Eight of that work of the Holy Spirit which is directly concerned with
our salvation: for Romans is a book of salvation. Jesus Christ and Him
crucified is the message that concerns salvation. Christ Jesus and Him
glorified is that which concerns our perfecting as believers. The
latter, other epistles will unfold more fully. But the teaching of the
work of the Holy Ghost in Romans regards His fundamental
operations,—just as it is fundamental phases of Christ’s work that are
The Eighth Chapter of Romans is the
instinctive goal of the Christian. Whether or not he can tell
why—whether or not he can give the great doctrinal facts that give him
comfort here, he is, nevertheless, like a storm-tossed mariner who has
arrived at his home port, and has cast anchor, when he comes into
The reasons are:
1. He finds himself in
the hands of the blessed Comforter, the indwelling Spirit, in whose
almighty and loving ministry he finds “life and peace.”
finds himself, without cause in himself, called “God’s elect,”—involved
in a great Divine purpose, that will end in his being conformed to
Christ’s image, Christ being “the First-born among many brethren.”
3. He finds himself beloved in Christ; and therefore never to be “separated” from that love.
And these are both the “upper and nether springs” of eternal comfort.
Eighth of Romans, then, comes after the work of Christ—after His
atoning blood has put the believer’s sins away; after he has seen,
also, that he died with Christ,—to sin, and also to that legal
responsibility he had in Adam; after the words, “Sin shall not have
dominion over you, for ye are not under Law, but under Grace”; and,
finally, after the hopeless struggle of the apostle has shown “the
flesh” to be incurably bad; and that there is a blessed deliverance,
which, though not changing “the body of this death,” nevertheless gives
freedom therefrom “through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2: There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ
Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from
the law of sin and of death.
Therefore looks back to the
struggle of Chapter Seven, and the thankful shout of verse 25; and not
to the expiatory work of Christ for us in Chapters 3:21-5:11. Those
that are in Christ Jesus, and none others, can be before us in all this
It is on account of the Spirit’s acting as a law of
life, delivering the believer from the contrary law of sin and death in
his yet unredeemed members, that there is no condemnation. It is of the
utmost importance to see this. The subject here is no longer Christ’s
work for us, but the Spirit’s work within us. Without the Spirit within
as a law of life, there would be nothing but condemnation: for the new
creature has no power within himself apart from the blessed Spirit,—as
against a life of perpetual bondage to the flesh,—“the end of which
things is death” (6:21).
Now the work of the Holy Spirit in
the believer as set forth in Chapter Eight is fundamental, essential to
the believer’s salvation and must be understood by all of us, for
Romans is the book of foundation truth.
In Christ Jesus—Here
the verse should end, as see note below.165 The words in Christ Jesus
express that glorious place God has given the believer. The question is
not at all now one of justification, but one of position, in Christ
Risen, “where condemnation is not, and cannot be.” There cannot be
degrees here: men either are in Christ, or not in Him.
is no condemnation—Those in Christ Jesus have more than justification
from all things by His blood. They have “justification of life,” which
means that they share His risen life. No condemnation—means, no
condemnatory judgment. The question of rewards for work for our Lord
will indeed come up at His judgment seat—bēma (II Cor. 5:10); but it is
after the Church is caught up that this judgment occurs, when Christ
comes, “apart from sin, to them that wait for Him.” Blessed hope! (See
For166the law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus, freed me from the law of sin and of death. “The law” in both
occurrences here indicates “a given principle acting uniformly.” Now as
to “the law of sin and of death,” the latter part of Chapter Seven made
abundantly clear what that was—the power of sin working in our
unredeemed bodies against which even man’s renewed will was powerless.
now, another “law” has come in: not only has the believer life in the
Risen Christ, but to him has been given the Holy Spirit as the power of
that life: so that the Spirit becomes the Almighty Agent within the
believer, securing him wholly, making effectual in experience that
“deliverance which Paul saw when he cried in Chapter 7:24, 25: “Who
shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God [for
deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Of course, the
deliverance167 is through Christ, for it is Christ’s own risen life the
believer now shares. But it is the blessed Holy Spirit as “the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus,” who makes the deliverance an experience. That
is, the constant operation of the Spirit makes effectual in those who
have life in Christ Jesus, that deliverance which belongs to those in
How wonderful, how limitless, the patience of the
blessed Spirit of God! Moment by moment, day by day, month by month,
year by year, through all the conscious and unconscious processes of
tens of thousands of believers, the Spirit acts with a uniformity that
is called “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” In the
newest convert, in the oldest saint, He gives freedom from the law of
sin and of death! “Sin in the flesh, which was my torment, is already
judged, but in Another; so that there is for me no condemnation on
account of the flesh. . . . We lose communion with God, and dishonor
the Lord by our behavior, in not walking, according to the Spirit of
life, worthy of the Lord. But we are no longer under the law of sin,
but, having died with Christ, and become partakers of a new life in Him
and of the Holy Spirit, we are delivered from this law.”
3, 4: For, (the thing the Law could not do, because it was powerless on
account of the flesh), God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of
flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the
righteous result of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not
according to flesh, but according to Spirit.
Several things appear at once from this passage:
1. God did a thing that the Law could not do.
2. The thing that God did was to make possible a holy life for those walking by His indwelling Spirit.
The reason that the Law was unable to bring about this holy life, lay
in the flesh (Greek, sarks), the “mind” of which (verse 7) is enmity
against God, and not subject to His Law or Will. Thus, though the Law
was holy, just, and good, in itself, it only irritated by its commands
a sinful flesh that was not subject to it.
4. God’s plan
(which, we must remember, is “apart from law,” without law’s help or
“rule,” but the very opposite—3.21; 6:14; 7:4, 6) was to send His own
Son, who had a body “prepared for Him” (Heb. 10:5), and was born
according to the angel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:35:
Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall
overshadow thee: wherefore also that which is to be born shall be
called holy, the Son of God.” So, although sinless, our Lord Jesus
Christ was born in the likeness of “flesh of sin,”—in the likeness of
the bodies of the children of Adam, bodies under bondage to sin.
5. God’s purpose, as revealed in this passage, was to get at sin
as connected with human flesh, and deal with it at the cross in the way
of righteous condemnation, so that sin would no longer have rights in
human bodies. The preposition “for” (Gr. peri) in the words and for sin
is the common word in the Septuagint for sacrifices for sin. But it
refers here in Romans 8:3 not so much to atonement for sin’s guilt
before God,—that has already been fully set forth in Chapters Three to
Five. The question here (and in Chapters Six to Eight entire) regards
the thing Sin itself rather than its guilt.168
It is of the
very first importance for the believer to recognize the two great facts
which Paul develops concerning Christ’s work on the cross:
His blood shed for us in expiation of our guilt. Considering this, one
always thinks of the righteous claims of God’s throne against us, and
of their being satisfied, fully met, by Christ’s shed blood; and of our
being thus brought nigh to God.
Second, Our death with Christ,
as “made sin for us.” Because of our condition of sinfulness, as
connected with Adam, and thus “in the flesh,” we died with Christ. When
we believed upon Him, Christ became our Adam, and God dated our history
back to Calvary, and commanded us to reckon ourselves dead to sin
because we died with Him federally,—thus our history in Adam was ended
before God: so that He plainly says to us, “Ye are not in flesh”—where
once we were: Chapters 8:9 and 7:5. Compare Eph. 2:1-3.
in Chapter 8.3, God goes more explicitly into having Christ identified
with us, made to become sin on our behalf, our old man crucified with
Him. It was that God might thus condemn sin in the flesh, dealing with
it judicially: as connected potentially with the whole human race, and
actually with believers.
When Adam sinned, his federal
relationship involved all his posterity in condemnation (5:18, 19), but
he also “begat a son in His own likeness.” ALL
since Adam have participated in the fallen nature of Adam. “Who can
bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.” “Behold, I was shapen
in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” “We [now believers]
were by nature children of wrath.”
Now, human thoughts and
philosophies, being under, and recognizing, this proneness to evil, and
referring it to the body as the conscious abode of sin and source of
sin’s lusts and temptations, have praised a disembodied state as the
only desirable one. Not only the Manicheans and the Buddhists, but real
Christians who ought to know better, have regarded a disembodied
spiritual state as their hope: “This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and
rise,” etc. “Modernists” today, generally,—as unbelievers in all
periods, deny the resurrection of the material body.
Romans 8:3 God tells us that sin as connected with flesh has been
condemned, dealt with; although it has not yet been removed. Some pious
and very earnest people have spoken of and sought after “eradication of
the sin-principle from the body.” But the redemption of the body lies
in the future, at Christ’s coming. Meanwhile, “We that are in this
tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be
unclothed, [disembodied spirits] but that we would be clothed upon . .
. with our habitation which is from Heaven” (our glorified bodies at
Christ’s coming): “that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life” (II
But the foundation both for the resurrection of the
sleeping saints when Christ comes, and for the changing of living
believers, lies here in Romans 8:3: sin has been condemned as connected
with human flesh. This gives God, speaking reverently, the righteous
right to transform and catch up into glory the bodies of His saints.
also gives the Risen Christ the glorious right to live in these bodies
of ours while they are on earth; and to walk in us, therefore, daily,
in resurrection victory! The only condition of such victorious life, is
that we ourselves walk by that indwelling Spirit which has been given
Again, speaking reverently, the Spirit has no
commission in this dispensation to go beyond the work done by our Lord
on the cross. But that work on the cross was perfect, and far-reaching
indeed. Not only did Christ there put away our guilt before God by His
blood, but there our old man was crucified with Him: sin was condemned
as having any connection with human flesh!
And for sin—The
evident reference to the second phase of the sin-offering is apparent
in these words. The question in this verse is not one of atonement for
guilt, but of the dealing in judgment with that which was not to be
atoned for! The evil of our natures is not atoned for, but judged, at
the cross. The first phase of the sin-offering of Leviticus Four is the
sprinkling of the blood before Jehovah, outside the veil of the most
holy place, and the putting of the blood upon the horns of the altar of
sweet incense before Jehovah, which golden altar, according to Heb.
9:3, 4 pertained to the holy of holies, the Shechinah presence of God;
and the pouring out at the base of the brazen altar at the door of the
tabernacle, the rest of the blood; together with the burning of the
fat—symbol of the inner affections—upon that brazen altar.
This first phase is seen to represent the power of the shed blood of Christ to bring us nigh to God—always the first thing.
Then the second phase is seen in verses 11 and 12 (Lev 4), where
—“the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean
place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire:
where the ashes are poured out shall it be burnt.”
Here, surely, is something further than the putting away of guilt
by the shed blood. The fire, burning to ashes that sin-offering, seems
to indicate God’s holy dealing with sin itself, after the shed blood
has made the offerer nigh. It surely has a most solemn significance,
for there is no atonement to be made for our evil nature.
the cross, God having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and having laid on Him as our Substitute our sins, now secures that
opportunity which He sought—to deal with sin itself as connected with
flesh. And He did deal in judgment. Sin, as connected with flesh, is a
condemned, though not yet removed, thing.169
The thing the Law
could not do—was accomplished by God! The law was powerless on account
of the flesh. The Law holy, just and good, could command; but the flesh
was not subject to it, and could not be. Therefore the Law could
forbid, rebuke, reprimand, and curse, sin; but could not effectually
condemn it, as connected with the flesh. When Christ comes, thank God,
we shall be freed from the very presence of sin. But it has already
been condemned in the flesh, and should be reckoned so by us all. Just
as really as our sins were put away by the blood of Christ, so was sin
in the flesh condemned, judgment executed on it.
In Romans 8:3, God so “condemned” sin,—so dealt with it, that it was thereafter a convict—as regards the flesh.
had no more been done before, than our sins had been borne before! Not
until the Cross were sins borne, and not until the cross was Sin
judicially dealt with in the flesh. Sin has thus no more rights in us
now, than it will have in our glorified bodies!
As we shall
see in verse 9, believers are not in the flesh before God, at all. This
is the second glorious truth; the first being that because sin as
connected with human flesh has been dealt with by God, all danger from
it, all possible condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, is over.
4: That the righteous result of the Law [which the Law sought in vain]
might be fulfilled in us—Now let us say at once that a righteous state
of living, while it is to be brought about in the Christian, is not
what God primarily seeks; but rather “that we should be holy and
without blame before Him IN LOVE.” This will
begin to be developed in Romans, but more thoroughly in other epistles.
Nevertheless, our first occupation must be with the truth as set forth
in God’s order. The Law commanded a wholly righteous walk toward God
and toward our neighbor. But David said:
“I have seen an end of all perfection;
Thy commandment is exceedingly broad.”
the Psalms, and all the Old Testament Saints’ experiences, we find that
there is under the Law, an almost constant striving and groaning after
a righteous state,—seen, but not experienced, because the Law consisted
of outer enactments, to be fulfilled by man. The Law furnished no
power. Now in Romans 8:4 we have three things: first, this righteous
state or result; second, the fact that it was not fulfilled by us—we
have no more power in ourselves than had the Old Testament saints: but
it is fulfilled in us—it is the passive voice: be fulfilled. Third, it
is fulfilled in us as we consent to reject the flesh and choose to walk
according to the Spirit. In the Spirit lies all the power. With us, the
responsibility of choice—a blessed, solemn one!
Verse 5: For
those who are according to flesh,170 the things of the flesh do mind;
but those according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
word phronousin, “mind,” does not here have reference to intellect or
understanding, but to the attention or occupation of the being, caused
by its natural disposition. And we find thus two classes; first, those
according to flesh. This we believe includes here all those not born of
God, that is, still in a state of nature, in which class Ephesians 2:3
shows believers once to have been: “We also once lived in the lusts of
our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts.” Second,
those according to Spirit. These are God’s true children, the Holy
Spirit, of whom they were born, indwelling all of them.
distinction between these two classes is as real as that between the
sheep and goat nations at Christ’s coming, or between those written in
the book of life and those not written, at the last judgment. An
unconquerable sadness rises in our hearts at the fact that after these
centuries upon centuries of Divine dealing with man, and especially
since the gospel has been preached, as Paul declares, “in all creation
under heaven” (Col. 1:23), there are yet those like Cain, Esau, Balaam,
Saul, Judas, that are according to flesh. Alas, this description
includes the mass of our race, for it is only “a little flock” that can
be described as being according to Spirit.
Now all those
according to flesh cherish, desire, are occupied with, and absorbed in,
talk of, think of, follow after, the things of flesh; those according
to Spirit, likewise discern, value, love, are absorbed in, the things
Those according to flesh “mind” the flesh’s
things: its physical lusts,—gluttony, uncleanness, slothfulness; its
soulical lusts,—mental delights, pleasures of the imagination, esthetic
indulgences, or “tastes”—whether art, music, sculpture, or what not;
its spiritual lusts,—of pride, envy, malice, avarice: in a word, every
unclean thing, and every good thing used by unclean persons,—that is,
persons not cleansed by the blood of Christ, not new creatures in Him.
Then, too, there is the “religion” of the flesh, which includes all not
of and in the Holy Ghost.
And there are those who are
according to Spirit,—who “mind” the Spirit’s things: salvation, the
person of Christ, the fellowship of the saints, the Word of God,
prayer, praise prophecy, the blessed hope of Christ’s coming, walking
as He walked before men. True, many, many of these fall woefully short
(as they well know); yet they mind the things of Spirit, the things of
God, to some degree, while others will have nothing of them.
The reason immediately appears:
6: For the mind (phronēma—noun form of the verb of verse 5) of the
flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit, life and peace. It is
terrible to contemplate a mind, disposition, purpose, so set on death
(which is its end) that it can be said to be death. It is a most solemn
contemplation that we who are in Christ were once in the flesh, the
mind and disposition of which we could not and would not change, and
which was death itself!
The King James rendering in this verse
is hopelessly obscure. God does not say that “to be carnally minded” is
death, but that the mind of the flesh, in which they are, is death.
Further, He does not say, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace,”
as if it were a state into which the believer came; but He does say,
the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. In neither case does God
speak of people, but of the flesh and of the Spirit. If you are
according to Spirit, having been born of God, there is indwelling you a
mighty One, the Comforter, whose whole mind, disposition, and manner of
being and ruling within you, is life and peace. This “life” is the life
of the Risen Christ, which the Spirit, as “the Spirit of grace,”
supplies (Heb. 10:29, Gal. 3:5); and this “peace” is that of Christ as
spoken of in Isaiah: “Of the increase of His government and peace there
shall be no end.”
Verse 7: Because the mind of the flesh is
enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither
indeed can it be. Here the disposition (mind) of the flesh is shown to
be the reason why that disposition is death. Perhaps no one text of
Scripture more completely sets forth the hideously lost state of man
after the flesh. For the disposition (mind) of the flesh is enmity
itself toward God! There was indeed, as we saw in Chapter 5:10,
reconcilement to God while we were enemies, but it did not in any wise
consist in changing the nature of the flesh. On the contrary, we were
transferred by death with Christ, into the Risen Christ, the flesh
remaining unchanged. Your estate while in the flesh was as lost by
nature as that of the demons. For nothing worse could be said of them
than that they are enmity toward God and are not able to be subject to
His law. God certainly has given the flesh up, and nothing but
sovereign mercy ever redeemed a human being.172
Verse 8: And
those who are in flesh cannot please God—This is God’s sweeping
announcement concerning all mankind that are out of Christ. In this
sense, all in the flesh are out of Christ. Those in the flesh, even if,
like Cain, they would worship God, would come in their own way,—the
flesh’s way, which God cannot accept. Terrible prospect! in a state
forever displeasing to Him in whom is all blessing. Such are all not
born of God.
Verse 9: But ye are not in flesh but in Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. Here the great mark of
a true Christian is, that the Spirit of God dwells in him. If he is
indwelt by the Spirit of God, he is not “in flesh,” but instead an
entirely different kind of being,—“in Spirit.” The Spirit becomes now
the element in which the believer lives, like water to the fish, or air
to the bird, vital, supplying, protecting.
are those, like the men of Ephesus—“about twelve (Acts 19:1), who were
disciples,” but did not have the Holy Spirit,—a fact Paul instantly
discerned. Their answer to his question in verse 2, is wrongly
translated in the King James. They really said, “We did not so much as
hear whether the Holy Spirit was” (or, “was given”: it is exactly the
same form as John 7:39, “The Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not
yet glorified”). John the Baptist had constantly taught about the Holy
Spirit, that He that should come after him would give them the Holy
Spirit. It was concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
that these at Ephesus were ignorant. They were honest: they were
converted men; they had been baptized with John’s baptism of
repentance. John had said that they should, however, believe on Him
that should come after him—on Jesus. Now Paul takes them and instructs
them that Christ’s redeeming work having been fully finished on the
cross, the Holy Spirit was come, and was given to all believers.
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (vs. 6).
they were in the full Christian position. Thousands upon thousands of
earnest, professing Christians have, we believe, like these, not yet
heard “that the Holy Spirit was,” that is, had definitely come on the
scene at Pentecost, to be given to every believer. He is here! The gift
of Him and His indwelling constitutes the distinctive mark of
Many sincere people are yet spiritually under John
the Baptist’s ministry of repentance. Their state is practically that
of the struggle of Romans Seven, where neither Christ nor the Holy
Spirit is mentioned, but only a quickened but undelivered soul in
struggle under a sense of “duty,” not a sense of full acceptance in
Christ and sealing by the Holy Spirit.173
But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
this sentence would seem at first to rule out what we have been saying
in the foot-note on the Holy Spirit. But, that the apostle is not
speaking of those who will shortly have the Spirit of Christ, they
being sincere, godly souls, is at once evident when we remember that
Cornelius, and those twelve men at Ephesus, were sincere disciples as
far as their light went: and in them God is simply showing us the
processes of the work of salvation in real saints. Whereas, when Paul
says none of His, he is speaking in an absolute way of those who are
Christ’s and those who are not. Those who are Christ’s either have or
will have the Spirit. Sad to say, it may not be until on a death-bed,
when at last the soul renounces all hope but the shed blood of Christ,
and is then sealed by the Spirit. Notice also here that the Spirit is
called the Spirit of Christ. This is, of course, the Holy Spirit, (not
the mind or disposition of Christ).174 He is called the Spirit of
Christ, because Christ promised and sent Him: “The Comforter, whom I
will send unto you from the Father,—the Spirit of truth, which
proceedeth from the Father,” (John 15:26); “Having received of the
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Christ] hath poured forth
this which ye see and hear” (Acts 2:33). And also because He manifests
Christ: “He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall
declare it unto you” (John 16:14). Those therefore who belong to Christ
have thus His Spirit given to them, always, as we said above, (if they
are not still in the preparatory states of repentance, or legal
struggle against sin, as in Romans Seven) when they rest believingly in
Christ and His work!
Dwelleth in you—This word dwelleth is a
touching word, used five times of the Spirit’s making His home within
us, in every redeemed one!
Verse 10: And if Christ is in you,
the body indeed is dead, on account of sin; but the Spirit is life, on
account of righteousness.
Here in this tenth verse we have the
answer to our Lord’s prayer in John 17:21, 22: “I pray . . . that they
may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that
they also may be in us: . . . that they may be one, even as we are one.”
have seen in an earlier chapter how we came to be in Christ: that God,
having ended our history before Himself as connected with the first
Adam, at the cross, created us in Christ, the Last Adam, the Second
Man. Thus was the one part of our Lord’s intercession answered. We are
in Christ. But the other part of the great mystery is here before us in
Romans 8:10: Christ is in us. Although, as we know, He is within us by
His Spirit, yet it is Christ Himself who is in us. That the Spirit can
make Christ present in us, we see in the beautiful words of II Corinthians
3:17, 18: “Now the Lord is the Spirit: . . . We . . . are transformed
into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the
Spirit. Or, as Paul says in the solemn words of II Corinthians 13:5: “Know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”175
Lord said in John 14:10, 11: “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and
the Father in Me.” Christ and His Father were distinct persons, yet
one, in being, life, love, and purpose. “I and the Father are one.”
“The living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father.” “The
Father loveth the Son . . . I love the Father.” “I glorified Thee . . .
glorify Thou Me with Thine own self.” A similar marvelous union our
blessed Lord asked and obtained for us with Himself: “That they may be
one, even as We are one!” “That they may be in Us” (John 17:21-23).
to Romans 8:10: There is a double fact stated concerning those in whom
Christ by His Spirit is. First, the body is dead. Second, the Spirit is
life. It is evident that our bodies here are contrasted with our
spirits, and these as in the Holy Spirit. It is well that we thoroughly
understand and believe that our bodies are in no sense redeemed as yet.
They are “dead” as regards any emotion Godward; and this “because of
sin.” Those who teach and seek “eradication of the sinful principle,”
as they call it, would do well to ponder this tenth verse.
other blessed fact, that the Spirit is life because of righteousness,
is enough for our present walk. “Him who knew no sin God made to become
sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in
Him.” Not only are our sins put away and we ourselves “justified from
all things”; but we have been created in Christ Jesus. The new
creature, Paul tells us, “hath been created after God in righteousness
and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:24). It is striking in Romans 8:10 that
the noun life is opposed to the adjective dead. Our spirits before they
were new-created in Christ, were alive so far as existence is concerned
but had no life as God counts life—for that is only in Christ and by
We read “Spirit” in this verse, meaning the Holy
Spirit. The sense being, that the Spirit, by whose power we were made
partakers of the risen life of Christ, acts constantly as “the Lord the
Spirit,” (as quoted above from II Cor. 3:17)
as the maintainer and supplier of that life of Christ in us. The Holy
Spirit alone could be called life! We recognize that the human body and
the human spirit seem to be contrasted in the verse before us.176 Yet
we remember Galatians 5:25: “We live by the Spirit”; and Romans 8:2:
“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”; and “The mind of the
Spirit is life” (verse 6). Our spirits are now alive—and that to God!
But “Christ is our life”; and the Administrator of that life in us is
the Spirit of God.
Verse 11: But if the Spirit of Him that
raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ
Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies, through
His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
The body—the mortal body—is
the subject of this verse. Our spirits have been shown to have
life,—now: while the body is still dead—as to God: But now God
announces that to these bodies, so dead to God, holiness and heaven, is
by and by to be given life!
First, we are reminded that the
Spirit of that God who raised up Jesus is dwelling in us. Now, Jesus is
our Lord’s personal name: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus.” It was
Jesus whom they crucified, and buried in Joseph’s tomb. With Jesus,
before His death and resurrection, we were not joined; but with Christ
Jesus, the Risen One! This is His resurrection Name: indeed, He is
never named thus until the Epistles.
Now we are asked to
reflect on that place of weakness and deadness in which Jesus once was.
But God raised Him up from the dead. And the Spirit of the God who thus
raised Jesus is dwelling in us!
So that, although our bodies
are yet dead on account of sin,—dead to God,—the Spirit of Him who
raised up Christ Jesus from the dead,—Christ Jesus, in whom we now
are,—this God will give life also to these poor mortal bodies of ours!
And it will be by His Spirit who now indwells us! (This word “mortal”
means, subject to physical death; and is used in Scripture only of the
What an unutterable comfort! “Whether we wake or
sleep,” this blessed indwelling Spirit of God will give life to these
mortal dead-to-God bodies of ours, so that they shall be as alive
Godward as our redeemed spirits now are!
It is present comfort
beyond measure to know that when the day comes, God will do this
blessed giving of life to our bodies through His Spirit that is now
dwelling in us!
Mortal bodies—“Mortal” and “immortal,” always,
as we note above, in Scripture refer to the body. It is “this mortal”
which will “put on immortality” when Christ comes. “What is mortal
shall be swallowed up of life” (I Cor. 15:35, 54; II Cor. 5:4).
What blessed phases of our salvation lie in the hands of the indwelling Spirit!
shall deliver me?” That question of Chapter Seven is abundantly
answered here in Chapter Eight! Not only from guilt, by the shed blood
of Christ (in Chapter Five); but from the “law of sin” in the members,
over which even man’s quickened will was so impotent; and from a “mind”
that is death, into the mind and walk of the blessed indwelling Spirit
Himself: into a mind that is “life and peace.” But further, now, we
find that God, by that same indwelling Spirit, will bring our very
mortal bodies,—now dead to God, and subject to death, to share that
life in Christ which our spirits now have!
12. So then,
brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh,—according to flesh to be
living! 13 For if ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die: but
if, by the Spirit, ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall
live. 14 For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons
of God. 15 For ye received not a spirit of bondage again unto fear; but
ye received a Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The
Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of
God: 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
Verse 12: So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to
the flesh—according to flesh to be living. “So then” has all the great
truths in mind from Chapter 6:1 to this verse! Identified with Christ,
our old man was crucified with Him, our connection with Adam the first
being thus broken by death. Next we share His newness of life as being
in Christ Risen. Next the Spirit of life is caused to indwell us, by
His almighty power setting us free from the law of sin and of
death—because all rights of sin as connected with flesh were cancelled
at the cross. Finally, although our body is still dead to God, yet the
Spirit of Him who raised Jesus personally dwells within us,
guaranteeing that He who raised Christ federally and caused us to share
His risen life will make our bodies also alive toward Him when Christ
returns. And meanwhile the indwelling Spirit becomes an “earnest” of
the coming redemption of our bodies. “So then”—let the power of all
these mighty truths govern our thoughts here.
Now note the
form of statement in verse 12: We are debtors—(indeed we are) to God,
to Christ and to the indwelling Spirit! But this debtorship to God is
not here pressed at all. But rather the negation of any debtorship
whatever to the flesh! in view of our wonderful deliverance just
recited. We are indeed debtors, but not to the flesh—according to flesh
to be living. God formed man’s body, first, calling: him man (Gen.
2:7). Then he breathed into his nostrils the breath (literally, spirit)
of life; and man became a living soul. His bodily functions we all
know. His soul-life put him in touch with the world into which by
Divine creation he had now been introduced, but man was essentially a
spirit, living in a body, possessing a soul. It was with his spirit
that God communed and in which alone man was God-conscious.
when man sinned, all was overthrown! The body, that was to be the
tabernacle of this Divinely inbreathed or created spirit, took
immediate lordship. The life of God was withdrawn from man’s spirit. He
had died to God! The spirit became the slave of the body; and the
propensities of the latter, normal and controlled before, became the
whole urge or driving force of man’s existence! His soul, also, which
included his five “senses,”—which perceived and enjoyed the external
universe; with his reason and imagination, became controlled by what
God called “the flesh.” “The thoughts of man’s heart,” became “only
evil and that continually.”
Now in the new birth the dead
spirit (dead to God) is by Divine creation made alive, or enlifed with
Christ; and the Holy Spirit becomes the sphere of man’s newly created
spirit; for whatever the believer’s progress may be, he is no longer in
flesh but in Spirit!
The body’s demands are the same as ever,
because the body is not yet redeemed; and to live after the desires of
the body—“according to flesh” Paul warns:
Verse 13: For if ye
live according to flesh, ye are about to die—Here is a terrible
warning: (1) It is one of the great red lights by which God keeps His
elect out of fatal paths. (Compare I Cor. 15:2, Col. 1:23.) (2) It
shows how those who have received a knowledge of the truth and are
addressed by the apostle as among God’s people, may yet be choosing a
flesh-walk—which involves the refusal of the Spirit—refusal to be led
by Him, as are all God’s real sons (verse 14). (3) Death, here, is of
course eternal death, as in Chapter Six: “The end of these things is
death”; and here in Chapter Eight: “The mind of the flesh is death.”
(4) Note that expression “about to die” (mellete). Those following a
flesh-walk are not yet viewed as dead, so let them hear and repent
quickly, lest they become as those professing Christians became in Jude
12: Autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the
roots,”—summer ended, a fruitless autumn, and Divine cursing. or “twice
dead” means that there was an awakening, a quickening, and a tasting,
as in Hebrews Six; tasting of the heavenly gift—eternal life; then,
final apostasy, and withdrawal of all gracious influences; the very
roots, as in the barren fig tree, plucked up and withered. Born again?
No. Yet “escaping the defilements of the world,” only to choose to go
back to a “twice-dead” condition. Surely the mind of the flesh is death!
if, by the Spirit, ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall
live—Here is a most definite word that the body is under the control of
sin; and a most definite statement as to the manner of a holy life.
The deeds, or doings of the body are naturally selfish, and so, evil,
for the body is not redeemed. (See same word “deed” in Luke 23:51.) The
body would have its every desire gratified—because it so desires. It
has no governor in itself but the sin by which it is still dead—to God
and all holiness. Even the lawful needs and desires of the body become
sinful and deathful if the body is allowed to rule. In Chapter 6:12 we
hear: “Let not sin reign in your mortal body that ye should obey the
desires of it” (the body). The beasts and birds follow the instincts
and desires of their bodies, being without spirit, conscience or sin.
But man cannot do so. For he has,—yea, he is, essentially a
spirit,—though he dwells in a bodily tabernacle, and has a conscience,
under the eye of which all his consents or refusals pass, and that
constantly. And to let his unredeemed body govern him, is to fall far
below the very beasts: for he lets sin reign in his mortal body, when
he lets the lusts of the body control his decisions.
God says the “doings” of the body are to be put to death. Not that our
bodies are not dear to God. They are,—and if we are Christ’s our bodies
are members of Christ (I Cor. 6:15). But they are not redeemed as yet.
And God has left us in these unredeemed bodies, that we may learn—(1)
the badness of our old self-life, as we see that in our flesh there
dwelleth no good thing; (2) the exceeding sinfulness of sin,—and learn
to hate and abhor it; (3) the sweet and blessed path of relying on the
indwelling Holy Spirit,—nay, even of using His Almighty and willing
power by acts of simple faith; for it reads, “If WE, by the Spirit, put
to death the doings of the body.”
For we must note most
carefully that a holy life is to be lived by us. It is not that we have
any power,—we have none. But God’s Spirit dwells in us for the express
object of being railed “upon by us to put to death the doings of the
body.” Self-control is one of that sweet cluster called “the fruit of
the Spirit,” in Galatians 5:22.
How confidently Paul walked in this power of the Spirit! “In the Holy Spirit,” he says, in II Corinthians
6:6,—“in pureness,” etc. And again, “I will not be brought under the
power of any” bodily desire,—however lawful. And again, “I buffet my
body, and bring it into subjection; lest, having preached to others, I
myself should be rejected” (I Cor. 6:13; 9:27).
A holy life
without a controlled body is an absolute contradiction; not to be
dreamed of for a moment. Indeed, God goes further here, and says, “Ye
shall live,—if ye by the Spirit put to death the doings of the body”:
the opposite path being, “If ye live according to flesh, ye are about
When we announce that the Scripture teaching is that
walking by the Holy Spirit has taken the place of walking under the
rule of the Mosaic law, there remains to be examined, and that most
carefully, just what walking by the Spirit means.
1. It does not mean to desert the use of our faculties of moral perception or of moral judgment.
there doubtless are occasions in which the believer, being filled with
the Spirit, acts in a wholly unanticipated way; and although there may
be times when he will be carried quite out of himself in ecstasies of
joy or love; and although the believer walking by the Spirit will
normally be conscious of the almighty power within, of triumph over the
world and the flesh: nevertheless the feet of the believer will never
be swept from the path of conscious moral determination. He will always
know that so far as decisions of moral matters are concerned, he has
still the sense of moral accountability, or, perhaps better,
responsibility. The believer’s own conscience will protest against any
such letting go of himself as has been unfortunately found throughout
Church history when people have submitted themselves to such ecstatic
states that moral judgment and self-control were cast to the winds.
do indeed read of most remarkable experiences, and that in deeply
approved saints, in which their spirits were overwhelmed by the vision
of Divine things, and we must adduce that in such experiences they were
rapt and ecstatic; but never to the losing of that self-control which,
we read in Galatians 5:22, is a fruit of the Spirit. Even in the
exercise of the gifts spoken of by the apostle in I Corinthians 12 to
14, it is definitely declared, “The spirits of the prophets are subject
to the prophets.”
It is in the abandonment of the sense of
moral responsibility into unscriptural surrender of the mental and
spiritual faculties,—into other control than self-control directed by
the Holy Spirit, that such awful extravagances have occurred in Church
2. To be led by the Spirit does indeed involve the
surrender of our wills to God. But God, on His side, does not crush
into fatalistic abandon those very faculties with which He has endowed
men. On the contrary, the surrendered saint immediately finds His
faculties marvelously quickened,—his faculties both of mind and of
sensibility. All the powers of his soul-life (which include his
intellect, tastes, feelings, emotions, and recollective memory) are
renewed. His will being yielded to God, God now “works in Him to will”
as well as “to do of His good pleasure,”—in which the surrendered saint
But while it is indeed God who works in us even to
will, yet it is true that walking in the Spirit is still our own
choice: “If ye by the Spirit put to death the doings of the body”—we
read. The Holy Spirit is infinitely ready, but God leads rather than
There is deep mystery, no doubt, in the great double
fact of God is working in us to will, and on the other hand, of our
choosing His will, moment by moment. We can only affirm that both are
taught in Scripture, and we ourselves know both to be blessedly true.
14, 15: For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons
of God. For ye received not a spirit of bondage again unto fear;—Let us
look first at the words “sons of God”; and second at what is meant by
being “led by the Spirit”; third, let us see that our being thus in the
Spirit’s sphere and control is the proof of the reality of our sonship.
“Sons” means “adult-sons,” sons come of age (see footnote, verse 15).
The term, when referring to saints, is applied in Paul’s epistles both
to Christ (Rom. 1:3, 4, 9); and to those associated with Him since His
resurrection (Gal. 4:4-7); therefore to His own saints, sealed by the
Spirit—those sons whom God is “bringing unto glory.”
“led by the Spirit” does not refer here to service, nor to “guidance”
in particular paths. It refers to that general control by the blessed
Spirit of those born of the Spirit, living by the Spirit, in the
Spirit. He is the sphere and mode of their being, and is their seal
unto the day of redemption.
3. That our being thus in the
Spirit’s sphere and control is the proof of the reality of our sonship,
is evident from what has been said; but let us avoid the thought that
assurance of our sonship is based on our perfect obedience to the
Spirit. Nothing is based upon us. If one of God’s true saints disobeys,
it is the office of that same Spirit to convict him of his sin,
interceding in Him “according to God” (Rom. 8:27), while Christ
intercedes for him above (I John 2:1).
Israel received a
spirit of bondage when they were placed under the Law. And how sad that
perhaps the most of Christians regard themselves as under the Law and
so under bondage. In this they are like the world, which fears Christ
as (they think) a hard taskmaster. Now the result of a spirit of
bondage was fear. When Israel walked in the wilderness with Jehovah
dwelling in darkness in the holy of holies in the tabernacle, they were
taught to fear. For Jehovah was teaching a sinful people His holiness
and separateness from them, and how to draw near Him only by sacrifices.
when Christ came, all was different. He came not noticing or marking
sin. Quickly the common people became glad. Proud religion called Him
“a friend of publicans and sinners”—and He was. We have no words to
express the limitless graciousness of God manifested in the flesh—in
But how much beyond even those favored to see “the
days of the Son of Man” on earth is the position of those in Christ
Risen: sin put away forever, released from the old Adam life and
responsibilities, and now the Spirit sent witnessing in our hearts—the
very Spirit of God’s Son. A spirit of fear and bondage is as out of
place now as if one caught up with Christ in the Rapture were afraid to
face God, in whose Son he is!
Ye received a spirit of adult-sonship,177whereby we cry Abba, Father!
Verse 16: The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are born-ones of God.
manner of communication between the Holy Spirit and our spirit is a
profound mystery. Indeed all man’s vaunted knowledge is challenged by
Jehovah’s word to Job: “Who hath given understanding to the mind?” We
do not speak now with the mere purpose of ridiculing man’s vaunted
knowledge, but simply to state facts. Human philosophy and science know
absolutely nothing about the quality or nature of spirit.
in this passage in Romans, does not address Himself at all to human
intellect, but to the consciousness of His saints.178 The Spirit
Himself beareth witness with our spirit. There is no certainty
comparable with this!
“With our spirit”—We are not told that
the Spirit bears witness to our spirit, as if the knowledge that we are
God’s children were some unheard of, undreamed matter to our own
spirits. But He beareth witness with our spirit, showing that the child
of God, having had communicated to him God’s own nature (II Pet. 1:4),
Christ’s own life (I Cor. 6:17), is fundamentally, necessarily
conscious of the glorious fact of filial relationship to God. Along
with this consciousness, the Spirit indwelling witnesses, enabling us,
moving us, to cry, “Abba, Father.” There is life before this, just as
the new-born babe has life and breath before it forms a syllable. It is
significant that the Spirit indwelling is the power whereby we cry,
Abba, Father,—by His enlightenment. His encouragement, His energy.
operations of a man’s mind either in philosophy or in science
constitute an eternal quest for certainty. The conclusions of
philosophy are based upon theories and hypotheses and are always being
challenged and perpetually overthrown by succeeding new schemes of
philosophy. And even the dearest discoveries of science await new
explanations—of the very constitution of the universe they are invented
But with the child of God—the born-again family, there is
no such uncertainty! A child of God knows. And the blessed Holy Spirit,
by whose inscrutable power he was born again, keeps forever witnessing
with his consciousness,—and that through no processes of his mind, but
directly, that he is a born-one of God.
This is most natural
and could not be otherwise. Children in an earthly family grow up
together as a family, their parents addressing them as children, their
brothers and sisters knowing them to be such. It is the most beautiful
thing in the natural world!
How much more certain, yea, how
much more wonderful and beautiful, is the constantly witnessed
relationship of His children to God: the Spirit Himself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are born-ones179 of God. Believers will find
themselves calling God Father, in their prayers and communion. This
witness will spring up of itself in the heart that has truly rested in
Christ and His shed blood.
Conversely, if we find ourselves
always in our prayers saying Lord, Lord, and never Father, we should be
concerned, and should go back to the beginnings of things,—that is, to
the record concerning our guilt, in Romans Three, and our helplessness,
and to the fact that God has set forth Christ as a propitiation; and
resting there, in His shed blood, we should boldly call God Father, and
cultivate that habit.
Nor, in our judgment, should Christians
permit themselves habits of address in prayer not authorized and
exemplified in Scripture. Our Lord Jesus prayed saying, “Father,” “My
Father,” “O righteous Father.” He did not say, “Almighty God,” nor did
He use the name “Jehovah,” as Israel did in the Psalms and elsewhere.
He said, “Father.” And He said to us, “When ye pray, say, Father.”
(Note Luke 11:2 in the Revised Version.) “We have our access,” says
Paul, “in one Spirit unto the Father.” “To us there is one God, the
Father” (I Cor. 8:6). Today, also, some devoted Christians address God
as “Father-God.” But why not say, “Father,” as our Lord directed and
the Spirit witnesses? To say “Father-God,” makes the first word an
Some may say, “It is foolish and unnecessary to
make such discriminations.” But if God “sent forth the Spirit of His
Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father,” we speak to the Father as
did our beloved Savior Himself. This is infinite grace, and should be
appreciated and cultivated by us. Moreover, if you were going into the
presence of the King of England, you would take thought for a proper
form of address. How infinitely rather when you address God!
17: If born-ones, then heirs—We have noted that the word for children
here, tekna, is different from the word for adult-sons (huioi) of verse
14. The word indicates the fact that we are really begotten of God
through His Word by His Spirit, and are partakers of His nature.
Heirship is from relationship. The young ruler who came running to the
Lord saying, “What good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal
life?” was a perfect example of a legalist. Indeed, Nicodemus, beloved
man, “understood not these things”—of being born again. Now, if a man
is really a child of God by begetting and birth, he becomes
indissolubly God’s heir! This is a fact of such overwhelming magnitude
that our poor hearts hardly grasp it. It is said of no angel, cherub,
or seraph, that he is an heir of God. Believer, if you will reflect,
meditate deeply, on this, I am born of God; I am one of His heirs!
earthly things will shrink to nothing. Now, J. D. Rockefeller, Jr., has
inherited his father’s wealth: why? Because he was his father’s born
son. The young ruler said, “What must I do to inherit?” a contradiction
Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ—I could
not have the presumption to write these words if they were not in God’s
holy Book. That a guilty, lost, wretched child of Adam the First should
have written of him, a joint-heir with Christ, the Eternal Maker of all
things, the Well-beloved of the Father, the Righteous One, the Prince
of life—only God the God of all grace could prepare such a destiny for
such a creature!
And, we may humbly say, perhaps, that God
could only do this by joining us in eternal union with His beloved Son,
as the Last Adam, the Second Man; having released us from Adam the
First and all his connections, at the cross, and having placed us in
Christ Risen, in all the boundless and everlasting rights of His dear
Son, whom He has “appointed heir of all things!” Ages after ages of
ever-increasing blessing forever and forever and forever, lie in
prospect for believers—for the joint-heirs!
If so be that we
suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him.—Here two
schools of interpretation part company, one saying boldly that all the
saints are designated, and that all shall reign with Christ; the other,
that reigning with Christ depends upon voluntary choosing of a path of
suffering with Him. Well, the Greek word eiper translated “if so be,”
will support either of these interpretations.180
“That we may also be glorified together.” This is the key to our question: WHO
are to be glorified with Christ when He comes? In Chapter Five Paul
says (and that of, and to, all the saints), “We rejoice in hope of the
glory of God.” And in II Thessalonians 1:10
we read, “When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be
marveled at in all them that believed.” And in I Corinthians 15:23:
“Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s, at His coming.”
And again (Col. 3:4): “When Christ our life shall be manifested, then
shall ye also [evidently all the saints!] with Him be manifested in
glory.” Again (I John 3:2): “Now are we [all the saints] children of
God . . . We know that, if He shall be manifested, we [all the saints]
shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is!”
Such passages leave no room at all for a “partial rapture!” All the saints will share Christ’s glory.
as to places in the Kingdom, what reward we shall have, what
responsibilities of kingdom government (in the 1000 years), we shall
each be able to bear, or be entitled to, our “suffering with” Christ
Jesus, seems to determine. “If we died with Him [as did all believers]
we shall [all] also live with Him [in glory]; if we endure, we shall
also reign with Him” (II Tim. 2:12, R. V.)
Now the Greek word
used in Romans 8:17 for “suffer with” (sumpascho) is used just once
more in the New Testament: in I Corinthians 12:26: “If one member
suffer, all the members suffer with it.” Here Paul is speaking of the
Body of Christ into which all believers have been baptized by the
Spirit (I Cor. 12:12, 13): “As the [human] body is one, and hath many
members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so
also is Christ; For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one Body.”
Here note all believers are in this Body. And then, verse 26: “Whether
one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it.” Here (and mark
again this is the only occurrence of the word besides Rom. 8:17)
“suffering with” is not a voluntary matter, but one necessitated by the
relationship. If someone should tread upon your foot, your whole body
would be exercised. So it is with Christ and His members.
Now as to the other word, of II Timothy
2:12: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him”; this word is
entirely different: but (and note this), the subject of which it treats
is different. Being a joint-heir with Christ, and being a member of His
Body, and therefore, sharing necessarily those sufferings that every
member of a living Christ will suffer in a world where Satan is prince,
is one thing; gaining the ability to have victory over Satan and the
world, entering gladly into the conflict those sufferings involve, and
enduring, is perhaps an additional thing, fitting one for reigning with
Christ, though all His members are joint-heirs with Him.
(Notice “endure”—(Gr. hupomeno)—of II Timothy 2:12 in several instances: Heb. 12:2, 3, 7; Jas. 1:12; 5:11; I Cor. 13:7.)
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. 19 For
the earnest expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of
the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to vanity,
not of its own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope: 21
because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For
we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
together until now.
23 And not only so, but ourselves also,
who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our
body. 24 For unto [a state of] hope were we saved: but hope that is
seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?
25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
18: The word I reckon (logidzomai), is a favorite with Paul. It
expresses faith in action. Paul had known abundant sufferings: read II Corinthians
Eleven, and all his epistles. But like our Lord, “the File-Leader”
(archegos—Heb. 12:2) of the column of believers, who endured the cross
in view of the joy set before Him, despising the shame, Paul “reckoned”
in view of the coming glory: which should be the constant attitude of
all of us.
The sufferings of this present time—“This present
time”; it is necessary to have God’s estimate of these days in which we
live or we will be deluded into man’s false thoughts. Note: “this
present evil age” (Gal. 1:4); “the days are evil”; “this darkness”
(Eph. 5:16; 6:12); “the distress that is upon us”; “the fashion of this
world is passing away” (I Cor. 7:26, 31).
Are not to be
compared with the glory—These Words need to be pondered in view of
passages like Heb. 11:35-38; “tortured . . . mockings and scourgings .
. . bonds and imprisonment, stoned . . . sawn asunder . . . tempted . .
. slain with the sword . . . went about in sheepskins, in goatskins . .
. destitute, afflicted, evil-treated . . . wandering [through] the
earth.” In spite of the horrors of the days of Nero, Diocletian and the
rest; and the nameless terrors of the Spanish Inquisition: the “glory
which shall be revealed” so swallows up these brief earthly troubles,
that they shall not be named nor remembered in that day when Christ
It is difficult, impossible, to depict in language
all of, or any real measure of, what is meant by the glory which shall
be revealed toward us. In fact, as we know, we are to be glorified with
Christ, to share His glory, and appear with Him in glory.181 In
Colossians 3:4 we read, “When Christ, who is our life, shall be
manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory”; and in
II Thessalonians 1:10: “When He shall come to
be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that
believed.” Such passages show that not only will the saints behold
Christ’s glory, but, beholding, they will share that glory, and be
glorified with Him. This is the great object before God’s mind now, to
“bring many sons unto glory” (Heb. 2:10), that they may be conformed to
Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29).
In constant view of that glory to
be revealed in and through the Church, the sufferings which God called
the saints to go through, no matter what they were, seemed as nothing.
Verse 19: For the earnest expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.
world knows nothing of this astonishing verse. All the saints should
always have it in remembrance! Man’s philosophy and science, taught in
their schools, continually prate o
f “evolution” and “progress” in the present creation. And they go
back in pure imagination millions of years and forward millions of
years, telling you confidently how things came to be, and when, and
what they will come to be; but they know nothing. Here God tells us
unto what creation is coming—for what it is waiting: “earnestly.”
Whether inanimate things on earth (for even the rocks and hills shall
sing for joy shortly!) or whether the moving creatures on earth or sea;
or whether, may we say, the hosts on high—all are waiting in
expectation for that “unveiling of the sons of God.” For the word here
translated “revealing” is apokalupsis, a removal of a covering,—as when
some wonderful statue has been completed and a veil thrown over it,
people assemble for the “unveiling” of this work of art. It will be as
when sky rockets are sent up on a festival night: rockets which,
covered with brown paper, seem quite common and unattractive, but up
they are sent into the air and then they are revealed in all colors of
beauty, and the multitude waiting below shout in admiration. Now the
saints are wrapped up in the common brown paper of flesh, looking
outwardly like other folks. But the whole creation is waiting for their
unveiling at Christ’s coming, for they are connected with Christ, one
with Him, and are to be glorified with Him at His coming.
Verse 20: For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope:
God, in His infinite wisdom, thus subjected the creation,182—that is,
the earth. “The whole creation” must refer to the earth, for the
Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the holy angels were not “subjected to
Vanity—Here look back to the garden of Eden, and to
Adam’s first sin, the judgment of which fell not upon the man, but we
read: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it
all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth
to thee.” Here we find God subjecting the whole creation to
“vanity,”—that is, to unattainment. The book of Ecclesiastes dwells
long, with a mournful tone upon this vanity, this unattainment; things
“putting forth the tender leaves of hope” only to have the “sudden
frost” of disease and death end earthly hopes. “Our days on the earth
are as a shadow, and there is no abiding,” as David said in his great
prayer (I Chron. 29:15).
Not of its own will, but by reason of
Him who subjected it in hope—God had a vast plan, reaching on into
eternity, and “hope” lies ahead for creation: for the Millennium is
coming, and after that, a new heaven and earth.
Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption—Now although we who are in Christ are new creatures, yet God
has left our bodies as the link with the present “groaning” creation.
Meanwhile, how “the bondage of corruption” appears on every side!
Death—are not all creatures in terror of it, seeking to escape it?
Every decaying carcass of poor earth-creatures speaks of the ‘bondage
of corruption.” What ruin man’s sin has effected throughout the
creation, as well as upon himself! It was God’s good pleasure, that
when man sinned and became estranged from his God, all creation, which
was under him, should be subjected to the “bondage of corruption” along
with him, in decay and disease and suffering, death, and destruction,
everywhere,—of bondage, with no deliverer.
Into the liberty of
the glory of the children of God—As Paul shows) we already have liberty
in Christ,—the liberty of grace. The “liberty of the glory of the
children of God” awaits Christ’s second coming. How blessed it is to
know that into that glorious liberty, creation, which has shared “the
bondage of corruption,” will be brought along with us!
the state of creation now with the Millennial order described in Isaiah
11:6-9: The wolf dwelling with the lamb the leopard with the kid; the
calf, the young lion, and the fatling together, and the little child
leading them. The cow and the bear feeding, their young ones lying down
together; the lion eating straw like the ox; children playing over the
serpent’s hole: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy
mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as
the waters cover the sea.”
Verse 22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
know—Always this is the expression of Christian knowledge. This earth’s
poets, philosophers, scientists, face to face with death with a capital
D,—in every crushed ocean shell, in every rotten log, in the very minor
keys in which the voices of beasts and birds are pitched, seem never
even to get a glimpse of the bondage of corruption in which all
creation is groaning; but talk in sprightly ways of “progress,” of
“evolution”! How far from understanding the creation around them are
human beings all,—except Spirit-taught Christians! “Their own poets”
write thus,—of a “groaning creation”:
“The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s well with the world!”
think of writing “All’s well,” in a world where all are dying!
Christians, and only Christians see the present creation with new
vision, as the work of their dear Father. As Wade Robinson’s hymn says,
“Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
Flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.”
and travaileth in pain together until now—Ever since Adam’s sin, the
curse lies on all the earth. The earth and the creatures are away from
God. All is estranged, consequently “groaning” and “travailing” are
everywhere. (But travailing, though painful, looks toward a birth!)
Until now—No “evolution,” “progress,”—but the opposite,—until Christ shall come with the “liberty of the glory.”
23: And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of
the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our
adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our body.
Let us note that
the Spirit does not take us out of sympathy with groaning creation, but
rather supports us in such sympathy! Being ourselves, as to the body,
in a groaning condition,—“longing to be clothed upon with our house
which is from heaven” (II Cor. 5:2) we are able to sympathize with the
creatures about us, which is a precious thing! No one should feel as
tender as should the child of God toward suffering creation. No one
should be as gentle. Not only should this be true about us as concerns
unsaved people: as Paul says, “Be gentle, showing all meekness toward
all men,” but, I say, we should be tender and patient toward animals,
for they are in a dying state—until our bodies are redeemed.
a marvelous position, then, is the Christian’s! On the heavenly side,
the side of grace, in Christ, sharing in His risen life, delivered from
sin and law and all worldly things. On the other hand, not yet partaker
of glory (though expecting and awaiting it), but kept in an unredeemed
body,—not fitted yet for heaven: and in which the longing spirit,
knowing itself “meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in
light,” can only “groan”!
This groaning is not at all that of
the “wretched man” of Romans Seven. For not only is spiritual victory
known; but the “redemption body” is longed for and awaited as that
which the Lord’s coming will surely bring!
Thus, then, does
the Christian become the true connection of groaning creation with God!
He is redeemed, heavenly; but his body is unredeemed, earthly. Yet the
blessed Holy Spirit as the “firstfruits” of coming bodily redemption,
dwells in him. Thus the believer and the whole creation look toward one
goal the liberty of the coming glory of the sons of God!183
also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves
groan—Here then is a wonderful scene: (1) new creatures in Christ,
whose citizenship is in heaven; (2) the presence of the Spirit within
them as “firstfruits” of their coining inheritance—witnessing of it,
giving them to taste of its glory; (3) a state of groaning despite all
this; (4) a waiting for bodily redemption.
Waiting for our
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body—The instructed Christian,
knowing that his body belongs to the Lord, and is not yet redeemed,
longs for, yearns for, groans for that day when his body will be placed
in a position of openly acknowledged sonship and glory, even as his
spirit now, is. Till that day he cannot be satisfied.
scene is deeply touching. One who, redeemed, belongs in heaven, yet
kept in a body in which he groans with groaning creation. Then—amazing
goodness! the blessed Spirit, we may say, represents God’s tender
feeling toward His creation, abiding, as He does, in us the while our
bodies are not redeemed. We repeat and repeat that the Christian’s hope
is not disembodiment, or mere “going to heaven.” For, knowing that “our
citizenship is in heaven; we patiently wait for a Savior, the Lord
Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that
it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” There is an element, we
fear, of cowardice, as well as of unbelief in setting our hope on
“getting to heaven,” and leaving, so to speak, our body behind. God
began with man’s body in Eden (Gen. 2); and He will end with redeeming
our bodies. The heart of God and of Christ,—yea of the indwelling
Spirit (Rom. 8:11) is set upon that. Let our hearts, also, be set upon
Verse 24: For unto [a state of] hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?
places us, along with all creation, in hope. For, as verse 24
announces, unto [a state of] hope were we saved. There is a longing for
and expectation of something better, no matter what spiritual blessing
comes to the believer. This that is longed for, is, of course, “the
liberty of the glory,” that belongs, by God’s grace, to the children of
God (verse 21). Creation will share this “liberty.” Therefore we have a
double feeling toward creation: sympathy with its suffering, and joy in
its prospect of sharing the “liberty of the glory” into which we shall
Verse 25: But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
hope is expecting something better! The very fact that we have not seen
it realized as yet, begets within us that grace which is so precious to
God—patience. But note, it is not patience in the abstract that is set
forth here: but patient waiting for the coming liberty of the glory of
the children of God.
26 And in like manner the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the
Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot
be uttered! 27 and He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the
mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints
according to God.
28 And we know that to them that love God
all things work together for good, to them that according to His
purpose are called ones. 29 For whom He foreknew He also foreordained
conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the First-born
among many brethren! 30 and whom He foreordained, them He also called:
and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them
He also glorified.
Verse 26: And in like manner also—We have
just read that “we that have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan within
ourselves,” waiting for that blessed day of “the liberty of the glory
of the sons of God.” These words “in like manner,” refer to that
operation within us of the Spirit, which makes us in real sympathy, one
with the groaning creation about us. “In like manner,” then, with this
truly wonderful help, the Spirit “helps our infirmity,”—in its ignorant
and infirm dealing with God. Note, the word “infirmity” is singular
number: for we have nothing but infirmity! We know not how to pray as
we ought. Oh, beware of the glib and intimate chatter of the
“Modernist” preacher in his prayers! He would flatter both the Almighty
and his hearers, and most of all, himself, in his “beautiful” and
“eloquent” addresses to God! Not so with Paul, and the real saints of
God, who have the Holy Ghost. There is with them the sense of utter and
boundless need, and along with this the sense of ignorance and
inability. Yet, still, bless God! there is, with all this, the sense of
the limitless help of the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit Himself
maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered—We
know that Christ maketh intercession for us at the right hand of God,
but here the Spirit is making intercession within us: The Spirit, who
knows the vast abysmal need of every one of us, knows that need to the
least possible particular.
Groanings which cannot be
uttered—expresses at once the vastness of our need, our utter ignorance
and inability, and the infinite concern of the blessed indwelling
Spirit for us. “Groanings”—what a word! and to be used of the Spirit of
the Almighty Himself! How shallow is our appreciation of what is done,
both by Christ for us, and by the Spirit within us!
cannot be uttered—Here then, are needs of our, of which our minds know
nothing, and which our speech could not utter if we could perceive
those needs. But it is part of God’s great plan in our salvation that
this effectual praying should have its place—praying, the very meaning
of which we cannot grasp. Men of God have testified to the spirit of
prayer prostrating them into deep and often long-continued “groanings.”
We believe that such consciousness of the Spirit’s praying within us is
included in this verse, but the chief or principal part of the Spirit’s
groaning within us, perhaps never reaches our spirit’s consciousness.
27: And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the
Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to God.
is God the Father here that is “searching the hearts.” How we used to
shrink from the thought of such Divine searching! But here God is
“searching hearts” to know what is the mind of the indwelling, holy
Spirit concerning a saint, to know what the Spirit groans for, for that
saint; in order that He may supply it.
For in the plan of salvation, God the Father is the Source, Christ the Channel, and the Spirit the Agent.
He maketh intercession for the saints according to God—We feel that the
introduction of the words “the will of” before the word God, merely
obscures the meaning. “According to God”—what an all-inclusive, blessed
expression, enwrapping us as to our salvation and blessing, wholly in
Divine love and power. We know not how to pray as we ought; but the
Spirit makes intercession in us, “according to God,” according to His
nature (of which we are partakers); according to our needs, which He
discerns; according to our dangers, which He foresees—according to all
the desires He has toward us.
Verse 28: And we know that to
them that love God all things work together for good—The words we know
are used about thirty times as the expression of the common knowledge
of the saints of God as such, in the Epistles: (in Romans, five
times)—indicating always Christian knowledge; also I Corinthians 8:4, I
John 5:19,—and John 21:24, are perfect examples. Lodge members, having
been “initiated,” go about as those that “know.” The Christian is
traveling to glory along with a blessed company that can say “We know,”
in an infinitely higher and surer sense.184 And here, what a knowledge!
that to them that love God all things work together for good!
as to them that love God John tells us in his first Epistle, “We love,
because He first loved us”; and, “Herein is love, not that we loved
God, but that He loved us”; and “We know and have believed the love
which God hath in our case.” Real faith in the God who gave His Son,
will, Paul tells the Galatians (5:6)), be “working through love.” Only
those can and do really love God whose hearts have been “sprinkled from
an evil conscience”—delivered from fear of God’s just judgment. The
question therefore, comes right back to this: Have we believed, as
guilty lost sinners, on this propitiation by the blood of God’s Son on
the cross? Is that our only hope? If so, I John 4:16 becomes true: “We
know and have believed the love which God hath in our case,” and verse
19 follows: “We love, because he first loved us.” We cannot work up
love for God, but His redeeming love for us, believed in, becomes the
eternal cause and spring of our love to God.
Now we find in
Romans 8:28 a great marvel: all things work together for good to these
believing lovers of God. This involves that billion billion control of
God’s providence,—of the most infinitesimal things—to bring them about
for “good” to God’s saints. When we reflect on the innumerable “things”
about us,—forces seen and unseen of the mineral, vegetable, and animal
worlds; of man at enmity with God; of Satan, and his principalities and
powers, in deadly array; in the uncertainty and even treachery of those
near and dear to us, and even of professed Christians, and of our own
selves,—which we cannot trust for a moment; upon our unredeemed bodies;
upon our general complete helplessness:—then, to have God say, “All
things are working together for your good,”—reveals to us a Divine
providence that is absolutely limitless! The book of Proverbs sets
forth just such a God: for it describes the certain end, good or bad,
of the various paths of men on earth—every minute detail ordered of
God. So also Ephesians (1:11): “The purpose of Him who worketh all
things after the counsel of His will”; and David: “All things are Thy
servants” (Ps. 119:91); as also the whole prophetic Word,—yea, the
whole Word of God; for the God of Providence is in all of it!
good—Dark things, bright things; happy things, sad things; sweet
things, bitter things; times of prosperity, times of adversity. The
“great woman,” the Shunammite, with her one child lying at home dead,
answers Elisha’s question, “Is it well with the child?”: “It is well.”
“A soft pillow for a tired heart,” Romans 8:28 was called by our
beloved Brother R. A. Torrey.
To them that are called
according to His purpose—We come now up on the high, celestial
mountains of Divine Sovereign election, and find those who love God are
further defined as those that are “called” (not “invited,”185 but given
a Divine elective calling) according to His Purpose. Meditation upon
the purpose of the eternal God greatens every soul thus occupied. God
is infinite; man, a bit of dust. If God had a purpose, a fixed
intention, it will come to pass, for He has limitless resources,—as
David says, “All things are Thy servants.”
We have been
dealing in the first part of the chapter with the human will and its
consent to walk by the Spirit. Not so from the 28th verse to the
chapter’s end. It will be all God from now on! Purpose means an
intelligent decision which the will is bent to accomplish. The Greek
word, prothesis, is used twelve times in the New Testament. As to man,
the word is seen to indicate what he is entirely unable to carry
through, as in Acts 27:13: They supposed “that they had obtained their
purpose,” but the ship was wrecked. In the saints, their purpose is
carried on by Divine grace, often with many failures: Acts 11:23, “He
exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the
Lord.” And in II Timothy 3:10, Paul refers
Timothy to that “manner of life, purpose, faith,” which the apostle had
shown at Ephesus, a purpose carried out to final victory in finishing
his course. But, as he says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
God, however, purpose is absolute,—wholly apart from contingencies. In
the very next occurrence after Romans 8:28 we read, “that the purpose
of God according to election might stand”—everything subordinated, and
the end predicted. We read also in Ephesians 3:11 of a “purpose of the
ages” which God has ordained and will carry through, just as our
salvation is referred to as “not according to our works, but according
to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before
the times of the ages” (II Tim. 1:9).
Therefore we beg the
reader in examining the great verses 29 and 30, to distinguish the
things that differ, utterly refusing to confuse or mix them: (1) First,
we shall find many Scriptures in which the consent of man’s will is
asked, and blessing is contingent upon his consent; and some (“rocky
ground people) will receive the Word “immediately with joy, and for
awhile endure,” but in time of tribulation or persecution “fall away.”
(2) Second, we shall find plainly written in Scripture the purpose of
God according to which He works effectually; and all His elect are
brought safely in, and there is no separating them from His love which
was given them in Christ Jesus, in whom they were “chosen before the
foundation of the world.”
Now do not seek to mix these two
things; and still more emphatically we say, do not try to “reconcile”
them! Profitless controversy and partisan feeling will be the only
result. Who told us to “reconcile” in our little minds, these seemingly
contradictory things? Have we ceased to believe where we do not
Every system of theology undertakes to subject the
words of God to categories and catalogs of the human intellect. Now, if
you undertake to “reconcile” God’s sovereign election with His free
offer of salvation to all, you must sacrifice one truth or the other.
Our poor minds may not “reconcile” them both, but our faith knows them
both, and holds both, to be true! And Scripture is addressed to faith,
not to reason.
Verse 29: For whom He foreknew He also
foreordained conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the
First-born among many brethren.
For whom He foreknew—This for looks back at the word purpose, and opens out that great word before us.
first we have, foreknew. This foreknowledge of God.—what is it? In
seeking its meaning we dare not turn to men’s ideas, but to Scripture
only.186 In Amos 1:2 to 2:8, Jehovah gives in detail His exact
knowledge of the sins and of the coming judgments of Syria, the
Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab; and then also of Israel. But to
Israel He says, “You only have I known, of all the families of the
earth.” What did such language mean? That He had acquaintanceship with
“the whole family which He brought up out of the land of Egypt.” Of
Israel again—especially the godly Remnant, He speaks: “God did not cast
off His people which He foreknew.” Now, even of Christ it is written in
I Peter 1:20, “He was foreknown indeed before the foundations of the
world.” This is the same Greek word as in Romans 8:29. Now Christ was
the Eternal Son of God, the Eternal Word. But, “The Word become flesh”:
that occurred when He came into the world. And as thus manifested, “He
was foreknown.” It was not a mere Divine pre-knowledge that He would be
manifested; but a pre-acquaintanceship before His manifestation,—with
Him as such! From which “foreknowledge,” or pre-acquaintance, flowed
the most intimate prophecies of Him, His lowly coming, His rejection,
and the manner of His death. All this is wrapped up in this word
He also foreordained—Foreknowledge is first—by
the God that “calleth the things not being, being” (4.17, Gr.). Then,
the marking out a destiny befitting such foreknown ones. The words “to
be” need not be here: but we may read, foreordained conformed to the
image of His Son. Here we come to words of plain meaning, but limitless
reach! Christ the Son, for whom and by whom all things were made;
Christ the Son, the appointed Heir of all things; Christ the Son—center
of all the Divine counsels! Christ the Son, God’s Son, the Son of His
love! Conformed to His image,—nothing lacking, nothing short: like
Christ—conformed to His image: in glory, in love, in holiness, in
beauty, in grace, in humility, in tenderness, in patience! Our very
bodies at last alive unto God! For we know that this also shall be:
“When Christ, our life shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him
be manifested in glory!” And thus to be with Christ, like Him forever
and ever! Only God can show, and only simple faith respond to, grace
such as this!
That He might be the First-born among many
brethren—In Christ, like Christ, brethren there with the First-born!
This is the highest place, shall we not say, that God could give
creatures! God puts us there: and of Christ it is written, “He is not
ashamed to call them brethren”; because we are “all of one with Christ!
(Heb. 2:11). “This, in fact, is the thought of grace, not to bless us
only by Jesus, but to bless us with Him”.
Verse 30: And whom
He foreordained, them He also called—Since we are here considering
God’s unfolding of His purpose (of verse 28), we must regard called
from God’s side,—who counts things not being, being. Further, calling
is here that determination by God of the sphere and mode of life those
should have whom He foreknew and foreordained. This “calling” belongs
to Eternity past; as “calling,” for example in II Thessalonians 2:14; Gal. 1:6, belongs to experience in present time.
whom He called, them He also justified—God does not here speak of that
entering upon justification by faith—of which this Epistle is full. For
only believing souls are accounted righteous, justified, as we well
know. Yet in God’s counsels are all His elect already before Him,
accounted righteous—justified. This is wonderful truth: and its power
to stay the soul will be seen in the last part of this great Chapter!
whom He justified, them He also glorified—This is the necessary end of
this amazing series—glorified! Thus must these foreknown ones be ever,
before God, since God foreknew them in Christ. None has yet been
glorified in manifestation. Indeed, Christ Himself has not yet been
“manifested”; although He has entered into His glory. And it is in this
glorified Christ that God chose us long ago,—before the foundation of
the world! God, who could thus connect us with Christ, can also say of
us, I have glorified them! And so the saints go on to a glory already
true of them by the word of their God!
31 What then shall we
say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He that
even spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall
He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay
anything to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth: who
is he that condemneth? 34 Christ Jesus [God’s own Son] is the one that
died,—yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right
hand of God, who is also making intercession for us! 35 Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it
On account of thee we are killed all day long:
We were reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 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.
this great passage, Bengel says, “We can no farther go, think, wish.”
Olshausen emphasizes “the profound and colossal character of the
thought”; and Brown says: “This whole passage, to verse 34 and even to
the end of the chapter, strikes all thoughtful interpreters and readers
as transcending almost everything in language.”
arrives at the mountain-height of Christian position! And that, so to
speak, by way of experience. He does, indeed, in the word “us” bring
all the saints with him. There was first our state of awful guilt—and
Christ’s work for us, and justification thereby. Then came the
knowledge of indwelling sin, and the Spirit’s work within us, and
deliverance from sin’s power thereby. Now he has arrived upon the
immovable mountain-top of Divine sovereign election, and he sees God
Himself for us! Not at all meaning, here, God merely on our side in our
struggles, but God’s uncaused unalterable attitude with respect to
those in Christ. God is for them: nothing in time or in eternity to
come has anything whatever to do with matters here. Our weak hearts,
prone to legality and unbelief, with great difficulty receive these
mighty words: God is for us. Place the emphasis here where God places
it—on this great word “for.” God is for His elect. They have failed,
but He is for them. They are ignorant, but He is for them. They have
not yet brought forth much fruit, but He is for them. If our hearts
once surrender to the stupendous fact that there are those whom God
will eternally be for, that there is an electing act and attitude of
God, in which He eternally commits Himself to His elect,—without
conditions, without requirements; whose lives do not at all affect the
fact that God is for them—then we shall be ready to magnify the God of
Verse 31: What then shall we say to these things?
By “these things” Paul evidently indicates not only the whole process
of our salvation by Christ, from Chapter Three onward, with that great
deliverance by the help of the Holy Spirit set forth in this Eighth
Chapter; but he also points most directly to what He has been telling
us of the purpose of God: “Whom He foreknew, foreordained, called,
justified, glorified!” Now it is a sad fact that many dear saints have
said many poor, even lamentable things, to these things of Divine
sovereign foreknowledge and election. Some, indeed, will not hear
“these things,” as Paul sets them forth. Let us not be of this company!
What shall we say to these things? To doubt them is to deny them: for
God asserts them—from foreknowledge to glorification. To question
whether they apply to us is to question—not election, but the words
“whosoever will,” of the gospel invitation. You can let God be
absolutely sovereign in election, and yet, if you find the door opened
by this sovereign God, and “whosoever will” written over it by that
same sovereign God, by all means enter! Set your seal to this, that God
is true, by receiving His witness (John 3:33). Do not allow any “system
of theology” to disturb you for one moment! What will you say to these
things? Say, with Paul: God is for me: He spared not His own Son—for
me! This question, What shall we say to these things? is a testing
word, as well, as a triumphant word.
things,” if we simply rejoice, with Paul, saying, “God is for me, who
is against me?” it is well! But if we cannot rejoice in Divine,
sovereign foreknowledge, foreordination, and calling, this also is the
fruit of subtle unbelief and self-righteousness. “I know,” said
Spurgeon, “that God chose me before I was born’ for He never would have
chosen me afterwards!” Let us not be of the Little-faiths, or of the
Faint-hearts; but let Mr. Greatheart himself, even Paul, set forth the
case: If God be for us, who is against us? This “if” does not imply
doubt, but amounts to since. We are expected to have heard understood,
and believed all the previous marvels of our salvation written in this
epistle. The conclusion is: GOD IS FOR US. The Creator of the universe, the Upholder of all things, the Redeemer God Himself, for us!
the challenge: who is against us? Paul knew as none have ever known,
the power and malignity of Satan and his hosts, the persecuting energy
of the haters of the gospel, the relentless watchfulness of the Roman
Empire— that had flung justice to the winds, and crucified Paul’s Lord,
and ever stood ready, upon occasion, to seize him. Yet he challenges
all! It is not a question of logic, as the King James puts it: “Who can
be against us?” But it is a direct challenge in the lists: to all and
any in the whole possible universe: literally. If God for us—who
Verse 32: He that even187spared not His own Son,
but delivered Him up for us all—This is the God who is for us; and this
is the proof! Spared not—what that word shows! Of the infinite price of
redemption! of the measureless unconquerable love of God that would not
be stopped at such frightful cost! “His own Son”; His only Son; His
well-beloved Son,—from all eternity! And for us! Ah, how wretched we
are, even in our own sight! guilty, undone, defiled, powerless,
worthless,—for us all! Verily, “the most miserable of sheep!” (Zech.
Then, delivered Him up—We remember immediately the same
word in Chapter 4:25: “delivered up for our trespasses.” Yea, we know
for why: but unto what? gainsaying, mocking, spitting, scourging,
crucifying—by men; and to the awful cup of wrath for our sin at God’s
hand—infinitely more appalling that any creature stroke! Yet God spared
not—His own Son, but delivered Him up!
For us all—Here the
saints are spoken of. (Paul never uses “us” of any others!) And who are
the saints? Sinners who have heard God’s good news concerning His Son,
and have simply believed! Only faith can walk here! Unbelief, coming to
the fearful gulf between the infinitely holy God and the awful guilt of
the sinner, shrinks back; while faith, seeing Christ crucified, cries,
God is for me! and passes gladly over the bridge God made—who spared
not His own Son!
How shall He not also with Him freely give us
all things?—The great gift, the unspeakable gift, being made, all must
follow! “How shall He not, with Him?” If you buy a costly watch at the
jeweller’s, he sends it to you in a lovely case which he gives you
freely—with your purchase. It is as in Chapter Five, with the “much
mores.” God has not spared His Son: what are all else to Him? God has
opened to us His heart, He has spared not,—giving us His best, His
all—even Christ. Now, with Him, all things come! God cannot but do
this. Shall He give us His dear Son, and then hold back at trifles? For
“all things” of this created universe,—yea, even all gifts or blessings
God may give us, here or hereafter, are but nothing, compared with
“All things”: It will greatly please God for us boldly
to beg Him for this or that, saying: Thou didst not spare Thy Son, but
gavest Him for me. Now I need a thing from Thee; and I ask it as one to
whom Thou gavest Christ! “How shall He not?” not, “How shall He?’—as
doubt would put it! Let “all things” be all things indeed to thee,—only
seeking wisdom in asking. This verse is a great feeder of faith!
33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Note (1) It is
God’s elect whom this passage concerns. (2) God’s elect not only
believe, but are confident! For there can be no charge laid against
them. (3) They boldly challenge any and every foe, concerning any
possible charge against them before God! It is not that those
triumphing are without fault in themselves—they know that! But God is
for them! They are His “elect,” and we know from the next chapter that
the purpose of God according to election is not of works”: but on the
contrary, “of Him that calleth” (Romans 9:11). As absolutely as
righteousness is “not of works,” so neither is election! Both have God
Himself as the only Source! So, “the purpose of God according to
It is God that justifieth:188who is he that
condemneth?—Here the emphasis is upon God. He is the Judge; and He has
declared His elect,—those “of faith in Jesus,” righteous. Now will any
condemn? Shall any stand before God’s High Court and condemn whom He
has justified? Never! Satan may accuse us in our consciences; but the
day of our condemnation was past forever—when Christ our Substitute
“bore our sins in His own body on the tree!” When it is announced as
toward all possible foes: “It is God that justifies,” we feel in our
hearts God taking our part!
Verse 34: Christ Jesus [God’s own
Son] is the one that died,—yea, rather, that was raised from the dead,
who is at the right hand of God, who is also making intercession for us!
would render the answer to the question of verse 33, “Who shall lay
anything to the charge,” etc., entirely in the question form: “Shall
God that justifieth? Shall Christ that died?” We have not yielded to
rendering it thus; for this question-form does not fit the bold
challenge here: for this whole passage is governed by the great word:
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? And further, verse
35, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? God then, is seen
“for us,” as justifying; His own Son Christ Jesus as dying and as
interceding for us. All of which commits God to us irreversibly! The
Yea, rather, that was raised from the dead, follows the exact order of
the development of the truth of Christ’s work in this epistle: set
forth as a mercy-seat through faith in His blood in Chapter Three; God
seen raising Him who was delivered on account of our trespasses in
Chapter Four. There is no crucifix, no Romanism, here; no dead Christ,
but One raised.
Nay, more, Christ Jesus is at the right hand
of God,—We have here the first of seven historical statements in the
Epistles that He is there,189 and not merely there in the place of
honor and power, but occupied (as ever) for our benefit: who also is
making intercession for us. In verse 8:22, the indwelling Spirit is
making intercession for the saints; in verse 31, God is for us; in
verse 34, Christ Jesus is making intercession for us. What a wonderful
salvation this is, in which all three persons of the Trinity are
constantly occupied in our behalf!190
Verse 35: When Paul
says. Who shall separate us from Christ’s love? and then begins to
enumerate things, it is plain that in the word “Who” he has in mind the
great enemy who opposes “things” to God’s saints! Satan is “prince of
this world,” and “god of this age”: this the apostle always has before
him: “that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not
ignorant of his devices.” So he says: Who shall separate us? shall
tribulation? Thirty-seven times this word rendered “tribulation”
(thlipsis) and its verb are used to denote those direct troubles that
afflict the saints,—because of the gospel! Satan has sought,—and, oh,
how desperately,—but has never succeeded in separating one saint from
Christ’s love by tribulations! (See this word in Matt. 13:21; I Thess.
1:6; 3:3; John 16:33.) And God sees to it that the path of the
Christian is a narrow, “straitened one! (Matthew 7:14 has the same
word—“narrow.” See also II Cor. 4:8; 7:5)
now the next word—distress. This word (stenochoria) is rightly
translated “anguish” in Chapter 2:9; for there it evidently means a
fixed place in which “every soul of man that doeth evil” is held while
Divine judgment is visited. The word means a narrow, cramped place,
where one is “in straits.” For the lost this is unendurable; for the
saved, it. only affords room for God’s help, when naught else can
avail. So, distresses—how terrible soever—cannot separate from Christ’s
love. (See the note on the Russian women in Chapter Five.) Remember
Christ, the Lord of glory, had not a place to lay His head: He knows
what distresses are!
Or persecution—(diōgmos). This is a word
used ten times in the New Testament, and always in reference to the
gospel. It’s verb means, “to make to run,” or “to run swiftly to catch”
those pursued; so, to persecute. No saint thus persecuted has yet been
forsaken by Christ,—nor ever will be! “If they persecuted Me, they will
also persecute you.” Christ never forsakes, but has the sweetest
fellowship with those persecuted by the world,—directed (under God’s
permissive decree only!) by Satan. Christ is always saying, “Be of good
cheer!” (Acts 23:11.)
Famine—comes next. And you would think
that the Lord of all would ever provide liberally for His saints. Not
always! The “present distress” is on. Christ the Heir was cast out of
Israel’s vineyard and slain! The Head of the new Body has indeed been
glorified. But why should not the members of His Body know by
experience what the Head passed through and thus find fellowship with
the Head? Thus they come to have one heart with Him! “Famine?” Yes. But
not to separate us from Christ’s love! “I know how to be in want,” says
Paul. Twelve times is “famine” (limos) mentioned in the New Testament:
though only twice (here in Rom. 8:35; II Cor.
11:27—this last concerning an apostle!) does it directly touch the
saints. In Acts 11:28, indeed they get relief (though by other saints,
not by government agency!). Yea; you may be hungry in this
Christ-rejecting world, ‘and yet be beloved of your Lord. “The meek
shall inherit the earth”—but not yet! Not till He comes back!
“All here is stained with blood!—
Thy blood, O glorious Christ!
And man and Satan do today
Whate’er they list!”
(Yet do not forget that, amidst it all, God lives! The God of Elijah still looks after His own!)
nakedness—In I Corinthians 4:11, Paul says, “Even unto this present
hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and
have no certain dwelling-place.” (Read the whole passage.) How ashamed
we feel, who are not as devoted to our Lord as was Paul, to hear him
speak thus! This whole part of Romans Eight shows us as partakers with
a Christ the world cast out.
Or peril—Eight times in one verse, II Corinthians
11:26, does Paul use this word. Read that verse, remembering the same
word in I Corinthians 15:30: “We stand in jeopardy [peril] every hour.”
In Paul’s bringing you this gospel, Jewish hatred, Roman jealousy,
pagan blindness (Acts 14:8-20) and false brethren (Acts 15) beset him
round,—striving that “the truth of the gospel” might come unto us! God
grant we cherish it! Many have suffered, that we might have these
Or sword—The first use of this word
(machaira) is connected with our Lord Himself: Matthew 26:47: “A great
multitude with swords and staves” to take Him; while Acts 12:2 (“Herod
. . . killed James the brother of John with the sword”), and Hebrews
11:37 (“They were slain with the sword”), give only examples of the
attitude of this world toward Christ and His saints. The world hates
the saints; though sometimes those making most hideous use of the sword
have worn “the sign of the cross.” That was the world’s religion; and,
like Cain, it killed God’s people. But, even in the hour of death most
terrible, Christ was there: they were not separated from His love!
Even as it is written,
On account of Thee we are killed all the day long:
We were reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.
then, is the description of God’s saints: “killed perpetually,” and
“sheep for slaughter.” We know that this quotation is taken from a
Psalm (44:22) which describes that terrible hunting down by the
Antichrist of the godly remnant of Israel in the days of the Great
Tribulation. But today—all the day [of grace] long, this is the real
state of real saints: killed, and slaughter-sheep! To the student of
God’s Word, the many years of outward peace—from persecution, horrors,
and death,—that have come to us is the unusual, the astonishing thing.
Look at the “deaths oft” of the early Church, the martyrs; and again
when truth burst out afresh at the Reformation! (See footnote p. 475)
now again! look at Russia, look at Germany, look all around! Ruthless
hatred of God’s saints is breaking out everywhere, as of old!
we ought not to view such things with alarm, but, on the contrary, to
remember that Christ has not yet set up His kingdom,191 nor will till
His second coming! Satan is the prince of this world, and shall yet be
exhibited as the “god of this age”—see Revelation Thirteen. For,
“The whole earth wondered after the Wild Beast [Satan’s man, the
Antichrist]; and they worshipped the dragon [Satan] . . . and there was
given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and
nation. And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one
whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in
the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain.”
Let the saints rouse quickly from these false dreams of “peace.”
The saints are sheep for slaughter! Name yourself among them, and cease
contending for your “rights” in a world that has cast out Christ!
Persecution is shaping itself up again throughout Christendom—yea, even
in the United States. Intolerance unto death for any who will not bow
to a totalitarian state is ready, as in the days of the Roman emperors
(who demanded worship) to assert itself,—is asserting itself,
throughout the world. This “totalitarian” movement is setting the stage
for Antichrist more rapidly than you dream! Therefore get ready. Put up
over your mirror the motto: “I am Christ’s: a sheep for slaughter.”
Verse 37: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!
What a wonderful book this Word of God is! “Sheep for slaughter” naming themselves more than conquerors!192
note three things in this verse: (1) We are conquerors in all this
terrible situation, in all these things. (2) We are more than
conquerors. (3) It is altogether through Him that loved us, and not
through human energy of any kind, that we are more than conquerors.
what is it to be “more than conquerors?” (a) It is to come off
conqueror in every difficulty, (b) It is to know that Divine, and
therefore infinite, power has been engaged for us in the conflict, (c)
It is the absolute confidence that this infinite and therefore
limitless Divine help is granted to us against any possible future
emergency, (d) It is to “divide the spoil” over any foe, after victory!
Him that loved us—Note first the past tense.
That preaching which always emphasizes the present love of God or
Christ for the soul, as the great persuading power over the human
heart, falls sadly short. When our Lord described God’s love for the
world, it was, “God so loved that He gave His Son.” Again, “Herein is
love, that God loved us, and sent His Son.” Again, when Paul describes
Christ’s love for His own it is by pointing to His sacrifice. Here (in
Rom. 8:37) the cross is indicated, as in verse 32 of our chapter: “He
that spared not His own Son.”
Further, when Christ’s love for
the Church is described, it is again the past tense—“Christ loved the
Church and gave Himself up for it” (Eph. 5:25). And, “The Son of God
loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). It is this past tense
gospel the devil hates,—for “the Word of the Cross is the power of
God.” Let a preacher be continually saying, “God loves you, Christ
loves you,” and he and his congregation will by and by be losing sight
both of their sinnerhood and of the substitutionary atonement of the
cross, where the love of God and of Christ was once for all and
supremely set forth,—and in righteous display!
Now whether God or Christ is indicated in Him that loved us in this verse, what we have said holds true.
we personally feel that the rendering “the love of God” in verse 35, is
correct. And this because it is the love of God that is emphasized
throughout this passage, from verse 31 to the end. For note, it is God
that is for us, God spared not His Son; God justifieth. And it is
Christ Jesus whom He had “not spared,” that died, that was raised, who
is at the right hand of God, and who intercedes. From such love of God
(as good authorities read in verse 35), no difficulties can separate us.
know, however, that verse 39 definitely declares that it is “the love
of God which is in Christ Jesus” from which nothing can separate us.
we are also quite strongly drawn to read “the love of Christ” in verse
35, because (1) Christ’s work for us has just been described in the
immediately preceding verse; and also (2) because of the glorious
historical fact that the martyrs were directly conscious, in the midst
of the flames and when they were thrown to the beasts, of the presence
and love of Christ, their Redeemer, Lord and Head.
But, however we read, both are correct!
38: For I am persuaded—Before we quote the last two verses of this
triumphant paean, let us lay to heart this word persuaded, for it is
the key to Paul’s triumph as he goes shouting up these mountain heights
of Christian faith. “Persuaded” is a heart word. The difference between
knowing a truth and being heart-persuaded of it, Paul brings out in
Chapter 14:14: “I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that
nothing is unclean of itself.” (See that passage.) Many people know,
for example, that in this dispensation all distinctions of meats have
been removed; yet their consciences are not relieved. Weakness and fear
still trouble them—about meats and days and many things. To know a
Bible truth, you have only to read it: to be “persuaded of it in the
Lord Jesus” involves the fact, first, that the truth in question
touches your own personal safety before God; and, second, that your
heart has so been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and your will so won
over—persuaded”—that confidence, heart-satisfied persuasion, results.
Paul says in Romans 8:38: I am persuaded—Dear saints, had not Paul
passed through all these terrible things of verse 35, tribulation,
anguish, persecution,—all? Look at the scars on his body! Assurance? He
had it: “In the sight of God speak we in Christ” (II Cor. 12:19);
“Seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me” (II Cor.
13:3). Confidence? Hearken to his last epistle: “The Lord will deliver
me from every evil work, and will save me unto His heavenly kingdom: to
whom be the glory unto the ages of the ages” (II Tim. 4:18).
“Persuaded?” His mind, his conscience, his heart, his whole being, were
sublimely committed to what he is about to say. The days of doubt and
uncertainty were forever passed for him!
Verses 38, 39: For I
am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 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.
we do misquote this verse, putting it according to natural thought,
“neither life nor death.” But God says, neither death nor life. To the
instructed believer, the fear of death is gone (see Hebrews 2:14, 15).
Christ partook of it: “That through death He might bring to nought him
that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all
them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to
But life! Ah, life is so much more difficult than
death!—life with its burdens, its bitternesses, its disappointments,
its uncertainties; often with its physical miseries,—as Job said, “My
soul chooseth strangling and death rather than these my bones.” But
just as death cannot separate us from this unchangeable love of God in
Christ, neither can any circumstances of life do it!
angels—Whether we speak of the elect angels—the angels of God’s power,
in the presence of whom the saints have felt overwhelmed by their utter
unworthiness (as Daniel, Dan 10:8-17); or whether it be the malignant
angels, who chose Satan’s captaincy, and are a unity with him in
evil;—no angels can separate us from that love of God which is fixed
forever in Christ.
Nor principalities—Here we touch a
mysterious word. We know from Ephesians 1:21 that there is an ordered
realm of unseen authorities whether of good or of evil (Eph. 2:2;
6:12). But with none of them have we anything to do, for whatever they
are, they cannot separate us from God’s love in Christ.
things present nor things to come—In Job’s case, Satan dealt in “things
present”—and they were as bad as hellish enmity could make them. But
they did not separate from God’s love, for look at “the end of the
Lord,” with Job. In the cases of David and Elijah, Satan dealt in
“futures”: David said, “I shall now one day perish by the hand of
Saul.” Yet shortly he sat on the throne! And Jezebel threatened, “I
will make thy life as the life of one of them [the slain prophets] by
tomorrow about this time.” When Elijah saw that, (alas, these “thats”
of the devil!) “he arose, and went for his life.” Yet God took him up
by a chariot of fire into heaven!
Nor powers—The word
translated “powers”193 here is dunamis, energy: and has reference
evidently to those uncanny and horrible workings of Satan and his host
seen in spiritism, theosophy, and all kinds of magic. Indeed, this very
word is used in Acts 8:10 concerning Simon the Magician: “They said,
This man is that power (dunamis) of God which is called Great.” All
kinds of bewitchment, sorcery, necromancy, “evil eye,” and “mystic
spells” cast upon people are included. Now I know that sorcery, the
“evil eye,” “spells,” are potent over the unsaved. But, it is a sad
fact that many dear saints are troubled by these things. They are
afraid—of Friday the thirteenth, of passing under a ladder, of seeing a
black cat, of breaking a mirror! Now this simply leaves God out! Who
rules in earth’s affairs, Satan or God?
People say to me, “Do
you believe there is anything in spiritism?” I say,”I certainly do—the
devil’s in it!” But none of these “powers” can separate us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. There is no such thing
as “luck.” Let us cease to dishonor God by mentioning it! “God worketh
all things after the counsel of His will.” I have seen professing
Christians “knock on wood” if making some confident statement! (I am
ashamed as I write this.) Let us be “persuaded” of the love which God,
without cause in us, has unchangeable toward us in Christ Jesus our
Lord. No matter how real, insidious, terrifying these demon powers may
be, we are safe in Christ! If you want to be free from superstition and
fears, do as James directs: “Ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we
shall both live and do this or that.” That brings God in!
39: Nor height, nor depth—The astronomers would frighten us with their
figures of the vastness of the universe But Christ has passed through
all the heavens, and is at the right hand of God! And God has loved us
in Christ—there is no separation from that love. But “depth”—Ah, poor
mortals we are afraid, even of earthly cliffs and chasms. Yea, but
Christ descended into “the lower parts of the earth,” into “the abyss”
at “the heart of the earth” (Eph. 4:9; Rom 10:7; Matt. 12:40).
Moreover, He has said that His Church would not enter the gates of
Hades (Matt. 16:18). And they shall not! But even if God had arranged
that they should, Christ says to John, “Fear not; I am the First and
the Last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive
forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades!” This is indeed
a glorious salvation! No “depth” can separate us from God’s love in
Nor any other created thing—There! That should banish
all our fears, no matter what they be. The ability of the human heart
to conjure up possible trouble and disaster is without limit, it seems:
but this word gives us peace. No created thing shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in. Christ Jesus, our Lord.
that this love of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Why God set His love
upon us, we cannot tell. Why He chose us in Christ before the
foundation of the world, connecting our destiny eternally with Christ
His beloved Son, we cannot tell. But, “Whatsoever Jehovah doeth, it
shall be forever.” We must therefore hold in mind this fact, that God
has loved us even as He loved Christ (John 17:26): for He loved us in
Some dear saints seem to think that it is a mark of
humility to doubt the security of God’s elect. But Romans has surely
shown us the way to be certain! Do not try to assure your heart that
you are one of God’s elect. If you are troubled with doubts, go and sit
down on the sinner’s seat, and say, “God declares righteous the ungodly
who trust Him. I renounce all thoughts of my own righteousness, and as
a sinner I trust the God who raised Christ from the dead,—who was
delivered up for my trespasses.” This is the path our God in Romans
shows us. Uncertainty about election arises from some kind of
As we have elsewhere noted, the saints are
those who have received Him whom God in His great love gave to the
world, and they by Divine grace welcomed this only-begotten Son whom
God has given. Therefore the love of God in Christ Jesus is forever
theirs. However the world of men may treat this astonishing unspeakable
gift which God has proffered, and may go on rejecting Christ till a day
when it must be eternally withdrawn; yet God’s elect, the saints,
“those who have believed,” find themselves borne upon the irresistible
tide of this Divine affection which “is in Christ Jesus,” out into an
eternity of bliss! “God is love,” and “the Father loveth the Son.” And
now these connected with Christ find themselves wrapped in this same
eternal affection shown by God to His dear Son.
When we fail
utterly, and are overwhelmed, then is the time to say: We have been
accepted in Christ—only in Christ, wholly in Christ. Our place is
unchanged by our failure. We are ashamed before God, but not
confounded. Just now His eyes are on us in Christ, as they ever have
been. His love is as deep and wonderful as ever, being “the love
wherewith He loved Christ”! We do not resolve to “do better,” for we
are weak. We trust the grace of God in Christ and cast ourselves anew,
and all the more wholly, upon His grace alone. We trust Him never to
forsake or fail us: for He hath loved us in His beloved Son; and God
will never forsake Christ! For His sake will He deal with us now and
How hard it is to turn away from its object the love
even of a man, a creature, a bit of dust! How eternally impossible,
then, that the infinite God should be turned away from His love to
those that are in Christ Jesus!
The wonderful text of this passage, GOD IS FOR US, fills our amazed and grateful hearts more and more.
MY HIGH TOWER
By Paul Gerhardt: A.D. 1676
IS GOD FOR ME? I fear not, though all against me rise;
I call on Christ my Savior, the host of evil flies.
My friend the Lord Almighty, and He who loves me, God!
What enemy shall harm me, though coming as a flood?
I know it, I believe it, I say it fearlessly,
That God, the Highest, Mightiest, forever loveth me;
At all times, in all places, He standeth at my side,
He rules the battle fury, the tempest and the tide.
A Rock that Stands forever is Christ my righteousness,
And there I stand unfearing in everlasting bliss;
No earthly thing is needful to this my life from Heaven,
And nought of love is worthy, save that which Christ hath given.
Christ, all my praise and glory, my Light most sweet and fair,
The ship wherein He saileth is scathless everywhere!
In Him I dare be joyful, a hero in the war
The judgment of the sinner affrighteth me no more!
There is no condemnation, there is no hell for me,
The torment and the fire mine eyes shall never see;
For me there is no sentence, for me death has no stings,
Because the Lord Who saved me shall shield me with His wings.
Above my soul’s dark waters His Spirit hovers still,
He guards me from all sorrow, from terror and from ill;
In me He works and blesses the life-seed He hath sown,
From Him I learn the Abba, that prayer of faith alone.
And if in lonely places, a fearful child, I shrink,
He prays the prayers within me I cannot ask or think;
In deep unspoken language, known only to that Love
Who fathoms the heart’s mystery from the Throne of Light above.
His Spirit to my spirit sweet words of comfort saith,
How God the weak one strengthens who leans on Him in faith;
How He hath built a City, of love, and light, and song,
Where the eye at last beholdeth what the heart had loved so long.
And there is mine inheritance, my kingly palace-home;
The leaf may fall and perish, not less the spring will come;
As wind and rain of winter, our earthly sighs and tears,
Till the golden summer dawneth of the endless Year of years.
The world may pass and perish, Thou, God, wilt not remove—
No hatred of all devils can part me from Thy love;
No hungering nor thirsting, no poverty nor care,
No wrath of mighty princes can reach my shelter there.
No Angel, and no Heaven, no throne, nor power, nor might,
No love, no tribulation, no danger, fear, nor fight,
No height, no depth, no creature that has been or can be,
Can drive me from Thy bosom, can sever me from Thee.
My heart in joy upleapeth, grief cannot linger there—
While singing high in glory amidst the sunshine fair!
The source of all my singing is high in Heaven above;
The Sun that shines upon me is Jesus and His Love!
Revised Version correctly omits “who walk not after the flesh but after
the Spirit.” Since the King James translation, over 300 years ago,
many., and the best, most accurate, ancient Greek manuscripts which we
have, have been recovered; and earnest, godly men have gone steadily
ahead with the tedious but fruitful work of correcting errors that had
crept in in copying. For, as we all know, we have not the original
manuscripts of Scripture: God has been pleased to withhold these from
creatures so prone to idolatry as the sons of men.
close verse 1 with the words “in Christ Jesus,” for four reasons: (1)
The evidence of the Greek manuscripts is overwhelmingly in favor of the
omission of the clause “who walk not after the flesh but after the
Spirit” from verse 1,—as the evidence is universally for including
these words in Verse 4. (2) Spiritual discernment also agrees, for the
introduction of these words in verse I makes our safety depend upon our
walk, and not upon the Spirit of God, But all in Christ Jesus are safe
from condemnation, as is plainly taught throughout the epistles.
Otherwise, our security depends on our walk, and not on our posi
tion in Christ. (3) The clause is plainly in proper place at the end
of verse 4,—where the manner of the believer’s walk, not his safety,
from condemnation, is described. (4) That the clause at the end of
verse 1 in the King James is a gloss (marginal note by some copyist)
appears not only from its omission by the great uncial manuscripts,
Aleph, A, B, C, D, F, G; A, D (corr.); with some good cursives and
ancient versions (see Olshausen, Meyer, Alford, J. F. and B., and
Darby’s excellent discussion in his Synopsis, in loc); but it also
appears from the similarity of this gloss to like additions made
through legal fear, found in other passages.
That God chose to
have His Word translated and still authoritative is seen from the use
in the New Testament of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old
Testament, the Septuagint.
We should thank God for those
devoted men who have spent their lifetimes in profound study of the
manuscripts God has left us, and who have given us so marvelously
perfect a translation as we have. We should distinguish such scholars
absolutely and forever from the arrogant “Modernists” (or, in former
days, the “Higher Critics”). who undertake to tell us what God ought to
say in the Bible, rather than with deep humility seeking to find out
what God has said.
Here we have at the very beginning of the chapter, one of the most
common words of argument in Paul’s epistles—for (Gr. gar). It occurs
some 17 times in this Eighth Chapter, and about one half as many in
Chapter Seven, etc. In general, it assigns the reason. Let us not be
among those who avoid Paul’s epistles because of the mental attention
they demand. Most people would rather read a novel or go to the picture
shows than study. A chapter with 17 “fors” in it, is closely knit, and
must be patiently followed. Unmeasured blessing will result.
John Wesley’s testimony is well known, concerning the beginning of his
life of real faith (in his 35th year, after 13 years in a relatively
common-place ministry): “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a
society in Aldersgate Street where one was reading Luther’s preface to
the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was
describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in
Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ,
Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that He had
taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and
death. For the next 53 years Wesley was “the outstanding figure and the
greatest force in the English speaking world.” But notice that he
realized at Aldersgate Street, the two great elements of our salvation:
(1) forgiveness of sin’s guilt; and (2) deliverance from sin’s
power—from the law of sin and death!
“The expression is purposely a general one, because the design was not
to speak of Christ’s mission to atone for sin, but, in virtue of that
atonement, to destroy its dominion and extirpate it altogether from
believers. We think it wrong, therefore, to render the words (as in
margin) “by a sacrifice for sin” (peri hamartias) for this sense is too
definite, and makes the idea of expiation more prominent than it
God condemned, or, as you might say, executed sin in the flesh for us
by the death of Christ. He did not die only for my sins (though that’s
true), but for my sin. The root of sin that is in my nature, and that
which worries and distresses the heart of the sincere believer daily,
is put away for faith by death, and we are dead to it . . . God has
settled the question, condemned the sin in you, which you condemn. But
where has He done it? Outside of yourself altogether . . . He takes
away the condemnation of sin in the nature, by God’s judgment being
executed on the sinless flesh of His own Son. Thus sin in my flesh is
judged, as well as my committed sins”—Darby, Notes on Romans, in loc.
We find the definite article “the” in the Greek before the word Spirit,
where the Holy Spirit’s person or personal action is emphasized. But
where His power, or nature as a sphere of being, and not His person, is
before us, the article generally disappears. To translate literally
several instances in this chapter: The Holy Spirit is introduced in
verse 2 as “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”; but in verse 4, it is
“who walk not according to flesh but according to Spirit.” In verse 5,
“they that are according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Here
“according to Spirit” is a matter of characterizing; whereas in “the
things of the Spirit,” the Holy Spirit’s person is brought to the fore.
He has certain things—“the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit
of God” (II Cor. 2:11). Again, in Romans 8:9, “Ye are not in flesh but
“Man earthy, of the earth, an hungred feeds
On earth’s dark poison tree—
Wild gourds, and deadly roots, and bitter weeds;
And as his food is he.
And hungry souls there are, that find and eat
God’s manna day by day;
And glad they are, their life is fresh and sweet,
For as their food are they!
many years ago a deep revival was in progress in New Haven, Conn., and
in Yale College there. Many, especially of the society class, were
falling under profound conviction. Several young ladies who had found
peace in the blood of Christ, went to a very prominent friend,—a young
woman whose generosity, grace and kindness had endeared her especially
to her circle of friends. They besought her to come to the revival
meetings. When she objected, they protested, “But God has a claim on
you. He loves you. He gave His Son to die for you,” Fiercely she burst
forth, stamping her foot: “I hate God!”
earnest “church members” today have all the Holy Spirit? Here and there
is one who has the witness, “Abba, Father”; who testifies boldly that
Jesus Christ is his Lord; who has a burden of prayer for the lost; who
has a yearning for the fellowship of the saints, and a hunger for God’s
Word. What about the rest? They are occupied with various “Christian”
activities. Or, having in most cases, (I speak of earnest souls) a
Seventh of “Romans experience, not knowing themselves fully accepted of
God on the ground of Christ’s work, and not knowing the deliverance
that is through Christ Jesus by the indwelling Holy Spirit from the
power of sin and selfishness and worldliness, and sometimes—awful to
say! not willing to come out and be separate from that world which
crucified their Lord (and is not sorry!), they become part of the
present ecclesiastical system,—as Jews were of that system.
ask, are such people Christians? If they have finally broken with sin,
and are “praying to God alway,” they belong, indeed, in the company of
Cornelius (Acts 10), who was a devout man, but was not yet in the
Christian position. Two steps led him to the Christian position: first,
faith in Christ that his sins were remitted. (Acts 10:43); second, the
gift of the Holy Ghost, which followed (Acts 11:15-18.)
course, we cannot agree with the Pentecostal people that only those
that speak with tongues have the Holy Ghost. We believe that gift was
given at Cornelius house to convince Peter, as we read in the following
chapter (Acts 11:17) that they had “the like gift,” that had been
conferred on the hundred and twenty on the Day of Pentecost. That gift
was the Holy Spirit; and not a gift—charisma—which the Spirit Himself
afterwards conferred. The same thing applies to Acts 19:6: “The Holy
Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” The
essential thing was the conferring of the Holy Spirit, and not the
Spirit’s operations thereafter.
(What we say does not mean
that we “forbid to speak with tongues”—which God forbids us to
forbid:—I Corinthians 14:39;—and concerning “prophesying” we comment in
“It is astonishing to find many commentators insisting on “Spirit” with
a small “s” here, stating that it is “the human spirit, . . .
essentially that part of man that holds communion with God” (Sanday).
But such a notion defeats the whole meaning of the passage, which is,
that that possession by the believer of the Holy Spirit in person is
the seal and mark of a true believer over against those that are merely
“soulical” (literally, “psychical”); as in Jude 19: “These are they who
make separations, sensual, [Greek: psychikoi], having not the Spirit.”
Paul says to the Ephesians concerning Christ: “In whom, upon believing,
[aorist] ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an
earnest of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13, 14). Having the Holy Spirit is
the unvarying apostolic sign of the true Christian. “Hereby we know
that He abideth in us by the Spirit which He gave us” (I John 3:24).
Compare Gal. 3:2, 3; I Cor. 12:3, 13.
in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), is called by the apostle there
“the riches of the glory of this mystery”—the great revelation which
Paul’s gospel contains.
But it is a terrible error to confine
the revelation of that mystery to what are called “the prison
epistles,” beginning with Ephesians. The two sides of the gospel, We in
Christ, and, Christ in us, are constantly set forth from Romans on. The
very words of our verse in Romans (8:10): If Christ is in you, are as
wonderful as we find! In Galatians also (2:20): “It is no longer I that
live, but Christ liveth in me.” And in II Corinthians
13:3: “Christ that speaketh in me”; and in Gal. 1:16: “To reveal His
Son in me.” (These last two refer especially to testimony.) In
Ephesians 3:14 to 21 we have the great prayer, “that Christ may make
His home down in your hearts through faith.” He lives in all saints (II
Cor. 13.5), just as all saints are in Him. But the Ephesians passage is
like Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any
man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with Me.” Let us beware of the false teaching,
that only the so-called “prison epistles” are “church truth.” For in
all Paul’s epistles we find this great double truth, we in Christ, and
Christ in us. Each epistle has its particular object and phase of
truth, certainly, but they are one; and are all for the Church, the one
lt is “body” (soma), not flesh (sarx). It it were sarx, we would at once know the Holy Spirit is meant,—from Galatians 5.17.
have sought in vain for some simple English expression to set forth the
Greek word so poorly rendered “adoption.” This word is huio-thesia:
from, huios, “son come of age”; and thesia, a placing, or setting a
person or thing in its place. In earthly affairs, “adoption” is the
term applied to the selection as child and heir of one not born of us;
and the execution of legal papers making such child our own, inheriting
legal rights, etc.
But God’s children are begotten and born of
God, and are called tekna, “born-ones,” of God. Thus are they directly
related to God, “partakers of the Divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). All
God’s children, whether in Old Testament days or today, are thus born.
But the word huios means, a child come of age; no longer “as a servant”
(Gal. 4:7). And huiothesia means God’s recognizing them in that
position! This will be consummated fully at the coming of Christ, when
our bodies, redeemed, and fashioned anew, shall be conformed to
Christ’s glorious body.
Meanwhile, because we are already
adult sons (huioi), God has given us a spirit of adult-sonship! No Jew
called God “Father,” or “Abba”; but “Jehovah.” (Indeed) fearfulness,
even prevented, generally, the use by the Jews of God’s
memorial-name—Jehovah—for that nation: they called Him Adonai—“Lord.”
And the English translations of the Old Testament, except the A.R.V.,
do the same thing,—only printing Jehovah as “LORD”—in capitals! But
this is no translation; and is legal fearfulness.)
“Because ye are adult-sons (huioi) God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6, 7).
as to the strong Roman law concerning “adoption” of those not born in
the family, (and Paul is writing to Romans) the following is
“The process of legal adoption by which the
chosen heir became entitled not only to the reversion of the property
but to the civil status) to the burdens as well as the rights of the
adopter—made him become, as it were, his other self, one with him . . .
We have but a faint conception of the force with which such an
illustration would speak to one familiar with the Roman practice; how
it would serve to impress upon him the assurance that the adopted son
of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the heavenly
Father.” (Merivale, quoted by Vincent.)
1.Much unnecessary and unfruitful questioning as to what is the witness of the Spirit has arisen.
is plain both in this passage (verses 15, 16) and from the great verse
in Galatians 4:6: “Because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of
His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father,” that the “witness of
the Spirit” is the producing of the consciousness of being born of God,
of belonging to His family, in Christ. And for us today who are in
Christ, there should be the consciousness, not merely of babes, but of
adult-sons. “God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,
crying, Abba, Father,” It is a sense of the very relation to the Father
which Christ Himself has as Son! Mark, in this we do not “know” the
Son, for He is the second person of the Deity; but we do know the
Father, and the Son “willeth to reveal Him” by sending the blessed
Spirit for that purpose. (See Matt. 11:27.)
How beautifully sweet is the recognition of its parents by a babe, a child! unconcious, instinctive, yet how real!
the witness of the Spirit is to the fact of our relationship. How
foolish it would be, and how sad, if a child should fall into the
delusion that it must have certain “feelings” if it is to believe
itself a child of its parents. The unconscious certainty of the
relationship is the beauty of it. There are, indeed, certain tests
Divinely given us, by which to assure ourselves. Most of these,
perhaps, are in the great Epistle of Fellowship, First
John;—“fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ”: “I
have written unto you, little children, because ye know the Father
(2:13). Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made
manifest what we shall be. We know that, if He shall be manifested, we
shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is (3:2). Hereby we
know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He gave us” (3:24).
word tekna means “born-ones,” offspring. The several other Greek words
for child are used accurately in Scripture: brephos,—an unborn child or
a newborn child (Luke 1:44 and 2:12 and 16); nepios, babes or small
children,—children not come of age (Matt. 21:16; I Cor. 3:1; 13:11;
Gal. 4:1, 3; Eph 4:14), as over against adults or those come of age;
pais, paidion and paidarion, children, generally; and with regard to
their need of training and teaching. (The verbal for paideo means to
train children, or to cause any one to learn; thus arises its use in
Hebrews 12:6.) Finally, huios, which is the word of sonship, of adult
understanding: Paul contrasts this word, with nepios in both Galatians
4:6, and I Corinthians 13:11, as adulthood over against childhood, or
These distinctions are not absolute, but practically so.
Eiper—“if so be that,” Is used six times in the New Testament; Romans 8:9 and 17; I Cor. 8:5; 15:15; II Thess.
1:6; I Pet. 2:3. An examination of these references shows that this
word eiper can only be interpreted in one passage, I Cor. 15:15, as
introducing a non-existent state of things; and here it is only most
evidently for the sake of argument only: “if so be that the dead rise
not.” This use in Rom. 8:9, the text proves to be in connection with a
positive asserted fact. “if so be the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”
This word eiper can be rendered in all six passages by “if, as is
supposed.” I would suggest the rendering, “inasmuch as,” for Rom. 8:17.
The expression “the glory which shall be revealed toward us,” is
translated “in us” in the King James. This preposition (eis) is used
twice, for example, in II Thess.
2:14: “Unto which also He called you through our gospel unto the
obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ,” This “glory” is to be
revealed “to usward”: not only to us, but in us, and therefore through
us, to an astonished universe; and that forever!
The expression creation seems to refer to this earth, even although the
words in verse 22 are the whole creation. In Colossians 1:23, Paul
speaks of the gospel having been preached “in all creation under
heaven.” God announced as a result of man’s sin, “Cursed is the ground
for thy sake; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee,” The
creation—the old version here reads “creature,” which is not accurate
or clear. The reference is especially to the present world and the
order of life upon it.
Major D. W. Whittle—of blessed memory! used to say, “The trouble with
most Christians is that they are not willing to groan! Unwilling to
face constantly the fact of being ‘in a tabernacle’ our earthly body,
in which we groan, being burdened; and thus to long for the coming of
Christ in the redemption of their bodies, most Christians get weary and
long for death—disembodiment, which is not the Christian’s hope. Or
else they turn back for some kind of satisfaction ,to the things of
this poor wretched dying world. Or they seek to have sin ‘eradicated’
from their bodies.”
As for the “Modernist,” his shallow, ignorant, blatant boast if, “We do
not know; we are not sure,” thus giving continual open evidence that he
does not belong to that company of whom John writes: “We know that the
Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know
Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus
Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
here does not mean invited,—as in Proverbs, for instance. “Unto you, O
men, I call”; for this would be an appeal to man’s will instead of a
description of those who are the objects of God’s will, His purpose.
“Called,” in the sense of Romans 8:28, is illustrated in I Corinthians
1:24: where “Christ crucified” is declared to be a “stumbling-block” to
Jews (to people whose thought was religion) and “foolishness” to Greeks
(to those whose life lay in philosophy): but to ‘the called themselves”
(Gr. margin) “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Here “the
called” are seen to be a. company whose mark is neither religious
response nor intellectual apprehending; but the electing grace of God
which has so marked out the sphere of their being, that they are named
“the called.” They are called according to His (God’s) purpose!
that purpose is not merely an expressed Divine desire, but a fixed and
vast will, that itself subordinates, necessarily, all things; submerges
all opposition; effects its object. God’s purpose, in regard to “the
called,” His “elect,” does, indeed, arise out of His desire, as well as
being according to His infinite wisdom.
This is shown in:
“Jehovah hath chosen Zion;
He hath desired it for His habitation.
Here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Ps. 132:13, 14).
“Because He [Jehovah] loved thy [Israel’s] fathers, therefore He chose
their seed after them” (Deut. 4:37). Even those “chosen in Christ
before the foundation of the world,” are said to be “loved in Christ
Jesus our Lord.” “Go is love, “ and acts according to that nature. Out
of His infinite, holy desire arose His Purpose. Reverse this order, and
you have the god of the fatalist, not of the Bible.
“It is important to observe that the apostle does not speak of a
passive or naked foreknowlege as if God only saw beforehand what some
would be, and do, or believe. His foreknowledge is of persons, not of
their state or conduct; it is not what, but ‘whom’ He foreknew” (Kelly).
Both the R.V. and the King James neglect to translate the little
particle (Gr. ge) which gives this passage its peculiar emphasis:
Literally: “God for US . . . . who even spared not His own Son!” went even that length.
Note that the last statement of verse 33—“It is God that justifieth,”
is connected with the opening question of verse 34. The verse division
is unfortunate, and beclouds the meaning. The second sentence of verse
34, Christ Jesus is the one that died, etc., is entirely separate from
and an advance upon, the preceding verses.
The other instances: Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Col. 3:1.
Jesus making intercession for us at the right hand of God in Heaven, is
not properly Romans truth, but is brought in here simply to show His
eternal commitment to our cause. We say this because the remnants of
Romish unbelief lie in most or all of us. For instance, take the lines,
“O blessed feet of Jesus, weary with seeking me,
Kneel at God’s bar of judgment, and intercede for me!”
a mixture and hodge-podge such words are! Christ is not “appeasing God”
in Heaven. That was all done forever on the cross where our sins were
put away. Our Lord as our High Priest in Heaven now leads our worship
and praise, and looks after us in our infirmity. The book of Hebrews
opens out this. But it is that same book which says, “He, when He had
offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of
God” (10:12). The work on which faith rests has been done, and those
who rely on Christ’s work on the cross will find their needs taken care
of by Christ in Heaven.
As we say elsewhere, the mouthings of the “Modernist” who knows not the
prophetic Word (and would not bow to it if it were shown to him) must
not be listened to for a moment. The “Stone” of the Second of Daniel
strikes that great prophetic Image of Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, and
Iron-Clay feet, with a sudden unexpected impact, destroying the whole
Gentile order of things,—away down in the feet and toes period. The
Kingdom of the Most High is then, and not till then, set up. We all
know that those born again shall “see the Kingdom of God”—indeed, are
in that Kingdom, as spiritually existing. But no others, no “social
order,” no man-made conditions, are in the Kingdom! Further, to those
born .again, God says, “The Kingdom of God is righteousness and joy and
peace, in the Holy Ghost.” Outside the Spirit, the Kingdom of God does
not exist. Indeed, the Kingdom has not yet been given to Christ in
heaven by the Father. When it is given to Him (Rev. 5; Psalm 2:7-9), He
will Himself come and set up His Kingdom in power according to Matthew
13:36-43; 25:31-46. Read these words of Christ, and believe
them,—hearkening to no “peace, peace” words of the “Modern” dreamers.
It is evident that those whose description is “killed all the day long”
“sheep for slaughter” will never become more than conquerors, or
conquerors at all, through moral influence,” human “merits,” “the
ballot box,” “the betterment of humanity,” “interracial understanding”!
No, not with Satan prince and god, here! And he will be such until cast
into the abyss (Rev. 20) at Christ’s coming.
In Ephesians 6:12, in the expression “principalities and powers,” the
first word, (archai) is the word translated “principalities” in Romans
8:38, meaning one in high position in the unseen world. The second
word, “powers,” in Ephesians 6:12, is the Greek exousia,and is directly
connected with “principalities,” being a word indicative of authority,
rather than energy. See Matthew 10:1; Acts 26:10,12.