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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 1

 

ROMANS CHAPTER 8

 

INTRODUCTION

THIS chapter is one of the most interesting and precious portions of the sacred Scriptures. Some parts of it are attended with great difficulties; but its main scope and design is apparent to all. It is a continuation of the subject discussed in the previous chapter, and is intended mainly to show that the gospel could effect what the law was incapable of doing. In that chapter the apostle had shown that the law was incapable of producing sanctification or peace of mind. He had traced its influence on the mind in different conditions, and shown that, equally before regeneration and afterwards, it was incapable of producing peace and holiness. Such was man, such were his propensities, that the application of law only tended to excite, to irritate, to produce conflict. The conscience, indeed, testified to the law that it was good; but still it had shown that it was not adapted to produce holiness of heart and peace, but agitation, conflict, and a state of excited sin. In opposition to this, he proceeds to show in this chapter the power of the gospel to produce that which the law could not. In doing this, he illustrates the subject by several considerations.

(1.) The gospel does what the law could not do in giving life, and delivering from condemnation, Ro 8:1-13.

(2.) It produces a spirit of adoption, and all the blessings which result from the filial confidence with which we can address God as our Father, in opposition to the law which produced only terror and alarm, Ro 8:14-17.

(3.) It sustains the soul amidst its captivity to sin, and its trials, with the hope of a future deliverance—a complete and final redemption of the body from all the evils of this life, Ro 8:18-25.

(4.) It furnishes the aid of the Holy Spirit to sustain us in our trials and infirmities, Ro 8:26,27.

(5.) It gives the assurance that all things shall work together for good, since all things are connected with the purpose of God; and all that can occur to a Christian comes in as a part of the plan of him who has resolved to save him, Ro 8:28-30.

(6.) It ministers consolation from the fact that everything that can affect the happiness of man is on the side of the Christian, and will co-operate in his favour; as, e.g.

 

(a) God, in giving his Son, and in justifying the believer,

Ro 8:31-33.

 

(b) Christ, in dying, and rising, and interceding for Christians,

Ro 8:34.

 

(c) The love of a Christian to the Saviour is in itself so strong

that nothing can separate him from it, Ro 8:35-39. By all

these considerations the superiority of the gospel to the law

is shown, and assurance is given to the believer of his final

salvation. By this interesting and conclusive train of

reasoning, the apostle is prepared for the triumphant language

of exultation with which he closes this most precious portion

of the word of God.

 

Verse 1. There is, therefore, now. This is connected with the closing verses of chapter 7. The apostle had there shown that the law could not effect deliverance from sin, but that such deliverance was to be traced to the gospel alone, Ro 7:23-25. It is implied here that there was condemnation under the law, and would be still, but for the intervention of the gospel.

No condemnation. This does not mean that sin in believers is not to be condemned as much as anywhere, for the contrary is everywhere taught in the Scriptures; but it means,

(1.) that the gospel does not pronounce condemnation like the law. Its office is to pardon; the office of the law, to condemn. The one never affords deliverance, but always condemns; the object of the other is to free from condemnation, and to set the soul at liberty.

(2.) There is no final condemnation under the gospel. The office, design, and tendency of the gospel is to free from the condemning sentence of law. This is its first and its glorious announcement, that it frees lost and ruined men from a most fearful and terrible condemnation.

Which are in Christ Jesus. Who are united to Christ. To be in him is an expression not seldom used in the New Testament, denoting close and intimate union, Php 1:1; 3:9; 2 Co 5:17; Ro 16:7-11.

The union between Christ and his people is compared to that between the vine and its branches, (Joh 15:1-6) and hence believers are said to be in him in a similar sense, as deriving their support from him, and as united in feeling, in purpose, and destiny.

Who walk. Who conduct, or live. See Barnes "Ro 4:12".

 

Not after the flesh. Who do not live to gratify the corrupt desires and passions of the flesh. See Barnes "Ro 7:18".

This is a characteristic of a Christian. What it is to walk after the flesh may be seen in Ga 5:19-21. It follows, that a man whose purpose of life is to gratify his corrupt desires cannot be a Christian. Unless he lives not to gratify his flesh, he can have no evidence of piety. This is a test which is easily applied; and if every professor of religion were honest, there could be no danger of mistake, and there need be no doubts about his true character.

But after the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit would lead or prompt. What the Spirit produces may be seen in Ga 5:22,23. If a man has these fruits of the Spirit, he is a Christian; If not, he is a stranger to religion, whatever else he may possess. And this test also is easily applied.

{d} "no condemnation" Joh 3:18 {e} "walk not after" Ga 5:16

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