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a Bible passage
8. Life Through the Spirit
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: 7because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh but in the 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. 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But 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. 12So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17and 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 with him. 18For 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. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And 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. 24For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth? 25But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26And 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; 27and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. 29For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; 34who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
38. He is now carried away into hyperbolic expressions, that he might confirm us more fully in those things which are to be experienced. Whatever, he says, there is in life or in death, which seems capable of tearing us away from God, shall effect nothing; nay, the very angels, were they to attempt to overturn this foundation, shall do us no harm. It is no objection, that angels are ministering spirits, appointed for the salvation of the elect, (Hebrews 1:14:) for Paul reasons here on what is impossible, as he does in Galatians 1:8; and we may hence observe, that all things ought to be deemed of no worth, compared with the glory of God, since it is lawful to dishonor even angels in vindicating his truth. 279279 Some of the Fathers, Jerome, Chrysostom, etc., have taken the same view, regarding the Apostle as speaking of good angels, as it were, hypothetically, as in Galatians 1:8. But Grotius, and many others, consider evil angels to be meant. Probably, angels, without any regard to what they are, are intended. — Ed. Angels are also meant by principalities and powers, 280280 Grotius considers the words as being the abstract for the concrete, Princes and Potentates; being called ἀρχαὶ, as some think, as being the first, the chief in authority, and δυνάμεις, as having power. “By these words,” says Beza, “Paul is wont to designate the character of spirits, — of the good in Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16, — and of the bad in Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 2:15.” Hence the probability is, that the words designate different ranks among angelic powers, without any reference to their character, whether good or evil. — Ed. and they are so called, because they are the primary instruments of the Divine power: and these two words were added, that if the word angels sounded too insignificant, something more might be expressed. But you would, perhaps, prefer this meaning, “Nor angels, and whatever powers there may be;” which is a mode of speaking that is used, when we refer to things unknown to us, and exceeding our capacities.
Nor present things, nor future things, etc. Though he speaks hyperbolically, yet he declares, that by no length of time can it be effected, that we should be separated from the Lord’s favor: and it was needful to add this; for we have not only to struggle with the sorrow which we feel from present evils, but also with the fear and the anxiety with which impending dangers may harass us. 281281 “Neither the evils we now feel, nor those which may await us,” — Grotius; rather, “Neither things which now exist, nor things which shall be.” — Ed. The meaning then is, — that we ought not to fear, lest the continuance of evils, however long, should obliterate the faith of adoption.
This declaration is clearly against the schoolmen, who idly talk and say, that no one is certain of final perseverance, except through the gift of special revelation, which they make to be very rare. By such a dogma the whole faith is destroyed, which is certainly nothing, except it extends to death and beyond death. But we, on the contrary, ought to feel confident, that he who has begun in us a good work, will carry it on until the day of
the Lord Jesus.
The words, “neither height nor depth,” are left unnoticed ὕψωμα. The first, says Mede, means prosperity, and the latter, adversity. Grotius regards what is meant as the height of honor, and the depth of disgrace. “Neither heaven nor hell,” say others; “neither heaven nor earth,” according to Schleusner. “Things in heaven and things on earth,” is the explanation of Chrysostom The first, ὕψωμα, is only found here and in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Like מרום in Hebrew, it means what is high and elevated, and may, like that, sometimes signify heaven: and βάθος is not earth, but what is deeper; it means a deep soil, Matthew 13:5, — the deep sea, Luke 5:4, — and in the plural, things deep and inscrutable, 1 Corinthians 2:10; it may therefore be very properly taken here for hell.
That the words are to be thus taken seems probable from the gradation evident in the passage. In the first catalogue in Romans 8:35, he mentions the evils arising from this world, its trials and its persecutions, and those ending in death. In the second, after repeating the utmost length to which worldly persecutors can go, “death or life,” he ascends the invisible world, and mentions angels, then their combined powers, then the powers which do and may exist, then both heaven and hell, and, that he might include everything, except the uncreated God himself, he finishes with the words, “nor any created thing.”
The whole passage is sublime in an extraordinary degree. The contrast is the grandest that can be conceived. Here is the Christian, all weakness in himself, despised and trampled under foot by the world, triumphing over all existing, and all possible, and even impossible evils and opposition, having only this as his stay and support — that the God who has loved him, will never cease to love, keep, and defend him; yea, were everything created, everything except God himself, leagued against him and attempting his ruin. — Ed.
39. Which is in Christ, etc. That is, of which Christ is the bond; for he is the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. If, then, we are through him united to God, we may be assured of the immutable and unfailing kindness of God towards us. He now speaks here more distinctly than before, as he declares that the fountain of love is in the Father, and affirms that it flows to us from Christ.