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Chapter 8

8:1 Therefore now [ara nun]. Two particles. Points back to the triumphant note in 7:25 after the preceding despair. No condemnation [ouden katakrima]. As sinners we deserved condemnation in our unregenerate state in spite of the struggle. But God offers pardon “to those in Christ Jesus [tois en Christōi Iēsou]. This is Paul’s Gospel. The fire has burned on and around the Cross of Christ. There and there alone is safety. Those in Christ Jesus can lead the consecrated, the crucified, the baptized life.

8:2 The law of the Spirit of life [ho nomos tou pneumatos tēs zōēs]. The principle or authority exercised by the Holy Spirit which bestows life and which rests “in Christ Jesus.” Made me free [ēleutherōsen me]. First aorist active indicative of the old verb [eleutheroō] for which see Ga 5:1. Aleph B have [se] (thee) instead of [me]. It matters little. We are pardoned, we are free from the old law of sin and death (7:7-24), we are able by the help of the Holy Spirit to live the new life in Christ.

8:3 That the law could not do [to adunaton tou nomou]. Literally, “the impossibility of the law” as shown in 7:7-24, either nominative absolute or accusative of general reference. No syntactical connection with the rest of the sentence. In that [en hōi]. “Wherein.” It was weak [ēsthenei]. Imperfect active, continued weak as already shown. In the likeness of sinful flesh [en homoiōmati sarkos hamartias]. For “likeness” see Php 2:7, a real man, but more than man for God’s “own Son.” Two genitives “of flesh of sin” (marked by sin), that is the flesh of man is, but not the flesh of Jesus. And for sin [kai peri hamartias]. Condensed phrase, God sent his Son also concerning sin (our sin). Condemned sin in the flesh [katekrine tēn hamartian en tēi sarki]. First aorist active indicative of [katakrinō]. He condemned the sin of men and the condemnation took place in the flesh of Jesus. If the article [tēn] had been repeated before [en tēi sarki] Paul would have affirmed sin in the flesh of Jesus, but he carefully avoided that (Robertson, Grammar, p. 784).

8:4 The ordinance of the law [to dikaiōma tou nomou]. “The requirement of the law.” Might be fulfilled [hina plerōthēi]. Purpose of the death of Christ by [hina] and first aorist passive subjunctive of [plēroō]. Christ met it all in our stead (3:21-26). Not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [mē kata sarka alla kata pneuma]. The two laws of life [kata sarka] in 7:7-24, [kata pneuma] 8:1-11). Most likely the Holy Spirit or else the renewed spirit of man.

8:5 Do mind [phronousin]. Present active indicative of [phroneō], to think, to put the mind [phrēn] on. See Mt 16:23; Ro 12:16. For the contrast between [sarx] and [pneuma], see Ga 5:16-24.

8:6 The mind [to phronēma]. The bent or will of the flesh is death as shown in 7:7-24. Life [zōē]. In contrast with “death.” Peace [eirēnē]. As seen in 5:1-5.

8:7 Is not subject [ouch hupotassetai]. Present passive indicative of [hupotassō], late verb, military term for subjection to orders. Present tense here means continued insubordination. Neither indeed can it be [oude gar dunatai]. “For it is not even able to do otherwise.” This helpless state of the unregenerate man Paul has shown above apart from Christ. Hope lies in Christ (7:25) and the Spirit of life (8:2).

8:8 Cannot please God [theōi aresai ou dunantai]. Because of the handicap of the lower self in bondage to sin. This does not mean that the sinner has no responsibility and cannot be saved. He is responsible and can be saved by the change of heart through the Holy Spirit.

8:9 Not in the flesh [ouk en sarki]. Not sold under sin (7:14) any more. But in the spirit [alla en pneumati]. Probably, “in the Holy Spirit.” It is not Pantheism or Buddhism that Paul here teaches, but the mystical union of the believer with Christ in the Holy Spirit. If so be that [eiper]. “If as is the fact” (cf. 3:30). The Spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou]. The same as “the Spirit of God” just before. See also Php 1:19; 1Pe 1:11. Incidental argument for the Deity of Christ and probably the meaning of 2Co 3:18 “the Spirit of the Lord.” Condition of first class, assumed as true.

8:10 The body is dead [to men sōma nekron]. Has the seeds of death in it and will die “because of sin.” The spirit is life [to de pneuma zōē]. The redeemed human spirit. He uses [zōē] (life) instead of [zōsa] (living), “God-begotten, God-sustained life” (Denney), if Christ is in you.

8:11 Shall quicken [zōopoiēsei]. Future active indicative of [zōopoieō], late verb from [zōopoios], making alive. See on 1Co 15:22. Through his Spirit [dia tou pneumatos]. B D L have [dia to pneuma] (because of the Spirit). Both ideas are true, though the genitive is slightly more probably correct.

8:12 We are debtors [opheiletai esmen]. See on Ga 5:3; Ro 1:14. Not to the flesh [ou tēi sarki]. Negative [ou] goes with preceding verb and [tēi sarki], not with the infinitive [tou zēin].

8:13 Ye must die [mellete apothnēskein]. Present indicative of [mellō], to be about to do and present active infinitive of [apothnēskō], to die. “Ye are on the point of dying.” Eternal death. By the spirit [pneumati]. Holy Spirit, instrumental case. Ye shall live [zēsesthe]. Future active indicative of [zaō]. Eternal life.

8:14 Sons of God [huioi theou]. In the full sense of this term. In verse 16 we have [tekna theou] (children of God). Hence no great distinction can be drawn between [huios] and [teknon]. The truth is that [huios] is used in various ways in the New Testament. In the highest sense, not true of any one else, Jesus Christ is God’s Son (8:3). But in the widest sense all men are “the offspring” [genos] of God as shown in Ac 17:28 by Paul. But in the special sense here only those are “sons of God” who are led by the Spirit of God, those born again (the second birth) both Jews and Gentiles, “the sons of Abraham” [huioi Abraam], Ga 3:7), the children of faith.

8:15 The spirit of adoption [pneuma huiothesias]. See on this term [huiothesia], Ga 4:5. Both Jews and Gentiles receive this “adoption” into the family of God with all its privileges. “Whereby we cry, Abba, Father” [en hēi krazomen Abbā ho patēr]. See Ga 4:6 for discussion of this double use of Father as the child’s privilege.

8:16 The Spirit himself [auto to pneuma]. The grammatical gender of [pneuma] is neuter as here, but the Greek used also the natural gender as we do exclusively as in Joh 16:13 [ekeinos] (masculine he), [to pneuma] (neuter). See also Joh 16:26 [ho—ekeinos]. It is a grave mistake to use the neuter “it” or “itself” when referring to the Holy Spirit. Beareth witness with our spirit [summarturei tōi pneumati hēmōn]. See on Ro 2:15 for this verb with associative instrumental case. See 1Jo 5:10f. for this double witness.

8:17 Joint-heirs with Christ [sunklēronomoi Christou]. A late rare double compound, in Philo, an Ephesian inscription of the imperial period (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 92), papyri of the Byzantine period. See 8:29 for this idea expanded. Paul is fond of compounds of [sun], three in this verse [sunklēronomoi, sunpaschōmen, sundoxasthōmen]. The last (first aorist passive subjunctive of [sundoxazō] with [hina] (purpose), late and rare, here only in N.T.

8:18 To us-ward [eis hēmās]. We shall be included in the radiance of the coming glory which will put in the shadow the present sufferings. Precisely the same idiom here with [mellousan doxan] (aorist passive infinitive of [apokaluphthēnai] occurs in Ga 3:23 with [mellousan pistin], which see.

8:19 The earnest expectation of creation [hē apokaradokia tēs ktiseōs]. This substantive has so far been found nowhere save here and Php 1:20, though the verb [apokaradokeō] is common in Polybius and Plutarch. Milligan (Vocabulary) thinks that Paul may have made the substantive from the verb. It is a double compound [apo], off from, [kara], head, [dokeō], Ionic verb, to watch), hence to watch eagerly with outstretched head. Waiteth for [apekdechetai]. See on 1Co 1:7; Ga 5:5 for this rare word (possibly formed by Paul, Milligan). “To wait it out” (Thayer). The revealing of the sons of God [tēn apokalupsin tōn huiōn tou theou]. Cf. 1Jo 3:2; 2Th 2:8; Col 3:4. This mystical sympathy of physical nature with the work of grace is beyond the comprehension of most of us. But who can disprove it?

8:20 Was subjected [hupetagē]. Second aorist passive indicative of [hupatassō] (cf. verse 7). To vanity [tēi mataiotēti]. Dative case. Rare and late word, common in LXX. From [mataios], empty, vain. Eph 4:17; 2Pe 2:18. Not of its own will [ouch hekousa]. Common adjective, in N.T. only here and 1Co 9:27. It was due to the effect of man’s sin. But by reason of him [alla dia ton]. Because of God. In hope that [eph’ helpidi hoti]. Note the form [helpidi] rather than the usual [elpidi] and so [eph’]. [Hoti] can be causal “because” instead of declarative “that.”

8:21 The creation itself [autē hē ktisis]. It is the hope of creation, not of the Creator. Nature “possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering a sort of presentiment of her future deliverance” (Godet).

8:22 Groaneth and travaileth in pain [sunstenazei kai sunōdinei]. Two more compounds with [sun]. Both rare and both here alone in N.T. Nature is pictured in the pangs of childbirth.

8:23 The first fruits [tēn aparchēn]. Old and common metaphor. Of the Spirit [tou pneumatos]. The genitive of apposition. The Holy Spirit came on the great Pentecost and his blessings continue as seen in the “gifts” in 1Co 12-14, in the moral and spiritual gifts of Ga 5:22f. And greater ones are to come (1Co 15:44ff.). Even we ourselves [kai autoi]. He repeats for emphasis. We have our “groaning” [stenazomen] as well as nature. Waiting for [apekdechomenoi]. The same verb used of nature in verse 19. Our adoption [huiothesian]. Our full “adoption” (see verse 15), “the redemption of our body” [tēn apolutrōsin tou sōmatos hēmōn]. That is to come also. Then we shall have complete redemption of both soul and body.

8:24 For by hope were we saved [tēi gar elpidi esōthēmen]. First aorist passive indicative of [sōzō]. The case of [elpidi] is not certain, the form being the same for locative, instrumental and dative. Curiously enough either makes good sense in this context: “We were saved in hope, by hope, for hope” (of the redemption of the body).

8:25 With patience [di’ hupomonēs]. Paul repeats the verb [apekdechomai] of verse 23.

8:26 Helpeth our infirmity [sunantilambanetai tēi astheneiāi hēmōn]. Present middle indicative of [sunantilambanomai], late and striking double compound (Diodorus, LXX, Josephus, frequent in inscriptions, Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 87), to lend a hand together with, at the same time with one. Only twice in N.T., here and Lu 10:40 in Martha’s plea for Mary’s help. Here beautifully Paul pictures the Holy Spirit taking hold at our side at the very time of our weakness (associative instrumental case) and before too late. How to pray [to ti proseuxōmetha]. Articular clause object of [oidamen] (we know) and indirect question with the deliberative aorist middle subjunctive [proseuxōmetha], retained in the indirect question. As we ought [katho dei]. “As it is necessary.” How true this is of all of us in our praying. Maketh intercession [huperentugchanei]. Present active indicative of late double compound, found only here and in later ecclesiastical writers, but [entugchanō] occurs in verse 27 (a common verb). It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who “happens on” [entugchanei] one who is in trouble and “in his behalf” [huper] pleads “with unuttered groanings” (instrumental case) or with “sighs that baffle words” (Denney). This is work of our Helper, the Spirit himself.

8:27 He that searcheth [ho eraunōn]. God (1Sa 16:7). According to the will of God [kata theon]. See 2Co 7:9-11 for this phrase [kata theon] (according to God). The Holy Spirit is the “other Paraclete” (Joh 14:16) who pleads God’s cause with us as Christ is our Paraclete with the Father (1Jo 2:1). But more is true as here, for the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers to God and “makes intercession for us in accord with God’s will.”

8:28 All things work together [panta sunergei]. A B have [ho theos] as the subject of [sunergei] (old verb, see on 1Co 16:16; 2Co 6:1). That is the idea anyhow. It is God who makes “all things work together” in our lives “for good” [eis agathon], ultimate good. According to his purpose [kata prothesin]. Old word, seen already in Ac 27:13 and for “shewbread” in Mt 12:4. The verb [protithēmi] Paul uses in 3:24 for God’s purpose. Paul accepts fully human free agency but behind it all and through it all runs God’s sovereignty as here and on its gracious side (9:11; 3:11; 2Ti 1:9).

8:29 Foreknew [proegnō]. Second aorist active indicative of [proginōskō], old verb as in Ac 26:5. See Ps 1:6 (LXX) and Mt 7:23. This fore-knowledge and choice is placed in eternity in Eph 1:4. He foreordained [proōrisen]. First aorist active indicative of [proorizō], late verb to appoint beforehand as in Ac 4:28; 1Co 2:7. Another compound with [pro-] (for eternity). Conformed to the image [summorphous tēs eikonos]. Late adjective from [sun] and [morphē] and so an inward and not merely superficial conformity. [Eikōn] is used of Christ as the very image of the Father (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15). See Php 2:6f. for [morphē]. Here we have both [morphē] and [eikōn] to express the gradual change in us till we acquire the likeness of Christ the Son of God so that we ourselves shall ultimately have the family likeness of sons of God. Glorious destiny. That he might be [eis to einai auton]. Common idiom for purpose. First born among many brethren [prōtotokon en pollois adelphois]. Christ is “first born” of all creation (Col 1:15), but here he is “first born from the dead” (Col 1:18), the Eldest Brother in this family of God’s sons, though “Son” in a sense not true of us.

8:30 Called [ekalesen] —Justified [edikaiōsen]—Glorified [edoxasen]. All first aorist active indicatives of common verbs [kaleō, dikaioō, doxazō]. But the glorification is stated as already consummated (constative aorists, all of them), though still in the future in the fullest sense. “The step implied in [edoxasen] is both complete and certain in the Divine counsels” (Sanday and Headlam).

8:31 For these things [pros tauta]. From 8:12 on Paul has made a triumphant presentation of the reasons for the certainty of final sanctification of the sons of God. He has reached the climax with glorification [edoxasen] in verse 30). But Paul lets the objector have his say as he usually does so that in verses 31-39 he considers the objections. If God is for us, who is against us? [ei ho theos huper hēmōn, tis kath’ hēmōn?]. This condition of the first class carries Paul’s challenge to all doubters. There is no one on a par with God. Note the two prepositions in contrast [huper], over, [kata], down or against).

8:32 He that [hos ge]. “Who as much as this” [ge] here magnifying the deed, intensive particle). Spared not [ouk epheisato]. First aorist middle of [pheidomai], old verb used about the offering of Isaac in Ge 22:16. See Ac 20:29. Also with him [kai sun autōi]. The gift of “his own son” is the promise and the pledge of the all things for good of verse 28. Christ is all and carries all with him.

8:33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? [tis egkalesei kata eklektōn theou?]. Future active indicative of [egkaleō], old verb, to come forward as accuser (forensic term) in case in court, to impeach, as in Ac 19:40; 23:29; 26:2, the only N.T. examples. Satan is the great Accuser of the brethren. It is God that justifieth [theos ho dikaiōn]. God is the Judge who sets us right according to his plan for justification (3:21-31). The Accuser must face the Judge with his charges.

8:34 Shall condemn [katakrinōn]. Can be either present active participle (condemns) or the future (shall condemn). It is a bold accuser who can face God with false charges or with true ones for that matter for we have an “Advocate” at God’s Court (1Jo 2:1), “who is at the right hand of God” [hos estin en dexiāi tou theou] “who also maketh intercession for us” [hos kai entugchanei huper hēmōn]. Our Advocate paid the debt for our sins with his blood. The score is settled. We are free (8:1).

8:35 Shall separate [chōrisei]. Future active of old verb [chorizō] from adverb [chōris] and that from [chōra], space. Can any one put a distance between Christ’s love and us (objective genitive)? Can any one lead Christ to cease loving us? Such things do happen between husband and wife, alas. Paul changes the figure from “who” [tis] to “what” [ti]. The items mentioned will not make Christ love us less. Paul here glories in tribulations as in 5:3ff.

8:36 Even as it is written [kathōs gegraptai]. He quotes Ps 44:23. We are killed [thanatoumetha]. Present passive indicative of [thanatoō] for which see on 7:4. Same idea of continuous martyrdom in 1Co 15:31. As sheep for the slaughter [hōs probata sphagēs]. Objective genitive [sphagēs].

8:37 Nay [alla]. On the contrary, we shall not be separated. We are more than conquerors [hupernikōmen]. Late and rare compound. Here only in N.T. “We gain a surpassing victory through the one who loved us.”

8:38 For I am persuaded [pepeismai gar]. Perfect passive participle of [peithō], “I stand convinced.” The items mentioned are those that people dread (life, death, supernatural powers, above, below, any creature to cover any omissions).

8:39 To separate us [hēmās chōrisai]. Aorist active infinitive of [chorizō] (same verb as in 35). God’s love is victor over all possible foes, “God’s love that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul has reached the mountain top. He has really completed his great argument concerning the God-kind of righteousness save for its bearing on some special problems. The first of these concerns the fact that the Jews (God’s chosen people) have so largely rejected the gospel (chapters 9-11).

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