Romans 8 - No Condemnation

INTRODUCTION: Those who have placed their faith and trust in the sacrifice for sin made by Christ Jesus are no longer under the condemnation of the requirements of the law for righteousness before God. They now have freedom from the sentence of death in the body, and can draw upon life in the things of the spirit to defeat the temptations of sin. There is nothing now that can separate the called, justified, and glorified believer from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. This chapter of Romans is in my own paraphrase, to some extent in an amplified style, prepared by examining several translations, and with some use of a Greek lexicon.

NOTE: Verses in the comments are from the 1769 King James Bible.


A - NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE IN CHRIST JESUS

Romans 8 "1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for anyone in Christ Jesus, who does not live to satisfy the desires of their body, but lives for the things of the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For 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: by a sacrifice for sin 4 so the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For those who follow the sinful nature keep in mind the things of the flesh; but they who want to live by the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit."

COMMENTS: Paul has said that we can die to our sinful nature by accepting the death of Christ in our behalf to break the dominion of sin which has been made undeniably apparent by the holy law of God. Therefore there is no condemnation for anyone who has been made new in the spirit by accepting Christ, and now lives to satisfy the things of the Spirit, and to withdraw from the sinful desires of the physical body. This has set the believer free from the condemnation of the law of God that applies to everyone who has not accepted Christ. Because of the inherent sinful nature, no person can ever be free to live in the Spirit by trying to keep the law without Christ. Only through first accepting the sacrifice of Christ can we then set our minds on the things of the Spirit.


B - LIFE AND PEACE THROUGH THE SPIRIT

Romans 8 "6 To have our thoughts only on the body is death; but to keep the spiritual in mind is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal, sensual, worldly mind is hatred, animosity, and hostility against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. 8 So then anyone living only in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if it is true that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any person does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person does not belong to Christ."

COMMENTS: If we concentrate our life only on things related to the satisfaction of the desires of our physical existence in this temporal body, we are still condemned to absolute death. However, by keeping the spiritual aspect of our life in our thoughts and actions we will have true life and inner peace as Paul stated in another letter. Philippians 4 "7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

It is a very sobering thought that Paul has told us that anyone who lives only for the carnal, sensual, worldly things has hatred, animosity, and hostility against God. Such a person can not please God because they are not, and can never be, subject to the righteous law of God. But, praise God, if we have His Spirit within us we can live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Paul was very clear in stating that anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ!


C - CHRIST MAKES OUR DEAD BODY ALIVE THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

Romans 8 "10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also give new life to your mortal, perishable body by his Spirit that dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh to live after it. 13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

COMMENTS: The believer has good reason to resist the sinful desires of the flesh because the Spirit of God within makes our body "dead" already. We still exist in the flesh, but when our body passes into physical death, we will have a new body in righteousness by the Spirit because we now participate in Christ's resurrection from the dead. That new life given by His Spirit to our mortal, perishable body should be an irresistible motivation for us to put to death the desires of the body that are contrary to true life in the Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.


D - YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION AS CHILDREN

Romans 8 "15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if it is so that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

COMMENTS: Paul made a contrast between the "spirit of fear" that held us in bondage while we were under the law of God; and the "Spirit of adoption" that now makes us free to call God our Father. God's Spirit within us bears witness in truth with our own spirit that we are the children of God. Part of this beautiful truth is expressed in the letter to the Hebrews because Christ took upon himself flesh to free us from the bondage of death. Hebrews 2 "14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

Paul also wrote to the believers at Galatia about the release from bondage that we receive when we become children of God. Galatians 4 "3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

This does not mean that we will have a life of comfort as joint heirs with Christ, but rather we must be willing to suffer as Christ suffered, that we may be also glorified together. There are many believers of the past centuries that bear witness to us by the record of their lives for the Living God. Hebrews 12 "1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

As one who suffered much in his life for Christ, Paul encouraged us to keep in the forefront of our thoughts that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!


E - WAITING FOR THE APPEARING OF THE SONS OF GOD

Romans 8 "19 For the earnest, serious, sincere expectation of every living being waits for the clear and obvious appearing of the sons of God. 20 For the created being was made subject to the vanity of useless existence, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the physical creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans, agonizes, and travails in pain together until now. 23 And besides, we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

COMMENTS: Waiting for the clear and obvious appearing of the sons of God is the only serious and sincere expectation of every living being. that is because all have been subjected to the useless and vain existence that can only be replaced by the sure hope that awaits every believer. That is, the physical body of every believer shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of being a child of God. So we who have the first fruits of the Spirit, along with the entire creation, groan and agonize with longing as we await that redemption of our body.

Even as we face difficulties in life that are common to all mankind, we need to remember our former condition before God lavished his mercy upon us. Ephesians 2 "3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"


F - CONFIDENTLY WAIT FOR THE HOPE THAT IS NOT YET REALIZED

Romans 8 "24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man already sees, why would he continue to hope for it? 25 But if we hope for that which we do not see, then we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our infirmities and difficult challenges: for we don't know what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be expressed out loud. 27 And he that searches the heart knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

COMMENTS: We must realize that since our hope is something that is completely assured, we need to confidently hold onto that hope until it becomes fulfilled reality. So we must continue to wait patiently for the strength about which Isaiah also wrote. Isaiah 40 "28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint." Even when we are unsure of how we should pray about various infirmities and difficulties, God's Spirit makes intercession for us with pleas that we cannot express. And the one who searches every heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.


G - GOD PREDESTINED, CALLED, JUSTIFIED, AND GLORIFIED BELIEVERS

Romans 8 "28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, those he also called: and whom he called, those he also justified: and whom he justified, those he also glorified."

COMMENTS: Believers have been called by the LORD to fulfill his purpose as those who love him, as he works all things together for his omniscient good. Our standing with the LORD is a very blessed gift from him as Paul described it in his letter to the believers at Ephesus even while he was a prisoner. Ephesians 1 "3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." So we should carefully consider that everyone God knew before the foundation of the world, he also has established in advance to be conformed to the image of his Son, that Christ would then he the firstborn among the many brethren who will join him. Therefore, everyone whom God has predestinated, he calls to himself. And those he calls, he justifies, and he also glorifies them. We should be continually praising God for his wonderful grace to us!


H - NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST

Romans 8 "31 What should we say about these things? If God is for us, who could possibly be against us? 32 He who did not hold back his own Son, but sent him to die for us all, won't he also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who can make any charge against any of God's elect? God is the one who justifies. 34 Who then could condemn us? Christ is the one who died, yes more importantly, he has risen again, and he is even at the right hand of God, and he makes intercession for us. 35 Who then could separate us from the love of Christ? Could any of these things separate us: tribulation, distress, persecution, extreme hunger, lack of clothing, perilous situations, or even our murder? 36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 No, in all these things we are more than overcomers through our God who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that not death, life, angels, rulers of governments, things present, things in the future, 39 height, depth, or any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

COMMENTS: Paul's conclusion, based on the things he has described, is that because God is for us, there is no one who can ultimately succeed in standing against us. God delivered his own Son for all of us who believe, and with Christ, God will also freely give us all things of lasting value. Who could lay any charge against God's elect when it is God who has justified those he has chosen. Since he has justified his own, he will also glorify them, and nothing can prevent their final rest with him. Christ died and rose again, and now sits at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for every believer.

There is nothing and there is no one who could ever separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ Jesus. We may face tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or absolute poverty, or great danger, or even death at the hands of an enemy. In the Psalm paul referenced, he used only verse 22, but I added all the verses to the end. Psalm 44 "22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast [us] not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, [and] forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake." As that Psalm closed, it was clear the request was for the sake of God's mercy, not because the writer had earned redemption. And as Paul closed this chapter of Romans it is clear that he told his readers that the believer has more than just being a conqueror in overcoming all difficulties of life through the love of God. We should be firmly assured in our hearts as was Paul, that not death, life, angels, rulers of governments, things present, things in the future, 39 height, depth, or any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

LORD, I cannot fully comprehend the mercy given to me when Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh and gave himself as the all sufficient sacrifice to condemn sin in the flesh for me. I am now free of condemnation by being in Christ Jesus and I do not want to live for the things of the body that are contrary to the things of the Spirit. Help me Lord to think and act from the realization that I have been made free from the law of sin and death because the Spirit of God indwells me as a child of God, and that is the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. As a joint heir with Christ, I thank you Lord, for the strength that you provide to allow me to be a participant in the suffering of Christ, knowing that I also will share in the glory reserved for me by your grace. As one among many chosen to have the first fruits of the Spirit, I want to accept any suffering with the comfort of your peace, because I have been released from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of being a child of God as I wait for the redemption of my body.

Thank you Lord, that I can be confident that whenever I don't know how to pray, the Spirit of God will make wonderful intercession for me through your thorough knowledge of what is in my heart. And you make all things to work together for good for me along with all others who love God, and are called by you according to your purpose. LORD, by your grace I can confidently believe that since you knew me before the foundation of the world, you predetermined me to be conformed to the image of your Son, Christ, who is the first born of many brethren. Again, by your grace and not by my works, you called me to the justification that has also glorified me. This is a wonderful truth that is beyond my full comprehension, that I should be a joint heir with my Creator and Savior!

LORD, please keep me steadfast in knowing that since you have made me one of your own children, there is nothing or no one who can ever overcome your hold on me. You gave your only begotten Son as the all sufficient sacrifice for the redemption of every believer, and with him you have freely given us all things that endure forever. There is no charge that can legitimately be placed against me since I am one of your elect, fully justified by Christ who has risen from the grave and is at the right hand of God, making intercession for me and for all believers. As I live by the Spirit of God that now indwells me, I believe that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. LORD, as I experience any part of the list of great difficulties endured by children of God throughout past centuries, give me the strength and resolve to endure to the end knowing that in all such things your children are more than conquerors. I cannot offer any better words in prayer to you, LORD, than those of Paul: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor 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." Amen, and amen.

Published 24 May, Revised 10 June, 2016