The Epistle to the Romans: Romans 8

Romans 8  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 10
From the first verse we have the application of the dead and risen Christ to the soul, till in verse 11 we see the power of the Holy Ghost which brings the soul into this liberty now, applied by-and-by to the body, when there will be the complete deliverance. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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." A wondrous way, and most blessed! And there (for such was the point) it was the complete condemnation of this evil thing, the nature in its present state, so as, nevertheless, to set the believer as before God's judgment free from itself as well as its consequences. This, God has wrought in Christ. It is not in any degree settled as to itself by His blood. The shedding of His blood was absolutely necessary; without that precious expiation all else had been vain and impossible. But there is much more in Christ than that to which too many souls restrict themselves, not less to their own loss than to His dishonor. God has condemned the flesh. And here it may be repeated that it is no question of pardoning the sinner, but of condemning the fallen nature; and this so as to give the soul both power and a righteous immunity from all eternal anguish about it. For the truth is that God has in Christ condemned sin, and this for sin definitely, so that He has nothing more to do in condemnation of that root of evil. What a title then God gives me now in beholding Christ, no longer dead but risen, to have it settled before my soul that I am in Him as He now is, where all questions are closed in peace and joy! For what remains unsolved by and in Christ? Once it was far otherwise. Before the cross there hung out the gravest question that ever was raised, and it needed settlement in this world; but in Christ sin is forever abolished for the believer, and this not only in respect of what he has done, but in what he is. Till the cross, well might a converted soul be found groaning in misery at each fresh discovery of evil in himself But now to faith all this is gone-not lightly, but truly-in the sight of God, so that he may live on a Savior that is risen from the dead as his new life.
Accordingly Romans 8 pursues in the most practical manner the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. First of all, the groundwork of it is laid in the first four verses, the last of them leading into everyday walk. And it is well for those ignorant of it to know that here in verse 4 the Apostle speaks first of walking, "not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The latter clause in the first verse of the authorized version mars the sense. In the 4th verse this could not be absent; in the first verse it ought not to be present. Thus the deliverance is not merely for the joy of the soul, but also for strength in our walking after the Spirit who has given and found a nature in which He delights, communicating withal His own delight in Christ, and making obedience to be the joyful service of the believer. The believer, therefore, unwittingly though really, dishonors the Savior if he be content to walk short of this standard and power; he is entitled and called to walk according to his place, and in the confidence of his deliverance in Christ Jesus before God.
Then the domains of flesh and Spirit are brought before us: the one characterized by sin and death practically now; the other by life, righteousness, and peace, which is, as we saw, to be crowned finally by the resurrection of these bodies of ours. The Holy Ghost, who now gives the soul its consciousness of deliverance by its place in Christ, is also the witness that the body too, the mortal body, shall be delivered in its time. "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by [or because of] His Spirit that dwelleth in you."
Next, he enters upon another branch of the truth-the Spirit not as a condition contrasted with flesh (these two, as we know, being always contrasted in Scripture), but as a power, a divine Person that dwells in and bears His witness to the believer. His witness to our spirit is this: that we are children of God, but if children, we are His heirs. This accordingly leads, as connected with the deliverance of the body, to the inheritance we are to possess. The extent is what God Himself, so to speak, possess-the universe of God, whatever will be under Christ -and what will not? As He has made all, so He is heir of all. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
Hence the action of the Spirit of God in a double point of view comes before us. And He is the spring of our joy, He is the power of sympathy in our sorrows, and the believer knows both. The faith of Christ has brought divine joy into his soul; but in point of fact, he is traversing a world of infirmity, suffering, and grief. Wonderful to think the Spirit of God associates Himself with us in it all, deigning to give us divine feelings even in our poor and narrow hearts. This occupies the central part of the chapter, which then closes with the unfailing and faithful power of God for us in all our experiences here below. As He has given us through the blood of Jesus full remission, as we shall be saved by this life, as He has made us know even now nothing short of present conscious deliverance from every whit of evil that belongs to our very nature, as we have the Spirit the earnest of the glory to which we are destined, as we are the vessels of gracious sorrow in the midst of that from which we are not yet delivered, but shall be, so now we have the certainty that whatever betide, God is for us, and that nothing shall separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.