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Bible: What Does Romans 8:1-18 Teach Us About Salvation?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Glorious Salvation

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"Once Saved, Always Saved"

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Romans 8:1-18-- The Happiness of the Believer

No Condemnation for Believers

Paul employs the prepositional phrase “in Christ Jesus” to describe the heavenly position of those whom God will not condemn (v. 1a).

[NU (Nestle Uland) omits the rest of verse one, but M (Majority Text) retains it.

If the relative clause—“who do not walk (conduct their lives) according to the flesh (sin principle), but according to the Spirit” (v. 1b)—is in the original, it indicates that this privileged people either must live godly, spiritual lives in order to remain exempt from condemnation, or they will inevitably make progress in sanctification because they reside in Christ.

Since the first possible answer suggests a works, not a grace, mentality, we must reject it (cf. Gal. 3:3).

The second view explains Paul’s meaning better.

Nevertheless, how does the idea that all Christians will persevere—that is, make progress in sanctification—square with reality and with the Scripture that describes some believers as making it to heaven “by the skin of their teeth”: “saved, yet so as through fire”? (cf. 1 Cor. 3:15).]

Mount Sinai

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Amazing Grace Songs of Faith and Inspiration

Believers Not Under the Condemnation of the Law

C. E. Cranfield believes that verse one “connects neither with 7:25a or 7:25b, but with 7:6” (International Critical Commentary: Romans, 373).

In brief, Romans 7:1-6 elucidates the interpretation of 6:14b—that is, believers are not under the condemnation of the law—, and 8:1 confirms that interpretation.

The Holy Spirit has released them from the law of sin leading to death, and has brought them to the new law in Christ resulting in life (v. 2).

The law cannot give righteousness because of sinful, human weakness; that is, sinners are the problem, not the law, because they cannot keep it perfectly.

For this reason, God sent Christ to be condemned as Sin in their place (v. 3; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21), so that believers might receive the Spirit’s ability to strive against sin, obey the Law, and thus “fulfill” the law’s requirement (v. 4).

Paul identifies the different fruits the fleshly and spiritual mindsets produce: the life dominated by the sin principle in the flesh results in death (spiritual separation from God), while that which the Spirit controls brings about life and peace (vv. 5-6).

He characterizes the fleshly nature as being at war with God, as not being subject to God’s law, and as not being able to submit itself to the Law (v. 7).

The clause “those who are in the flesh” refers only to the unsaved, not to believers who are not living godly lives; nevertheless, it is true that neither party can please God with their lives (v. 8; cf. Heb. 11:6).

The Indwelling Spirit

The apostle categorically states that since the Spirit of God indwells the Roman Christians, they are not “in the flesh but in the Spirit”; on the other hand, people who do not possess the Spirit of Christ do not belong to Him (v. 9; cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

The Christian’s body will still die because its inhabitant is a sinner, but the Spirit of life will raise it from death because God has justified (declared righteous) its inhabitant (v. 10).

More concisely, since the Spirit of the Father raised the Son, He will also resurrect Christians (v. 11).

Given this truth, Christians ought not to do “the deeds of the body,” for that action will result in their physical death (vv. 12-13a).

[Can believers “live according to the flesh”?

If Paul writes this admonition to believers, he cannot be referring to eternal death here; otherwise, he would compromise the doctrine of the perseverence of the saints.

If he is writing about eternal death, then true believers cannot “live according to the flesh.”]

If they cooperate with the Spirit and allow Him “to put to death” their sinful actions, then they will experience more of the life of Christ (v. 13b).

[Mortification of sins is not a prerequisite for acquiring eternal salvation; however, progressive sanctification (in which mortification plays a part) does result in the saint (who is such by virtue of his position in Christ) becoming more like Jesus.]

The spirit-led life is the normal experience for Christians (“sons of God”); continual “carnality” for believers is an aberration, if it is possible at all [v. 14; cf. 1 John 3:6-9].

Suffering

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Perfection Required

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The Suffering of the Lord's Adoptive Children

Believers are God's Adopted Children

God has adopted Christians into His family as adult sons who intimately address the Father (Abba) by means of the indwelling Spirit (v. 15; cf. Eph. 1:5 for adoption’s linkage to predestination).

The Spirit secretly communicates with the spirits of believers, assuring them that they belong to God (v. 16).

Not only do Christians stand as God’s adopted children, but they also rate as His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ.

Paul’s “if indeed” either conveys the certainty that all believers will suffer with him (and thus qualify as heirs), or it indicates a conditional statement, specifying that only those faithful to Christ meet the criteria as heirs and will be glorified with him (v. 17).

[Now what does Paul mean by "suffer with him"?

From the context, we learn that we must "put to death the deeds of the body" by means of the Spirit, in order to ''live" (vv. 12-14).

However, the apostle also says that we must victoriously persevere in suffering (vv. 18 ff).

Elsewhere, he instructs Timothy: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).

It appears, then, that for believers to reign with Christ, they must live godly lives. Do all believers meet this criterion?

Those who do not suffer some level of ill treatment because of their godly testimony will apparently not receive the high honor of reigning with the Lord.

Perhaps these relatively unfaithful folks, though saved, will render little service in the kingdom because of their disobedience.]

Sufferings Compared with Glory

Speaking of sufferings, Paul figuratively places in a balance these realities of the normal Christian life opposite “the glory which shall be revealed in us,” and finds the comparison lopsided.

He concludes that God’s final reward for believers (namely, glorification) is far weightier and of far more worth than any intensity of suffering they might have to endure during their lifetime (v. 18).

© 2013 glynch1

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    • glynch1 profile image
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      glynch1 4 years ago

      Thank you for your kind words, Faith Reaper. Yes. He will reward us for our perseverance. However, we must always remember that He is the One who enables us to persevere.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      I love Paul! He understands about going through trails and maintaining that trust in God. We will face many trials of many kind, as He tells us in His words, so we should not be surprised. But he is there to walk through them with us. When we cry out to Him, He does hear. We will receive our reward when we persevere no doubt.

      Excellent write. Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper