THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 13 of 15 – Romans 8:9 – 8:25
Chapter 8 of Romans is built upon the previous chapters which have systematically communicated the following foundational points:
- Without understanding the severity of man’s depravity from Chapter 1:18 through 3:20, we cannot appreciate the immensity of Christ’s atoning work at the cross.
- Without accepting that the core of man’s problem came through Adam’s disobedience, we will not truly accept that the solution to our problems came through Jesus Christ’s obedience. Therefore, we will be hesitant to trust in the power of the gospel to deal with our personal issues.
- If we don’t accept that there are two masters vying for our allegiance, both sin (from Adam) and righteousness (through Christ), then we can’t accept the reason God gives us as to why there is good or bad fruit in our lives. Therefore, we will not accept the emphasized truth that we have been freed from sin and have become servants to righteousness to increasingly bring forth fruit unto sanctification (a progressive holy lifestyle).
- Without accepting that we, who desire to serve God, have been delivered through Jesus Christ from the Law of Moses (and all other methods) as ways to serve him, we will continue to see the fruit of death. On the other hand, if we accept that, through Jesus Christ, God has directed us to serve him in newness of the spirit, then we shall bring forth fruit unto sanctification and results in the realm of eternal life.
Romans 8 builds on the point made in chapter 7, verse 6: so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter. Under the New Covenant there is a new way to serve God: via the realm of the spirit. In chapter 8 the word “spirit” is used 20x. In other words, Romans 8 puts great emphasis on “the spirit.” The most basic meaning of “spirit” is life because it refers to what is breathing or blowing, moving and active. This section is going to teach us:
- What the realm of the spirit is.
- Its function.
- What it produces in our lives and
- What our role is in relation to it.
Romans 8 is the culmination of the doctrinal side of the book of Romans.
Romans 8:1 - 6 “1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind–set of the flesh is death, but the mind–set of the Spirit is life and peace.” (HCSB)
The following section has been muddied by tradition and complex teachings that it is difficult to teach; however, the points made in this next section are simple. But we must remember that these truths cannot be isolated out of their context of the previous verses or misunderstanding will occur.
Romans 8:9 - 11 “9 But 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. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But 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.” (ASV)
- But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit “How do I know whether I am in the flesh or in the spirit?” The answer lies in the immediate and remote contexts. To walk in the spirit is to think according to the spirit (8:4-6). To walk in the spirit is not limited to speaking in tongues, as some have said. Neither is it limited to the gifts or manifestations of the spirit. Although these are included, the simplicity of walking in the spirit is to walk in (by thinking according to) that which came through the spirit, i.e. reality in Christ. The spirit has been described as the totality or entirety of the spirit. Romans 8:2 gives it this way, “the standard of the spirit, which is life in Christ Jesus.” Romans 7:6 tells us of serving God “in newness of the spirit.” These verses together give us the standard of the new life in Christ. To walk according to this standard is to walk in the spirit.
- dwelleth This means presently dwelling or inhabiting. This word doesn’t mean to be sitting dormant. It is used only 9x in the New Testament, 5 of which are in Romans, chapters 7 & 8 [7:17, 7:18, 7:20, 8:9 & 8:11.] By these uses and their context, this word intimates influencing one toward doing accordingly, producing fruit. See John 14:23.
- if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you This isn’t referring to being born again. Neither this term, nor the idea of the new birth is anywhere in this context. This is referring to thinking about the things of the Spirit as verses 4-6 have been telling us.
- But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ “Christ” is a title referring to his work as the Christ. So, this phrase means something like, If anyone does not hold these thoughts pertaining to newness of life that is in Christ…
- he (this) is none (not) of his (him)This means that these other thoughts do not belong to him.
- And if Christ is in you The title “Christ” is again used here meaning the work he did as the Christ. If this work lives in you, then…
- the body is dead because of sin; The body is indeed spiritually dead on account of sin. The body will offer no spiritual help to live for God.
- but the spirit is life because of righteousness. Two ways to serve. The spirit (life in Christ) is life to its fullest measure on account of righteousness because righteousness is life with God (Galatians 3:21).
- But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, This is the same spirit. Think of the power of raising the dead. This same life-giving spirit is abiding 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 Look at the reality of this verse in its context! As God’s spirit is abiding in us, leading us into thinking according to the standard of life in Christ, then our bodies will be being transformed from no life with God to manifesting his life.
Romans 8:12 - 15 “12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for 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. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (ASV)
- So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh “Debtors” is to be obligated. This can’t be referring to the one who doesn’t care to live for God. This verse could be translated in an expanded fashion as, Because of these truths of our new life in Christ, brethren, we are obligated to be living for God according to His standard, not by the deeds of the body, as one who is apart from Christ, living under law.
- for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die In other words, if you try to live for God by any standard of the flesh you are about to die, experiencing a lack of partnership with God.
- but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live Expanded: But if, by way of the spirit (the standard of the new life you have in Christ), you put to death the practices of the desires of your body which used to govern you, then you will live in partnership with God. See 2Peter 1:4 and 1:9.
- For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God Expanded: As many as are being guided by that spiritual life in Christ which came from God, these are the sons (imitators) of God.
- For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear Expanded: Because you have not taken hold of a servitude type of spirit again, as if to have digressed unto laws to live for God. This only results in fear because you will soon condemn yourself, feeling worthy of sin’s consequences due to separation from God.
- but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father In the Roman culture adoption was many times sought when a father didn’t have a son worthy enough to carry on the family business. The adopted son would then be considered the main or sole heir of the father, and therefore was very precious to the father. To the adopted son, the father is a present help in time of need with all of his ability and resources. Abba, Father is a term which is the opposite of having fear due to knowing that you are the father’s beloved. See Mark 14:36 & Galatians 4:6. Expanded: But you have taken hold of an adoption type of spirit by which we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
Romans 8: 16 - 17 “16 The Spirit itself testifieth 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 we suffer with [him], that we may be glorified together.” (Webster)
- The Spirit itself testifieth with our spirit, that we are the children of God The adoption-type spirit itself witnesses with our spirit that we are God’s offspring.
- And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ The word “heirs” is used 3x in this statement for emphasis. joint-heirs with Christ Jointly participating with Christ. See John 16:15 and 17:10.
- if we suffer with [him], that we may be glorified together Those who are being led by their new life in Christ, who have taken hold of the adoption-type spirit will be challenged with the contrary ways of this world. The word if should be translated “since.” Expanded: Since we suffer troubles together with Christ in order that we might be glorified together with him.
This next section of Romans 8:18-25 is regarding our hope for which we patiently wait.
Romans 8:18 - 19 “18 For 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. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.” (ASV)
- "sufferings" That which one suffers or is afflicted with, whether internal or external. See Philippians 3:10. Christ experienced these “sufferings” because he took his stand upon truth. We partake of these same sufferings for the same reason.
- See 2Corinthians 4:16-18.
- Expanded: For I logically conclude that all the sufferings and afflictions which we endure, whether internally or externally in this present season, are not worth comparing with regard to the glory which is about to be being revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with outstretched necks in anticipation of the revealing of the sons of God (Those led by the spirit).
Romans 8:20 - 22 “20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (ASV)
- Expanded: For the creation was made subject to emptiness and corruption due to the suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18 and Ephesians 4:17-19), not voluntarily, but through him who subjected it upon hope because the creation itself likewise shall be set free from its worsening state of slavery (due to its decay from sin) into glory’s freedom which belongs to the children of God. For we see and therefore perceive that all of creation groans in distress together and feels the pains of child-birth together until this moment.
Romans 8:23 - 25 “23 And 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. 24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth? 25 But if we hope for that which we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for it.” (ASV)
- "wait" is apekdechomai in the Greek, used 3x in Romans 8:19, 8:23 and 8:25; meaning to steadily and patiently wait, “as with outstretched necks” (WEY)
- Expanded: Yet not creation only but we also who possess the spirit as a promising foretaste, we ourselves likewise groan with grief within ourselves, longing with outstretched necks to see our adoption - the release from sin to be effected upon our body (Romans 8:10). For it is in hope that we have been saved. But hope which is being seen is not hope; for what one sees how can he actually hope for that? But if we hope for what we don’t see, through patient endurance we wait for it.
The realm of the spirit is the standard of our new life in Christ. What the spirit produces in us is:
- Life and peace (v. 6)
- A sense of belonging to Christ (v. 9)
- An awareness of being heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (v. 17)
- A reliance upon God: our hearts crying out, Abba, Father!” (v. 15)
- A witness that we are the children of God (v. 16)
- Life to our mortal bodies (v. 11)
Our role in relation to the spirit is to simply accept the standard of our new life in Christ, adopting its standard as reality. This is to “live according to the spirit” or to “walk by the spirit”. Our new life in Christ includes patiently waiting for our hope of the glory of God which shall be revealed unto us. We shall experience all of creation being delivered from the bondage to sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God and the redemption of our bodies. God saved us for the purpose of our hope.