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THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 14 of 15 – Romans 8:26 – 8:39
In these final scriptures of the doctrinal side of Romans we do not find any words regarding what we are supposed to do. Rather, we are overcome with even more of the richness of God’s love toward us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we find the crescendo of having been delivered FROM the consequences of Adam’s disobedience INTO the realm of the spirit – life in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:26 - 27 “26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to [the will of] God.” (Webster)
- in like manner “In the same way” as what? The previous two verses emphatically state that hope that is seen is not hope. Hope is an anticipation or expectation of something better. Romans 8:22 just told us that all of creation “groans” for future deliverance. In verse 23 we too “groan” for future deliverance when we shall see the redemption of our bodies. In the same manner the spirit also presently helps our weakness in that we don’t know what to pray for. Our groanings, or griefs are inexpressible (too deep for words, cannot be uttered - Ecclesiastics 6:12). The spirit is one with our inner groanings, the griefs which we bear. So, the spirit intercedes for us, in our behalf. There’s no mention of us doing anything in these verses. The spirit does all the work of this intercession.
- maketh intercession See John 14:15-17 where Jesus had been helping them, fighting for them, assisting them. Now Jesus was leaving, but not leaving them without help: the spirit of truth was to be their help, their advocate, their intercessor.
- he that searcheth the hearts. See also Hebrews 4:13 and 1Corinthians 4:5.
- Expanded Literal: And the one continuously investigating the hearts knows what the thoughts of the spirit are because it pleads in behalf of the ones called saints (Romans 1:7) according to, not our limited perspective, but God’s all encompassing perspective.
Romans 8:28 - 30 “28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, [even] to them that are called according to [his] purpose. 29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (ASV)
- according to This is a lead into a standard.
- purpose aim, plan, goal. See Ephesians 1:11, 3:11, 2Timothy 1:9 and 1Timothy 2:4
- Expanded Literal: And we see with our minds eye that all things work in harmony (under God who is over everything) for the benefit of the ones who are loving God, to those who according to God’s purpose are called.
- Rotherham’s Translation “We know, further, that, unto them who love God, God causes all things to work together for good,––unto them who, according to purpose, are such as he hath called;”
- Expanded Literal: Since those whom God foreordained (before time began - Ephesians 1:4) he also predetermined their boundaries to be conformed to the resemblance (likeness, image) of his Son (Romans 1:4), for him to be the first born among many of the same kind.
- "Their boundaries" See Romans 12:3 "more highly" and 1Corinthians 4:6 "not to exceed what is written."
- Called is used here as "given a new name" (Kaleo in the Greek). See Romans 9:24-26 used 3x. This word is a derivative of kletos used in Romans 1:7 "called saints." We have been given a new name as Abram was given the new name Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude." See Romans 4:17-21.
- Justified means rendered righteous. See Romans 3:21-26 and 4:1-8.
- glorified God made us glorious like the bright stars in the midst of the darkness (Daniel 12:3), adorned us with luster, clothed us with splendor. See Romans 3:23, John 17:22, Romans 8:21 and Romans 15:7.
- Expanded Literal: And those for whom he predetermined the boundaries, them he also gave a new name - saints. And these to whom he gave this new name he also rendered righteous. And whom he rendered righteous he also made glorious like the stars of heaven, causing us to shine.
Romans 8:31 - 32 “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?” (ASV)
- Expanded Literal: Since God has caused all these things to work in harmony for our benefit, now what shall we say in conclusion to these things? Since God Almighty is on our side, who or what could possibly mount up its forces against us?
- Compare with: 1Peter 5:6-7, Psalms 118:6 and 41:11.
- Delivered… up means gave into the power of another. See Acts 2:23 and Romans 4:25.
- Freely give is the verb form of charis: grace or gift of God’s grace.
- Verse 32 could be handled as a parenthesis. Read verse 31 then verses 33-35.
- Expanded Literal: He who causes all things to work in harmony for our benefit worked in our behalf to such a degree as to not even withhold his own Son, but instead, gave him over into the ruthless hands of his enemies. Having favored us to such a degree, how shall he NOT lavish upon us all things.
These next verses are in the form of questions which don’t need an answer because the answer is so obvious. These are called rhetorical questions.
Romans 8:33 - 35 “33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth; 34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (ASV)
Verses 33 through 39 tell us that nothing can possibly separate us from the love of God because God is on our side.
- God’s elect God’s chosen ones: the best of God’s kind or class. 1Peter 2:9.
- Justifieth means is justifying or rendering righteous. See Romans 4:8.
- Expanded Literal: Who or what is able to bring even the smallest accusation against ones with whom God has allied? God is the one who is continuously rendering them righteous.
- To accuse: the act of accusing of any wrong or injustice.
- Condemneth is to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment. See Romans 8:1, John 3:17-18 and John 5:24. See note on Romans 8:26.
- maketh intercession Also compare Isaiah 53:12 and Hebrews 7:25.
- the right hand of God The seat of governor for God, a position of honor and authority. See Acts 2:33, Ephesians 1:20-23, 1Peter 3:22, Matthew 28:18 and Philippians 2:9-11.
- Expanded Literal: Who or what is able to bring any judgment worthy of punishment against us? Christ died as sufficient punishment for any judgment against us (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12, Romans 3:24-25 and 4:25), and even more than that he is risen: He indeed is governmentally positioned at the honorable and authoritative right hand of God; He indeed makes intercession in our behalf.
- Separate is to divide, sever, divorce.
- The love of Christ used 3x in NT: here, 2Corinthians 5:14 and Ephesians 3:19. It is the love exhibited to us by Christ having given up his life for the sake of sinners (Romans 5:6-8 and 1John 4:9-10).
- Tribulation is mental pressure (especially away from the truth); oppression, affliction, mental distress (Romans 5:3-5, Matthew 13:21, 1Thessalonians 1:6, 3:3, John 16:33 and 2Corinthians 4:17).
- Anguish is distress; dire calamity, extreme affliction, misfortune.
- Persecution is harassment from enemies with unjust punishment or penalties (Matthew 13:21, Acts 8:1 and 2Corinthians 12:10).
- Peril is danger, risk, hazard, jeopardy.
- Expanded Literal: Who or what shall have success in severing us from the results of the love of Christ in that he died that death for us? Shall the mental pressures resulting from our stand upon the truth? Shall extreme calamities, persecutions from enemies, or lack of food? Shall being destitute, being at risk of life, health or property, or even being brutally murdered like Stephen in Acts 7?
- A list of Paul’s experiences with most of these challenges: 2Corinthians 11:23-33 and 12:10.
Romans 8:36 - 37 “36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (ASV)
- Quote Psalms. 44:22 where this statement could be true. But under the New Covenant - NO!
- in all these things Specifically referring to verse 35.
- through him that loved us Not through means of our own or through trusting in the power or resources of others. No! God is on our side. He has proven his love for us through Christ's death. What will he NOT do for us NOW?!!
- Literal: NO! In all these things we are overwhelmingly victorious through him who loved us.
- See also John 16:33, 1John 2:13-14, 5:4-5, Revelation 3:21 and 12:11.
Romans 8:38 - 39 “38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.” (ASV)
- death See Psalms 23:4, 27:1 and Hebrews 2:14-15.
- principalities Angels or demons holding first place, the first place, supreme power, rule, magistracy. See Ephesians 1:21, 2:2, 6:12 and Colossians 1:16.
- Creature is created thing. The context of 8:21-22 tell us that "created things" are "groaning and travailing in pain" due to being in "the bondage of corruption to sin." Agony loves company. Whatever any created thing throws at us, NOTHING shall have the power to separate us from God’s love toward us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- separate Same word used in verse 35.
- the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord In verse 35 it was "the love of Christ." It is the love of God in Christ which then became Christ’s love. This is the same as when we love with the love of God. It might be said that we are loving, but is our resource our own love or the love of God living in and through us (Romans 5:5)?
- Expanded Literal: For the words of the gospel of God have won me over, such as, "Who or what can possibly be against us when God is on our side?" Neither the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15 and Psalms 23:4), nor the despairs of this life, nor angelic messengers (whether men or demons), nor supreme powers (Acts 16:35-40), nor any powers, nor anything currently being used against us or intended to be used against us, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation shall be capable to sever us from the love of God extended to us in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 3:24 through 8:34. Also 1John 4:9-10).
In conclusion, this section of Romans 8:26-39 tells us more of, not what we are to do for God, but what God has done for us:
- The spirit continually makes intercession for us regarding groanings which are too difficult to express.
- God causes all things to work in harmony for our benefit.
- God is on our side, so what could possibly overcome us?
- God lavishes all things unto us.
- We are overwhelmingly conquerors through him who loved us.
- Nothing is capable of severing us from God’s love toward us in Christ.
There is no power or force which can remove us from the blessings that are in Christ. Oh, how blessed we are!