In our last lesson, we finished up chapter 7. Paul taught us that the only way that he or anyone else could be saved was through Jesus and not through the Law of Moses or perfect law keeping. Though we are beginning a new chapter, we will see that the first verse is connected to what Paul was saying at the end of chapter 7.
Romans 8 is a beautiful chapter that talks about how wonderful it is to be in Christ. So, letís begin.
†Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to 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 did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, †4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Chapter 7 painted a dark picture of how Paul and others could never keep the Law of Moses perfectly and thus could not be justified. Remember that Law of Moses we designed to reveal sin and was not designed to offer true forgiveness of sins. Also, the Law of Moses was designed to bring us to Christ as Paul said:
Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. †25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
At the end of chapter 7, Paul said:
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? †25 I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord!
These few words are all we have in chapter 7 that gives us the answer to the problem of sin, which is Jesus. But then, he begins to expound on how great it is to be a Christian who is under the Law of Christ. As we make our way through this chapter, I will bring up several places that some religious groups twist to support their doctrines, which begins with the first part of our first verse.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
These are words that should bring a smile to every Christian because it speaks about the security we have in Jesus. However, some will twist these verses to mean once saved always saved. However, we can easily show that this is a false doctrine, but before I get to that, letís read the remainder of this verse:
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. †
It would be tempting to use the later part of this verse to show that there are qualifying conditions for there to be no condemnation in Christ, but the latter part of this verse is only seen in the KJV, NKJV and few other older translations. Most translations, donít have these words. The reason they donít have them is because they are not found in the early manuscripts. They are only found in later manuscripts. So, the evidence that these particular words belong here is not strong. Some believe that the scribe added these words, which are found in verse 4, to emphasize what Paul was saying. Weather they belong there or not, Paul makes it clear in verse 4 that we must walk in the Spirit. So, there are conditions for us to meet in order to remain saved.
Goebel Music has a four-point outline that shows that once saved always saved is not true.
A good four-point, simple outline is as follows:
1. The Bible Warns against Falling Away (1 Cor. 10:6,8,11-12; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 4:1,11; 6:4-6).
2. The Bible Tells Us How to Keep from Falling Away (2 Pet. 1:5-10; Jude 1:21; Acts 13:43; Heb. 10:39).
3. The Bible Tells What to Do When I Fall Away (Acts 8:20-24; Rev. 2:5; 1 John 1:9; 2:1-2; James 5:16).
4. The Bible Gives Examples of Those Who Have Fallen Away (Acts 8:13,20-24; Gal. 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 4:10). (Goebel Music, Falling from Grace (Colleyville, Texas: Goebel Music Publishing, 1989), pp. 13-15).
Letís just take a quick look at each point. First, Peter clearly shows that one that is saved can become lost.
2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. †21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. †22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
Second, Peter tells how we can keep from falling away.
2 Peter 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, †6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, †7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. †8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. †9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. †10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
To cover the 3rd and 4th point, we can use Simon the sorcerer who obeyed the Gospel (Acts 8:13). However, when he saw Peter and John were able to lay hands on people and pass on the Holy Spirit, he wanted to buy the ability. What he had in mind was a sin, and Peter lets him know about it.
Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! †21 "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. †22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. †23 "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity." †24 Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me." †
Basically, Peter is saying repent or perish. If once saved always saved was true, then Peter didnít know what he was talking about, but since we know that he was an inspired apostle, we know that he was teaching the truth. Therefore, once saved always saved in not true. Just because you become a Christian doesnít mean you lose your free will to sin. Becoming a Christian certainly doesnít give you a license to do whatever you want to. Paul dealt with that in the beginning of Romans 6. I will never understand how anyone who reads the New Testament could come to conclusion that once we become Christians that there is no way for us to fall away.
However, we must also not go to the other extreme and think that we have no security in our salvation because we do. If we continue to live for the Lord and walk in His ways, then there is nothing that can condemn us and heaven will be our home. One more time letís look at our verse:
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
I want you to notice that those who are in Christ have no condemnation. Paul stated in Romans 6 that the way we get into Christ is through baptism (Rom. 6:3). He also states this in Galatians 3:27. Paul writes a lot about those things we have when we are in Christ. For example, he says the following things are found in Christ:
∑ Every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).
∑ Forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7).
∑ New Creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
∑ Grace (2 Tim. 2:1).
∑ Salvation (2 Tim. 2:10).
If we want to make sure that we have all these things including no condemnation, then we must be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. There is no other way to get into Christ. So, those who teach that you are saved before you are baptized are saying that you can somehow have all these things without being in Christ, which is impossible.
Letís look at the next 3 verses.
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 did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, †4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The ďSpirit of lifeĒ is referring to the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that the writers of the New Testament could speak the Word of God, which is called a law in verse 2. People tend to get really confused when they see the word Ďlawí because they always think it means the Law of Moses, but this simply is not true. The New Covenant, that we are under, is referred to as being under law toward Christ (1 Cor. 9:21), the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), and the perfect law of liberty (Jam. 1:25). So, we too are under a law, but we are not under the Law of Moses. I know I have pointed this simple truth out in several times in our study on Romans already, but I want to make sure this simple truth is not forgotten.
The law of sin and death goes back to what Paul said in Romans 7, which was that no man can be justified outside of Christ. No one can keep any law perfectly, not even the Law of Christ, but under the Law of Christ, we have been given true forgiveness through Jesus.
When Paul says: For what the law could
not do in that it was weak through the flesh, he is not in any way saying that the Law of Moses
was weak because that Law came from God, but the source of the weakness was
through the flesh, which is man. Man was too weak to keep the Law of Moses
perfectly. As soon as he sinned one time that was it.
God had a solution to the problem and that was Jesus who came in likeness of sinful flesh. The reason it says Ďlikenessí is because Jesus never sinned. Though every person before Him and after Him would sin, He did not, which is how He was able to condemn sin in the flesh. He took on the weight of our sins when He was sacrificed. While He faced the consequences of our sins, please understand that He Himself was never a sinner otherwise He would not be an acceptable sacrifice for our sins.
Every person who has become a Christian has taken
part of what Christ did for us, because through Him, we have the forgiveness of
our sins. Those who are Christians are not to walk according to the flesh and
all it desires, but we are to walk according to the Spirit. The word Ďwalkí
refers to how we are to live our lives according to faith (2 Cor. 5:7), which
of course comes from hearing the Word of God that was inspired by the by the
Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:17).
Paul is going to contrast the flesh with the Spirit in on next verses.
Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. †6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. †7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
Whether you are a Christian or not, you have a free will. If we chose to focus on fleshly desires, then that is where our hearts will be. As:
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out
of it spring the issues
However, we can also focus on righteous things. As Paul wrote:
Philippians 4:8 †Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things. †9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Of course, when we make our choice, it has consequences and rewards. If we have a carnal mind and we live our lives that way, then we are dead spiritually because God will have nothing to do with those who choose to live in sin. If we continue in that sin until our physical deaths, then we will be eternally separated from God.
If we choose to live according to the Spirit, then we will have peace of mind because we know that there will be eternal rewards in heaven for us. We can be confident that we will not have to go to hell. Now, you might think that everyone would want to go to heaven, but they donít. Sure, they might say they would like to go to heaven, but their sins cause them to be separated from God, and they will never allow themselves to be put under any law that God has put in place because they want to do things their way. Next Paul says:
Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. †9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. †10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If we wanted, we could pluck verse 8 out of context and say that no one can please God because we are all human, therefore we are in the flesh, but keeping things in context, we can know that is not what Paul is saying. He is saying that those who choose to give in to the sins of the flesh can never be pleasing to God.
The Christians he is writing to were not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. However, the only ones who are in the Spirit are those who have the Spirit dwelling in them. If the Spirit is not in them, then they donít belong to Christ. He also says that Christ is in you. If He is in you, then the body is dead. In other words, those fleshly desires that owned you before and kept you separated from God no longer have power of you because living by the Spirit is life, and it is a life of righteousness.
Paul also says this in his letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. †17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. †18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. †19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, †20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, †21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. †22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, †23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. †24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. †25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What Paul wrote helps explain what he is talking about. He gives this long list of sins of the flesh that will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven, and then he gives a list of the fruit of the Spirit that all Christians should live by.
I want to point out that verse 24 says that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. This is a clear reference to baptism, and Paul already dealt with this in Romans 6. Baptism is the point that we die in Christ and put to death our old man and its fleshly ways. However, it is also when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is given to those that obey (Acts 5:32). We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, †14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
I am not discussing how the Holy Spirit indwells a Christians at this point, but I am saying that He does. Remember Paul said that if you donít have the Spirit of Christ, then you are not His. One reason it is important for us to understand this is because some religious groups claim that you have to have some kind of experience such as speaking in tongues or have some other charismatic manifestation in order to be considered a Christian. Yet, the Scriptures teach that all those who have obeyed Godís plan of salvation have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So, these religious groups who teach this idea that you have to have some kind of experience after you are water baptized put a great deal of pressure on their disciples to have that experience so they can be saved. Some try for years. While some will attribute some emotional outburst or experience as being given the Holy Spirit, some never have one. Imagine how that would make them feel. Some might think God doesnít think their worth saving. Others may just give up and think that God isnít real. This is the danger of making such claims that are not found in Scripture.
As we have already seen in our verses, the Holy Spirit and Christ are said to be in us. We also learn that the Father is in us as well (Jn. 14:23; Eph. 4:6; 1 John 4:15). If you want to know how we know they are dwelling in us, the answer is found in:
Ephesians 3:17 †that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
It shouldnít surprise us that Godhead dwells in us when we become Christians because we are called the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17). However, this in no way gives us some miraculous ability that some had in the first century when the Holy Spirit would give them ability to work signs and miracles because that was limited to the first century, and not everybody received these special abilities supplied by the Holy Spirit through laying on of the hands of the apostles. If it were true that one had to manifest one of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit to show that they were saved this would mean that many that were called Christians in the first century were lost since not had these gifts, but we know this is not true.†
Next Paul says:
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. †12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. †13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Remember, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus after He was baptized with Johnís baptism. When Jesus died, He was dead for 3 days, but the He was raised alive. Paul tells that the Holy Spirit had His part in raising Jesus from the dead, but other verses tell us that the Father also had His part in this as well (Acts 2:24). Even Jesus said He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again (Jn. 10:18).
However, the point Paul is making is that just as the Holy Spirit played His part in the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, who is in us, will also give life to our mortal bodies. After all, Paul said:
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, †21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
So, we will be resurrected just as Jesus was. Since we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus and we belong to Him who took care of our sin problem, we are no longer in debt to sin. However, we are in debt to God. We owe Him everything. While we should never forget this, many do. Instead of paying honor to God, they live for the flesh, and they die spiritually, but for those of us who choose to honor what God has done for them through Jesus, we will consider sinful things as being dead to us, and we will live our lives by being led by the Spirit through the Word of God. We will know that heaven will be our home.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. †15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
Verse 14 in another verse some like take out of context to prove that the Holy Spirit leads them by giving them a feeling or whispering in their ear. The problem with this, other than it not being supported in Scripture, is that anyone can claim that they feel like God is telling them to do a certain thing, but they have no way of knowing that. There have been mothers who killed their children claiming that God told them to.
We need to keep in mind that Godís Word is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). So, we are led by the Holy Spirit by upholding and living by the Word He inspired. Those who think God is telling them to do something should also understand that if they are being told to do something that is not found in the Word or goes against it, that should be their first clue that they are not being led by the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is not going to tell someone to do something that is not in the Word or that goes against the Word. When you consider that we have all that we need for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16) and everything that pertains life and godliness in Godís Word (2 Pet. 1:3), there is nothing that could be added or taken away. So, we are led by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, which of courses teaches how to become a Christian and how to live the Christian life.
Paul contrasts the old covenant with the new because he says that when we became Christians, we didnít receive a spirit of fear as it was under the old system, which showed that man could not ever be justified by the Law of Moses through perfect law keeping. Instead, we received the spirit of adoption. There is one true Son of God, Jesus. So, the rest of us must be adopted, but that still makes us His children. Since we have that relationship with the Father, we can cry out Abba Father. The word ĎAbbaí comes from the Aramaic and it is what a child would call his father, which would be similar to how kids today call their fathers papa or daddy. While Jews wouldnít use such an intimate term toward God, Jesus did in the Garden (Mk. 14:36), and we can too because we were adopted and became sons of God when we obeyed Godís plan of salvation.
Next Paul says:
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, †17 and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Here we have two witnesses. One is the Holy Spirit who has sealed us, and the other is our spirit. Paul puts it this way in:
Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
Romans 8:15 has us crying out Abba, Father, but Paul states here that the Spirit cries out Abba, Father. So, the Holy Spirit is our witness that we are Christians who are following Godís Word. We are called heirs. So, we have been adopted into the family of God and will receive the inheritance that comes with that privilege, which is heaven. The fact that we are heirs shows that eternal salvation is something we donít earn. It is given to us, but there are certain terms we must keep in order to receive the inheritance. Though we do these things, it doesnít mean we earn it, but that we accept it. Paul gives us the conditional clause of what it takes to be joint heirs with Christ and that is, we must suffer with Him.
Now, this doesnít mean we must suffer in the same way that He did, but it does mean that we must be willing to follow in His footsteps, which means we will most likely suffer in some way if we hold to His Word, but when we do this, we will be glorified together, and heaven will be our home.
Some people joke around hoping they have a rich uncle they donít know about who is going to die and leave them a fortune. While the chances of this happening are very low, even if it did, we have something far greater than this because we have a God who loves us and has given us the opportunity to inherit the riches of heaven. I wish that every person would take advantage of what God offers us.
There is a lot of great material in this chapter, but I must bring this lesson to a close. However, we will pick up right where we left off in our next lesson.