NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
Dr. Robert R. Seyda
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER EIGHT
Romans 8 is one of the most exciting chapters of the Bible. Yet, many theologians claim that it is also one of the most challenging sections of the Bible. That’s because it is a chapter that helps us understand the doctrine of our security in God through Christ. After the internal struggle that Paul expressed at the end of Chapter 7, it is refreshing to see him open Romans 8 with these words: “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” These words are for those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It removes the death sentence that hangs over the head of all those described in in chapter 7 as convicted prisoners.
In chapter seven, Paul described the dilemma of a person who becomes a prisoner of the law of sin which makes all of their sinful tendencies outlaws under the Law. These sinful inclinations seem to overwhelm them from time to time as they struggle to get free. But in the last few verses of chapter 7, Paul makes reference to the hope of liberation made possible by God through Jesus Christ the Savior. So in chapter eight, Paul amplifies that freedom from sin found only in Christ. Furthermore, it is accomplished by genuine faith, not good works.
First, for those in Christ who continue to walk accordingly as the Spirit leads them, there is no condemnation, no death sentence, for having broken the law, which is what defines “sin.” However, the death of Christ for our breaking the law has made it possible for us to be set free from the punishment required. That’s because His death fulfilled the demands of the law (verses 1-4). Second, by placing our minds on the things above and not things below, we are able to enjoy an abundant life of peace and joy, which pleases God (verses 5-8). And thirdly, we now enjoy the indwelling of the Spirit of God, by whom we can control those sinful tendencies and enjoy both present and future blessings as the children of God (verses 9-17).
The blessings of being one of God’s children are laid out in the rest of the chapter. Our present sufferings mean very little given our ultimate redemption and rapture for which we eagerly and patiently wait (verses 18-25). We have the privilege of the Holy Spirit and Jesus interceding for us when we pray, which assures that all things will work together for good for those called according to God’s purpose (verses 26-30). Finally, as God’s elect we have the assurance that nothing can tear us away from God’s love because through Him we are more than conquerors over anything or anyone that might try to separate us from His love for us (verses 31-39). This was Paul’s way of putting the dot over the i or crossing the t in the divine plan of salvation in which we are Redeemed, Called, Chosen, Justified, Sanctified, Empowered with the Spirit, and Glorified as being the children of God.
There are some words and phrases that Paul uses that we should take a moment and look at since they shine a more significant light on the truths that Paul presents here. Here are some to consider:
Law of the Spirit of life – This is an expression referring to the Gospel which outlines how we live in this world with the Spirit’s help. It can also point to the principle involved in the life-giving Spirit who aids those in Christ to become victors over the sinful tendencies they are at war within their flesh (cf. Romans 7:23 with 8:11-13).
Spirit and spirit – These two words identify the Holy Spirit and a person’s spirit. The person’s spirit only comes alive when the Holy Spirit brings about their new birth in Christ. The two spirits must work in harmony with each other as the characteristics of Christ are developed in the believer’s life.
Creation – This is a little confusing at times. Various explanations are possible: 1) it means all of mankind; 2) only the saved; 3) the whole physical creation placed under the curse (Genesis 3:17; 8:21; Revelation 22:3), using the kind of language found in Psalms 98:7-9; 148:1-14. in any case, since it was all created by God, He is, therefore, the owner of all creation and creatures. So it is His decision on what will be part of the world-to-come.
Predestined – Another word that can be used here is “predetermined.” Note carefully in verse 29 it is based upon God’s “foreknowledge” (cf. 1Peter 1:2), and that which is predetermined constitutes WHAT those in Christ are to become, not WHO will end up being in Christ.
Elect – This is a synonym for “chosen.” According to 1Peter 1:2, this election is based on God’s foreknowledge, not some arbitrary choice or stroke of good luck or karma.
Intercedes – To make a petition on behalf of someone else. It is used of the Holy Spirit in v. 26-27 (interceding as a “spokesman,” not as a beggar), and of Christ in verse 34 (interceding as “defense counsel”), not as a plaintiff.
We have reached the halfway point in our study of Romans. If you have not been counting, we just finished Lesson 232! Just think, you’ve read 232 messages from Romans! I’m so proud of you, and I’m sure God is pleased with you as well. I pray that He will inspire you to continue reading and studying so that your knowledge of what God has done for you is enlarged and made more transparent for your understanding. God bless you. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
NOTE: We will begin studying Romans Chapter 9 on Wednesday the 01/10/18. I’m excited about exploring this chapter with you.