Romans 8 - May 4th, 2023
Romans 8 is perhaps Paul’s most powerful chapter in the Book of Romans. In this chapter, Paul speaks about the believer's present and future. Presently we are to live according to the Holy Spirit; we are also heirs with Christ. We have an inheritance to look forward to, which is an inheritance that, if we truly possess it, nothing can strip away. I cannot possibly write at length about everything Paul presents here, but let us take a brief look.
Life According to the Spirit
In the previous chapter, Paul explains that we cannot justify ourselves before God because we cannot keep the righteous requirements of the Law by our own strength. He then asks the question, “who will deliver us?” and the answer is Christ. Paul continues his thought into chapter 8, where he says that we who are in Christ have been justified by him, and there is now no more condemnation for us. Verses 3-4 says it best, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful fish and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Paul here identifies Christians as those “who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The flesh represents the old way of life which was weak and a slave to sin due to the fall of Adam. We, as Christians, are those who have been redeemed by Christ and who now walk in a new style of life; one that is not dominated by the flesh but one that is dominated by the Holy Spirit. No one can claim to be a Christian unless the Spirit of God dwells within them (verse 9). Unbelievers are those who live a life according to the flesh; Christians are those who live their life according to the Spirit. Unbelievers will produce the fruit of the flesh because it is that which they live by; believers, on the other hand, will produce the fruit of the Spirit because it is that which they live by. We are to be those who set our minds on the things of the Spirit!
Heirs with Christ
Christians have an inheritance with Christ! Because of the work of Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God and are now God’s children, and as children, we share in the inheritance of Christ. We have hope; we have something to look forward to! We owe nothing to the flesh, but we owe everything to God, who has redeemed us and given us a heavenly inheritance. Christ is the firstborn, our Elder Brother, the “heir of all things,” according to Hebrews 1:2, and we shall share in his inheritance through adoption. What an amazing thought! We who were once enemies of God have now become children of God! Christ has not merely saved us from the wrath of God but has made us co-heirs with Him! How good is our God!
A Future Glory
Paul goes on to say that just like we shall share in the inheritance of Christ, we will also share in his sufferings while on this Earth; many different places in the Scriptures speak about this reality (1 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18-21). However, Paul makes a fantastic point; it is such a fount of strength and encouragement. Verse 18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Yes, we are to suffer, but that suffering pales compared to the glory we will receive. Our present sufferings on this Earth are nothing compared to the glory we have to look forward to.
We also find within this chapter the Ordo Salutis or order of salvation. We find it here in verses 29-30, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Salvation begins with God’s electing work before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), which then results in our calling, which is the effectual calling of the Spirit of God which then results in our justification which is the legal declaration that we are right before God which then leads to our glorification which is the future glory that we can hope for. Notice how this is certain; there is no break in the chain. All who are predestined will be called, the called will be justified, and the justified will be glorified. This is why we believe Christians cannot lose their salvation, because “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” All whom God has chosen will be saved and none will be lost.
What Shall Separate Us?
Paul will further emphasize the Christian's eternal security by declaring, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I need not explain Paul’s argument here because he states it so clearly. Who is left to condemn God’s elect if God has not? If God has not condemned us but has rather justified us and redeemed us before his sight, then who is there left to throw accusations at us? Our sins indeed are many, but praise God that his mercies are more! Jesus Christ has loved us and is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. If Christ has loved us, shall anything be able to separate us from such love? Can anything pluck us out of his hand? No! No trial, no persecution, no lack of sustenance, no poverty, and no threat can operate us from the love of Christ and the salvation he gives his people. We, by the blood of Christ, have conquered death, sin, hell, and the world; we will and indeed already have persevered because of Christ. We are victors! Nothing in all of creation, neither the heavens nor the Earth, can separate the one whom Christ has determined to set his affections and love upon from that love. Think about that. If you truly are a Christian, God has loved you, and that love is made manifest on the cross of Jesus Christ, where he shed his blood for you, and you will continue to be sanctified, and you have been justified, and you will be glorified, and nothing can change that. Nothing! If you truly possess a saving faith, God is for you, and nothing can ever prevail against you.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heav'n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I Am
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God