Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Romans 8:1-17 (web)

Sanctification and the Spirit I

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who don't walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
made me free from the law of sin and of death.
8:3 For what the law couldn't do, in that it was weak through the flesh,
God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,
he condemned sin in the flesh;

8:4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

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.

8:6 For the mind of the flesh is death,
but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;

8:7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God;
for it is not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be.
8:8 Those who are in the flesh can't please God.

8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit,
if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you.
But if any man doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.

8:10 If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin,
but the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

8:11 But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you must die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.
8:15 For you didn't receive the spirit of bondage again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
{Abba is a Chaldee word for father or daddy,
often used affectionately and respectfully in prayer to our Father in heaven.}
8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;

8:17 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 with him.


Discussion Questions

Why is there no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus?
From this section, what sort of behavior and mindset would you expect from those who are in Christ?
Is "being controlled by the Spirit", as the NIV puts its, true of all those born of God? (vs 9)
Is your salvation status dependent upon your performance?
Does everyone who belongs to Christ have the Holy Spirit? (vs 10)
What is your most prominent future hope?
Should the Christian's motivation for living the Christian life be based upon fear, or what?
How do you know that you are a child of God?
What sufferings do you share in with Christ?


Comments

Outline

The Law of Sin and Death: You sin, you are condemned
The Law of the Spirit of Life:

Translation Issues

In translating certain phrases in this section, the NIV translation may be forcing certain interpretations which may not be correct. In particular the phrase "controlled by" is simply not in the text, but is simply an NIV interpretation. The following are more literal translations from the greek:

"Sinful nature" = "the flesh"
vs 4 "live according to the sinful nature" = "walk according to the flesh"
vs 5 "live according to the sinful nature" = "are according to the flesh" ("live" is absent)
vs 5 "live in accordance with the Spirit" = "are according to the spirit" ("live" is absent)
vs 6 "The mind of sinful man is death" = "the mind of the flesh is death"
vs 6 "the mind controlled by the Spirit" = "the mind of the spirit"
vs 7 "the sinful mind" = "the mind of the flesh"
vs 8 "Those controlled by the sinful nature" = "they that are in the flesh"
vs 9 "controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit" = "are not in the flesh but in the spirit"

Another issue is where "spirit" should be capitalized. There are no capitals in the greek manuscripts, so capitalization is a matter of interpretation. It is up to the reader to figure out where he is talking about our spirit and where he is referring to the Holy Spirit. In my opinion, much of this section is contrasting "the fleshly man" from the "spiritual man". Jesus once said:

John 3:5,6 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
The "fleshly man" is one has not been born of the Spirit, a condition in which all of us used to be. By "spiritual man" I mean one who has been born of the Holy Spirit. Such a person also has the Holy Spirit living in him as it says in vs 9 literally. "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."

Paraphrase of vs 4-9

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who conform our lifestyle not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For they that are fleshly conform their thinking to the desires of the flesh; but they that are spiritual to the desires of the Spirit. For to be fleshly minded results in death; but to be spiritually minded results in life and peace. Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are fleshly cannot please God. But you are not fleshly but spiritual, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he doesn't belong to Christ.


Free from Condemnation

Rom 8:1,2 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. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Once a person is in Christ they are no longer subject to condemnation. And when is a person included in Christ? "You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" Eph 1:13-14a The law of sin and death - which is namely that if you sin, you are condemned - no longer holds for those in Christ. In fact Jesus said, "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 And since there was no good deed that a person does to be saved, for salvation is not of works, neither is that any bad deed that those in Christ can do which would cause them to be condemned, else salvation would be of works. Thus we say: Once saved, always saved.

In addition, due to the nature of regeneration, those who are in Christ characteristically walk in accordance with the Spirit. Though salvation is not dependent upon one's performance, one's performance is a diagnostic indicator of whether or not one is in Christ.


Christ Fulfilled the Law for Us

Rom 8:3,4 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, 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.

As he demonstrated in chapter 7, due to our sinful nature, the law is ineffective in making us good, let alone justifying us from what sins we commit. Rather our justification and sanctification are actualized through Jesus Christ, who was born into sinful flesh, inheriting the same kind of sinful nature we have. For "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin." Heb 4:15 He condemned sin in the flesh to make us righteous.

Notice the phrase "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" It doesn't say "in him", but "in us". And goes on to speak of our behavior, those of us who are in Christ. While salvation is not contingent upon fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law, those who are in Christ will inevitably become the kind of people who fulfill such requirements, which is primarily to love God and others. That is the destiny of those who are in Christ. And who is in Christ but those who do not conform their lifestyle to the desires of the sinful nature, but rather to the Spirit who lives in them.


What's On Your Mind?

Rom 8:5-8  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. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Remember previously Paul said, "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God" Rom 7:25b Despite the struggle with the sinful nature Paul expresses in Romans 7, he sets his mind on what the Spirit desires, though he admits to failing to perfectly carry it out due to the influence of the sinful nature. But the carnally minded does not even intend to do good, but sets his intentions in accordance with his sinful desires.

The Christian life is firstly about what you think, and only secondly about what you do. What you do should flow from what you think, else you end up in a legalistic lifestyle. Let alone those who set their minds on sinful desires. And "all of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." Eph 2:3

"in the flesh", which I would infer to mean to define oneself in accordance with the desires of the sinful nature. Less an issue of control than that of allegiance. It's viewing oneself as being inside, subordinate to the sinful nature.


Got the Spirit?

Rom 8:9,10 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. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

If a person belongs to Christ, he is given the Holy Spirit to dwell in him and his allegiance and subordination to the sinful nature (the flesh) has been broken. Though the sinful nature dwells beside us in the same body, we are not longer viewed as being inside our sinful nature, but rather beside it, dwelling in the Spirit.

Everyone who belongs to Christ has the Spirit dwelling in them. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" Eph 1:13,14  Or "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 1Cor 3:16  "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body——whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free——and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1Cor 12:13 

Again, despite belonging to Christ and the Spirit dwelling in us, the body is nonetheless dead because of its sinful nature, which dwells together beside us in the same body, as Paul says, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells" Rom 7:18a Though we are no long viewed as being inside or controlled by our sinful nature. The NIV says it this way "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." Thus while freed from control of our sinful nature, the presence and influence is still there as Paul described in Romans 7. ("It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me." Rom 7:17) Consequently though freed from slavery to the sinful nature,  the believer will continue to experience a struggle with the sinful nature with regards to influence over one's behavior. "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." Gal 5:17

BUT just as the sinful nature influences the behavior of the saint, so does the Spirit of God who dwells in us. Thus he says to Christians, "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Gal 5:16 Having been made righteous through faith in Christ, and have a destiny of righteous living, the Spirit helps us to walk in that righteousness.


The Spirit Gives Life

Rom 8:11  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

While we presently have the Holy Spirit living in us, our body is presently dead due to the sinful nature. Consequently perfect behavior is not to be expected in this life. But "will also give life" alludes to the future, being in the future tense, of our resurrection from the dead just as the Lord was raised from the dead. For "if we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection." Rom 6:5 At that time our bodies will perfectly obey our good intentions as the Spirit directs us

I think he reminds us of this fact as an encouragement that though we presently battle against our flesh to walk in the Spirit, the war will be won and we will be freed from that struggle. That is our fate, our destiny, thus the segue into the next verse.


Death to the Deeds of the Flesh

Rom 8:12,13 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors——not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 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.

We owe the flesh nothing. But we owe the Lord everything, for not only did he create us, but saved us from God's wrath through his blood, and has given us a destiny of eternal glory. Consequently we find it characteristic that "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Gal 5:24 We who belong to Christ make a distinction between ourselves and our sinful nature. We pledge allegiance to the Spirit and have judged our sinful nature with its passions and desires our enemy.  "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" Col 3:5-10


Sons Led by the Spirit

Rom 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Notice the context. Being led by the Spirit of God is associated with putting to death the deeds of the body as he also says in Gal 5:16-18 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." And he goes on to speak about behavior. Concerning sinful behavior he says, "those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal 5:21b and godly behavior, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Gal 5:24

This behavior is an identifying mark of believers, and thus a basis for one's assurance of salvation. For "we know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands" 1John 2:3 and consequently "this is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10 For the grace of God "teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" Titus 2:12

Children of God are identified by their behavior. How is the Spirit leading you?


A Spirit of Adoption

Rom 8:15,16 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." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

Those who belong to Christ don't live in fear of condemnation. For by God's grace there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, their sins having been atoned for by the blood Christ and thus their eternal security is not based on their works, but upon the work of Christ accomplished for them.

But while salvation could have stopped at justification, God went beyond that, adopting as children those who were formerly his enemies. In fact "adoption" is not a strong enough word in that what was accomplished was not simply a legal transfer of ownership, but a regeneration characteristic of new birth. For "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." John 1:12,13 and "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" 1John 5:1a Consequently, "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, <"Abba>, Father." Gal 4:6

The relationship with the Spirit is a basis of one's assurance of salvation. For "this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." 1John 3:24b


Suffering for Heaven's Sake

Rom 8:17,18 Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Salvation incorporates more than just forgiveness of sins. It incorporates more than the sanctification which leads to a changed behavior. For we are adopted, indeed born, into God's family and as such just as children receive an inheritance from their parents so also those born of God will receive an inheritance from God.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." 1Pet 1:3-5

One aspect of which is reigning with Christ. For "here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him." 2Tim 2:11,12a And yes there will be suffering in following Christ. Thus Paul and his team went around, "strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith saying, 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.'" Acts 14:22 Likewise Paul said to Timothy, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2TIm 3:12


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015