|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-9 Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through faith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of their walk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, by which are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep any commandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requires inward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferings of his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might be pardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, 1Ti 5:6. A sanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. The carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. The carnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject to the law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must be broken and driven out. We may know our real state and character by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example.
Verse 1. - There is then no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:2 Verse 2. - For a new law - the law of the Spirit of life - is introduced into their being, by virtue of which they are freed from their old state of bondage to the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:3 Verse 3. - And this because of what God himself did for mankind in his own Son, Christ, who, in our very flesh, and in behalf of mankind, did what man himself was powerless to do - triumphed over sin and condemned it.
Romans 8:4 Verse 4. - And in us too (united to him by faith, and having spiritually died and risen again with him) the requirement of the Law is fulfilled, so that it forfeits its claim to condemn us now; but only on this condition in ourselves, that we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:5-8 Verses 5-8. - For there are two φρονήματα in us still, of the flesh as well as of the Spirit; the one tending to death and the other to life; and it is only those who give themselves to the latter that can share in the life to which it tends.
Romans 8:9 Verse 9. - And you can give yourselves to this, if you are true Christians; if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, without which you are not his.
Romans 8:10 Verse 10. - So our condition is this: We have within us the Spirit, which is life; but we have the body clinging to us still, which is death-stricken because of sin.
Romans 8:11 Verse 11. - But if the Spirit of him who raised up Christ from the dead be in us, he will quicken our mortal bodies too, delivering us at last, through the same vivifying Spirit, from all lingering power of death over us.
Romans 8:12 Verse 12. - The conclusion is (as has been insisted on all along), that we are bound, as Christians, in our present lives, to live, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:13 Verse 13. - If we do not, then (notwithstanding our redemption) we must needs die - yea, die the death beyond the grave (whatever it may be), which is the doom of sin; but if we do, then we shall live - yea, live at last (as the sequel shows to be implied) in the eternal life of Christ with God.
Romans 8:14-17 Verses 14-17. - For the Spirit you received when you became Christians was one of sonship; our habitual earnest cry of "Abba, Father," expresses our feeling of it; the Spirit still witnesses with our spirit that we are God's children; and sonship implies heirship - heirship with Christ, through our union with whom we feel ourselves to be sons; and, if we have to share in his sufferings now, this only unites us the more to him, and fits us the more for our inheritance of eternal life with him.
Romans 8:18 Verse 18. - For what of all these present sufferings, these present drawbacks to the full triumph of the πνεῦμα in you, these present evidences that the σῶμα νεκρὸν still clings to you? They are nothing to the destined glory; they are not worth consideration in comparison with it.
Romans 8:19-22 Verses 19-22. - And, after all, these present drawbacks are but our inevitable share in the condition of imperfection under which all creation, as we see it now, is labouring. The whole world presents to us the picture of an ideal not realized, but ever yearned for. All we can say about it is that it has pleased God to subject it for a time to vanity and the bondage of corruption, but so as to leave hope alive.
Romans 8:23 Verse 23. - And we too, while in this mortal body, must needs share in this universal groaning; but, having already the firstfruits of the Spirit - the earnest already of a diviner life - we especially yearn all the more for deliverance, and expect it hopefully.
Romans 8:24-25 Verses 24, 25. - When we entered on our state of salvation as Christians, it was in hope; our essential condition became then one of hope, which is incompatible with present attainment of our hope; we must, therefore, needs endure and waif, bearing these present trials.
Romans 8:26-27 Verses 26, 27. - And if our trials are great, and we know not ourselves what relief to pray for, we have the comfort of believing that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us within ourselves by inspiring all these unutterable yearnings, which he that searcheth the heart knows the meaning of, and will answer according to the mind of the Spirit who inspired them.
Romans 8:28 Verse 28. - We know, too, that all things, even all these present trials, far from harming us, work together for good to them that love God, being called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:29-30 Verses 29, 30. - Yes, called according to his purpose; here is a further ground of hopeful assurance. For his having called us to be Christians at all, and justified us through faith, shows that it was his eternal purpose in so calling us, to conform us to the image of his Son, that he might be the Firstborn among many brethren; and that so we, being thus made his brethren, might inherit with him. In short, his having preordained us to our present state of salvation carries with it his preordaining us also to its end and purpose, which is glory.
Romans 8:31-34 Verses 31-34. - If God be thus for us, who can be against us? He who has already given up his own Son for us all will surely grant us all. And, if God has chosen us, who shall arraign us? God himself, who already justifies us? No. Christ, who died, rose again, ascended to the right hand of God, and now intercedes for us? No. And against them what other power can possibly prevail?
Romans 8:35-37 Verses 35-37. - Certainly not these present trials and calamities, however severe; though "we are killed all day long, and are appointed as sheep for the slaughter." Through Christ, who so loved us as to share them, we are conquerors all the more by means of them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There is therefore now, no condemnation,.... The apostle having discoursed largely in the preceding chapter, concerning the struggle and combat believers feel within themselves, and opened the true causes and reasons of the saints' grievances and complaints, and what gives them the greatest uneasiness in this life, proceeds in this to take notice of the solid ground and foundation they have of spiritual peace and joy; which arise from their justification and adoption, the purposes and decrees of God, and particularly the everlasting and unchangeable love of God in Christ, the source, spring, and security, of all the blessings of grace. The chapter begins with a most comfortable account of the safety of believers in Christ; the apostle does not say there is nothing condemnable in them, for sin is in them and is condemnable, and condemned by them; and is hurtful to their spiritual joy and comfort, though it cannot bring them into condemnation, because of their being in Christ Jesus: he says there is , "not one condemnation" to them, or one sentence of condemnation against them; which must be understood not of illegal ones, for they are liable to many condemnations from their hearts, from the world and the devil; but of legal, justifiable ones, and there are none such, neither from God the Father, for he justifies; nor from the Son, for by his righteousness they are justified; nor from the Holy Spirit, who bears witness to their spirits, that they are in a state of justification: there is not one condemnation lies against them, with respect to their numerous sins, original and actual, though every sin deserves one; not one from the law of God, of which sin is a transgression, for though that is a condemning law, yet it is only so to them that are under it; not to them that are Christ's, whom he has redeemed from it: moreover, the apostle says, that there is no condemnation now to the saints; which "now" must not be considered, as if it supposes that there was formerly condemnation to them; it is true indeed they were under a sentence of condemnation, as considered in Adam, and under a covenant of works with him, and in their own apprehensions when convicted; but as considered in Christ, as the elect of God always were, and who was their surety, and so their security from all eternity, they never were in a state of condemnation: nor does this suppose, that there may be condemnation to them hereafter, though not now; for sin, the cause of condemnation, is removed; Christ has bore the condemnation their sins deserved in himself; their justification is from all sin, past, present, and to come; their union to Christ is indissoluble, and neither the love of Christ, nor the justice of God, will admit of their condemnation; for this "now", is not an "adverb" of time, but a "note of illation"; the apostle inferring this privilege, either from the grace of God, which issues in eternal life, Romans 6:23; or from that certain deliverance believers shall have from sin, for which he gives thanks, Romans 7:24; The privilege itself here mentioned is, "no condemnation": condemnation is sometimes put for the cause of it, which is sin, original and actual; now though God's elect are sinners, both by nature and practice, and after conversion have sin in them, their sanctification being imperfect, yet there is none in them with respect to justification; all is transferred to Christ, and he has removed all away; he has procured the pardon of all by his blood, he has abolished all by his sacrifice, he justifies from all by his righteousness, and saves his people from all their sins: condemnation may also be considered with respect to guilt; all mankind are guilty of Adam's sin, and are guilty creatures, as they are actual transgressors of the law; and when convinced by the Spirit of God, acknowledge themselves to be so; and upon the repetition of sin, contract fresh guilt on their consciences; but an heart sprinkled with the blood of Christ, is clear of guilt; for all the guilt of sin is removed to Christ, and he has took it away; hence there is no obligation to punishment on them, for whom Christ died: again, condemnation may design the sentence of it: now though the law's sentence passed upon all in Adam, and so upon God's elect, as considered in him; yet as this sentence has been executed on Christ, as their surety, in their room and stead, there is none lies against them: once more, condemnation may mean actual damnation, or eternal death, the wages of sin, which those who are in Christ shall never die; they are ordained to eternal life, and are redeemed from this death; they are made alive by Christ, and have eternal life secured to them in him, and which they shall certainly enjoy: the persons interested in this privilege are described, as such
which are in Christ Jesus; not as mere professors are in Christ, who may be lost and damned: but this being in Christ, respects either that union and interest which the elect of God have in Christ, from everlasting: being loved by him with an everlasting love; betrothed to him in a conjugal relation; chosen in him before the foundation of the world; united to him as members to an head; considered in him in the covenant of grace, when he engaged for them as their surety; and so they were preserved in him, notwithstanding their fall in Adam; in time he took upon him their nature, and represented them in it; they were reckoned in him when he hung upon the cross, was buried, rose again, and sat down in heavenly places; in consequence of which union to Christ, and being in him, they are secure from all condemnation: or this may respect an open and manifestative being in Christ at conversion, when they become new creatures, pass from death to life, and so shall never enter into condemnation: hence they stand further described, as such
who walk not after the flesh; by which is meant, not the ceremonial law, but the corruption of nature, or the corrupt nature of man, called "flesh"; because propagated by carnal generation, has for its object fleshly things, discovers itself mostly in the flesh, and makes persons carnal and fleshly; the apostle does not say, there is no condemnation to them that have no flesh in them, for this regenerate persons have; nor to them that are in the flesh, that is, the body; but who walk not after the flesh, that is, corrupt nature; and it denotes such, who do not follow the dictates of it, do not make it their guide, or go on and persist in a continued series of sinning:
but after the spirit, by which is meant, not spiritual worship, in opposition to carnal ordinances; but rather, either a principle of grace, in opposition to corrupt nature, called "Spirit", from the author, subject, and nature of it; or the Holy Spirit of God, the efficient cause of all grace: to walk after him, is to make him our guide, to follow his dictates, influences, and directions; as such do, who walk by faith on Christ, and in imitation of him, in the ways of righteousness and holiness; and such persons walk pleasantly, cheerfully, and safely: now let it be observed, that this walk and conversation of the saints, is not the cause of there being no condemnation to them; but is descriptive of the persons interested in such a privilege; and is evidential of their right unto it, as well as of their being in Christ: and it may be further observed, that there must be union to Christ, or a being in him, before there can be walking after the Spirit. The phrase, "but after the Spirit", is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions; and the whole description of the persons in some copies, and in the Ethiopic version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ro 8:1-39. Conclusion of the Whole Argument—The Glorious Completeness of Them That Are in Christ Jesus.
In this surpassing chapter the several streams of the preceding argument meet and flow in one "river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb," until it seems to lose itself in the ocean of a blissful eternity.
First: The Sanctification of Believers (Ro 8:1-13).
1. There is therefore now, &c.—referring to the immediately preceding context [Olshausen, Philippi, Meyer, Alford, &c.]. The subject with which the seventh chapter concludes is still under consideration. The scope of Ro 8:1-4 is to show how "the law of sin and death" is deprived of its power to bring believers again into bondage, and how the holy law of God receives in them the homage of a living obedience [Calvin, Fraser, Philippi, Meyer, Alford, &c.].
no condemnation: to them which are in Christ Jesus—As Christ, who "knew no sin," was, to all legal effects, "made sin for us," so are we, who believe in Him, to all legal effects, "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2Co 5:21); and thus, one with Him in the divine reckoning. there is to such "NO CONDEMNATION." (Compare Joh 3:18; 5:24; Ro 5:18, 19). But this is no mere legal arrangement: it is a union in life; believers, through the indwelling of Christ's Spirit in them, having one life with Him, as truly as the head and the members of the same body have one life.
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit—The evidence of manuscripts seems to show that this clause formed no part of the original text of this verse, but that the first part of it was early introduced, and the second later, from Ro 8:4, probably as an explanatory comment, and to make the transition to Ro 8:2 easier.
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