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.
4. That the righteousness of the law—"the righteous demand," "the requirement" [Alford], Or "the precept" of the law; for it is not precisely the word so often used in this Epistle to denote "the righteousness which justifies" (Ro 1:17; 3:21; 4:5, 6; 5:17, 18, 21), but another form of the same word, intended to express the enactment of the law, meaning here, we believe, the practical obedience which the law calls for.
might be fulfilled in us—or, as we say, "realized in us."
who walk—the most ancient expression of the bent of one's life, whether in the direction of good or of evil (Ge 48:15; Ps 1:1; Isa 2:5; Mic 4:5; Eph 4:17; 1Jo 1:6, 7).
not after—that is, according to the dictates of
the flesh, but after the spirit—From Ro 8:9 it would seem that what is more immediately intended by "the spirit" here is our own mind as renewed and actuated by the Holy Ghost.