- Romans Chapter 01
- Romans Chapter 02
- Romans Chapter 03
- Romans Chapter 04
- Romans Chapter 05
- Romans Chapter 06
- Romans Chapter 07
- Romans Chapter 08 Part One
- Romans Chapter 08 Part Two
- Romans Chapter 09
- Romans Chapter 10
- Romans Chapter 11
- Romans Chapter 12
- Romans Chapter 13
- Romans Chapter 14
- Romans Chapter 15
- Romans Chapter 16
Romans Chapter 8 is a very important chapter in a very important book. The Epistle of Paul to the Romans contains the basic doctrines of Christianity and the church. Chapter 8 is about our personal relationship with Christ and how He wants us to live. The book of Romans should be the book we all become very familiar with, for it is essential that we understand the contents written here. If you must start with only one chapter of this book, start with chapter 8.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The very first thing Paul addresses in this book is our salvation. It is beacon of hope to us that if we are saved, we will not suffer the wrath of God. Our salvation is defined and permanent, and we can trust God that we are saved.
What is condemnation? The Greek word is κατάκριμα, katakrima, meaning an adverse sentence, or a verdict of guilty. The two Greek words that are combined are kata, which means “down from,” and krino, meaning “to judge.” A literal meaning could be “a judgment passed down.” Let’s look at some English definitions.
Webster 1828, “the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.”
Encarta, (condemn) “to make a judicial pronouncement stating what punishment has been imposed on a person found guilty of a crime.”
Funk and Wagnalls, (condemn) “To pronounce judicial sentence against; doom”
It should be obvious that condemnation is basically a guilty sentence of doom, or a death sentence. Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The condemnation that Paul speaks of here is the guilty verdict of God against unrepentant sinners, that is, those who do not believe in Christ as Savior.
However, the verse is negative. There is no guilty verdict for those in Christ Jesus; but what does that mean? Paul explained that in 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Paul wrote that in the context of the Gospel, that is, of Christ dying to save us from our sins. So if we are believers in Christ, we are in Christ.
We may restate the sentence: “If anyone is a true believer in Christ, God will not adjudicate him or her guilty but will find them not guilty.” There will be no adverse judgment passed down upon us as believers in Christ. Jesus Christ Himself suffered the judgment of God in our place and thus our condemnation or guilty judgment was put upon Him and not upon us. Jesus took the condemnation that God would have placed against us on Himself. The death sentence we deserved was carried out against Christ in our place and we are now free from that judgment.
There is a caveat. There is no condemnation to those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. A true Christian does walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh. However, there are many faux Christians who claim to be Christians but who are Christians in name only. Because of their works (church attendance, doing jobs around the church, participation in Bible studies, singing in the choir, other “Christian” events, etc.), many of these people really believe they are saved even though they are not. These folks walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit because they are trying to work their way to heaven by fleshly obedience to church creeds, by-laws, precepts, church “rules,” etc. They will suffer guilty verdict of God. Only those who walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, that is, only true Christians will not suffer condemnation.
The words, μη κατα σαρκα περιπατουσιν αλλα κατα πνευμα (me kata sarka peripatousin alla kata pneuma, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit) supposedly “have slight support” in the manuscripts and “are not found in the earliest manuscripts.” True they are not in the Alexandrian texts, except as a marginal reading. However there is a plethora of support in other manuscripts. There are quotes of this verse that include the words here that date from the fourth Century (Romans 8:4, for example). The words are also included in the fourth century Vulgate and in the Peshitta. Though many say this is a scribal error, let us not be too quick to jump to that conclusion. The words fit well here; they complement “to them which are in Christ Jesus.” They do not detract from the meaning of the entire context.
Only sinners that believe on the Lord Jesus are saved. There are no works you can do to save you. Saying a sinner’s prayer does not save you. Accepting Jesus into your heart does not save you. Reading the Bible, going to church, singing in the choir, being a good person, etc, cannot save you. Being the child of a preacher cannot save you. You cannot be saved by doing more good works than bad works. You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He was born of a virgin, grew as a man, died on the cross in our place and shed His blood as a sacrifice for our sins, was raised on the third day and today sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for our sins. Romans 10:8b-11 (Phillips Translation), “Romans 10:88b-11 It is the secret of faith, which is the burden of our preaching, and it says, in effect, “If you openly admit by your own mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and if you believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” For it is believing in the heart that makes a man righteous before God, and it is stating his belief by his own mouth that confirms his salvation. And the scripture says: ‘Whoever believes on him will not be put to shame’.” Believe on Christ for salvation. Do not trust a sinner’s prayer or accepting Jesus into your heart. It is your belief that saves and not your works. It is ok to pray a sinner’s prayer after you believe, but do not think that a sinner’s prayer will save you. When you believe, Jesus does come into your heart via the Holy Spirit, but that happens after you believe. Our bodies are the Temple of God and through the Holy Spirit, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
Here’s how it works in Scripture:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 8:36-38 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
These are just a few of the many verses in the Bible that tell us that we are saved when we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. We are not saved by saying a prayer, accepting Jesus in our heart, baptism, or any other work we can accomplish. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.“
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Because of our belief in Christ, we need not fear the power of sin. The power of sin is that it is deadly and can cause our spiritual death and eternal separation from God. We are freed from sin’s power because of our faith in Christ. Prior to being saved, we were already spiritually dead in our sins, but now the Spirit of Life is in us because of Christ’s work at the cross. Before I was saved, I was in bondage—I was a slave to sin and its power over me. Christ has freed me from that bondage. I am no longer a slave to sin.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
What is love? Not erotic love; not emotional head over heels love, but love that transcends human weakness? It is the love a man has that saves another from death, even though he himself dies. It is the love a mother has for her child. It is the love God has for us. It is a love that cares only for the person loved and expects nothing in return for that love. It is love for another at expense of one’s self. It is αγαπη (agapē) love. That is pure love. It is a love that would do anything for the one loved. A mother will give of herself even to her death for her child. That is what God did. He loved the people of the world, even though we were and are unworthy of that love—that He in the body of His Only Begotten Son, died for us. There is no greater love than unselfish love for another. That is the great love God had for us. He loved us enough to die for us. That does not mean He will turn a blind eye to our sins. A loving father would not allow his son to commit wrongdoing without some recourse. Neither will God. If God did allow us to sin and winked at it, He would not truly love us just as a father would not love his son if he allowed that son to get away with evil. That is what this verse is about—God’s love for us.
I really like the way the New Living Translation puts it, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.“
Note: αγαπη, agapē (ah-gah’-pay) is Strong’s Number G26, and is defined as “brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.” It is sometimes translated “charity” as in 1 Corinthian Chapter 13 in the King James Version.
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The law requires death for sinners. The righteousness of the law dictates punishment of evil deeds. In order to fulfill the righteousness of the law, we would have to die a spiritual death. But God Himself came to earth and lived in a human body, experiencing all the temptations we undergo, yet He did not sin. He, a sinless human being of flesh, died in our place thereby fulfilling the righteousness of the law for us. The law is thus satisfied for us and we need not die because of our sins. Those who walk not after the sinful nature, that is, the flesh, but after the Holy Spirit of God are those that are saved. The saved are those that believe in Christ. He died to satisfy the requirements of the law for us. See verse 1.
Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
People controlled by the sinful nature of the flesh can only be concerned with sinful things. They have no choice for they are slaves to that nature. Even though they may do things the world considers good works, they are still concerned mainly with sinful things. While we were in our sins we thought about only sinful things with a spark of good here and there. Yes, there are people who do much good in the world and we do not think of them as sinners. But the Bible says we are all sinners and will all die in our sins. However, when we believe in Christ and repent of our sins, we then think on things of the Spirit. We are then controlled by the Spirit rather than by the flesh. The more mature we become in Christ the more we think of spiritual things.
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
I love that way this verse comes off the tongue. It is poetic. The KJV has the best rendering of this. To be carnally minded means allowing the sinful nature, or the flesh, to control your thinking. Unfortunately, the person without Christ is inclined to the flesh and therefore has no choice but to be carnally minded. Allowing the Holy Spirit to control your mind brings eternal life and peace in this life. Of course, only one who has been led by the Spirit to Christ is able to allow the Spirit to control his mind. Why?
Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Because the carnally minded are enemies of God and therefore cannot obey Him. Since they are subject to the flesh, or sinful nature, they cannot be in concert with God. They are hostile toward Him. They cannot help being opposed to Him and therefore can never please him. This manifests itself in our society in the many groups opposed to Christianity. Some groups litigate against Christian expression in public venues. Others advertise on city busses that there is no need for God. They still look down their noses at Christians and are quick to condemn Christians as “evil,” “ignorant,” “haters,” etc. These folks are at enmity with God because they are carnally minded and reject God. They take out their enmity on God’s people. As Christ said in John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil,” and in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.“
Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
This is an indictment of all humanity, for all humans are in the flesh. Hence, no man or woman can please God while completely in the flesh. You may question, “But since we are all in the flesh, doesn’t that mean that no one can ever please God?” Yes and no.
It does mean that because all humans are in flesh bodies, and those that follow after the flesh, and not after the Spirit, cannot please God. Conversely, it does not mean that because those of us in the flesh that also follow after the things of the Spirit of God are able to please Him for we have been redeemed from our sinful flesh by the work of Christ at the cross.
In the flesh alone, we have no hope for we cannot help but follow after sinful things. Conversely, when we believe in Christ, we no longer follow after sinful things, but, as we see in the next verse, we follow after Spiritual things, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us and that pleases God.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Basic KJV English 101. “Ye” is the plural of “you.” Paul is speaking to all of the saved, from his own time through our time. Yes, he speaks directly to us who believe in Jesus as our Savior, that is, to Christians. Those that are in the flesh cannot please God. However, we, that is, Christians, are not in the flesh. We do not seek after fleshly sinful things, we seek spiritual things, for His Spirit indwells us.
There is a serious admonition here. Paul, hence the Holy Spirit, says that those who do not have the Spirit of God living in them are not His at all. That is, they are not saved and not Christians and Christ will have nothing to do with them. Conversely, if a person is saved by the blood of Christ, the Spirit necessarily dwells in that person. This means that the moment we believe in Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit, for if we do not have that Spirit in us, we are not saved. Therefore one cannot be saved without the Spirit of God indwelling that person. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we are saved and not at some later time (2 Corinthians 1:22).
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Paul is talking about all believers. We are all alive in Christ but our sinful bodies are dead. Since Paul is specifically talking about God’s people, Christians, those saved by grace, then he is speaking directly to us. That is, he speaks to us Christians who are alive and living today. Yet, if, as the verse says, our bodies are dead, how can we be alive? The body can only be one of the two, alive or dead. There is no in between. Thus, since Paul says the body is dead because of sin, he speaks truthfully. But since our bodies are actually animated, then Paul must be speaking of our bodies being spiritually dead. Yes, they are walking, talking, sensing, breathing, etc, but they are heading to the grave. All of our bodies will die and go into the grave. But the Spirit gives us life because He indwells us.
Our spirits are alive because of our belief in Christ. Once we believe, Christ imputes or credits His own righteousness to us. We are not righteous in our own strength. Our good works are as filthy rags in God’s sight. We are given the righteousness of Christ, which makes us righteous in His righteousness instead of our own, for we have none. Because we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we are justified in a legal procedure that finds us not guilty because of Christ’s payment of our sin debt at Calvary. While we are still in our sin bodies, God has found us not guilty of sin and thus our bodies remain alive until the time of our physical, earthly death.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Additionally (I believe the conjunction δέ, de, should be rendered ‘and’ because the ‘but’ of the KJV seems not to fit. Many modern translations leave out the word ‘but’, beginning the sentence with ‘if”. Still, some translations do use ‘and’.), we know that the Holy Spirit of God raised Jesus’ then mortal body from the dead, we can be assured, because we are not in the flesh, but the Spirit, that He will make us alive even though we are presently in our mortal bodies. We know from that since we are in the Spirit, then the Spirit indwells (lives in) us.
Verses 9-11 are three attributes of not being carnally minded:
- Verse nine tells us that we Christians are not in the flesh but in the Spirit and because of that, the Spirit dwells in us.
- Verse ten further tells us that though we live in a mortal sin-prone body, we still have life through the Spirit.
- Finally, verse eleven tells us we will have life eternal even though our bodies perish at death.
Put succinctly, we are not fleshly minded so we are alive in dying bodies and will remain alive after the death of these dying bodies. The Holy Spirit accomplishes these things in us.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Because we have been give these three attributes by the grace of God, we are in His debt. Our payment of principal and interest is to live not to the flesh, but to God. Why?
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Because we will die if we live according to our sinful nature (flesh), however if we mortify, or put to death those sinful deeds, meaning that we turn away from them, then we shall have eternal life. It is not in our nature to be able to do that, no matter how strongly we may believe we are or how desperately we strive to do so. It is impossible without God. We must allow the Holy Spirit to change us. After hearing some difficult sayings of Christ (Matthew 18:3-19:24) the disciples asked “Who then can be saved?“. Jesus said, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” We must remember that, without God intervening in our lives, through His Holy Spirit, we could never do enough good works, nor could we crucify the flesh and do good works on our own. We can only accomplish these things with God.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Greek verb (uninflected), ἄγω, ah’gō, lead, is very similar to the English word in meaning. Here are some synonyms of the verb: guide, pilot, control, direct, show the way, manage. Likewise, here are some synonyms of the Greek word: bring, lead off, lead away, take with one, guide, direct, impel. So to be led by the Spirit of God, is to allow him to guide or direct us in all we do. The very first thing the Spirit leads us to do is to believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved. After that he gently guides us in the way God wills for us. I say gently because we can choose not to follow His lead; He will allow that.
The Holy Spirit teaches us our need for salvation and shows us the way. If we allow Him to lead us, that is, if we follow Him and become saved through the blood of Christ, we then are sons of God. How is that? We will see in the next verse.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. We need to revisit verse 2 to get an understanding of what Paul means here. Remember that he said, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” He said he was set free from the law of sin and death. What is the opposite of free? It is bondage. To reinforce this, we must also remember Romans 7:6, “But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.” (NLT) Because of our sins and sinful nature or flesh, we were in bondage to the law and feared its sting because of the sinful nature. It was a vicious cycle. When we received Christ as Savior and began to allow the Spirit to lead us in the paths of righteousness, we were no longer slaves to sin and the law. Paul reassures us that, in Christ we are free from that bondage and there is no bondage to the law of sin and death in Christ.
But ye have received the Spirit of adoption. Adoption is a very serious business. In order to adopt a child in the United States requires a lengthy process of investigation, discovery, and analysis of the prospective parents. Are they acceptable? Will they be good enough parents? Can they provide for the child? Is there a potential for child abuse? Etc. Only after satisfactorily completing the vetting process can the parents adopt the child. Once adopted, all the former parents’ rights are voided. The adoptive parents obtain total rights over the child. The adopted child has the same status as a child born to the parents. The child is heir or coheir to the estate. The child takes the adoptive parents’ name. It is just as though the child were born to the adoptive parents.
In Paul’s day, the law of Rome was in force. Adoption in Rome was even more serious that modern adoption in the United States. Under Roman law, the adopted son gave up all rights to his former father and became the absolute son of the new father. He gave up all rights to inheritance from his first father and gained all rights of inheritance from his new father. This was so serious that any debts owed by the son were wiped out when he was adopted. It was a though he died to his former life and entered into a new life that was completely unaffected by his former life.
That is exactly what Paul had in mind when he used the term adoption. We left our former life of sin and death and entered into a new life that is not affected by the former life. God has unconditionally granted us the right to become His children. We did nothing to earn adoption. God sovereignly and gracefully allowed us to become His adopted children. As adopted children of God, we leave our old way of life and enter into the new. We die to the old self and our old man is crucified with Christ, and the new man is raised to new life with Christ. We walk in newness of life. We are new creatures [creations] in Christ. Old things have passed away (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17).
Whereby we cry, Abba, Father. He is our true Father and we are His true children because of the adoption. We cry out to God our Father in prayer, in need, in gratitude, in love, etc. Abba (אבא) is simply the Aramaic word for father. So the phrase “Abba, father” is the Aramaic word for father transliterated into the Greek alongside the Greek word for father (πατήρ, pater). The importance of using the transliterated Hebrew is that the word is normally used with a pronoun (my, thy, our) before it. So is could literally mean “my Father, father (or, your Father, our Father, etc).” Thayer has this to say about it: “father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee ‘ABBA’ through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.” Abba, then, is an intimate term we reserve for our dearest loved ones, in this case our personal father or dad.
Some commentators say it could be rendered, “dad,” or “daddy,” or some other term of endearment. The use of Abba is a term that a child would use to address his father. In English, for example, we say that so and so is such and such’s father. But such and such would call that same person dad, daddy, pops, papa, or similar term. He might even call him father in an endearing manner. That is what is in view here. We, as adopted children of God are entitled to call him dad, daddy, or even father, since he is now our legal Father by adoption. Paul, then, is expressing the word Jews use to express their affection for God the Father and then the Greek translation of the word. Some see this as a statement showing that the God of the Jews is now also the God of the Gentiles through the spirit of adoption as sons of God.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
I would like to take this opportunity to address Who the Holy Spirit is. I am a Trinitarian and I believe God manifests Himself as three distinct persons—not three gods as some are wont to say—but One God in three persons. In fact, let me go back to the Genesis Segment 28 study:
Genesis 42:18-20 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
“I fear God.” Joseph told him that he was a believer in the one true God, Yehovah. His words were, et-ha’elohim ‘ani yare’, or “for the God I fear.” The fact that the word elohim can refer to gods (lower case ‘g’) might make the brethren misunderstand what Joseph was saying. By adding the article “ha” makes the plural elohim, into a single entity. The Shema states that the Lord our God is one, but the word for God is elohim, which is the plural of the word eloah, god. God is one God but he is the God of unity so the plural is used as a singular word representing the one true God, Yehovah. The brethren fully understood that Joseph said he feared the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See His Name is One by Jeff A. Benner, Virtualbookworm Publishing Inc., College Station, TX, 2003, chapter 5). See Genesis Segment 28, (https://www.bibleword.org/wp/genesis-segment-28-421-38/5419, © 2008, The Bible Church Online).
The Shema states that the Lord our God is one, but the word for God is elohim, which is the plural of the word eloah, god. God is one God but he is the God of unity so the plural is used as a singular word representing the one true God, Yehovah.
The word for God is plural and that allows, in the ancient Hebrew language, for God to be a Trinity. Besides the Bible refers to the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” in several places as God. Though the word ‘trinity’ is not in the Bible, just like the word ‘rapture’, the concept is there. God the Father is creator. He is a Person as we see in Isaiah chapter 6 and Ezekiel chapter 1 (and others). The Bible also says God is a Spirit (Gen 1:2, John 4:24, and others), and Jesus Himself claimed equality with God (John 8:58, John 10:30, and others) .
The point of this discourse is that the Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Trinity. In Greek grammar, the word for spirit, πνευμα, pneuma, is neuter gender, meaning that the word is neither male nor female. The KJV translators chose to give a more literal translation here, thus, following Greek grammar, they literally referred to the Holy Spirit with the pronoun ‘itself.’ A more conceptual translation would refer to the Holy Spirit as ‘himself.’ The Holy Spirit is a person and not an it. Most translations render the phrase, “the Spirit Himself…”
To bear witness is to testify, give evidence, or confirm. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit shows us through confirmation with our spirit that we are the children of God. We know that we are children of God through the Spirit’s influence with our spirit, that is, with our minds. If you are truly saved, you instinctively know it and you know that you can call the Lord by the intimate term Abba, because you are one of His children.
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
As with any adoption, the adopted child becomes an heir to the adoptive father’s estate. If the child in an only child, he is the sole heir. If there are other children, he is a co-heir. We, then, being adopted as sons and daughters of God, are co-heirs with all of God’s children and with His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We share in the inheritance, which is eternal life with the Father.
“If so be that we suffer with Him,” is possibly a rhetorical supposition. Why? Because we who are in Christ shall and do suffer because of our faith in Him. All of us suffer; let me add a possible clarification: “if so be that we suffer with Him [and we will!]…” The supposition is, “if we suffer.” We will suffer and thus because we suffer with Christ we will also be glorified with him. When the Greek article ει, ei, is coupled with a subjunctive verb (as is the verb phrase, ‘we suffer’) the ‘if’ does not express a future uncertainty, but a thing that is certain and that has already happened. So this use of the word ‘if’ in this instance means that we have already suffered and will continue to do so in the future. It is a certainty. Many translations render the phrase “since we suffer with Christ.” Though less literal, they are still correct.
Since we are adopted children of God because of our faith in Christ, then we share in the inheritance with Christ, to wit, we have eternal life and we will be glorified with Christ. To be glorified means that we will be recognized with a position of honor and esteem. It also means, that as Christ was raised from the dead incarnate, so will we be raised incarnate. We can better see this in 1Co 15:35-54. Our bodies are born as flesh, which is subject to decay. For example, as we grow older our bodies begin to lose functionality, and when we die, our bodies decay and turn back into the dust or earth from which they came. When we are glorified, we will receive new bodies that are not flesh, but made of incorruptible material that will never die or decay. That is our inheritance. Not only that, but we share in the riches of God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the earth is full of his riches. (See Ps 24, Ps 50, Rom 9:23, Eph 1:17-18, Eph 2:7, Phil 4:19, Col 1:27; 1 Tim 6:17, etc)
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Let me begin by saying I am a southerner in the United States. I live in north Florida in the country. You could say that I am a bit of a redneck (my wife says I am). The reason I am telling you this is so that you will have a better understanding of what I am going to say.
First, a bit of local humor. The Apostle Paul was obviously a southerner because he says “you all” in Romans 1:10, and “I reckon” here.
When we say “I reckon” here in the south it means a couple of different things. For example, if I say “I reckon I’ll go to the feed store” I mean that I am getting ready to go there. I plan to do so and I am not just thinking about or considering it. I really mean that I plan to go there now. If someone tells me something I agree with, my response is often, “I reckon so.” That means I completely agree; it does not mean I am considering agreeing with you, nor does it usually mean maybe I agree with you. Yes, sometimes when I say “I reckon so” it does mean maybe I agree with you. More often, though, it means I agree. There are also times when I use the term that I am stating my opinion. For example, “I reckon that gasoline prices will eventually fall.” That is an opinion I have at this very moment, but I cannot say it is a certainty. What is the point in all of this, you ask?
Most commentaries and most translations I have consulted on this passage say that Paul believes, calculates, opines, or surmises that the present suffering is not to be compared to future glory. One translation that seems to take the reckoning of Paul as a definite thing and not a possible thing is the ESV, which says, “We have sufferings now, but these are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us.” This translation, which is not a very literal one, but a thought for thought translation, takes it that Paul is definite that our sufferings do not compare with future glory. There is no speculation here, but certainty.
The Greek word is (lexical form) λογιζομαι, logizomai. Its inflection here is indicative present middle 1st person singular. Its root is λογος, logos, which basically means word. Of course there are several other definitions of that word. See Strong’s G3056. Logizomai has several definitions depending upon context. Some of them are, to reckon, to calculate, to count, to reason, and to impute. There are several others, but these will do for our study. As stated in a previous paragraph, most translations and commentaries use the English words “consider” and “reckon” here.
I am not a scholar, but I do have a fair amount of education. I can look at this passage and I see Paul telling us the way things actually are rather than how they may be. I find it difficult to believe that the context of the passage shows Paul’s conjectures about the future glory. Far from that, it shows the truth of the future. If Paul spent several years studying and learning from the Holy Spirit (Gal 1:13-2:2), and if he was taken up into Heaven as he states in 2 Cor 12, then He knew without a doubt that present sufferings cannot compare to the future glory we have in store for us in Heaven.
The point of these six paragraphs is to explain why I think that Paul’s reckoning here is not speculation, but a statement of absolute fact. Paul is telling us that, while our suffering here is not pleasant by any means, it is absolutely not worth consideration when we understand what is in our future when we are glorified with Christ. He is reasoning from his experience and learning. I would like to postulate this rendering of the verse: “I know without doubt that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” Though not a Greek scholar, that is my take on this passage. Several translators agree with me. The NLT puts it succinctly: “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.“
Let us address “the sufferings of this present time.” To understand this we must consider the context, for the grammar is not much help here. We can understand “this present time (νυν καιρου, nun kairou)” to mean the time in which Paul lived. Out of context, that would be very correct. Or, we could say that it means in our present time today when we are reading this. That would be correct, too, if not read in context. Nevertheless, let us look at the context of this single verse. It is the present time compared to a future time. Better yet, it is a present time compared to a future age. The future age is when we are in heaven, which is an age we could call eternity. When we are glorified will be when we are in the next age, that of eternal life. Since Paul is comparing the sufferings of the present time with the future age, the context dictates that the present time is actually the present age. We live in the earth age. Therefore, I believe Paul is addressing the sufferings of this earth age compared with the glory of the future age. So all people who have lived, live, or will live on the earth from the fall of Adam to the end of the age are included in “the sufferings of this present time.”
What sufferings is he talking about? Some folks suffer more than others. God has blessed my country, the United States, as well as most Western nations, with security and plenty. Most Americans and westerners are well fed, relatively secure in their environment, educated, live in adequate shelter, and have adequate clothing, transportation, and leisure time1. Yet there is still suffering even in the USA. There are people without those basic needs in America. They suffer from hunger, cold, wet, lack of security, etc. Looking outside of the West into the third world and we see massive suffering. Haiti is a place of mass suffering. There are many more examples of suffering in the world. Such suffering has always been in the world and will continue until it ends. Those sufferings occurred in Paul’s day as well. Paul himself suffered greatly because of his stand for Christ:
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2Co 11:24-27)
In or review of verse 17, we have already mentioned what glory means. I will repeat it here: “To be glorified means that we will be recognized with a position of honor and esteem. It also means, that as Christ was raised from the dead incarnate, so will we be raised incarnate. We can see this better in 1Co 15:35-54. Our bodies are born as flesh, which is subject to decay. For example, as we grow older our bodies begin to lose functionality, and when we die, our bodies decay and turn back into the dust or earth from which they came. When we are glorified, we will receive new bodies that are not flesh, but made of incorruptible material that will never die or decay.” We also note in that verse, that we will inherit the riches of our Father in Heaven.
Paul’s point is that no matter how we suffer hear in earth the bliss, comfort, and contentment we will experience is so far out of proportion to the suffering that is not even worthy of mention. Of Heaven, Paul (who visited there) said, (I paraphrase) “I was caught up into heaven where I heard such astonishing things that I cannot express them in words, and even if I could, I am not allowed to tell” (See 2 Cor 12:4). In 1Co 2:9, he said, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” In the Revelation of Christ, John gave us some glimpses of Heaven. We easily remember the streets paved with gold, the gates made of precious stones, and the Tree of Life in the midst of Heaven. These are not the actual things of Heaven, but the only way John could describe them in words. The actual things will be infinitely more impressive than gold and precious stones. I believe that we cannot see our actual sinfulness in this life. I believe when we get there, we will see how truly depraved and morally bankrupt we really were in the flesh and we will then truly understand how much Christ actually did for us at Calvary. I don’t think we have the least inkling of how much he did for us. I believe we will be so overwhelmed with that work on the cross that the only thing we will want to do is fall down and worship Him. We will be so eternally, powerfully, astonishingly, wonderfully grateful that everything in Heaven will remind us of that work. Yes, there will be astonishing things in Heaven, and yes we will be so impressed that we will forget all of our past sufferings. But Christ is the reason we are able to experience Heaven. That will be the thing that most pleases us. Rev 21:3-4 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Read Revelation chapters 21-22 for a more complete view of Heaven.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Here I must part company with the KJV Only folks. A creature is a created being. The verse does not make sense using that word: “the creature waits for the sons of God to be revealed.” What creature? The underlying Greek of the Textus Receptus, that manuscript that the KJV Onlyist says is the best manuscript, says, literally, that the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. Of course when the manuscript does not agree with the KJV translation, the Onlyist will say that the translation is more correct than the underlying original text. I disagree. Let me state that I prefer the KJV 2 to 1 over other translations but I am not a KJV Only advocate. Here is the underlying Greek text from Erasmus’ Textus Receptus: ” ἡ γὰρ ἀποκαραδοκία τῆς κτίσεως,” hē gàr apokaradokía tēs ktíseōs, literally, word for word, “the for earnest expectation [‘of’ is implied here] the creation…”
Now we can better understand the whole verse. The creation is what God created in the first six days chronicled in Genesis chapter 1. Everything—the entire universe—was created in the creation week. So everything, meaning the entire universe and everything in it awaits the revealing of the true children of God. The word for revealing in its lexical form is αποκαλυψις, apokalupsis, of which the English transliteration is apocalypse, meaning to reveal. The revealing or manifestation of the sons of God means that it will be truly evident to everyone and everything that these are the true children of God. In the present age, we cannot know what is in a person’s heart, thus we cannot know truly if any person is a Christian. We can have fairly good knowledge that a person is a child of God, because of his works, but we can never completely know the heart of a man, woman, or child. When the children of God are revealed they will be the true children of God. Any pretenders will not be revealed as children of God. Only true children of God will be revealed. So, in that moment, any member of that group will be completely recognizable as a child of God. Why? Because God, who is all-knowing and knows the true heart of people, will reveal His children to the creation.
Why is the creation eagerly awaiting the revealing of the true children of God? To know the answer to that question, we need to remember what happened to the creation after Adam, and then after Noah. Genesis 3:17 reveals what happened to the earth when Adam sinned: “And unto Adam he [God] said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” The word rendered “ground” is אָדָמה, adamah. It can mean dirt, ground, earth, or clay. Literally it means reddish, the color of blood. It is the feminine form of Adam. Thus Adam’s name means ruddy or earthy complected. The ground over the entire earth was cursed by God so that it would be difficult to farm. So living life is difficult. Let us also look at Gen 3:24, “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” While the tree of life was available, there was no death. However, after the expulsion from Eden the Tree of Life was no longer available and death came upon creation. Paul talks about this. Rom 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.“
The entire creation is cursed because of Adam’s sin. We can easily see that if we read the news every day. Death, the rejection of God, idolatry, treating our parents with scorn, murder, theft, adultery, lying, craving the possessions of others, war, hate, torture, baby killing, etc., etc., etc., reign supreme in this world. The entire creation is in turmoil. I know we don’t see the turmoil in the remainder of the universe, but just on our planet, but I can assure you it is out there. Supernovas, giant gas clouds, space collisions, etc., are probably due to disorder in the universe. Of course, these things seem normal to us, but are caused by entropy. God’s way is perfection and eternity. Entropy tells us that all things deteriorate. People get old, cars rust out, plants wither, stars die, nothing remains is its original pristine state. This is the opposite of perfection and eternity. God will make all things new and restore the creation to its pristine state and it will remain that way eternally when the sons of God are revealed. That is why all the creation waits for it.
Let us look at a couple of other passages from the Old Testament. Commenting on the Righteous Branch, that is the Messiah, Isaiah had this to say of His eternal reign: Isa 11:6-9, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (8) And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. (9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” When the Messiah returns and reigns, death will no longer be extant. How do I know that? Simple: wolves eat lambs, bears eat cows, snakes poison children that handle them. It is in their nature. That nature will change. But at this very moment, these things are impossible. Hosea tells us about that same age as well, in Hos 2:18: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” Here God tells us that wars will cease and predators will no longer prey. Perfection will be restored when the sons of God are revealed.
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Again, the word ‘creature’ should be ‘creation.’ The main Greek word for vanity is ματαιότης, mataióntēs. It means empty or devoid of truth, usefulness, and worth. The creation has been made useless, worthless and depraved. Who made it so? God did when He cursed the ground and blocked the way to the Tree of Life. Though God cursed the creation, he also offered future hope.
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Again we are discussing the creation. Eventually, when the sons of God are revealed, the creation will be freed from its corruption and remade like new just like God’s children.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Not only did humans cause sin to come into the world convicting themselves to death, but the entire creation was changed. What was once a perfect world was suddenly changed to the fallen world we see around us today. Since that day the whole creation has been under the strain of ever increasing entropy. No longer perfect and eternal, the creation is slowly grinding down to an end. Things are coming apart. Things are winding down. Paul compares it to the moaning and groaning of a woman in labor before childbirth. Groaneth means to sigh audibly in pain, and travaileth indicates a woman in labor before childbirth. Calamitous events like storms, earthquakes, famines, floods, wildfires, etc., etc., etc., are facts of life in this age. The whole creation is in turmoil and has been so since the sin of Adam. It awaits the revealing of God’s children.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Not only will the creation be made new, but God’s children as well. Here Paul makes plain what he means by the adoption. We, the children of God, while in the flesh, groan and sigh because of our fallen condition. The firstfruits of the Spirit is our adoption as children of God because of our belief in Christ. It is the Spirit that assures us we are the Children of God. The very first fruit that results from the leading of the Holy Spirit is our salvation. He enables us to understand our need for a Savior and shows us how to be saved. Without the leading of the Holy Spirit, no one would be saved. In our flesh and in man’s wisdom we cannot understand our need for a Savior. Our hope is in the revealing of us as children of God.
- Things have changed dramatically since this essay was originally written. Currently there is great upheaval occurring in many Western nations, especially Western Europe. Christians are increasingly coming under persecution in the USA and the West today, November 2015. ↩