Romans 8 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Romans 8)
8:1 [There is] 1 therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who 2 walk not after the a flesh, but after the Spirit.

(1) A conclusion of all the former discussion, from (Romans 1:16) to this verse: seeing that we, being justified by faith in Christ, obtain remission of sins and imputation of righteousness, and are also sanctified, it follows from this that those who are grafted into Christ by faith, need have no fear of condemnation. (2) The fruits of the Spirit, or effects of sanctification, which are begun in us, do not ingraft us into Christ, but declare that we are grafted into him.
(a) Do not follow the flesh as their guide: for he is not said to live after the flesh that has the Holy Spirit for his guide, even though he sometimes takes a step off of the path.

8:2 3 For the b law of the Spirit of c life in d Christ Jesus hath e made me free from the law of sin and death.

(3) A preventing of an objection: seeing that the power of the Spirit is in us is so weakly, how may we gather by this that there is no condemnation for those that have that power? Because, he says, that power of the life-giving Spirit which is so weak in us, is most perfect and most mighty in Christ, and being imputed to us who believe, causes us to be thought of as though there were no relics of corruption and death in us. Therefore until now Paul reasons of remission of sins, and imputation of fulfilling the Law, and also of sanctification which is begun in us: but now he speaks of the perfect imputation of Christ's manhood, which part was necessarily required for the full appeasing of our consciences: for our sins are destroyed by the blood of Christ, and the guiltiness of our corruption is covered with the imputation of Christ's obedience, and the corruption itself (which the apostle calls sinful sin) is healed in us little by little, by the gift of sanctification: but yet it is not complete, in that it still lacks another remedy, that is, the perfect sanctification of Christ's own flesh, which is also imputed to us.
(b) The power and authority of the Spirit, against which is set the tyranny of sin.
(c) Which kills the old man, and brings the new man to life.
(d) That is, absolutely and perfectly.
(e) For Christ's sanctification being imputed to us perfects our sanctification which is begun in us.

8:3 4 For what the law f could not do, in that it was weak through the g flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of h sinful flesh, and for i sin, k condemned sin in the flesh:

(4) He does not use an argument here, but expounds the mystery of sanctification, which is imputed to us: because, he says, the power of the law was not such (and that by reason of the corruption of our nature) that it could make man pure and perfect, and because it rather kindled the flame of sin than put it out and extinguish it, therefore God clothed his Son with flesh just like our sinful flesh, in which he utterly abolished our corruption, that being accounted thoroughly pure and without fault in him, apprehended and laid hold of by faith, we might be found to fully have the singular perfection which the law requires, and therefore that there might be no condemnation in us.
(f) Which is not the fault of the law, but is due to our fault.
(g) In man when he is not born again, whose disease the law could point out, but it could not heal it.
(h) Of man's nature which is corrupt through sin, until Christ sanctified it.
(i) To abolish sin in our flesh.
(k) Showed that sin has no right to be in us.

8:4 That the l righteousness of the law might be fulfilled 5 in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(l) The very substance of the law of God might be fulfilled, or that same which the law requires, that we may be found just before God: for if with our justification there is joined that sanctification which is imputed to us, we are just, according to the perfect form which the Lord requires. (5) He returns to that which he said, that the sanctification which is begun in us is a sure testimony of our ingrafting into Christ, which is a most plentiful fruit of a godly and honest life.

8:5 6 For they that are after the m flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

(6) A reason why walking after the flesh does not agree to those who are grafted into Christ, but to walk after the Spirit agrees and is proper for them: because, he says, those who are after the flesh savour the things of the flesh, but those who are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
(m) They that live as the flesh leads them.

8:6 7 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

(7) He demonstrates what follows from his argument: because whatever the flesh savours, that brings about death: and whatever the Spirit savours, that is conducive to joy and everlasting life.

8:7 8 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: 9 for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

(8) A reason and proof why the wisdom of the flesh is death: because, he says, it is the enemy of God. (9) A reason why the wisdom of the flesh is enmity to God, because it neither wants to nor can be subject to him, and by flesh he means a man that is not regenerated.

8:8 10 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

(10) The conclusion. Therefore they that walk after the flesh cannot please God: by which it follows that they are not grafted into Christ.

8:9 11 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.

(11) He addresses the others, that is, those who walk after the Spirit, of whom we have to understand contrary things to the former: and first of all, he defines what it is to be in the Spirit, or to be sanctified: that is, to have the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Then he declares that sanctification is so joined and knit to our grafting into Christ, that it can by no means be separated.

8:10 12 And if Christ [be] in you, the n body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.

(12) He confirms the faithful against the relics of flesh and sin, granting that these things are yet (as appears by the corruption which is in them) having effects on one of their parts (which he calls the body, that is to say, a lump) which is not yet purged from this earthly filthiness in death: but in addition not wanting to doubt at all of the happy success of this combat, because even this little spark of the Spirit (that is, of the grace of regeneration), which is evidently in them as appears by the fruits of righteousness, is the seed of life.
(n) The flesh, or all that which as yet remains fast in the grips of sin and death.

8:11 13 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 o dwelleth in you.

(13) A confirmation of the former sentence. You have the very same Spirit which Christ has: therefore at length he will do the same in you, that he did in Christ, that is, when all infirmities being utterly laid aside, and death overcome, he will clothe you with heavenly glory.
(o) By the strength and power of him, who showed the same might first in our head, and daily works in his members.

8:12 14 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

(14) An exhortation to oppress the flesh daily more and more by the power of the Spirit of regeneration, because (he says) you are debtors to God, in that you have received so many benefits from him.

8:13 15 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.

(15) Another reason for the profit that follows: for those who battle and fight valiantly will have everlasting life.

8:14 16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

(16) A confirmation of this reason: for they are the children of God who are governed by his Spirit, therefore they will have everlasting life.

8:15 17 For ye have not received the p spirit of bondage again q to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of r adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(17) He declares and expounds (as an aside) in these two verses by what right this name, to be called the children of God, is given to the believers: and it is because, he says, they have received the grace of the gospel, in which God shows himself, not (as before in the proclaiming of the law) terrible and fearful, but a most gentle and loving Father in Christ, so that with great boldness we call him Father, the Holy Spirit sealing this adoption in our hearts by faith.
(p) By the "Spirit" is meant the Holy Spirit whom we are said to receive, when he works in our minds.
(q) Which fear the Spirit stirred up in our minds by the preaching of the law.
(r) Who seals our adoption in our minds, and therefore opens our mouths.

8:17 18 And if children, then s heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; 19 if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

(18) A proof of what follows from the confirmation: because he who is the son of God enjoys God with Christ.
(s) Partakers of our Father's goods, and that freely, because we are children by adoption.
(19) Now Paul teaches by what way the sons of God come to that happiness, that is, by the cross, as Christ himself did: and in addition declares to them fountains of comfort: firstly, that we have Christ a companion and associate of our afflictions: secondly, that we will also be his companions in everlasting glory.

8:18 20 For I t reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

(20) Thirdly, that this glory which we look for surpasses a thousand times the misery of our afflictions.
(t) All being well considered, I gather.

8:19 21 For the earnest expectation of the u creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

(21) Fourthly, he plainly teaches us that we will certainly be renewed from that confusion and horrible deformation of the whole world, which cannot be continual, as it was not this way at the beginning: but as it had a beginning by the sin of man, for whom it was made by the ordinance of God, so will it at length be restored with the elect.
(u) All this world.

8:20 For the creature was made subject to x vanity, not y willingly, but by reason z of him who hath subjected [the same] in a hope,

(x) Is subject to a vanishing and disappearing state.
(y) Not by their natural inclination.
(z) That they should obey the Creator's commandment, whom it pleased to show by their sickly state, how greatly he was displeased with man.
(a) God would not make the world subject to be cursed forever because of the sin of man, but gave it hope that it would be restored.

8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the b bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

(b) From the corruption which they are now subject to, they will be delivered and changed into the blessed state of incorruption, which will be revealed when the sons of God will be advanced to glory.

8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and c travaileth in pain together until now.

(c) By this word is meant not only exceeding sorrow, but also the fruit that follows from it.

8:23 22 And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within d ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], e the redemption of our body.

(22) Fifthly, if the rest of the world looks for a restoring, groaning as it were for it and that not in vain, let us also sigh, indeed, let us be more certainly persuaded of our redemption to come, for we already have the first fruits of the Spirit.
(d) Even from the bottom of our hearts.
(e) The last restoring, which will be the accomplishment of our adoption.

8:24 23 For we are saved by hope: but f hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

(23) Sixthly, hope is necessarily joined with faith: seeing then that we believe those things which we are not yet in possession of, and hope does not refer to the thing that is present, we must therefore hope and patiently wait for that which we believe will come to pass.
(f) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, that is, "hope", which stands for that which is hoped for.

8:26 24 Likewise the Spirit also g helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh h intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

(24) Seventhly, there is no reason why we should faint under the burden of afflictions, seeing that prayers minister to us a most sure help: which cannot be frustrated, seeing that they proceed from the Spirit of God who dwells in us.
(g) Bears our burden, as it were, so that we do not faint under it.
(h) Incites us to pray, and tells us as it were within, what we will say, and how we will speak.

8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the i mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints k according to [the will of] God.

(i) What sighs and sobs proceed from the impulse of his Spirit.
(k) Because he teaches the godly to pray according to God's will.

8:28 25 And we know that l all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] m purpose.

(25) Eighthly, we are not afflicted, either by chance or to our harm, but by God's providence for our great profit: who as he chose us from the beginning, so has he predestined us to be made similar to the image of his Son: and therefore will bring us in his time, being called and justified, to glory, by the cross.
(l) Not only afflictions, but whatever else.
(m) He calls that "purpose" which God has from everlasting appointed with himself, according to his good will and pleasure.

8:30 Moreover whom he did n predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

(n) He uses the past tense for the present time, as the Hebrews use, who sometimes describe something that is to come by using the past tense, to signify the certainty of it: and he also is referring to God's continual working.

8:31 26 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

(26) Ninethly, we have no reason to fear that the Lord will not give us whatever is profitable for us, seeing that he has not spared his own Son to save us.

8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely o give us all things?

(o) Give us freely.

8:33 27 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? [It is] p God that justifieth.

(27) A most glorious and comfortable conclusion of the whole second part of this epistle, that is of the treatise of justification. There are no accusers that we have need to be afraid of before God, seeing that God himself absolves us as just: and therefore much less need we to fear damnation, seeing that we rest upon the death and resurrection, the almighty power and defence of Jesus Christ. Therefore what can there be so weighty in this life, or of so great force and power, that might cause us to fear, as though we might fall from the love of God, with which he loves us in Christ? Surely nothing, seeing that it is in itself most constant and sure, and also in us being confirmed by steadfast faith.
(p) Who pronounces us not only guiltless, but also perfectly just in his Son.

8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of q Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

(q) With which Christ loves us.

8:37 r Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

(r) We not only overcome so great and many miseries and calamities, but are also more than conquerors in all of them.