As we study Romans, if we forget where we have been and don’t understand where we are going, we can come to the wrong conclusions. Remember that the first chapters had everyone convicted of sin, but Jesus died so we would be justified. This seemed to leave the law nullified, except that salvation by faith came before the law in Chap 4. Now that justification by faith is established we have peace with God. Unfortunately, many think we have free license to sin. In Chap 6 we don’t have free license because we have died to sin, we have become slaves to God. As His servants, He has blessed us with many blessings (Justification, Sanctification, Hope) So why do we still sin if we have all these blessings of God? That is the question at the end of Chap 7.
The 8th Chap starts out reminding us that we are justified so therefore there is now no condemnation. Then we are reminded that as stated in Rom 2, the law could not do the job, but God set us free by sending Jesus. The requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk according to the Spirit. Here comes the key; you are in the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in you. If Christ is in you, the body is dead, but the spirit is alive. If the Spirit of God dwells in you God will give life to your body through the Spirit. We can say and believe all those great things of Rom 5, but we still fail. If we believe those great things and have the Spirit active in us, we start winning!
Let us not confuse things. Some people focus on the law. They try to obey the law first so God will do powerful things. Other people focus on the Christian life. They try to live the Christian life first so God will do great things. Both are dead wrong. The Christian life is the caboose, not the engine. The engine is the Holy Spirit. God says when you repent (get saved), he cleanses you and puts His Holy Spirit in you, causing you to do great things. Then when you fail and quench the Spirit (like at the end of Ch 7), you are back in failure. When you repent, he restores you and fills you again with the Holy Spirit, causing you to return to doing great things. In this chap, the great things are overcoming the world, sin, and the body. Remember, any time you are living by a law, you are in the flesh, not obeying every single law, and therefore a sinner. This is crucial. The mind set on the flesh is not able to subject itself to the law. Those in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:8)
If you are being led by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh and you will live! Everyone led by the Spirit is a son of God. We were slaves to sin, but now we are adopted into God’s family. As children, we are heirs. Now comes a hard sentence, If we suffer with Him so we may be glorified with Him. Say what? I don’t want to suffer. He gives us several points. As ones who have been separated from the world, we are attacked by the world (being put to death all day) We can avoid being persecuted by going back to the sinful way. Instead, consider these points; suffering is not comparable to the glory to come, The Spirit intercedes in our prayers when life is to difficult, He foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us. He freely gives us all things, He promises us that everything works together for the Body of Christ’s good, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. Notice that no created thing can separate us. You are a created thing. Once you invite the Holy Spirit in, you cannot separate you from God. Finally, you overwhelmingly conquer.
What a list of great things. How should we approach these things? Should we claim that God will always give me what is best, that all things will work together for my best? Can we look down on others who do not have these things, especially the Jews who rejected the great promises? Or is there something different? Does God want us to be so filled with love for people that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for them? Just what should our attitude be now that we have this great power of the Holy Spirit? Rom 9,10, and 11 will tackle the wrong directions. The key takeaway from the Chapter is how are you trying to please God? If you are trying to earn things from God, you are not living by the Spirit. If you are receiving the gifts by faith (trust), and responding with love to God and to people, God is well pleased! You will see God use you greatly.