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The Letter of Paul to the Romans: Chapter 8

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1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit b Or spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you c Here the Greek word you is singular number; other ancient authorities read me or us free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, d Or and as a sin offering he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. b Or spirit 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit a Or spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. a Or spirit 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit a Or spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, a Or spirit since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit a Or spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ b Other ancient authorities read the Christ or Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through c Other ancient authorities read on account of his Spirit that dwells in you.

12So then, brothers and sisters, d Gk brothers we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! e Aramaic for Father Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness f Or 15a spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in g Or by hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes h Other ancient authorities read awaits for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes a Other ancient authorities add for us with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, b Gk the one who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit c Gk he or it intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. d Gk according to God

28We know that all things work together for good e Other ancient authorities read God makes all things work together for good, or in all things God works for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. f Gk among many brothers 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. g Or Is it Christ Jesus … for us? 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notes:

b Or spirit

c Here the Greek word you is singular number; other ancient authorities read me or us

d Or and as a sin offering

a Or spirit

b Other ancient authorities read the Christ or Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ

c Other ancient authorities read on account of

d Gk brothers

e Aramaic for Father

f Or 15a spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit itself bears witness

g Or by

h Other ancient authorities read awaits

a Other ancient authorities add for us

b Gk the one

c Gk he or it

d Gk according to God

e Other ancient authorities read God makes all things work together for good, or in all things God works for good

f Gk among many brothers

g Or Is it Christ Jesus … for us?

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

1.3–14 : Blessing of God for his blessings (cf. Rom 8.15–34 ).

3 :

In Christ, a theme throughout this section, indicating Christ's mediation of divine blessings. In the heavenly places, heavenly benefits are a present reality for believers.

4–12 :

God chose us … as his children; he provides forgiveness, wisdom, and an inheritance.

4 :

See Col 1.15–17, 22–23 .

5 :

Adoption, see Rom 8.15; Gal 4.5 .

6 :

Beloved, a title for Christ; cf. “beloved son,” Mk 1.11; Col 1.13 .

7 :

His blood, Christ's sacrificial death.

9 :

Mystery, the previously hidden plan of God, which here encompasses all creation.

10 :

Fullness of time, the culmination of human history. To gather … earth, the unification of the cosmos under and through Christ.

13 :

You, the Gentiles ( 2.11; 3.1 ) have also been included in God's blessings. Promised, by the prophet Joel (Joel 2.28–32; Acts 2.14–21 ) or Jesus (Lk 24.49; Jn 14.26; Acts 1.4–5 ).

14 :

Pledge, the same Gk word is translated “first installment” in 2 Cor 1.22 .

8.1–39 : Life in the Spirit.

A turning point in the letter, summing up Paul's previous argument (therefore, v. 1 ) and serving as a foil for the dramatic appeal that follows.

1–4 :

The inclination of human flesh (see 5.20n. ) has prevented earlier generations—including those who received the law at Mt. Sinai—from fulfilling the just requirement of the law ( 2.14–15,26 ). The law is thus weakened by the flesh (v. 3 ). Now that Christ has satisfied that just requirement through his own “act of righteousness” ( 5.18 , translating the same Gk word), those who are in Christ or in the Spirit (v. 9 ) likewise fulfill the law's requirement, in that they walk … according to the Spirit (v. 4 ).

2 :

The law of the Spirit of life and of death, Paul speaks not of two different laws, but of God's law experienced under two opposing dominions, of sin and of righteousness ( 6.12–14; 7.6 ). The Spirit of life, capitalized to refer to the “Spirit of God” (vv. 9,11,14 ; “the Spirit that is from God,” 1 Cor 2.14 ). Paul can use the word “spirit” indefinitely (e.g., “a spirit of slavery … a spirit of adoption,” v. 15 ), or personally (vv. 26–27; 1 Cor 2.10–14 ). The latter use is capitalized in Christian convention, i.e., the Holy Spirit ( 5.5; 9.1; 1 Thess 4.8 ).

3 :

God has done what the law … could not do, Jews in Paul's day regarded Israel's subjection to unjust powers as realizing God's curses on the disobedient ( 9.31; 10.3 ). Paul sees Israel's destiny as bound up with Christ's obedience ( 9.4–5 ).

5–17 :

Life in the Spirit and life in the flesh are contrasted. Paul thinks not of a sharp dualism of “spirit” or “mind” over body, but of different dispositions of the mind (vv. 5–7 ) corresponding to different ways of comport ing one's body ( 6.12–19; 12.1–2 ).

7 :

Hostile to God, 5.10 . Does not submit to God's law, that is, to the law's “just requirement,” which remains the standard of righteous living (v. 4; 2.14–15 ).

9–10 :

Paul shifts from speaking of being “in Christ” (v. 1 ) or in the Spirit to having the Spirit or Christ dwell within oneself ( 6.22; 7.4 ).

11 :

He who raised Christ, 4.17,24; 11.15 .

13 :

Deeds of the body, here Paul uses “body” interchangeably with flesh. see 6.6–8 .

15–17 :

Adoption by the Spirit: Those who live according to the Spirit (or by “faith,” i.e., faithfulness, 4.12,16 ) are the heirs of the promises given to Abraham, even if not his descendants according to the flesh ( 4.1,11–14; Gal 4.5–7 ).

15 :

Abba, an Aramaic word which Jesus may have used in his own prayer (Mk 14.36 ), was used in prayer by Gentile churches (Gal 4.6 ).

17 :

If … we suffer, the tension between suffering and hope in the glory to come ( 5.3–5 ) is characteristic of the Christian life during “this present time” (v. 18; 12.12; 1 Cor 4.8–13 ).

8.18–39 : Suffering, and hope in God's promise.

God's purposes toward his children are much greater than the circumstances of this present time would indicate. This theme is crucial in chs 9–11 .

19–22 :

Paul shares an apocalyptic viewpoint that the present age is evil (see Gal 1.4 ), having been subjected by God to malevolent spiritual forces (v. 20; 1 Cor 15.20–28; Phil 3.21 ).

21 :

Creation itself will participate in the liberation of the children of God.

22 :

Groaning in labor pains, a frequent apocalyptic metaphor (2 Esd 4.42; 10.5–14; Mt 24.8; Mk 13.8; Jn 16.21–22 ).

23 :

The inner testimony of the Spirit (vv. 16,26–27 ) is experienced as intense yearning and hope ( 5.1–5 ). Adoption, see 9.4n.

26–27 :

If we “groan inwardly” (v. 23 ), it is because of the Spirit at work in our prayers, interceding for the saints. This dramatic language is resumed in 9.1–3 .

28–30 :

The alternative translations in the footnote represent the reading in our earliest manuscript. Paul means, not that all circumstances of this life are good for us (the lament in 8.36 is genuine), but that amid all these things God's purpose prevails. Those … who are called, preeminently Israel ( 9.4; 11.2 ); also all those who are “the children of the promise,” including Gentiles ( 9.8,23–26 ). Conformed to the image of his Son, Phil 3.21; 2 Cor 4.4 . Christ the firstborn, 1 Cor 15.20; Col 1.18 .

31–39 :

Previous assurances of God's love ( 5.1–11 ) are reaffirmed; despite all present adversities, God's purpose will prevail.

34 :

The heavenly Christ intercedes for us, as in vv. 26–27 the Spirit intercedes for the saints.

35–36 :

Hardship … or sword, very real afflictions, as Israel's experience testifies; Ps 44.22 is quoted.

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