and I will be his God and he shall be My son



Book of ROMANS
A Study of Chapter 8
(part 1)

I love the letter of Paul the Apostle to the Christian church in Rome, with chapters 6, 8 & 12 being my favorites, as they contain so much meat of God’s Truth concerning His nature and purpose. Recently I had the opportunity to teach our mid-week service, and spent nearly 6 months delving into chapter 8. Following are my notes which came through prayer, study and meditation as I prepared to share each week. Our meetings usually brought much conversation and further exposition of what I believe God is revealing to me, and many others with ears to hear, through His Word.



“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk  according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
– Rom 8:1-4 NKJV

As always, when we see the word “therefore” we look back to the preceding verses or thought to put our current passage in context. Paul here in Chapter 8 is declaring these truths because of what is True at the end of the prior chapter. After sharing about the battle between his new nature in Christ and the nature of his old man he concludes -

“In my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Rom 7:22-25 NIV

“I delight in God’s law” Paul said. Here he is referring to the perfect Law of God (I like to use the term ‘Eternal Moral Law of God’), as opposed to all the regulations and requirements that had been added to the Law of Moses over the centuries.
We find in the Psalmist the same desire to serve & obey God -
“Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

- Psalm 40:7-8 NKJV

Written by King David; although a couple translations attribute these verses prophetically to Jesus. I believe David did have a heart like this, for God, Himself, said of David – “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22). We know that more than once David became “a prisoner of the law of sin at work within” him. His incident with Uriah, and Bathsheba, prove that.  Yet David experienced the mercy and grace of God when he repented of his sins.

And we know that Jesus, of Whom the scrolls wrote much about, has the same heart as well. After His meeting with the Samaritan women at the well, Jesus told His disciples -
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34 NKJV)

Jesus never became a prisoner of sin. He faced the devil and his temptations in person for 40 days after His baptism “yet did not sin.” (Heb 4:15). Therefore He is able to help us in our weaknesses.

“Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
– Heb 2:18 NIV

Most good hearted, well intentioned Christians who struggle with temptations feel condemnation when we fall. We hate when we fail God by our actions and it’s easy to beat ourselves up for our mistakes. The struggle is very real. Paul dealt with the same struggle, even as he gave his all to serve the Lord Jesus. He knew the weakness of his, and of all mans’, flesh.

Yet there is hope. Pauls’ understanding that sin dwells in his, and our, human nature because of the original sin of Adam, is countered by the knowledge that his, and our, deliverance comes “through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

The very possibility of being without condemnation only comes because of what God has done through Jesus Christ our Lord. From all we’ve been studying, and will study, in this letter, we can see that Paul is writing to those Jewish & Gentile believers who had already experienced the saving grace of God, been baptized into Christ’s death, been given new Life, and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness and to operate in the spiritual gifts by faith to grow in the knowledge of Christ and the Kingdom of God. Their faith in the Lord was well known. In the opening Chapter of this epistle we see Paul is writing -
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all,
that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”
– Rom 1:7-8 NKJV

Their “faith was spoken of…” This is not an abstract faith. As James tells us, our faith is seen by our works. (James 2). Surely our faith is only known by its visible evidence in our lives, proven only by our choices and subsequent actions.
The recipients of this letter were being exhorted to continue in the strong faith they shared, in the face of all that was going on around them in both the physical and spiritual realms. For the saints throughout the ages even to us here today who have committed our lives to Christ, and have been baptized into His death, the words of this Book are for us as well as it was for them.

So in this context we begin Chapter 8 -

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
– vs 1

The second half of this verse does not appear in several of the newer translations (including the NIV, NAS, NLT: reflecting the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament /United Bible Society (NU) renderings from the Greek). All the King James versions, the original Amplified, Young’s Literal Translation, Wycliffe & the Geneva Bibles all include the second conditional phrase of the verse, which is found in the Greek Byzantine/Majority Text (M).

Regardless any debate, the Word of God stands True, for we find the very same words in the second half of verse 4. And in actuality, whether our Bible contains the second half of verse 1 or not, the clause still exists in the tiny preposition in the phrase – “in Christ.”

To be “in Christ” is to be walking according to the Spirit rather than going our own way. In a few verses we will read – “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Rom 8:9) Merely naming His Name, saying a prayer, or joining a church does not free us from condemnation. As Scripture declares in 2Tim 2:19 - “Let everyone who names the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (NKJV).

Another translation renders this verse from 2nd Timothy -
“Everyone who says he is a Christian must turn away from sin!” – 2Tim 2:19 NLV

In Proverbs we are instructed -
“Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

- Prov 3:7 RSV

There is no provision in the Scripture that allows for a believer to continue to live in sin.
Paul addressed this in earlier chapters –

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
– Rom 6:1-4 NKJV

(Another topic for another time… but I don’t think modern Christendom at large understands the meaning of baptism. Most teach it as an outward demonstration of our inward faith, yet Scripturally it means the beginning of True transformation. A death of the Adamic nature and birth of the nature of God. Jesus, Himself, did not begin His ministry until He first received the baptism.)

And again -

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
- Rom 6:15-16 NKJV

Back to Rom 8:1 “in Christ Jesus”…

The “in” εν in the Greek is a primary preposition ‘denoting position’ (Strong’s 1722)

There is more than one teaching on the doctrine of our position in Christ. Those who know me, know that I very seldom refer to any writing other than the canonized Scripture. For truly, in the end, it is only God’s Word which will stand. So, looking solely at the written Word, I have come to believe that being “in” Christ is not the same as “accepting” Christ. Receiving Christ into our hearts, and accepting the atonement for our sins by the blood He shed on the Cross, is meant to bring us to truly abide in Christ.”

Psalm 91 tells of the result of abiding in the Lord -

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you…”
- Psalm 91:1-3a NKJV

Again, this must be an actual, albeit spiritual position. An association with Christ, or being a member of a congregation, will not give us ground to stand on the promises of Psalm 91 and elsewhere in the Bible. This needs to be real. I believe the Apostles dwelt in the Most High. I believe there have been saints throughout the ages who lived in the secret place of the Most High. Even as they were “in the world, they were not of the world.”

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.”

- Psalm 91:9-11 NKJV

The Complete Jewish Bible translates Rom 8:1 as “those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua.”

Like a bride who enters into union with her husband and takes on his name, we are to enter into union with our Lord Jesus and take on His Name. We leave behind our old man, our old nature that succumbs to sin. Being “in” Christ, in such a way that all we do is directed by Him, is what Jesus desires, and the means by which the world will come to believe in Him. They will see and know the faith of the saints by their actions and behavior which confirm the words which proceed from their mouths.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
- John 17:20-21 NKJV

Jesus desire is that we come to dwell in Him, as He dwells in the Father. Whereas all the Jesus did was directed by God, He wants to be the One who directs all we do as well.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” – John 5:19 NKJV

Our very Lord and Master will never ask us to do anything that He Himself has not done, does, or will do.

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority;
but the Father who dwells in Me does the works
– John 14:10 NKJV

One of the great wonders of God is that He wants us to be in union with Him, just as His first begotten Son is in union with Him. And just as He worked in Jesus to bring salvation to the world, He wants to work in us as well to accomplish His complete deliverance of creation.

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Phil 2:13 NKJV

So whose works are being done in us: ours or God’s? What does the Scripture declare of those who are “in Christ”?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.”

– 2 Cor 5:17 NKJV

That our “old man” is passing away, along with those “old things” of our Adamic nature – including our sins, habits, passions, attitudes - is only evident by our choices and behavior. When I wake up in the morning, I usually find that some “old things” of my old nature are still alive and well. So all has not yet “become new.” And I can relate to Paul’s struggle of Chapter 7.
“ O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” I know I need to be more “in Christ” so that I can walk with a clear conscience, free from condemnation. That is condemnation from the enemy of our souls that has ground. For there are those in this world who will pronounce condemnation against us for our faith in Christ. But if we are abiding “in Christ”, their accusations have no ground before the Judge.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
- 2 Tim 3:12-13 NKJV

And while the Word says we will suffer persecution rather than be spared from it, if we are abiding “in Christ” our eternal position will be secure. For, as we will read later in the chapter, the promise of God, if we are “in Christ”, is that nothing - including “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” nay, or even “death” - “will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:39 AMP)



To be continued…
Next: Sowing & Reaping

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