Bible Conversations: Romans 8

Romans 8
Queries, expositions, comments original or selected, references of all sorts, parallel passages and other notes on Rom. 12 can be sent by any subscriber, addressed " B. C." Editor of B. S., 27 Paternoster
Square, E. C., on or before the 25th instant.
All communications must be brief and pointed, diffuse commentaries on the whole Scripture being avoided. The papers sent may be shortened, or omitted wholly, or in part, at the discretion of the Editor. No communications can be returned, but each will be acknowledged at the head of the Conversation.
Communications received from Yod,-H. S.,-Iota,-C. H. P.,- Nemie.-G. K. B.
Rom. 8
Yod.-There are three distinct divisions in this chapter. 1st. The inward effect of the living power of the Spirit of God in our souls-down to 13th verse. 2nd. The personal presence of the Holy Ghost in us-down to the 29th verse. 3rd. From the 29th verse to the end of the chapter, all the saving power of what God is, according to His counsel, for us outwardly, not looking at His work within the soul, but maintaining it to the end:" or more briefly, 1st, there is that which God has done with me, 2nd, what God is in me; and 3rd, what God is for me.
Ed.-Can any one else give us another division?
K. B.-In the first three verses of this chapter we have the results of chapters 5-7. In the first verse we have the results of Chapter 5, as in the second Adam, then the displacing of the Adam nature by our being dead in Christ by the power of the Spirit of life in him. In the 2nd verse we are as in the 6th chapter, dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. In the 3rd verse as in the 7th chapter, dead to the law. There is no power for walk till the question of condemnation is settled.
H. S.-What a blessed position to realize the first clause of the 1st verse, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." What does the second verse teach? what was the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Is the law of sin and death the ten commandments?
Iota.-The Revised Version omits the words " Who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit," though we get them in the 4th verse. This seems an improvement, as the point here is not the Christian walk at all, but that because we are in Christ Jesus and have thus been made free from the " law of sin and death," by the law of the Spirit of life in Him, therefore here is no condemnation for us.
Ed.-Then as to the latter part of H. S.'s question, we must remember the word law is often used to mean the principle, and in verse 2, the principle of grace and life is opposed to the law of sin and death. Before going further, we would do well just to survey the last five chapters we have read. They form, as a whole a striking comparison in our salvation to the great salvation wrought by God for the children of Israel in delivering them from Egypt. Let us first briefly compare them.
5. Ex. 14, Rom. 6. As the Red Sea -delivered the children of Israel from Egypt and from Pharaoh so the death of Christ delivers me here from sin as a nature (1-14) and as a master (15-22).
6. Ex. 19, Rom. 7. Sinai looked at anticipatively here, deliverance from the law.
7. Ex. 15, Rom. 8. Song of praise after a full knowledge of the salvation of God.
Yod.-The weakness here was not in the law, but in the man with whom it had to do. The power was there, but there was nothing upon which to exercise its power, and so it remained inert. The fault lay with the material, not with the workman: the workman was skilful, but the material was useless.. The law held up a perfect standard, but man on account of his sinful nature could not come up to it. However, what was impossible for the law to perform, God accomplished by the sacrifice of His Son-the just for the unjust.
G. K. B.-The law was not at fault, it failed through the weakness of the flesh. God has condemned sin in the flesh and this gives real liberty to the Christian; not liberty to sin, but liberty from sin.
Yod.-It is very plain here that the believer has not lost the fleshly part of his nature, seeing it is yet a possibility for him to " walk after the flesh." It is well to remember that the flesh either assists or hinders our communion. For instance, I may have an envious nature. If I indulge in envy, my communion' is lost: but, knowing how displeasing such feelings are to God, I may fly to Him for grace to keep them in subjection; and thus the overcoming of my sinful nature becomes a stepping-stone to the presence of the Father.
G. K. B.-Verse 4. The apostle is dealing with the walk here, and there are two principles of walk,-after the flesh-and after the Spirit.
Ed.-Let us notice that absolute righteousness before God, through Christ's death on the cross in verse 3, and practical righteousness in my daily life in verse 4 go together. Though not under the law the Christian does not break it, but fulfills it, (that is when walking aright) not merely in the letter, but in the fullness of the Spirit.
G. K. B.-Verse 5. There are two principles here, each having its own object. The spiritual man obeys the tastes and dictates of the Spirit instead of the flesh. In verse 6 the Revised Version reads "the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit." There are two kinds of peace, "of conscience and of heart."
G. K. B.-Verse 9. The Apostle does not say " The flesh is not in them." All the Spirit delights in characterizes them before God, although there may be much failure in carrying it out. If I have the new nature only, that gives good desires, but I do not accomplish them as in Chapter 7, but "if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you "; He who is really God dwells in us to give us power to accomplish those desires.
C. H. P.-What is the meaning of the last clause in this verse 9? Is it the same as the indwelling of the Holy Ghost? It is said first " the Spirit of God " and then the " Spirit of Christ " What is the difference?
Ed.-You see the chapter is divided thus. Ver. 1-15. the Spirit as the new life in us; ver. 16-27 the Spirit as a distinct person is dwelling with our Spirit; and 28-39, God f or us (instead of in us, hence no sanctification in ver. 30) In verse 9 therefore the Spirit is the new life. It is God's Spirit it is Christ's Spirit, nay more, (verse 10) it is Christ Himself (See also Col. 3:44When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)).
C. H. P.-Will you please explain " The body is dead because of sin."
Ed.-In verse 2, I am in Christ, and the result freedom; here Christ is in me, and the result the death of the old nature or body of sin.
G.K.B. Ver. 10.-We get Christ's presence in connection with his people in three ways:-1st, continual; 2nd, conditional; and 3rd, corporate. In verse 10 continual in dwelling as life, common to all christians. In John 14:2323Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23) conditional promised to those who keep His word. In Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) corporate and conditional on being gathered to His name.
Yod.-Here we get an answer to Rom. 7:2424O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24). Our mortal bodies will be delivered by resurrection, when they will be fashioned like His own glorious body.
G. K. B.-Verse 11. Revised Version reads "through" or "because of" His "Spirit that dwelleth in you." He is the witness that the mortal body shall be delivered in due time.
Iota.-What is the force of the change from " Jesus" to " Christ" here?
C. H. P.-When the Lord's own resurrection alone is spoken of in the beginning of this verse, He is called Jesus; but when it is His resurrection in connection with ours, later on in the verse, He is called Christ, the name He bears as our risen and glorified Head.
Yod.-Though we are not debtors to the flesh, we are no said to be debtors to Christ, or the Spirit, or the Father; for that would be the bondage of law.
Ed.- We should think so.
Yod.-Is there any distinction between the application of " sons of God" and " children of God" to believers?
Nemie.-What is the meaning of Abba?
Ed.-It occurs thrice Mark 14:3636And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36); Gal. 4:66And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6). It is the special privilege of " sons," to use the same language as the Son of God. It is Chaldee (or Hebrew) and Father is Greek, so that Jew and Gentile are both heard in the universal Christian cry of " Abba, Father."
G. K. B.-Verse 16. His witness to our spirit is-that we are the children of God-if children then heirs, and this accordingly leads, as connected with the deliverance of the body, to tl e inheritance we are to possess. We are joint heirs with Christ. The Spirit is the spring of our joy, verse 23, as well as the power of sympathy in our sorrows, verse 16.
Ed.-Notice here the Spirit of life (verse 2), of God (verse 9), of Christ (verse 9), of resurrection (verse 1), of adoption (verse 15), of witness (verse 16), and of intercession, (verse 26). Seven in all.
C. H. P.-How closely the sufferings and the glory are connected in Scripture These are very much the same in 2 Cor. 4:1717For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:17), also Peter. "The sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." " A witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory."
G. K. B.-Verse 2 I. " Liberty of the glory," Revised Version, we have the liberty of grace now. In verse 23, as far as the body is concerned we are connected with the Creator. In verse 24, the hope refers to the body.
C. H. P.-What is the meaning of " We are saved by hope"? Is "by" or "in" the true reading here? The Revised Version in the appendix gives " in."
Ed.-We think " in" is better. It refers to the fact that the salvation of the body is still future.
Nemie.- Some one has remarked that in chapter vii. we have the groanings of an undelivered soul, but here the groanings of an undelivered body.
G. K. B.-Verses 26 and 34. The Spirit down here (verse 26) and Christ in glory (verse 34) both make intercession for us.
C. H. P.-God created man in His image, after His likeness; but after the fall, Adam's son was in his own image, after his likeness. We were predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son; (we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is) and even now, we have the earnest of that in the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him." Col. 3 To. We are now in Adam's image and likeness in our bodies, are we not? but in God's image in our new nature.
Yod.-Why is sanctification omitted here?
Ed -We have already given one reason, perhaps there are others.
G. K. B.-Verse 29, 30. Our responsibility was as children of the first Adam, the purpose of God concerning us is in connection with the second. This purpose He pursues and accomplishes."... "whom He justified them He also glorified " He carries it on to the end. We have nothing here of " sanctifying" that is the work of the Spirit in us.
Nemie.-What a contrast in ver. 32 between man and God! If man gives some great gift, he argues often that he cannot therefore do more. But my God bestows the greatest of all gifts, and therefore can " also freely give us all things."
Ed.-Let us also observe the magnificent way in which as it were the gauntlet, or challenge, is thrice thrown down in the face of the enemy, in verse 33 by God, in verse 34 by Christ, and in verse 38 by the Holy Ghost.
Nemie.-In verse 26 we find the Spirit making intercession on earth in, and for, the saints; in verse 34, we get Christ in heaven, at God's right hand, interceding for His people.
C. H. P.-In speaking of no separation from the love of Christ, Paul mentions earthly and temporal things:-" famine," `sword," in speaking of the love of God, he mentions spiritual powers " death," " angels " &c. what is the reason? Is it because the Lord Jesus has been a Man upon this earth, and knows so well what earthly trials are?
Ed.-These things in verse 35 are lesser things; those in verse 38 greater. It is thus the apostle works up his subject to the glorious climax for all reached in verses 38, 39; and here we must now close our present Conversation, each one of us sincerely longing to know more and more of the wonderful spirit of triumph and confidence these closing verses breathe.