Living by the Power of the Holy Spirit
1So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. # 8:1 Or “Those who are in Christ Jesus cannot be condemned.” Although there are some manuscripts that add to this verse, “for those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” the addition is not supported by the oldest and most reliable Greek manuscripts. 2For the “law” of the Spirit of life flowing through the anointing of Jesus has liberated us # 8:2 Some Greek manuscripts have “sets me free” or “sets you [singular] free.” from the “law” of sin and death. 3For God achieved what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature. # 8:3 Or “weakness of the flesh.”
Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin. 4So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit! # 8:4 What joyous truths are found in Rom. 8! All that God requires of us has been satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus in us is enough to satisfy God. The power of our new life is not the works of our weak humanity, but the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit released in us.
5Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities. # 8:5 Or “the things of the [Holy] Spirit”; that is, doing what pleases God. The Aramaic can be translated “Those who are in the flesh see him only in the flesh, but those who are in the Spirit see him in the Spirit.” 6For the sense and reason of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace.
7In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, # 8:7 Or “refuses to submit to his law.” because it cannot! 8For no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh. 9But when the Spirit of Christ empowers your life, # 8:9 Or “makes his home in you.” you are not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit. And if you are not joined to the Spirit of the Anointed One, you are not of him. # 8:9 This is an unusual Greek clause that can be translated “If anyone is not joined to the Spirit of Christ, he cannot be himself.” A similar construction is used in Luke 15:17: “The prodigal son came to himself.”
10Now Christ lives his life in you! And even though your body may be dead because of the effects of sin, his life-giving Spirit imparts life to you because you are fully accepted by God. # 8:10 The Aramaic can be translated “for the cause of righteousness.” 11Yes, God raised Jesus to life! And since God’s Spirit of Resurrection lives in you, he will also raise your dying body to life by the same Spirit that breathes life into you!
12So then, beloved ones, the flesh has no claims on us at all, and we have no further obligation to live in obedience to it. 13For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life.
Sons and Daughters Destined for Glory
14The mature children of God are those # 8:14 The Greek is quite emphatic: “those and only those.” who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. 15And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” # 8:15 Or “spirit of slavery.” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. # 8:15 Implied in both the text and the greater context of finding our true life in the “Spirit of full acceptance.” It can also refer to the fear of judgment that has been removed from us through Christ. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” # 8:15 Or “spirit of adult [complete] sonship.” The Aramaic can be translated “the spirit of consecrated children.” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” # 8:15 Abba is not a Greek word, but an Aramaic word transliterated into Greek letters. Abba is the Aramaic word for “father.” It is also found in Mark 14:36 and Gal. 4:6. Abba is also a word used for devotion, a term of endearment. This is why some have concluded that Abba could be translated as “Daddy” or “Papa.” It is hard to imagine a closer relationship to have with God than to call him “Abba, our Beloved Father.” 16For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
17And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. # 8:17 Or “we are joint-heirs with Christ.” Nothing in the Bible could be more amazing than this. Grace has made former rebels into princes and princesses, royal ones that share in the inheritance of Christ. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings # 8:17 Or “accept his feelings” (of pain), or “things” (he experiences). By implication, “sufferings.” as our own. # 8:17 Or “if we suffer jointly we will enjoy glory jointly.”
A Glorious Destiny
18I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory # 8:18 The Greek word doxa can also be translated “radiant beauty,” “splendor,” “perfection.” that is about to be unveiled within us. # 8:18 The Aramaic can be translated “with the glory which is to be perfected in us.” The Greek participle eis can be translated “into us,” “upon us,” or “to us.” 19The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, # 8:19 The Greek word used here means “intense anticipation,” or “anxiously anticipating what is about to happen” (with an outstretched neck). yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious # 8:19 Or “the manifestation of the sons of God.” Interestingly, the Greek word used for “unveiling” (apokalypsis) is the same word for the full title of the last book of the Bible, “The Revelation [Unveiling] of Jesus Christ.” The created universe is but the backdrop for the dramatic appearing of God’s sons and daughters unveiled with the glory of Jesus Christ upon them. The verb tense in the Greek text is clear that this “unveiling” is imminent, soon to happen, and destined to take place. Christ’s glory will come to us, enter us, fill us, envelop us, and then be revealed through us as partakers of the glory. Although God will not share his glory with any other, we are no longer “another,” for we are one with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. See John 17:21–23. sons and daughters! 20For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility # 8:20 Or “the purposelessness” or “the frustration” (or “chaos”). resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, 21all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children. 22To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth. 23And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit # 8:23 The “firstfruits of the Spirit” would include his indwelling presence, his gifts, his wisdom, and his transforming power. Imagine what the full harvest of the Spirit will bring to us! The Aramaic can be translated “the awakening of the Spirit.” also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. 24For this is the hope of our salvation.
But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? 25So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
26And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede # 8:26 The Greek word hupererentugkhano is best translated “super [or hyper]-intercede for us.” We can only imagine how many blessings have poured into our lives because of the hyper-intercession of the Holy Spirit for us! on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs # 8:26 Or “groanings.” We find three groanings in this chapter. Creation groans for the glorious freedom of God’s children (v. 22), we groan to experience the fullness of our status as God’s children (v. 23), and the Holy Spirit groans for our complete destiny to be fulfilled (here). too deep for words.
27God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, # 8:27 Or “God, the heart-searcher.” God searches our hearts not just to uncover what is wrong, but to fulfill the true desire of our hearts to be fully his. Grace triumphs over judgment. yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny.
28So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, # 8:28 The Aramaic is “harmony.” God works all things together harmoniously. for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. 29For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us # 8:29 The Aramaic can be translated “sealed us” (with God’s mark upon us). See also Col. 3:4; Heb. 2:11. from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him.
30Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with his Son! # 8:30 Notice that all the verbs are past tense. The same faith that justifies us is the faith that glorifies us. This verse gives us four golden links in the chain of our salvation: (1) predestination, (2) vocation, (3) justification, and (4) glorification.
The Triumph of God’s Love
31So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us? 32For God has proved his love by giving us his greatest treasure, the gift of his Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all, # 8:32 This is an intentional echo of Gen. 22:16. Although God spared Abraham’s son, Isaac, he would not spare his own Son, Jesus Christ. he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else he has to give.
33Who then would dare to accuse those whom God has chosen in love to be his? God himself is the judge who has issued his final verdict over them—“Not guilty!” # 8:33 See Isa. 50:8.
34Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph? # 8:34 Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, so does Jesus Christ. Two divine intercessors are praying for you each day. Two-thirds of the Trinity are actively engaged in intercession for us. This is typified by the incident of Moses interceding on the mountain for Israel’s victory with one hand held high by Aaron (the high priest, a type of Jesus, our High Priest) and Hur (or “light,” a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who prays with divine illumination for our good). See Ex. 17:9–13; Heb. 7:25; 9:24.
35Who could ever divorce us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, # 8:35 Or “hunger and nakedness.” dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love, 36even though it is written:
All day long we face death threats for your sake, God.
We are considered to be nothing more
than sheep to be slaughtered! # 8:36 See Ps. 44:22.
37Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, # 8:37 Love has made us more than conquerors in four ways: (1) No situation in life can defeat us or dilute God’s love. (2) We know that divine love and power work for us to triumph over all things. (3) We share in the victory spoils of every enemy we face (Isa. 53:12). (4) We have conquered the Conqueror with merely a glance of our worshiping eyes. We have won his heart (Song. 4:9; 6:5). and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! # 8:37 Clearly implied in the text with the Greek word hupernikao. The love of God gives us “a glorious hyper-victory,” more than can be described or contained in one word. God’s love and grace has made us hyper-conquerors, empowered to be unrivaled, more than a match for any foe!
38So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, # 8:38 Or “life”; by implication, the troubles and pressures life may bring. fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!