Romans 8

* The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their

privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful

prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the

Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God.

(28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39)1-9 Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be

condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through

faith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of their

walk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature,

corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, by

which are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep any

commandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requires

inward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferings

of his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might be

pardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divine

justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By the

Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the

righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be

God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers,

which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, the

welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of

the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Which

way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our

plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for

our souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, #1Ti 5:6|. A

sanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. The

carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. The

carnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject to

the law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must be

broken and driven out. We may know our real state and character

by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or

not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having

the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree

like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a

life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example.
10-17 If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the

heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is

alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall

endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures

the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how

much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the

Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings,

they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess.

And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be

put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then,

by the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh.

Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to

the soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have the

Spirit to work in them the disposition of children; they have

not the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church was

under, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit of

adoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers to

that spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at their

conversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does not

speak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spirit

witnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace to

the soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, we

shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.
18-25 The sufferings of the saints strike no deeper than the

things of time, last no longer than the present time, are light

afflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly different are the

sentence of the word and the sentiment of the world, concerning

the sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole creation

seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the

children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for

them. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has

come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of

one creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, by

men as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of the

creation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held in

bondage to man's depravity. The miseries of the human race,

through their own and each other's wickedness, declare that the

world is not always to continue as it is. Our having received

the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encourages

our hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is,

the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the

creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has

kindled the flames of hell. As to man, not a tear has been shed,

not a groan has been uttered, not a pang has been felt, in body

or mind, that has not come from sin. This is not all; sin is to

be looked at as it affects the glory of God. Of this how

fearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind! Believers have

been brought into a state of safety; but their comfort consists

rather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot be

turned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in the

things of time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough and

long; but He that shall come, will come, though he seems to

26,27 Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great,

so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the

Holy Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlightening

Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit,

works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit,

silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements. The

Holy Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which are

often more than words can utter. The Spirit who searches the

hearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, the

renewed mind, and advocates his cause. The Spirit makes

intercession to God, and the enemy prevails not.
28-31 That is good for the saints which does their souls good.

Every providence tends to the spiritual good of those that love

God; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God,

weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven. When

the saints act out of character, corrections will be employed to

bring them back again. And here is the order of the causes of

our salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken. 1.

Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed

to the image of his Son. All that God designed for glory and

happiness as the end, he decreed to grace and holiness as the

way. The whole human race deserved destruction; but for reasons

not perfectly known to us, God determined to recover some by

regeneration and the power of his grace. He predestinated, or

before decreed, that they should be conformed to the image of

his Son. In this life they are in part renewed, and walk in his

steps. 2. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. It is

an effectual call, from self and earth to God, and Christ, and

heaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness,

as our way. This is the gospel call. The love of God, ruling in

the hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves that

they have been called according to his purpose. 3. Whom he

called, them he also justified. None are thus justified but

those that are effectually called. Those who stand out against

the gospel call, abide under guilt and wrath. 4. Whom he

justified, them he also glorified. The power of corruption being

broken in effectual calling, and the guilt of sin removed in

justification, nothing can come between that soul and glory.

This encourages our faith and hope; for, as for God, his way,

his work, is perfect. The apostle speaks as one amazed, and

swallowed up in admiration, wondering at the height and depth,

and length and breadth, of the love of Christ, which passeth

knowledge. The more we know of other things, the less we wonder;

but the further we are led into gospel mysteries, the more we

are affected by them. While God is for us, and we keep in his

love, we may with holy boldness defy all the powers of darkness.
32-39 All things whatever, in heaven and earth, are not so

great a display of God's free love, as the gift of his coequal

Son to be the atonement on the cross for the sin of man; and all

the rest follows upon union with him, and interest in him. All

things, all which can be the causes or means of any real good to

the faithful Christian. He that has prepared a crown and a

kingdom for us, will give us what we need in the way to it. Men

may justify themselves, though the accusations are in full force

against them; but if God justifies, that answers all. By Christ

we are thus secured. By the merit of his death he paid our debt.

Yea, rather that is risen again. This is convincing evidence

that Divine justice was satisfied. We have such a Friend at the

right hand of God; all power is given to him. He is there,

making intercession. Believer! does your soul say within you, Oh

that he were mine! and oh that I were his; that I could please

him and live to him! Then do not toss your spirit and perplex

your thoughts in fruitless, endless doubtings, but as you are

convinced of ungodliness, believe on Him who justifies the

ungodly. You are condemned, yet Christ is dead and risen. Flee

to Him as such. God having manifested his love in giving his own

Son for us, can we think that any thing should turn aside or do

away that love? Troubles neither cause nor show any abatement of

his love. Whatever believers may be separated from, enough

remains. None can take Christ from the believer: none can take

the believer from Him; and that is enough. All other hazards

signify nothing. Alas, poor sinners! though you abound with the

possessions of this world, what vain things are they! Can you

say of any of them, Who shall separate us? You may be removed

from pleasant dwellings, and friends, and estates. You may even

live to see and seek your parting. At last you must part, for

you must die. Then farewell, all this world accounts most

valuable. And what hast thou left, poor soul, who hast not

Christ, but that which thou wouldest gladly part with, and canst

not; the condemning guilt of all thy sins! But the soul that is

in Christ, when other things are pulled away, cleaves to Christ,

and these separations pain him not. Yea, when death comes, that

breaks all other unions, even that of the soul and body, it

carries the believer's soul into the nearest union with its

beloved Lord Jesus, and the full enjoyment of him for ever.
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