Romans 8* The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Theirprivileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopefulprospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from theSpirit 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 becondemned with the world. By their union with Christ throughfaith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of theirwalk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature,corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, bywhich are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep anycommandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requiresinward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferingsof his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might bepardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divinejustice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By theSpirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though therighteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed beGod, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers,which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, thewelfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things ofthe Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Whichway do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go ourplans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or forour souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, #1Ti 5:6|. Asanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. Thecarnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. Thecarnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject tothe law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must bebroken and driven out. We may know our real state and characterby inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, ornot, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Havingthe Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degreelike the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by alife and conversation suitable to his precepts and example. 10-17 If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in theheart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul isalive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shallendure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, securesthe soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see howmuch it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after theSpirit. 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 beput 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 tothe soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have theSpirit to work in them the disposition of children; they havenot the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church wasunder, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit ofadoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers tothat spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at theirconversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does notspeak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spiritwitnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace tothe soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, weshall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end. 18-25 The sufferings of the saints strike no deeper than thethings of time, last no longer than the present time, are lightafflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly different are thesentence of the word and the sentiment of the world, concerningthe sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole creationseems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when thechildren of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared forthem. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which hascome upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity ofone creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, bymen as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of thecreation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held inbondage to man's depravity. The miseries of the human race,through their own and each other's wickedness, declare that theworld is not always to continue as it is. Our having receivedthe first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encouragesour hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is,the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in thecreation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it haskindled 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 bodyor mind, that has not come from sin. This is not all; sin is tobe looked at as it affects the glory of God. Of this howfearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind! Believers havebeen brought into a state of safety; but their comfort consistsrather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot beturned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in thethings of time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough andlong; but He that shall come, will come, though he seems totarry. 26,27 Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great,so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet theHoly Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlighteningSpirit, 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. TheHoly Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which areoften more than words can utter. The Spirit who searches thehearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, therenewed mind, and advocates his cause. The Spirit makesintercession 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 loveGod; in breaking them off from sin, bringing them nearer to God,weaning them from the world, and fitting them for heaven. Whenthe saints act out of character, corrections will be employed tobring them back again. And here is the order of the causes ofour salvation, a golden chain, one which cannot be broken. 1.Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformedto the image of his Son. All that God designed for glory andhappiness as the end, he decreed to grace and holiness as theway. The whole human race deserved destruction; but for reasonsnot perfectly known to us, God determined to recover some byregeneration and the power of his grace. He predestinated, orbefore decreed, that they should be conformed to the image ofhis Son. In this life they are in part renewed, and walk in hissteps. 2. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called. It isan effectual call, from self and earth to God, and Christ, andheaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness,as our way. This is the gospel call. The love of God, ruling inthe hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves thatthey have been called according to his purpose. 3. Whom hecalled, them he also justified. None are thus justified butthose that are effectually called. Those who stand out againstthe gospel call, abide under guilt and wrath. 4. Whom hejustified, them he also glorified. The power of corruption beingbroken in effectual calling, and the guilt of sin removed injustification, 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, andswallowed up in admiration, wondering at the height and depth,and length and breadth, of the love of Christ, which passethknowledge. The more we know of other things, the less we wonder;but the further we are led into gospel mysteries, the more weare affected by them. While God is for us, and we keep in hislove, we may with holy boldness defy all the powers of darkness. 32-39 All things whatever, in heaven and earth, are not sogreat a display of God's free love, as the gift of his coequalSon to be the atonement on the cross for the sin of man; and allthe rest follows upon union with him, and interest in him. Allthings, all which can be the causes or means of any real good tothe faithful Christian. He that has prepared a crown and akingdom for us, will give us what we need in the way to it. Menmay justify themselves, though the accusations are in full forceagainst them; but if God justifies, that answers all. By Christwe are thus secured. By the merit of his death he paid our debt.Yea, rather that is risen again. This is convincing evidencethat Divine justice was satisfied. We have such a Friend at theright hand of God; all power is given to him. He is there,making intercession. Believer! does your soul say within you, Ohthat he were mine! and oh that I were his; that I could pleasehim and live to him! Then do not toss your spirit and perplexyour thoughts in fruitless, endless doubtings, but as you areconvinced of ungodliness, believe on Him who justifies theungodly. You are condemned, yet Christ is dead and risen. Fleeto Him as such. God having manifested his love in giving his ownSon for us, can we think that any thing should turn aside or doaway that love? Troubles neither cause nor show any abatement ofhis love. Whatever believers may be separated from, enoughremains. None can take Christ from the believer: none can takethe believer from Him; and that is enough. All other hazardssignify nothing. Alas, poor sinners! though you abound with thepossessions of this world, what vain things are they! Can yousay of any of them, Who shall separate us? You may be removedfrom pleasant dwellings, and friends, and estates. You may evenlive to see and seek your parting. At last you must part, foryou must die. Then farewell, all this world accounts mostvaluable. And what hast thou left, poor soul, who hast notChrist, but that which thou wouldest gladly part with, and canstnot; the condemning guilt of all thy sins! But the soul that isin Christ, when other things are pulled away, cleaves to Christ,and these separations pain him not. Yea, when death comes, thatbreaks all other unions, even that of the soul and body, itcarries the believer's soul into the nearest union with itsbeloved Lord Jesus, and the full enjoyment of him for ever.
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