August 20, 2012
Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…They are they which testify of me.” John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Commentary on Romans
Chapter 8 continues the theme presented in Chapters 5 through 7. That theme being the Salvation, Justification and Sanctification of Christ, toward us Christians, His Church. This Chapter is also one of the longest I have been privileged to comment upon. It is my hope that you can glean the elements of truth and doctrine as presented to us through the Apostle Paul in these verses.
Let us begin with verses 1 through 5. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 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 sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (or, by a sacrifice for sin) condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh; but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
The message we are being taught is that Christ accomplished for us what we were unable to do for ourselves, which was to fulfill the righteousness of the law. How did He accomplish this? By His sacrificial death upon the Cross. Christ took upon Him all the “sins” of mankind through His crucifixion. Please note, I said “sins” not sin. Sin is a part of the natural man, and man will not be free from sin, until he enters the kingdom of God. This why the flesh cannot enter God’s Holy realm. Sins, on the other hand, are laid at the feet of he or she who commits those sins and gives in to the wiles of Satan, the lust of the flesh, covetousness, uncleanness, hatred, etc. as brought out in our Commentary on Chapter 7. This is yielding to the natural or Adamic nature of fallen man, rather than the higher calling of the Spiritual man. Only Jesus, He who committed no sin, was able to provide the “unblemished lamb” (Himself). Just as it took the blood of an “unblemished lamb” to be slaughtered upon the Altar, in order to satisfy the demands of a most Holy God, upon the children of Israel, so that their sins could be forgiven. All of which was a part of the law. Therefore Jesus fulfilled the law, and took the sins of the world upon Himself, to accomplish for us what we were unable to do for ourselves, which was to fulfill the righteousness of the law.
Verses 6—15: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Praise, God the Father.
Several points are to be made upon these verses. Life and peace come to us who are spiritually minded, through the Holy Spirit. And to be carnally minded which comes through Satan and his emissaries, is death. The carnal mind is at enmity against God, so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But God’s children are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit and if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not a part of the household of God. Therefore if Christ be in you, the body is dead to sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness; (the righteousness of Christ). For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit will mortify the deeds of the body (sins), ye shall live.
Further, ye have received the Spirit by adoption. This last sentence is brought out more boldly in Galatians 4: 4—7, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Praise, God the Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. We are being instructed that we have now been adopted into the family of God, due to the redemptive power of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. As a son of God, we should conduct ourselves as such. Anyone can commit sins easily. To commit to Christ presents a more difficult challenge. Choose your eternal destiny, it is very simply. Death or Life.
I can hear it now. Brother Moses, are you saying that if I sin I will die. No. As a matter of fact, that is a whole different Study. What I am trying to convey to you through the teachings of Paul is a simple matter of fact. If you desire to become a basketball player, you need to spend a whole lot of time shooting baskets. If you want to become a baseball player, you better spend much of your time swinging a bat. A NASCAR driver should first learn to drive a car, before he gets on a racetrack. A good golfer needs to learn to putt. If you plan to go to college, you might consider that you are going to spend a lot of time reading books, that you do not even like. My point is if you intend to spend eternity with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit within the Heavenly Kingdom, don’t you think it might behoove you to be mindful of activities, thoughts and actions that could hinder what your job may be when you get there? The Word of the Lord is “Study" to Show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” 11 Tim: 2:15. Would you want to be ashamed on the basketball court, the baseball diamond, make D’s and F’s in school? I think not. So spend at least some time thinking about what would God have you do, particularly when being tempted. Decide whether you are seeking after the things of the flesh or of the Spirit and conduct yourself accordingly.
This feeble attempt on my behalf to explain yet another teaching of Holy Writ must yield to the Words of Christ. He trumps all in His sayings, and He always has the preeminence. Let’s read our Lords words as written from the Book of Revelations to the Church of Laodicea (which represents the time in which we live, as it was the 7th or last Church which Jesus addressed in His admonitions to the Churches, before His return to this earth to call-out, the Church at the rapture).
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot, So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev: 3: 14—22. We could spend a great deal of time on these verses and if the Lord sees fit, we will address the Book of Revelation at a future date. For the time being, I will leave it here so that we can move on to the last several verses of this Chapter 8 of the Book of Romans.
Verses 16—17; “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit; that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together”. Simply put; we are the children of God and co-heirs with Christ through the Holy Spirit. How can we be sure of this? Jesus Christ tells us so in the above paragraph, where He states: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and set down with my father in his throne.”
Vs. 18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us”. The minor sufferings we must endure now, ie: not having everything we want, keeping the flesh in check against the wiles of Satan, thinking spiritually vs carnally; these sufferings cannot compare the to the glory which we shall receive in heaven, if we hold true and overcome the inconveniences of this, our earthly walk.
Vs. 19: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God”, this means that even the beast of the field await the glory of the sons of God, which we are, by the adoption as sons, through Jesus Christ
Verses 20—22: “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”. To explain what Paul is telling us. When the earth was cursed, back there in the Garden of Eden, everything upon the earth and in the seas was cursed, not only man. Paul is teaching us that the entire earth (creation) groans and travails in pain, waiting for Christ to return and the sons of God (us) are manifested before the rest of the world. When this event takes place, the earth and all of creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, or loosed from the shackles of Satan. At that point the Spiritual man shall take control of the Natural man.
We must understand that back there in the Halls of Eternity, God gave the earth over to Satan. That is why in Genesis Chapter 1, verse 1 we are told; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. But something happened between verse 1 and verse 2. Verse 2 reads; “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep…”. God would not create something that was without form, and void; and in darkness. What would be the sense in creating it? Without going into an expository explanation (which if the Lord should lead, we will do in the future, for this is indeed a wonderful “Study”) obviously something took place. One of the things that took place was that the earth was turned over to Satan. That is why the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon it. God, being his own sovereign, and for his own good reason decided to restore the earth. This is what happens beginning at verse 3 here in the Book of Genesis, wherein we are told that God said; “Let there be light, and there was light”. “God is light”. John 1:5 Then continuing on through the end of Chapter One, what we read is often referred to as the creative days of the earth. However it is not the “creation” but rather a “restoration” of the earth. When God moved in, darkness moved out.
So back in the Garden of Eden, it was Satan who beguiled Eve, and Adam followed. God was not willing to once again turn his back on his restored earth, therefore he cursed the creation for man’s sake. That curse has been carried forward even unto this day. And while Christ came to take away the sin of the earth, the creation, and mankind, some elements of His deliverance have not yet been manifested, nor will be, until He actually returns to repossess the earth and set up His Kingdom on behalf of God the Father. This is what Paul is explaining in verses 19 through 22 of Romans Chapter 8.
To continue onto verse 23: “And not only they, (creation) but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Sprit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”. Our members (body) also groan whether, we know it or not, within us, awaiting the return of our Lord.
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doeth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it”. Verses 24 & 25. A better understanding of these verses is found in Hebrews 11: 1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. These verses echo of the words of Christ during His second visit to the upper room, after His death, burial and resurrection. Remember Thomas, one of the eleven remaining, was not present at the first visit, and when the other disciples told him that Jesus had come, and that He had been resurrected from the dead Thomas believed them not. Furthermore, Thomas said; “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20: 25) Then in verses 27—29: “Then saith He (Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believeing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”. I mentioned in a previous article that this blessing from Christ is directed toward you and I, because we believe and have not seen. This is the message that Paul is revealing to the Church of Rome. Faith brings hope. Yet both are unseen. If we have seen it then it no longer remains faith, because out eyes have been a witness. Paul says; “we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doeth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that (which we have not) seen, then do we with patience wait for it”. It is my prayer that you comprehend this simple tenant of Scripture. It is simple, but can be confusing, even Thomas, one of the Disciples, did not get it, at the time.
Romans 8: 26 & 27: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for, as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he (The Holy Spirit) that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit (our Spirit), because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God”. We are being told here that we do not even know how to pray correctly. The Holy Spirit must intercede for us to communicate our petitions to God because he knows our hearts and our Spirit. You might ask, what is meant by; “he maketh intercession for the saints (according to the will of God)”? Reflect back with me the fact that we are still a part of the Natural Man. Still a part of this old earth, still sinners, even though we have been saved from our sins, through the blood of Christ. God cannot look upon sin, and that is why darkness covered the earth while Christ hung upon the Cross. We have an advocate in the Holy Spirit who can explain to God what we are trying to say, in our prayers. While we can go directly to God, with our prayers, we need the Holy Spirit to translate or interpret for us because the Holy Spirit can read our hearts and our spirit. We will find another example of this in verse 34, where we have Christ interceding for us, however in a different context. We will explore that momentarily.
This verse 28 is one of the most enduring and comforting to Christians within all of Scripture. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”. This is a “hope” given from God to his children. That we “know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are called to his purpose”. What a tremendous blessing. There is not any doubt, we know. God’s elect are special in his sight and he grants us this special favor.
These next two verses’ have stirred up much controversy between various Christian denominations. We shall quote the passage and then attempt an explanation. Verses: 29 & 30. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many bretheren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. What we have before us are the doctrines of Election verses Freewill. There is little doubt that God chooses whom he will, but there is also the “whoever” mentioned in Scripture.
Looking at the man-ward side: the most often quoted, is John 3:16; “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. There are several others: John 6:37, states; “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”. John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”. John 5: 40 “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life”. Rev. 22: 17, “And the Sprit (Holy Spirit) and the bride (the Church) say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”. Matt. 7: 7&8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that ask will receive; and he that seeks will find; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.”
Therefore we see that when the offer of salvation is made, it is indeed a true and bona-fide offer. The doctrine of Election and Freewill are two halves of the overriding doctrine of Salvation. Election is the God-ward side and Freewill is the man-ward side.
The Election side, or God-ward side is also well established in Holy Writ and is seen throughout Scripture. I wrote an article sometime back regarding the “Second Son”. A few brief examples. God chose Able over Cain, Abraham over Nahor, Jacob rather than Esau, Christ instead of Adam, etc. We have not come to it yet but again to illustrate; Romans 9: 15-16, “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Rom. 9: 18, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” Jesus says in John 15: 16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Acts 13: 48, “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Eph. 1: 4—5; “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us unto the adoption of children…according to the good pleasure of His will.” 2 Thess. 2: 13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. 2 Tim. 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world was”.
It is easy to see how many become confused and miss the mark while attempting to interpret these Scriptures. Nevertheless, should we seek diligently to “Rightly Divide the Word of Truth”, we will stumble upon yet the key that unlocks this mystery. The key is the Foreknowledge of God. 1 Pet. 2; “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” Then back to our original verses; 29—30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many bretheren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. As you can see, God “foreknew” what was going to happen before the foundation of the world. God “knew” that Adam would fall. Did that in and of itself make it happen? God forbid! Adam was in total innocence in the Garden. It was up to him to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and as we all know, Adam followed the wiles of Satan therefore losing his first estate. Not for himself only, but for all of mankind to follow. The Natural Man is under the dominion of sin, and of himself cannot originate that which is Holy. Only Jesus Christ, as a part of the Godhead, could come to earth and remain totally focused upon Holiness, Good and fulfilling the will of God the Father. From this we see the impotency of the natural man, but this does not excuse the natural man from seeking God and salvation. For the moment he realizes that if he is to be saved it must be by a power outside of himself; it therefore becomes his duty to inquire where that power may come from and seek to find it. Jesus said: “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. John 6: 44.
Thus we see the mystery solved. God does not force men follow him. That is the free-will of the individual, the “whoever” will. God does know and has known from the foundation of the world, those who would come to him and who would not. If you do seek him and become one of the sons of God, he welcomes you, but be most assured He knew your name and it has been written in His Book of Life throughout all eternity. Praise God!!!
Romans: 31—39, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What wonderful blessings we see in the verses before us. Nothing can keep us from Christ our Lord. This doctrine is known as the “Security of the Believer”. Once we become a Child of God, nothing can ever prevent us from losing our salvation. Jesus says in John 10: 28 & 29, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” We are secured by the hand of Jesus and also by the hand of God the Father. Verse 31 says; “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Vs. 33 says; “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” Vs. 34, “Who is he that condemneth” It is Christ…that is risen again, who …also maketh intercession for us.” Vs. 35; “Who shall separate us from the love of God?” All the things listed from verse 35 through 39…Are not able to separate us from the love of God; which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My friends and brethren in Christ, how can this be any plainer, any more direct? And yet we have Christian brothers and sisters out there who maintain that we can lose our salvation. If, indeed I can lose it, then it becomes clear that I never had it in the first place. If you can lose your salvation, then your salvation is based upon works, not grace. I am saved by the “Grace” of God, not by anything I have done to deserve it. I deserve to go to Hell in a hand-basket. But by the Grace of God, I am preserved unto Him, sanctified (set aside) by Him, justified by Him, and glorified by Him. I did nothing to earn these blessings and His pardon for my sins. Again, had I done something to earn it, it would no longer be of Grace, but of my own good works. Good works are accounted toward us after, we are saved, not before. Once we are saved, we earn crowns for our earthly works, to enjoy in our heavenly journey. Assuming, of course, that those works are for the Glory of our Lord Jesus.
As we come to the close of this Commentary on The Book of Romans, Chapter 8; it is once again my prayer that the Holy Spirit has seen fit to open your spiritual eyes to the discernment of the truths revealed herein. There has been much to be gleaned from these precious passages. Many have written me telling me they use these “Studies in the Scriptures” to use in their Sunday School classes. Some pastors, inform me that they use them for some of their sermons. It is most rewarding to know that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have blessed these writings for the Glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. May God bless you and yours! Amen, and Amen!!
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