The Good News - Home
By David A. DePra
In Romans 6, Paul brought together everything he had been saying about the fact that Christians are no longer under the law. His conclusion was not that we are free to sin, or that we should even want to sin. Rather, his conclusion was that we are DEAD TO SIN, and ALIVE to God. Much of Romans 6 is focused on WHY this is so, and HOW this is so, and the absolutely necessity of seeing and believing it.
In Romans 7, Paul digresses to address the problems we will encounter as we walk in the Truth of Romans 6. Fundamental to these problems is the fact that even though we are new creations in Christ, and as free from the power of sin as we are ever going to be, we nevertheless continue to live in, "the body of flesh." In other words, we are free from the power of sin, but not the presence or possibility of it. The Christian life is one where we grow to see the Truth and have our minds renewed by it – and this will translate more and more into an ability and willingness to walk in victory over sin and unbelief. Romans 7 assures us that our growing experience of the victory of Christ will never be complete in this life – even though the victory of Christ IS complete.
Romans 8 takes things to the next level. It begins with a THEREFORE – Paul is going to tells us what the Truths he shared in Romans 6 and 7 mean as to the Christian life. If we are dead to sin and alive to God, and if we nevertheless continue to live in a natural body, then HOW does this all come together in a walk with Jesus Christ? What does in mean, "to walk in the Spirit," as opposed to the flesh? Romans 8 answers many of these questions.
A New Creation
We will never understand Romans 8, let alone most of the NT, if we do not understand what a Christian IS. And the fact of the matter is, many Christians do not understand what a Christian IS. If we could just get that straight, we could see the framework from which Paul operates, and understand his words.
What is a Christian? Well, to begin, let’s note a few things that a Christian is NOT. First, a Christian is not merely the adherent to a new religion. It is entirely possible to be taught a religion called, "Christianity," and to memorize the doctrines, and assent to keep the rules, and to plug oneself into a good church – but to miss completely the Truth. Indeed, it is entirely possible to know all the true doctrines of the Bible – and God knows we NEED to know them and that we NEED to teach them – but it is entirely possible to know and teach them all, but to never SEE JESUS or SEE the TRUTH. Of course, if we would actually see Jesus, and see the Truth, we would also see that our doctrines do tell the Truth about Him – but Christianity is not merely facts, information, teachings, and doctrines ABOUT Christ. Christianity is CHRIST IN US – and a growing to KNOW HIM, and a growing to come under His Lordship.
One of the best passages in the Bible that illustrates this distinction is found in the book of Job – at the end of Job’s great trial. But to set the stage, we must first remember that God had lauded Job as a good and upright man – God said this at the beginning of the trial. I believe Him, don’t you? And, even at the end of Job’s trial, God chided Job’s friends by saying to them, "You have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has." (Job 42:7) So as confused and emotional as Job was during the trial, God was nevertheless able to say that he had spoken rightly of God! Most people haven’t believed that about Job, but this is what God said about him. But now we can turn to Job’s confession – and in it we see a big difference between believing the right things ABOUT GOD, and seeing God Himself.
Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not… I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:3-6)
Job had heard many wonderful doctrines and teachings about God. He had even uttered them himself – Job had taught others RIGHTLY about God. But in the end, Job had to say, "I said right things – but I didn’t realize what I was saying. I didn’t realize that I had reduced God down to words, teachings, doctrines, and rules. I thought in doing so that I was hot stuff – I thought I was mature and righteous. But now that I SEE GOD HIMSELF – I must repent. I must repent of saying more than I knew and taking pride in it."
Christians often create for themselves a God in their own image. And much about this God we create, if He is constructed out of our understanding of Bible verses, and out of a sincere heart, might be factually correct. When we encounter problems in life, or experience blessings, we might plug Bible verses and our intellectual understanding of God into them, and form a basis that is sound, as far as it goes. Indeed, we can spend years living in a supposed relationship with the God that we have formed out of our own understanding, intellect, emotions, and theology. But this is NOT the same as SEEING GOD. The problem arises when we think it is the same, and congratulate ourselves. This is where Job erred.
But God loved Job and brought him into a trial that shattered this whole pattern. You will again note that God did not, in Job’s case, tell him that all of his doctrines and teachings were wrong. No – but God did have to show Job that GOD HIMSELF was not a doctrine, or a religious pattern. And when Job saw God, he was set free.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE GOD." So if you want to see God, He will have to purify your heart. Now, your heart may be pure as far as you know, but you can almost be certain that it is NOT – and all that his necessary to prove this is a trial geared to exposing it. Job’s heart was pure as far as he knew, and God even commended him before the trial began. But he still needed to see God. He still needed to be made pure.
A pure heart is one that is fixed only on the will of God for the glory of God. There is a lot in that – especially as it applies to the circumstances of life. But in the end that is what it comes down to.
So a Christian is NOT someone who belongs to the right religion. Rather, a Christian is someone who belongs to God – and has SEEN HIM.
The second things a Christian is not, is someone to whom God has simply handed everything – without any struggle, need to carry the Cross, or without any need for spiritual warfare. Today, we are being taught as never before that if you are in Christ that you have all that Christ has – indeed, some are even teaching that we are like a little Christ. This is terrible error. We are complete IN CHRIST, and everything IS finished, but it is only as we come UNDER Christ as Lord that anything can be released TO us, and THROUGH us. And only then, what is released will be only according to God’s will and unto God’s glory.
Christians need to get away from this popular notion that we POSSESS power. No. Actually, we are UNDER the power of Christ. Or, to put it another way, we don’t possess power – power possesses US. If the Holy Spirit is in us, then the Holy Spirit has come UPON us, (see Acts 1:8-9) and that means that we are going to BECOME witnesses unto Christ. If the Holy Spirit is in us, the number one purpose of God is to bring every part of us under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Now, what we see in all of this is that a Christian is ANOTHER KIND of creature. Sure. We are new creations in Jesus Christ – we are not the same old creatures, only now stamped, "forgiven," or, "saved." Christianity is much more than that! No. We are new creations because we have received from above ANOTHER KIND OF LIFE – one that is not the product of this world, but one that is the product of death and resurrection. Christianity is CHRIST IN US – the hope of glory. This is not merely a legal classification, or a catchy phrase that describes a religion. It is God making Himself one with us.
Thus, as we move through Romans 8, we must recognize that Paul is not merely talking about legal or positional Truth, or merely spouting off about theology. He is describing life of a new order – he is trying to show us what happens when Jesus Christ makes Himself one with our Spirit – even though we continue to live in this fallen creation. He is describing the reality of being born again from above – and yet living as this new creature here below.
Now, having established all of this, we can turn to Romans 8. As mentioned earlier, it begins with a big THEREFORE…….
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The reason (i.e., the THEREFORE) leading to this statement by Paul to the effect that there is NO CONDEMNATION, is found at the end of Romans 7:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:24-25)
Paul says that Jesus Christ has delivered him from the BODY OF DEATH. THAT IS WHY there is NO CONDEMNATION for those in Christ. But of course, we have to see why this is the case. WHY is someone in Christ Jesus NEVER condemned? How are we delivered from condemnation if we are delivered from the body of death?
To see this, we have to back up a step. First, let’s look at the FACT that there is no condemnation. It is important to see this because some Christians don’t believe that there is never any condemnation for those in Christ, and others certainly don’t live out this Truth. So let’s take Romans 8:1 and examine it by asking two questions: Do you believe that Paul means that there is no condemnation EVEN when we sin? Or do you believe that he means only that there is no condemnation EXCEPT when we sin?
Let’s lay that out to make it more clear:
There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus EVEN when we sin.
There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus EXCEPT when we sin.
There are really the only two possibilities. If Paul says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ, then his statement must apply to Christians EVEN when they sin, or it must apply EXCEPT when they sin. Which is it?
Remember, we are talking about those IN CHRIST JESUS – not about unsaved people. So what about it? Is there EVER condemnation for those in Christ?
Well, let’s look at each option. Let’s take the first one: Is there no condemnation EVEN when we sin, in other words, to put the question in a positive form, when I sin as a Christian, is there EVER condemnation upon me for my sin?
First of all, do we think that maybe Paul realized that Christians sin? John wrote, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us." In fact, go back to Romans 6 and 7. Paul knows perfectly well that Christians sin. And yet he was able to write, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus."
I think Paul meant what he said, don’t you? He meant, "There is therefore now NO condemnation – ever – for anyone in Christ Jesus – EVEN when they sin." And if you wrap your mind around this Truth, it absolutely requires so much else to line up and harmonize. Indeed, it is a Truth that ought to set us free in so many ways.
Many Christians, however, do not believe this. They do believe there is condemnation for Christians when they sin. They believe that every time they sin, they are under condemnation – at least UNTIL they confess their sin and come under the Blood. They cite John’s epistle, where he writes, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I Jn. 1:9) The picture that these folks have is that every time we sin we are condemned – until we confess – and then we are once again forgiven.
There is a big problem with this interpretation. Do we realize what we are saying if we believe that we are condemned, or not forgiven, every time we sin – and that we stay that way until we confess? We are actually saying that every time we sin we lose our salvation – we are UNSAVED – until we confess and get saved all over again. That is exactly what we are saying.
Why do I say that? Because a Christian – a saved person – is a forgiven person. There isn’t any OTHER KIND of Christian! There is no such thing as an unforgiven saved person, or a condemned saved person. Indeed, the very definition of a new creation in Christ Jesus is that they are forgiven forever, and free forever from condemnation.
Actually, John agrees. When John states, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins," the Greek tense, and the implication here is, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just TO HAVE FORGIVEN our sins." In other words, the reason we confess is not to GET FORGIVEN – for we are NOT temporarily unforgiven and condemned. No. We confess our sins because we know we ARE forgiven, and our confession is a matter of us exposing ourselves to the light, and declaring by faith the fact that we are! John states that if we say we have no sin, we are deceived – in other words, if we don’t confess that we have sin. But he states that if we do confess our sins it is because we know the Truth – the Truth of the finality of the Cross of Jesus. Christians are forever forgiven and eternally secure in Him.
Christians are people whose sins are forever forgiven, but even more importantly, Christians are forgiven people. We must see this. Do we actually believe that every time we sin that we are no longer IN CHRIST – that is, until we confess -- and then, and only then, are we back IN CHRIST – at least until next time we sin? If that is the case, then our salvation is based on our works – and not on God’s grace.
Eternal security IS the Truth. If there is NO condemnation for those in Christ, then there is no way to lose salvation for those in Christ. You cannot escape that conclusion. Eternal security is not only taught in the Bible a hundred different ways, but it clearly emerges from the words of Paul to the Romans. The fact is, if you can lose your salvation through works, then you must maintain it through works. And if you must maintain it through works, then since our works are imperfect, then every time we sin, we lose our salvation, and every time we confess we get it back. There really isn’t any other way it could work if we can lose our salvation.
But note: If this is the case, then when we sin, we are unforgiven until we confess. Right? Sure – if we GET forgiven through confession. But is an unforgiven person saved? Not according to the Bible. That is why, according to some people’s thinking, every time we sin we are temporarily unsaved. But ask: What happens if we DIE suddenly before we have a chance to confess? Do we go to hell? If we sin and don’t confess, do we die UNFORGIVEN?
This whole notion that we can lose our salvation becomes nonsense if you really start thinking about it in the light of the Biblical revelation. For you cannot get around it – once you deny eternal security, you are left with YOU having to maintain your salvation through some means. And if that is the case, then it is possible for you to LOSE your salvation through some means. But if that is possible, then it is likewise possible, once you LOSE your salvation through those means, to get it back through those means. Sure. For once your salvation depends on your works, then you will be saved only when you obey, and unsaved when you fail.
This is actually what you end up with if you believe that when Paul said, "There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus," that he meant that that there is no condemnation EXCEPT when we sin. Sure. In that case, if you obey, there is no condemnation. But if you sin, there IS condemnation. But again – if you are under condemnation you are UNSAVED. Thus, the issue becomes SALVATION ITSELF – rather than just some secondary classification before God due to my works.
Here we ought to look at the Galatians. The Galatians believed that they had to maintain their righteousness before God through doing good works. But can we see that behind this belief was really the notion that they had to maintain salvation itself through good works? Sure. The two teachings go together – the one naturally emerges from the other: If you believe you must maintain your righteous standing before God through the works of the law you also believe that you must maintain your salvation through the works of the law – for your righteous standing before God IS your salvation! You cannot separate the two.
Once we see that this is what was going on in Galatia, it gives us a big insight into the Truth of eternal security, and shows us that there can never be any condemnation for those in Christ. Think about it. If Paul taught that you could lose your salvation, then why correct the Galatians? They were trying to establish their righteousness before God on the basis of works – and if you can lose your salvation, you had better do exactly that! How else would you establish your righteousness? Through works! But if Paul taught that you could NOT lose your salvation, then it makes perfect sense as to why he corrected them, and said to them:
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. "(Gal 5:1-5)
Paul is telling the Galatians that if they try to become justified – declared righteous – by law keeping, that Christ is of no effect to them. In other words, His death would not be needed, or have any impact for them. Neither would His life in them be needed. Why? Because THEY were accomplishing for themselves, through good works, what Christ had done for them. But Paul’s correction would make no sense at all if you could lose your salvation. For if you can lose your salvation, then you had better maintain your salvation so you won’t lose it – and this you must do through some form of works. But if eternal security is the Truth, then can we see that Paul’s correction makes perfect sense – the Galatians were trying to make themselves secure through works, and this made Christ of no effect to them. They had bypassed Him and gotten off into error.
There are some other Christians who believe that you cannot lose your salvation through works, but that you can lose it by turning around and refusing to believe. In other words, if you were saved by faith, then why can’t you lose your salvation by later choosing to NOT believe? Furthermore, doesn’t the Bible show that this is possible, in places such as Hebrews 6 and 10?
First of all, I think that every place in the NT where it might seem that there is a description of how to lose your salvation – I think that many of these are descriptions, NOT of losing one’s salvation, but of REFUSING salvation. If the only way to be saved is for God to first draw us to Christ, then this demands that an unsaved person first taste of the things of God, and have enough light – SO THAT they can embrace Jesus. That, in turn, means that they COULD refuse salvation once having tasted of the heavenly gift, and all those other things Hebrews describes. Sure. The same light God intends for you salvation, will condemn you if you refuse. This is why the Bible is able to talk about those, "once enlightened," and so forth, but who then turned away from Christ. They were never born again. Thus, they did not LOSE salvation. They REFUSED it.
There are other places in scripture that are often misunderstood to mean LOSING our salvation, but are actually describing the possibilities of losing our inheritance AS a saved person. Read I Cor. 3. There you will see that it is possible to lose EVERYTHING – but for you, yourself to still be saved.
Now, having said that, is it possible to stop believing AFTER you are saved, such that you lose your salvation? Well, if we are here talking about people that are TRULY CONVERTED – not those who are religious, or who have never repented – then the Bible says NO. You cannot lose your salvation.
But why? Don’t we continue to have free will? Sure. But doesn’t that mean we could choose to stop believing? Well, the question here isn’t whether we have free will. Rather, the question is the meaning of true conversion, and the new birth. True conversion begins with the SURRENDER OF OUR WILLS to Christ. Surrender doesn’t obliterate our free wills, of course – but surrender does make us forever submitted to Christ. My point is this: If we are truly converted, we GOT THAT WAY by surrendering our wills to Christ – indeed, we repented of NOT surrendering our wills to Christ. Therefore, if we are truly converted, we are not going to walk away from Christ. If we do, we are simply evidencing the fact that we were never truly converted in the first place.
The conversion to Christ that the Bible talks about is the RESULT and OUTCOME of repentance – it is the OUTCOME of settling every issue between yourself and God that might later have otherwise given you reason to renounce your faith. In effect, if you are still considering walking away from Christ, I’d question my conversion – because if you were truly converted, you would not consider renouncing Christ because that consideration was dealt with when you surrendered to Christ. You cannot have both – you cannot fully surrender to Christ resulting in salvation, but be carrying around the potential to renounce Him. It is a moral impossibility.
This does nothing to negate free will. What I’m saying is that in order to be saved, you have to surrender your will to Christ – and doing so is a free will surrender. Neither does it mean that our faith will not be tested, or that we will not pass through difficult times. We will experience all of those possibilities. But the question isn’t whether we can lose salvation. John clearly states this in his epistle:
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother. (1 John 3:7-10)
The same apostle John who wrote the above passage, also states, in the same epistle, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us." So why does he now say, in the above passage, that, "he that commits sin is of the devil," and also, "whoever is born of God does not commit sin?" How do we explain this seeming contradiction?
In I John 3, when John says, "whoever is born of God does not commit sin," he is referring to the sin of unbelief – the sin of refusing Christ. THAT is the sin those born of God do not commit. Obviously, as we quoted from I John 1, John knows that born again believers DO COMMIT ACTS OF SIN! Thus, the sin here, in I John 3, is something else – and really the context tells us that it is. John gives us the reason why those born again do not commit the sin he is talking about in I John 3 – he says, "for His seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." In other words, if you born again, the seed of God is always in you – Christ is always in you. Thus, having received Christ through repentance and the new birth, you aren’t going to commit the ultimate sin of refusing Christ, for you have already repented of that possibility, and settled the issue. You are born again a new creation.
Can we see that if we are born again, we GOT THAT WAY by settling the possibility of refusing Christ – the fact we settled it is why we received Him?! Thus, it is finished. We are saved forever.
Of course, the reason some of us continue to think that salvation can be lost is that we don’t understand what it is, or have a sense of what it means to have Christ in us. Thus, we take all of the scriptures on this matter and apply them to our faulty understanding of salvation, and end up completely off the track.
True conversion, by definition, cannot be lost, renounced, or walked away from. Why? Because it is a once for all repentance and surrender to Christ – sealed by the Holy Spirit – that births us as new creations. You cannot be born again backwards! You cannot, having become a new creation, be changed back into the old. You cannot pass from death to life, only to later pass from life to death. You cannot be raised from the dead in Christ only to be put back in Adam. It is impossible.
Now, of course, if your idea of conversion is simply, "getting religion," or changing your conduct, then you could lose THAT. If all you think it means to become a Christian is that you adopt a list of beliefs, then you can lose THAT. Or if you think that true conversion is a matter of sitting on the fence, and never really coming to the Cross, you can lose THAT. Indeed, many of these possibilities may reflect that a person HAS received light. But have they embraced Christ? Or are they, in fact, those that the Bible says are in danger of REFUSING salvation – but which many people think is a description of LOSING salvation?
If conversion were simply a matter of US making a decision for Christ, and needing to make sure we never take it back, then we might say we could lose it. But despite the fact that we must indeed make a decision for Christ to be born again, once we do surrender to Christ, God seals us with the Holy Spirit. In other words, there is a supernatural element to salvation, that is wrought of God, that goes beyond the commitments of natural man. In short, if you could lose true salvation, then it wouldn’t be newness of life, incorruptible, or Christ in you.
Now, I’ve gone through this entire issue of eternal security because it really speaks right to the point of whether a Christian can be under condemnation – even when we sin. Can we see that this is impossible? Can we see that if we are born again, we have already passed from death to life IN CHRIST – and that condemnation cannot be applied to us – even when we sin?
If condemnation were possible for those in Christ Jesus, then when would condemnation apply? Well, when we SIN! Sure. It certainly isn’t going to apply when we OBEY! No. Condemnation would apply when we sin. But if condemnation does apply to the Christian when we sin, then when we sin, we LOSE our salvation – every single time we sin! Sure. For the very meaning of condemnation is that we have no salvation – that is WHY we are condemned. Thus, if condemnation is possible for those in Christ, then every single time you and I sin, in thought, word, or deed, we are condemned, unforgiven, and thus, we lose our salvation.
But then someone will say, "But if you confess your sins, God will forgive them." Ok. So in other words, if I sin, I am condemned and have lost my salvation, but then if I confess, and put my faith in the Blood, I get my salvation restored? Is that how salvation works? Well, if that were the case, then I must pass from death to life and life back to death, over and over, every time I sin, and confess, etc. Nothing is finished. Indeed, the new birth, in that case, is nothing but a fake label – for if I can bounce back and forth in and out of salvation, then I am never really born again a new creation. I have to keep being reborn again, unborn, and reborn – based on my works and my faith.
As I stated earlier, a truly converted person WILL confess their sins, precisely because they know that they are forgiven. What else would we do if we have the Truth in us? We would tell the Truth about our sins, which is exactly what it means to confess them.
Go back to Romans 6 again, and note the once for all, and finality of how Paul describes conversion. There Paul says:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:3-11)
Christianity is not merely a legal classification. It is not a religion we adopt. It is a new birth as a new creation who is ONE WITH CHRIST. It is new life – and you cannot bounce in and out of new life based on works. Sure, you might not act like a new creation. You might have issues of unbelief. And you can lose your inheritance, despite still being saved. But salvation is forever, sealed in the Blood of the Lamb.
So let’s get back to the original questions: Is there NO condemnation EVEN when we sin, or EXCEPT when we sin? Hopefully, we have seen that there is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus EVEN when we sin. For if there is NO condemnation EXCEPT when we sin, then there is condemnation, period! – for when else WOULD we be condemned?
Paul has already explained in Romans 6 that Christians must not sin because they know that grace nevertheless will abound – Christians must not use the fact that condemnation is not possible as a license. Can we see how Romans 6:1 and Roman 8:1 are both predicated on the same Truth that in Christ we are saved forever and cannot be condemned? Sure. There is NO condemnation, under any circumstances, for a Christian. But now Paul is going to explain further why there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
The Law of the Spirit of Life
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
There is no condemnation for those in Christ -- BECAUSE the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. This shows that the law of sin and death is what brings the condemnation. Then Paul tells us that all of this is based on the finished work of Redemption completed by Jesus Christ.
So what we need to understand is the meaning of what Paul calls, "the law of sin and death," and, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."
As I mentioned in Romans 7, there are two, "laws," Paul talks about in these chapters, aside from the actual law of God. But these two, "laws," are not a list of rules. No. Rather, these two, "laws," actually speak of two NATURES – the law of sin and death, and the law of the Spirit of life. Each one of these two laws is really reflective of two kinds of NATURES in two kinds of creatures – Adam, and Christ.
The old creation IN ADAM has a nature – the law of sin and death. Some call it the sin nature. Paul calls it the law of sin and death – it is simply the nature of sin and death that is in the old creation.
The law of sin and death is the result of two things: First, the fact that in Adam there is no life. But second, the fact that Adam is in bondage to the realm of darkness. Colossians 1:13 says that Jesus has delivered us from the realm of darkness. Thus, this means we NEED delivered from it, that is, we are in bondage to it.
It is because we have no life in us, and are in bondage to darkness, that there is a law of sin and death. In other words, the law of sin and death speaks of how the natural man, void of life in Christ, operates. It speaks of his nature. We are absolutely in the grip of darkness, sin, and the natural. We cannot receive the things of God. And unless God initiates to bring light, we have no escape.
A person who continues to be bound by the law of sin and death can be a religious person. They can be an intelligent person. They can be a nice person. It’s just that all they have to call upon to interpret life, and interpret God, is their natural resources. Some people can get along quite comfortably within their natural resources, of brains, emotions, and talents. Other cannot. But in the end, all are blind unless they SEE JESUS.
The law of sin and death works in a person if that person has no life in them – it really controls them in the sense that, yes, they have a free will. But it is a free will governed by blindness and self-centeredness. So they will choose in accordance within that. A slave has a free will. They might even WILL to be free. But the reality is, they ARE a slave, and don’t know what it really is to be free. They will DO what they ARE. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Its nature is that it can produce only bad fruit. That is the LAW of its nature – in this case, the nature of sin and death.
There are many illustrations we could give as to how this law of sin and death operates. One of the main ways is through emotions. If you don’t know God, or see Jesus, you are going to live, to a greater or lesser degree, by your emotions. For some, what they feel is the Truth will be the Truth to them. Another way is to live in accordance to logic and brains. Truth cannot be apprehended by logic. Of course, since Truth IS logical – there is no contradiction within it – it can be EXPLAINED logically once received through revelation of Christ. But you cannot GET Truth through a logical process because you will only have limited perspective, and much of that in error. There are lots of smart people, some of whom are Christians, who are deceived. The problem isn’t their brain power. The problem is that they don’t see Jesus, and the law of the Spirit of life has not set them free from the law of sin and death.
So again we see that the law of sin and death is not only our SINS. No. This is about our NATURE – it is about the KIND of creature we are in Adam, through natural birth. Bound up in this are darkness, unbelief, ignorance, and really, the SELF-principle, which is the flesh. We are talking here about what man became when Adam declared his independence from God. When Adam died, he lost the life of God. The law of sin and death describes what a man IS, and how he operates, void of the life of God. He is under the law of sin and death – he sins and he is spiritually dead. That is ALL HE CAN DO. The law of sin and death will continue to operate in him, because that is his nature. The only solution is DEATH to the old nature, and then RESURRECTION in Christ. Then the life of God is restored in such a one.
The law, or nature, of the Spirit of life in Christ, is resurrection life. It is a new law, or nature, that belongs to the new creation. This law is, in fact, Christ in us, the hope of glory. It is how the Holy Spirit functions in a human being.
So immediately, we see that the reason that, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ," sets us free from, "the law of sin and death" -- it is because it is a NEW NATURE – it is because we are born again from above. The old is passed away – the power of it is broken. And within us, we have Christ. This is why John was able to write:
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Christ in us is greater than the old realm and old nature – or, if you will – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ is greater than the law of sin and death. Resurrection life in Christ sets us free from that old law.
Now don’t misunderstand. Despite the reality of our new nature through Christ, this freedom doesn’t, "just happen." It has to be worked out, realized, experienced, and walked in. The way this is made possible is through the work of the Cross – which is really another way of saying that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ will bring DEATH through the power of the Cross upon the old in us, so that the life of Christ might be released and experienced. In other words, you have to carry your cross so that what is already finished for you through Christ’s Cross might come into your actual experience, rather than just remain a finished work, "on paper."
Never think of Christian growth as God ADDING to us more of Christ, or ADDING to us something in addition to Christ. No. We are complete in Christ – see Col. 2:9-10. But the flesh and the old ways of thinking are in the way – indeed self-will and unbelief are in the way -- keeping us from living in our inheritance. So God must deal with us. As He deals with the flesh, Christ is not added to us, but the Christ who is already fully in us is released. We die, but He lives more through us.
Here we see the key to, "fullness in the Spirit." It’s the key to a tremendous release of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. And what is that key? Not a, "second blessing," or, "second baptism." No. The key is that Jesus Christ might become LORD – really, not just in theory. God must deal with our flesh, and if He does through the Cross, Jesus will become our personal Lord in practice and experience. What was true doctrine will become freedom in our experience. Only when Jesus is Lord, is fullness of the Spirit possible.
Christ is in us through the new birth. But despite having ALL of Christ, and consequently, ALL that God has for us – because all that God has for us is IN HIM – we don’t yet experience all that is of Christ. We cannot. For that, we must continually believe, obey, and most importantly, lose our lives for His sake, that we might find our lives IN HIM. Indeed, the moment we turn to God and lose our lives in a matter, the resurrection power of Christ is there, because we have, in a sense, died. That is the initial practical work of the Cross, and really, is of this same law of Spirit of life in Christ pushing through to crucify the flesh. Christ emerges – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ is His resurrection life being made manifest in power and authority over all of that old creation.
This is what Paul was saying in Galatians:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
The Power Who IS Christ
Remember again that through the new birth the presence and possibility of sin remain. But the POWER of sin is broken through death and resurrection. The fact that the presence and possibility remain is what Paul talks about in Romans 7. He shows that within the Christian there are really two natures – the old and the new. There is the law of sin and death. And there is the law of the Spirit of life. This is why there is warfare – we have two natures. And yet because, "greater is He that is in us," if we continually turn to God and lose our lives for His sake – lose our possession of our lives over to Him – resurrection life in Christ rises up because in Christ we are already more than conquerors.
If we are in Christ, then we are new creations, and as new creations, we have a different KIND OF LIFE – life that is not able to be governed by the law of sin and death – we have resurrection life in Christ. Thus, "the law," of resurrection life is that it has victory over death. That is the KIND OF LIFE resurrection life is. That is how it functions. Indeed, resurrection life sets us free from the law of sin and death.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ is RESURRECTION POWER IN US – to push through all that the law of sin and death would bring. As such, it is more than just an intellectual understanding of this doctrine. It is not an emotional condition. No. At some point in our growth, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ actually is power to live ABOVE those terrible conditions in our flesh that give place to condemnation, dread, despair – all the things of death.
Death is separation from God. Even as a Christian, it is possible to have unresolved patterns in us whereby our flesh reacts to situations in a way that makes it seem like we are separated from God. It’s not something we try to do, or want to do – indeed, we probably hate it, and sometimes even despair over the fact that this happens. But this is the law of sin and death operating in our members. Yet the more we submit to God despite these failings, the more resurrection life in Christ is able to be enlarged and released in us, until the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus becomes powerful enough in us to expose and dismantle this law of sin and death.
So one way to describe how the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death is that if we yield to Christ by faith, there is a power that rises up in us that dismantles all that would otherwise seem to come between us and God. Those terrible feelings, that condemnation and guilt, that sense of defeat and despair – all of those things are the things of death because they are what come when we believe we are separated from God. But the law of the Spirit of life is resurrection power IN US that is able to push through all of that and expose these things as lies, and give us power to live in victory.
One other way in which the law of the Spirit of life sets us free is that it gives us power NOT to be governed by circumstances. At one time, we might have reacted towards circumstances in a way that would not be faith. But the law of the Spirit will DETACH us from circumstances and give us power to walk by faith despite all that might be around us.
Now note again: The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus does not necessarily make the law of sin and death go away. No. As Paul teaches in Romans 7, the flesh is always present, and it is always possible to sin. The POWER of sin is broken, but not the presence or possibility. But the law of the Spirit of life in Christ sets us free of the government of the flesh, and gives us power to rise above it – if we will lose our lives into His hands. Our death in that way results in a release of the resurrection power of Christ in us.
The reason behind our victory is HIS victory. Christ has already conquered all of the things of death. Therefore, the key to our victory OVER those things in ourselves, is to come UNDER Him as Lord. We must abandon ourselves to Him. If we do, then we will reign and rule with Him in actual experience. Our death through losing our lives will result in Christ being enlarged and released in us. The power will then be THERE in us.
This power is not a THING. It is a PERSON. Christ is the power of God. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." Thus, the more we live in harmony with Him, the more His resurrection life flows through us. And the result is victory over all the things of death.
The key here is not some gimmick of mind or emotion. It is not some psychological game we play on ourselves. This is not about figuring out some effective emotional or intellectual angle I can work against the law of sin and death. Neither is it about needing to, "get delivered." No. This is about coming under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to the point where His resurrection power has freedom to work in me.
It is a fact: To the extent that I am submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I will have power IN CHRIST. To the extent that I am dead to my own will and agenda, I will have power IN CHRIST. I’m not talking about power to do miracles, etc. I’m talking about power to live in Christ in victory over all the things of sin and death. I cannot have power over death unless I am dead in Christ to myself, and then have been raised with Him.
Today false teachers are telling us that power is a THING that God gives us in the form of an anointing, or a second experience after salvation. No. Christ Himself – His life in us -- is the power of God through the Holy Spirit. The more you come under His Lordship on a day to day basis, the more you reign and rule with Him – not just legally, or positionally, but in POWER.
The hindrance to power in the Christian life is US – our unbelief, our self-will, and our flesh. The law of sin and death continues to operate in us in so many ways. As I have said, the solution is to lose our lives for His sake. But what do I mean by that?
Basically, we have to turn to God and say to Him, "Whatever it takes Lord, for you to get your will IN ME – do it." Or, we might say, we have to lose our right to possess our lives for ourselves, and give ourselves unconditionally to God. The moment we turn to the Lord in that way, the resurrection power of Christ is there. And then when God does what He knows it takes to deal with us, then we submit to Him in it. We have to, "present our bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God." (see Romans 12:1-2) In faith – not as a religious gimmick or angle I’m working with God – I have to give myself to God so that He can have full freedom to do IN ME what is necessary to enlarge in me the resurrection life of Christ.
Of course God will have to bring DEATH to whatever in me gives place to unbelief, etc. But really, what we are really talking about here is God doing whatever it takes to establish me in a relationship with Him – with Jesus as Lord. That means I’m no longer my own lord.
We are being told in these incredible chapters of Romans that IN CHRIST we have victory over all sin and death. We are raised IN HIM – and every part of His victory is truly ours. But likewise, we are being told, that in order for this victory to come into our actual experience, we must submit to Him as our personal Lord. We must LOSE our lives to Him. You can only reign and rule with Christ in your actual experience if He is reigning and ruling over you in actual experience. It is a life principle.
So, in short, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is resurrection life in Christ – it is the nature of resurrection life. And the nature of resurrection life is that it has victory and power over all the law of sin and death. Thus, Paul is able to say, "There is no condemnation for those in Christ, because the resurrection life of Christ has set me free from all of the nature of sin and death. I am free from death through His resurrection." Paul is talking about more than a doctrinal Truth. He is talking about a reality that is to be experienced. Really, he is talking about what Christianity IS.
How We Walk
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, 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.
Having just told us that we are set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life, Paul elaborates. He wants to make us to understand the dynamics of each of these natures, and how we are set free.
The first thing Paul says is that the law could not accomplish the will of God. Why? Because of our weakness of the flesh. In other words, despite the holiness of the law, we are not holy. A holy law cannot impart unto you the life or power to obey it. And you cannot OBEY YOUR WAY into freedom from sin – because you are spiritually dead. Rather, as we have seen, the law – because it is holy – ends up condemning you. So for God to accomplish in man what He wanted, there had to be another way. That other way was to make of us a new creation in Christ Jesus.
You will note that the basis for everything Paul is about to teach takes us back to Romans 6. There we saw that we are dead to sin and alive to God. There we saw that we are both crucified and raised with Christ. The law cannot do this. As Paul said to the Galatians:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal. 6:14-15)
Christianity is not defined by keeping God’s law. Indeed, all obedience in the Christian life – real obedience from the heart – is the result of first being rightly related to God by faith. Obedience is not the MEANS to being rightly related to God. Nope. Faith is a relationship word, and if we get rightly related to God by faith, we will WANT to obey.
If we realize that fact, we will also realize that we really cannot keep God’s law. Are we convinced of that yet? Well, once we are, we will see that the only hope is that we become born again. A new birth as a new creature MAKES us what the law cannot make us. We are, in Christ, what we could never be trying to keep the law. And as for law keeping, it will be the OUTCOME – not the means thereunto – of being in Christ.
Once we begin to understand the Truth on this matter, eternal security is settled as a fact. Furthermore, there emerges the realization that God is doing something in us that will fully glorify Himself and accomplish His will – through Christ.
Also notice that the death and resurrection of Christ did IN US what the law could not do IN US. Our death and resurrection in Christ fulfilled the just requirement of the law IN US.
How so? Well, don’t think only of the LEGAL aspect of redemption. The doctrine of justification by faith rightly describes that legal aspect – if we believe, God imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, and imputes to Christ our sin. Sure. But Christianity is more than a legal position. It is a living union with Christ. Thus, when Paul says that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled IN US, he means exactly that. In short, God not only IMPUTES to us the righteousness of Christ legally, but He IMPARTS to us Christ Himself – Christ in us is our righteousness.
But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Cor. 1:30-31)
God doesn’t merely IMPUTE to us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. No. Christ in us IS those realities. Through death and resurrection in Christ, we are IMPARTED with the very life of Christ – and He IS those things in and through us. This is what it means to be ONE with Christ as a new creature. It is what Paul means when he says that Christ in us is the fulfillment of the righteousness of God.
Now all of this is why it is possible to walk after the Spirit – we have the Spirit of Christ in us. It is also why we are freed from the power of the flesh. Christ is in us. Of course, you have to turn to Christ and make choices of faith, but Christ is already in you. And through His finished work we share in His victory.
Flesh and Spirit
In the above passage, Paul begins to contrast the FLESH over and against the SPIRIT. This will be important to grasp if we are to understand the chapter. But first, we need to know some basics. For example, we must see that if we are born again, we are not IN THE FLESH. Rather, we are IN THE SPIRIT. That is a fact, regardless of how we live. Paul will say this later in chapter 8. This also gets back to what Paul teaches in Romans 6. Through Christ, we are already delivered from the POWER of sin – from the power of the old creation. If we are IN CHRIST, we are IN THE SPIRIT.
However, we have already seen that we are not delivered from the presence or possibility of the flesh. Thus, despite being IN THE SPIRIT, and not IN THE FLESH, it is nevertheless possible to walk ACCORDING TO THE FLESH. We see examples of Christians doing this all through the NT.
But what does that mean – what does it mean to walk according to the flesh? Well, first we have to understand what the Bible means by the term, "the flesh." "The flesh," is essentially the SELF principle. It surely includes all of the immoral possibilities that we usually think of when we think of the word, "flesh." But THE FLESH is really a matter of me owning myself -- running my own life – it is ME as the center of the universe. Thus, it is possible to walk according to the flesh and do it quite religiously. Just use the things of God for your own purposes, and you are walking according to the flesh.
Another way of describing the flesh is to call it the sin nature. If I walk according to the sin nature, I am walking according to the flesh. But again -- don’t just think of sinning -- for the flesh is the SELF. The flesh is the sin nature’s pension for running one’s own life. So, "to walk according to the flesh," is to walk according to what I see, what I feel, what I want – and it is possible to do some nice things under that motivation. A person who is NOT born again will walk according to the flesh because that is ALL HE HAS TO WORK WITH. He has only the SELF principle – and will serve it without even knowing what he is doing. It comes natural.
If just take Paul’s words as a child, it becomes clear as to what he means when he says that we are to WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. This is not just a matter of LEADINGS – although God can and does lead people. And while to WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT would include obedience, faith, and everything else that is of God – to walk AFTER the Spirit really speaks of an overall basis for living. It means to walk as if we belong to God – we walk GOVERNED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. I am living on the basis of a new relationship with Christ – as one who has passed from death to life.
Perhaps one of the best summaries of what it means to walk after the Spirit are the words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount. The entire sermon is a description of what it means to walk after the Spirit. But all of the teaching in that sermon could perhaps be gathered up into one verse:
But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
Here we see how a new creation in Christ Jesus, who is living on an entirely different basis, will live and function. It is both spiritual and practical. We will live IN this world, but not be OF this world. We won’t live with the motivation of the world, or be governed by SELF. Rather, we will seek God’s will, indeed, seek God Himself. And if we do, all the rest of what we need will be provided, within God’s present purpose and methods.
Again – and this cannot be overemphasized – a saved person is a DIFFERENT KIND of creature than a natural man. As a result, this, "different kind of creature," lives according to a different kind of INNER GOVERNMENT. Fundamental to this new government is victory over the old government of the flesh, and victory over sin and death. On a more positive note, fundamental this new kind of creature is the fact that his perspective, motivation, and really, his entire being, has come under this government of resurrection life.
You will note that it takes TIME and EXPERIENCE for there to be a change in government. This does not, however, mean that the change OF government is progressive – no, for we are born again all at once. But just as a conquered nation must be progressively brought under the government of the conquering nation, so it is with us. Thus, we are a new creation – a different creature – under a new government, the kingdom of God. But we have to learn how to LIVE like it.
Jesus command to SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God – the governing of Christ within over us – is about the most basic statement that could me made about the new life in it’s practical outworking. The new creation in Christ is to seek God’s will, God’s rule, indeed, God Himself, in ALL THINGS. We are, if you will, to BECOME expressions of God’s kingdom through Christ in us by the Spirit. And if we are in that process – and it is a process – Jesus says that we are then living on the basis of the Spirit – we are walking according to the Spirit. And everything we need will be added to us that is needed for God’s will in practical living.
Thus, to walk AFTER the Spirit, means to live on another basis – the basis of Jesus as Lord and God’s will – not just with regards to works, but really, with regards to our whole being. In short, to walk AFTER the Spirit means that I am fully in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and have opened myself to God for whatever it takes for Him to make me into an expression of the life of Christ. This is what it means to SEEK FIRST the kingdom or rule of God.
Of course, this also tells us what it means to walk AFTER the flesh. It means NONE of the above, but more, it means to be governed by SELF. It means to live for this life, with only the perspective of this life. You cannot SEE the kingdom of God unless you are born again. It doesn’t matter how hard you try – and it doesn’t matter how many doctrines you know. You cannot SEE.
The Mind or Intent
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. 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.
Paul says that they that are, "after the flesh," which means, "walking according to the flesh," he says that they do MIND the things of the flesh. This also means that if you mind the things of the flesh, you are at that point, "walking according to the flesh." The same goes for the Spirit. The word, "mind," here speaks of goal or intent. You, "mind," something when you live for it, and when it governs you.
Here again we are reminded of Jesus’ command to seek first the kingdom of God. To SEEK is to MIND. It is the goal upon which your mind, or will, is centered. For what do we live?
If you read this passage, you will see that Paul is once again assuring us that there IS a battle here – even though Christ has already won all victory. But IN US this victory has to be made manifest. And IN US there continues to exist flesh – in which functions the law of sin and death. So even though the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has victory over the law of sin and death, that victory needs to be worked out to God’s glory in our being.
Note also this point: Paul says that the carnal mind is at enmity against God. It CANNOT be subject to God’s law. In other words, you must be born again. Law keeping won’t do. But as Paul continually asks the Galatians, once you are born again, why are you trying to maintain your salvation and righteousness through law-keeping? This is futile. Christ is already the fulfillment of the requirement of the law IN YOU. Walk in the Spirit – seek first God’s rule and kingdom. If you do, obedience will result. You are married to another and you will bear fruit unto God.
To walk after the Spirit will not result in license. Paul covered this whole thing in Romans 6. But your obedience won’t be your attempt to maintain your salvation, or establish your righteousness. Rather, it will be the OUTCOME of Christ in you.
To be, "carnally minded," means to think in temporal terms, rather than spiritual terms – really, it means to live for the temporal. It is DEATH because the carnal mind is void of light and Truth, and cannot, while a person is still unsaved, be renewed according to the Truth.
The person who is carnally minded usually doesn’t know it. Many professing Christians are carnally minded. They live in a box framed by their ignorance, but they think they know. Because the perspective of the carnal mind is ALL THEY HAVE EVER KNOWN, they think that it is all there is. Add a little religion and self-righteousness, and they can even think that what they know is the Truth.
There is no escape from this condition except the new birth. Regeneration does not precede faith – this is the error of Calvinism. But once God initiates and brings light to a darkened man, that man has enough to turn to Christ while still unsaved. If he does, then he will be born again, and begin to SEE the kingdom of God. He will begin to know Christ. Part of this process will be that the person will begin to see how deceived he has been, and how blind he has been to the Truth. There will be an on-going conviction upon us for our unbelief. But as we walk with Christ in the Spirit, our mind will be renewed according to the Truth – in short, we will begin to see that what God says is true IS true.
It is here that we must make comment on the phrase, "they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Christians, by definition, are not IN the flesh – Paul says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." Yet Paul also knows that it is still possible for a Christian, despite being IN the Spirit, to walk AFTER the flesh. And if Christians DO walk after the flesh, the principle applies: You cannot please God.
One of the more common ways in which professing Christians walk AFTER the flesh is by trying to make our emotions obey God – we try to create an emotional condition we think will PLEASE God and impress Him; convince Him we are righteous. Or we try to make our emotions believe. This is futile. Our emotions cannot believe. Emotions REACT. And they are often great liars. Thus, if I continually examine my emotions to see if I have faith, or to affirm that God is true, I am really walking after the flesh. I am on a completely wrong basis.
Do you find yourself turning inward and calculating how you feel about something, and then on the basis of that, establishing the Truth? Or establishing God’s will? This is not what it means to walk after the Spirit – but really is what it means to walk after the flesh. I am using ME to determine Truth.
There is no capacity in the flesh, in the emotions, or in the natural mind to know God or walk with God. Sure, we can memorize doctrines and alter lifestyles religiously. But that is not walking after the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit requires the receiving of a new life – from the outside of us, into us – through death and resurrection. It requires that I be born again FROM ABOVE. And even then it takes time to learn how to walk after the Spirit, rather than just continue in the old patterns of the flesh.
If all of this happened automatically, such that being born again automatically made all these things happen without our knowledge, obedience, faith, and walk with God, then Paul would not need to write these epistles. But the fact that we have all this teaching proves that we need it. We are being told how God works – we are being taught the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
The Spirit is Life
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have 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 dwells in you.
There is a lot of Truth in this passage. Right off the bat, we see once again that if you are saved, you are not IN the flesh, but IN the Spirit. You ARE a new creation, born of the Spirit. That is your identity. You simply need to learn how to walk AFTER the Spirit.
Then Paul says, "If any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." In other words, if you DO have the Spirit of Christ, you DO belong to Him. And belonging to Christ through the Spirit has a great ramification: Your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
Paul is obviously talking about the essence of salvation. If Christ is in you through the Holy Spirit, you are saved. If He is not in you, you are not saved. You do not belong to Him.
Now, just as an aside, can we see that there is no room in any of this for the necessity of a second blessing in addition to Christ – such as is taught by the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Paul says that if you have the Spirit in you, that you belong to Christ – that you are IN THE SPIRIT. And everything else that he is going to teach is built upon that basis. There is not another baptism with the Holy Spirit except the ONE and ONLY that is our salvation. When we receive Christ, we receive the fullness of God.
Incidentally, if you want a definition, right from Paul, of what it means to be IN THE SPIRIT, we have it right here. Paul says, "But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." In other words, if the Spirit dwells in you, you are in the Spirit – and thus, if the Spirit dwells in you, you are saved. Thus, to be in the Spirit is NOT made possible through some second blessing or baptism. No. To be in the Spirit is synonymous with Christ in us – with salvation.
Paul said to the Colossians, "You are complete in Christ." (see Col. 2:10) The literal meaning is, "you are filled to the full in Christ." When we receive Christ, we receive all that God has for us. There could be no more of a basic Truth than that. And yet millions believe that you can have Christ in you, yet lack most of what God wants you to have, because you have NOT received a second blessing that they say is the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
But this is not the Truth. And we see indications of that here, in this passage. Notice, for example, the different terms Paul uses in the above passage for the same indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit:
In the Spirit
The Spirit of God that dwells in you.
The Spirit of Christ
Christ in you
. The Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
His (the Father’s) Spirit that dwells in you
All of these are the SAME indwelling, through the SAME salvation experience. They are all descriptions of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit – made possible through the ONE and ONLY baptism with the Holy Spirit unto salvation.
Moving forward, Paul states that the impact of CHRIST IN US is that, "the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness." This is really a repeat of what Paul said in Romans 6:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Rom 6:5-8)
If Christ is in us, we have been crucified with Him, and been raised in Him. Not just legally, but REALLY. And this will mean that the power of sin is broken in our lives. And since the power of sin – the law of sin and death – operates in the body or flesh, then it means that if Christ is in us, our body is dead TO sin, and our spirit is alive to righteousness.
Can we wrap our minds around this great Truth? "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Can we see that CHRIST IN US is supposed to be REAL? This is not about religion. It is not about believing doctrines – although the doctrines will tell us the Truth about it all. Rather, it is about actually becoming one with Christ in His death and resurrection. If we do, our body is dead because of sin – this has no power over us – but we are raised with Christ.
Paul is trying to tell us that it is futile to try to make a dead body obey God. He is trying to tell us that a dead body cannot make us obey IT. No. We are raised up out of all of that as a new creation in Christ. Paul is saying, "This is the Truth. Walk alive to righteousness."
Paul never tells us to settle for defeat – although defeat will be the case along the way, as we must learn how NOT to walk. But Paul holds out the hope of actually walking in the Spirit. He says, "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 dwells in you." In other words, at some point, if Christ is in us, our outward life will reflect it. Victory won’t begin in the outward, but it will eventually be reflected in the outward. Even our mortal bodies will, as we believe and obey, come under the new government that is in us. And ultimately, at the resurrection, we will be changed fully.
No Longer Debtors
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
A DEBTOR is someone obligated – in this case, to the flesh. In other words, before we were saved, we WERE in bondage to the flesh. This could only result in death. But after being saved, we are no longer debtors – showing that we really are set free from the power of sin; from the obligation to obey the flesh.
Paul says that we need to MORTIFY the deeds of the body. The word, "mortify," means, "to destroy by neglect." WE need to do this, BY the Spirit. In other words, we need to make the choice to obey God in a positive, pro-active manner, but part of this will, by default, mean that we must leave aside the flesh. Because of Christ in us, we have the power to do this.
At the end of the above passage, we have this often misunderstood verse: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Millions believe that Paul is here talking about LEADINGS of the Spirit to do this or that, or go here or there. Many even teach that if you do have such LEADINGS, that this is evidence that you are a son of God – for they say that Paul is saying that those who are led of God are the sons of God. But this is wrong. The context of the passage has very little to do with LEADINGS.
If you read that verse in context, you discover that Paul is not talking about LEADINGS. He is talking about whether you are GOVERNED by the Spirit. Indeed, the Greek word translated, "led," in this verse means, "to be governed." Paul is saying that if you are a son of God, that this will be evidence by the fact that you are GOVERNED by the Holy Spirit.
There is a big difference between being LED by the Spirit and being GOVERNED by the Spirit. Being led by the Spirit requires only that God tell me to do something, or lead me somewhere into something, and that is it. But to be GOVERNED by the Spirit speaks again of the government under which I am living. And if you read the passage, you will find that Paul is talking about being GOVERNED by either the flesh, or by the Spirit.
Essential to the definition of a son of God is that they have the Spirit of God IN THEM, and they are more and more living in freedom from the government of the flesh, and more and more under the government of the Spirit. In short, a son of God is defined by the fact that Jesus Christ is their Lord – not just in fact, but in practice. This is what it means to be GOVERNED by the Holy Spirit – to be living in His will to His glory.
God can and does LEAD His people. But it is entirely possible to be LED by God, and yet to not be GOVERNED by Him. God is merciful. But He wants us governed by Christ in us.
So the whole point being made by Paul is not that God will LEAD us. It is that God wants to GOVERN us – and that if we are sons of God we will be more and more coming under the Holy Spirit unto that end.
The Spirit of Adoption
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, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears 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. (Rom 8:14-17)
If you ever feel as if you are cut off from God, this is a good verse to turn to. It shows that we are sons of God. God cannot disown his own children. Furthermore, this is just another verse that shows the nonsense of saying we can lose our salvation – provided we really are born again. We are of an entirely different spirit – not that of fear – but that of adoption.
The born again believer, as already noted, is a different kind of creature, or human being. He is ONE WITH CHRIST. He is a son or daughter of God because Jesus is THE Son of God, and we are IN HIM. In fact, this reality is supposed to grow to become so real that the PROOF of it is that, "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Do we realize what this means? It means that life in Christ is supposed to be so real in us that Christ in us is a witness, or testimony to us, of the Truth that we belong to God.
How many of us have that kind of witness within? Or how many of us think that the proof of Christianity is, for instance, the Bible? Well, the Bible isn’t the ultimate proof of Christianity – and actually the Bible itself is telling us that right here in Romans. Paul does not say that, "scripture bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God." No, despite the fact that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Rather, the Bible describes what conversion is, how to be converted, and tells us the nature and character of Christ in us. But you could actually memorize all of these points and NOT be converted! No. The Bible tells us that the Spirit WITHIN US is the witness! The real PROOF of Christianity is Christ in us. Scripture does fully support this reality, but the written Word is not the reality Himself, who is the Living Word.
John agrees with Paul completely on this point:
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that believes not God hath made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God has given to us: eternal life. And this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:9-11)
Christ in us IS Christianity, and thus, Christ in us is the PROOF, testimony, or record, of the Truth of Christianity. Does this not tell us a little about how real and life-changing Christ in us is supposed to be? Sure. Paul is trying to tell us that all through these last couple of chapters. He is telling us that Christ in us through the Spirit will not only make us a different kind of creature, but we will be walking according to an entirely different government.But this won’t be easy. The flesh usually doesn’t go quietly. That is why Paul goes on to build upon the fact that we are children of God by saying, "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."
This is a passage that is often meant to mean that because Christ has all victory, that we automatically have all victory. From this come such errors as, "Word of Faith," "Dominion Theology," and the authority of the believer. Well, potentially it is true that we do have all the victory that Christ has. But just go out and try to exercise all victory. You won’t last five minutes. And neither would those who teach this error.
You will notice the big, "IF," in this passage. Everything we share with Christ as coheirs with Him is contingent upon one thing: "If we suffer WITH Him." What this means is that in order for the victory of Christ to be possible for us to possess, Christ has to possess US. As noted before, we have the authority OF Christ only to the extent that Christ has authority over us. The potential must become actual in the form of a relationship between us and Jesus.
This ought not to be surprising. Do we actually think that we can reign and rule WITH Christ over anything, if Christ isn’t reigning and ruling over us? Hardly. Here again we see that authority isn’t a THING or a POSITION that God simply hands out as a gift. No. All authority is IN CHRIST – and the only way to operate in His authority is by coming under Him.
Actually, there is no authority handed to any of us as independent creatures. No. We have authority only IN CHRIST – as the outcome of our oneness and submission to Him. We are sons and daughters of God only because we are IN HIM, and heirs of God only because we are IN HIM, and have authority only because we are IN HIM. There is nothing given us that is not the result of our association and oneness with Him.
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29)
To suffer WITH Christ is necessary because it is through that suffering that we do lose our life, and our control and authority over it, into His hands as our Lord. We must become so totally abandoned to Christ that God is able to do whatever it pleases Him to do in us, to accomplish His will, and glorify Himself. If I am to be changed inwardly, to one who is governed by the SELF principle, or flesh, over to one governed by Christ, suffering will be necessary. But it will be suffering WITH Christ – I will suffer as He comes to govern me, for my flesh won’t like this.
Now, if you read the above passage in context, you do begin to understand that when Paul talks about reigning and ruling with Christ, that he is certainly speaking about reigning and ruling by the Spirit of life OVER the flesh. This is where the battle begins and must be established. Those who are the sons of God are governed by the Spirit of God – and if we are governed by the Spirit, we are set free from the government of the flesh.
The Glory to Be
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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul has just said that if we want to reign with Christ – live in our inheritance – we must come UNDER Christ. That will mean suffering in the flesh. But now he tells us about the other side of this Truth. He tells us that all the suffering of this present time isn’t worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.
Now, note two things. First of all, Paul is contrasting the sufferings of THIS PRESENT TIME to the glory of the eternal ages. There is, to a much less extent, a glory that is revealed to us in this present time as well. But nothing compared to what will be.
Can we see a relationship here between what God is doing in our lives NOW, and what will be released THEN? Can we see that God is actually preparing His people – those who will yield – to reign and rule with Him, and to experience His glory? Sure. This life is about being prepared for the next. That is why we must lose our lives to find them in Christ. And that is why God always works toward eternal ends, and beckons us to do the same.
The second thing to note is that there is a glory to be revealed IN US. Get that: Not just a glory to be revealed TO US – although that is certain as well. But a glory to be revealed IN US. This is not OUR glory, mind you, but the glory that is the result of Christ in us.
God is not going to glorify us. He is going to glorify Christ – but if Christ is in us, then in the eternal ages, there will come a fullness of release of everything Christ is in us. To put it another way, we will be able to experience ALL OF HIM. We will no longer be hindered by the flesh.
If you read this passage, however, it appears that to the extent that we are abandoning ourselves to Christ now, and are willing to suffer with Him, we will THEN have the capacity to experience Christ. This isn’t about God giving different amounts of Christ, or different amounts of inheritance to people. Rather, it is about us having different capacities to experience all of Christ. In other words, God gives all of Jesus TO ALL. But some will be able to experience Him more than others – and the cause is found in how we choose NOW, in accordance with the calling that God has upon us.
The Manifestation of the Sons of God
For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. 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 groans and travails in pain together until now.
In reading this next verse, we must get one thing out of the way: There has been, over the last 50 years, a teaching called, "The Latter Rain." Sometimes it is called, "The Manifest Sons of God." This teaching essentially claims that at the end of this age, God is going to bring forth a glorious army of His people, who will basically take over the world. At least they will take over the church. All of this is supposed to happen so that these, "manifest sons of God," can simply hand over the kingdom to Jesus when He comes.
If you get what I’m saying, this Latter Rain heresy claims that the manifestation of the sons of God is going to happen on THIS SIDE of the Second Coming. This teaching is error. There is no such thing taught in the Bible. It certainly isn’t taught here, in Romans. What the Bible does teach, rather than an end-time revival and glorious church, is apostasy. However, there are movements under way right now, Word of Faith and the new Apostolic Reformation, that are trying to do and be exactly what this error suggests. Christians need to beware of them, for this kind of push is just getting warmed up. Probably all that is missing is a big crisis that will stampede millions to them for supposed safety. My believe is that these supposed, "manifest sons of God," are going to be the embodiment of the spirit of antichrist. But that is another subject.
In context, the manifestation of the sons of God is clearly for the next ages. The whole passage makes that clear – it is our suffering NOW, and our overcoming NOW, that makes all of this possible THEN. Furthermore, even if I made the mistake of thinking that the sons of God are to be made manifest now, I should see the MEANS by which this must happen. It is not by movements, supposed anointing, or big ministry. The sons of God are made manifest because they have suffered WITH HIM – this is why that can have Christ is glorified in them
But once we see that all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God in the next age – through the resurrection of the body – it ought to enlarge our thinking. ALL of creation? Can we see a great redemptive plan of God that cannot come to pass until then – until God has sons and daughters? This is what God is doing in this age – adopting sons and daughters in Christ, and preparing them to live with Him forever. Paul says that all of creation is waiting eagerly for this to be brought to pass. What an amazing purpose God must have for us in the eternal ages!
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
This passage makes it certain that the glorious liberty and manifestation of the children of God is not going to happen in this age – for Paul says that we also groan within ourselves waiting for the next age when this will happen. No wonder God is willing to sacrifice so much in this age for the next. When we get there, as Paul said, the sufferings of this present time won’t even be able to be compared to the glory of Christ.
The Spirit Makes Intercession
Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Many charismatics teach that this passage says that believers are to have a, "prayer language." This claim is based on the fact that Paul says that the Spirit makes intercession for us with, "groanings that cannot be uttered." And so the thought is that Spirit must pray THROUGH us in tongues – i.e., we cannot utter these groanings, but the Spirit can utter them through us.
However, if you read this passage, that really doesn’t fit. If the Spirit is praying through us in tongues, then those ARE groanings that ARE being uttered – howbeit, by the Spirit through us. But Paul says the Spirit prays with groanings that CANNOT be uttered -- period. Furthermore, he says the Spirit makes intercession FOR the saints – not THROUGH the saints. See what I mean? The real Truth here seems to be that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered in any way – tongues or otherwise. In short, there is prayer going on IN THE SPIRIT – prayer that is something OTHER THAN what we might have considered.
I believe that all of the gifts of the Spirit are possible for today – including the gift of tongues. The doctrine of cessation is not Biblically defensible. This doesn’t mean that all the people who claim to speak in tongues are doing so, or that tongues are the evidence of the Holy Spirit. No. All that nonsense has been kicked around for decades to no resolution. The bottom line is WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? The Bible says there is a gift of tongues – even though it does not say everyone has that gift. Neither does the Bible insist that the gift of tongues is to be widespread. All is says is that it is one of the spiritual gifts. Thus, we must hold to the possibility of the gift of tongues in the church today.
My point is this – despite believing that tongues are possible for today, I do not believe you can make this passage teach it. It simply does not say anything about tongues.
But regardless, the promise of Paul is sure. He says that the Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession according to the will of God – because we often do not know how to pray. This is a wonderful comfort to know that the Spirit of God – God the Spirit – is praying for you and I – even if we don’t know how to pray. I would submit that when the Holy Spirit prays, God hears and answers – not sometime, but every time.
The Purpose of God
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 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 brethren. 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.
This passage must be taken as a whole. And remember – Paul is still talking about the fact that all creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. He is still talking about the fact that the sufferings of this present time cannot be compared to the glory of Christ that is to be revealed in us. In short, Paul is talking about the purpose of God which is ALL OF THAT. But in this passage he gets a little more specific.
Note what he says: He says that all things work together for good. But what is the GOOD towards which all things work together? Well, the purpose of God. And what is that purpose? That we might be conformed to the image of His Son. So Paul is saying that in the life of the born again believer, God will work all things together unto the good – unto the purpose that we might be conformed to Christ.
This is the purpose of God. If it is not my purpose, it will explain much about the difficulty that I might be having in my walk with Christ. We must walk according to the same purpose God is working.
The phrase, "conformed to the image of His Son," is a little misleading in this passage. It makes it sound as if God’s purpose is to make us LIKE Jesus, in the sense that we are to be Xerox copies of Jesus. But no. The phrase ought to read, "formed together with Christ." We aren’t to be LIKE Jesus. Jesus is actually to live in and through us.
Often, the Christ is said to be the prototype, and we the duplicates. But this completely destroys our ONENESS with Christ. It distorts the fact that all that we are is only because He is IN US. Thus, rather than say we are to be LIKE Jesus, it is more the Truth to say that we are to manifest Christ. Christ is in us, and wants to live through us. He wants more than people who mimic Him.
Of course, Christ doesn’t live through us to the disregard of us – He doesn’t by pass our wills, or take us over, to live through us. No. In fact, this is why we must submit ourselves to Christ, and lose our lives – then Christ can live through us. Otherwise, He cannot.
Here we see why if Christ wants to live through us that we might become governed by Him, and set free from the government of the flesh. If I am walking after the flesh, Christ cannot live through me. Only if I come to the Cross and come under His Lordship and walk after the Spirit is Christ living through me. Only then am I being formed together with Him.
We can liken the Holy Spirit in us as an invasion of our former kingdom that is governed by the flesh. A warfare begins. The Holy Spirit will seek to bring all of us under the government of Christ – under the life of Christ. Again, this cannot happen unless we yield, as God gives grace and opportunity. But as we do, Christ can be made manifest through us. We will become a living expression of Jesus as Lord.
The means by which the Christ who is first IN US comes to be seen though us – the means by which we are formed together with Him – is death and resurrection. Our flesh – the SELF – must be crucified out of the way, and then Christ is seen. This is much different than saying that God simply acts upon us to make us like Jesus. No. Christian growth is the result of me decreasing, so that the Christ within might be seen.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Cor 4:7-10)
To form us TOGETHER with Christ is the purpose of God for His people. It is the GOOD unto which God will work all things. It is the purpose for which He has predestined His church.
Predestination is never unto salvation. It is unto a purpose FOR the saved. And even that isn’t irresistible. Paul says much the same thing in Ephesians:
According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Eph 1:4-6)
Why did God choose a people? That we should be holy and without blame before Him. And a whole bunch of other things similar to what it says in Romans 8. But this is different than saying that God has elected some to irresistible salvation, and others to irresistible damnation. No. Predestination has to do with God’s purpose for those who come to Christ by faith.
Paul is saying, "God has a wonderful purpose into which He is calling us. He always intended us for this purpose, even before we were born." But there is nothing about this that excludes the possibility that people can refuse the purpose of God. Sure they can. But the predestined purpose of God will stand for those who embrace Christ.
Calvinists teach unconditional election and irresistible grace. In short, to them if God predestines something for me, it must happen. They cannot accept that God could have a purpose for a person, but that the person could refuse it. To them, this would deny the sovereignty of God. But it does not. God is totally sovereign. But it is precisely because God is sovereign that He is able, not only to put His hand ON people, but also to take His hand OFF, and let them reject Him. Really, only a truly sovereign God would allow people to reject His sovereignty over them – all because He desires free will.
God is not a prisoner of His own sovereignty and foreknowledge. Rather, God is able to be sovereign enough to let people reject Him, and sovereign enough to give us free will. To us, this may be difficult to grasp. But we are not God.
Those who insist that if God purpose is irresistible ought to wake up to reality. How many people do you know have actually been formed together with Christ? How many down through history? Where is this even TAUGHT today? Or ever -- in a widespread manner? The number may be more than we think. But certainly NOT to the masses. The point is, if the purpose of God is irresistible, then God has elected very few to salvation. And He hasn’t even seen to it that His own purpose of forming us together with Christ is taught very many places. Furthermore, during this age, God’s very own people have done more to hinder His purpose than be part of it. Did God predestine that?
So God has predestined saved people unto a purpose. He wants to form us together with Christ. He will work all things towards that good. But He then allows us to make the choice as to whether to come into His intended desire for us.
Nothing Can Separate
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 any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes 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.
This passage is a conclusion of Romans 6 through 8. Paul concludes that since all of his teachings show that God is FOR us, then who can be AGAINST us? He concludes that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.
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