Johan is a marriage counsellor and evangelist with a BA from the University of South Africa and an MA from Abilene Christian University.
Romans Chapter 8
If one had to make a list of top ten chapters in the Bible, Romans 8 would be up there. After Paul showed in Chapters 1-3 that all have sinned, he then approached the important fact that the law cannot bring salvation. It can only identify sin and not bring forgiveness. It is only in Christ that salvation can be found. This gift of God comes by grace and not by works. Now in this remarkable chapter, Paul gives the readers important information about the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned 20 times in this chapter.
Like the apostles, when Jesus told them that he would leave them as recorded in John 14, the Christians in Rome must have had a difficult time coming to terms with their trials and tribulations. They were being persecuted by Judaizing teachers on the one hand and the Roman authorities on the other.
Now Paul reminds the church about the promises of the new life that they are living in step with the Spirit. The first fact is that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We are in Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38), “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Paul then continues with this important fact: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (vs.11, NKJV). Now Christians are adopted children of God and can call Him “Abba”. In this, Christians also inherit what God owns, a magnificent thought! “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-3). Freedom from sin comes through the Holy Spirit. It is also the Spirit who puts to death the deeds of the body and so gives us life (vs.13). According to Paul we received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry “Abba Father” (vs.15).God, as our father and saviour in Christ, will never forsake us.
Secondly the Spirit then also helps us in our weaknesses. Jesus prayed for the comforter to come as recorded in John 14:16: “I will pray the Father and he will give you another Helper” (NKJV). Paul now explains to the church in Rome that it is the Holy Spirit who also helps us in our prayer life. When we do not even know what to say he makes intersession for us. “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Paul then continues with a vital thought, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. (Romans 8: 27, 28).
The encouraging verse (vs.28) reminds us that all things work to the advantage of those who belong to God, an important fact to remember when life seems impossible. Look for what is happening in the long term and perhaps only in eternity.
In this chapter Paul also introduces the concept of glorification (vs.30).”Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, these He also justified, and whom He justified these He also glorified”. Earlier in the letter he had explained the terms justification and sanctification and now he refers to glorification as if it has already taken place. Paul’s faith is so strong that he sees something in the future as already being present. Here are the stages of salvation; called, justified and glorified. All have been called as Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:9, but only those who receive God’s grace and are justified will be glorified. Glorification can be described as the ultimate state of a person who is now in God’s presence recreated in the image of Christ.
The chapter is completed with the great promise of God’s everlasting love.”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, not any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (8:38,39) No matter how difficult things are, if God is with us, who can be against us? With God on our side there is the knowledge that nothing can separate us from that love. We have the security of the promises of God and are “more than conquerors” in Christ.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Barclay, W. The Book of Romans
Bruce, F.F. Romans