Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
So far, we have addressed many issues regarding salvation and faith. We have seen that all men are sinners, whether they sin under the Law of Moses or the law written on men’s hearts (that is, conscience). So it is that all men are dead in their transgressions and sins, and without intervention we could do nothing to please God. However, our God has given us salvation by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we are no longer the same sinners we were. We have died to sin and been reborn as children of God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 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:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 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.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 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.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 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.
18 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.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 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.
29 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.
30 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.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 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?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 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.
We who have been crucified with Christ were also raised with Him into a new life. The old has gone, and behold all has been made new. While our old selves, mired in sin and able to do no good, were condemned, we are condemned no longer. This is the essence of the gospel – the good news.
The law stood above men and condemned us, for our flesh was unable to satisfy the requirements of the law. But we are no longer children of sinful flesh, but children of God through the Holy Spirit. We who live in the Spirit are saved from the law of sin and death.
God sent Jesus as a man, fully formed after the likeness of sinful men. Yet Jesus was without sin, and so did nothing to merit condemnation. When Jesus was crucified, there was an imbalance in the law, for he did not deserve death yet received it. This imbalance is in our favor, because we deserved death and condemnation yet may now are freed from that judgment. Now we can stand on the level of the Law, and fulfill it in righteousness as no other man has been able to do before.
The Flesh and the Spirit
When we were creatures of the sinful flesh, we lived in sinful lusts. We did all manner of things that were not good, but which pleased the flesh. Now, however, we are creatures of the Spirit, and we live to serve the Spirit. So it is that we can do things that are good and please the Spirit.
Focus on the flesh brings death and condemnation, for the flesh is sinful and despises God. But focus on the Spirit brings life and peace, because the Spirit is of God. If one does not have this Spirit, he is not of God and Christ. But if one has this Spirit, the body is dead already in its sins but the Spirit is life and righteousness.
Therefore, we Christians have comfort and assurance when we confront death. For when we were dead in our sins, death led only to further condemnation and darkness, but now that we are alive in Christ we know that death is merely the end of our sinful lives. That same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will surely raise us as well, and we shall be with Him in His Glory.
We have not received a Spirit of bondage to fear of death, so that we should continue to be afraid. We have received the Spirit of God, his adoption of us, so that we can truly call God our Father. Through Christ, we have been made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, so that even if we suffer with Him we shall also partake in His glory, which shall far surpass any temporary sufferings of this world.
A creature is, to use its proper definition, a living thing which is created. That which is created in this world has been tainted by our father Adam’s sin, and so all of creation has awaited the manifestation of the Son of God, and the adopted sons we call the Church. The creatures have been subject to the consequences of our vanity and pride, and they shall also be subject to the deliverance we now enjoy. All of creation has suffered under the consequences of our sin – death, pain, torment – but the time is coming where such enemies will be destroyed forever.
When I say all of creation suffers, I include ourselves. For we have suffered before we were saved, and even now we experience suffering as we await the resurrection of the body. We experience the first fruits of the Spirit, so that we may be alive in the Spirit, but still our bodies suffer and die. So we are a symbol of hope for creation, that we have been given the first fruits and can reaffirm the promise of the full harvest.
We are saved by hope. It is our hope for the world to come, and not anything that we can see on this earth. After all, what is there to hope for if it is already here? A man hopes for his child before the child is born, but he cannot hope for that child to be born after it has been born. So it is with us; we have received a great gift, but this gift is merely the hope for what is to come. We can think of it as collateral or a down-payment, something to hold onto while we patiently await the fulfillment of the promise.
The Spirit is our Helper
What is this gift we have received? It is more than merely the death of Christ (though I feel wrong to use the word “merely” for such a gift) – it is the Holy Spirit. This same Spirit which Christ promised us has come, first to the disciples at Pentecost and now to all the elect. This same Spirit is our helper, for when we do not know what to pray the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, praying that which we do not know in our minds but which the Spirit does know.
This same Spirit knows our minds and hearts, and the Holy Spirit is of God, and the Holy Spirit is God in truth. This Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God, because God can do no other than his will. Because of this Spirit, all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose.
God’s Eye View on Salvation
The Holy Spirit, along with the Father and the Son, is God. Those God foreknew, those who are of His flock, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Though the Prince of this world may be against him, God has power over all of creation, and it is His work that has made us to become children of God. Regardless of our perspective on the matter, God knows all those who will be His, and He prepares the way by which they will be brought to salvation.
Those he has predestined to be saved, he has called. As Christ said, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him” (as water is drawn from a well). All those he has called he has justified, and those he has justified he has glorified. Our glory is His, and we are permitted to partake in His glory as heirs.
God is not mocked. If God, who has the power of creation and destruction, who stands in absolute authority over all creation both visible and invisible, who grants existence to all that does exist in creation, is for us, who can be against us? Who can stand against the absolute might of our God, to resist His call? This same God who delivered his own Son as propitiation on our behalf shall not be hindered from giving us anything according to his will.
The Elect are under God
We are children and heirs of our God. An heir does nothing to earn that which he inherits. So it is that we, too, have done nothing for our own justification – it is God that justifies.
In the same way, we have no power of condemnation. Christ is the arbiter, and Christ died and rose again to the right hand of God on our behalf. The same God who condemns has spared us condemnation, and his is the highest authority.
The Preservation of the Saints
God is for us, and His is the absolute final word. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Who or what can separate us from His love?
Can troubles, trials, distress, persecution, famine (starvation and physical need), dangers, or even the earthly power to end our lives separate us from his love? The psalmist wrote that we are as sheep for the slaughter, killed all day long for God’s sake. Even so, there is no power in heaven or on earth that can match the love of Christ.
In this, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
Paul was persuaded, as we are persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (visible and invisible), nor powers (visible and invisible), nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature (visible or invisible) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Reread that list again – no power, no distance, nothing that exists or will exist, no visible or invisible creature, and no state of life can do anything to separate us from the love of God.
Let us Pray
O mighty God, lord over all of creation, author and perfecter of our faith, creator and sustainer of all existence, we thank you that you are our God. Your love surpasses all our understanding, for you give it unconditionally to us, who were dead in our transgressions and sins and enemies of God, that we might be reborn as your heirs. All praise be to God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ who was given to die and rise again that we might be joint heirs with Him, and the Holy Spirit who is now with us.
Grant us understanding of your love and glory, that we might come to understand the greatness of the gift which you have given to us.
Fill us to overflowing with your Spirit, that we might do all good works you have prepared in advance for us. For you knew us in our mothers’ wombs, you called us unto you according to your will, and you gave us new life and purpose in Your kingdom. Let us evermore praise you in our thoughts, words, and deeds, cheerful in our gratitude for your abundant kindness.
In the name of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ the Son, and of God the Holy Spirit, one God now and forevermore,
Before the closing benediction, I want to talk a bit about the TULIP principle attributed to Calvinism. This is a simple acronym that details the key principles of the book of Romans regarding our salvation, and it is hotly contested in many denominations. I hope that you can see now, having reached this point in the book (particularly the end of this chapter), whence this simple teaching comes.
- Total Depravity – All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Therefore all men stand condemned.
- Unconditional Election – No one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him. No one gets to God the Father except through Christ. And there is no mechanism by which a man can merit salvation. It is the free gift of God, given according to His will.
- Limited Atonement – Christ died for sinners, but not all sinners partake in Christ’s saving work. In accordance with unconditional election, only those whom God has made alive have the Spirit and are freed from the bondage to sin and death.
- Irresistible Grace – What power can resist the will of God? If nothing can separate us from his love, then surely nothing can resist his call. When he draws you, you come.
- Preservation of the Saints – Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. No action of any creature, ourselves included.
Now, I know this can be (and often is) debated by various sects, but from what we have already seen and will continue to see as we delve into Romans this appears to be true. The comments are open – feel free to discuss at your leisure.
Now, the peace and power of Almighty God dwell in you richly, and may you be blessed with all spiritual gifts. Amen.