Romans chapter 8 has been one of the most influential chapters in the Bible for me. And I am not alone. John Piper has called this the greatest chapter in the Bible, for very good reason. This is a wonderful climax in this book. Paul has condemned the entire human race because of their depravity in chapters 1-2. Chapters 3-4 show us that Christ’s perfect work is necessary because of God’s righteousness, and this work can only be received by faith alone. Then chapters 5-7 teach us that truly converted people have died to sin, through the cross, and this is illustrated by baptism. Then we come to the climax in chapter 8. The mountaintop, the pinnacle, the joyous understanding of who we are now in Christ, who has been deposited within us, namely the Holy Spirit, and what this means about our suffering, and future glory. If this chapter is truly believed deep within our being, it is radically life changing.
Anytime I feel low, distant, or need direction from the Lord, I go straight to Romans chapter 8. And I would encourage anyone reading this to do the same.
Here is what I’ve learned from this chapter
- Condemnation doesn’t exist in the Christian life
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1
He was condemned, so that we wouldn’t be. There is no double jeopardy in the courtroom of God. If you have been called, justified, and show evidences of sanctification then there is not one ounce of condemnation for you. He drank down the wrath. Every last drop. He absorbed it all. Now, rather than God punitively judging you, He disciplines you lovingly like a Father.
2. Christians have been accredited Christ’s perfectly righteous life
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:3-4
The law that we broke, Christ fulfilled. In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. Those who walk according to the Spirit, who show evidences of new life, have been accredited Christ’s perfect righteousness. By faith we are imputed a perfect life. So, because of Christ’s work, not any merit of our own, we are accounted as perfectly righteous.
3. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, now lives in Christians.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” -Romans 8:11
All Christians have the Holy Spirit, and the greatest evidence of having the Holy Spirit is holiness in your life. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you are not Christian. Just prior to this verse Paul states this in verse 9:
“Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
The same power that raised Christ from the dead is deposited into the believer, and there will be great evidences of conversion. One of my favorite things to see, is when a former drug addict, or alcoholic is converted. There is such a mighty evidence of the sanctifying work of the Spirit so quickly. Before you know it, this person is almost unrecognizable. They are a new creation, and it is a joy to see.
4. The Christian life involves putting to death our sin
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” – Romans 8:13-14
There is a wonderful book by John Owen that explains this verse so well. The book is called, “The Mortification of Sin” and I believe that all Christians should read it. The entire book can be summarized by this quote, “Kill sin, or it will kill you.”
By the power of the Holy Spirit Christians are called, not to make peace with sin, but to make war.
5. Future glory far outweighs our present suffering
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
In the Christian life we are promised suffering. It will come in some shape, form, or fashion. The loss of a loved one, sickness, financial distress, but the hope that we have is that Christ will make it all right one day. He will reverse the curse, give us a new body that will never get sick, and we will live forever praising His name. If we could glimpse, just for a moment, into eternity, it would change our perspective on suffering tremendously.
6. Even when I don’t know what to pray, He prays for me
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26
Charles Spurgeon said this, “True Prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”
When I don’t know what to say, I groan. When I don’t know what to say, He Himself intercedes on my behalf. What joy it is to know that God’s omniscience accounts for my weakness. It isn’t the strength of my faith that has an impact, but the strength of the One in whom I place my faith.
7. All things work together for my good
“And we know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:29
Not all things are good, but they are all working together for my good. Every difficult moment, every tragic loss, every dark valley, in the end is turned for good. This means everything is meant to make me more like Jesus, draw me closer to Jesus, or take me home to be with Jesus. This verse applied to every martyred saint, so it does not mean that everything turns out the way we would think.
8. Predestination is real, and it is good news
“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” – Romans 8:30
This verse starts in eternity, and ends in eternity. It starts before the foundation of the world, and ends on the new earth.
People will say, I don’t believe in predestination, and I would reply then you don’t believe the Bible. Numerous times throughout the Bible predestination is taught, and we are never called to explain it away, rather we are called to believe it. It may be somewhat hard to understand, and that’s o.k.
John MacArthur says it like this:
“If your trying to figure out predestination, I feel your pain. I am not saying you have to understand it, I am saying you should believe it.”
It is good news because here in Romans 8 he is saying if you are predestined, you will be called, and if you are called it is as good as done. You will be in a glorified body one day. Called, justified, and glorified in this verse are all present tense. Meaning if you have been called unto salvation by the grace of God, then you will without a doubt be in a glorified body one day, as your final destination. Praise the Lord.
9. God is for us
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” – Romans 8:31
If you have been truly converted, He is never for a moment against you. Rather, He is always for you, in your corner, working things out for your good. This is something that I must remind myself always. Before I preach, I preach to myself, “He is for me.” Before I walk into uncertain circumstances, “He is for me.”
Never for a moment are you working upstream. God is always turning the tide for your good.
10. Absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God.
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” – Romans 8:35
He goes on to say that none of these will separate us. He doesn’t promise that these things won’t come upon us, but rather we will conquer in the midst of these things. None of the circumstances listed here will separate us from his love, or completely annihilate our faith. We will persevere, because He will preserve us to the end, to the praise of His glorious grace.
I pray that we would drop the pails of our mind into the endless well of Romans 8 for years to come.
Thank you Lord, for your powerful word.