This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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JOHN 3:1-9.... NOW THERE was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews, who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles--and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb again and be born?
5Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. [Ezek. 36:25-27.] What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above). The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered by asking, How can all this be possible?
There are many topics and issues that Paul mentions in the first eight chapters of Romans, which we are examining in Part I and Part II, that we won’t take the time or space to consider. These two articles or pages have been added to supplement the previous page entitled Don’t Let Yourself Be Deceived About Salvation, so we will examine these Roman chapters from the viewpoint and with regard to the subject of salvation.
In chapters 1-4 of Romans we were given a state-of-the-world address and an explanation of the Gospel; in the next four chapters we will consider the results or effects of believing the Gospel. Jesus explained to Nicodemus, in Jn. 3:1-9, that the initiating effect was that of being born again of the Holy Spirit. While we will never completely understand all the details of this operation of the Holy Spirit, we are given a few; Jesus said it is like the wind that we can hear and see the effects of, but don’t know the origin of, nor where it goes. Paul gives us a little more information: "For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed one, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ" (Gal. 3:27); "For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13).
So we begin with these basics and will continue through Romans to see what further information we can gather there.
ROMANS 5:1-11.... THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified ( acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
6While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) died for us.
9Therefore, since we are now justified ( acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ's blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin's dominion) through His [resurrection] life. Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation. [Jer. 9:24.]
In the first four chapters of Romans we were introduced to the sinful condition of man, and the good news about the possibility of being brought back into a right relationship with God. We found out that we needed to be righteous before this could happen, and that the righteousness of Christ was granted to us by grace. Righteousness is mentioned in the book of Romans 39 times in the KJV, and 15 times in the first four chapters of Romans. Another word that is used quite often in Romans is justified, which indicates the condition of being righteous, and it is mentioned 10 times. Grace or the state of God’s favor, through no merit of our own, is mentioned 24 times. All of this God has provided for us through Christ Jesus because of His great love and concern for those He has created.
Chapters five through eight of Romans explains, in great detail, the results we can expect from having received this marvelous grace of God. The first thing we should consider is verses 3 and 4 that remind us of our Lord’s words, "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the one Who sent Me" (John 15:18-21). In the midst of trying times, such as Jesus and Paul describe, we are given the opportunity to develop endurance and maturity of character which in turn causes our hope of eternal salvation to be strengthened.
ROMANS 5:12-21.... Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned. [To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men's account where there is no law [to transgress]. Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the one Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]. [Gen. 5:5; 7:22; Deut. 34:5.]
15But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many. Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man's] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification ( an act of righteousness). For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
18Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men. For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him). But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God's unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded, so that, [just] as sin has reigned in death, [so] grace (His unearned and undeserved favor) might reign also through righteousness (right standing with God) which issues in eternal life through Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) our Lord.
These above verses make it very clear how mankind became sinful, separated from God, and in need of redemption; and also how he may be reconciled back into the good graces of God.
ROMANS 6:1-23.... WHAT SHALL we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
6We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men]. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, because we know that Christ (the Anointed one), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
When the Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ (Rom. 6:3) the following provisions became ours: By the sinless life that Christ lived, He established a righteousness that we receive as our own; by the death and burial that He suffered, Christ effectively put to death our old sinful nature and entombed it in the grave so that it need not ever rise to live again; by His resurrection from the grave, Christ gave us a new sinless nature to live by.
How dishonoring to God and unfortunate for us, if we fail to learn and believe all that God has taken such great time and effort to reveal to us. Paul explicitly and distinctly tells us that the sinful nature that we were first born with was: crucified, slain and, buried with Christ. We were also raised with Christ to a new life where sin and death no longer have power over us. Paul tells us that this is exactly what God has done for us in Christ Jesus; and he is careful to point out to us that we can be ignorant and unaware of these great truths (verse 3). Here we see some of the power of the Gospel; and our identity with, and our position in – Christ Jesus. This is why Paul exclaims: "But I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek," (Rom. 1:16).
While this portion of Scripture is dealing primarily with our deliverance from the power of sin, it is also true regarding all the benefits that are ours in Christ Jesus. It is not correct for us to say or sing, "Come Holy Spirit I need You." Jesus said in John 14:15-17, "If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever – the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." By this we see that through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit we have full provision for every need; what more could we possibly ask for or expect? Peter, on the day of Pentecost, reported that Jesus, on that very day, had sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:32, 33, 38), and all who would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, would receive into their very being the person of the Holy Spirit. But we can be ignorant of, or refuse to believe God when He says, as above, the Holy Spirit has been sent and you have received Him; for Paul cries out to the Corinthians, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received from God" (1 Cor. 6:19)? We must indeed grieve the precious Holy Spirit, and limit His ministry, when we refuse to acknowledge His presence with appreciation and thanksgiving. The putting into the minds and hearts of God’s people that they must seek some outward evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence, can be a real discouragement and a great hindrance to God’s sanctifying work in the lives of His people, and also a great danger. Not only does it have the potential of giving opportunity for the devil’s counterfeits, but also of finding ourselves in company with those who Jesus called an evil and adulterous generation, those who insisted upon seeing signs and wonders (Matt. 12:39). Paul tells us to consider (reckon and count on) what God has declared, as being true and available to us (Rom. 6:11).
12Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness. For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
15What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not! Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).
19I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death. But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now we have a choice were before we didn’t. Before we only had the one sinful nature to live by, now we can choose to live by the old and for self, or by the new and for Christ.
ROMANS 7:1-25.... DO YOU not know, brethren--for I am speaking to men who are acquainted with the Law--that legal claims have power over a person only for as long as he is alive? For [instance] a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is loosed and discharged from the law concerning her husband. Accordingly, she will be held an adulteress if she unites herself to another man while her husband lives. But if her husband dies, the marriage law no longer is binding on her [she is free from that law]; and if she unites herself to another man, she is not an adulteress.
4Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].
7What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. [Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21.] But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing]. Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the Law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died (was sentenced by the Law to death). [Ps. 73:22.] And the very legal ordinance which was designed and intended to bring life actually proved [to mean to me] death. [Lev. 18:5.] For sin, seizing the opportunity and getting a hold on me [by taking its incentive] from the commandment, beguiled and entrapped and cheated me, and using it [as a weapon], killed me. The Law therefore is holy, and [each] commandment is holy and just and good. Did that which is good then prove fatal [bringing death] to me? Certainly not! It was sin, working death in me by using this good thing [as a weapon], in order that through the commandment sin might be shown up clearly to be sin, that the extreme malignity and immeasurable sinfulness of sin might plainly appear.
Man does not have the ability to know right or wrong thoughts, attitude or conduct apart from a God-given conscience and the revealed Word of God. Where else can man look and expect to discover truth? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life"; that covers all the areas of life as we know it, there is no other! The Bible declares that chaos existed when every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25). The whole of history, as well as the Bible, makes us well aware of the horrible things man is capable of when God’s holy influence is unavailable to them. The reason that Paul gives is that the body we live in has natural desires that are contrary to God’s purpose and will, and exert such strong appeal that we are unable to restrain or control ourselves without God’s help.
The Bible is God’s handbook on how we are to live, and it explains everything that we need to know to live a God-pleasing and satisfying life. It is our schoolbook, as Paul explains in Galatians 3:17-24, to train us and bring us to a knowledge of Christ. Whenever man has disregarded it or been unaware of it, degeneration sets in. The Islam religion is a good example of this process; their holy book, the Koran teaches that all people who do not believe that Allah is god and Mohammad is his prophet should be converted, enslaved or killed. Those who take Islam seriously believe they are doing God’s will when they follow these instructions, even as Paul did when he went about imprisoning and persecuting the Church (Gal. 1:13-14; 1 Tim. 1:13).
The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. God used it to reveal to us just how horrible sin really is (7:12,13).
14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin. For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].
In the above paragraph and on through the eighth chapter, Paul seems to be explaining the transition that he went through and the difficulties and solutions he discovered when he became a Christian. Even though he wanted to serve God and do the right thing, he found that many times he failed. God helped him to realize that he now had a new nature that wanted to please God, and still retained the sinful or Adamic nature that he was first born with which was still capable of living if we allow it to (7:14-24).
Merely knowing what is the right thing to do does not in itself empower us to do it; God had to go one step further, He had to Himself live in those who dwell in Christ by faith (Jn. 15:1-10). Jesus said, "Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much fruit. However, apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:4-5). Abiding or dwelling in Christ is trusting Him to do what He has promised and choosing, by what we allow our minds to dwell upon, to live by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:4-11).
21So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. [Ps. 1:2.] But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh]. O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed one) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Every man has to come to the miserable conclusion, as Paul did above, that it is impossible to live according to God’s instructions with our own ability; it is at this point that we begin to realize and appreciate what God has done for us through Christ Jesus, and to call out – "Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed one) our Lord!" Then, if we are willing to repent and trust Christ as our Savior, we are born again, made a new creature or creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24), and as such we are able, by faith, to put off the old sinful nature that we were first born with, and put on the new nature and live the way God intended us to (Rom. 6:1-11).
The battle lines have been clearly drawn, it is between the fleshly nature that we were first born with and the new spiritual nature that we received when we were born again of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the flesh or the old nature should be permanently confined to the tomb, and the way that this can be done is explained to us in chapter eight.
ROMANS 8:1-17.... THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.] so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
6Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot. So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him. But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom 8:14.] But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.
The ability to live a righteous life is given only to those who dwell or abide in Christ Jesus by setting their minds upon and trusting in the truths taught in the Scriptures. It is Christ living and working in us as we trust Him to (Gal. 2:20); we choose to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:5-7), and the Holy Spirit enables us to live the way the God intended we should (Eph. 3:14-21). Dwelling in and commitment to Christ is to set our minds upon that which pleases the Holy Spirit instead of those things that please the flesh.
Now we should be able to see and understand the importance of censoring what we allow or entertain in our minds by what we see, hear and think.
12So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh. For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
Paul makes it very clear that it is not by our own power or ability that we deaden the appetites of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are responsible for making this power effective in our lives, but how? We are to know passages of Scripture such as Romans chapter six, which admonish us to offer and yield ourselves to God (Rom. 6:13), and trust the Holy Spirit to make it effective in our lives. It is through Christ’s death that I myself have died to the Law and all attempts to live by my own strength or ability, as Christ directed us in Gal. 2:19-3:5. When the Holy Spirit placed or baptized us into Christ (Rom. 6:3), all the merits and ability of Jesus’ humanity were made available to us, and they are appropriated by faith (Rom. 6:4-11). If we will submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, the Holy Spirit will empower us to live uprightly before God and man (Rom: 8:4; James 4:6-7) – this is what it means to dwell in Christ (Ps. 91; John 15:1-10).
ROMANS 8:18-39.... [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it--[yet] with the hope [Eccl. 1:2.] that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children.
Paul begins to explain why we must suffer by reminding us that when sin entered the world, God made many changes because He knew that it was needful. God even cursed the ground, "To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and craving will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. And to Adam He said, Because you have listened and given heed to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat [of the fruits] of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3:16-19).
So the first reason for suffering is to remind us of the cause of it – sin, selfish consideration instead of obedience to God; and the second reason is to remind us that Jesus came to set us free from the result of sin – in a measure now, and complete release in the future. So suffering is a reminder.
Also, God knew that if we didn’t have something that we had to do in order to supply our daily needs, we would spend all our time seeking increasingly evil fleshly indulgences. Few people, especially now-a-days, can discipline themselves to do the right thing. Take the simple example of eating and drinking. How many people fail to drink the right amount of water, and take pleasure in eating junk food instead of something good for the body? We drink only enough water to quench our thirst, but not enough to maintain healthy bodies. We fill our stomachs with sugars and fat that cause health problems.
If we will truly mind the things of the Holy Spirit, He will remind us to discipline ourselves and our appetites so that we will not become unfit and then destroyed by the enemy. He will remind us to keep our minds on things above and not on the things of the earth, and He will remind us that Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world but that He had overcome the world and given us peace. Therefore, God sometimes allows trials and difficulties to enter our lives so that we have to exercise our faith in Him, to keep in good shape. "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
One of the main reasons that the Gospel of Christ does not appeal to most people today is that they are not willing to live the disciplined life style that Jesus taught. They would rather live and enjoy the pleasures of this world and end up in hell, than deny themselves now and spend eternity in heaven with God; so people don’t want to hear the Biblical teaching about hell, even the WordPerfect grammar checker tells us to try to avoid using that word.
22We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now. [Jer. 12:4,11.] And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God's sons). For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.
Here, Paul reminds us that in this life not only are we, but the whole of creation is involved in a painful struggle, waiting for the curse of sin to be completely removed. We do not now live under the conditions that God desired and created for us, but because of sin He found it needful to adjust the original conditions to accommodate our fallen state. In the following verses, Paul encourages us to reflect upon our new life in Christ so that we will not be overcome in the midst of difficulties.
26So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will. [Ps. 139:1,2.] We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].
We have no indication from Scripture that God even replied to Jesus’ request to be spared the cross (Matt. 26:39), but Luke tells us -- "And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit" (Lk. 22:43). God is Sovereign, and it is His will that we should desire – not our own. That even the best of us do not always know God’s will, is perfectly evident from this passage. So how do we know what to pray for?
What a tremendously informative passage this is! In and of ourselves we don’t know what to pray for nor how to offer it in a manner that is worthy of ascending into God’s presence. Apparently, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us intercedes for us even when we are unaware of it, and notice that He does this in perfect agreement with the whole will of God. It should be a great encouragement for us to know that Jesus is also petitioning the Father in our behalf (Rom. 8:34). I begin to suspect that our words are not all that important, it is our heart that God looks at, and if our heart is right God is moved into action by the intercession ministry of the Holy Spirit and Christ. What a marvelous combination of endowments, service and ministration, and varieties of operation (1 Cor. 12:4-6) the Lord has extended to us and for us.
There are times when the Holy Spirit interacts with our own spirit in such a way as to arouse us to action in thought, word or deed, and we will usually be aware that the Holy Spirit is moving us. There are other times when we will not be aware of any movement of the Holy Spirit, and at these times Paul says that he prays intelligently with his mind. The more we understand what God has revealed to us in His Word, the more we grasp the reality that God is in complete control, and that He has got all the bases covered – what a wonderful Savior He is!
We need to inject a word of caution at this point. The above two paragraphs are true of us when we are truly dwelling in Christ. It is quite possible for us to be deceived and moved by a different spirit, or by our own emotional enthusiasm. Anything that is not in complete agreement with the whole of God’s Word is highly suspect. Obviously, in order to identify any questionable behavior requires a thorough understanding of God’s Word.
31What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] [Ps. 118:6.] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us? Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. [Ps. 44:22.]
37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.