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  • Romans Chapter Eight

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    Eighth Chapter of the Letter of Paul to the Romans

     

    Introduction

     

    Romans chapter eight is the victory song of the born again believer.

    The victory on ALL those things that might cause him or her to still sin, namely the flesh or the body, which is the last vestige of what keeps the new creature tied to this world and to sin.

    Chapter eight is the apex, the culmination, the crown of the believer’s salvation and it describes also many aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the born again believer.

    This chapter is God’s declaration of complete victory for the believer, the assurance of salvation, the assurance of belonging to God, the assurance of having the gift of the Holy Spirit and belonging to the body of Christ [Romans 8:1-25].

    It contains the encouragement and aid of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian [Romans 8:26-27].

    It contains the synopsis of the doctrine of election [Romans 8:28-30] that is found later in greater detail in [Romans 9: 10-24].

    Chapter eight shows us that we have a certainty in the presence of Christ as our High Priest which confirms evermore the believer’s total victory over sin, over condemnation, over death and every kind of possible enemy, all this for being in Christ

    [Romans 8:31-39].

     

    We have seen even in other instances, such as in the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapters 12-13-14 where Paul explains the spiritual gifts and their proper use, especially in the light of the only thing that should motivate the believer to operate his or her gift, in other words love, biblical love.

    Here, in Romans, instead Paul begins the description of the believer’s salvation as a flowing continuous thought as it flows from chapter 5 and ends here in chapter 8.

     

    In chapter 5 we did see that Paul, in light of the only thing that gives us access to God’s salvation – faith and grace, begins to explain the concept of God’s grace, it’s need and it’s workings.

     

    In chapter 6 Paul continues to explain what grace and faith did. He explains the death of the sinful nature in born again believers and their relationship to Christ’s death and resurrection.

    He explains that sin has no longer any dominion or real power over the spiritual man, the born again believer is no longer a slave to obey sin.

    Paul also explains what grace is and what it is not.

    He explains that true born again believers no longer live enslaved by sin and that they live instead sanctified and holy lives, so that we are to bring our members, in other words our physical bodies, under the control of the new man, in other words God’s will.

    In chapter 7 Paul explains why born again believers are no longer under the curse of the law, he continues to explain the relationship between the law of God and the born again believer.

    The born again believer has been set free from the attempt of seeking justification through practicing the law.

    Paul also explains to us why even though we no longer have a sinful nature but a divine one, we still sin.

    The sinfulness stems from the fact that we live in an unredeemed body, with a mind that was programmed by the sinful nature to desire sinful things and also because the physical body of the believer is still tied to the earth and it has sensual and carnal desires. These are still there because the mind was programmed by the sinful nature to want and act in a certain way, this is why even set free from our sinful nature we still need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind and to bring then our entire being under submission to the renewed mind, renewed by the word of God with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

    However, Paul begins to declare how we are still victorious even over the fleshly, earthly body in which the new man lives.

    Our victory is through Jesus Christ and what He did.

    It’s in the light of this last thought that Paul pens chapter eight to put to rest any doubt that could float in a believer’s head and that indeed our victory is complete, so is our salvation, they are complete and permanent.

    Paul in chapter 8 explains how and why.

     

     

    Romans Chapter VIII verse I to verse IV

     

    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has 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 did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

     

    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

     

    Whenever a sentence starts with therefore we always need to go back and see what was said previously.

     

    Paul as we have seen previously explained why the spiritual man, the born again believer, still has the capability to sin and still finds himself doing it.

    I am sure every believer at one time or another asked themselves these questions:

    “If I am indeed a new creation in Christ, if I am no longer a slave to my sinful nature which has been crucified with Christ, if I have been raised to new life with Christ, why in the world then am I still sinning?”

    “I hate sinfulness, I love God and His law, why then do I find myself sometimes doing what I hate and not doing what I love?”

    “Am I really saved then? Did I lose my salvation because I still sin? Have I fallen from grace?”

    These are all legitimate questions and worthy of the right answers.

    Paul, in the previous chapter, addressed these questions and answered why.

    Let’s review so we can understand better what Paul is communicating in this verse.

    Our body in which we live is corrupt and still unredeemed, so in it the law of sin is still active. We live in this body in order to be able to function in this world as human beings, but this body if left alone desires only to do what it had been programmed to do previously by our sinful nature, it desires to live sensual, carnal and sinful lives.

    That’s why it is so very important for the believer to heed Paul’s strong admonishment we find ahead in this epistle, we need to renew our minds in order to be transformed into the image of Christ [Romans 12:1-2].

    Only a renewed mind, renewed by the word of God, can and will know and do God’s will and render every thought captive to obedience to Christ.

    Therefore we need to bring the body, our members, under the power and submission of God’s word and His will and make it live for God’s glory instead of the carnal and sensual desires that have been programmed into it by our sinful nature.

    This nature that now yields no more power to dominate and control us because it is dead,crucified with Christ and we are new creations in Him.

     

    Paul concluded chapter seven with this question and answer:

    Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 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.

    So then the answer is clear, thank God our victory over this last vestige of our sinfulness is still and only Jesus Christ our Lord.

    For the sins we now commit we commit in the flesh and not in the spirit, not in or with our new nature, as Paul specifies, and for these sins there is no longer any type of condemnation for the soul [1 John 3:9].

    Now, this does not at all assume nor advocate the fact that it is legitimate for a true born again believer to still sin just because the body desires to sin and because we are no longer condemned spiritually.

    This is amply clear in Scripture, in fact Paul had already told us this back in [Romans 6:1-2] and in

    [Romans 6:13-23].

    Even the apostle John told us this very clearly in:

    1 John 2:1-6 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

    If any true, born again believer in our pursuit of godliness, sanctification and holiness stumble and sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

    We see that the continuous and persevering desire and direction of the believer however, must be toward godliness and holiness, walking as He walked, imitating Christ.

    We are not talking about perfection attained but perfection sought after.

    In fact we had seen in our study of chapter 6 that a true believer, a born again person with a new divine nature, a person who has been touched by God’s grace, does not seek to live any longer in a sinful lifestyle but rather seeks to renounce sin and sinfulness and to pursue holiness and righteousness, in fact this is what God’s grace teaches us:

    Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    What does Paul want to communicate here to the Roman believers?

    He begins this new chapter continuing where he left off, therefore NOW, there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    The first part of this verse by the way means just what it says, those who are in Christ and therefore do remain in Him are not destined any longer for condemnation.

    We were all destined for condemnation once, but the Scriptures clearly say in so many passages that when we are in Christ we are now no longer destined for condemnation, even if sometimes we still sin.

    When we sin God’s grace abounds toward us who desire to live righteously in Christ, and this only because we are in Christ and only by His virtues and merits that have been imputed to us as being our righteousness, He, Christ, is our only source of righteousness.

    Here are just some passages that confirm the permanency and security of our salvation, there will be therefore no condemnation ever for those who are in Christ.

    [John 5:24],[John 6:37-45],[John 10:27-29],[Romans 5:9],[Romans 8:1],[Romans 8:28-35],[Ephesians 2:1-10],

    [Colossians 1:12-14],[1 Thessalonians 1:9-10],[Hebrews 9:28],[1 Peter 1:3-9].

    Then after this, comment the text states something very interesting that many unfortunately misunderstand and misinterpret.

    It says, “those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

    What does this mean? Here we must distinguish what the text means when it says not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Does it mean that only those in Christ who are perfectly obedient to the Spirit will not be condemned, while those who at times sin will be condemned?

    When you hear some interpretations given by some believers it would seem this to be what they say the text is teaching.

    Other believers unfortunately interpret this passage erroneously to mean that only those who have been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit according to some Pentecostal doctrine are those who walk in the Spirit.

    I believe that neither of these interpretations are correct.

    What is the text really saying?

    First of all it is not saying here that being in Christ means we could find ourselves at odds with two types of believers, those who walk according to the Spirit and those who walk according to the flesh.

     

    In fact the context of this entire chapter is to explain and describe what it means to walk according to the Spirit and what it means walking according to the flesh. What it means to be in the flesh and what it means to be in the Spirit.

     

    There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit means that, those who are in Christ cannot ever be condemned because they do not walk any longer according to their sinful nature (the flesh) but according to the Spirit (regenerated person, born again, sinful nature dead, crucified with Christ) .

    They walk according to the Spirit because they have been regenerated and made into new creations with a new spiritual nature.

    That this is the proper interpretation is confirmed by the rest of the context of this entire chapter.

    This is what Jesus was teaching Nicodemus by he way [John 3:3-21].

    To be in Christ we must be born again of the Holy Spirit, this is what it means to walk according to the Spirit.

    The text is saying that the flesh which it is referring to is actually the old sinful nature that often is called flesh in the Bible.

    This flesh is not referred specifically to the physical flesh of the body, in this case, although even the flesh, the body, can cause us to sin.

    Here, however, it is specifically referred to the flesh as the sinful nature to which the unredeemed man is a slave to and according to which they walk, as we also once did [1 Corinthians 6:9-11],[Ephesians 2:1-3].

    So that what it is saying here is that those who are really in Christ are those who walk according to the Holy Spirit who regenerated them, in other words those who are new creatures in Christ, born again.

    Those who instead walk according to the flesh are not in Christ at all, they are still in the flesh, they still have a sinful nature,they are not born again and not alive spiritually.

    Those who walk according to the Spirit are those who desire and practice the pursuit of righteous and holy living, while those who walk according to the flesh desire only to practice the pursuit of sinful living, this difference is also explained to us by John in:

    1 John 3:7-10 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

    Even here the difference of sinning and not sinning is not that the born again believer does not ever sin in the flesh, the body, rather that they are born again of the Spirit and spiritually they have no longer eternal damnation as a consequence for sin.

    This does not mean that we are not responsible for our sins committed in the body, in fact, there are very serious consequences for our sins [1 Corinthians 11:30-32].

    Rather it means that we are no longer eternally condemned because of our sins and that the principal emphasis of the believer’s life is to walk in righteousness. Righteousness is a lifestyle that someone who walks according to the flesh does not ever live nor ever desires to live.

    There are no born again believers who live and practice sinfulness as a style of life, that are not changed persons, with yet sinful tendencies yes, but not completely enslaved by sinfulness so that they live unrighteous lifestyles as they did before.

    Some people may have a form of godliness but they deny the power of it [2 Timothy 3:1-5], namely they deny with their behavior that in them exists the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification and the love of God.

    They could be religious people, even moral in some ways, but if they are not led by the Spirit, in other words born again, they are just living in sinfulness and they walk according to the flesh, their sinful nature.

    Paul and the other apostles warn us not to be deceived, that those who live a life of sin, those who practice unrighteousness as a life style are not saved, they are not in Christ, they walk therefore according to the flesh because they are not born of the Spirit

    [1 Corinthians 6:9-10],[Ephesians 5:3-7],[1 John 3:7-10].

    Those born of the Spirit are not perfect yet, while in this body, but they walk persevering according to the new life given them by the Spirit, they are indeed new creations in Christ and they continuously pursue to become righteous and holy in their behavior.

    They produce fruit, spiritual and righteous fruit not carnal and sensual and unrighteous fruit.

    It is good also to clarify, as it is a very important issue, that the second part of verse one “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” was added by biblical translators for better readability in English or in the other translated languages, but this whole section of the verse was not part of the original Greek text that Paul wrote nor was it in the older manuscripts.

    So we must be careful, this is why many have been able to misinterpret this passage and to give it the twist they wanted to fit their doctrinal interpretative beliefs, such as categorizing believers in two categories such as carnal and spiritual or to make it mean that a believer who is in Christ could fall from grace or lose their salvation if they do not walk always led by the Spirit, meaning they would have to be nearly perfect. Some religious sects teach that you have to attain perfect holiness while in this life in order to be truly saved.

    The whole point of this passage instead is that, if one still walks according to the flesh they are not and have never been in Christ, as to be in Him it is only and exclusively by the work of the Holy Spirit and being in Christ is therefore walking according to the Spirit

    [1 Corinthians 12:13],[Titus 3:3-7].

    Instead this verse, means exactly what God intended it to mean, in other words, IF a person is really in Christ they cannot be, will not be, condemned. They WILL persevere and WILL continue to pursue holy living, see also [Romans 8:30-34].

    Obviously if a person is not in Christ they are already condemned [John 3:18-20], [1 John 5:10-12].

    What this little added section of verse one means in fact is just that, if you belong to Christ you will be led by the Spirit because you are born of the Spirit. If you are not you will walk according to your nature, the sinful one – the flesh, and there is condemnation for these persons.

    So it has nothing to do with two categories of believers, but it has all to do with belonging to Christ or not, being born again of the Spirit or not.

    This section of the verse as we said was merely added to better understand what Paul meant by being in Christ.

    This was done perhaps not make a person think they can deceive themselves thinking they are in Christ while living in a willful sinful lifestyle with no transformation in their life.

    So in conclusion, if anyone is truly in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    and so IF anyone is in Christ, there is now NO CONDEMNATION. Why?

     

    Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

     

    This is in reference to all that Paul had been saying since Romans 3 till now.

    No law, not God’s law, no religion, no amount of good works could set us free from sin and death nor could make us righteous before God.

    There is, as we saw, another law at work in our bodies, the law of sin, that still is a cause of an inward battle in the life of the believer, and this law still causes us to sin at times, that was the point made in [Romans 7:17-23].

    This is the point then, there is only one type of law that sets us free, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This is the law that makes us free from our sinful nature and the same that frees us from the law of sin and death which remains in our bodies.

    Only what Jesus did, only what Jesus can provide and give to us through the Holy Spirit makes us free from the law of sin and death.

    We are still talking about God’s grace here and not human effort alone.

    For the wages of sin is death is it not? [Romans 6:23], so that even if and when we sin, even being born again, we do so because of this law of sin still present in our flesh, in other words our bodies [Romans 7:23-24]. Now we are still continuing to be set free from the law of death, that is sin’s wages.

    This happens because the gift of God is eternal life when we are in Christ, and when we are in Christ ALL our sins have been forgiven – past, present and future sins.

    In Romans 6 Paul told us we have been set free from the power of sin.

    We are no longer slaves of our sinful nature that we should obey sin and so that now sin no longer has dominion over us.

    This is the first step, or we should say, the base of our victory over sin and death.

    On this foundation we now can realize that even if the law of sin is still present in our members, our bodies, and it wages war against the Spirit, we can also overcome the law of sin present in our bodies, how?

    Through the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

    The Holy Spirit regenerated us, made us new creatures in Christ. Through Christ’s life in us by His Spirit, He set us free from the power of sin and its dominion making it possible for us now to obey God’s word and His will and to continue to receive grace, even the continuous forgiveness of our sins those times when we still sin [Psalms 103:1-13],[1 John 1:9],[1 John 2:1-2].

    With this God has set us free from the law of sin and death.

    We who are in Christ are no longer condemned to die spiritually or to experience the second death, eternal death, separation from God in eternal torment [Revelation 20:11-15].

    However, most Christians will experience death, physical death, why?

    Because of the law of sin still present in our bodies and the wages of that sin is still death.

    I said most Christians because there will be a generation, a few, who will be living at the Second Coming of Jesus who will not experience physical death but will be transformed instantly in a glorious body, the same type body that those who did die will receive at the resurrection, see [1 Corinthians 15:42-57], [1 Thessalonians 4:15-18].

    The body of the believer is unredeemed, it is still corrupted by sin, the flesh desires to live in a sensual and carnal way, it craves still to sin, it’s tied to the earth and the world, this is the law of sin present in our bodies.

    Whereas before the regeneration even the body of the Christian was ruled, enslaved and programmed by a sinful nature, now it is set free from that slavery and rule so it can be ruled, let’s say it should be ruled, enslaved and programmed by the Spirit and word of God, but…it still has to physically die because the law of sin in the body is still present and active in our bodies.

    We still sin, and God does not change His ways. If the wages of sin is death, the fact is that while we live in this terrestrial body we sin with it, this body then will have to die because of sin still present in it.

    This body is not yet redeemed, while the inner man, our spiritual man is alive in Christ our outer man, the one created after the image of Adam [1 Corinthians 15:42-49], is still corrupt and in reality it is a body of death [Romans 7:24] and because of sin it is subjected to death.

    Our outer man as days go by perishes, while our regenerated, inner, spiritual man, is being renewed evermore.

    2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

    However, we are set free from the law of sin and death because ultimately for the born again believer, for the person who is in Christ, sin and death have no more power, in the sense that they are ultimately defeated.

    This is because even the body will live again in Christ and it will live forever a glorious body without sin nor death attached to it.

    A glorious body without sin is therefore a body without sickness and without death, because sickness and death are consequences, and a byproduct of sin [1 Corinthians 15:53-57].

    Therefore, the life of the Spirit of Christ in us has made us free from the law of sin and death.

    There is a higher law, than the law of sin and death, the one of the life of the Spirit.

    This law is higher than all the other laws [2 Corinthians 3:1-10] , because God is higher and greater and omnipotent, so that His life in us cannot be in any way subdued or killed.

    How and who can defeat the true life of the omnipotent God, He who is life Himself?

    How can Satan, sin or any other thing kill God’s life? They can kill physical life but they cannot kill God’s life, Christ’s life, as Christ dies no more but lives forever, He is the resurrection and the life.

    Christ no longer can die, so, neither those who are in Him can be ultimately and completely overcome by death.

    Romans 6:7-9 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

    No enemy can overcome God’s life, and since He is life, the person that is in Him and who has Him has His life, eternal life, His life. God is eternal life, He is and He lives forever.

    John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    John 17:1-4 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    1 John 5:10-13 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

    The Holy Spirit has given us the life of Christ as He, Jesus Christ, has come to dwell in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit gives us life, the life of Christ which has resurrected our spiritual being from sin and death.

    God made us alive with Christ through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit by His grace and mercy.

    Ephesians 2:1-6 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    How did He do all this?

    Titus 3:2-7 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    This passage is extremely important to comprehend properly.

    Let’s look at it quickly.

    Not by anything we could have rightly done by ourselves we were saved.

    We did not at all and in any way deserve God’s salvation, but only and exclusively according to God’s kindness, love, mercy and grace and choice He saved us.

    How did He save us?

    Through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit whom God poured out upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our savior who made all this possible, this is the new covenant in the blood of Jesus, in the Son of God, that which was also written about in [Ezekiel 36:25-27].

    So that we are thus born again to a new life in Christ and have become new creations in Him and through Him

    [2 Corinthians 5:17] so that we are justified by what? His grace it says here, but, His grace?

    Wait a minute, but the word of God says that we are justified by faith does it not? [Romans 4:24-25],[Romans 5:1].

    The Bible does not contradict itself, remember that to properly interpret Scripture we must realize several rules and principles of interpretation.

    There are several hermeneutic principles but this one in particular is the one that we need to look at here.

    To be interpreted properly the Bible must be interpreted by this principle, the Bible interprets the Bible.

    What does Scripture say about salvation, or if we want to call it in this case justification by faith?

    Salvation or justification is by faith, but that is also not of ourselves, this faith given to us to believe God with is also a gift of God by His grace so that we can ultimately become justified by faith but it is also by grace.

    The Bible says that salvation and faith are both God’s gifts, both by God grace. Both the cause and the effect, faith and salvation, are God’s gift to us by His Spirit.

    Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    Therefore Paul does not contradict himself, we are justified by faith as well as by grace because both are gifts of God, we could not have one without the other.

    We can even say in a way then, that faith is by God’s grace, it’s a gift given by His grace, a gift that is necessary to believe with, a thing that we would not otherwise possess naturally if it were not given to us by God, by His grace.

    We need faith to believe onto salvation and we need faith to be justified, but it is impossible for the natural man to believe, or have faith by himself, so God gives faith by His grace in order to believe and to be saved, so we are justified by faith as well as by God’s grace.

    In addition in this last passage we must realize that we who have been born again are indeed God’s workmanship created in Christ and that even the good works in our life, good works that we perform as believers, are also God’s grace at work in us, so that we have absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing at all to be able to boast about before God.

    We are saved by grace, our faith is by grace, we are God’s doing, we are His workmanship, we are created by Him in Christ and even the works we perform as believers are not our own really.

    Our entire salvation is by grace and it is God’s workmanship in Christ and by Him.

    Salvation is not real if it does not have these following elements:

    Regeneration, faith, repentance, sanctification and perseverance.

    If we are honest with ourselves and with Scripture we realize that ALL these elements are by God’s grace only, even if it is we who practice many of them.

    Let’s look at some passages that show us that it is really God’s Spirit who works in us and through us to bring about a complete salvation in our life and therefore it is ALL by grace and not by our efforts alone, so that we could have nothing to boast about except in God and His grace.

    [Isaiah 26:12],[Ezekiel 36:25-27],[1 Corinthians 1:21-31],[2 Corinthians 3:5-6],[Ephesians 2:1-10],[Philippians 1:6], [Philippians 2:13],[Colossians 1:29],[1 Thessalonians 5:23-24],[Titus 3:4-7],[Hebrews 10:12-14],[Hebrews 13:20-21].

    All this to say now that this is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, who has made us free from the law of sin and death.

    All this has freed us from condemnation, that’s why Paul can say: there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    How did God do all this ? Paul explains it to us now in the following verses.

     

    3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

     

    Paul says now that, what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did.

    OK, what law is Paul talking about here?  He is now speaking about God’s law.

    I hope we remember, as so many times already we have been faced by this fact, that, the law cannot in any way be entirely observed and obeyed. Therefore, for this reason every person is lacking the perfect obedience necessary to be declared righteous by observing the law.

    Remember? To be declared just by God by observing the law, we MUST be perfectly obedient in every commandment of God’s law.

    Now, we have seen that no one has been able to fulfill God’s law by obeying it perfectly, so that as Scripture teaches us, no flesh, no one, can be justified before God by attempting to perform the works of the law.

    See [Romans 3:19-20],[Galatians 2:16],[Galatians 3:10-11].

    It is impossible to fulfill perfectly every commandment of God’s law because the Bible tells us this:

    James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

    Man’s problem is this, that in his flesh he is weak, too weak to be able to obey all of God’s law perfectly.

    What flesh are we talking about here? The human sinful nature. In the sinful nature of man there is no desire nor ability to fulfill God’s law.

    Even if in man we see that by some religious efforts there is an apparent desire to obey God’s law, this is not a desire born by faith in Christ, born of God, and therefore it is nothing but human religious effort, human pride if we will, thinking that the weak attempts and the many failures in trying to obey God’s law could still render one person righteous and justified before God.

    Who could remove the guilt of the commandments that are transgressed anyway?

    This is the problem that the Jews had and have even today.

    However, those who are still in the flesh cannot ever obey God’s law because the flesh is too weak to be continuously and perfectly obedient to God’s law.

    As we will see, there has been only One man who obeyed God’s law perfectly and entirely and who was not corrupted by sin in His nature. This is the man Christ Jesus, God’s Son.

    Even those who are born again of the Spirit and now have the power and most of all have the desire from the Holy Spirit to be able to obey God’s law, still are not able to keep it perfectly and are also often weak because they allow the desires of the body to dictate their walk instead of the Spirit.

    Therefore, man is really in one way or another incapable to obey God’s law perfectly.

    The unsaved person, in fact, never desires to obey God’s law and when they do it’s only by chance or by pride not by the Spirit’s desire or by ability to obey it.

    The born again believer on the other hand has the power and the desire to obey it and yet sometimes chooses to let the desires of the unredeemed body dictate the course of their life rather than the Spirit and the word of God.

    This is the point Paul made in [Romans 7:13-25].

    So in both cases there is weakness involved in man’s flesh, such weakness prevents man to obey God’s law and God’s will perfectly.

    God’s law is weak through the flesh and it cannot be perfectly obeyed and therefore it cannot ever be the vehicle through which one can become righteous nor can it deliver one from the guilt of sin and transgressing God’s law, and therefore it cannot deliver from God’s wrath and punishment which are due because of the transgression of His law. So then, because of man’s weakness and inability to be able to perfectly obey His law, God Himself had to take care of the problem in man’s behalf.

    How did God eliminate this problem?

    God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh

    God took care of the problem by sending His own Son Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh. Let’s stop here for a moment.

    It is important to realize again that the man Jesus Christ has two natures, one divine and one human, but the human nature of Jesus had and has no sin. So that Jesus was not born a sinner, as opposed to ALL other human beings.

    He took the human nature of man as it was prior to the fall into sin.

    How can this be? Simple He did not come form Joseph’s physical seed but was generated as a human being directly by God in Mary, see [Luke 1:30-37].

    God prepared a sinless body for His eternal Son [Hebrews 10:5-7] quoting [Psalms 40:6-8], the word of God [John 1:1-4], [John 1:14] became a sinless man, like Adam was in the beginning.

    Jesus’ flesh therefore, both nature and body, were not touched at all by Adam’s sin, in fact, He knew no sin [2 Corinthians 5:21].

    Therefore He had the likeness of sinful flesh, but He was, He is, the second, the new Adam, the last Adam, without any sin [1 Corinthians 15:45].

    He came to do what Adam did not do and to undo what Adam did, therefore Jesus did what Adam should have done but did not, and undid the results of Adam’s disobedience, only for those who place their faith in Him.

    By His sinless nature and perfect obedience to God’s law, He began a new regenerated race of people in Him and by His merits and virtues alone, the born again church.

    Romans 5:18-19 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

    Jesus is without sin but He is fully human as well as fully divine.

    He came to obey perfectly the law and will of God [Matthew 5:17-18] so that He could be the perfect sacrifice to pay for the guilt of the sins of those who would, by God’s grace, place their faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins, a gift of God’s grace.

    Only this way we could be made new creations, spiritually alive with the power of sin removed and thus justified before God.

    1 Peter 1:18-23 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

    The Father, therefore, sent His sinless Son into the world in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet as we said He is without sin, on account of sin, because of sin, because man’s sins could only be dealt with by the One who did not have any sin in Him and the only One that could fulfill God’s law to the fullest, perfectly and completely.

    That is exactly what it says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    By doing thus, God condemned sin in the flesh. What does this exactly mean? In whose flesh?

    Well we have seen that Jesus has been made sin for us in His sinless flesh.

    So what this means is that God condemned sin in Christ’s sinless flesh.

    In other words, sin was dealt God’s judgment, the fatal blow, the final defeat through the sinless flesh of Jesus upon which the Father placed ALL the sins of all those who would and will have faith in Him.

    I believe the proper interpretation of this section of verse 3 is that God condemned sin, in Jesus’ flesh, He judged the sins and the sinful nature of the elect by judging Christ instead of us and pouring our punishment upon Him, so that when we place our faith in Him in essence we say that we believe God to have replaced us with Him, our sins with His righteousness.

    He took away our sins and nailed them on the cross in His flesh [Ephesians 2:15-16],[Colossians 2:11-14],

    He removed all of sin’s power and guilt once and for all, completely [Hebrews 10:12-14].

    Jesus paid the price required for our guilt, for the guilt of our sins, the transgression of God’s law.

    We know that sin condemned the flesh of man and also condemned man’s soul, but here Paul is specifying that God instead now condemned sin itself, He judged it. In Christ’s sinless flesh the power of sin died, in Christ’s sinless flesh sin is condemned, not man, the man Jesus Christ was condemned in our place so that our sin could be also condemned.

    He is condemned, the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the sinless for the sinners

    1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

     

    4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    This verse is the description of what it means to have received Jesus’ righteousness by imputation.

    All those who have been born again, hence, those who do not walk any longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, have been substituted by Christ on the cross who paid in full God’s judgment for our sins. In other words in Christ we received God’s forgiveness of ALL sins and all the guilt of ALL sins and transgressions is permanently removed [Isaiah 53:1-12]

    However, forgiving and removing the guilt of our sins and transgressions of God’s law is half of our justification and this would not complete our standing of justification before God.

    The other half is that we actually needed to receive true and real righteousness, and this could only be imputed to us by God making us righteous only with the righteousness of His Son Jesus.

    God had to do something else for us. God gave Him up, Jesus, for our sins and raised Him from the dead for our justification [Romans 4:23-25].

    Jesus as we said even before, obeyed God’s law and fulfilled it perfectly not only to be the perfect sinless sacrifice He needed to be to be our substitute in His death, but He had to fulfill and obey God’s law perfectly also for our sake so that His righteousness and obedience could be imputed to us as well through His resurrected life.

    Jesus’ righteousness for having obeyed God’s law and fulfilling it is also passed on to us who believe, so that as this verse says the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in us as well. They are fulfilled in us because we are in Him and He is in us and His righteousness is imputed to us.

    He fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law we did not and never could. Even as born again believers we have seen we continue to sin so that in ourselves we still could not fulfill the righteous requirements of God’s law.

    When we are born again, in other words when we are people who walk according to the Spirit of God and not according to the sinful nature in us, the law is as if we fulfilled it ourselves, only because of Jesus’ obedience and fulfillment of the law.

    It’s His merits and virtues that are given to us by imputation. He fulfilled the law and obeyed it not us, He died to forgive our transgressions of that very law and lives so that His righteousness for having obeyed the law may be imputed to us who cannot do it.

    This way we who believe in Him are completely justified before God, the guilt of sin does not exist any longer, the condemnation of sin no longer applies and we are righteous even though at times, many more times than we should, we still sin.

    Romans 4:5-8 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

    However, the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in us who believe because of being alive in Christ and Christ’s life being in us. God declares us righteous as if it were us who obeyed and fulfilled the law ourselves. This is because He sees His Son in us and we in Him, because now our life is hidden in Him.

    Colossians 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    In Romans 8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    Whose righteousness? His righteousness that is in us by His Spirit and imputed to us in Him and by Him.

    Now, let’s specify a very important thing at this point.

    All this DOES NOT mean at all that it is not necessary for us believers to become actually righteous in our lifestyle also. If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us He will guide us in a righteous and holy way of living for which He will give us a desire to pursue and live and so that in many ways sin is actually truly removed by Christ from our life.

    A true removal of sin is seen in the lives of born again believers by the change of lifestyle a person incurs after their regeneration and their conversion. A changed heart will produce change in behavior, from unrighteous to righteous, and this will go on throughout the believer’s life.

    Some changes occur drastically and immediately while others take time and are more gradual.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    We see in this passage that Paul says and such were some of you, beginning of verse 11. This is not referred only to positional righteousness but to a truly changed behavior and lifestyle.

    While the rest of verse 11 states the togetherness of both the positional and the practical righteousness of the believer.

    Also it states that it is exactly what the life of the Spirit in Christ Jesus does, in that it makes us free from the law of sin and death.

    It’s the Spirit of God who does the work of washing, sanctifying and justifying, that is why it is the life of Jesus in His Spirit that we desperately need to operate in our life to bring about the very life of God in us [Titus 3:3-7].

    However, if there is no change at all evident and no desire to pursue righteous and holy lifestyle we can, almost with certainty, as the word of God tells us, establish that a person has not been born again and therefore is not saved.

    Because the Holy Spirit will give the desire to pursue righteous and holy living and supply the power to live it [Philippians 2:12-13].

    We are not talking about perfection here, rather we are talking about the actual and real removal of certain sinful behaviors which evidence and confirm the fact that there has been a change of nature and the desire and pursuit of righteousness, becoming like Jesus in deeds and character.

    There are passages which show us that we not only receive the standing of righteousness before God but we also receive an inherited desire and ability to change our behavior and lifestyle to match up with our standing of righteousness we have before God positionally because of Christ’s righteousness.

    Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

    1 John 2:1-7 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

    We do know by personal experience and by what Paul taught us in chapter 7 that we still sin and therefore we are still transgressors of God’s law, because:

    James 2:9-12 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

    1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

    So as we see, when we sin, even now as born again believers, we are transgressors of God’s law which means that we still need a righteous standing that is greater than our own personal one.

    This is the point Jesus was making in:

    Matthew 5:19-20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

    This righteous standing before God can be obtained only by Jesus’ righteousness and not by any personal attempt of our own.

    Even Paul after his conversion said that religious righteousness in attempting to be justified by the works of the law is not sufficient:

    Philippians 3:2-9 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.

    As far as the righteousness Paul thought they could have through the law Paul was one of those who were considered blameless, in other words righteous and justified before God by the works of the law.

    Not so, not at all. Paul realized what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:19-20 in other words what Paul then says in these last verses we read.

    But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.

    Many still think even today, that to truly be considered righteous by God we must be righteous also by our own efforts and that these are to be then ADDED to Jesus’ righteousness in order to be considered really righteous by God.

    This is not so!

    If we become more righteous in our life it is only because we have been made righteous by God through Christ and because the Spirit of God is working in us and not that we in our strength and effort could add our merits to Christ’s otherwise we could not be truly righteous and therefore saved.

     

    We are saved and justified by Christ that is why we desire to practice righteousness and why we have the strength to do so and not vice-versus.

    There are still so many religious people even in the Evangelical world that are like the Pharisees, thinking they have to obtain favor and be justified before God by their own religious efforts to be added to Christ’s, but this will never satisfy God, because God is really satisfied in only One persons’ righteousness, His Son’s.

    We cannot add anything to Christ, because in the moment we do, we have something to boast about or something to glory in, while we can and should only glory in the Lord and what He did.

    1 Corinthians 1:29-31 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

    So who is for us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification and redemption?

    Jesus only, so that no flesh can glory in God’s presence, so that our only boast is Jesus Christ.

    God is satisfied with Jesus’ righteousness alone. That is sufficient for us to be considered righteous by God and Jesus’ presence at the right hand of God as our High Priest is what keeps us permanently righteous before God [Romans 8:31-34], not our efforts, it’s God’s grace through His Spirit that operates in us and Christ’s merits and virtues that are imputed to us.

    The bottom line about this verse is that it is not our level of righteousness obtained in our walk that makes us more or less righteous but that we are completely righteous before God regardless of the level of spiritual maturity we have obtained, because of this verse that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Only Jesus is our righteousness, His obedience and fulfillment of God’s law is also our fulfillment, so that ALL the righteous requirements of the law are already fulfilled in us by Him regardless of our level of acquired obedience.

    Again, to conclude as the verse concludes, this fulfillment of the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    This does not mean that it is dependent upon our level of spiritual maturity or obedience, if it were so we would actually be righteous by our works.

    No, again, as we did mention beforehand, walking according to the Spirit means being born again of the Holy Spirit, being therefore baptized by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13].

    Walking according to the Spirit means being in Christ and therefore all that Christ did for our salvation is applied to those who are regenerated and are born of God. This includes both the forgiveness of ALL sins, the removal of the guilt of ALL sins, the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ to ALL that are born of God by the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus fulfilled and obeyed the law perfectly, we never could, so in ALL those who are in Him, the elect, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in and through Him.

     

     

    Romans Chapter VIII Verses V to XI

     

    5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to 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, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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.

     

    5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to 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, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Let’s remember that context must rule for the correct interpretation of Scripture. Here the context dictates once more to interpret this passage correctly. Some interpret this passage in an erroneous way, saying that this argument can be applied to believers who walk in a carnal way as well as unbelievers.

    In other words, they would lump a whole category of believers together with unbelievers and apply this Scripture to both.

    The context of this entire passage, however, denies this interpretation.

    The Bible and this study clearly demonstrate that there are only two categories of people, true believers and unbelievers, of which some can disguise themselves as believers but in reality are not born again believers, or true believers.

    This is really the argument Paul is also making here. Look at this passage and also what he says in these following verses:

    Romans 8:9-10 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    So these verses are the key to properly and correctly interpret this section of Scripture.

    We will study more in depth these verses when we get there. For now let us understand what Paul is saying when he says, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, IF the Spirit of God dwells in you. In fact, he says, if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he does not belong to Christ.

    So if we belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, because He is the One who regenerated us, gave us a new birth, baptized us in the body of Christ and came to dwell, not with us, not upon us, but in us.

    Every born again believer has the Holy Spirit that dwells in them, Otherwise, the word of God, through Paul as we have seen, told us we cannot even be saved. We cannot belong to Christ if we do not have the Holy Spirit in us.

    Without the Holy Spirit in us we do not belong to Christ.

    This is rendered clear in many passages of Scriptures besides this one [John 14:15-18],[John 17:20-21],[Acts 2:38-39], [1 Corinthians 3:16],[1 Corinthians 6:19-20],[Colossians 1:27],[Ephesians 3:20],[Colossians 1:29].

    It is pretty black and white here.

    Being in the Spirit therefore means not being in the flesh, because being in the Spirit or, as Paul put it here in verse 5, walking according to the Spirit means the same thing.

    Walking according to the Spirit does not mean being perfect and sinless as some would interpret this passage to say, nor does it mean to be filled with the Spirit in the way many of our Pentecostal brothers interpret this to mean.

    Walking according to the Spirit or being in the Spirit is the same thing that it means to be born again of the Holy Spirit, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, being in Christ, having for life’s guidance the power of the Spirit through the direction of the word of God.

    Such thing, those who walk in the flesh, the unbelievers, do not ever have.

    Let’s go back to verse 5. As we see, Paul is saying that those who still have a sinful nature, those who are still carnal men and women, those who are not born of the Spirit, are those who walk according to the flesh.

    These people who walk according to the sinful nature or the flesh in this case, same thing, set their minds completely upon the things of the flesh.

    This means that all of the unsaved person’s being is controlled by their sinful nature, their mind is controlled by sin. Their heart and, therefore, their emotions are controlled by sin and their body, therefore, is controlled by sin as well. We know this is true because we do remember, and I hope it’s only a remembrance, that we also once were controlled entirely by our sinful nature, we were its slaves, completely enslaved to the desires of our carnal nature, to which we would obey.

    Ephesians 2:1-3 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    We once were by nature children of God’s wrath, we were children of disobedience and we had another spirit who worked in us, not the Holy Spirit but the spirit of the prince of the power of the air, Satan.

    This does not mean that people all are or we were possessed by Satan himself, although many unsaved people are possessed by demons, this really means that the spirit of man is dead to God and responds only to the power and temptation of the devil and the desire and dominion of sin.

    Unsaved people, unfortunately, do only the will of the devil and they do it with much more zeal and obedience than most Christians have zeal and obedience to God’s will.

    Anyway, this is what it means to walk according to the flesh, it means to have the mind completely set upon sin and to obey only sin and the sinful nature and ultimately the will of the devil.

    It means being still dead in sins and trespasses, by nature children of wrath and not born again and alive in Christ.

    Those who walk according to the flesh are those who, first of all, cannot and will not understand the things of the Spirit [1 Corinthians 2:11-14].

    In this last passage mentioned above is the description of the natural, carnal man and not the born again man.

    The natural, carnal man, or woman, do not practice righteousness at all, but they always and continuously practice a lifestyle of unrighteousness and sin.

    We find the description of what it means to walk according to the flesh in various passages of Scripture.

    [1 Corinthians 6:9-10],[Galatians 5:19-21],[Ephesians 4:17-19],[Ephesians 5:3-7],[1 Peter 4:3], [1 John 1:6],[1 John 3:10].

    I would like you at this point to read the entire first letter of John. It’s a very short book, 5 short chapters.

    However, this short book is a great help in understanding what is means to walk according to the Spirit and according to the flesh.

    It is a book that cuts down the middle and separates the false from the real believers, cuts between the religious and the born again, between those who talk but do not walk the walk of the Spirit and those who are truly led by the Spirit.

    It describes what it really means to walk according to the Spirit and to walk according to the flesh.

    Please stop now and read 1 John.

    So those who walk according to their sinful, carnal nature set their minds upon the things of the flesh, while those who have been born of God, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit [Colossians 3:1-2].

    Now, to end this verse and before we go on to the next, what it does not mean to walk according to the Spirit is to walk in sinless perfection and completely and perfectly obedient to God’s will, because as we did already see this is not entirely and always possible while we still live in this body.

    Sometimes during the course of a true believer’s life it does happen that one can act carnally from time to time or in some behavior that is carnal, even Paul for example refers to the Corinthian believers as carnal , although in the beginning of the epistle and even after he refers to them as saints and calls them even brothers, born again saints in which the Holy Spirit dwells.

    1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints

    1 Corinthians 3:1-4 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

    Paul is not disqualifying them from being in Christ or not being saved because they act carnally in some instances, rather he says they are babes in Christ, immature, but always in Christ nevertheless.

    It’s not because they are behaving a certain way that he says they have fallen from grace or that they are not saved, although in that instance they are not acting spiritually rather carnally. In fact, Paul says to them, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

    See, he is saying that they are behaving like mere natural, carnal men, not that they were however.

    Even Lot, who was considered by the Bible a righteous person [2 Peter 2:6-9] was a indeed a believer but who lived often in a carnal way, however, he was saved although he did lose all attachments to his carnal way of life and was literally saved through the fire as Paul puts it in

    1 Corinthians 3:12-16 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    So that while the carnal man, the unsaved, unregenerate man, does not concern himself at all of the things of God, does not set his mind on the things of God, in other words desires only and always sinful things and lives that way, the spiritual man instead sets his mind on the things of God.

    In other words, the spiritual person desires spiritual things and pursues them even though imperfectly.

    So that we are not talking about perfection here, rather a change of desires due to a changed heart and a new nature and a mind that is being renewed by the word of God and the Spirit of God.

    Of course this will mean that true born again believers should in time sin less and less, this is called sanctification, but it will also mean that even though we still sin less then before, we will find all the more that there is sin that is present in our bodies, in other words in our flesh, and we will always see this present sin as being even more than it was before even though we sin less.

    That is the whole idea Paul describes for us in [Romans 7:15-25].

    These last two are things we must discipline ourselves to do in obedience to God’s word.

    Our mind, the psyche is the part of man that is not renewed completely at salvation.

    We are given a new nature, but our mind, which is part of our bodies, our members, was previously programmed by the sinful nature. Our mind, therefore, needs reprogramming.

    The old patterns and way of thinking must be erased and the new patterns and thinking according to the word of God must be reprogrammed by the word of God itself, this is something we are called to do in cooperation with the Spirit of God, this is the desire the Holy Spirit places in the man or woman that walk according to the same Spirit.

    This is why Scripture constantly exhorts us to renew our minds and therefore this way be transformed, in other words to sanctify ourselves.

    This is why we are constantly reminded to act as changed persons rather than those we formerly were, so that we can be transformed in the image of Christ, an image that is coherent with our new being and our new standing [1 Corinthians 6:11],[2 Corinthians 5:17].

    See related Scriptures regarding these exhortations, [Romans 12:1-2],[ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5],[Ephesians 4:22-24],[Colossians 3:10].

    Now, if the change in behavior, repentance of sin, change of desires, changed heart and nature and a constantly renewing mind are not present, if walking in or according to the flesh is all we see as fruit in a person, we can, almost with certainty, know that person is not walking according to the Spirit, in other words, does not have the Spirit dwelling in them, therefore according to the word of God

    [Romans 8:9-10], this person does not belong to Christ and is not saved.

     

    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, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

     

    In fact, this is what Paul is now saying in this passage, a person who is carnally minded, in other words a person who still has a sinful nature and is controlled by a carnal sinful mind, is still dead in their sins and trespasses, they are not made alive in Christ by His Spirit. That is why Paul says to be carnally minded is death.

    To be in this condition is death, it means being still dead, spiritually speaking.

    Unsaved people do not have the life of the Spirit in them and are walking dead, their bodies are alive physically, although they as well as we are in our bodies dying a little every day, but in addition they are spiritually dead, they are the real zombies.

    So were we once, when we were in that same condition, once again see what the word of God says in [Ephesians 2:1-6].

    The fact is that to be still in the flesh, in the sinful nature, is death, as we had already seen in some of our previous studied chapters, see references for [Romans 6:21-23],[Romans 7:5] and [Galatians 6:8].

    When a person is still in Adam, in other words still has the sinful nature transmitted to everyone by Adam’s rebellion, when a person is still in this dead spiritual condition, they are in a state of death and in a position of receiving God’s wrath and judgment.

    Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

    Romans 5:16-19 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

    Now as we have read above, in Adam we all die, in Adam we all sin, in Adam we all receive judgment and condemnation. This is the unfortunate condition of mankind without Christ, without the life of the Spirit present in them.

    However, we also read that those who are in Christ, through His free gift, we are justified, we will reign in life through Jesus Christ, we have justification of life, we are made righteous. So, to be born of the Holy Spirit, belonging to Christ, having the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we have life, spiritual life and eternal life.

    This is what it means to be in a spiritual condition of life in God, we who are in this state are those who are spiritually minded and as we see this means life and peace. To be born again of the Holy Spirit means to have life, God’s life in us, eternal life and also to have peace.

    Peace with God, because we are now in peace with God, we are no longer His enemies and no longer children of His wrath and of the devil. Rather we are His children, adopted by God through His Son Jesus Christ.

    This is what the Holy Spirit does, He regenerates us, cleanses us from all sin, He gives us life, justifies us and seals us in Christ, He is also called the Spirit of adoption, by whom we call out to God, saying Abba, Father.

    Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

    Galatians 4:6-7 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

    See the following Scriptures regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in us confirming that being in the Spirit, or as Paul puts it being spiritually minded, is life and peace.

    [Ezekiel 36:25-27],[John 14:25-27],[1 Corinthians 6:11],[1 Corinthians 15:45],[Romans 14:17],[2 Corinthians 3:3-6], [2 Corinthians 5:5], [Galatians 5:22-23],[Ephesians 1:13-14],[Ephesians 2:14-18],[2 Thessalonians 2:13-14],[Titus 3:4-7].

    To have peace with God means we have become His children and as His children we have eternal life [Romans 5:1-5].

    Those who seek God’s peace, pursue it and bring it to others have life and therefore will be called sons of God, for this is a signature mark of the children of God

    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

    To be spiritually minded then is peace and life as Paul says even in [Romans 2:10],[James 3:18],[1 Peter 3:10-12].

    It is not only peace with God we have, but by having this state of peace with God we also have life and not only, we also have the peace of God–the state in which we can or should live when controlled entirely by the Holy Spirit, for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.

    [Romans 14:17],[Galatians 5:22].

    God wants us to be at peace with all people, especially other believers [Mark 9:50],[Romans 12:18],[Ephesians 4:3], [2 Timothy 2:22], [1 Thessalonians 5:12-13],[Hebrews 12:14] and have His peace and seek it in every circumstance of our life. [John 14:27],[John 16:33],[2 Corinthians 13:11],[1 Timothy 2:1-3], [2 Thessalonians 3:16].

    Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

    What can we say about this wonderful prescription of God for our Christian walk? This is really like a prescription of a doctor for good health, our heavenly doctor is giving us a prescription for the removal of anxiety and to experience the peace of God in such a way that if we would only take heed and if we would only take God at His word and obey Him in this, what happy, joyous, peaceful and strong Christians we would be.

    If just the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding would guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ, what kind of Christians do you think we would be?

    Would we be anxious and preoccupied about life, even the difficult circumstances of life?

    Or would we have God’s peace, powerful, wonderful peace that would rule in our hearts and our minds?

    Would we be weak and discouraged or would we be confident that ALL things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose?

    How much more bearable would our life be? How much more bearable would we be for others?

    Now going on to verse seven 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

    This verse is another confirmation that in this passage when Paul refers to the carnal person, carnal mind or walking according to the flesh he is not at all talking about believers rather about unbelievers.

    Why? Because of what he says about the carnal mind.

    He says that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be.

    Let’s take into consideration the last part of the verse, the carnal mind cannot be, I repeat it, CANNOT BE subject to the law of God, and this means ever.

    Therefore, this is not speaking about a true believer, because as we have already seen in the previous chapter, the inner man of a believer, the spiritual man instead serves the law of God with his mind, desires to do so and puts in an effort, sometimes even weak, but the effort and the desire is there.

    Spiritual maturity and growth as it is even in the natural body does come in stages and seasons as well, time periods can exist when growth and maturity do not appear to be.

    However, eventually they will be there, they are, if the person is truly regenerated.

    Romans 7:20-24 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 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.

    Which means that although still committing sin in his or her body a born again believer still serves the law of God with his or her mind, while an unbeliever will not ever bring his or her mind under submission to the law of God or the Holy Spirit’s direction and guide through the word of God, also used as a synonym of law of God.

    In the passage we just read in verse 22 only a saved man can say I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

    In verse 23 then, Paul is saying that in the saved, regenerated man another law wars in his body against, what?

    The law of his mind or for that matter the inward man, the spiritual man.

    So that the mind of a regenerated man does, in fact, find delight in God’s law and it is indeed subject to the law of God and to the word of God. Perhaps not always but most of the time it is subject to God’s law.

    In verse 25 Paul answers the cry, not only his, but all of us who delight in the law of God according to the inner man but who have sin in our bodies which wars continuously against the law of God in our mind.

    The answer is that in Jesus Christ’s grace and power there is sufficiency, always, so that we can serve the law of God with our minds even if sometimes we still sin because of our bodies in which the inner man, the spiritual man still lives.

    For this type of sinfulness there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [Romans 8:1].

    1 Corinthians 2:11-15 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    However, as the word of God tells us clearly, an unsaved man’s inward man is actually dead to God and does not want to nor can he delight in the law of God.

    The unsaved man’s mind is darkened and it is foolish and futile and without true knowledge, which is only available by knowing God and His word through the Holy Spirit. [Romans 1:21-22],[Romans 1:28],[Romans 3:11],[Ephesians 2:3],[Ephesians 4:17-19].

    Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

    This passage is saying the same thing Paul is saying in Romans 8:7 that we are commenting.

    Here Paul, in fact, uses the past tense to say, we were alienated from God and were His enemies, where did this all take place?

    In our minds by wicked works, yet he says now, God has reconciled us in Christ.

    Therefore, only the unsaved man is an enemy of God in his or her mind because their mind cannot be subject to the law of God,this is the carnal mind Paul is talking about.

    As we see it this is present within the unbeliever and not the believer, so that this verse [Romans 8:7] basically disproofs that Paul is referring to two types of believers and also to unbelievers, rather he is speaking about unsaved persons, natural and carnal people without the Spirit of God.

    It is all the more clear that the Scripture tells us a very important truth in regard to this context or subject.

    We overwhelmingly see that it is only the mind of the unbelievers that is referred to here, or as Paul calls them the carnal man with the carnal mind whose mind is enmity against God and whose mind cannot be subject to God’s law.

    Let’s see what the word of God says instead about what happens to the mind of the regenerated, born again believer.

    Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

    Here we see that the everlasting covenant in Christ brings about, in the Gentiles as well as the Hebrews, a new creation, regenerated, changed, people in whose minds God writes His law and in whom God places His Spirit to cause them to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments and do them.

    His statutes and judgments by the way translate into God’s law, which is the delight of the regenerated person. Read Psalm 119

    So we see without a doubt that the word of God overwhelmingly declares that, the true believer, the born again believer, the regenerated person, the person who has the Spirit of God in them and therefore belongs to Christ, these persons’ minds are indeed subject to the law of God, therefore; these are not the enemies of God, rather they are the adopted children of God.

    The carnal man with the carnal mind, in other words the unregenerate person, instead is an enemy of God in his mind and his mind cannot ever be subject to the law of God.

    8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    This verse together with the next one is clear.

    9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

    As we had mentioned before these verses are the key to properly understand and interpret this entire section of this chapter.

    These two verses explain decisively what Paul is referring to when he says what it means to be in the flesh and not being in the flesh.

    The people who are in the flesh cannot please God. What does this really mean?

    Let’s think about it at the light of the Scriptures.

    What pleases God? There are two things specifically that please God.

    The first one is FAITH

    Hebrews 11:4-7 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

    Faith is the first element that is needed to please God for faith leads to diligently seeking God and His ways.

    Second, but MOST IMPORTANT this faith today, or we should say, on this side of the cross of Jesus, MUST be faith in Jesus Christ why?

    Because God is pleased ONLY, in what? Or better yet, in who?

    In His beloved Son and what He did, not exclusively what we do.

    God is not satisfied in basic faith, even the demons believe in God,

    James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!

    However, they cannot be saved based upon their faith. In fact, the demons do not have real faith, they believe by sight as they live in the spirit worldm they can see God and all that is spiritual, man cannot see God nor the spirit world.

    However, that’s what faith really is, right? Believing in the evidence of things unseen [Hebrews 11:1].

    In fact, faith itself only comes from God, it is a gift of God given to people and given by hearing one specific thing, what?

    The word of Christ, the Gospel and God’s word.

    Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Who and what God is pleased with is echoed and confirmed by what God declared when Jesus was ministering on the earth.

    Matthew 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

    Mark 9:7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”

    So that God is well pleased only in His beloved Son and the fruit of His Son’s work, not simply pleased in the faith of those who believe.

    It is Christ’s life, death and resurrection that pleased God, that pleased the Father, because it is His beloved Son and Him only who lived a life perfectly obedient to His law, it is His beloved Son only who had no sin and never sinned, it is His beloved Son only that paid the ransom, and that could pay the price of the elect’s guilt for their sinfulness by giving His life, by becoming the substitute of ALL those who believe in Him, becoming their substitute for what?

    In our place to receive the Father’s wrath and punishment on our behalf [Isaiah 53:1-12].

    Jesus received from the Father His wrath, judgment and punishment that we deserved, so that we did not have to endure it.

    This is God’s mercy and grace, getting what we do not deserve and not getting what we deserve.

    However, God the Father IS completely satisfied with His Son and what His Son did, His life and sacrifice are such that God really does not look at anything else in terms of being completely satisfied, except what Jesus did.

    The Bible tells us in several passages that Jesus is the payment that satisfied both the justice, righteousness and mercy of God.

    This is how God has reconciled His justice and righteousness with His mercy and grace without compromising either one.

    PROPITIATION: The Greek terms lack the physical reference to covering but introduce the idea of friendliness where antagonism would be natural; hence, graciousness. Naturally, therefore, the idea of expiation entered into the concept. It is especially to be noted that all provisions for this friendly relation as between God and offending man find their initiation and provision in God and are under His direction, but involve the active response of man. All heathen and unworthy conceptions are removed from the Christian notion of propitiation by the fact that God Himself proposed, or “set forth,” Christ as the “mercy-seat,” and that this is the supreme expression of ultimate love. God had all the while been merciful, friendly, “passing over” man’s sins with no apparently adequate, or just, ground for doing so. Now in the blood of Christ sin is condemned and expiated, and God is able to establish and maintain His character for righteousness, while He continues and extends His dealing in gracious love with sinners who exercise faith in Jesus. The propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving harshness.

    (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

    Propitiation, therefore, can be translated to signify also that God is completely satisfied with what Jesus did and, therefore; He is then satisfied only with those who place their faith only in Him, Jesus.

    When we place our faith in Jesus we then place our faith in God the way He really likes it and accepts it, because it is through what Jesus did that we believe and by doing so we automatically believe in God as being the One who did it all.

    The One who created His plan, He also provided His Son, who then in turn obeyed God’s law and His will perfectly, who had no sin and never sinned, who died in our place, who was raised from the dead for our justification, who ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the majesty and there He intercedes for us and from where He sent His Holy Spirit, all this to regenerate and save us sinners who by ourselves could not ever be saved no matter all our human and religious attempts to please God.

    1 Peter 1:18-21 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

    1 John 5:9-10 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself ; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

    Therefore, people that say they believe in God but reject and deny Christ DO NOT BELIEVE in God at all.

    So then, what this verse 8 is not saying is that a true believer can still be in the flesh and when he or she is, they cannot please God, although this could be in part true. We must remember, however, that true believers are not in the flesh any longer, they are in Christ.

    Paul is definitely talking about unsaved persons here and not born again believers.

    What this verse is really saying is that anyone who did not place their faith in Jesus, and therefore is not regenerated or born again, cannot in any way please God no matter what they try to do and we did see why, we did see what pleases God, only Jesus and what He did and faith in Him and by His merits and virtues only, that’s the only thing that truly pleases God.

    Certainly God is all the more pleased when His children are obedient, but this does not mean that God’s displeasure when we are disobedient and we sin translates into His wrath and judgment again, otherwise it would have to mean that Jesus’ sacrifice is only valid, or satisfactory when we do not sin and only when we walk in obedience to God.

    However, this would be being saved by our own works and merits and it would mean that God’s grace could not and would not cover all of our sins, rather Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice would not be by themselves sufficient to keep us saved throughout our life, but that we would have to remain perfectly righteous even in our behavior in order to remain saved.

    This kind of thinking is not biblical at all. It is not what the word of God teaches about salvation.

    This may be what the Roman church teaches, but it’s not what the Bible teaches.

    There are many, many passages which disprove this erroneous doctrine which unfortunately many people believe and teach.

    Here are some of these passages listed: [John 3:18-19],[John 3:36],[John 5:24],[John 6:37-40],[John 6:44-45],[John 8:34-36], [John 10:26-30],[Romans 5:8-11],[Romans 8:1],[Romans 8:30-39],[1Thessalonians 1:9-10],[1 John 5:10-13],[Hebrews 10:14].

    Now, we had already specified what it means to persevere in the faith.

    Persevering in the faith is also the doing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the true believers, howbeit with the believer’s cooperation, which springs however from the desire which God places in us [Philippians 1:6],[Philippians 2:13],[1 Thessalonians 5:23-24].

    Hence, from this and for this reason, we do have passages in the Bible that seem to teach or indicate that it is a believer that keeps himself or herself saved by their efforts and that it appears that a true believer could or might fall from grace.

    [Matthew 24:13],[Romans 2:6-7],[2 Corinthians 13:5],[Colossians 1:22-23],[2 Peter 1:3-11],[Hebrews 3:6],[Hebrews 3:14].

    It is not so at all, a true believer keeps himself or herself saved because they are kept by the power of God trough faith, also a gift of God [1 Peter 1:3-5].

    These passages exist so that people do not deceive themselves into thinking they are saved when they are not and these verses actually confirm the permanence of the true believer’s salvation because they eliminate the possibility of a person living an unchanged life in terms of righteous living and continuing to live in a sinful lifestyle or to stop walking with Christ and still think they are saved.

    The Bible does confirm that there is such thing as a false faith or a superficial belief that does not come from God rather from man’s pride and effort.

    This type of belief or faith is not a belief that brings lasting and permanent changes in a person’s life, rather it can generate a false state of salvation and in reality a religious life without real regeneration and true change.

    In addition, the greater part of those who have this superficial faith and commitment to Christ will almost always go back to the world [Matthew 13:19-22],[2 Peter 2:18-22],[1 John 2:19].

    We must also realize that the word of God teaches us that the true born again believer although does not live in perfect obedience to God’s word unfortunately, however, strives to live righteously by God’s grace and help, where as a non believer or one, as Paul puts it, who is in the flesh does not desire nor strives to submit to God’s law.

    We have also seen, therefore, that a true believer, a born again believer, does not live in a state of continuous, unbroken, lifestyle and pattern of sin [Romans 6:1-4],[Romans 6:15-18].

    Now, there is a very important premise to bring up at this point in regard to persevering in the faith and sanctification.

    It’s not that God, because we are justified and because He is satisfied with Jesus’ life and sacrifice on our behalf, accepts us to sin how and when we like. As we did already say, but it’s important to repeat it, God does not let sin slide, ever, not even in the life of the believer.

    Although we must understand that there are no longer eternal spiritual consequences for the sins of the elect, sins that are committed in the body; we must also understand that God is first of all a jealous God and He will not permit idols to stand between His children and Him and also His jealousy is also a loving jealousy, so that anything that can harm us He wants out of our life because He wants for us nothing but good and blessings.

    Therefore, when we cross periods of sinfulness or rebellion and when we sin, our heavenly Father no longer condemns us spiritually and eternally, because He is satisfied in Jesus’ work in our behalf, but He will discipline us and correct us, in other words punish us for our sinfulness.

    The Bible clearly teaches us this concept.

    Our Father corrects us and disciplines us because He loves us and treats us as sons, see [Hebrews 12:5-11].

    He does this so we can bring forth fruit of holiness and righteousness and so that we can walk on the path of His best blessings for our lives.

    We must be aware though, that if a believer persists in a certain sinful behavior and does not heed God’s correction and discipline, these can become very severe, even at the point that He might require our physical life.

    After all the wages of sin is still death, but in the believer’s case only physical death not spiritual [1 Corinthians 5:4-5], [1 Corinthians 11:28-32].

    Now, we needed to make this point clear so that Paul’s opening statement in this chapter,

    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh”

    Be not misunderstood.

    Now here is the confirmation to this point, because in verse 9 Paul speaking to the believers in Rome states:

    But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

    Here is the confirmation that puts to rest ALL erroneous interpretations of this concept.

    Paul states that they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, why? If indeed, that’s the caveat, the Spirit of God dwells in you.

    The Spirit of God dwelling in a person signifies that a person is a true believer, a born again believer, a regenerated person, by the Holy Spirit [John 1:12],[John 3:3-8],[John 6:63] justified by grace and faith through Jesus Christ.

    Baptized into one Spirit and one body, the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12-13].

    Now this experience, in other words, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what determines whether or not one truly belongs to Christ, as Paul says this in this verse, if a person does not have the Spirit of Christ that person does not belong to Him and therefore is not a saved and regenerated person.

    We need to specify that at this point some Christians make a little bit of confusion as to what it really means to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    I would invite you to find an in depth teaching of what it really means to have the Holy Spirit and what it does not mean by studying this subject in the section of this web-site

    Doctrinal Studies-Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the Filling of the Holy Spirit According to Scripture

    What it means in a nut shell, is this:

    ALL born again believers, regenerated by God, justified by faith without exception or delay are in Christ because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their life and are ALL without exception indwelt by the Holy Spirit at that moment.

    The Holy Spirit is the gift of gifts that believers receive AT THE MOMENT OF SALVATION, or as I like to put it at the moment of REGENERATION.

    Acts 2:37-39 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

    See also the following references: [Acts 10:45-48],[Romans 5:5],[1 Corinthians 2:11-15],[1 Corinthians 6:19-20],

    [1 Corinthians 12:3],[1 Corinthians 12:12-13],[Ephesians 1:13-14],[Ephesians 4:30],[1 Thessalonians 4:8],[2 Timothy 1:14], [Titus 3:5-7].

    There does not seem to be any possible doubts as to whom the Holy Spirit has been given and how and when.

    There are no special categories of believers who are more worthy than others or that deserve the fullness of the Holy Spirit indwelling in them through some level of spiritual maturity they achieve in their life.

    Every single true born again believer without exception, those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit have ALL of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, not just a little bit or only a part of Him.

    So that there is no doubt at all, Paul declares that not having the Holy Spirit means not being regenerated, saved, justified and not being baptized in Christ, which means being still in the flesh, not being in Christ but still being in Adam, in which there is no salvation, that’s what being in the flesh or walking according to the flesh means.

    1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

    Not having the Holy Spirit means not being regenerated, born from above, of the Spirit and the water as Jesus tells Nicodemus in [John 3:3-9].

    Remaining in Adam, in the natural state, in the sinful nature, is being in a state of complete slavery to sin, this is what it means to be in the flesh or to walk in the flesh. In this state everybody dies both physically as well as spiritually.

    When we become born again our inner man, our spiritual man is made alive, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit and is therefore in Christ and therefore lives eternally with God, while our body instead remains in Adam and therefore has to die because of sin that still dwells in it, for it is our only connection now to being made in the image of Adam.

    Only Jesus can free us from the slavery of our sinful nature, because only He can change our nature, our status, from Adam, the natural man and the sinful nature to a born again state, a new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17], with a new nature, God’s nature [2 Peter 1:3-4], only Jesus can free us from the state of slavery to sin and give us the status of sons of God.

    John 8:31-36 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

    So as we see, there are no two categories of believers, either one is a true believer, regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit with all the defects they could still have, but as Paul puts it in the Spirit, or a person is a non believer, in other words not regenerated and not justified, in other words still in the flesh, still in their sinful nature.

    10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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.

    What Paul says here is again the confirmation of many doctrinal truths regarding the born again believers’ state and their salvation.

    Paul is also confirming in these two verses what he had said in [Romans 7:15-25] and [Romans 8:1].

    He is saying that when a person is born again, they have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, and he adds, if Christ is in you [Colossians 1:27], the body, the natural, earthly container of the spiritual man, the outer man, is actually dead because of sin, dead because of the sin that still is present in the body.

    Paul had explained this to us in the previous chapter,

    Romans 7:17-25 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 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.

    (Please see all other comments regarding this in the commentary of chapter 7).

    1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

    As we did mention before, not having the Holy Spirit means not being regenerated, born from above, of the Spirit and the water as Jesus tells Nicodemus in [John 3:3-9].

    Remaining in Adam, in the natural state, in the sinful nature, is being in a state of complete slavery to sin, this is what it means to be in the flesh or to walk in the flesh. In this state everybody dies both physically as well as spiritually. When we become born again our inner man, our spiritual man is made alive, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit and is therefore in Christ and therefore lives eternally with God, while our body instead remains in Adam and therefore has to die because of sin, sin that still dwells in it, for it is our only connection left to having been made in Adam.

    Only Jesus can free us from the slavery of our sinful nature, because only He can change our nature, our status, from Adam, the natural man and the sinful nature to a born again state, a new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17], with a new nature, God’s nature [2 Peter 1:3-4], only Jesus can free us from the state of slavery to sin and and give us the status of sons of God.

    Suffices to say, that Paul is telling us that the body, our body, even the born again believer’s body will die a physical death, because of the sin that is still present in it. That’s why, remember, we still do sin although we are born again, that where the sinfulness comes from. Not from our nature, because we have a new one, but from the body that is not redeemed still natural, earthly, made in the image of Adam.

    Remember that even our minds are part of our physical being, our body and those need to be renewed by the word of God, this will bring about the transformation or the sanctification God wants. We offer then our bodies a living sacrifice to God through this process so that our bodies as well become sanctified and used for the glory of God [Romans 12:1-2].

    Our body did not change, it is not made new like our soul after our salvation, this is the part of us that needs to be constantly brought under submission to the Holy Spirit and the word of God while we live in this world.

    That is why, even we, who are born again and redeemed still have to endure physical death, for where sin is there is death, the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].

    It’s interesting and important to note however,that the death will affect only the physical body and not the soul or the spirit of those who have been redeemed by God in Christ.

    Our bodies are the part of us that is left that is still made in the image of Adam even though we are spiritually regenerated, and therefore; our new spiritual man, the born again part of us, our spirit is the part that is alive in Christ.

    This is what Paul is telling us as he continues this explanation in these two verses.

    Our spiritual man regenerated by the Holy Spirit is spiritually alive, this is because of the life of God in us and the righteousness of Christ imputed to us through our justification.

    Having been made alive by the Spirit of God and declared righteous through Christ’s merits and virtues our spirit lives forever, that is eternal life. There spiritual death does not occur any longer, that is exactly Paul’s point in the end of the previous chapter and so far what he explained to us in this one.

    However, although our bodies must die because of sin dwelling in them and because they are still natural, earthly bodies, still God will by His Spirit do to us what He did with Jesus.

    He will raise up our mortal bodies from the grave and give us new ones to be reunited with our already born again spirits, so that our entire being body and spirit will be redeemed and born again, with which we will live in eternity with God.

    This mortal and corrupt body cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, this mortal body cannot live in God’s presence because of it’s corruption due to sin.

    So Paul says 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.

    Paul has explained this concept to us pretty well in

    1 Corinthians 15:42-53 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

     

    What Paul is saying in this last passage is the expounded version of what he is saying here in Romans 8:10-11

    Paul says the resurrection of the dead in Christ will be such that the physical natural body made in the image of Adam will have to die, in other words sown, planted into death in its corrupt state but it will be raised non-corrupted, without sinfulness. It will be sown into death in dishonor but raised again a glorious body, a body made for glory. It will be sown in death a weak body but will be raised again by the power of God and made into a powerful body. It will be sown into death as a natural body, in other words a body that gets sick and is mortal it will be raised as a spiritual body, a body that will no longer get sick and an immortal body, a body that will be made to be able to dwell in the presence of God.

    What Paul says in verses 48-49 is very important, first of all as all humans bear the image of the man of dust,to dust we will return, in that image, that is the death of the mortal physical body.

    However, those who are born again of the Spirit will not only bear the image of the man of dust Adam, but will bear the image of the heavenly man Jesus because their redeemed and born again spirit will be reunited with a resurrected, glorious, powerful and spiritual body raised by the power of the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead and so He will do with us.

     

    Romans Chapter VIII Verses XII to XVII

     

     

    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 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. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

     

    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 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. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

     

    Once again Paul repeats in these three verses what he’s been saying all along, throughout many of his epistles, and confirms also that which John says in his first epistle and what also Jesus claimed in [John 8:31-36].

    In other words, here he begins by claiming that we have no debt whatever to our human flesh, or nature in order to live according to it.

    Remember that in [Romans 6:1-7], Paul already explained to us that we if we are indeed in Christ we have been set free from the power of sin in our life because our human nature has died, has been crucified with Christ, so that we are no longer slaves to sin, rather we have been set free and we are now children of God.

    We have no debt toward our sinful nature because it is dead, gone, we only have a debt toward God to live in righteousness for it is He who bought us, redeemed us from the slave market of sin with the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    1 Peter 1:19-20 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

    We are in a situation where when we were sinners we had a debt of sin and guilt we could not ever pay, so Jesus had to pay it for us, and now we have a debt of love to God for setting us free from sin, still a debt we cannot ever repay, however we are in debt to God to live in a righteous manner and not to obey sin that now not in our nature any longer but in our body, remember what [Romans 7:15-25] tells us.

    This is our debt now described by Paul in:

    Romans 6:11-18 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    In fact, what Paul said here in Romans 6 is exactly what he is saying in the verses we are studying. In essence he is saying this, if indeed we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, we are led by the Spirit, and therefore; we have been set free from the slavery of sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

    This is because when a person lives according to the flesh it signifies that they are still in their sinful nature and have not been saved, regenerated, given new life by the Spirit of God, but they are still in their sins and are not walking according to the direction of the Spirit and word of God. In essence these live to sin, live to be gratified by their own sensual desires and not to gratify the Spirit of God.

    Those who live this way, are not saved people, and they will not, if they remain in that condition, inherit the kingdom of God.

    Paul tells us this in several passages,

    Romans 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

     

    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

     

    Paul warns continuously that those who practice a life that is marked by the kind of behavior listed in these passages are not saved, righteous, regenerated persons and therefore children of God, rather they are people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. People who will be judged by God and will incur His wrath and eternal punishment.

    He warns now the Roman hearers as well, not to deceive themselves, that even if they are part of a community of Christians but they do not show fruit of a changed life in their life and if they are led, or walk, or live in open sinfulness they will die,eternally and they prove that they do not belong to God.

    In fact, Paul continues, saying, that those who are led by the Spirit, in other words those who are born of the Spirit and are regenerated have a changed lifestyle, they are led in their life and in their choices by the Spirit and the word of God.

    Those who submit to the word and will of God are they who belong to Him those who do not are not His.

    There are really many, many passages that confirm this point and that give visible proof if a person belongs to God or not.

    Here are just some: [Matthew 7:17-23],[John 8:37-47],[John 10:25-30],[John 14:15-24],

    Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Here is what Paul is saying to the Romans but in greater detail is exposed in the epistle to the Galatians.

    Those who are controlled by the Spirit and show forth this fruit in their life, howbeit not perfectly, those whose lives are marked by these things and who practice these things, and not the works of the flesh, these are the children of God.

    Against such life and person there is no law that condemns because these are born again persons, God’s children. As we did already see, Paul already had explained that those who are truly God’s children are no longer under the law

    [Romans 6:14-23],[Romans 7:1-6],[Romans 8:1-4].

    So that, those who truly are in Christ, have already, crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires, [Romans 6:1-6].

    So that now if we live in the Spirit, in other words we are born again, regenerated of the Holy Spirit, we will learn to walk in the Spirit, submitting and obeying the Spirit and the word of God, offering our bodies a living sacrifice to God, not being conformed to the ways of the world and being transformed by the renewing of our mind according to the word and will of God.

    Therefore, those who are led by the Spirit are born of the Spirit and they live putting to death the deeds, of what?

    Let’s be careful now, Paul has changed word here, he does not say any longer flesh but says body, why? What is the difference?

    There is a huge difference. The difference there is between life and death, light and darkness, salvation and damnation.

    Why?

    Well let’s see.

    The word used for flesh in verse 12 and the reference of the word flesh in verse 13 are a form of the same word that means just that, flesh, sarkì and sàrka.

    This word is the word used by Paul and other authors to imply the human sinful nature with its passions and desires, to which a person who is not born again, regenerated, is still a complete slave.

     

    We have seen, however, that Paul in Romans 6 and 7 has explained to us the difference between being still slaves to the sinful nature and being set free from the power of sin in the sinful nature or flesh as the Bible calls it.

    We have also seen, however, that even if the born again, regenerated person is a new creation in Christ and has been set free from the power of sin of the sinful nature, the flesh, we still live with a natural and unredeemed, unregenerate body of which the mind, the psyche is a part of and in which still resides sin.

    So this is why Paul now changes word and uses the word body, soómatos used to describe the physical human body but never used to make reference to the sinful nature of man, for that is always used as the word flesh.

    Sometimes the word flesh can be counter used to mean body as in the same way soómatosis used but never used the other way around.

    So Paul is really saying that those who are born again of the Spirit, who belong to Christ, those in whom dwells the Spirit of God, these persons, as he exhorted them to do in [Romans 6:1-23], these by the Spirit of God put to death the deeds of the body, in other words the sinful desires of the body in which they live to bring the body itself into submission to the Spirit and the word of God and so doing to become transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

    This is also a practice we know as sanctification and or growing in holiness.

    This is a practice though that only the true believers in Christ, the born again people, can and will do and not something that natural, carnal people do or can do.

    Those who are led by the flesh are those who are not born again who still have a sinful nature, we must remember what Paul said in

    Romans 8:5-9 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to 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, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Once again we must repeat this, what Paul is talking about here is not a person who is a true believer that somehow vacillates between two ways of life.

    Sometimes during the course of a true believer’s life it does happen that one can act carnally or have some behavior that is carnal, even Paul for example refers to the Corinthian believers as carnal, although in the beginning of the epistle and even after he refers to them as saints and calls them even brothers, born again saints in which the Holy Spirit dwells.

    1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints

    1 Corinthians 3:1-4 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

    Paul is not disqualifying them from being in Christ or not being saved because they act carnally in some instances, rather he says they are babes in Christ and are acting as unsaved men yet they are in Christ nevertheless.

    It’s not because they are behaving a certain way that he says they have fallen from grace or that they are not saved, although in that instance they are not acting spiritual rather carnal. In fact, Paul says to them, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
    We also did see that IF a person does NOT have the Spirit of God DWELLING INSIDE them, Paul says they DO NOT BELONG TO GOD.

    So Paul does not refer all this being led by or walking in the flesh to actual real believers, but he is warning that only those who are led by the Spirit, in other words those who are born again of the Spirit, so they are not led by the flesh, these are true believers who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

    So, says Paul, those who are led by the Spirit, these are the children of God. Not to make any mistakes into thinking or deceiving oneself that they could have had some kind of superficial faith experience or some kind of religious practice that masks itself as faith or not that they would walk in pursuit of righteousness and holiness and still think they could be children of God.

    No! The distinction is clear, if one is born again they have the Spirit of God dwelling in them and therefore they are and will be led by the Spirit and the word of God not the flesh, not the sinful nature with its desires and passions.

     

    15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

     

    Paul now gives certainties to those who are children of God.

    The first certainty is that those who are children of God did not receive a spirit of bondage again to be in fear, rather they received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out to God calling Him Abba, in other words Father, in Aramaic.

    These are two great certainties in the life of the born again believer.

    Certainties and confirmations that we have passed from death to life, we passed from being strangers and enemies of God to being adopted children, having the Spirit who gives us the right to call God our Father [Ephesians 2:11-22],[Galatians 4-5-7].

    What does it mean though, not having received the spirit of bondage again to fear?

    I believe it really speaks to what we find in another passage of Scripture.

    It seems that the context would confirm this.

    The passage in question is found in:

    Hebrews 2:14-16 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

    We received the Spirit of Him who through His death and resurrection destroyed the devil’s works[1 John 3:7-8], the devil who had the power of death and by His Spirit Jesus released His children from the bondage of sin and death and consequently from the fear of death.

    Man in his sinful nature is in total bondage to sin, he is a slave of sin.

    Man is a slave to sin as well as to death and fear.

    Death is a consequence of sin and fear is a consequence of death.

    Man dies because he is a sinner and man fears death.

    I do not think man fears death so much because man fears cessation of existence, but because deep in every man’s heart through their conscience is the knowledge that man must face a holy and righteous God who will judge them for their sins.

    We have seen before in this study [Romans 1:18-22] the fact that man knows of the existence of God.

    God has revealed Himself to man through what He has made manifest in them and around them, and has His moral law written in man’s heart.

    Man also knows that God’s law is righteous and just and that those who live in sin are deserving of death and yet man still rejects God but is therefore inexcusable before God in judgment because God has put inside every man the knowledge of these things

    [Romans 1:18-32].

    So death scares man and it rightfully should, because on the other side of death is a Holy and righteous God who will judge the sinners who reject Him and who refuse to glorify Him.

    This is what Paul I believe is saying.

    First of all we have nor been given the spirit of fear to bondage, nor of sin nor of its consequence, death, there should be no fear of death for God’s child. Why?

    Because although we will most likely all die physically, we will live eternally with God, in His presence and in His glory, in blissful life with Him.

    We will not encounter an angry and wrathful God who will judge our every deed and our every sin and will throw us into the lake of fire for all eternity.

    This is what man rightfully should fear.

    God’s child instead, has been set free from the bondage of sin and death and therefore has nothing to fear because he has the certainty of finding God as the Father, who has accepted us as His adopted children, we will find a God who will receive us forever in His love and with joy and never bringing our sins up for judgment, because our judgment was already paid for us by Jesus.

    This is why even John in his first Epistle says the same thing Paul is saying here:

    1 John 4:17-19 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

    So we see that this is exactly what Paul means when he says we have not been given the spirit of fear again to bondage, in other words, the fear of death and of the subsequent judgment that expects those who are not in Christ, those who are not children of God, born again, regenerated by the Spirit of God.

    Instead, because we are children of God, and such is what Paul is saying, by saying we have been given the Spirit of adoption as sons, who cries out “Abba” “Father” we are not to fear death and judgment any longer, because it is as Paul had begun this chapter,

    There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

    This is exactly what John is saying also, we need not to fear because we have been perfected in God’s love.

    He did also begin to say this in the previous chapter of his Epistle when he said:

    1 John 3:1-3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

    We have been perfected in God’s love because He bestowed such love upon us that we are not only called children of God, we are children of God, we shall be like Him and see Him even as He is.

    Those who have this hope, this certainty in their life, sanctify, purify themselves.

    If this part of life is missing in a person, in other words sanctification, one deceives himself of herself into thinking they are God’s children.

    Those who have been made children of God, have boldness in the day of judgment, because we have been perfected by the love of God and we are now His children, His adopted children accepted in the Beloved Son Jesus Christ [Ephesians 1:4-6].

    So we are children who do not fear God in the sense of being afraid of Him because of judgment, but fear Him with loving respect and reverence.

    We certainly should have a healthy fear of His discipline and correction in our life, but not fear of death and consequent wrath on His part.

    Just like children that know they are loved by their earthly father but fear his discipline and correction when they disobey, but are always comforted by His love and forgiveness and that we can always count on, His love and grace.

    As children of God we do not have to fear death because there is no condemnation, no judgment, no wrath to endure.

    This is what Paul is exhorting the Roman believers with at this point.

    Paul uses here also a powerful figure of speech and I believe it is used purposefully to let the readers understand the depth of what He is saying. He tells the Roman believers that they are now adopted children.

    We have seen we have been made children of God by and through what Jesus did and God’s willingness to have mercy on us and to adopt us as His children, to which He had decreed from eternity past.

    We must understand what these readers understood when Paul used the word adoption and what we also need to understand this concept and what Paul was trying to communicate to us also.

    Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman Patria Potesta.

    The Patria Potesta was the father’s power over his family; that power was absolute; it was actually the power of absolute disposal and control, and in the early days it was actually the power of life and death.

    In regard to his father a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old was, he was still under the Patria Potesta, in the absolute possession, and under the absolute control, of his father.he

    Obviously this made adoption into another family very difficult and a very serious step.

    In adoption a person had to pass from one Patria Potesta to another.

    He had to pass out of the possession and control of one father into the equally absolute control and possession of another.

    There were two steps.

    The first was known as Mancipatio, and it was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; and the third time he did not buy him back and thus the Patria Potesta was held to be broken.

    The second step was, after the sale there followed a ceremony called Vindicatio.

    The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his Patria Potesta.

    When all this was completed the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and impressive step.

    But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul’s mind.

    There were four main consequences.

    (1) The adopted person lost all rights to his old family, and gained all the rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family. In the most literal sense, and in the most legally binding way, he got a new father.

    (2) It followed that he became heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were afterward born, who were real blood relations, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them.

    (3) In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out. For instance, legally all debts were canceled; they were wiped out as though they had never been. The adopted person was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do.

    (4) In the eyes of the law the adopted person was literally and absolutely the son of the new father.
    Thus, according to Roman law, a naturally born baby could be disowned from the family. However, people adopting a child knew exactly what they were getting, and no one adopted a child unless that specific child was wanted as a family member, so according to Roman law an adopted child could not be disowned.

    He or she was permanently added to the family.

    Many early believers and in this particular letter, were Roman citizens, and using the word “adoption” was one of God’s ways to let the Church know that He chose the children He brought into His family, and they could not be ever taken from it.

    The Roman historian William M. Ramsay writes:

    “The Roman-Syrian Law-Book…where a formerly prevalent Greek law had persisted under the Roman Empire—well illustrates this passage of the Epistle. It actually lays down the principle that a man can never put away an adopted son, and that he cannot put away a real son without good ground. It is remarkable that the adopted son should have a stronger position than the son by birth, yet it was so.”

    And this is true about Jesus as well, Jesus the One and only begotten Son of God, God’s true Son, let’s say “by birth” God’s “natural” Son, was indeed put away by the Father, although only shortly, Jesus was disowned by His Father, so that by that act of rejection by the Father, many children could be adopted into God’s family. Thus by Jesus’ work of redemption we have obtained as adopted children a status of security in our position in God’s family whereby we can never and will never be put away or rejected by our heavenly Father.

    Paul then goes on saying, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

    It’s God’s Spirit who witnesses together with our own spirit that now we are children of God.

    Galatians 4:5-7 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

    In this passage of Galatians Paul reiterates what he is saying in this passage of Romans.

    As we see even here the Spirit of God has been given us and He cries out through us “Abba, Father!”

    If we have become children of God, we are no longer slaves rather we are children and heirs of God together with Christ, because we are in Him and He in us, and Jesus inherited ALL things so we with Him, will inherit all things.

    Once again, here is the mention to the fact that we are no longer slaves but children.

    We have been set free from bondage, do we remember to what we were slaves?

    Sin that leads to death, death that leads to fear and also slaves to the law to obey the law. [Romans 6:1-23],[Hebrews 2:14-15], [Romans 7:1-6][Galatians 5:1-6].

    Sin makes us slaves to death and death slaves to fear and all this makes us debtors to God’s law which is a form of bondage as well, because it is the law that holds us to bey it in order to be considered righteous, but since this is impossible to do so, the law ultimately is nothing more than the proof of our guilt and ulterior condemnation [Colossians 2:13-15].

    Jesus did tell us that one must be set free from the bondage of sin and death and this is only possible if a person becomes a child, a son, a daughter of God.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

    Having been set free from every type of bondage, of slavery, we are now instead adopted children of God, to whom God has given His Spirit to dwell within and His Spirit confirms to ours that we belong to God.

    I have to say that the Holy Spirit does have specific ways that He bears witness to our spirit that we are the children of God.

    He does not bear witness to our spirit with emotional responses but through very specific ways, much more than mere emotions.

    He bears witness to our spirit with His presence through the love of God in our hearts [Romans 5:5],

    [1 Corinthians 13:1-8], [1 John 2:3-11],[1 John 3:1-24]. Love that actively leads us to be obedient children, not a mere emotional love but an active love that desires to please God and obey His commandments [John 14:15-24],[John 15:10],[1 John 2:5-6],[1 John 3:18-24],[1 John 5:1-3].

    He bears witness to our spirit through His work of regeneration and continued sanctification in us, our changed lives

    [1 Corinthians 6:11], [Philippians 1:6],[Philippians 2:13],[Titus 3:4-7].

    He bears witness to our spirit, through His fruit in our life [Galatians 5:22].

    He bears witness to our spirit through the word of God, giving us faith, understanding, wisdom,discernment and knowledge about the things of God and what God has done for us, His promises and who we are in Him

    [John 16:13-15],[1 Corinthians 2:9-16], [1 John 2:18-27].

    He bears witness to our spirit, we belong to God through God’s correction and discipline [Hebrews12:5-11].

    He bears witness to our spirit, through His gifts in us [1 Corinthians 12:4-13].

    He bears witness to our spirit, by convicting us constantly of our sins and leading us to confess and forsake them

    [John 16:8],[1 John 1:8-10].

    So the Holy Spirit is a witness of God’s work of regeneration in our life [Ezekiel 36:25-27],[John 3:3-9],[John 6:63],[Titus 3:4-7] .

    This witness of the Spirit gives us the certainty together with what God’s word says, that we are indeed children of God, not born in any other way but through His Spirit and His will [John 1:12-13].

    Now Paul continues, if we are children, then we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

    It’s important to continue to realize that if it were not for what Jesus, the only begotten Son of God did, we could not ever be children of God.

    The New and Everlasting Covenant that God made, He made with His Son and consequently with all who are in Him, who were given to Him by the will of the Father.

    So Scripture teaches [Matthew 26:28],[Mark 14:24],[John 1:12-13],[John 6:37-40],[John 6:44-47],[John 17:1-3], [Ephesians 1:3-14],[Hebrews 2:11-15],[Hebrews 7:22-27],[Hebrews 12:24],[Hebrews 13:20],[1 John 5:11-20],

    Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

    This is also another reason why the salvation of the elect cannot be lost, why the elect cannot fall from grace.

    Since the covenant is between the Father and the Son Jesus Christ and only by His work we can enter into this Covenant, remaining in the Covenant is not contingent on the efforts, righteousness, merits, or even perfect obedience or even the disobedience of those who are in this Covenant, because we can enter in the Covenant only through Jesus and His work of redemption.

    In order for the Covenant to be broken and therefore for salvation to be lost,, the rejection of the person that is in Christ would have to come from Christ or from God Himself because the Covenant is between them two. However this cannot ever happen because we have the promises of God and God keeps His promises, always.

    We can see this to be true in several passages [John 6:37-40],[John 6:37-47],[John 10:26-30], [Romans 8:29-34].

    This is further understood better by a specific passage we find in:

    Hebrews 7:22-25 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

    After all, why would God call it surety, certainty and the Everlasting Covenant if it could not be so for those who enter into it through Jesus?

    In addition, there is a serious flaw in the belief that a true believer can lose their salvation.

    This would severely offend God as it states that God would not be capable to complete a work He not only started but that He promised He would complete [Philippians 1:6],[1 Thessalonians 5:23-24].

    Also, such a doctrine were it true would deny the power of Jesus’ work of redemption.

    So, now that we understand, I hope, this very important point, we can see that together with Christ, because ALL things have been given to Him as an inheritance [Hebrews 1:2], we are therefore co-heirs with Him of all that God has promised Him.

    Consequently, ALL those who are in Him, together with Him inherit the same things He inherits.

    That we have been granted an eternal and glorious inheritance is clearly stated in Scripture.

    [Acts 20:32],[Acts 26:17-18],[Ephesians 1:11-14],[Colossians 1:12-14],[Colossians 3:24],[Hebrews 9:15],[1 Peter 1:3-5],[Revelation 21:7].

    What is this inheritance?

    Well, it’s salvation, eternal life with God and all the glory He has prepared for those who are in Christ.

    We will be partakers of God’s glory [John 17:24].

    We will inherit the Kingdom of God, in many passages we see this state in the negative form, such as the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God, so to understand however, that the Kingdom of God is an inheritance of those who are justified in Christ. [1 Corinthians 6:9-10],[Galatians 5:21].

    We also see that inheriting the Kingdom of God is possible only for those who will, first of all take part of the first resurrection of the dead, in other words the resurrection of those who are in Christ and those who are believers who will be alive and transformed also at the coming of Christ [1 Corinthians 15:47-53].

    That we who are in Christ have been promised to inherit the Kingdom of God is also stated in other words in other passages which speak of reigning together with Christ, which is synonymous of inheriting the Kingdom.

    Revelation 1:4-6 Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

    Here we see that the result of the salvation we obtain in Christ is that He made us kings and priests to God the Father.

    Kings indicate to us that we will in some way reign with Christ in His kingdom.

    Therefore, this indicates that the inheritance of salvation gives us the privilege to inherit the Kingdom of God in a real sense.

    This is also rendered evident and confirmed also in other passages of Scripture which say the same thing.

    [1 Peter 2:9-10],[Revelation 5:10],[Revelation 20:6].

    Another aspect of our inheritance is the following:

    Revelation 21:2-7 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

    After the Millennial reign on this earth, the inheritance of the church will be the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of God in the heavens and the new earth, much of what our inheritance will entail is described in this passage.

    Paul goes on saying if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

    Wow, if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified together. Suffer with Him,Christ.

    Suffer? What does this really mean? Why do Paul and other writers of the New Testament associate following Jesus with suffering?

    Already from those times until today it is rendered clear by the Apostles’ lives, the lives of the believers during the Roman Empire years and the history of the true church during the following centuries, that following Jesus would be synonym with suffering and difficulties.

    After all there are so many currents in the Christian world today that shun suffering, that actually claim that suffering in the Christian life is a sign of lack of faith, a lack of blessing on God’s part.

    Is that true? What does the Bible say regarding this?

    Jesus said that we should be willing to follow Him taking daily our cross.

    What does this mean? What is the cross for us today?

    The cross is a representation of doing God’s will no matter the cost, like Jesus did, going to the cross because that was God’s will and the cross is an instrument of suffering, shame and death.

    Following Him requires also losing our own selfish and sinful life and it could even require losing our very physical life, at the very least to suffer for His sake, in some way [Matthew 16:24-26] are we willing to do this? To suffer these things for His sake?

    Jesus told us that the way that leads to life is difficult and narrow not easy and wide and comfortable [Matthew 7:13-14].

    Jesus told us that following Him can become so difficult it could, in fact it will actually cause divisions in our families, where our family members could become our enemies, and in a lot of cases they will

    [Matthew 10:32-39].

    Other passages make it clear that entering into the kingdom of God would not be an easy road, but that those who have been called to such destiny would have to, in some way, be marked by some kind of tribulation and suffering, which in most cases is translated into losing part of our life if not all of it, whether it is friends, relatives, parents and also being ridiculed and persecuted because we have chosen to follow Jesus.

    [Acts 14:22],[2 Thessalonians 1:3-5],[Hebrews 10:32-34].

    Let’s take a look at Paul’s life now, the author of this Epistle.

    What characterized his life as a follower of Jesus?

    Well, first of all let’s see what Jesus said regarding him.

    Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

    Beyond, it was true what Jesus said was it not?

    He knew this would be true [Acts 20:22-24].

    Look at what Paul says describing what it cost him to follow Jesus.

    2 Corinthians 11:22-28 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?–I speak as a fool–I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

    Brothers and sisters having read this what is our problem in following Jesus? What should e really complain about? How hard is our life really?

    Compared to Paul and not only him, but many followers, disciples of Jesus we do not have anything to complain about.

    In fact, all that we need to look at is how the disciples lived, what they had to endure and how they died to realize that following Jesus requires more times than not suffering for His name sake.

    It would suffice to read [Hebrews 11:23-40] or even the Old Testament to understand that from those days serving God, do His will, preach His word often would end up in suffering and difficulties and also the death of those who wanted to do the real and true will of God without compromises. We could name many, Moses, Jeremiah, Daniel, his three friends, Ezekiel, Zachariah, John the Baptist.

    This is not at all what the proponents of the false doctrine of the faith movement teach nor is it the lie that the false gospel of prosperity teaches.

    They all teach a false gospel, they say that our life has to be marked by the lack of suffering and tribulation and it must be also marked by comfort, ease, prosperity, health and well being.

    This is not what Jesus nor the Apostles taught us, nor is any of what they teach at all evident in the history of the true church. In fact, all we need to do is see how all the disciples lived, what they endured and how they died to realize that following Jesus requires more times than not some kind of suffering for His name sake.

    Just read Fox’s book of martyrs and you will realize how false the gospel of prosperity really is.

    All we really need, however, is to see what the Bible teaches us and we realize what is real and what is false.

    Let’s look at all the believers across this globe, Christians in Muslim countries, Christians in Israel, especially those who have converted from those religions and cultures into Christianity.

    These brothers and sisters actually are persecuted, they are disowned by family, friends and their very society. In many cases still today they are physically beaten, tortured, jailed even killed for their faith in Jesus.

    Go tell them about the gospel of prosperity, ease and comfort. It’s a false gospel.

    Let’s thank God that we live in a society that for now tolerates and allows us to practice our faith in some kind of liberty.

    We have to say, however, two things.

    One, that this liberty to practice our faith that we have today is now passing away gradually and more quickly every year that goes by.

    Second, that IF we truly live out our faith in Christ actively, literally, obediently and without compromise, we WILL suffer persecution even in our so called free society, you can rest assured of that, that is a promise we find in the Bible.

    2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

    This is why this exhortation is necessary today. We should and we will eventually participate with the sufferings of Christ and this reality should not surprise us nor discourage us.

    We are to partake of Christ’s sufferings, this reality was also given to us by Paul who declared in:

    Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

    Paul also declared elsewhere that if we suffer with Him we will also reign with Him

    2 Timothy 2:11-12a This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.

    The word endure in verse 12 is the Greek word hupomeno what it really means is to endure through suffering.

    It gives the indication that a true believer will endure sufferings, will persevere throughout to the end, and in the end will be rewarded with glory, just as Paul is teaching us.

    In fact, Paul will actually conclude this chapter 8 with a tribute of God’s faithfulness and love by describing the power of God and His love which lead us in perseverance through all kinds of trials and tribulations [Romans 8:28-39].

    The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings however is not that we need to self inflict physical sufferings such as some Roman Catholic sect teaches, in other words that we have to share in Christ’s physical sufferings, the sufferings He endured during His passion.

    There are false doctrines especially within the Roman religion that teach that the sufferings of the faithful added to the sufferings of Christ sanctify and make the faithful holier and that in effect, they teach that Jesus’ sufferings were not sufficient.

    This is actually blasphemy. It’s Popery in the first degree.

    So we see, these poor deceived people that endure purposefully all kinds of physical sufferings to affiliate themselves to Christ’s sufferings to become holier and earn points toward earning their salvation.

    We see people flogging themselves, people climbing stairs or walking pilgrimages on their knees, people praying knelt on gravel, dried legumes or some kind of hard surfaces for hours and many more physical suffering techniques.

    These are not the types of sufferings the Bible refers to as the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

    The sufferings it speaks about are the persecutions and exclusions and the same other reasons for which Jesus suffered. In other words, we suffer for following Jesus, they are sufferings inflicted by others on our person because of our faith in Him, they are not self-inflicted physical sufferings.

    Self inflicted physical suffering is a perversion called masochism perhaps but not sharing in Christ’s sufferings.

    Christ suffered at the hands of men many things but He did not go seeking persecution to self inflict Himself with pain and suffering.

    He is called the man of sorrows, mostly because He was ridiculed, mocked, mistreated, lied about, called evil, shunned by people, even His own family and friends, betrayed, rejected, disowned, and yes even severely physically beaten and killed by others because of who He was.

    Now, these are indeed the same kind of sufferings His followers may have to, in fact in some measure, WILL also share with Him.

    These are not self-inflicted, in other words, we do not look for them, but they will find us and will be just an automatic consequence of being a faithful follower of Jesus.

    Remember, in a society where evil is called good and good evil, where they reward the wicked and condemn the righteous, where the guilty are acquitted and the just condemned, in a society where we will stand for righteousness and the word of God, we WILL receive persecution, ridicule, mockery, rejection, we will be excluded, disowned and sometimes beaten, arrested and yes in some cases we will eventually even be beaten, tortured and even killed because of our faith in Jesus.

    Jesus warned us it would be like this if we were His true disciples,

    Matthew 10:21-23 Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

    Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

    John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

    Contrary to popular belief the world does not love God nor does the world love the true followers of Jesus Christ.

    Being friends of the world is being enemies of God [James 4:4] and therefore being children of God and God’s friends makes us enemies of he world.

    The world system belongs to Satan [1 John 5:19] and the people of the world who are not born again, are God’s enemies and they hate God in spite of the religious values they may have or even their moral values, even many atheists have some moral values, some even strict moral values, and yet they hate God and they also hate them who are God’s true followers.

    Jesus said that the true worshipers of God will be those who will worship Him first in spirit, then in truth.

    In spirit because we must be born of the Spirit and must be spiritual people to be able to worship God and in truth because we can only worship the true God, not the false copies of Him the world has created.

    That’s idolatry, we must worship the God who IS God, the One who is revealed in the Bible and not even the one many people have made up in their own minds.

    At best in some societies today they barley tolerate real Christianity, but in most societies, Biblical, born again followers of Jesus Christ are not at all tolerated and they are not accepted, we are indeed hated and persecuted at various levels.

    1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

    These are the sufferings and tribulations Paul is talking about that we will have to endure for following Jesus.

    Jesus did tell us also this:

    Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    As we said, these are the sufferings of Christ we will share with Him, and if we do that is also the confirmation and the proof the Spirit gives us that we belong to Christ, it’s another witness to our spirit that we are His.

    However, the point is that. If indeed we suffer with Him, that is an ulterior confirmation and witness that we belong to God, that we are God’s children and that we will be glorified with Him as well.

    Because the blessing s this : the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon those who suffer for Christ

    1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

    Peter tells us the same things, we should not be surprised when these things happen to us as something strange has happened, instead we are to know that it is of common occurrence being persecuted for His name sake but that this is of blessing for us.

    When we suffer for Him, Paul as Peter want to encourage the believers by saying that we will also be glorified with Him, that is our reward and we did see what that meant before, what our inheritance was, we need not to repeat it now as Paul, in fact we will see, continues encouraging us about the sufferings we endure for Christ’s sake and about the reward that awaits us.

    Romans Chapter VIII Verses XVIII to XXV

     

    18 For I consider 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 creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

     

    18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    Paul once more explains the nature of the sufferings of a believer. He explains that anything at all that happens to the believer in terms of sufferings, especially for when we suffer for Christ’s sake, will be more than rewarded by the experience of the glory that awaits us in our eternal inheritance.

    He says that there is actually no comparison at all, the sufferings are not even worth comparing with the glory that awaits believers.

    When something is not worthy it means this: the Merriam Webster definition of unworthy is: lacking in excellence or value, poor, worthless, base, dishonorable.

    Our sufferings in comparison with the glory we will receive are so lacking in any value or excellence, while that is what the glory we will receive really has, real value and excellence that counts.

    Now at this a person can say, “Yes, thanks a lot, it is obvious that sufferings are not excellent or valuable, that’s nothing new, who the heck wants to suffer?”

    But that is not really what Paul is saying here, he is saying that when we suffer for Christ’s sake or for doing God’s will in our life this suffering actually has indeed a great value and not a small one, because the sufferings will be rewarded in glory, with glory and honor and because they even produce something valuable in our spiritual life even in this earthly life.

    So, intrinsically, the sufferings can be retained of value, as they strengthen our faith, mature our character, transform us even now in the image of Christ, they produce even in this life a witness to others of our faith, they will bring about a harvest of righteousness and holiness, they will help us experience the comfort of God and learn how to comfort others in the same situations.

    [1Peter 1:3-9],[Romans 5:3-4],[Acts 5:40-42],[Hebrews 12:5-11],[2 Corinthians 1:5-7].

    However, what Paul is also saying is that the negative, not the positive aspects, of the sufferings are worthless, not valuable, without excellence, poor, base, without honor, not to be given importance.

    This means that when we look at the sufferings we endure for Christ’s sake and for doing God’s will in our life, the actual pain they cause, that negative aspect of the suffering although real, that aspect has to have no value for us, in other words it lacks any kind of excellence, so it should be viewed and treated as such, as a thing with no value, to actually not consider it at all, rather to consider instead the value and the excellence of the glory of our inheritance and reward.

    We should acknowledge the pain the suffering causes, certainly, we cannot deny it.

    However, we must, after we have acknowledged it before God, treat it as nothing to consider at all.

    We must not wallow in self pity, or discouragement, or lose faith because of it, or blame others and ourselves or even worse blame God, or even hate those who inflict the pain on us.

    The Apostles knew and understood this concept very well as they considered it a joy to be considered worthy to have suffered for their Lord’s sake.

    Acts 5:40-42 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

    If we do this, we are not considering the suffering of no value, rather we consider instead the negative aspect of the pain and the sufferings the trial causes and, in essence, we do not give it some kind of value or excellence, but disregard it completely as something that has no value at all.

    Paul in another passage of Scripture puts it like this:

    2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    Here he draws for us some comparisons as well.

    Our afflictions or sufferings are light things and they are brief and temporary opposed to how long they can actually appear for us to be, because these are in essence working for us an eternal and weighty glorious inheritance even though right now we can’t see it as we do see instead the temporary afflictions and sufferings, because they are eternal.

    Instead we are to, as we already said, value the positive and eternal aspects that the suffering produces, as the glory that will be revealed in us will be so much greater in value and excellence that we cannot even fathom what it really will be.

    Jesus put it for us like this:

    Luke 6:21b-23 Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

    We do know, however, from the revelation of the word of God some of the extent of the great value and excellence of the glory to be revealed in us and just that is pretty awesome and should make us praise and thank God endlessly.

    I think it is worth to review what this glorious inheritance really will be according to what the word of God says.

    The first thing we need to see about the glory to be revealed in us is that Christ will be revealed in us and us in Him in a real and tangible way, although we cannot understand fully what this really means, it should be enough to make us jump for joy in praise and thanksgiving to God even in the midst of the worse sufferings.

    1 John 3:1-3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

    See also [Colossians 1:27].

    In essence the glory to be revealed in us is all that our inheritance in Christ is, we have also seen this previously.

    Many are the the mentions of rewards for the believers in Scripture.

    There will be crowns, Jesus wore a crown of thorns in mockery, but He will wear the crown of KING of Kings in victory and some crowns will be given as rewards to us as well.

    We will also reign with Him…Our crowns will be he following…

    The crown of righteousness [2 Timothy 4:8],

    The crown of life [James 1:12],[Revelation 2:10].

    The crown of glory [1 Peter 5:4]

    The crown of rejoicing or of joy [1 Thessalonians 2:19-20].

    In the end, the most important reward is that the Lord Himself is our glory and our inheritance, He is the glory to be revealed besides all of what God will bestow upon us with Christ and through Him.

    In the Old Testament God was the only inheritance that the Levite priesthood was supposed to have [Numbers 18:20-24].

    They were to have no other inheritance amongst the children of Israel because they were the ones that would be closer to God’s presence and those who would serve Him [Deuteronomy 18:1-5],[Joshua 13:33].

    Even to Abraham God said:

    Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

    That inheritance was to be enough for them, how much more does it mean for us today.

    He is our inheritance as we are now a royal priesthood, in Christ, we are His priests as the Bible now describes, a priesthood of a new order, as He is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek and our High Priest, we also are priests to God through Christ. [1 Peter 2:5], [1 Peter 2:9-10],[Revelation 1:5-6].

    The second thing we need to understand about the glory to be revealed in us is also described in:

    Revelation 21:2-8 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

     

    Paul goes on saying,

    19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

    Creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God, this is creation’s expectation. What in the world does this mean?

    Paul gives a more detailed explanation in the following verses describing that creation was subjected by God to futility, not by creation’s own choice, but because God had to, unfortunately, curse creation because of sin, because of Adam and Eve’s rebellious act through which all of creation was cursed.

    Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

    Genesis 3:14-19 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

    So all creation was cursed because of sin and all creation awaits the glorious moment when the glory of God will be revealed in the sons of God.

    When is this going to happen? It will happen at Jesus’ Second Advent, when He returns, then the children of God will be glorified, Jesus will exterminate all wickedness, He will heal this world, His creation, from the curse and for 1000 years He will reign together with the sons of God on this earth, in an earth where God’s curse will be removed.

    The revealing of the sons of God is no other event than Jesus’ return.

    The revealing of the sons of God is basically what Paul mentioned in the previous verse 18, the glory to be revealed in us, is going to be at this moment in time, also, creation’s temporary regeneration as well.

    This is described for us in detail by Paul in

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

    And

    1 Corinthians 15:48-55 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

    So when the Jesus returns and the dead in Him are raised incorruptible, and those who are alive will be transformed and changed, we will bear the image of the heavenly man, Jesus, that is what being glorified is, that is the glory of God being revealed in the sons of God.

    That’s what John says as well,

    1 John 3:1-2 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

    This is the moment creation awaits, this is the very moment that is the hope described in verse 20 where it says God subjected creation to futility- in other words, vanity, sin, death, corruption – having, however, this moment, this hope in mind when He did it.

    In fact, while He was cursing creation for Adam and Eve’s rebellion and Satan’s work, He also delivered His answer and the hope to which He subjected creation together with the curse.

    You see, God also came up with the remedy for this problem, the only remedy is Jesus, and He, even then decreed that a man would come that would destroy the work of the devil and restore all to God.

    Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

    Let us not think for one moment that evil, although permitted by God to exist, will ultimately triumph, it will not, it did not, because Jesus triumphed, God always triumphs and evil does not ever triumph even when it seems to be triumphing.

    Evil befalls evil, sin and death will befall those who are unrepentant and unredeemed, when evil seems to befall innocent people let’s remember that NO ONE IS INNOCENT before God [Romans 3:10-18]; God can turn evil into good [Genesis 50:20], and God will make ALL things cooperate for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. [Romans 8:28].

    Paul in fact continues,

     

    21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God

    Therefore these things, evil, sin, death, corruption, vanity, will be destroyed by the coming of Jesus Christ as the completion in time of the work of redemption He actually had sealed and completed at the cross and with His resurrection.

    This event, Jesus’ return, is the culmination of all history, all ages, the program of God unfolded, the revelation of Christ’s glory, God’s glory to be revealed also in the sons of God, namely those who have been born again, those who have placed their faith in Him only, those who have been given the Spirit of adoption, who are sons of God.

    When this glorification occurs, the resurrection, transformation of believers into glorious beings, then creation itself will be delivered from the bondage, the slavery of corruption into the freedom from sin, death and corruption that the sons of God also experience.

    This is why now, today, creation as Paul says 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

    Creation lives as a woman in labor, suffering because of the pain that precedes the birth itself.

    The sufferings of creation are a comparison to the pain and groaning of a mother who is going through labor prior to giving birth.

    The groaning and labor pain of creation can be viewed as a universal condition of all creation that travails, suffers, and is in painful lamentation because of the sorrows and the pain that sin, death and corruption causes because of the curse and because it desires to be delivered, to be relieved from the corruption, the pain, the sorrow, the death, the violence that sin and the devil’s reign are causing it to have.

    The Greek term used for groans is the verb form is stenazo, and its noun is stenagmos.

    We will see this used also in verse 23, and 26

    It means to sigh or groan. Basically, the word has been defined by those who study the ancient Greek as the groaning or the sighing of one who is trapped in an undesirable situation which seemingly has no relief. It is the sighing of one who wishes for a better destiny and to be in a better place.

    This condition of sorrow, pain, travail was also described by Jesus and we see it play out before our very eyes with ever increasing frequency just as the labor pains do before the birth.

    So it is in this world, in every creature there is this ever increasing pain, travail, so much so that we see it ever increasing through out the events and episodes that happen in the world around us.

    Jesus described the same thing Paul is talking about almost with the same language, although Jesus describes for us how these labor pains and groans translate themselves in the reality of our world.

    Matthew 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    These occurrences as well as others prophesied are the labor pains of creation that like a woman’s labor pains increase of intensity and frequency as the birth gets closer.

    What’s the birth that creation is expecting? The coming of Jesus and by Him it’s own rebirth.

    Even creation must be born again, regenerated,delivered from the sin and corruption.. (Now this will eventually be completed actually after the Millennial Kingdom when the curse of sin and death will be removed forever, this we can find confirmed in [Revelation 20:14],[Revelation 21:1-8] and [Revelation 22:3]).

    These things however that Jesus mentioned are increasing in intensity and frequency? Yes they are!

    They all come to the point of the birth, the rebirth of creation when Jesus returns, when all things will be finally reconciled to God, even the nation of Israel will be born again, will accept Messiah Jesus and will enter into the Everlasting Covenant as well.

    Even Paul confirms this in the chapter where he describes the salvation and entrance in the Everlasting Covenant of the Jews as a whole nation, salvation that will usher in the Messianic Era on earth also known as the Millennium.

    Romans 11:12-15 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

    Romans 11:25-27 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

    “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

    See also [Zechariah 12:10],[Zechariah 13:1-2],[Zechariah 13:8-9],[Zechariah 14:3-20].

    All of these Scriptures speak of the Second Coming of Jesus, the true spiritual rebirth of Israel, Israel’s salvation and subsequent Messianic Kingdom on earth.

    The natural cataclysmic events and worldwide upheavals we are experiencing today in great magnitude, intensity and frequency are the labor pains of nature, which Jesus described in passages we already have seen.

    There has definitely a great increase frequency and intensity of wars, revolutions, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires. The Bible speaks of all these phenomena happening in great numbers and getting worse preceding the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.

    Acts 2:19-21 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

    Dreadful it will be indeed for many but an awaited relief for God’s children, who eagerly await the return of Jesus their Lord.

    So nature is awaiting its rebirth and its deliverance from the effects of sin, the curse that God has placed all creation under. This will be culminated by Israel’s rebirth as well, as we said, meanwhile creation groans in her labor pains until the glory of God is revealed in the sons of God.

    As we said that moment is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, such is the fact that Paul continues in the next verse attaching another concept to that long awaited moment.

     

    23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

     

    Now Paul is saying, not only that, in other words, nature groans wanting, desiring a better destiny, wanting to be delivered from the corruption of sin, not only nature does this, but also we do, us, the children of God groan within ourselves.

    Do we not? Yes we do!

    We groan within ourselves seeking for ourselves a better destination, a better destiny.

    We groan Seeking to be delivered from our body of death, sin and corruption and from this corrupt world system, system that is under the sway of the evil one.

    That is the completion of our adoption, which is the redemption of our body, in other words our salvation will be complete, this is also called our glorification.

    We will explain this better in a while, but I would like to stop a minute to expound the first part of the verse.

    Paul says, “we who have the first fruits of the Spirit”.

    We as well as all the true born again believers throughout the ages have received the deposit, or if we want the first fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    Having received a deposit or the first fruit does not mean that we received only a part of the Holy Spirit and not Him in His entirety.

    This concept of receiving only a part of Spirit or even in certain cases as some believe and say receiving the Holy Spirit to come along side but not inside a believer is an erroneous and an unbiblical concept.

    It is a doctrine that cannot in any way stand the test of Scripture.

    We did speak of this concept various times already and it is a concept I have exposed in detail in the section of this web site

    Doctrinal Studies

    You can find it exposed in this section under the heading

    The Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the Filling of the Holy Spirit according to Scripture.

    Here I will limit myself to mention, as we have seen in this chapter previously, what Paul declared regarding this concept.

     

    Romans 8:9-10 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

     

    As we see, the Scriptures are clear, the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer and if anyone does not have Him indwelling in them, they do not belong to Christ.

    Here we realize that Paul is speaking of the Holy Spirit, all of Him and not a part of Him or simply the Holy Spirit is upon a person or near a person, but he says inside a person.

    Jesus Himself told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was with them at that time, but that He also would be IN them.

    John 14:17-18 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

    Jesus was making reference to the day of Pentecost when He sent His Spirit in the church. He sent His Spirit to dwell inside the believers, not along side or near them, or upon them rather to be received in them and not at a later time or as a later event as some teach today.

    The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in the church and inside every believer when they become saved, born again.

    The Holy Spirit has come to INDWELL, we are not living in the Old Testament times when the Spirit would come upon people and would rest there or when Jesus still had to be glorified, such as is the case of the disciples at that time.

    Here are a list of Scripture that confirms that the Holy Spirit is given entirely, not partially, to believers and that He dwells within the believer from the moment of conversion to the moment of glorification, as a deposit, yes, but a deposit of a guarantee, in other words the completion of the believer’s salvation, glorification, in other words a seal and a deposit of a guaranteed inheritance to come.

    [John 7:39],[Acts 2:38-39],[Romans 5:5],[1 Corinthians 3:16-17],[1 Corinthians 6:19-20],[2 Corinthians 1:21-22], [2 Corinthians 5:5], [2 Corinthians 6:16],[Ephesians 1:13-14],[Galatians 3:14],[Galatians 4:6-7],[Colossians 1:27],[1 John 4:13].

    It is more than clear and evident that the Holy Spirit, entirely, not in part only, comes to indwell the believers at the moment of faith, conversion, salvation, regeneration.

    At that moment one is baptized with the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and is also filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Let’s make a clarification here.

    A believer is baptized with and by the Holy Spirit ONCE at salvation and also filled at that same time, however, a believer needs to be constantly re-filled with the Holy Spirit even after this event.

    This word being filled in reality means to be under the complete and total influence and control of the Spirit, and equipped by the Spirit to do the will of God in life.

    The infilling of the Spirit is a repeated event that can occur many times in the life of a believer.

    It’s actually a commandment to be filled with the Holy Spirit or in other words to submit to His control, authority and power [Ephesians 5:18].

    So having made this explanatory and needed parenthesis, needed to build a foundation for the fact that the Holy Spirit belongs to every believer in Christ, the gift of God which we receive along with our salvation-regeneration.

    This gift of God to us, this deposit, this seal, the Holy Spirit is the guarantee, the first fruit given us in light of our resurrection and future glorification.

    Now, our salvation, our inheritance will not be complete until we who believed in Jesus are resurrected, those who died in Christ, and those who are still alive will be transformed, changed, and then together with the resurrected saints will be given new and glorious spiritual bodies, made in the image of Christ ,we will be reunited with Christ in the air at His Second Coming.

    Now, this incident is described in various sections of Scripture and we did mention this even previously.

    The Scripture references in which we find this event described are:

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

    This passage summarizes the resurrection of the believer and the subsequent glory, the summary of the end of God’s program all the way to the eternal state.

    The second section of Scripture that describes instead the Second Coming of Jesus and the subsequent resurrection of the dead believers as well as the transformation of those who are alive at the time, is found also in the same chapter,

    1 Corinthians 15:42-54 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

    See also [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18]

    In this section Paul explains in detail what he says in lesser detail here in Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

    Paul is describing in this verse that we are groaning within ourselves eagerly waiting and wanting the moment described in the passage we just read in 1Corinthians 15.

    We, as well as nature does, are groaning, desiring to be clothed with our new body, the new spiritual body for the new spiritual man, who now has to live his days on earth trapped, chained, to a corrupt body, which Paul calls a body of death, mentioned in

    Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

    Here we even recognize the word expressed content of the groaning that Paul is talking about.

    Longing to be delivered from this body of death and to be clothed with a new body we groan, as the Scripture says

    1 Corinthians 15:53-54 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

    This is the event Paul is referring to, we are groaning within ourselves eagerly waiting for the adoption, in other words, the redemption of our bodies.

    This is the redemption of the last part of us, our bodies. Our bodies yet not redeemed now but to which point in time will be redeemed and then our adoption will be completed.

    Although, from the divine standpoint, in God’s program, our salvation is already complete even now, from the human and time standpoint it is yet to be completed, we still need to arrive to the day of redemption, the Second Coming of Jesus.

    That our glorification for God is an event He considers already accomplished is evident by the entire discourse Paul makes ahead, in

    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    As we see the use of the verb here is in the past tense, God glorified already, those He predestined, called and justified.

    This is the description of the entire plan of salvation-regeneration-glorification of the believer that in God’s eternal economy is already done.

    However, what is accomplished only in Christ, remember He declared it was finished”, ALL was completed in Him, however it has to come to pass on the human time table, in space and time we have to still get there.

    So, as we await such event, we long to be in that better situation, to be in the better destiny God has for us, not to be unclothed rather to be clothed with our heavenly body, which is the adoption, the redemption of our body.

    This is so eloquently described, the same exact concept of the verse we are studying, is found in:

    2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

    So we see here it is exactly what Paul is saying in Romans, we groan, earnestly, desiring to be transformed, in other words clothed with our heavenly body.

    While we live in this body of death, this earthly tent, we groan, because this corrupt body of ours is indeed a burden, a weight, something that weighs down the spiritual, inner, born again man.

    This groaning in not so much because we want to die in itself, but because instead we want to be clothed with eternal life, so that this mortal being can be clothed instead with real immortal life; so that this corrupt body can become incorruptible.

    For this day of redemption God has prepared us, for this purpose as well He has given us His Spirit, as a guarantee, a deposit, a seal, for the actual glorification, our inheritance, the completion of our salvation

    [1 Peter 1:3-9].

    This is the day we earnestly await for groaning, stenagmos, desiring in other words a better destiny, a better place, a better life, eternal life and glory.

    Romans IIIV From XXIV to XXVII

    24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 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.

    24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

    Let’s recall what Paul said in verse 20, that creation was subjected to the curse of God in hope.

    This is what the Bible calls the word hope, not as wishful thinking, in other words hoping that an event will occur but not having a guarantee that it will; rather that it is instead a certainty that it will occur.

    In this case as well, as the hope we are seeing mentioned in verse 20, is not a wishful hope only, but a certainty the event will take place.

    We are saved in this hope, in other words, certainty, but it’s at this time a certainty that we accept by faith and not by sight.

    We do not see the redemption of our bodies now at this moment, however we believe it will occur in a future day.

    In this case, in our mind it’s as good as done,as it is in God’s mind as well.

    Why? Because God promised it and declared it and in His economy it is already accomplished.

    We did see this concept developed when we studied chapter 5.

    Even there is spoken of a hope that does not disappoint.

    Why does it not disappoint?

    Because it is a certainty, because God said it would occur and hope in this cannot disappoint.

    Even then we did see that it’s called hope because it’s not seen as a real tangible fact yet, in the hear and now, it’s not seen but it’s a certainty of what is yet unseen.

    That is exactly what faith is, right?

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The material substance to God’s yet to be fulfilled promises.

    However, it is certainty, why?

    Because God promised and declared such things to be.

    God is faithful and true and can be taken at His word, He is not a man that He should lie. God is truth. What He promises will occur, it’s just a matter of when.

    In fact, faith is also the evidence of what is unseen at the moment one believes God’s promises, His word.

    Paul eloquently explains the concept he wrote here in Romans, in the same exact context as we find this explained for us in two passages that are in reality one flowing discourse and that are speaking about the same thing.

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    Paul continues the same thought, in other words there would be no chapter division as in the original text such divisions did not exist,

    2 Corinthians 5:1-8 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

    We see how Paul in these passages explains to us in a greater detail some of the concepts he wrote to the Romans as well.

    What he is saying are basically the same things.

    Compare [Romans 8:11-17] with [2 Corinthians 4:16-18], compare [Romans 8:24-25] with [2 Corinthians 4:18],

    compare [Romans 8:23-25] with [2 Corinthians 5:1-8].

    The same exact context and concept is brought forth by Paul.

    So that he concludes in the end of verse 24 and in verse 25 of the passage we are studying that, our hope, our future certainty, is certain even now, but being that it’s not seen it’s then hoped for that at one given moment it will occur.

    Rightly Paul says that if what we can see is something we already tangibly have in front of us now, this could not be eagerly awaited for as we would already have it.

    Rather, still having certainty now of a future accomplishment, although it is considered a reality even now that we yet not have it as something tangible.

    It’s called hope exactly because it’s not yet seen nor is it yet a tangible, a touchable reality.

    We know that, by faith, we will have the substance of what we hope for and yet at the moment even though we do not have it, because of this certainty, we wait for it to occur with perseverance.

    Now, as Paul says, it would be useless to hope and wait for something that would not occur.

    Therefore, what we hope for, must be a certainty that it will occur, in order to be able to wait for it with perseverance.

    I will give an earthly, maybe even simplistic example, yet I believe it will explain the concept well.

    If I am waiting for a bus at a bus stop and I am sure the bus will come by, then I will continue to wait for it even if, in this case we are talking in human terms, even if, it seems to delay according to my time table or idea.

    Now, we know God does not ever arrive late, but is always on time, but He is on His time table and not ours.

    So we must see this example like this, the bus is in transit for sure, yet we do not see it, the bus travels on its own schedule and the day and the hour, the minute of its arrival is not posted on the stop.

    We do not know the hour it will come by, but we have the certainty that the bus is on its way and at some point it will be stopping here.

    In such case we will persevere and wait for the bus to arrive at our stop, because, although we do not know exactly when it will arrive, we know however that it certainly will arrive.

    It may seem that it is coming late, this is because we might have our own expectations, but if we eagerly await for it, persevere in waiting even though it seems never to arrive, we are waiting in hope because we do not see it yet and yet we wait in the certainty that at any moment the bus will arrive.

    It will not be late for it will get us to our destination exactly on time.

    So is this concept in regard to the moment of the Lord’s coming and the glorification of our bodies.

    We do not see that bus, now, but we are sure it is traveling and it will stop here and pick us up, that’s hope, an unseen certainty, it’s called hope because it is not seen, but because of this, we wait for it with perseverance, obtaining the end of our faith, the completion of our salvation, the redemption of our bodies to be reunited with our spirit that is already redeemed now.

    Scripture puts this eloquently in this way as well:

    1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.

    Here we must specify something before we misunderstand it. At the end of verse 9 it says receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.

    Now, when we first read this by itself it seems to be leading us to think that the salvation of our souls can be in jeopardy throughout our entire life, that it’s not guaranteed till the end, in other words until the coming of Jesus.

    However, to answer this in the proper interpretation we must look at the entire passage.

    In reality the passage confirms what Paul has said till now in Romans.

    The certainty of our salvation is not in jeopardy until the end, but, we need to specify that perseverance is however a key factor in the confirmation that our faith is REAL and not superficial and false.

    That’s what the passage is saying. Verse 3, according to His abundant mercy we have been born again to a living HOPE, CERTAINTY, through the resurrection of Jesus.

    Verse 4 This to a promised inheritance, which is incorruptible, undefiled and that DOES NOT FADE AWAY.

    This inheritance is reserved in heaven for us,

    Verse 5 who are KEPT by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed, when though?

    In the last time, in other words when Jesus returns.

    In this very HOPE,CERTAINTY we greatly rejoice.

    You see, until this blessed event,our salvation will not be complete. Why?

    Because, God saved our soul already, so that if we were to die we would go to be with the Lord in spirit, but not in body though.

    Our salvation instead will be complete when our redeemed and saved spirit will be united with our resurrected and glorified body.

    Now, Peter is saying that those who have been born again to this living hope,

    Verse 6 rejoice in these certainties and will go through sufferings of various kinds, why?

    Verse 7 To prove to us, not to God, God knows already the genuineness or not of our faith, God given faith by the way is real, our faith is then more precious than mere corruptible gold, even though tested by fire, MAY BE indeed found to bring praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Once again, when? At the revelation of Jesus Christ, His Second Coming and the moment of the redemption of our bodies.

    Verse 8 Jesus, whom having not seen we love, though now we do not see Him, yet we believe in Him and we rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

    Verse 9 receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls.

    See, we receive the end of our faith the salvation of our souls now as we continue to believe in Jesus till the end.

    All this concept however demonstrates that those who are indeed born again to a living hope, to this certainty, through the resurrection of Jesus, have indeed an inheritance reserved for them, kept, safeguarded, protected by the power of God, through the true faith we receive from God.

    This faith is to be revealed in full glory, the completion of our salvation and the moment in which we can claim our inheritance, all this is at the Second Coming of Jesus.

    In the meantime as we wait and hope in the blessed and final event, the genuineness of the faith God has given us will be tested through trials as gold through fire.

    Although our faith being more precious than gold will prove it’s veracity through its perseverance, this leading us to rejoice in the certainty of seeing and being with Christ whom we cannot see now but yet we love, with this hope, this certainty, that proves to us to be a persevering faith and we obtain in the end the salvation of our souls.

    We as believers have entered into salvation and so we have been saved (conversion and regeneration) we are also being continuously saved (sanctification and perseverance) and will be completely and thoroughly saved (redemption of our bodies or glorification), thus our salvation will be complete.

    He in whom salvation has begun, in him or her, that work of God will be completed, until when?

    The day of Jesus’ coming. [Philippians 1:6], this concept is well stated also in

    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

    That’s when our salvation will become completed,when we will be glorified.

    Romans VIII Verse XXVI to XXVII

    26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 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.

    The word that Paul uses to introduce to us the next protagonist is very interesting. Likewise! In the same way!

    The Holy Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. We, Paul says, do not even know what we should pray for in the way we should, but the Spirit Himself, prays for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

    So we see the connection of the word likewise to the previously written thoughts regarding creation which is groaning awaiting the return of Christ and the glorification of the believers as well and its own rejuvenation and eventually the removal of the curse under which it is subjugated.

    The groanings of the believers who are awaiting the return of Christ for their bodies’ redemption, the completion of their salvation,their glorification.

    In the same way, likewise, the Holy Spirit also groans. He groans for the same reasons creation and we groan.

    He also groans for our glorification, He also groans because we live in an unredeemed body still corrupted by sin.

    The groanings are for the same reason as His intercession as well is for the same reason.

    We need to say what this passage is saying specifically; for in some Christian circles this passage, especially the part referring to the groanings and the interceding are misunderstood and not interpreted well.

    What this passage is NOT referring to AT ALL is the speaking in tongues.

    The context denies emphatically there is even a remote connection between the Spirit’s groanings and His intercession and the biblical gift of tongues.

    First of all the biblical gift of tongues is something that, yes, the Holy Spirit imparts but it is the person who practices it, it’s the person who speaks and not the Holy Spirit.

    The biblical gift of tongues not only was not groanings, it is speaking in intelligible words, articulate speech, languages that could be understood by others, who understood the language in which the believer spoke.

    These groanings in question, however Paul says, cannot be uttered, they are not words, not even gibberish sounds, but most of all they are not an angelic language.

    Secondly, the groanings of the Spirit are unutterable, in other words they cannot be understood by people, they are silent to man, they are audible only by God because God understands the actual reason behind the groans, He obviously knows His own mind and heart.

    God looks at the heart and the heart has a silent language, the sighs or groans are the silent language of the heart, in this case the heart of the Holy Spirit.

    We can even recall Hanna’s prayer in [1Samuel 1:9-18].

    These groans are not even a spiritual language because they are not words, just sighs, such as perhaps the groan, sigh, like Jesus groaned in:

    John 11:33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

    He groaned in the spirit because He was troubled. This is not a reference to the gift of tongues or a prayer language.

    This is I believe the same exact type of groaning the Spirit utters in this case because He also is troubled for the same reasons we are troubled.

    The Holy Spirit sympathizes with our infirmities, with our weaknesses, He groans as we do because of the flesh, the sinfulness, the desire we have to be liberated from all this, and this is transmitted in the groans of the believers as well as of the Spirit.

    There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, in this way the chapter started [Romans 8:1], this is to specify the victory of the believer over sin and death. Why?

    Because Paul spent an entire chapter previously explaining the reality of the law of sin still present in our bodies.

    It is also worth specifying that, the Holy Spirit’s groans are not groans of condemnation, but the same type of groans we groan with at the presence of sin and of the corruption we see still present in us, desiring instead to be permanently set free from these.

    Because of the law of sin still present in us, we often have a struggle within ourselves as at times we do what we do not wish to do and we do not do what we wish to do, this is because as Paul explained, there is another law at work in our body, the law of sin.

    This struggle, is a good thing to have in some ways, however it makes us realize that we are, the inner redeemed man, the spiritual man, imprisoned, chained to a corrupt body of death and this gives us a desire to be freed from it and to be clothed with our new spiritual and glorified body [Romans 7:15-25].

    This desire is transmitted by us groaning eagerly awaiting the moment in which our bodies will also be redeemed and changed so that sin and death will be forever gone from us. [Romans 8:23].

    So the Holy Spirit together with us, likewise, groans as we do for the same reasons.

    This is the groaning Paul is talking about, and not speaking in tongues or speaking a spiritual language of prayer.

    Now, having resolved what the groanings are and what they are not, we realize from the text that as we groan wishing to be freed from this body of death and to be clothed with a new glorious body where sin does not dwell, so does the Spirit of God in us.

    However, He does not limit Himself to sympathize with us only and to groan with us only.

    He does something much deeper and useful for us.

    He is the One, by the way, who has sealed us, sealed us for the day of redemption. He is the seal of God with which He has locked us up in Christ.

    We are sealed into Christ by the ministry and presence of the Holy Spirit and from there we cannot be moved.

    Scripture does indicate this concept.

    See for example in this same context a passage we have already looked at before that eloquently describes the concept Paul wrote about here in this chapter of Romans.

    2 Corinthians 5:1-6 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

    Here the word guarantee is used but we could replace that word with deposit or a earnest, a pledge and even a seal, as this is delineated in other passages of Scripture.

    2 Corinthians 1:21-23 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

    Ephesians 1:12-14 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

    Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    Who is it that guarantees our inheritance then? Who is it that has sealed us in Christ for the day of redemption? The Holy Spirit! Not us, or anything we can do or do not do, but only Him.

    So it is quite evident what the word of God is telling us; the Holy Spirit is the seal of God, with whom we have been sealed and He is also the deposit and the promise given to us to keep us in Christ for the day of redemption.

    This takes us to a very important point this passage is also explaining, in other words, the Holy Spirit as well as Jesus are executing a very important ministry in the life of the believers.

    Both, Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bring us children of God to the completion of our salvation, that’s our glorification, through sanctification and perseverance and that’s in essence of what this passage is mainly speaking.

    We have seen that we are kept by the power of God trough faith in order to receive an inheritance which is reserved for us in heaven [1 Peter 1:3-5].

    God’s power and our God given true faith are what keep us.

    However, we must understand that our faith is also kept secure and active also by the intercessory ministry of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus is called in Hebrews 12:2 the author and finisher of our faith.

    Finisher of our faith, finisher is the word teleiooteèn, from the word teleiotes, which means to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to perfect.

    He is the author of our faith and the One who will bring it to completion as well, with our cooperation yes, but He will do it in us and through us. [Philippians 1:6],[Philippians 2:13],[1 Thessalonians 5:23-24].

    For this reason Jesus also intercedes for us; He is our High Priest in the heavens [Romans 8:34], in the real Holy of Holies, in the Father’s presence and by His intercession He keeps us, He protects us, He also perfects and completes our faith and makes it grow stronger as He also protects it.

    There should be no doubt that Jesus’ prayers are perfect, they are prayed in the good, perfect and acceptable will of God and they are 100% answered by the Father.

    There is also other passages that really confirm that Jesus prays to keep us, protect us, that He prays for our faith not to fail.

    Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

    Jesus our intercessor before God for this He is the anchor of our souls, to which we are anchored

    [Hebrews 6:13-19].

    Jesus’ intercession has always been and always is an intercession for the completion of our salvation, for the keeping of our faith, for our protection from the world and the devil and ourselves.

    A Scriptural example of how and what Jesus prayers are like is found in [John 17:9-26].

    Now, as we have ascertained Jesus’ powerful intercessory ministry for us who belong to Him, we also see the ministry of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

    Part of His ministry for those in whom He came to dwell is just like Jesus’ ministry.

    The Son intercedes for us and the Spirit also intercedes for us.

    He, the Holy Spirit, like Jesus prays in God’s perfect will for the things God wants to be prayed for us.

    He does this as described in the passage we are studying:

    Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 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.

    He helps in our weaknesses. What are our weaknesses?

    Yes, they are our sinfulness, because as we are still plagued by the law of sin present in our bodies, this also at times renders our understanding of God’s perfect will more difficult to discern.

    As we are taken in by selfish desires, taken in by the lust of the world, that in some fashion blinds us to some degree, we pray without really discerning what we should really pray for.

    How could we possibly expect it to be us, with our weak way of praying, to keep ourselves saved, to keep our faith from failing?

    How could we? To do so we should be praying without ceasing every second of every minute of our life and not only we should be praying with the perfect knowledge and discernment about all of the kinds and types of attacks of the enemy, we should know all of the temptations we would be falling into even before they come, we would need to know exactly what is lurking around the corner every second of our life.

    How could we be able to pray like this?

    Who would protect us and watch us and make intercession for us when we are sleeping?

    We are just to weak to know how to pray, we are just to weak to keep ourselves, we are just to weak to keep our faith, too weak to know what will happen next to us or where the dangers will come from. We are not omniscient, nor are we omnipresent, nor are we omnipotent.

    This is why we need someone that is all these things to intercede for us according to God’s perfect will to keep us and to complete the process of sanctification in us till the day of Jesus Christ.

    Without the power of the Holy Spirit in our life we could not ever make it, without Him we cannot sanctify ourselves, without Him we cannot do God’s will, without Him we cannot persevere.

    When we do not know what to pray for He does it for us and He does it constantly and continuously and with perfect knowledge and discernment.

    We have Jesus seated at the right of the majesty that intercedes for us in heaven and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us on the earth that intercedes for us as well.

    Now, we are more than adequately prayed up for if Jesus and the Holy Spirit pray for us constantly.

    Now, let’s make something clear here, we are to pray ourselves as well, it’s not because we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit who pray for us that we can just forgo prayer, that’s not what anyone is saying.

    In fact, we are to pray as Paul says, without ceasing.

    This does not of course mean that we pray 24-7 without ever stopping, this would be impossible and impracticable in our lives.

    Prayer I believe is first of all a state of mind and an attitude more than just taking time to stop and pray, although we must do this as well.

    Prayer is a behavior and an attitude by which we always are aware of our connection with God, our thoughts, our desires, we must always keep them as an open way of communication with God, with the conscious awareness of our communicating with God and always keeping our spiritual ears open, because prayer is a two way street, it’s not a monologue it’s a dialogue and in effect it’s more important to actually listen to what God has to say then what we have to say.

    We must especially pay attention to what God tells us through the written word, for that is His first and foremost and most important way with which He wants to communicate with us.

    After all even Jesus tells us that our heavenly Father in reality already knows what we need even before we ask for it, therefore we need to learn to listen more, talk less, and when we talk to God we should pray for His will to be done, we should first and foremost pray for the things regarding His kingdom rather than our own earthly needs, pray for His glory to always be done and manifested in our lives.

    Praying without ceasing in reality means to pray with perseverance and in every and for every situation of our life, praying for others as well. Prayers or petitions to God may be even very short and to the point, arrow prayers some call them.

    See for example [Nehemiah 2:1-4],[Matthew 8:25] or [Mark 9:24].

    This can translate into praying in certain moments of the day or night, in situations where we really need God’s wisdom and discernment, in temptations, yes, making special times in the day to pray, such as in prayer meetings and with other believers and praying always in the Spirit.

    What does this mean? To pray in the Spirit.

    It does not mean to pray in gibberish, in a not understandable language, to which many refer to as speaking in tongues as we hear done in many pentecostal and charismatic denominations.

    That is not what biblical praying in the Spirit means. There is no Scriptural basis at all about a prayer language or that even the gift of speaking in tongues was or is a special prayer language.

    Praying in the Spirit means to pray according to the will of God for His glory and according to His word.

    Praying in the Spirit means praying in accord with how the Spirit of God prays.

    How does He pray?

    It takes us to know the word of God well enough in order to know what we ought to pray about according to God’s will and for His glory.

    Praying in the Spirit or according to the Spirit as we said is praying God’s will and God’s heart according to the truth of His word.

    In order for us to do this we must recognize another aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is to make known to us what is the will of God, specifically what is the mind of Christ, to take from Christ and let it known to us [John 16:13-15], so that we are also more aware of what to pray for.

    Many times, in fact, it is the Spirit who guides our prayer and intercession.

    How many times it happened we prayed something or prayed for people without specific knowledge of what need or request to pray for and then find out that was the need or request the person we were praying for actually had.

    That’s also the Spirit helping in our weaknesses because we do not otherwise know how to pray.

    How many times I have heard people who have a specific doctrinal belief praying, thanking God, for example for having chosen them to be saved.

    When you hear an Armenian thank God in prayer, thanking him or her for being chosen by God, I even hear many of them even thanking God for having predestined them before the foundation of the world, well when you hear prayers like these, you know they’re praying in the Spirit, they’re worshiping God in spirit and in truth and according to His word.

    They are praying according to the Holy Spirit.

    See with their conscious awareness of their doctrinal beliefs they will deny that such doctrines of predestination or election exist, but if and when they pray in the Spirit, according to the Spirit of truth, they admit that those doctrines not only exist, they actually agree with them.

    This is another way the Holy Spirit aids us in our weaknesses because we do not often know how we ought to pray so He helps us to know how to do it.

    However, specifically, the Holy Spirit prays for us, intercedes for us so that we are kept, protected and sanctified and we persevere all the way to our glorification, the completion of our salvation, our full inheritance.

    That’s also why as we said He is the seal who seals us in Christ, the guarantee, the pledge, of our inheritance.

    In this very light we arrive to also understand better what Jesus intended when He declared in

    Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

    The Holy Spirit is the gift of gifts because it is exactly in the prayer context of Luke 11 that Jesus is making this declaration.

    It fits perfectly within the Romans passage we are studying.

    Even Jesus is confirming this in order to pray in the way God really wants us to pray and as the disciples asked,

    Luke 11:1-2 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

    Jesus indeed taught them in this entire passage from Luke 11:1 to 13, how to pray, for what to pray and by whom to pray.

    First Point: [Luke 11:3-4], The order of priority in our prayer and the content of our prayer according to God’s will.

    Second Point: [Luke 11:5-12] Perseverance necessary in praying even when according to God’s will. Jesus also explains the faithfulness and the assured answer of the Father while comparing the assured and complete goodness of God’s answers, with human requests, even if they are not answered as we ask.

    Third Point: [Luke 11:13] The ultimate gift God gives to His children, the Holy Spirit, is to be in Himself the answer for every need and every prayer. He comes with the request of salvation, the ultimate gift for the ultimate request a person might submit to God.

    This in the end is the confirmation of what Paul is saying, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses as He intercedes for us according to the perfect, good and acceptable will of God, giving to us every good thing God has for us and He Himself teaching us how to pray and what to pray for, this is the ONLY kind of praying that is accepted by God, praying in the Spirit according to His truth and His will.

    So what Jesus was saying and does say in His word, is that without His Spirit not only we are not in Christ and regenerated, made alive, but we also cannot pray, commune and communicate with God nor know His will.

    Romans VIII Verses XXVIII to XXX

    28 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. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Now Paul embarks us into a great section of Scripture.

    This section also begins to bring to the surface a very controversial subject in the church today.

    The doctrine of election or of predestination.

    We will tackle this subject and look at it from the biblical standpoint to see if indeed there is enough corroboration or confirmation in Scripture to make this doctrine a valid one.

    I believe that if any of you have navigated in this website and in this study you have had ample evidence that the doctrine of election is, in fact, the most Scriptural doctrine there is, compared to the doctrine of human free will, when it comes to salvation.

    It is important to understand this doctrine well and not to misinterpret it, otherwise; it is evident that is becomes extremely difficult if not impossible to understand.

    It’s a doctrine that it is certainly difficult to accept for most believers today, but we will have ample confirmation from Scripture to see that it’s absolutely true.

    Paul begins this new section telling the believers that, we know, that ALL things work together for good for those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.

    We need to look at this verse also in the light of what was previously said in the preceding verses.

    Paul has finished telling us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

    His ministry is that of coming to dwell inside the believer for the remainder of the believer’s life on earth.

    We read that the Holy Spirit is our deposit, our guarantee to bring to completion our salvation and for this He seals us in Christ as belonging to God in Christ.

    He also bears witness to our spirit we belong to God.

    He will raise our mortal bodies to give us our full inheritance, eternal life and quicken our mortal bodies to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

    See [Romans 8:1-17].

    He does this to bring us to the fulfillment or the completion of our salvation, our glorification, for which He also groans with us and with creation.

    He intercedes for us together with Jesus, we will see this ahead, making sure we are kept in Christ through His intercession.

    See [Romans 8:26-27]

    At this point Paul seals his whole discourse made in chapter 8 with a portion of Scripture that does nothing but guarantee us, born again believers, those called according to God’s eternal and benevolent purpose, of the certainty of our salvation to its completion.

    We, because of the things mentioned before, KNOW as Paul says, at this point, or we should know, we should be persuaded by what Paul said up to now, that ALL THINGS, work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

    Here Paul says three very important truths we must closely examine so that we do not misunderstand what Paul is saying or that we understand exactly what he is saying.

    He says first of all that ALL THINGS, work together for good.

    What this really means is that ALL things is really ALL things, not only some things, not only the good things, but ALL things, even the bad things, the difficult things, the tribulations, the persecutions, the trials of one’s life WILL WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD.

    We need to specify at this point that God DOES NOT condone sinfulness in our life even though now ALL of our sins are forever forgiven.

    The wages of sin are still death, and even though we will not suffer eternal judgment for our sinfulness still present in our lives as believers we will, however, suffer God’s discipline and correction even severely, even physical sickness and death if we persist in sinning [1 Corinthians 5:5], [1 Corinthians 11:27-32].

    However, God does turn ALL things together for good, even in our sinfulness we can say that God’s discipline and correction in our life works together for our good because of His love for us [Hebrews 12:5-11]. His goodness after all always pushes us to repentance [Romans 2:4-5]

    We must know that although God forgives us from the eternal punishment of our sinfulness, the temporal and earthly consequences of our sins are not always removed by God, even though He forgives us even the most grievous sins, see for this principle [2 Samuel 12: 7-15].

    Even though, it is obvious that we are not to sin so that God’s grace may abound, or that we are still not to sin even though we are under grace,

    [Romans 6:1-15], so there are really no excuses for sinfulness in our lives, but there is repentance and forgiveness through discipline and correction, and that’s a good thing God makes to work for our good.

    When God elects people according to His purposes He will make ALL things work together for good for them even when they do not know it yet or even when they do not know Him yet.

    This is why the purpose according to election stands, always.

    We can see this even in a testimony given to us by Joseph; a man whom his brothers hated and wanted to kill, whom his brothers sold into slavery, yet since both Joseph and his brothers were called according to God’s purpose, God turned their evil deeds into good. God has the power to do this sort of thing because He is sovereign and omnipotent.

    Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

    Now it’s important to realize that we who do claim to know God, we who claim to love God DO NOT EVER, CANNOT EVER think in our hearts to do evil because in any event God will work all things together for good for us just the same.

    Who thinks this way, does not really know God. Who thinks like this most likely is not even one who is called according to His purpose because thinking like this proves that they do not really love God.

    Who thinks this way does not understand God’s grace, for grace teaches us always to do right by God; it teaches us to deny sinful and unrighteous living and to pursue righteousness and goodness.

    Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    Grace does not teach us to practice known evil thus deceiving ourselves into thinking God will bless our evil deeds just the same.

    This is presumptuous sin and it is very, very dangerous ground to tread there.

    This, in fact, brings us to the next point of this passage.

    Paul says, all things work together for good, for who?

    For those who love God.

    Now we must see that those who are called according to God’s purpose are those who love Him as well.

    The two things go hand in hand, they cannot be separated.

    Those who are the called according to His purpose, are those whom He elected and those are the ones who love Him because He elected them to salvation.

    We love Him because He loved us first [1 John 4:19].

    Jesus Himself clearly told us who are those who really love Him.

    What do they do to prove their love for Him, love toward God?

    The Apostle John, who is known as the Apostle of love, because in His Gospel and letter He is the one who writes about God’s love most frequently, is also the Apostle of righteousness, holiness and truth as He always pairs God’s love to those in whose life righteousness,holiness and truth prevail.

    Jesus, also tells us, in John’s Gospel who are those who love God.

    John 14:15-24 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

    Jesus makes evident to us what is the litmus test of loving God.

    Here He is not referring to living in perfect obedience to His word, although that should be our aim, for we know this would then disqualify everybody and that is what we have God’s grace for in Christ, the forgiveness of our sins.

    Jesus means those whose life and heart are changed and are now willing to obey Him and live in persevering and constant pursuit of righteous living according to obedience to the word of God.

    This is also what it means to have confessed Jesus as our Lord, to confess Him as Lord is not only words said with the lips.

    1 John 3:18-19 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

    Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    I believe John in His first epistle expounds for us even more in detail what it means to be the ones who love God.

    There are several passages in this epistle that confirm also what Jesus said beforehand.

    1 John 2:3-5 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

    1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

    1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

    1 John 4:20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

    1 John 5:1-4 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

    So here we have the one size fits all of the commandments of God, love, and love is not only and exclusively an emotional feeling, but it’s action demonstrated by obedience to God’s commandments. It’s faith in action.

    So now this verse is taking a very real shape for us.

    Paul is saying then, in light of what he taught previously in the chapter, we know that ALL THINGS, work together for the good of them who LOVE GOD, as we said ONLY THESE ARE THE ONES who are CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

    This is obvious then, that those who do not love God, those who are not willing to obey God’s word are not those who are the called according to His purpose, while those who love God are the ones who live obeying His word, these are indeed the called according to His purpose.

    We just read the distinction between the children of God, (the elect) and the children of the devil (the non elect, those who remain and persist in this state of rebellion and incredulity).

    1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

    They who demonstrate they hate God by living in constant disobedience to His word, those who ignore Him, who do not worship Him in spirit and in truth, for these NOTHING will work for their good unless they also are still unbeknownst to them and others elect to salvation,

    They who do not have the guarantee and the seal of the Holy Spirit, they do not belong to Christ and therefore they are not children of God adopted by Him by the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit, therefore, does not intercede for them nor does Jesus, so it’s not about these people who Paul is talking about at all.

    This fact also really excludes the possibility that all people are called by God to salvation and are the elect because the next verses actually explain to us just that.

    Those who God foreknew, those He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, these are the ones God has called, those who are elected.

    This also confirms to us again that only who is foreknown by God and predestined by Him will definitely be conformed to the image of Christ.

    This also describes our completed salvation, our glorification. See also [1 John 3:1-3].

    The children of God will all bear the image of His Son, that’s glorification. The children of the devil will not.

    To be called according to God’s purpose in this case is speaking of those chosen or elected to salvation.

    There are other particular mentions in Scripture about this very subject.

    The greater explanation of what being called according to God’s purpose means is found in

    Ephesians 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

    This passage explains to us what it really means to be called according to His purpose, and it also ushers us into the better understanding of the next two verses we will study by connecting God’s purpose to how He actually works it out through the lives of those He elects to salvation.

    The bottom line is this, the principal reason that we are called according to His purpose is TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY.

    Verses 6-11-14

    That’s God’s ultimate goal in calling us according to His purpose, is to bring glory to His name, for the praise of His glory.

    While He does this, however, He acts according to His love and grace and mercy. Verses 7-8.

    He does this by choosing, electing, predestining some before the foundation of the world to be justified and sanctified, that’s what it means to be holy and without blame, before Him in love before Him, because He loved us first; how did He do this?

    He did it by having predestined us to be adopted as sons by Jesus Christ, to Himself, God.

    Why did He do this? For two reasons which many people, many believers are not willing to accept.

    The first one is, He did it simply according to the good pleasure of His will.

    This means because He decided so in His perfect, acceptable and good will, which brings pleasure, first of all to Himself, then to all those He chooses.

    God did all of this is to make known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.

    Secondly, as we did already say, He did it for the praise of the glory of His grace. See also [Ephesians 2:1-7].

    By doing all this He made us, all the elect, accepted in Jesus as sons.

    In Jesus we have the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence; and in Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

    This is the basic reason, the explanation of predestination.

    In a real sense it does not really have to make sense or be accepted by man, it was done simply because God purposed in Himself to do it, because He works all things according to the counsel of His will.

    That should be a sufficient reason to accept God’s will, and this is exactly in line with this verse, ALL things work together for good for the elect, the predestined.

    Paul continues now, explaining that those he mentioned as being those who love God and who are called according to His purpose are indeed those that are described in the Ephesians 1 passage we just read.

    Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

    Being foreknown, means just that, being known by God before, recognized, known intimately as those who would be chosen and accepted in His beloved Son to bear the image of Jesus Christ in glory.

    That speaks both of sanctification as well as glorification.

    In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said:

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    To be foreknown means just that, be intimately known before hand.

    These persons in the Matthew 7 passage were never known by Him, meaning therefore that they did not belong to Him.

    To be known before when?

    First of all to be known already in God’s mind and heart before we were even born. In fact, Ephesians 1 said before the foundation of the world we were chosen, elected by God’s foreknowledge.

    God’s foreknowledge, however, does not mean at all that He chose us because He foreknew the fact that we eventually would have believed in the Gospel.

    This would be a very problematic issue that is actually not biblical at all as Paul does explain this concept in the next chapter.

    Romans 9:11-12 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls)12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

    God foreknew Jacob not Esau and therefore called Jacob and not Esau. Notice, verse 11.

    The concept of foreknowledge and election does not at all depend on the persons themselves, their behavior or faith or unbelief but on Him who calls.

    Everything else, in otherwords, that faith is due to the foreknowledge and possible election and the subsequent call of God and not vice-versa. God elects NOT foreknowing based on what he sees in the future about the person, as many believe it is, not at all, we see here in the passage of Romans 9 we just read, that the purpose of God is according to election and NOT BASED ON HUMAN WORK, but upon Him who calls.
    It’s useless to try stomp your feet in contention to the word of God, the word of God teaches the concept of foreknowledge, election and the subsequent call, that it’s based on the election of God and His calling and
    NOT based on any work or any human decision, to which God must bow down and act as if man were sovereign and not God.

    We see it does not depend by God knowing ahead that the person would do good or evil that determines God’s choice, but what determines God’s choice is simply the purpose of God who works all things according to the counsel of His will for the praise of His glory that He Himself has determined according to the good pleasure of His will.

    So those God foreknew, them He also predestined to be in Christ so that they would bear His image on earth and in eternity.

    Again what this mean is well explained also in the Ephesians 1 passage we read.

    Verses 4-5 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.

    Verse 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

    Verse 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined.

    Verses 13-14 having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession

    So to be predestined to bear the image of Jesus Christ, to be conformed to the image of Christ, simply entitles having been foreknown by God based upon His own sovereign will and merciful choice and , therefore, chosen before hand to be in Christ and to be saved by Him through His work of redemption.

    Definitely this teaches predestination, the choosing of the elect simply according to the counsel of His will that He determined according to the good pleasure of that same good will.

    That foreknowledge and predestination or election, is a biblical doctrine is amply confirmed by many passages of Scripture.

    Here are some: [Jeremiah 1:5],[John 6:39-40],[John 6:44-45],[John 6:63-70],[John 11:52],[John 17:2],[John 17:6],[John 17:12], [Acts 13:48],[Romans 8:29-30],[Romans 9:10-23],[1 Corinthians 1:24-31],[ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22],[Galatians 4:9],[Ephesians 1:3-14], [2 Timothy 2:19],[1 Peter 1:2].

    God did this so that Jesus would be the head, the firstborn, so of speak, amongst many brethren, what this means is clearly described for us in

    Hebrews 2:10-18 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

    “I will declare Your name to My brethren;

    In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” 13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

    14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

    However, Jesus is the firstborn, Jesus the man, Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, the word of God, who was from eternity with God, and IS God, always existed and is not created but generated.

    Jesus the man and God, partook of the same flesh and blood we partake in, although He was without a sinful nature and without sin, so that through His death He might destroy the devil, the power of sin and death, to set us free from these feared enemies.

    Jesus is the the first born then amongst many brothers, as He Himself declared also to Mary Magdalene,

    John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ “

    Here Jesus places us on His same level when it comes to being children of God, adopted yes, nevertheless children and brothers with Him.

    In fact, we must recall what it meant to be adopted into God’s family, see comments regarding such on verse 15 of this chapter.

    He is our Lord, yet He served us and He serves us still, He is our Lord and yet He is our brother, He is our Lord and yet He places us on the same level of status He has with God through Him, we are children of God, brothers with Christ, co-heirs with Him.

    Paul continues saying in verse

    30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Here Paul is confirming the election (choice) or predestination from God’s part, of those who inherit salvation through faith in Christ.

    Those who believe, do so because undoubtedly they have been ALL predestined by God to believe in Him through and by Christ’s work of redemption.

    Not only is Paul confirming that God chose us beforehand to be in Christ, but to eliminate any possibility of doubt he says those who God predestined, those He also called, whom He called, these He justified and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Those who God predestined, those He also called, NOT that He called also the others who were not predestined.

    We see that the predestination precedes the call and not the call the predestination.

    Therefore, the theory that one is called first and because he or she responds positively to the call makes them predestined to bear the image of Christ is a fallacious one. One is called and responds positively only because they are predestined not the other way around.

    Only they, the called are those who were foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified.

    This my friends is called looking at salvation from God’s perspective.

    Now, at this point we must specify what being called really means.

    When God extends His call to the elect, the predestined, there occurs at times that others hear that call as well, although God’s call is only one in reality.

    While the elect are being called to salvation through the Gospel, a call which they will answer sooner or later; others also hear that call , this type of call is called a general call, however the general call is neither efficacious nor internal but only external for those who are not elected or foreknown and predestined.

    Nevertheless, it is a call to salvation that is extended to many other people as well. This is to prove that man without God’s graceful and merciful intervention will not respond positively to his only hope to be saved. Therefore, God will hold them responsible who refuse the Gospel although not effectually called.

    The general call of the Gospel is to be given to ALL creatures, ALL mankind regardless, this is confirmed by Scripture

    [Matthew 24:14],[Mark 16:15-16],[Luke 24:47],[Acts 17:30-31].

    This is commanded by the Lord, but now one might ask why?

    After all if only the elect are to be saved why others who are not elected are also “called”?

    Because we, finite human beings, first of all do not know who the elect are, only God knows [2 Timothy 2:19], unless He reveals to us at times who to go to specifically to bring the message of salvation. This is evidenced by the work of the Holy Spirit in a sovereign way and we can see it developed in the book of Acts as far as how salvation gets applied through evangelism according to God’s way. In addition such is coherent with what Jesus tells Nicodemus in

    John 3:6-8 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    Since God has chosen also the instruments to bring salvation to His elect, this is done through the church and the preaching of the Gospel, He knows who the elect are but in most cases we do not, so we are to preach the Gospel to everybody we can, resting assured that within those to whom we preach God has His elect who will respond, even if many others who are not elected will not respond positively to the call and they will still be held fully responsible because that is still the desire and the decision that without God’s intervention ANY AND ALL men would make, namely the rejection of the Gospel.

    Often in Scripture, especially the book of Acts, gives us many confirmations that it is God’s sovereign will that did and that should direct evangelism and evangelists also to go to specific people, those who then will respond to the Gospel call, or else it was the God made circumstances that directed both preachers and those to be saved to each other so that the elect indeed would hear the Gospel, believe and be saved.

    Let’s look at some of those instances.

    The Ethiopian Eunuch, Philip is actually told by the Angel of the Lord to go meet this man so he could hear the Gospel and be saved [Acts 8:26-38]. After this it is the Holy Spirit who actually carries Philip to the place where God desired he would go and minister, where God had His elect who needed to hear the Gospel [Acts 8:39].

    Cornelius and his household Peter gets actually called by God and by Cornelius to make sure he goes to preach to the elect of God whom God chose for salvation [Acts 10:1-48]. Now many could object on this mentioning Peter’s declaration found in Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

    Now we have to be careful how we interpret these verses, because is is easy to conclude that there have to be some moral or religious prerequisites that God looks for in order for Him to accept people. If this were true however, as some intend this to mean, we would then be saved by works and not by grace only. Salvation would then be contingent upon something to be deserved. This would give us a great problem to deal with. In this specific case in other words about salvation, Scripture would then contradict itself because this would mean that God would in effect show partiality and that He would give salvation to those who somehow would deserve it. This fact though here mentioned by Peter simply defines that not only from the Hebrews God would have those who would fear Him and work righteousness but also from every other nation in the world. This is the context of this passage, the election of God not only out of the Jews but also out of the Gentiles, because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.

    What does it mean after all, fear God and work righteousness? It does not mean,it could not mean being saved because we work something for which God shows partiality so then in this case He would see and provide us with salvation, that would be salvation by works, salvation for merit. Salvation is by grace alone and therefore has to be COMPLETELY without merit and has to be in base of God’s sovereign will. Fearing God and working righteousness simply means to obey the call of the Gospel by faith in Christ, however this fact mentioned by Peter does not negate God’s sovereign election, rather it confirms it. All we need to do is seeing what Paul told us in [Romans 3:10-19] to understands what Peter is NOT saying here.

    The Gentiles The Scripture tells us that from those called out of a large group only those who were appointed to eternal life believed [Acts 13:48].

    Evangelism directed by God In [Acts 16:6-10], Paul and Silas are stopped by the Holy Spirit twice from doing what seemed best to them and re-directed by God Himself where He wanted them to go and preach the Gospel, namely in Macedonia, Corinth, where God had His elect.

    Lydia’s Salvation Because of Paul’s obedience to God’s will and direction Paul also meets a woman, Lydia, was she there by chance? No, God drew her there to hear Paul preach and her heart was predisposed by God to receive the message and believe it [Acts 16:13-15]. There are no coincidences within God’s sovereign plans.

    The Philippian jailer and his family’s salvation In Philippi, Paul and Silas actually get arrested; and in the dungeon God intervenes freeing them with an earthquake to wit out of a prison filled with prisoners ONLY the jailer and his family get called by God to receive salvation. This was ALL God’s doing, the jailer was not seeking God at all. Paul was not trying to preach the Gospel to him but it was God who sought him and saved him by allowing Paul and Silas to be there. [Acts16:23-34]. Coincidence? Not really! It is in fact, is the jailer that asks Paul and Silas what he had to do to be saved. This was entirely God’s work. Paul and Silas were in the right place at the right time of God’s choosing through worked out situations, the work of conviction and faith and regeneration. ALL was placed into action by God. Paul and Silas were simply the human instruments through which God saved the jailer and his family.

    As Scripture teaches us in Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

    This is who salvation in every aspect entirely depends upon. It depends upon God and Him alone, using Himself of faithful men who preach Christ obeying His direction, promptings and commandments. Yet, it’s His call according to election that stands

    Romans 9:11(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls)

    So we can see even by these passages and facts we just mentioned and many more there are in Scripture, that even the general Gospel call is not a call that is brought to every single, individual human being in existence.

    The elect’s call on the other hand is brought to ALL of them and it’s an internal, personal and an effectual one.

    Such means that the elect WILL ALL be called by God and ALL WILL answer positively to His call. In other words they WILL ALL believe, [Acts 13:48] and this call is the one Paul is talking about here.

    The general call includes also the internal, personal and effectual call of the foreknown and predestined, but it is not internal, personal and effectual for everybody else who hears it, those who are not elected or predestined to believe.

    That the call is generally given to many but it’s not always internal, personal and effectual for the many who hear it is clear by certain passages of Scripture.

    Mark 16:15-17 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Only those who believe the call will be saved [John 3:16].

    That is what Jesus described in:

    Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”

    Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    You see, by the way, it does not say for many are called but few choose God or made a choice in order to be saved, it says,

    but few are chosen and this means what? Chosen by who?

    Chosen by God, so this is why many are called but few of the many positively answer the call and are saved.

    We must recognize this fact to be exactly true.

    Many are called in the world to repentance through the Gospel, but few of them are chosen to be saved, it does not say that ALL human beings indiscriminately are called and few of the ALL are chosen, it says instead MANY are called but FEW CHOSEN, why?

    Because few are the chosen, the elect, while many, not all, who are not chosen might hear together with them the Gospel call but will reject it.

    The elect are fewer than those who are generally called by the Gospel call [Matthew 7:13-14].

    However, this fact confirms also that the doctrine of election or predestination is indeed the biblical truth regarding salvation-regeneration.

    We have to notice and admit also, and this is very important, that the same possibility to hear the call is NOT GIVEN to ALL individuals in existence in the world, many of them hear it but not ALL men get to hear it.

    In other words many, many people in the world die without even ever hearing a clear Gospel call in their life.

    This fact can only confirm the doctrine of election and refute the absolute free will doctrine in salvation.

    This opens up a big problem for many believers who espouse the Armenian theory that states that a man believes and is saved yes by grace and faith, but solely exercising their own faith in Christ by the exercise of their own free will and choice; in other words, by choosing by themselves to believe in the Gospel when it is presented to them or choosing to reject it. This they claim they can do on their own without God’s intervention.

    In other words, God would reward their decision of choosing Him giving them salvation.

    However, salvation is not really a reward it’s a gracious gift, an act of mercy that God bestows upon those to whom He gives the faith to believe, as faith also is a gift of God, and not of ourselves, it is also the gift of God.

    If God gave salvation as a reward even for simply believing and if faith was strictly of human origin and choice, it would be salvation by works to which God would then have to bestow a reward.

    However, since salvation is entirely of God and by God and entirely by grace, there can be no rewards, not even for believing.

    Why do these facts open up big problems?

    Because this theory is denied to be possible by the very facts we are talking about.

    They claim, the Armenians do, that the doctrine of predestination or election is not valid because it takes away the freedom of the will, the freedom of choice from the person and therefore denies the person the possibility to believe in the Gospel by exercising his or her own free will by expressing it through their belief or faith.

    Does it really?

    They also claim that if God intervened in such a way, in other words, by choosing Himself those who would believe before hand while allowing others to go to hell, God would be unjust.

    Would He be unjust though?

    OK, let’s examine this theory in the light of the fact that the Gospel call clearly has never been given to every single person that lives.

    This is a fact that is confirmed by reality and Scripture as well.

    However, first of all let’s look at man’s will for a minute.

    Let’s remember that when man is unsaved his will is not free at all. Man’s will is completely enslaved by the sinful nature.

    Therefore, an unsaved man always decides, chooses everything he or she does, not with a true liberty of choice but a will enslaved by sin. This causes only to be rebellious to God’s will as well as it causes not being able to understand spiritual things, such as even the Gospel itself.

    This is confirmed by [John 8:34-36] and [Romans 3:10-19], at the very least these two passages as well as [Romans 8:7].

    Man cannot free his sin enslaved will by himself. However, this is the very thing he would need to do in order to believe the Gospel, because let’s remember that the Scripture clearly teaches us that the natural man, the unsaved man, does not and cannot, nor does he want to understand things of real spiritual nature [1 Corinthians 2:14].

    Second fact, why the Armenian theory is erroneous is that, assuming man could even choose and have faith by his own will, in order for free will faith to work and not for the election faith to be true, it would be a MUST that God gave to ALL men living, every single individual without exception the same opportunity to hear the Gospel message.

    Does He though? Why must He give it in order to be absolutely fair?

    He MUST because otherwise if He did not then in that case only He would be unjust or unfair. Since we know that God is not unjust and unfair what could the remaining conclusion be?

    Indeed if Christ died potentially for ALL men in existence, as they say, and yet God did not give equally to ALL those existing men, for whom they say Christ died, the same opportunity to hear the Gospel, then God would be unfair and Christ’s sacrifice would have been partially useless and this would also be an offense to Him and His work.

    God’s work would then be a partial failure in this case. In addition, God would be unfair also toward those to whom He did not give an opportunity to hear the Gospel , as He did not give the same exact opportunity to all the people Christ would have died for to accept the Gospel or to choose to refuse it.

    Now we know instead that everything God purposes Himself to do IS NOT AND WILL NOT BE A FAILURE.

    In addition, because of this very fact, many people for whom Christ died and paid for their sins already, according to the Armenian belief system, if this doctrine were true, these people would go to hell just the same and even worse, they would go to hell without ever having heard the Gospel call, which would be their only way to salvation and this would be God’s doing so it would in this case only make Him unjust and unfair.

    In other words, people for whom Christ died, for whom He shed His blood would perish just the same without ever having had the chance to choose if they wanted to be saved or not and how do we know then if these would have accepted or rejected the Gospel since they did not have the possibility to hear it or believe it?

    The Armenian doctrine is, therefore, the one which is actually an offense to Christ and His sacrifice, it would render His sacrifice partially ineffective.

    It’s like saying God’s power is not really all powerful unless someone believes the Gospel.

    However, the Gospel is indeed the power of God to salvation only for ALL who believe.

    However, if not ALL people have been given equally the same opportunity to believe in the Gospel this could not ever be considered a fair method since the ONLY WAY to be saved is that one MUST hear the Gospel and believe it.

    Therefore, those who did not have the possibility of hearing the Gospel, we can say with certainty, they could not have been called to hear it, therefore; they cannot be called to believe it either.

    This fact could only be valid if the doctrine of predestination were true, and it is.

    To be saved as the Bible teaches us, we MUST believe in Christ, it’s the only way to be saved – the only way!

    Therefore, if many do not even ever have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and they die in that state, what does this make them?

    Does God give them a possibility to be saved in some other way? No, it does not!

    The Bible is clear there is no other name or way by which we can be saved if not through Jesus [John 14:6],[Acts 4:12],[Romans 10:14-17].

    For if there was any other possibility to be saved apart from hearing the Gospel and believing, those who never heard the Gospel would be better off having not heard it than those who hear it and reject it, but most of all in this case (and in this case only) evangelism would be absolutely useless because it would be better to leave everybody in their ignorance because they would be saved anyway, while those who are saved by having heard it, what benefit would that have?

    The ones who have it worse than everybody else are those who hear the Gospel and reject it. If those who never hear it are saved anyway, what would be the purpose for evangelism? Would that be just and fair?

    Why did many missionaries have to sacrifice their lives, even die as martyrs, in order to bring the Gospel to those who had never heard it if in the end God would save everybody who did not hear it anyway? They, as Jesus, would have then died in vain?

    It is evident, instead, that those who never hear the Gospel cannot even be part of the called that Paul is talking about, and therefore; it seems evident that they could not even be predestined, otherwise if they were they would have inevitably been called.

    This most of all demonstrates that salvation by human free will acceptance of the Gospel or human choice is not the right doctrine that the Bible teaches.

    Certainly there is cooperation between man’s will and God’s will, between God’s sovereign election and faith that is definitely exercised by the person called. It’s not God that believes for us, we do actually believe, we exercise our faith in Christ for sure. It is us who make the choice but only because God places us in the right spiritual position to be able and willing to accept with joy His salvation.

    Hence, our faith is not humanly generated rather it is divinely bestowed as part of God’s grace that works in our life to save us.

    However, the fact is this, it’s really the Armenians’ doctrine unfortunately who presents us with errors because it is this doctrine, not election, that portrays an unjust and unfair God, not the doctrine of election or predestination, which by the way can be the only correct biblical doctrine.

    Why?

    It’s already been made evident, why? We just saw that in order for Jesus’ sacrifice to be potentially valid for ALL men as they claim, then ALL men MUST have the same possibility to hear the Gospel.

    Since we know and it is confirmed that NOT ALL men are given this same possibility, it means that many are not even called at all, and therefore; how could it be that Jesus died for ALL men, meaning as the Armenians mean each individual person in existence?

    Even if only faith based salvation by man’s free will were necessary to believe, one must still have the Gospel preached to them in order to believe it and be saved.

    That’s exactly the point Paul makes in Romans 10, where he himself wishes he were accursed – separated from God, so that some of his fellow Hebrew brothers could be saved [Romans 10:1].

    (If the arminian theory of absolute free will choice was true, if man really had the power to choose and to reject God’s salvation, then Paul would easily be able to make this exchange with God, however since it is not, Paul could only wish to be accursed in a hyperbole but in reality he confirms that it is impossible to exchange his soul for the soul of others).

    This fact mentioned in parenthesis above strongly confirms that the doctrine of sovereign election and predestination are true and it confirms the fact that a true elect cannot lose his or her salvation and it finally confirms that a person cannot have the choice to forfeit his or her salvation.

    Paul continues saying that to be saved one must believe in their heart God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess with one’s mouth Jesus as Lord, then ahead in the chapter he says also this very important fact

    Romans 10:13-15 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

    As we see, Paul here asks some rhetorical questions. How can a person call upon the name of Jesus in whom they have not believed? They cannot!How will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? They cannot! How will they hear the Gospel if there is no one who preaches? They cannot hear it! All this is to say that in order to be saved the Gospel MUST BE HEARD and BELIEVED. Who does not hear it and die in that state of unbelief, these CANNOTbe saved. However, could they then be foreknown, predestined and called if they do not hear the Gospel? No, for how could they believe it if they do not hear it?

    However, if Christ died for all men individually but not everybody gets the same opportunity to hear the Gospel, since it is the only way to salvation, then in this specific case would God be fair and just? Would He be?

    No, He would not!

    Once again, since God is instead fair and just, He could not have adopted this method in order to save unless He really gave everybody the same exact chance to accept or refuse the Gospel. Does He? No He does not!

    It’s in the Armenian doctrine then that God is an unjust and unfair God, not only toward mankind but also and even worse toward His own Son who would have died in vain for ALL men, because God Himself did not give the same possibility to ALL to hear the Gospel, which is the ONLY way to be saved by believing it.

    Therefore, so many persons whom Jesus actually died for are not in effect ever saved, they cannot be saved even if they ever wanted to be, as they are not even ever given the chance to be saved.

    Not only those who heard and refused salvation, for they would indeed deserve the harshest punishment for neglecting so great a salvation, but people who never had the chance? What about them?

    God would punish them because they still did not believe, but in that case He never even gave them a fair chance to hear the Gospel in order to have the opportunity to be saved.

    This would be unfair and unjust, unless election and predestination instead were true; then and only then God is really not unjust or unfair at all.

    The bottom line is this, in the doctrine of election God is not unfair or unjust at all, why?

    Because, ALL men would be destined to hell regardless, ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION, for Scripture teaches us this and we have had ample opportunity to see this so far.

    Also, because Jesus’ sacrifice IS INDEED EFFICACIOUS for ALL those whom God elected to believe without leaving anybody out, and this would be without fail and without exception, so that Jesus’ work of redemption is efficacious and completely powerful and sufficient for ALL the ones He died for, this does not leave anybody out.

    ALL those whom the Father gives Him WILL come to Him, and those who come to Him He will never cast away [John 6:37-39],[John 17:2-3].

    So God in this case is completely and absolutely fair, especially fair to Jesus as well as to men, because in this case not even one single drop of His precious blood is wasted nor anyone for whom Christ died goes to hell because they did not have the chance to hear the Gospel call.

    So, if ALL men regardless deserve to go to hell because of their sinful state, they would indeed go and justly so if it weren’t for God’s merciful and gracious intervention in their lives.

    If then all men would rightly go to hell according to God’s perfect justice, then even if He decided to send all men to hell He would not be unjust at all, would He be?

    No, not at all!

    Do you think you do not deserve to go to hell, my dear armenian friend? If you do then, where is injustice with God because He lets some go where they deserve to go and even worse where they choose to go? It’s only God’s love, mercy,grace and power that took you out and keeps you out of hell not your own free will.

    That, by the way, is exactly what Paul is really saying also in [Romans 9:11-24] which we will study later.

    Instead, however, if in His love, mercy and grace God chose and predestined some of those condemned people who were going to hell anyway, if left to themselves, to be saved, how is He unjust or unfair if He does not intervene in the others’ lives and let them instead go to hell, the place where they were going anyway by their own choice and will?

    Is He unjust because He chose some and not others even if the ones who He did not choose deserve eternal punishment regardless?

    God would be unjust to send people to hell IF and only IF there was something morally good in the persons that go to hell, but since (I hope we know by now), everybody deserves hell and no one really deserves salvation, how would God be unfair or unjust for choosing some to be saved in His always perfect, good and acceptable will?

    The problem, however, is this – men go to hell because they are sinners, rebellious to God, idolaters and God haters whether they hear the Gospel and reject it or not.

    We have seen this to be true previously in the study [Romans 1:18-32],[Romans 3:10-19],[Romans 3:23].

    Men do not go to hell only and exclusively because they refuse the salvation that the Gospel offers in of itself, but they go to hell because the wages of sin is death and because ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and because they are by nature children of wrath.

    People go to hell because there is no one righteous, no not one; because there is no one who understands; because there is none who seeks after God; because they have all turned aside; because they have together become unprofitable; because there is none who does good, no not one.

    They go to hell because their throats are open tombs; and with their tongues they have practiced deceit; because the poison of asps is under their lips and their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

    They are damned not exclusively because they did not believe the Gospel nor are they acquitted of their sins because they never heard it; they perish because it’s been previously charged that ALL men alike are under sin, because their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; the way of peace they have not known; and there is no fear of God before their eyes.

    This is said by God’s word, because every mouth may be stopped; and all the world may become guilty before God.

    This had been the whole point Paul made in the first three chapters of Romans, so that now when he got to this point and in chapter 9, there would not be a problem rejecting the doctrine of God’s election and predestination, so that we would not and could not accuse God of being unjust and unfair for electing, choosing, those who would believe while abandoning the rest to their very own desires and to go where they choose and would choose to go there anyway if left to themselves.

    Where is unfairness in all this?

    Is God obligated to save anyone? No He is not! Not at all! Yet in a way He is because of Himself because, yes, He is perfect justice and holiness, yet He still is also mercy and love.

    Because of this mercy and love He finds it in Himself to want to save many from a destiny from which not one could ever save themselves.

    Therefore, in His love, mercy and grace, He chose according to the good pleasure of His will and for His own glory to save many by choosing them, electing them, predestining many to believe and to be saved. So, where is unfairness in all this?

    Paul previously had charged both pagans as well as Jews of being ALL under sin [Romans 1:18-32].

    ALL pagans are ALL idolatrous according to this Scripture and they ALL practice the following lifestyle,

    Romans 1:29-32 filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

    See also [Ephesians 2:1-3].

    Men go to hell because those who practice such things are what? Worthy of death, this is how they ALL are, this is how we all would still be if it were not for God who in His mercy, grace and love chose us to be in Christ and predestined us to believe and be saved.

    ALL who go to hell go there not only because they heard the Gospel and rejected it or because they never had the chance to hear it, in fact they ALL go to hell because they are sinners and deserve to be damned because of this very fact.

    This is exactly why man needs desperately the Gospel to be there, in order to be called and saved, the preaching of the Gospel is God’s ONLY chosen vehicle to offer salvation to the elect.

    1 Corinthians 1:18-31 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

    In this last passage, if we are honest, we see several things that confirm the doctrine of election and not of man’s free will choice regarding salvation.

    We see that the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, who are in that state and choose by their own enslaved (not free) will to remain in that state, because that is the only choice they can make and want to make on their own.

    The same Gospel is instead the power of God to those who are being saved, verse 18.

    Being saved is a passive form of verb that indicates that the subjects are receiving the action from someone else and not performing it themselves, otherwise Paul would have used an active verb form if it were the persons performing the choosing or the being saved.

    We see also in verse 21 that Paul mentions that the preaching of the Gospel is the only vehicle chosen to save those who believe.

    Who are these who believe?

    Paul tells us, it’s those who are called to believe, not the ones who are perishing, by these last ones the message is considered foolishness, but to them who are the called according to God’s purpose, these who are called, both out of the Jews and the Gentiles, in other words, out of the entire world those whom Jesus died for, this is what it means that Jesus died for the entire world. For those who are called out of the world Christ is instead the power of God and God’s wisdom. This by the way is what [John 3:16-17] really means.

    These called ones, the elect, are the same ones that Paul mentions in the passage of Romans that we are studying at the moment.

    The ones He predestined, these He also called.

    Now concluding in 1 Corinthians, Paul says, your calling, these are called, verse 26 and to eliminate all possibility of misunderstanding Paul tells us exactly who chose who.

    It is God who chose us and called us by the Gospel, Those He chose, He called. Look, three times he tells us, God chose us so that no flesh could glory in His presence.

    See also James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

    Not out of the will of man, but out of His own will He saved us by the word of truth, see also [John 1:12-13].

    Then Paul concludes, of Him, because of God and only Him, we are in Christ Jesus.

    So Christ is for us all that we cannot be, this includes the wisdom to understand the Gospel and God’s will, our righteousness, our sanctification and our redemption, which is the equivalent of also our glorification, this is our ENTIRE SALVATION by the way, so that we can only and should only glory in the Lord. No one could then say they chose Christ on their own or exclusively by their own free will. Even as we said several times before, unredeemed, sinful man’s will is completely and totally enslaved by sinfulness, it’s not free at all and it cannot ever choose God, as the natural man, cannot understand the things of the Spirit.

    So now we established that ONLY those whom God predestined He also calls through the Gospel and this to be saved, and ALL whom God predestined and called, Paul says,these He also justified.

    We know what being justified means by now, I hope.

    In short, it means to have been rendered just and righteous before God.

    In other words, it means to be made without blame, with the eternal guilt of sin removed and this means removed for good, forever.

    So being justified means two things really, having been made righteous through the righteous life and obedience of Jesus and through His merits and virtues only.

    Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as if it were us who fulfilled and perfectly obeyed God’s law, while instead He did it for us; being the ONLY ONE who could do it.

    This we have seen also explained to us in

    Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Also our unrighteous deeds and sins have been forever canceled, ALL our sins, past, present and future and this means ALL and FOREVER, otherwise we could not ever have a standing of righteousness before God.

    This also was done through Jesus who took upon Himself ALL our sins and iniquities and washed them ALL away with His blood. In other words, our sinfulness and subsequent guilt He took away by His sacrifice on the cross.

    Jesus also paid the eternal damnation, the punishment, the wrath of God that was to be ours for our sins. He paid the price for those to whom God gave faith to believe in His Son’s work and continues to justify us forever by His presence before the Father [Romans 8:34], [Hebrews 7:24-28],[Hebrews 8:1]as we are in Him seated in the heavens,as our life is hidden in Him [Ephesians 2:4-7], [Colossians 3:3-4].

    In this way He completed our justification, our righteous standing before God, our blameless state before God, it’s ALL thanks to Him, nothing that we did or can do.

    There are many Scriptures that capture this truth, two are the best explanation of this fact and are the following

    Ephesians 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

    2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    So we see in these two passages this truth exposed, those whom He called, those He also justified and this is what our justification is, it’s being considered righteous and blameless before God always and forever.

    The Ephesian passage is an exact parallel of the passage we are studying in Romans right now.

    Even here Paul says really exactly the same thing.

    God chose us to be in Christ, to believe, and to be conformed to the image of His Son, before the world was even created.

    All this translates into those who were chosen to be justified, as we see, as Paul says in verse 4, chosen to be holy and without blame before Him in love, speaks of our status of justification.

    This He did through Jesus’ blood through which we have received redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. Again that’s being forgiven, justified, our guilt removed, verse 7.

    This status is forever as because of Him we have received our inheritance, in other words even our glorification, eternal life with our glorified bodies because we have been predestined to this according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will and not according to the will of people, verse 11.

    To make sure all this remains as He declares and wills, He sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise.

    The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance not our efforts, our attempts to live a righteous life are not, nor are any of our works.

    He alone IS the guarantee, the certainty of our inheritance until the day of Jesus Christ when the redemption of the purchased possession, in other words us, will occur, verses 13-14.

    Therefore, through this passage, we understand the next part of the Romans passage even better as Paul tells us whom He justified He also glorified.

    Those whom have been predestined, are called efficaciously, these are also justified and because of this they are also glorified.

    At this point I would like to make a point as to what Paul is saying exactly.

    The grammatical use of the verbs, predestined, called, justified, glorified used in this verse, are ALL Aorist verbs.

    Why is this important?

    It is very important for the proper interpretation of what is being said.

    The Aorist tense does not exist in the English language.

    In the Greek, in this case specifically, they are Aorist Indicative verbs used to describe an event that is and yet past as though it were already completed in order to stress the certainty of the occurrence of the event.

    This is very important, This tense is then used to give us the idea that from God’s perspective all the above mentioned states of the salvation of each believer had a beginning; but at the moment they began they were also already completed. In fact, they were completed by God’s point of view even before they actually began in the life of the believer.

    So this gives the certainty that what Paul wrote are not events that are in any way affected externally by anything or anyone that could prevent them from being completed; and this Paul stresses even more and better ahead in the chapter.

    God decided them; God decreed them; God brought them to pass already through His decree, because what God decrees IS and that without condition, even though in actual human time and in our reality the last aspect for example, the also glorified, still is a future event. The use of this tense places the event of our glorification at the same level as the others which, for example, have already come to pass and are presently being lived, such as being justified for example.

    As we have been justified (past), are being justified (present) and will be justified (future), we also were glorified (past),are being glorified (present) and will be glorified to fullness at the moment of our physical resurrection (future) .

    So ALL of our salvation, has already been completed in God’s economy; it is ALL as well as certainly accomplished, all without fail.

    We have been predestined in the past. Because of this we have been called, both in the past as well as in the present. We have been justified and this includes being sanctified as well, both in the past as well as presently, being brought to the end; this is also perseverance. We have been already glorified in the past and as well as this event being a present certainty it is yet a future event that has to still occur in our lives.

    In other words, it is ALL DONE and ESTABLISHED in eternity past by the Father and completed by the work of Christ and sealed and brought to fulfillment by the Holy Spirit, that’s why Jesus cried out “it is finished”.

    Here’s the Trinity at work in our redemption.

    This is why our salvation cannot be lost; it is an event that is already completed in the past by God Himself; there is nothing we can add to it or take away from it at all.

    It really was finished; it actually was finished in a sense even beforehand; but Jesus had to accomplish the work in behalf of the elect.

    Jesus continues now in His ministry of High Priest to keep us in the faith through the power of God as well as through the ministry of the Holy Spirit which we already had opportunity to see, that also keeps us.

    He sealed us for the day of redemption with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of the purchased possession, namely us, and He also intercedes for us helping us in our weaknesses, as He also sanctifies us and gives us the power to live out our Christian life [1 Thessalonians 5:23-24] while He fuels our faith continuously.

    Jesus and the Holy Spirit alone are the only reasons why we actually sanctify ourselves and we persevere in the faith.

    This fact, Jesus’ intercessory ministry, is also explained to us in fact by Paul a little ahead in this chapter.

    Romans VIII Verses from XXXI to XXXIV

    31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare 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 bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

    This passage we will look at as a unit.

    Paul asks a question, what then shall we say to these things?

    What things?

    All the things he has spoken to us in this chapter until here and, especially, the last verses he wrote.

    Paul started the chapter with the declaration that, “There is now non condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    Paul began the chapter with this declaration, which describes for us why all this is, as now he ends this chapter in the same way he started it.

    He explains now even in greater detail why this is a fact in the believer’s life, why and how there is no longer any condemnation for the believers.

    In the immediate context Paul is saying because of these facts, what facts?

    That, all things work together for our good, for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose [Romans 8:28],[Ephesians 1:4-14].

    For who do ALL THINGS work together for good?

    For the elect, the called, foreknown and predestined. These He called, justified and glorified, so that now Paul can assert asking a question, that if in all this God demonstrated to be for us, all the way and always, so much so that all that happens in our life works together for our eternal and often even temporal good, who can be against us successfully?

    So now Paul can ask if God is for us in everything, so much so that He worked out and works out our entire salvation making it certain to the end, who can then be against us?

    Who can derail God’s plan for our life and salvation?

    Now, here we must pause a minute and meditate this question thoroughly.

    If God is so completely for us that He orchestrated our complete salvation and is assuring us of its completion in our life, who can be against us?

    The answer is simple but also must be put in the right context.

    Many things, many people and many spiritual beings can and will be against us. In fact, the word of God, for example, says that the world will hate us [John 15:18-19],[1 John 3:13] even the members of our own families could, and in many cases, will be against us [Matthew 10:34-36], people will persecute us and even betray us to death [Matthew 24:9-10],[Mark 13:12-13].

    The world, our flesh and the devil, as well as sin and death are all enemies who are against us.

    Often we, ourselves, can be our worst enemies.

    However, although all this can be and will be against us all throughout our life, we must reconcile this not only with what this passage says, but what the rest of the Bible teaches us.

    Even in the Old Testament a passage assures God’s elect that He will give them victory although real and dangerous weapons will be forged against them.

    Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

    We will come back to this passage also in the light of what Paul says ahead in the Romans 8 passage we are studying.

    For now, suffices to say, even in the OT the promise of God to His people is that no weapon constructed against them, no enemy who would come against them, would indeed prosper against them.

    The New Testament is even more detailed regarding the complete victory of the believer.

    Although the world is our enemy, because Christ has overcome the world and we are in Christ, so do we

    [John 16:33]. Therefore, our faith in Christ overcomes our enemy, the world [1 John 5:4-5].

    In Christ we have also overcome our flesh as well, [Romans 7:22-25],[Romans 8:1-4].

    In Christ and through Him we have overcome our enemy the devil and his demons [Colossians 2:11-15],[Hebrews 2:14-18], [1 John 3:8-9].

    In Christ we have victory upon sin and death [John 5:24],[Romans 6:1-23], [1 Corinthians 15:50-57],[Hebrews 2:14-18].

    Nevertheless, the battle against us by these enemies ensues constantly and fiercely; and of this spiritual battle not only we must be aware, but we have to actually fight it, knowing however that although we are fighting it we will win it if indeed we are in Christ, because we will not be fighting it in our own strength but with the power God supplies[Philippians 4:13].

    This is also because if we are in Christ, and He intercedes for us constantly, who can win against Him and His prayers?

    No one can withstand His omnipotent power in our behalf.

    One thing though we must do to fight this battle and be really successful, we must, by faith, put on the armor of God and learn how to use the spiritual weapons God has provided for us [Ephesians 6:10-18],[2 Corinthians 10:3-5], in order to have indeed a victorious Christian life.

    We must not behave then as those who are not in Christ, because it is for this very fact they do not have and cannot have the victory.

    They will not have victory because they are not in Christ.

    Knowing, however, that God is for us always and in every circumstance should give us a great deal of courage and comfort.

    Being assured of God’s great faithful and eternal love should cast out fear from us [1 John 4:17-19].

    So the answer to Paul’s question is, if God be for us NO ONE can be successfully against us.

    As we said, we have enemies and they will definitely be against us but they will not be able to completely succeed and overrun us, because we are not left alone in this battle.

    God fights for us, and if He fights for us, we will be victorious.

    He will make ALL things work together for good for us who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

    In fact, this entire chapter, and especially these last eight verses, are the victory hymn of the Christian.

    32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

    Now Paul continues to explain even in greater detail why our victory is assured.

    Paul is saying, “look, God did not spare His own Son, but He is actually the One who delivered Him up, sent Him willingly to die on the cross for us all.”

    (Us all is referred only to the people mentioned previously in [Romans 8:28-30], in other words the church ).

    So that if God did this while we were still sinners and enemies of His, if in His great love, mercy and grace He chose to give Jesus up to receive His wrath and judgment in our place and reconciled us to God so that now we have peace with God through Him

    [Romans 5:6-11], how much more now that (as Paul explained previously in the chapter [Romans 8:9-17]) we are His adopted children and are part of His family, how much more then now that we are in Christ, will He not then give us, freely (freely, that’s God’s grace by the way) all things?

    Now that we are in Christ, God is our heavenly Father and as such He will give us ALL good and perfect gifts [James 1:17]. For, in fact, the Holy Spirit who is God’s ultimate gift given to us at regeneration is the One who makes possible that we receive God’s grace in our life [Romans 5:1-5] and that includes ALL things that God provides for our spiritual and physical life so that we can bring Him glory and we can be always victorious.

    If God treated us so good, with mercy, love and grace when we were unsaved in order to bring us to salvation, how much more will He do now for us that we are now His children?

    Will He not bring us to the end? Or will He leave His work half undone? [Philippians 1:6],[1 Thessalonians 5:23-24].

    Will He treat us worse now that we are His children tan before when we were unsaved?

    Will He let our enemies triumph over us now?

    Will He actually condemn us now when He did not even desire to condemn us when we were estranged from Him,when we were His enemies?

    This raises a very good point that in fact Paul addresses now.

    Paul in fact continues saying:

    33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

    Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones if it is He who justifies?

    Oh, certainly, there could be many who would bring up charges against God’s elect, God’s chosen ones.

    Who could and who would do such thing?

    Charges against us can and will be brought forth and even often.

    By who? Well, those who are our enemies will bring charges against us.

    Other people could bring up charges against us when they see that we still sin sometimes.

    After all, how many times have we heard unbelievers accuse us for our sins, telling us things such as:

    Well, you think you are better than us and yet you are not perfect at all and still sin”.

    These are charges of wrong doing and you know, there is yet another formidable foe that accuses us constantly, who is called the accuser, that’s Satan, the devil who is the accuser of the Christians, that’s one of his character traits and one of his jobs.

    The Bible describes him exactly as being like that:

    Revelation 12:7-12 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

    The devil accuses us day and night before God and he does it even rightfully so, for many times, too many times we would have to be charged with our sins and transgressions before a holy and sinless God.

    After all that is what God would have to expect from us in order to be able to be just and righteous because God demands perfect obedience to Him and His law in order to be considered righteous, by the works of the law.

    We have seen, however, that every man that ever existed except One, Jesus, cannot ever live in perfect obedience to God’s law and we know that, therefore, by the works of the law no flesh can and will be justified before God.

    Indeed, because of this the devil’s charges as well as other charges brought by other men against God’s elect could be founded and could even be legally right.

    However, the verse Paul wrote explains that even though there are valid charges brought against God’s elect these charges cannot ever stand.

    Why? Paul says, because it is God Himself who justifies us.

    There is no higher judge or court that can judge or justify, condemn or acquit rather than God Himself.

    Legally Satan and even man have a right to bring valid charges against us because indeed we do still transgress God’s law and disobey His will even though this should not be.

    However, since the pardon, the justification is given to us from God Himself, the charges are dropped and the case against us is dismissed.

    God does not retain us guilty any longer. This is not because of us at all, it’s not because of our own righteousness, but solely and strictly because of His own doing through Christ’s work of redemption, it’s God’s grace, it’s by His grace alone we are saved.

    It’s through Jesus’ righteousness that we receive ours and are thereby justified only through His merits and virtues.

    In the Old Testament this concept of God justifying His elect already existed; we saw part of it already, and the parallel passage in the Old Testament to this one Paul wrote is again the following:

    Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

    The Lord tells Isaiah that no weapon formed nor any tongue who rises up to condemn His elect will in any way have success before God nor against them. In fact, God reverses the accusation lifted against His people to the point that the accusers become the accused, and they will be those who will be judged instead, judged by the very persons they tried to bring charges against.

    Why though does this happen? Does it happen because God’s elect are so good and sinless that God has to justify them? Do they deserve to be justified?

    Absolutely not, if we deserved it, it would not be by grace we are saved.

    It happens because the heritage, in other words the inheritance of God’s elect, is that their righteousness comes from God. Therefore, since the source is God Himself, no one can override God as He is the ultimate judge and what He says is the final word that stands.

    Our inheritance is salvation, by grace, this includes our justification, this comes form God.

    Paul already explained to us this concept also in

    Romans 3:21-27 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

    Here is the answer to this whole fact, it’s God’s righteousness in and through and by Christ only that gives us justification, so that any charge that is brought against God’s elect, although legally true, is overridden by Christ’s own righteousness, His perfect obedience to the will of the Father and His law, His life, His death and His resurrection have given us, by faith in Him, the right to be forgiven and to be justified of all our sins and transgressions.

    This is, in fact, the answer to the following rhetorical question that Paul asks,

    Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

    So Paul asks and also answers.

    Although many can bring up charges against us and many including us can condemn us, Paul has, however, started this chapter saying:

    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

    There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ, those who are born again of the Spirit and are no longer natural carnal people.

    Paul started this chapter with this truth, now He ends the chapter with this again. The entire context of this chapter is sandwiched between this reality, there is no longer no condemnation to those who are in Christ, who have been born again, regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

    Paul wants us to know and God, through Paul, wants us to be extra sure that if indeed we are in Christ, if indeed we are children of God who have His Spirit in us, if indeed we belong to Christ, because of this fact we are no longer children of wrath and we are no longer condemned, we are justified forever.

    Once again we are no longer condemned because Christ lived, died and resurrected for us and through Him and in Him, His virtues and merits have been imputed to us through faith in Him.

    In fact, Paul had concluded chapter 4 with this explanation as well.

    Romans 4:23-25 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

    Paul had, in fact, explained clearly this concept in the beginning of chapter 8 right after He declared that there was no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.

    Romans 8:2-5 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has 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 did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Those who are born again of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus are set free from sin and death. Sin and death together with God’s law are what would be our condemnation.

    However, having been set free by being born again and having been baptized in Christ’s death and resurrection, we died to sin and to the law and have been made alive in Christ [Romans 6:1-23].

    This has brought us to be set free from the power of sin and death and also from the obligation to fulfill the whole law perfectly, because Jesus fulfilled it for us so that the righteous requirements of God’s law through Christ could be fulfilled in us by imputation.

    So it is Jesus’ death which forgives us of our sins taking them away and it is Jesus’ resurrection, His life, that gives us everlasting justification before God, in other words our innocence, also imputed to us through Christ, is always upheld not because of our behavior or our sinlessness rather by the fact as Paul says here in:

    Romans 8:34 It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

    Because Jesus is at the right hand of God, it is there that He fulfills His ministry of High Priest and advocate in our behalf.

    To understand this better we must see what was the ministry of intercession of the High Priest in the Old Testament.

    The High Priest of the nation of Israel was commanded by God to enter into the Most Holy Place also called the Holy of Holies once a year he was commanded to enter in God’s presence with the blood of the sacrifices and many other rituals to assure the forgiveness of His sins and those of the whole nation.

    In the Most Holy place the High Priest would go into the very presence of God.

    Inside the Most Holy Place was the Ark of the Covenant also called the Mercy Seat.

    This gold covered wooden chest had a lid which had two angels facing each other on the top of it and contained the tablets God gave to Moses, upon which the law was written by God, this Ark was the symbol of God’s presence among His people.

    It also was the place where God would meet with the representative of the people of Israel, in other words the High Priest, who was the only authorized person to go in God’s presence in behalf of the people of God.

    He, the high priest, was to enter in the presence of God in the Most Holy place on a specific day called the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur ,which was and still is the most holy and solemn day of the year for the Jews.

    He was to enter to perform a very specific and extremely vital task in behalf of the children of Israel. He was to bring before God the blood of a bull he sacrificed; this was done to make atonement for his own sins ad those of his household, this together with many other rituals such as the offering and burning of incense, five personal body washings and five changes of garments, he was then also to bring inside the Most Holy place together with the blood of the previous bull, the blood of a sacrificed goat upon which was made atonement for the sins of the entire nation.

    After offering the blood by sprinkling seven times upon the Ark, the blood of the bull for himself and his family, the High Priest mingled the remaining blood of the bull with the blood of the goat sacrificed for the sins of Israel and there he sprinkled again all the mixed blood seven times upon the Ark or as we said the Mercy Seat, for it was here where the LORD would meet the High Priest and accept the sacrifice made in his behalf and in behalf of the nation. The description of this entire ritual is found in [Leviticus 16:6-28].

    God would then accept the blood for the forgiveness of the sins of the High priest and those of His people.

    The propitiation seat where God’s judgment and wrath was satisfied and where He would have mercy and justify His people.

    All this was a symbolic representation of Christ and what He would do Himself for His church and Jesus is not only the High Priest but also He is ALL of the sacrifices described in and prescribed by God’s law, the Torah.

    Jesus’ entire salvation ministry including His High Priestly ministry of intercession is beautifully explained and described for us in the book of Hebrews.

    In this book the author parallels and compares the Old Testament rituals with what Jesus did as the ultimate sacrifice and what He still does for us as our High Priest.

    Hebrew 7:24-27 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

    This is why even if and when we still sin, John tells us we have an advocate, a defense lawyer in heaven, Jesus Christ the righteous.

    1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

    Once again here is the intercessory High Priestly ministry that Jesus still performs for us while we walk in this world and live in this yet sinful body.

    In fact, John specifies it’s not us who are inherently righteous of ourselves by which we can stand before God justified and innocent, it’s exactly because of Jesus Christ the righteous.

    He alone is righteous and He alone is our righteousness, He is the righteousness that comes from God [2 Corinthians 5:21].

    Why? Because John says, He Himself if the propitiation for our sins.

    This means He Himself is the satisfactory price required for the expiation of our sins, in other words for the total removal of the guilt of our sinful acts; and it also means that He is the sufficient required payment that satisfies God’s justice and His holiness that was offended and was violated by our transgressions.

    In other words, Jesus is the One who paid in full the price required for our sins, which is death and God’s wrath, His eternal wrath so that those who are in Christ and belong to God no longer have to endure the eternal price for their sins.

    This way God reconciled His mercy and His justice, His righteousness and His love in one person, Jesus Christ, and consequently He did so for all those who are in Him.

    This is the intercessory work that Jesus is constantly working for us, so that we are indeed kept by the power of God, by the promises of God; and therefore, His faithfulness that has promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us.

    Hebrews 13:5b-6 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

    Once again we return to the question that Paul had asked beforehand, in other words “If God is for us who can be against us?

    There is, however, another aspect of the intercessory ministry Jesus performs for His own. This is His ongoing prayers in our behalf.

    The High Priest as well as even other Levite priests did at other times outside the most holy place, would burn incense on the altar of incense and in censers. They would do this inside the Holy Place and the High priest only in the Most Holy place.

    The altar of incense was situated directly outside the Most Holy place, right outside the curtain that divided the Holy place from the Most Holy place, where the Ark was.

    The incense offered in the altar before the Most Holy place was symbolic of prayers offered to God. In fact, both the priests chosen in turns to go and burn the incense and pray together with the people outside [Luke 1:5-10], and the High Priest on the day of atonement, did this. In addition, the High priest on that day had to take fire from the altar of incense and place it into a censer into which he would place incense and with this censer he had to enter into the presence of God, in the Most Holy place [Leviticus 16:12-14].

    All this represented prayers, prayers offered in behalf of the nation of Israel before God. All this was done daily in the Holy Place and yearly inside the Most Holy place by these priests and the High Priest.

    However, now, Jesus being our High Priest forever, He has entered into the presence of the Father and sits at His right hand and here He offers constant prayers united with the intercession of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the church.

    This is exactly the completed and fulfilled role of the priesthood and the High Priest in Jesus Christ.

    This ministry does two very important things for us. We as well as a royal priesthood now through Christ have constant access to the immediate presence of God where we can go to receive grace and mercy in our moment of need. The veil to God’s presence is always open for us now because Jesus is there in our behalf.

    Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    The second important aspect, perhaps even more important, is that Jesus’ intercessory presence before God in our behalf together with the intercession of the Holy Spirit is the source of our keeping in the power of God. In other words, this is the power that keeps us in the grace of God, the power that keeps us sanctified and that keeps us from losing our faith, this is the power that keeps us persevering to the end.

    1 Peter 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    As Jesus did for Peter but not for Judas, He prayed for Peter in the hour of his temptation, so that his faith would not fail, and it did not. Peter faltered but His faith did not fail completely, why? Because the Father ALWAYS answers the Son’s prayers, why? Because the Son ALWAYS prays the Father’s will and prays for those who belong to Him.

    Jesus did not pray for Judas’ faith because Judas had no faith and he denied and betrayed Jesus, even as Peter did.

    Judas though was not preserved, he was not kept by the power of God because Judas did not belong to Christ, that’s why he did not have faith.

    Peter had faith, why? Because he, Peter, as us, who are born again, because we have been chosen by God to know Him, to have faith which is given to us by the Father to believe in the Son. See in regard to this

    [Matthew 11:25-27],[Matthew 16:15-17],[John 6:44-45],[Acts 13:48].

    In fact, Judas although had remorse he did not repent in a godly way, Peter did. There is a godly sorrow that leads to repentance while there is a worldly sorrow that leads to death

    2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

    Here is described for us godly sorrow and sorrow of the world. Godly sorrow is sorrow that is generated by God Himself, as the word itself explains. This kind of sorrow produces repentance which in turn leads into salvation. This type of sorrow is the godly sorrow that leads the children of God to confess their sins and to always repent of them, this sorrow is generated by God’s promptings, His Spirit leads us into this sorrow and it is prompted also by the discipline and chastisement of our heavenly Father who scourges us and corrects us and disciplines us as His sons, leading us to a peaceable fruit of righteousness [Hebrews 12:5-11]. So godly sorrow leads into God’s merciful and forgiving arms who await His children with open arms to receive grace and mercy in their time of need. This is what happened to Peter, this was all brought about, as it is for all of us born again believers, by the continuous intercessory ministry of Jesus.

    Worldly sorrow on the other hand leads directly away from God, and therefore, leading away from God it leads to death. This type of sorrow leads to regret, remorse, guilt and hopelessness and since it leads away from God’s grace and forgiveness it leads to death.

    Jesus did not pray for the one that was not His [John 17:12], but He did pray for the one that was His, Peter, the one whom the Father had given Him [John 6:37-40],[John 6:44-45],[John 17:2-3].

    So it was with His disciples then so it is with us today.

    Jesus prays, intercedes for those whom the Father gives Him, or we should say gave Him, in the past tense because we were chosen to be in Christ before the foundation of the earth [Ephesians 1:4-6].

    This is why we are sanctified and we persevere to the end, because it is the work of Jesus’ intercession and the power of the Holy Spirit who in obedience to the prayers of the Son, His intercession, brings about God’s workmanship in us and through us who belong to Jesus, who are children of God.

    [1Corinthians 1:2],[1 Corinthians 1:8],[Philippians 1:6],[Philippians 2:12-13],[1Thessalonians 5:23-24],

    [2 Timothy 4:18],[Hebrews 2:11],[Hebrews 10:14].

    The Bible is altogether very clear in this regard, the elect, the born again believer, the person who is in Christ and the adopted child of God has passed from death to life, that is everlasting life.

    We did previously also see that the true believer is already in a sense glorified and that is the very last stage of our salvation, so this also means that there is no longer an eternal judgment to undergo, there is no longer to withstand God’s eternal wrath because Jesus paid it all for us and removed it from us permanently.

    The child of God WILL NOT, in any way, ever suffer God’s eternal wrath and punishment.

    Romans 5:8-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

    If God’s love was demonstrated toward us while we were still sinners, how much more NOW having been justified by His blood we SHALL be saved from God’s wrath through Him.

    The use of the word SHALL be saved from wrath gives the indication that it is a fact that WILL occur without a doubt. The word SHALL is a certainty.

    Otherwise, Paul could have used another word if there could be any doubt that the child of God would somehow be at risk of not being saved from wrath.

    Paul could have used the word COULD be saved from wrath “IF”.

    He could have used a conditional clause while instead he used a certainty, an unconditional clause. See also:

    John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,

    1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

    Romans VIII Verses from XXXV to XXXVII

    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 Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who 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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     

    Now Paul asks another question that in essence already had an answer because Paul has brought this case to rest by demonstrating that the elect, the born again believer, the regenerated person, the one who is in Christ and therefore is adopted as God’s child cannot be any longer condemned and has escaped God’s wrath through Christ.

    So the question is who and what shall separate us from the love of Christ?

    As we see the answer is again very clear and complete. What could separate us, God’s children from His great love? The only thing that could separate us from God’s love and the only thing that did indeed separate us from God was and would be our sinful nature.

    Yet, since it is overwhelmingly clear that sin has been erased from our life by the blood of Jesus and sin has been dealt with completely and forever, the only thing that separated us and could still separate us from God’s love is gone forever.

    Christ is He who justifies us so we are justified before God forever because Jesus lives forever to make intercession for us

    Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

    So we are saved by Jesus to the uttermost. What does uttermost mean? It means to completion, to the fullest degree.

    It seems to me this leaves no doubts as to what kind of salvation we do have, a complete and to the fullest degree salvation.

    This really leaves no room for being able to lose this type of salvation. In fact, we see that Paul goes to great lengths to make a list of things as well as beings who CANNOT in any way separate us from the love of Christ, the love of God.

    Paul begins by asking if tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword could separate us from the love of God? The answer is NO!

    Jesus in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower and the soils describes some issues that in effect did indeed separate those people from God. [Matthew 13:18-23]

    In fact, apparently, and I repeat apparently, these people had believed in the message, in other words the seed sown. However, we see that the faith (or we should say the lack of saving faith) in these persons brought them to receive the word even gladly but then because of the shallowness of the belief and the lack of true faith, in other words a belief based upon the wrong motives, when tribulations and persecutions as well as the cares of this life and the pursuit of other goals other than eternal life, in other words knowing God, came into play, these people fell away.

    So now many would dare say: “see, you can believe and then lose your faith and therefore your salvation”.

    No, you cannot IF indeed you have truly believed and believed for the right motives.

    There is a human faith based upon the wrong motives and reasons [John 2:23-25],[John 6:26] and there is a divine true saving faith that leads to life and salvation, this is only generated from and given by God [Matthew 16:16-17],[John 6:63-65],[John 17:2-3], [Ephesians 2:8-10].

    So it is important to know that when a person truly believes in Christ and when a person is regenerated and is born again, when a person indeed belongs to Christ and is adopted by God as His child, this means that true divine faith has occurred.

    In this case then NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ.

    Now here we must really understand that if there was any element, and I mean if there could be anything that could separate us from God’s love. it would be something that could only affect the human being in question and certainly not God.

    God could not be in any way affected by external agents that would convince Him to abandon us or that could come between us and Him.

    If God loved us so much when we were His enemies and were still sinners, if He loved us enough to give up His most precious possession, His only begotten Son and if Jesus Himself decided to give up His own life for us when we were in that condition, how much more will He love us now in such a way to preserve us to the end?

    Would He love us to the point He did and then leave us to ourselves to fend for and defend our faith and salvation by ourselves?

    Would He then have such power to love a sinner and save him so that He could then not have the power to maintain Him in that state of salvation?

    Is God’s power not sufficient to keep us?

    I believe we know the answer to these questions by now. It is more than sufficient to preserve us.

    From the human perspective something could come between us and God though. However, we must realize that IF indeed it depended solely upon us, upon our human strength, upon our human faith, then indeed we could be lost, then indeed we could lose our salvation, no, even worse ,we would definitely lose it.

    If it depended upon us alone and our strength and our effort to remain sinless before God, none of the things listed by Paul would even be a match for us, they would most definitely defeat us and separate us from God, from our side, from the human perspective and strength.

    However, let us remember as we already said several times and we have clearly seen in Scripture so far, that we are only and exclusively KEPT, GUARDED, PROTECTED in our faith by the power of God and His grace and not our strength or our own righteousness.

    1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    The intercession of our High Priest Jesus as we have seen is the very thing that keeps us in our faith and also gives us the power and the strength to persevere.

    Without forgetting another very important fact, an essential fact, we have been SEALED by the Holy Spirit in this salvation, sealed for the day of redemption, that is the completion of our salvation.

    Therefore, even here we must realize that it is God that fully has hedged us in Christ so much so that we cannot any longer come out of Him.

    Indeed we did take part in deciding to accept Christ as Lord and Savior but once this decision is taken, although even this decision is divinely generated, once this decision is made, we are eternally sealed in Christ.

    If there was anything that could divide us, separate us from God, anything at all including ourselves that could do so, then Jesus, God would not be truthful when He says

    John 6:37-39 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

    John 10:26-30 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

    It seems to be extremely evident that ALL the things and ALL the beings Paul mentions in these last verses of Romans 8 in no way can separate us from God, not even from our standpoint.

    The sad reality of those who claim a true believer can lose their salvation, is that they are in the end making two very serious allegations regarding God and His promises. The first thing they are stating is that God is not true because they deny His promises of eternal security.

    The second very serious affront to God is that they are in essence claiming God is not able to keep those He saves.

    These are serious allegations and we need to really think thoroughly about these things before we can be dogmatic about the true believer’s possibility of falling from God’s grace and losing their salvation.

    Some will say that God is powerful enough to keep those who are saved but if a person willingly decides to leave this state of grace or decides that they willingly want to step outside of Christ and His love, that God is in no way bound to force a person to stay in His grace and salvation so that in the end God will let them leave.

    I believe this is not a Biblical fact at all. The Bible teaches the opposite.

    The Bible teaches us and God’s word promises as Paul says in:

    Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

    Paul is confident, in other words certain, sure, that when God really begins a good work in us, He WILL complete it to the end.

    Paul also says it like this in:

    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

    Again, God is faithful to Himself and His promises and He WILL do it. There are no conditions here attached to God doing this work in His children, there is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, God is faithful, He WILL do it.

    Paul also confirms his certainty and trust in God to take the believers to the completion of their salvation when he also makes two more claims in this regard in:

    2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

    What did Paul commit to God until that day? Obvious, all of himself, his salvation, his eternal destiny, as we see the same general context we have read in the passages before, that day is the same day mentioned as the day of Jesus Christ in Philippians 1:6 and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

    When we believe in Jesus and therefore in God [1Peter 1:18-21], what do we really commit to Him? All of ourselves and all that pertains to us, especially our eternal destiny.

    So Paul has committed his entire body and spirit in the hands of God and there is no better nor safer place to be.

    Paul continues on this same certainty when he tells Timothy this in

    2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

    Once again there is no shadow of a doubt in Paul’s mind and heart, it’s the Lord who WILL deliver us from EVERY evil work and PRESERVE us for His heavenly kingdom.

    This is eternal security, this is certainty and trust in God that He WILL do what He says He will. This is faith.

    Our faith is not in ourselves, not in our strength, not in our righteousness, it has to be in Jesus’ work of redemption only.

    This means that, ALL and EVERY thing or being that Paul mentions in these verses of Romans 8 CANNOT in any way separate us from God.

    There is another passage that Paul wrote that shows us why our salvation in the end cannot be sabotaged, this passage is found in:

    Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    It’s by God’s grace and His grace alone, it’s by God’s power and His power alone that we have the desire and the ability to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it is He who works in us and it is not us alone.

    This is confirmed all the more in:

    Ephesians 2:7-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    Our salvation as well as our faith are a direct result of the grace of God that works as He creates us into new creatures as we become God’s workmanship in Christ for the purpose of doing God’s will (good works), which, good works, are also prepared in advance by Him so that by faith through His power and grace we should walk in them.

    As we see, ALL our salvation is by God’s grace, regeneration, conversion, repentance, justification, sanctification, perseverance and glorification is ALL by grace and through the power of God through Jesus’ intercessory ministry and in the Holy Spirit who works in us to make us reach the intended goal our eternal salvation.

    This my friends is the power of God that works for us and in us to will and to do for His good pleasure and that keeps us sealed in Him.

    Jude ends his letter with these words:

    Jude 24-25 To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

    This doxology is a fitting parallel to what Paul is saying here in Romans:

    Romans 8:37-39 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who 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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    He is able to keep us from falling, this falling means falling away. Although the word in Jude 24 falling is only found here in the entire New Testament, however, the word’s root is the same as the word apostasy, or falling away, as it is mentioned in [2 Thessalonians 2:3], so the word and the context of the epistle of Jude, in other words the dangers of apostates and the warnings about them and the exhortations to fight against them although dangerous, do tell us that the meaning of this Him who is able to keep us from falling means that He is able to keep us from falling away into the sin of apostasy, which is in the end the unpardonable sin, as it keeps a person convinced in his or her deceit to remain separated from Christ and His grace for life and therefore beyond, for all eternity.

    Rejecting Jesus’ salvation after having received the knowledge of the truth (the Gospel), continuing in this sin of unbelief is the only possible falling away that will keep people from God’s love [Hebrews 10:26-31], but, here in Jude this doxology assures the true believer that this case will not apply to him or her.

    God and God alone is able to keep us, guard us, protect us, from falling in this sin, in other words the loss of faith, although and apostate never had true saving faith to start with. You cannot lose what you really do not have, you just did not have it. Real faith, however, is kept, guarded, protected by God.

    He WILL therefore present us faultless, in other words, fully justified before His presence and this will result in a great joy.

    This confirms that we are then in all these things that can attempt to derail our faith and make us renounce Christ, we are MORE than conquerors.

    Wow, MORE than conquerors. How can one be more than a conqueror? Easy, through Him who loved us and loves us.

    Once again if we look inside of us, in our humanity, in our strength, in our abilities, in our character, in our thinking, in our knowledge, in our own wisdom, in our wealth, if we look at any of this, or if we look to other human beings to make us conquerors over these things we will indeed find failure. We will not be conquerors at all, we will be losers.

    However, if we make Jesus our ALL in ALL we can be more than conquerors, more than human conquerors, for human conquest does not lead to eternal life, human conquest and success does not make us win over the power and the strength that all the things that Paul mentions have.

    Because death and life, angels and principalities, powers and things present or things to come, height or depth, and any other created thing could be and in effect are stronger than us when we confront them by human standards.

    Let’s think about these things for a moment.

    Death, is death not stronger than any of us? Death is everybody’s greatest enemy. Everybody dies, it’s the only certainty that every man has when they are born, they will eventually die. Death is stronger than any man can be. Death in a sense is stronger than life itself because death will overcome life eventually. Man can try to fight death in many ways, sometimes we can cheat death for a time, but man will lose eventually to this formidable enemy.

    From a human standpoint death is unbeatable.

    However, Christ has conquered death and has defeated death so that every one who is in Christ has conquered death as well and eternal life trumps death forevermore [John 5:24-26],[John 11:25-26],[John 14:6].

    Our last and greatest enemy has been defeated by Jesus for us and so we are more than human conquerors, because we also have defeated our greatest enemy.

    1 Corinthians 15:53-57 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It is Jesus that has conquered death and all those who are in Him have also

    Revelation 1:18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

    John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

    And the question is my friend do you truly believe this? For if you truly do, you have conquered your greatest enemy and are more than a conqueror through Him who loved us.

    Any conqueror from the human standpoint instead can conquer the whole world and yet will not be able to conquer his own death,if not through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus said it like this

    Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    However, another element needs to be conquered, but it also needs to be conquered in Jesus and not with human strength and ability. This other element is what Paul calls life. Even life in all of its pleasures, complexities, dangers and difficulties cannot separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and even through every facet of life we can be more than conquerors in Him.

    Life which is the antithesis of death still can and will separate people from God and although life can be conquered humanly by many it still defeats those who conquer it without Christ. Life, the love of this life and its pleasures will lead into sin and sin in the end where will it lead? To death, so that even this life, without God, without Christ, although people may think to have conquered it will not be conquerors in reality, they will be defeated.

    Why? Well, first of all life will, without a doubt, end in death and so any type of conquest in life strictly from the human stand point leads to complete defeat for it leads in the end in death so that any measure of success and conquest in life without Jesus, without God is an utter defeat.

    Life in its complexity, in its difficulties, in its cares, in its anxieties, in its tragedies and even in its pleasures and comforts can and will pull us away from God.

    The Bible tells us in many ways that life, the cares, difficulties, trials as well as the pleasures and riches of this life lead mankind away from God.

    We can find some examples of this truth for instance in

    [Luke 18:18-23],[Mark 4:16-19],[Luke 21:34],[1 Timothy 6:9-10].

    The world’s system is what dictates the way to mankind of how it must conquer life. How to be humanly successful in life.

    This system, however, is opposite to how God wants man to conquer life. Or yet, to be more than conquerors in life so that life cannot separate us from Him ever.

    This is why we must conquer life as well as death but conquer it in and through Christ.

    How? Well Christ as we have seen not only has defeated death and therefore conquered it, He also has conquered life, eternal life, He is life, He is eternal life, He has conquered spiritual and physical life for those who are in Him.

    John 10:9-10 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    So to be more than conquerors in life as well as death we must again be conquerors in Christ. In Him and through Him we are more than conquerors in life because no matter what happens in life we will overcome.

    The first step Jesus call us to take to be more than conquerors is to be in Him and this occurs by faith in Him, this however leads the believer to make at that very moment a rational choice, the choice to want to lose their life, in other words lose the parts of life that keep them separated from God.

    The life of the unbeliever is actually death as we did see and anything that life promises apart from God is death and defeat because it leads away from God rather than to Him and to be in Him, and this includes all the life of sinfulness and immorality and ill gained pleasure one can desire and seek after.

    Jesus put this concept like this:

    Matthew 16:25-27 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

    Being a wealthy believer is not a sin but even they must be reminded to do good, be rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share, in other words invest in the Kingdom of God.

    By the way this does not mean that to follow Jesus one must take vows of poverty and give up everything one has in order to follow Jesus.

    Jesus mainly means that we must be willing to give up anything He asks us to give up, mainly that is sinfulness, sinful desires, pursuit of riches rather than godliness, and to be willing always to do God’s will and not what we want.

    Losing one’s life is losing all selfish and sinful pursuits of life, not being friends of the world system as to be lost in it to such degree that it will keep us away from receiving God’s life.

    Losing one’s life is becoming slaves to God, to have Jesus as Lord and obey Him and His word and not be our own lords and obey our own sinful desires and to go after the pleasures of life.

    The Bible is clear on this, see [James 4:1-4],[1 John 2:15-17].

    Just some verses before Paul claimed that ALL things work together for the good of God’s children. We did say that ALL things meant ALL things, whether good or bad, ALLthings will still work together to make us more than conquerors through Christ Jesus and non of these things will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    So nothing of the earthly realm can and will stand between us and God and will be able to separate us because Jesus gives us the victory, He conquered death for us, He conquered life, all of it, earthly life, spiritual life and eternal life. He overcame the world, He conquered it for us who are in Him, our faith in Him therefore make us more than conquerors upon the world.

    John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    1 John 5:4-5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    However, as well as nothing of the earthly realm can separate us from the love of God and although we can be and will be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord; nothing from the spiritual realm can and will separate us from the love of God and we will be more than conquerors over all of this as well.

    No angel, no principalities, no powers can separate us from the love of God and we will be more than conquerors even on these.

    The angels here are definitely meant to be wicked angels, demons, rebel angels who serve Satan.

    Holy angels who serve God, work in behalf of those who are to inherit salvation [Hebrews 1:14], so that Paul is not talking about these angels, the angels of God who do His bidding. Paul is talking here about the angels, principalities and powers that he speaks about also in:

    Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    These are the angels, principalities and powers Paul is talking about. The spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Certainly that these rulers of darkness, these angels, these principalities, these powers often do hide in and behind human rulers, principalities and powers but as Paul says, we do not in reality wrestle against the flesh and blood behind which they hide themselves or that that they make use of. For we know that those who do not belong to God belong to Satan and they will be against us. Satan will control them to bring about his plan even on earth, but we know, we are persuaded as Paul says in this chapter that God’s plan for His own children in the end WILL prevail, ALL things will work together for our good and NONE of these angels principalities and powers will be able to prevail against us and separate us from the love of God, in other words derail or sabotage our eternal destiny, make our faith fail.

    Even upon these we will be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus our Lord because He has destroyed and defeated the works of the devil. In Him so do we.

    1 John 3:8-9 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

    Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

    Hebrews 2:14-15 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

    God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and He has the rule and the power over everything, always had, always will. Now through Jesus’ work of redemption we also have overcome these enemies who, can still pack a good punch and still can come against us and sometimes can cause us even hurt, but they cannot separate us from the love of God, from His grace, from His faithfulness toward us. We repeat, ALL things work together for our good so that if God is for us who can be against us successfully? No one!

    They cannot alter our eternal destiny, they cannot take away our inheritance, because our eternal life is hidden, do you remember where it is hidden?

    It is hidden in a place where NO ONE can go and take it away,

    Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    I ask you, who could go to Christ in God to take away our new life? Once again NO ONE !

    So these spiritual enemies can cause us grief in this life bu they cannot in anyway separate us from God’s love.

    Paul continues saying that neither present things, nor future things can separate us fro God’s love. Any thing that happens today or anything that may come our way tomorrow has any bearing upon God’s love for us and no episode, no incident in history can separate us from the love God has for us.

    Future, not even if we were to face the antichrist himself, even if we had to live in the great tribulation time, even this cannot separate us, the elect.

    Remember that ALL things work together for our good, that we have already been glorified in God’s program and NO ONE and NOTHING can derail God’s purpose for us.

    Paul continues saying, that neither height nor depth can separate us from God’s love. What does this mean? I believe it’s a kind of figure of speech to say that there can be no possible place, nor the highest mountain top, nor the deepest ocean floor that could effectively separate us from God’s love.

    This is a good point that explains away also forms and rituals of religion because if at any time we should be stranded in the highest place or the lowest point we would not need, rituals to be connected with God, to be protected and comforted and kept by Him and to be able to count on His love and His faithfulness to bring us at our eternal destination safely.

    This height and depth could also have to do with our life as well, whether we are on top of things or way deep over our heads in some unpleasant situations; yet none of these situation will separate us from God’s love and His purpose for us.

    Paul concludes saying that NO OTHER created thing can separate us from God’s love. What could include any other created thing?

    We have seen that nothing and no one so far can separate us from God’s love and His purpose for us, yet there remains another created thing that many believers think could be the only thing that could in the end separate us from God’s love.

    That would be the created thing closest to us, in other words ourselves. See we are created beings are we not? Yes, we are. So if Paul says NO OTHER created thing that would have to include us as well.

    Even we, IF indeed we are in Christ cannot separate ourselves from God’s love. God will keep us and protect us till the end, to the very end of His purpose for us.

    You know that this protection that brings us to our eternal inheritance could be very strange at times? God loves us so much, and is jealous for us with such a loving and holy jealousy that He would be willing to correct us and discipline us, if we continued to persist in a sinful situation to the point that He would rather end our physical life in order to save our soul.

    This is something Scripture does tell us and so you see, our sins, all of them are forgiven us as far as our soul is concerned, remembering that our mortal physical bodies are not yet redeemed and have to be transformed at the time of our resurrection so that for our bodies, not our soul, that’s our inner spiritual man, our bodies still receive the wages of sin, which is death. There could be such a thing as sort of a premature death, although it is really not premature at all, (see Psalm 139:16 ).

    Scripture describes this severe disciplinary and protective action of God in two main passages of the New Testament:

    1 Corinthians 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    1 Corinthians 11:29-33 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

    So even physical death due to sinful persistent behavior does not cause a true believer to lose his or her salvation rather it is God’s severe chastisement which is still a demonstration of His love for us, because we will not be condemned with the world. Our eternal justification remains intact.

    Once again, we are NOT in any way advocating sinful behavior, as we said we recognize the spiritual eternal danger of being in a situation of an unchanged sinful pattern of life style, this however is not what we are talking about.

    We know and said it many times already, that a true believer lives out for the most part the instructions given us in [Titus 2:11-14], for that is what God’s saving grace does and we do know that those who live in unrighteousness as a unbroken sinful way of living will not inherit God’s Kingdom, because they are as the Scripture calls them unrighteous, which means they are not righteous, which means they are not justified before God, which means they are not nor were they ever justified believers, justified in Christ.

    So we see that NO OTHER created thing or being can nor will be able to separate us from God’s love, love that we can only have and receive in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    For it is ONLY being in Him that we are loved and accepted, adopted as children, baptized into Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption and kept by the power of God, for He is able and willing to keep us from falling away and to present us before His glory without fault and with exceeding joy.

    NOTHING and NO ONE can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and in EVERY and ANY situation or circumstance and OVER ANY THING or ANY BEING that can and will come against us we are MORE than CONQUERORS in Jesus who loved us.

    AMEN!!!