Introduction: In the previous chapter, Paul described the civil war being waged within his own heart and mind. There was a part of him that wanted to do right, but he often found himself doing wrong. Though God’s laws are good, his own weaknesses caused him to break those laws. He called his resulting condition “wretched” (7:24). In chapter 8, Paul will counter that wretched condition by describing the glorious state of those who are in Christ. What are the blessings of being a Christian?
I. The Indwelling Holy Spirit (8:1-17, 26-27)
A. Paul begins with a straightforward affirmation of the spiritual status of the person who is in Christ. That person stands under no condemnation (1).
B. This uncondemned state is because of what “law of the Spirit of life” – the law revealed by the Holy Spirit – accomplished. It has set the Christian free from “the law of sin and death” (2).
C. The Law of Moses could not do that because of the weakness of man. But God made it possible for the “righteous requirement of the law” to be fulfilled in us through the death of Jesus (3-4).
D. Those who have been set free are those who will focus their hearts on the things of the Holy Spirit, not the things of the flesh (5-8, 12-14). This is because the Christian is no longer “in the flesh but in the Spirit” (9).
E. As a result of this new relationship with God’s Spirit, we have spiritual life (10), the promise of a future resurrection (11), and a family relationship with God (15-17).
F. While on the topic of the Spirit, look ahead to 8:26-27 and note what Paul says regarding a special kind of help that we receive from the Spirit.
1. “Helps” translates a compound word in Greek and paints a picture of two people taking the opposite ends of a burden and lifting it together.
2. This passage teaches that when we have trouble knowing what to pray for – when we are so overwhelmed that our inner groanings cannot be put into words – the Spirit takes what is in our hearts and communicates it to the Father.
4. He “helps” me lift that burden.
II. Hope (8:18-25)
A. The statement of verse 18 introduces the rest of this difficult section. Whatever the meaning of verses 19-25 is, it must harmonize with verse 18 – that “the sufferings of this present time” do not compare “with the glory” that is to come.
B. The difficulty of this section is in identifying “the creation.” Is it the material creation? Is it the physical body? Is it the Christian?
1. I do not believe that it is the Christian. While the Christian is a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), that is not how Paul is using that term here. The Christian is mentioned in this section, but not until verse 23, and that by way of contrast with the “creation.”
2. I believe that Paul is personifying the material, physical world – the earth and everything in it (except the people). Mankind was not the only thing adversely affected by the entrance of sin. The entire physical world was. It, too, is awaiting the end when all wrongs will be righted.
C. Just like the world is anticipating the end, so are Christians – those who “have the firstfruits of the Spirit” (23). We anticipate the final redemption of our bodies in the resurrection (24-25).
1. There is confidence in our hope (Heb. 6:11, 19; 1 Pet. 1:3-5, 13).
2. There are responsibilities with our hope (1 John 3:3).
III. Providence (8:28-30)
A. The aforementioned redemption of the body, which will happen at the general resurrection of the dead, is all according to God’s plan and providence. He is working all of these things out for our good (28).
B. Christians are the ones predestined, called, justified, and glorified (29-30) – all of which are in harmony with both God’s sovereignty and man’s free will (cf. 2 Thess. 2:14).
IV. God’s Love (8:31-39)
A. In summary, Paul rhetorically asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (31). Since God refused to spare his own son from death “for us all,” why would he not give us all these other things (32)?
B. No one can sustain a guilty charge against God’s elect (Christians) because God is the one who justifies and Jesus is our intercessor (33-34). The only ones who could condemn us are the ones who have saved us!
C. Therefore, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (35-39). Though many things can try (tribulation, distress, etc.), “in all these things we are more than conquerors” (37).
Conclusion: There may not be a more encouraging and faith-building chapter in the New Testament than Romans 8. It gives all children of God a long list of reasons to be confident in their salvation, be strong in the face of difficulties, and be enthusiastic in their praise of God.