2/08/15 – Romans 8:1-17 “If we are Christians, then our lives will demonstrate it!”


Romans 8:1[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


This follows directly on from the last chapter where Paul agonises over the conflict in his life between the old man flesh nature and the new man spiritual nature. Here he is simply saying that in spite of that conflict and his tendency to be “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14), there is no condemnation (from the law, that is) for those who have accepted the gift of God paid for by Christ on the cross. It is clear that walking after the flesh (habitual sin) is not a real choice for Christians who should be walking according to the Spirit. Note the fruit of the flesh vs the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.


Of course, when Christians sin, they are still doing that which God condemns, but under the pardon of the gospel the law no longer can apply the penalty for sin. All law’s penalty for sin was paid for on the cross (“It is finished!” – John 19:30 – was the cry from the cross) but must be accepted in order to be activated (according to God’s requirements) in that person’s life. That is,

Romans 10:13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Thus there is no condemnation to Christians because they do not (or rather, should not) walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


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


This is where our old ‘marriage’ is ended and our new ‘marriage’ relationship begins (see Romans 7:1-4). Our perfect position in Christ before God is having exchanged our old man for the new man. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ supersedes (overrules) the law of sin and death, and while we are still not perfect in reality, we are now able to oppose the old nature, the flesh. The flesh doesn’t have to be obeyed; we choose to do so all too often. We may still break the law of sin and death, but there is no longer any penalty (“no condemnation” – vs 1 above) demanded by the law if we are no longer under the rule of the law.


Romans 8:3-43For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


The law was too weak to achieve its end goal of righteousness for those in the flesh. All the law did was to condemn sin outright. It offered no forgiveness, no latitude at all for sinful behaviour. It demanded perfection! One sin alone could condemn utterly (James 2:10). But God sent His Son in the likeness of Adam (and his sin) in order to deal with the problem of sin. By overcoming the demands of sin to take Him into captivity, Christ condemned that sin in the flesh; He was not subject to the penalty of sin, neither Adam’s sin (Christ was not born of an earthly father), nor the sin as defined by the law (for He resisted all temptation to sin).

Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.

If the first-born from the dead (Colossians 1:18) could and did resist all sin, then He is also able to aid us who struggle with temptation and sin.

Hebrews 2:18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.


And because Jesus paid the full penalty for all sin on the cross, He has taken away the bondage that sin had on us. Without hope for forgiveness and pardon, we could never come to God, but now we may because the barrier of sin has been removed. The righteous requirement of the law was that sin must be condemned and dealt with; the law demanded consequences! The righteous requirement of the law demanded the penalty, but those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (also see Vs 1 above) are freed from that condemnation while still having the righteous requirement of the law fulfilled in us through Jesus Christ who brought all that condemnation upon Himself for our sakes.


Romans 8:5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.


Those who live according to the flesh bear the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), while those who live according to the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). You will always reap what you sow!

Galatians 6:7-87Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Thus you will know the person by the life he/she lives.


Romans 8:6For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.


carnally – of the flesh, seen here as the opposite of being spiritually-minded.

Not “leads to death” but “is death”! And not “leads to life and peace” but “is life and peace”! Death isn’t just the consequence of serving the desires of the flesh; there is death itself in the very act of serving the flesh. And likewise there is life (and peace too) itself in the very act of being spiritually minded. Note the contrast: those who are carnally minded are as much dead as those who are spiritually minded are alive.

Romans 6:2 says we (that is, those who are Christ’s) are dead to sin, as opposed to being dead in sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1).


For Christ is our peace:

Ephesians 2:13-1513But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;


Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.


The mind that desires to serve the flesh is opposed to God’s will. The carnal mind is subject to the law of sin and death (see Vs 2), and therefore belongs to the old ‘marriage’ relationship (see Romans 7:1-4). The new relationship is of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Vs 2). Those who are of the new relationship with God are now dead to the law through the body of Christ (Romans 7:4). The old relationship has ended; the wife in that ‘marriage’ is now released from the law (Romans 7:2) that bound her to her first husband (the old man, the flesh, the carnal mind). When we served the flesh (the old man sin nature), we were enemies of God; we refused to submit to His law, we refused to obey God’s law. The decisions of our carnal (fleshly) minds refused to acknowledge the requirements of the law. The carnal mind will not subject itself to the law of God. Our carnal mind was opposed to God. We declared ourselves enemies of God. Romans 5:10aFor if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son …..Our flesh nature was hostile to God’s law; it wouldn’t submit to His standards. Thus to be carnally minded is death!


Romans 8:8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.


Clearly so, because our flesh nature will not submit to God’s law, and never will. Thus we cannot change by fixing up our old flesh nature. There is nothing at all we can do to make our flesh nature acceptable to God. It will always oppose God’s law and thus will never please God.


So what does please God?

Have faith in GodHebrews 11:6But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Be spiritually mindedRomans 8:8-9a8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Fear GodPsalm 147:11The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Obey God1 Samuel 15:22And Samuel said, Hath the Lord [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.

Doing God’s will Hebrews 13:21Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever.

Offer the sacrifice of praise to GodHebrews 13:15-1615By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.


Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.


Here is an emphatic ‘But’ in order to emphasize the contrast: “ye are not in the flesh”. Note also the use of the conditional ‘if’ in the rest of this passage.

From Vs 9 to Vs 17 we have a series of conditional statements, characterized by the use of the word “if”. These conditional statements offer contrasting options.


if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you – The main point of this passage today is to demonstrate that if we are at enmity with God (by the way we behave, for instance) by living (being) in the flesh, then we are demonstrating that the Spirit of God does not dwell in us. Thus we cannot belong to Christ. “he is none of his” Vs 9.

And the opposite also applies: that if God’s Spirit dwells in us, then we cannot be in the flesh. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We must be either in the Spirit or in the flesh. We must be one or the other, not both. So if we are not in the flesh, then we are in the Spirit, and the Spirit of God dwells in us. But if we are in the flesh, then we don’t have the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 3:16-1716Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.


If we claim to be Christian yet defile our lives with sins of the flesh, then we are not Christ’s; we are none of His; and God will destroy that defiled temple! If God dwells in us, then we are holy, the temple of the living God. We cannot have the Spirit dwelling in us and continue in the sins of the flesh. The two just don’t mix! If the Spirit of God does not dwell in you, you are not of Christ. The Spirit of Christ = the Spirit of God; Jesus is God.

Ephesians 4:30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

1 Thessalonians 5:19Quench not the Spirit.


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


Paul continues with his emphatic denial of Christians being in the flesh…. “If Christ (be) in you” is the contrast to “ye are not in the flesh”. Note that word ‘if’ though. No-one should just assume that just because they make a commitment to be saved according to the gospel, they are assured that Christ is in them. If the commitment is through worldly sorrow (remorse) it will bring death instead of life.

2 Corinthians 7:10For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.


And if Christ is in you, and therefore you are not in the flesh, your body (your flesh, your old man nature) is dead to the desires and domination of sin. That is, if Christ is in you, you should not be sold under sin (Romans 7:14). Instead, being in the Spirit, you should have life because of your righteousness (your right standing with God).

This does not mean that you will live a perfectly holy life once you are a Christian, but that God imputes righteousness to you through your status of being in Christ. God sees in you the righteousness of Christ.


Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.


if – this teaching is conditional, and can only be applied if the Spirit indwells you.

See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 above – Christians are the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, that same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

John 14:19bbecause I live, ye shall live also.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.


This same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead indwells Christians who will also receive eternal life through that same indwelling Spirit. Our fleshly (mortal) bodies will die one day but Christians will then be changed from corruptible to incorruptible.

1 Corinthians 15:50-5350 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.


Romans 8:12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.


Therefore we are in debt, that is to Christ, and not to the flesh which sought to dominate us before we became dead to that sin by entering into the new relationship with Christ. We don’t owe our flesh anything at all. We have no obligations to the flesh for it has done nothing good in us and for us at all. So why should we live according to the flesh when we are under no obligation to do so? We have been made alive in the Spirit through Christ; all to Him we owe.

Jesus paid it all; All to Him I owe!
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.
(Fanny Crosby)


Romans 8:13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.


If we live according to the flesh, then we are debtors to the flesh, and the flesh is a cruel master to be in debt to. If we cannot repay our debt, we will die. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) However, if we, through our new relationship with Christ through His Spirit, put the old man desires of the flesh to death, we will indeed live.

Romans 6:6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.


Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


as many as are led – all who are led in this way and only those who are led in this way.

For only those who are under the domination of (= led by) the Spirit of God can be called the sons of God, no more, no less.

John 1:12-1312But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 John 3:1-31Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.


Romans 8:15-1615For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:


You did not receive a spirit that bound you, enslaved you, to fear. That is, you are not enslaved by that which uses fear (of punishment, being deprived of something, etc) in order to control you, much as a dictator ruler might control his subjects. The sinner should be subject to such fear because he has committed offensive acts against God. He can only expect condemnation and thus he tries to please an angry God who just might (he thinks) be easy on him. God then is someone to fear, and the sinner’s behaviour is dominated by this need to not get on the wrong side of an angry God. But the Christian has not received any such spirit of bondage to fear! We aren’t slaves who must obey or be punished; we are adopted children of God.

God’s Spirit who indwells us bears witness to this fact. By God’s Spirit we have been adopted into the family of God, and with God’s Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

We are not slaves but children of God, not bound by fear of punishment but by a desire to please.


Abbafather, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee ABBA through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.

Mark 14:36And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Galatians 4:6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

It appears that calling God “Father, Father!” is to emphasize our status as His children, denoting the intensity of our feelings toward the One who has given us His Spirit as a witness to our favoured family status with God.


Romans 8:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.


As children we inherit the kingdom along with His first-born and only begotten Son, Jesus (joint heirs with Christ). Thus we are much more than just the slaves that McArthur would falsely teach as our position with God. However, note the conditional ‘if’. If we are His children, then we are joint heirs with Christ. And if we go to the next level: If indeed we suffer with Him! It does clearly teach that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together with Him. This does strongly imply that if we choose to not suffer with (or for) Christ, we may not be glorified together! Note that Christians are called to suffer.

1 Peter 2:21For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps


This passage today teaches that if we are Christians, then we will live in a way that testifies of the Spirit who indwells all genuine Christians. If we are Christians, then we will live as such, or else we may not be Christians at all! What we do speaks much louder than what we say! The old life is in the past; the new life is now and ahead of us. If we desire the world so much that we cannot let it go in order to serve a new relationship with Christ, then we might not end up inheriting the kingdom of God. If we are genuine Christians, then we will demonstrate this! Our faith, unless it is evidenced by works, is dead (James 2:17).

Romans 8:9; 139But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.


Note the following words of Jesus, which must be read as a single paragraph. (The word ‘For’ indicates a following-on from the idea in the previous sentence.)

Luke 9:23-2623And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels.


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