The Spirit Releases the Sinner from Sin

No more condemnation (Romans 8:1-4)

            Paul has been arguing that the Law of Moses provides no solution to the dilemma created by sin. The Law condemns those who sin, but sin uses the Law and the desires of the body to cause the follower to violate the very law that is trying to be followed (Romans 7:5, 23-24). However, that was Paul and other Christian’s former state. Things have now changed. For those in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17, 21; Galatians 3:26-28; Philippians 3:9), who do not sin (Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:19-21), but live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16, 22-25) there is no longer any condemnation (John 3:18).

            The law that replaced the old Law of Moses (Romans 7:4) is the Law of the Spirit and it makes us free from law of sin (Romans 7:23; Galatians 2:19; John 8:36; Galatians 5:1; Romans 6:22). The Spirit gives us life in Christ (Job 33:4; John 6:63; II Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 6:8).

            The Law of Moses could not give this life because it depended upon men to keep it perfectly (Hebrews 7:18-19; Romans 3:20; Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 3:21). Instead God accomplished the saving of men by sending His Son to live as a man, yet without sin (II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26). And in his death Jesus became the ultimate offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10; John 1:29; I Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:13).

            In this way the just requirement of the Law, which required that the penalty for sin is death, was fully fulfilled for those no longer under that penalty of death (Romans 5:17-18). We no longer walk after the flesh and its sins, but according to the Spirit (Psalms 1:1; Isaiah 2:5; Ephesians 4:17; I John 1:6-7).


Class Discussion:

1.         Is Paul saying in Romans 8:1 that once we are saved, we are always saved, as some contend? Why?


We do not walk according to the flesh (Romans 8:5-8)

            Believers and unbelievers have two different goals and focuses for their lives (Luke 11:34; John 3:6; I Corinthians 15:48; I John 3:6-10). “The flesh” here is used in the sense of a worldly viewpoint, while “the Spirit” is used in the sense of a spiritual or godly viewpoint (Galatians 5:19-25; Philippians 3:19). The result of living after this world ultimately is death, while living after the Spirit is life and peace (Ps 119:165; Proverbs 3:17; Romans 6:21; Galatians 6:8; Ephesians 2:1-5; I Timothy 5:6; James 1:14-15).

            To be focused on this world naturally makes the person an enemy of God (Matthew 12:34; James 4:4; John 7:7; Ephesians 4:18-19; Colossians 1:21; I John 2:15). Such a person refuses to submit to God’s laws (John 8:43; I Corinthians 2:14). Thus while a person remains focused on the world, he cannot please God (Psalms 5:4-5)..


Class Discussion:

1.         Does Romans 8:7 mean that sinners cannot be converted to God without God’s direct intervention? If not, why not?

2.         Is Romans 8:8 teaching total depravity – that humans cannot do good?


The Spirit of Christ dwells in us (Romans 8:9-11)

            Believers, like the Romans, do not follow after the world but after the Spirit, assuming that they are true believers. Christians have the presence of the Holy Spirit seen within them and live with the Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 4:6). Notice that having the Spirit in you is the same as having Christ in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

            Our physical body will eventually die because of the sin in the world, but those living after Christ will live on in the spirit (Romans 5:12; II Corinthians 4:16; I Corinthians 15:20-22, 53; II Corinthians 5:4; Ephesians 1:13-14).


Class Discussion:

1.         What does it mean to have the Spirit dwell within you?

2.         What else dwells in a Christian?

3.         Does dwelling mean a possession or lose of control?

4.         What proof is there that the Spirit is dwelling in a person? (See: Romans 8:5; Galatians 5:22-25; Matthew 7:15-20).


Obligated to live by the Spirit (Romans 8:12-14)

            We don’t owe the flesh anything since it will not give us anything in the end (I John 2:15-17; I Peter 4:1-3). Instead we owe the Spirit everything (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We must put to death the deeds of the flesh (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5-10).

            It is those who are lead by the Holy Spirit who are sons of God. That is, those how follow the Spirit’s teachings, as recorded in the Bible, are Christians (Psalm 25:5; 143:10; John 1:12; Luke 6:35; I John 5:3-5).


Class Discussion:

1.         In what ways are we told that the Spirit guides us?


We are adopted children (Romans 8:15-17)

            We did not leave sin to enter another round of slavery with a new taskmaster to be feared (John 8:36; II Timothy 1:7; I John 4:18). The law left its followers in bondage (Galatians 4:3, 9, 24). Our relationship with God is that of adopted children (Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5; Isaiah 56:5). “Abba” is the Chaldean word for father.

            This adoption is testified to by two witnesses. (It takes two or three witnesses to establish truth.) The Holy Spirit is the first witness (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; II Corinthians 1:22; I John 4:13). It is He who taught us how to become children of God. The second witness is ourselves (I John 5:10-11). We confirm what we did to comply with Christ’s law.

            If we are children of God, then we are also heirs of God. Since Jesus is the Son of God, it means are also fellow heirs with him (Galatians 4:7; John 17:22-24). We share in his sufferings to be able to share in his glory (Philippians 1:29; 3:10; II Timothy 2:11-12; John 12:24-26; Matthew 16:24-25; Revelation 3:21).


The sufferings here versus the glories there (Romans 8:18-25)

            The sufferings here are nothing in comparison to the glory God is offering us (Romans 5:3-5; II Corinthians 4:17; I Peter 1:6-7; 4:13). The Greek word ktiseos can be translated as either creature or creation. “Creation” is generally selected because of the mention of the whole creation in Romans 8:22 (Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20). As the latter, then the world is being personified (Psalms 96:11-12), though it is talking about all the people in the world. As “creature” it would refer to individuals (Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:23; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 8:39). In particular he is talking about individuals who have become Christians.

            We are eagerly looking forward to our new life in heaven (Galatians 5:5; Philippians 1:20; II Peter 3:13; I John 3:2). In this world we have struggles (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3). It was set that way by God (Genesis 3:17; Leviticus 26:19-20). But we know there is a greater world beyond (Philippians 1:23). Thus the hardships were done to bring about something better. Life for the non-believer is also vain (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17; I Corinthians 3:20).

            There is hope of deliverance from the sinful corruption that is in the world (II Peter 1:4; 3:13; II Corinthians 11:3; I Corinthians 15:33). Or Paul could be talking about the decaying world (I Corinthians 15:42-44). The whole is as if in labor pains looking forward to the delivery. Even the early Christians, the first fruits of the Spirit, look forward to the final adoption (II Corinthians 5:1-5).

            The hope Paul speaks of is a future hope. It cannot be seen in this life because then it would not be hope (Hebrews 11:1). That hope is what gives us the encouragement to continue on (Romans 5:3-5; I Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 10:36).


Class Discussion:

1.         How would understanding of Paul’s discussion differ if he mean creature or creation?

2.         What difficulty arises if we are talking about all of God’s creation looking forward to the final adoption of God’s children (II Peter 3:10-12)?


The help of the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27)

            In addition to hope, the Holy Spirit also helps us by supporting us in our prayers. Speaking of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews said, "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" (Hebrews 7:25). The word "intercession" translates the Greek word entunchano. It means to appeal or intercede on behalf of another. It does not mean Jesus is standing between us and God, but that he adds his personal appeals with ours. The Holy Spirit does the same thing according to Paul. We often don't know how we ought to pray. The Hebrew writer says that Jesus helps as our High Priest using his experience of living as a man among men. Paul says the Holy Spirit helps by taking our deepest feelings and expressing them for us better than we can ourselves (Ephesians 4:6; 6:18; Zechariah 12:10). The Spirit searches our hearts and then expresses what we cannot to God (Psalms 7:9; Proverbs 17:3; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; Acts 1:24; I Thessalonians 2:4).

            When what we want and pray for is according to God’s will, God hears us (I John 5:14-15; James 4:3-4).