romans study

XVI. The Surpassing of Law (Romans 8)

In this portion I will keep using the Hebrew names for continuity.

We get to a verse now that is largely taken out of context. I don’t know if you’ve heard it but it goes something like “A person who doesn’t believe God can’t personally believe God and can’t even please God because they are in the flesh. They are carnal and the carnal mind is hostile toward God for it does not subject itself to the Law of God (Rom 8:8).”  Thing is, Sha’ul is still defending God’s righteousness in the believer’s mind and is currently dealing with the death wrought by sin through the power of the Law versus the newness of life found in the Spirit. The carnality spoken of here is still in context of that which is wrought through the law, which pertains to the flesh.

We left off thinking how a believer is now walking ‘according to the Spirit’ instead of “according to the flesh’ (Rom 8:4, 5)–this distinction previously expanded by the fact that Law-keeping was done in the flesh, but now we (though admittedly, specifically the Jew) have died to that and been married to another: yet still failing at the Law-keeping bit. Believers now in a stance of No-Condemnation; how does God deal with their sin? Does He simply soften His response to sin? (Rom 8:1)

We should note that God’s response to sin in the believer is as radical as his response to sin in the unbeliever. In the one case the believer was positionally dead before God’s righteous judgment, but God sent His Son while we were yet sinners to serve as a propitiation. In so doing, sinful men who have placed faith on God would be saved from wrath. Galatians would have us see the importance of our salvation in The Spirit and our subsequent walk in The Spirit.

So then, Chapter 8 aligns our thinking not on the flesh and the oldness of the letter but on the Spirit and the newness of life. This is fundamental because without this alignment we find that we cannot please God. If anyone does not have The Spirit, they cannot be rightly called to please God in The Spirit (Rom 8:9). This portion is referring then to the believer’s wealth for pleasing God, not the unbeliever’s drought. This wealth is not found in the Law but it is to be found in The Spirit.

But a believer, who awaits the life giving in our own mortal bodies, can know that he is not obligated to live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit by putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:12-13). Some of them? The bad ones? No, all of them perishing in the flesh, note that context please. The believers who are being led are being led by the Spirit are full grown sons of God (Galatians 4:1-7). Not as slaves living in fear but as adopted sons crying out “Abba! Father!” (Rom 8:15)

There is no fear of God in the unbeliever. Fear of death? Then why reference a slavery which leads to fear again? He is referring to that fear that was found in Chapter 7 but disarmed by death and in Messiah’s rescue (from condemnation) in Chapter 8.

Now then, as free children of God, not slaves, but heirs of God and even fellow heirs with Messiah we are glorified with Him eventually seeing the very glorification ourselves.  The Spirit in us bears witness that we are his in the mutual internal groaning with that of creation itself which awaiting the setting free from  its slavery.

Here a person can say “ah, you see, Sha’ul is referring to slavery to sin not to the Law”. Partially true?but note what is groaning. Creation, which is amoral in its actions, is groaning for the freedom of its slavery. It was subjected to death brought by sin. Man’s slavery is also wrought by sin and subjects Man to death. Here’s the crux for Man: the Law entered in to make sin all the more sinful and therein death all the more deadly. Creation groans for its freedom, as does what we have in ourselves, the firstfruits of the Spirit. (Rom 8:20-23).

Therefore, the Spirit gives a newness of Life, a walk without condemnation, a mind for the pleasing of God, a coheirship with the Son, a yearning for the redemption of our bodies, an eagerly waited for hope (Rom 8:25), help in our weaknesses, teaching and interceding in our prays and communicates with the searcher of hearts seeking His will in our lives. This string of God provided benefits, without the old fear and bondage, is so perfect that God sees those who are the Respondents to the Call as not only justified but already perfected, glorified and complete. (Rom 8:28-30)

Who therefore can be against the believer as to bring a charge? If God is for the believer, for us, who can possibly take the stand against us? Who can bring a charge against God’s choice people if God is the one who justifies? Who can condemn if Messiah is the one who condemns but actually intercedes for us? The condemnation is removed. The slavery leading to fear is nullified. The Believer is Justified (declared righteous) and Glorified (made perfectly righteous) by the working power of the Spirit and not the Law. (Rom 8:31-34)

Sha’ul’s defense then of the Righteousness of God in the mind is this: Man is sinful because of action by someone else, now man can be perfected by the actions of someone else. Whereas Man would work in the flesh resulting only in death, made all the more evident by God’s Law, Messiah has died and the sinner who identifies with that death is freed from death the penalty of God’s Law. Whereas Man constantly fell short due to His own flesh, Man can now be renewed in the mind and eventually the body by giving the Spirit to work within, alongside and as an Intercessor. Whereas death was the ultimate end of Man, now those who are in Messiah Yeshua are inseparable from His love; be it tribulation, distress, persecution, powers, principalities, all things; nothing can separate them from Messiah. (Rom 8:35-39).

Other articles in this series?specifically the second movement: God’s Righteousness Defended in The Believer’s Mind.

Justification’s Hole: God’s righteousness in the mind introduced (Rom 5b)

Reckon Yourself Dead (Romans 6a

Which Part Got Crucified (Romans 6b)
The Dilema of Law (Romans 7)

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