Philipp Jakob Spener said that if the Holy Scriptures were a ring and the Letter to Romans its precious stone, the Chapter 8 would be the sparkling point of the precious jewel.
Robert Haldane says Romans 8 speaks of the power and provision of grace. "The provision which God made for the consolation of His people."
Charles Hodge says that all the beautiful arguments go back to one point: "God's people will never be condemned or perish."
So what brings this passage out to be considered so important and majestic?
I believe it is an anchor in the storm, clarity in the midst of clouds, steadiness in chaos, and hope in face of doubt. Welcome to 'life in the Spirit"!
CONFLICT IS THE CONTEXT:
We can't look at Romans 8 without the conflict presented in the context.
In Romans 7:7-25, Paul personally applies his struggle with sin and grace, freedom and bondage, life and death. When Paul was a teen, he was Barmitzvahed- I fully read 7:8,9 to be near this point in his life. 7:7-14 uses all past verbs- the present tense verbs come in at vs 14.
We get the feeling that Paul is expressing a life long struggle- God-ordained- with a desire to follow the Law and the futility of the attempt. He agrees that the Law is good, but its fruit is death. The Torah points out Paul's utter inability to have success in the eyes of the Holy Yahweh.
Skip now to Romans 8:18
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing 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 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
See all the conflict? Inner struggle- I can't live right. Outward struggle- All creation groans. There is 'bondage and decay' even our bodies are wasting away. We have 'weakness'- See again all the negative terms here in Romans 8: law of sin and death/powless/weakened/sinful nature/the mind of sinful man is death/hostile to God/ cannot submit to God's law/cannot please God/body is dead/misdeeds of the body/slavery to fear/groanings.
BOOKENDS OF VICTORY, SECURITY, AND GLORY!
In spite of the conflict- Romans 8 begins and ends with security. It is not our hold on God, it is God's hold on us. There is no condemnation, justification is complete. Look at all the past tense verbs at the end of Chapter 8. Link it together- this is a 'golden chain': foreknew-predestined-called-justified-glorified. What can seperate us from the love of Christ? Who will bring a charge?
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT:
The present Christian life is now a fight- it is a fierce battle with sin. Victory is assured, but the present conflict will not cease until the end of time or the end of you.
A Battle of the Mind: It is amazing how much the mind is mentioned here.
Energized by Spirit- Paul's language in the New Testament goes like this: The Spirit is in us and we are in Christ.
Danger/Danger: Look at verse 13 "If you live according to the according to the sinful nature, you will die." I believe this is a serious warning here. Sin has real consequences, even to the believer.
Patient Perseverence: We ourselves groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for... the redemption of our bodies. We wait for it patiently, you don't hope in what you have.
Helped by the Spirit: Look at all the helps below:
Without Spirit- With Spirit
DEAD - ALIVE
MIND ON SIN'S DESIRES- MIND ON SPIRIT'S DESIRES
FRUIT OF DEATH - LIFE AND PEACE
HOSTILE TO GOD - CHILD OF GOD
APART FROM CHRIST- BELONG TO CHRIST
DESTRUCTION OF BODY- RESURRECTION OF BODY
SPIRIT OF FEAR - SPIRIT OF SONSHIP
ENEMY OF GOD- HEIR OF GOD
NO HOPE- GREAT HOPE
NO PRAYER- GREAT PRAYER/INTERCESSION
BOTTOM LINE: WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS.
As you look back over this- ask yourself... which list characterizes the trend of your life? If you are stumbling...get up and get back in the game. It is a terrible struggle, but the fruit is glorious!
Starting over? It is just a prayer away.