#21, July 17, 2011
In the first seven chapters of Romans, Paul told us that though the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good, the law only contains death for the sinner.
The law was never meant to bring life, joy nor peace. Nor was the law ever meant to produce justification nor sanctification. Rather, its purpose was and is to produce conviction, irritation of the conscience and enough conflict to bring the sinner to the hopeless end of himself, and to Christ.
The law certainly is not sin; rather, it reveals sin both to the unsaved and the saved.
Without Christ, the sinner hates the law, for it reveals sin, and the just reward of sin.
With Christ, the child of God love the law, for it reveals how we can please our Redeemer and God
Psalms 119:97 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. (Ps 119:163, 165)
Paul has emphasized that regardless of ones verbal professions, those who do not love the law of the Lord are none of his, for the Spirit brings with himself that love.
Romans 8 changes the theme of Paul's letter up to this point. Romans 8 presents the glories of the gospel of Christ:
Chapter 8 presents 6 things the gospel will do:
1. Vv. 1-13 The gospel does what the law could not do. It gives life and peace with God and self, and it delivers from condemnation.
2. Vv. 14-17. The gospel produces a spirit of adoption. It produces all the blessings of the confidence we have in addressing God as our Father. The law could only produce terror at the prospect of standing before the Thrice Holy God.
3. Vv. 18-25. The gospel sustains us in suffering while we are still captive in this body of sin. Though we are still captive to the trials and difficulties in this body, the gospel gives hope of future deliverance. It promises a complete and final redemption of the body from all the evils of this life.
4. Vv. 26, 27. The gospel provides the Holy Spirit who sustains us in our trials and infirmities.
5. Vv. 28-30. The gospel gives the assurance that all things shall work together for good, since all things are connected with the purpose of God. All events that can occur to a Christian come as part of the plan of Him who called the Christian to Himself.
6. Vv. 31ff. The gospel gives comfort in the fact that everything that can affect the happiness of man is on the side of the Christian, and will co-operate in his favour.
We are ready for #3,
Vv. 18-25. The gospel sustains us in suffering while we are still captive in this body of sin. Though we are still captive to the trials and difficulties in this body, the gospel gives hope of future deliverance. It promises a complete and final redemption of the body from all the evils of this life.
V. 18, continues the thought of v. 17. Though there might be suffering for the cause of Christ in this life, that suffering cannot be compared with what is in store for the sons of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction which is but for a moment, causeth unto us a far most excellent and an eternal weight of glory: 18 While we look not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.
Vv. 19-21 is admitted by all to be a difficult passage. The word creature, or creation, v. 22, is used 4 times in these verses.
This passage shows us that not only did man fall under the curse of sin, but all creation is suffering under that curse. Every aspect of creation is groaning under that curse, and is looking forward to the curse being conquered through Christ.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Acts 3:21 holds this promise:
Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Until the time of restoring. Christ has already restored all things by his death; but the effects of his work are not yet fully apparent. So both man as well as all creation groan under the burden of servitude to sin. The kingdom of Christ only began with his incarnation. However, it will last for all eternity. The final perfection spoken of by Peter will not come to pass until the last day. We see only a small part of that kingdom today. Instead of the perfection of his kingdom, we see the mass confusion of the world, as sin continues to do its work in those who reject the gospel and its power.
Though we must regret and mourn over the miseries of sin, we are encouraged by the fact that the Spirit will make all of his enemies his footstool. Psalms 110:1, Hebrews 10:13,
Romans 8:22, tells us that the present conditions on earth are not natural. Rather, they are the results of sin. The results of sin include every creature, as the margin says, including the animal creation.
V. 22, until now. Christ lifted the curse of sin. We will be held accountable as to our faithfulness in lifting the curse of sin in our areas of influence. It is lifted by preaching the gospel, and by our individual godly actions.
Romans 8:21-23. The context shows us that the main design of the passage is to show the sustaining power of the gospel in the midst of trials. It shows us that the sons of God are sustained by the prospect of the future deliverance and inheritance of their positions as sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
V. 23. The sons of God are not friends with the world. Rather, they consider themselves strangers and pilgrims who look forward to the final day of redemption.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
V. 24, saved by hope...
The context here speaks of our hope in the future glory with him sustains us in the trials and tribulations of this life. It is the hope of the future deliverance that uphold us, and enables us to bear our trials with patience.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Hope passes away when the reality is possessed. Our hope of future glory ceases when we have that glory with Christ.
I have used this as a salvation verse, and the context of Scripture will permit such a use, though the word hope and faith are two different words with different meanings.
There can be no salvation for those who seek some visible sign or action concerning salvation.
V. 25, our hope of eternal glory creates patience in us in the midst of our trials and tribulations.
4. Vv. 26, 27. The gospel provides the Holy Spirit who sustains us in our trials and infirmities.
Vv. 26-27, presents a new source of support. Previously, our support came from the hope of eternal glory with the Lord. So while we are waiting in hope, yet suffering, the Spirit helps our weakness, strengthening and helping us in prayer.
Pray... In the times of greatest trials, we do not know what is best, nor how to pray.
The creation groans under the curs of sin, we groan under the curse of sin. But the Spirit does not grown under the curse of sin, for he is free of that curse. So he alone knows how to properly pray in every situation.
there is no reason why we should faint under the burden of afflictions, seeing that prayers minister to us a most sure help: which cannot be frustrated, seeing that they proceed from the Spirit of God who dwells in us. [The Spirit] Bears our burden, as it were, so that we do not faint under it. [He] Incites us to pray, and tells us as it were within, what we will say, and how we will speak.
V. 27, searcheth the hearts...
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
The Spirit knows our heart. It is after we have given up our way for his way in our desperation, that he prays for us according to the will of God.
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
The gospel alone can redeem, justify and give us hope in whatever situation we find ourselves in.
It brings us into the family of God with free access to our new Heavenly Father.
The gospel alone can sustain us in our captivity in this body which is subject to so much sin. The gospel alone can give hope of final deliverance from this sin-wrecked life into the glories of our new Heavenly Home.
Only the gospel can see us through the trials and infirmities of this life.
July 31, 2011
#22, Romans 8:28-39
Now we come to one of the better known passages of Scripture,
5. Vv. 28-30. Here the gospel gives the assurance that all things shall work together for good, since all things are connected with the purpose of God. All events that can occur to a Christian come as part of the plan of the One who called the Christian to Himself.
V. 27, only the Spirit knows our heart. And after we have yielded our way for his way in our desperate situations, he prays for us according to the will of God.
V. 28, is no doubt one of the most encouraging passages in Scripture. But many times we fail to realize the context of v. 28. It follows the depth of despair of v. 27. In abandoning our way for His, we come to him in desperation and sincerity.
However, sincerity does not necessarily mean that our prayers are according to the will of God. So in our desperation, sincerity and knowing our love for God's will, the Spirit intercedes for us for the will of God. Our desires may not be what is needed to conform us to the image of his Son, so the Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God, and God works all things together for the good to those who love God and according to his purpose.
It is God who makes all things work together in our lives for good; that is, our ultimate good.
Good... All of our afflictions, trials, persecutions and calamities may seem endless and overwhelming, yet we are assured here that they are appointed for our welfare. They lead us to look to the Heavenly Father for support. The trials of this life preform a Christian work in us that no other events can preform.
As we are told in v. 24, they increase our hope in the future glory with him, and that hope sustains us in the trials and tribulations of this life.
Psalms 119:71 ¶ It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
V. 28 that love God... Difficulties prove our love of the Lord. Those who love the Lord will be made better by the difficulties. The sinner is further hardened by resisting the same difficulties. He refuses to submit to the obvious design of the circumstancesthat is, draw him to Christ, his only joy and peace.
We use this verse for comfort in difficulties, but the verse sais all things. Even physical prosperity may show us where we do not love the Lord.
Paul fully accepts human "free will," but behind it all he shows us God's sovereignty. This fact is totally beyond our finite understanding.
I am on the mailing list of a man who denies the term sovereignty of God, for the word is never used in Scripture. Sovereignty means supreme power and authority. The state claims sovereignty over the individual, and I have heard individuals say that they are sovereign individuals. Though the term is not used of God, the idea is on every page.
God is the absolute and final authority. He is the unseen cause behind everything that takes place in creation:
Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
V. 29, foreknew...
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Simply put: God's calling of his people, which took place in Christ before time began, has a purpose. The purpose of all things is to conform us to the image of Christ.
Acts 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Conformed. Circumstances, particularly distressing circumstances, change us from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
That he, Christ, might be...
Christ is the only First Born,
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
many brethren... See 7:16, 17. The many brethren are the multitude of believers as they become joint heirs with Christ.
The purpose of everything that happens in the lives of the believers is conform us into the image of the First Born, Christ.
V. 30, speaks in past tents. I do not at all understand this, nor can I make any such claim. All I can do is review what it says.
From the beginning, the Elect had the promise of justification and glorification with Christ. That is, in due time God promised to bring them to Christ, and ultimately to the glory shared by Christ with the Father. Included in this promise is sanctification; that is, conformed to the image of Christ.
Only the gospel gives the assurance because all things are connected with the purpose of God, they all shall work together for good. All events that can occur to a Christian come as part of the plan of the One who called the Christian to Himself.
Our last point in this chapter is,
6. Vv. 31ff. The gospel gives comfort in the fact that everything
that can affect the happiness of man is on the side of the Christian,
and will co-operate in his favour.