The Flesh and the Spirit.* 1Hence, now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death.a 3For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,b 4so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.c 5For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. 6The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.d 7For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it;e 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.f 9But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.g 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.h 11If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you. 12Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.i
Children of God through Adoption.* 14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.j 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba,* Father!”k 16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,l 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.m
Destiny of Glory.* 18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.n 19For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; 20for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,o in hope 21that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.p 22We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;q 23and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.r 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees?s 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.
26In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. 27And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.t
God’s Indomitable Love in Christ. 28* We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.u 29* For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.v 30And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.w
31* What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?x 32He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?y 33Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us.z 34Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.a 35What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 36As it is written:b
“For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.c 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things,* nor future things, nor powers,d 39nor height, nor depth,* nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
* [8:1–13] After his warning in Rom 7 against the wrong route to fulfillment of the objective of holiness expressed in Rom 6:22, Paul points his addressees to the correct way. Through the redemptive work of Christ, Christians have been liberated from the terrible forces of sin and death. Holiness was impossible so long as the flesh (or our “old self”), that is, self-interested hostility toward God (Rom 8:7), frustrated the divine objectives expressed in the law. What is worse, sin used the law to break forth into all manner of lawlessness (Rom 8:8). All this is now changed. At the cross God broke the power of sin and pronounced sentence on it (Rom 8:3). Christians still retain the flesh, but it is alien to their new being, which is life in the spirit, namely the new self, governed by the holy Spirit. Under the direction of the holy Spirit Christians are able to fulfill the divine will that formerly found expression in the law (Rom 8:4). The same Spirit who enlivens Christians for holiness will also resurrect their bodies at the last day (Rom 8:11). Christian life is therefore the experience of a constant challenge to put to death the evil deeds of the body through life of the spirit (Rom 8:13).
* [8:14–17] Christians, by reason of the Spirit’s presence within them, enjoy not only new life but also a new relationship to God, that of adopted children and heirs through Christ, whose sufferings and glory they share.
* [8:15] Abba: see note on Mk 14:36.
* [8:18–27] The glory that believers are destined to share with Christ far exceeds the sufferings of the present life. Paul considers the destiny of the created world to be linked with the future that belongs to the believers. As it shares in the penalty of corruption brought about by sin, so also will it share in the benefits of redemption and future glory that comprise the ultimate liberation of God’s people (Rom 8:19–22). After patient endurance in steadfast expectation, the full harvest of the Spirit’s presence will be realized. On earth believers enjoy the firstfruits, i.e., the Spirit, as a guarantee of the total liberation of their bodies from the influence of the rebellious old self (Rom 8:23).
* [8:28–30] These verses outline the Christian vocation as it was designed by God: to be conformed to the image of his Son, who is to be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8:29). God’s redemptive action on behalf of the believers has been in process before the beginning of the world. Those whom God chooses are those he foreknew (Rom 8:29) or elected. Those who are called (Rom 8:30) are predestined or predetermined. These expressions do not mean that God is arbitrary. Rather, Paul uses them to emphasize the thought and care that God has taken for the Christian’s salvation.
* [8:28] We know that all things work for good for those who love God: a few ancient authorities have God as the subject of the verb, and some translators render: “We know that God makes everything work for good for those who love God….”
* [8:29] Image: while man and woman were originally created in God’s image (Gn 1:26–27), it is through baptism into Christ, the image of God (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), that we are renewed according to the image of the Creator (Col 3:10).
* [8:31–39] The all-conquering power of God’s love has overcome every obstacle to Christians’ salvation and every threat to separate them from God. That power manifested itself fully when God’s own Son was delivered up to death for their salvation. Through him Christians can overcome all their afflictions and trials.
* [8:38] Present things and future things may refer to astrological data. Paul appears to be saying that the gospel liberates believers from dependence on astrologers.
* [8:39] Height, depth may refer to positions in the zodiac, positions of heavenly bodies relative to the horizon. In astrological documents the term for “height” means “exaltation” or the position of greatest influence exerted by a planet. Since hostile spirits were associated with the planets and stars, Paul includes powers (Rom 8:38) in his list of malevolent forces.
a. [8:2] 7:23–24; 2 Cor 3:17.
b. [8:3] Acts 13:38; 15:10 / Jn 3:16–17; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13; 4:4; Phil 2:7; Col 1:22; Heb 2:17; 4:15; 1 Jn 4:9.
d. [8:6] 6:21; 7:5; 8:13; Gal 6:8.
g. [8:9] 1 Cor 3:16.
i. [8:13] Gal 5:24; 6:8; Eph 4:22–24.
k. [8:15] Mk 14:36; Gal 4:5–6; 2 Tm 1:7.
l. [8:16] Jn 1:12; Gal 3:26–29.
m. [8:17] Gal 4:7; 1 Pt 4:13; 5:1.
n. [8:18] 2 Cor 4:17.
p. [8:21] 2 Pt 3:12–13; Rev 21:1.
r. [8:23] 2 Cor 1:22; Gal 5:5.
s. [8:24] 2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1.
t. [8:27] Ps 139:1; 1 Cor 4:5.
u. [8:28–29] Eph 1:4–14; 3:11.
w. [8:30] Is 45:25; 2 Thes 2:13–14.
a. [8:34] Ps 110:1; Heb 7:25; 1 Jn 2:1.
b. [8:36] Ps 44:23; 1 Cor 4:9; 15:30; 2 Cor 4:11; 2 Tm 3:12.
d. [8:38–39] 1 Cor 3:22; Eph 1:21; 1 Pt 3:22.