There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Chapter 8 is the center point of the letter, not only in its literal placement, but also with regard to the lessons Paul seeks to convey to his audience. With this chapter, Paul now concludes his midrash on Torah (begun at 6:1). Beginning around verse 28, and continuing through the following chapters 9-11, the discussion turns back to Israel. Paul discusses Israel's continued election, their stumbling, and the gentiles' relationship to Israel and the faith of Israel. Following this (in chapters 12-15), Paul will deal with correcting specific behavioral problems in the Roman congregation.
To recap the Romans letter thus far:
In chapters 1-4, Paul iterated a number of "general" teachings, mostly for the benefit of his gentile audience, including;
Having laid this foundation, in chapters 5-8 (concluding with this chapter), Paul focused more specifically on characterizing the life of a believer in Yeshua the Messiah.
He described it in these four ways:
The term "spirit" is used 21 times in chapter 8. This is more than any chapter in the entire New Testament. It usually (but not always) refers to the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) of God. Paul continues on the theme of putting the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) to death. He compares the Yetzer Hara to "walking in the flesh," and the "good inclination" (Yetzer Tov), to "walking in the spirit." He identifies a "son" as one who serves God from love (via the positive commandments) and not from fear (condemnation of the negative commandments).
As noted earlier, the terms Paul is using for new believers from the last chapter forward, he also uses for Jewish non-believers, whom he also considers "his brethren."
Note the following comparative terms used by Paul as we go forward:
In these opening verse of chapter 8, Paul again explains why believers are no longer under the Torah's condemnation once more showing that the issue is not "no longer following Torah," but only the aspects of it outlined in earlier.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation
"Therefore ..." is very much a summary of all of chapters 1-7, as Paul concludes his discussion on the behavior of those who have come to trust in God through His Messiah. There is no condemnation (from the judgment aspect of Torah) for those who have been "baptized" into Yeshuas death and resurrection and trust in God for their salvation.
Just as the annual Yom Kippur sacrifice had to be "accepted in faith" by the individual Jew, in order for his sins to be forgiven, the same applies to accepting God's salvation through His sacrificed Messiah - the perfect and final Yom Kippur sacrifice.
"No condemnation " (katakrima = judgment), means having the freedom to serve God while still living in the flesh. The person baptized into Yeshuas death & resurrection has been "freed" from serving his Yetzer Hara by Gods gift of righteousness (justification) in Yeshua (chap. 6). The believer is still confronted with this evil inclination (i.e., chapter 7), but is no longer under Gods condemnation, due to the sacrifice of Yeshua.
2 law of the Spirit ... law of sin and death
As discussed, the Torah both condemns (brings death) and leads men to God (brings life).
Compare to Hebrews 4:12:
Paul already explained that God's Torah is a Torah of spirit (which is the same as the "Torah of Messiah" - Galatians 6:2) and that there is also a "false torah" of sin & death - (re: Romans 7:21-23).
God's Torah given through Moses (properly understood and applied) is NOT equated to the "law of sin and death." The Torah of the spirit, IS the Torah given through Moses, that points to Messiah, Who in turn points us to Torah (Matthew 5:17-21). Yeshua is both the giver of Torah and the embodiment of the Torah (i.e., the "Word" made "flesh" - John, chapter 1).
God does not change. Moses (as directed by God), also taught "salvation by faith," i.e., being "born again." Deuteronomy 30, is a chapter that shows the connectivity of the Torah to Yeshua. Comments follow selected verses from this important chapter:
God says that the Torah He has given, is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing to those who follow it in faith (i.e., Hebrews 4:2), and a curse to those who do not.
"Circumcision of the heart" is equivalent to "being born again" (i.e., Colossians 2:11). Although Deuteronomy 30:6 is being spoken of in a "future" sense, the command to circumcise the heart had already been given in Deuteronomy 10:16, and the instructions are presented in the present tense as well (see verses 11-14 below).
The prior mention of this command is why Yeshua reprimanded Nicodemus in John, chapter 3. Nicodemus should have known this, as a "teacher of Israel." God says He wants us to love Him with all our heart and soul. What this means He explains in verse 30:16 (below), as well as in the verses surrounding the Shema (re: Deuteronomy, chapter 6 - see previous chapter notes).
For those who say that no one could ever "follow the Law" and that we had to "wait until the Messiah," this verse (and others) creates a problem. God says that it is NOT too hard to follow His Torah. He also held them accountable and punished them when they failed. If it was never possible to follow Torah (as many today teach), and God still demanded obedience (as the Bible clearly shows), then this would make God the supreme sadist.
As mentioned in the previous chapter notes, King David himself claimed that he "followed God's Torah" without fault -- even though he was guilty of some grievous sins. This is because God has always demanded faith first, which is always accompanied by a love and desire to learn and follow His Torah (i.e., Hebrews 11).
The "New Testament" also speaks of those who "kept the Torah to God's satisfaction," prior to Yeshua's death:
As we will see, Paul makes use of Deuteronomy 30:11-14, applying it to Yeshua, later in the Romans letter.
Once again, God makes clear the "duality" of the Torah.
Much importance is given to "loving God" in Christianity, yet there is no standard as to WHAT love is (i.e., Is our definition of "loving God" the same as God's definition? Where is God's definition found at the time of Yeshua and Paul?)
Christianity does not say HOW we are to love God. When deciding the presently popular question, "What would Jesus do?" the individual is not pointed to God's Torah (or to a Torah-based interpretation of the "New Testament") but left to decide by way of a combination of a particular's of a specific denominational theology, and their own "feelings."
Here in Deuteronomy (as well as in the "New Testament, i.e., 1 John 2:3), God explains what he means by "loving Him" -- obedience (in faith) to His Torah. This is the standard He gave us.
One of the interesting lessons in Hebrew study of the Torah, is that God gave commandments in the first four books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers) without giving too much detail as to "why" He gave them. He deals with the "why" in the last book (Deuteronomy).
It is taught that the reason He did this, is that we cannot "love" a God that we know nothing about. Therefore, He reveals Himself through the commands and ordinances of the Torah. He first showed His people HOW to know and love Him.
For a third time (above) God speaks of the Torah in dualistic terms. This time He says that we should (and therefore can) choose to obey. In this case, two "witnesses" are called before Him and Israel - those being heaven and earth. As we will see in our Revelation study, these same two witnesses will pronounce judgment on Israel and the world prior to the return of Messiah Yeshua.
Paul's message is that what is important to God is not whether you are a Jew (brought up with the Torah), or a gentile (raised apart from Torah), but if you follow His Torah in faith.
As Paul made clear in his letter to the congregation at Corinth. Once again, when Paul (or Yeshua, John, James, etc.), spoke of God's commandments, they meant but one thing -- the Torah:
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh
As stated earlier, the instruction of the Torah by itself, lacks power to change people's lives. It points out sin but does not free man from it. This is not the fault of the Torah, hence Pauls clause, "because it was weak through the flesh" (re: 3:9; 7:25).
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
Yeshua was subject to the same weaknesses and limitations as man in order to be able to redeem him (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15). Just as the scapegoat at Yom Kippur represented both the sin and the sin offering, Yeshua was sent by God "in the likeness of sinful flesh," and as the final, permanent Yom Kippur offering for the atonement of those sins.
The just requirement of Torah (sin punished by death) is not only fulfilled in Yeshua, but also in those who are united and have "died" with Him (re: 6:3-6). The life that results from one's pursuit of love in the spirit is portrayed as the fulfilling of Torah (re: 8:12-16, 13:8-10).
The term "might be fulfilled," does not mean we can follow the Torah perfectly without ever sinning (as was shown in chapter 7, and in the example of King David). Rather, it means that we have placed our trust in God through His Messiah, and are turned in the direction of obeying His Torah, striving to advance toward perfection. As Yeshua is the embodiment of the Torah, to "obey Yeshua" is to obey the Torah, and vice-versa. Yeshua instructed us; "Be ye holy (sanctified), as your Father in heaven is holy," - teaching along the same lines as Paul in Romans.
Paul enters the concluding portion of his midrash on Torah (begun at 6:1), by showing that:
("Subject" = hupotasso [Strong's 5293], meaning "to be under obedience," or "to submit oneself unto.")
Conversely, this teaches that;
Recall God's comments in Deuteronomy (above) about "loving Him" meaning to obey His Torah.
Also, a comparison can be made between;
(Interestingly, we are seeing another type of hostility involving Torah today -- a hostility emerging between followers of Yeshua and His Torah and those who follow an anti-Torah "Jesus." See "Signs of the Times - Growing Christian anti-Torah Hostility" in the YashaNet Opinions section.)
Yeshua is the reconciliation that solves the dilemma for the individual as well as between Jew and gentile. The Torahs requirement is fulfilled by Yeshua (the Lord our righteousness - Jeremiah 23:6, Romans 3:21) who took upon himself the curse (of violating the Torahs commandments - Galatians 3:13-14). In their faithfulness, and within the Torah-based faith of Israel, Jews and gentiles are "built together into a dwelling of God in the spirit" (Ephesians 2:22).
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
How are we to know what the things of the flesh are, and what the things of the Spirit are? At the time this letter was written, there was one source to know the will of God for our lives - the Tenakh (made up of Torah, Prophets, Writings). This remains true today. The writings of the "New Testament," though "divinely inspired," do not contradict what God established with His Torah (Matthew 5:17-21; Romans 3:31, etc.).
6 For to be carnally minded is death;
Why is this so? Paul answers in the next verse.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God
This is probably one of the least "preached on" verses in the "New Testament," as its clear message is that anyone claiming to follow Yeshua in truth, is to submit himself to learning and obeying God's Torah.
As discussed, we are not subject to the "curse" of the Torah (its condemnation), but as "sons of God," we are called to learn and obey the Father's instruction (His Torah). Note that this was the decree for gentiles as found in Acts 15. They were given several basic essential Torah commands to allow for fellowship with Jews who followed Yeshua, with the intent that they would learn more when attending the synagogues where Moses (Torah) was preached (Acts 15:21).
(Also see Not Subject to the Law of God? in the YashaNet library.)
9 Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ
The "Spirit of Messiah" is equivalent to the "Torah of Messiah." The two are inseparable. Therefore if someone claims to know and love God, but willfully disregards His Torah, he faces judgment.
John is in agreement with Paul:
When John spoke of "His commandments" the only thing he could have meant is God's Torah. As John says, the same Torah that Yeshua "walked," we too are to walk.
10 And if Christ be in youThe "Messiah in us" is a very mystical concept and will be dealt with in greater detail in our Revelation study. For now it can be said that the gift of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) parallels the dwelling of Gods spirit in the Tabernacle (Exodus 33:14) and the Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11; Isaiah 6). There is a similarity between the Ruach haKodesh and the Shekinah - the physical presence of God on earth.
Paul links God's presence in the Temple to Yeshua (Colossians 1:19; 2:9) and also to believers who become the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18).11 ... shall also quicken your mortal bodies
Though we will physically die due to sin, the presence of the Ruach haKodesh (which is due to our justification) guarantees us that we will be resurrected (re: 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:20,23; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:14). Yeshua has been anointed by God (Mashiach), who has put His Spirit on Him in order that He might bring deliverance, life and healing to His people (Isaiah 11:2, 49:8, 61:2).
Verses 12-16Verses 12-16 explain a conclusion drawn from 1-11. Faith is "proactive" and involves obligation (works) on our part. (James 2:17-26). As believers, we are to continually and actively (through the power of the Holy Spirit) "put to death" our Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) and not let it rule us (re: 6:12,13,19; 7:5,23.) Yeshua Himself said we had to be prepared to "take up our cross every day" (Luke 9:23).
13 if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body
Paul says that "through the Spirit" WE do this, thus implying a dual role of the work of the Spirit and the work of the believer himself. This is a continual work. However the Spirit is not something that the believer simply wields himself, as Paul cautions against in verse 14.
13 ye shall live
To "live" means to be adopted as a son of God and to live eternally (i.e., "to be saved" - re: verse 17 - see also discussion on Galatians 2, from the Romans chapter 7 lesson). If we are truly trusting in God, we have this salvation in the present, but its full realization/benefit comes later. We live as sons and not slaves, serving God out of love (the positive commandments without condemnation) and not fear (the negative commandments, with condemnation) Compare this to Psalm 27, where David conquers his fear by knowing the Lord will adopt him.
14 as many as are led by the Spirit of God
However, as adopted sons, we are to be "led by the Spirit," which means to be led by God's Torah, not creating our own concept of a "spirit" who has us following some vague notion of "love," "grace" or "liberty," that is not based on God's revelation to mankind as found in the Torah. (See verses 8 and 9 above.)
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness
The function of a witness is to confirm the truth of an act. As we will see, the Spirit also confirms God's faithfulness to Israel. (This is further developed through verses 27-39 and more so in chapters 9-11.)
17 And if children, then heirs ... so be that we suffer with him
This is a transition verse, bringing us to the subject of the hope of the one trusting in Yeshua. (From children to "heirs.") We are both of these things in the present, but will also be both, to another degree, in the future. Hope is the subject in verses 18,19, 21,23, 28-30 as well.
Paul is restating a theme of chapter 6 - "baptism" and burial into Yeshuas death (suffering). Yeshua Himself said that He would suffer (Luke 9:22).
Paul had used Abraham as a model for inheritance in chapter 4, because he, like Messiah:
Paul also used Abraham in a similar example in Galatians 3:16. See also Hebrews 1:2 for Yeshuas inheritance, and Daniel 7:18 for the inheritance of His saints.
In these verses, Paul is speaking of a specific eschatological event, related to the coming of Messiah and establishment of the Kingdom. He speaks of creation as waiting for this event since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Paul is also beginning to transition his letter into the next phase, dealing with the current and future role of Israel - both those who do and do not yet accept Yeshua.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
God's elect must suffer and groan along with, even on behalf of - unredeemed creation. Paul shows that these "sufferings" are both on the part of the individual believer, as well as on a greater scale (verses 19-22).
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature
The phrase "earnest expectation," is rare in Greek and traces itself back to the Hebrew root "taarog," used only in Psalm 21, (My soul pants for thee, O God), and in Joel 1:20, relating to the coming day of the Lord. (See also 1 Corinthians 1:7, Hebrews 9:28.)
Paul is setting up his argument in the next section (chapters 9-11) of the letter where he will discuss how Israel's success will bring about the "revealing of the sons of God," for which creation is longing. This will bring in riches beyond measure. Paul will show that Israel has not fallen - she is divided.
20 For the creature was
made subject to vanity ...
The term "vanity" has to do with an ineffectiveness that does not achieve its goal (i.e., "in vain"). Paul is referring back to Genesis 3:17-19. Creation has not been able to fulfill the purpose of its existence due to mans failure to do his part (because of sin). Creation is in subjection because of God who subjected it on account of mans fall. But it has hope (within the hope for man compare Romans 16:20 to Genesis 3:15). Nature is subject to man, as man is to his Yetzer Hara, since he exchanged Gods truth for his own image (re: 1:21).
Paul supports the Jewish view of Messianic kingdom, which is compared to "a return to Eden." His use of, "for we know " (verse 22), indicates he believes his audience to be aware of teachings of this tradition. The coming glory of believers comes along with the "restoration of Eden."
23 And not only they, but
ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit
Paul presents a Kal Vchomer argument. If creation groans, "how much more then" should we, who have the the firstfruits of the Spirit, "groan" even more? In this case, the firstfruits are a gift from God to us a portion of a fuller gift that is to come. Compare this to 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, where Paul links mans groaning to hope for physical redemption.
"First fruits" were the produce offered at the feast of Shavuot ("Pentecost"). In Judaism, Shavuot is associated with the giving of the Torah on Sinai, which in turn has a mystical relationship with the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
There is a Midrashic tradition that God's word proceeded as Tongues of fire (i.e., Acts 2):
This is also found in the Talmud:
The tradition continues today. An amazing image of tongues of fire upon the heads of certain beings, may be seen in the painting, A Light to Jerusalem, by Baruch Nachshon. This image appears in the 5760 Jewish Art Calendar provided by the Orthodox Lubavitch. It is placed on the page with the months of Elul-Tishrei, when the fall feasts of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot occur.
Also see our section on Shavuot in our Revelation study. (Use your BACK button to return here.)
Paul's mention of "waiting for our adoption" refers back to v.19. We are already adopted sons of God (v. 14,16) but this is not manifest until resurrection.
24 Who hopes for what he already has?
Again, we are considered "saved" when we come to trust God, but our "full salvation" still lies in the future. We can choose to walk away from this salvation as well.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
Paul teaches that creation groans, the believer groans, and the Spirit groans. We may not know what to pray for because the continuing sinfulness of believers also has a negative effect on their prayer life (re: 7:14-25). The Spirits groanings need not be heard by man, as God knows (hears) the intentions of the Spirit.
God's Spirit, and His Torah, search out man's intentions:
In the same way Yeshua "lives in us" (through the Spirit/Shekinah living in us), so too does Messiah help us in the same fashion as the Spirit:
28 all things work together for good to them that love God
Note Paul lists several "bad" things in verse 35. Verses 28-30 underline the certainty of the hope mentioned in verses 17-27. This hope rests on the eternal purpose of God.
As Paul will show, beginning in chapter 9, this "good toward which all things work," is first true with regards to His promises to Israel, a subject Paul left off in 3:3 but now returns to here and through chapters 9-11. (As mentioned, the "chapter breaks" were not part of Paul's original letter and often do not help with the flow of the text.)29 For whom he did foreknow ... to be conformed to the image of his Son
The concepts of, "foreknew, predestined, called and justified," all have to do with "election," therefore they are concerned with Israel first and foremost. These things apply to gentile believers in Yeshua, BECAUSE they are first true of Israel. God formed Israel in the womb (Isaiah 43:1; 44:2,24), He called them by name (Isaiah 43:1,7; 45:4), He proclaimed to them the year of His good will (Isaiah 61:2), and He created them for His glory and glorified them (Isaiah 43:7; 44:23; 46:13)1.
"To be conformed to the image of His son," relates to mans creation in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Yeshua Himself is the "image of the invisible God" (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). This is a highly mystical concept in Judaism (virtually unknown to Christianity) as is developed in detail in our Revealtion study.
This last subsection is a conclusion of the epistle up to this point. It includes several rhetorical questions.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us ...
Pauls mention of, "these things," refers not only to the previous verses, but to chapters 1-8 as a whole.
The phrase, "If God is for us," is a summary of the Gospel message. It also applies firstly to Israel, as Paul goes on to prove in chapters 9-11.
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all
God "intervened" to resurrect Yeshua, to vindicate Him, as he intervened to save Isaac (Genesis 22:12), and will also save all Israel - as Paul will show next.
34 who is even at the right hand of God
Note that Yeshua is said to be seated, indicating a finished work, as the Priest did not sit in the Holy of Holies except at Yom Kippur.
He is acting as our intercessor/advocate:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
As Paul will show in the following chapters, even Israel's temporary rejection of Messiah cannot break God's covenant with His people.
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Paul quotes Psalm 44:22-23, showing Israel's suffering (and that of the gentile coming into the faith of Israel), is "nothing new." Such tribulation is actually a sign of their continued election. This theme will be important in the lesson Paul brings forward in the remainder of this letter. (See 9:27-29)
38 For I am persuaded ...
Yeshua has defeated all rebellious powers (Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 1:21,22; 1 Peter 3:22).
Compare Paul's words to Psalm 139, which speaks of the impossibility of getting beyond the reach of God.
1.A Commentary on the Jewish Roots of Romans, Joseph Shulam, Messianic Jewish Publishers, Baltimore, Maryland, 1997, p. 322, footnote 76.
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