1. In Romans 6 we reviewed the blessings that are “in Christ” and found that those who are “in Christ” are those who have gone through “a death like his” and “a resurrection like his” (6:3-14). Paul reminded them that this is the significance of baptism and that to have done this means a new way of life (lifestyle) that puts God and Jesus Christ as our masters and us as “slaves of righteousness” (6:17-18). In chapter 7, after describing the battle with sin that we all go through (“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” – 7:15), Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:24-25). Now the declaration is made that “There is no ______________________ for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1). Because we are “in Christ” (see Romans chapter 6 notes) a new law, “the law of the ____________ of _________” has set us free from “the law of _______ and ___________” (8:2 cf. 6:7). This is what “God has done” by “sending his _________ __________” (8:3) to assure that the “righteous ___________________ of the law might be fulfilled” ( 8:4). This is a description of “propitiation” (see 3:25; also II Corinthians 5:18-21 and Colossians 1:21-22).
2. The key is in the mindset! Your mind is either set on “the things of the ___________” or “the things of the ___________” (8:5). Look at the differences:
The things of the Spirit:
+ Life and peace (8:6)
+ In the Spirit (8:9)
+ The Spirit of God dwells in you (8:9)
+ The Spirit is life (8:10)
+ This is because of righteousness (8:10)
The things of the flesh:
– Death (8:6)
– Hostile to God (8:7)
– Does not (cannot) submit to God (8:7)
– Cannot please God (8:8)
The promise that comes with this is that God will give life to our __________ __________ through his Spirit dwelling within us (8:11). This is the direct opposite of the “wretched man” Paul talked about in Romans 7:24. Regarding the indwelling of deity, see I Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19-20. Regarding life to our bodies, see I Corinthians 15.
3. Another way of considering this is to recognize that we don’t owe the flesh anything, because all it will bring us is ___________ (8:12-13). However, if we allow the Spirit of God to lead us, we will be accepted as “sons of God” (8:15). This is because we received a “Spirit of adoption as sons” that allows us to call out to God using the terms, “_____________! ______________!” (8:15). The Holy Spirit himself is a witness with our spirit that we are “children of God” and heirs of God’s blessings by being “fellow heirs with _____________” (8:16-17). Remember that Christ said it was to our advantage for Him to leave and the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7-14). We receive the Spirit when we are baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38 and Romans 6:3-4). Paul says we should consider the Spirit as our down payment or the “guarantee” of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). All this is true in spite of the fact that we must “__________________ with him in order that we may be __________________ with him” (8:17).
4. Human beings are not the only things that have to deal with the effects of sin. The whole creation was subjected to “_______________” (Romans 8:20) and to “bondage and decay” (8:22). This took place because of the sin of our great grandfather Adam and extended to the whole creation (Genesis 3:17-19). The creation has been groaning from then to now (8:22) and is waiting to be set free just as we are (8:21). So the creation and we, ourselves, are waiting for the time to come when we will be saved and our earthly bodies redeemed (8:23). Although we have not seen it happen, we place our _____________ in this happening (8:24-25) and operate on the belief and hope that we will not be shamed (see 5:5).
5. Being caught up in these present circumstances can be difficult and leave us not even knowing what to pray for. However, we need not despair in weakness about this, because we have the ________________ dwelling within us (8:11) and “he ______________________ for us” (8:26). While the whole creation and we are groaning, the Spirit is groaning before God on our behalf “with groanings too deep for ____________” (8:26). And He (God) who “searches hearts,” that is knows our mindset (8:5), also knows the mind of the Spirit and allows the Spirit to intercede for us (8:27).
6. To summarize what has been said: We receive the Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38). The Spirit is our down payment on heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14) and will be the means of our resurrection from the dead (8:11). In the meantime, the Spirit helps us pray as we ought (8:26) and helps us in our weaknesses here on earth by interceding for us (8:27). What a mighty God we serve!
7. At this point we have one of the greatest assurances that we could ask for, the concept that “for those who love God, all things work together for ____________” (8:28). Someone might ask, “Wait a minute, I love God, but how can all the bad things that are going on in the world be for my good?” There are two separate concepts at work. The first is that we are a part of the creation that is in bondage to decay and futility (8:20-21). By being a part of this creation, we must understand that things that are not good for us will happen. Paul, himself, in II Corinthians 11:24-27 enumerates a whole list of not-so-good things that had happened to him. He was not under the false illusion that things on planet earth are always going to be rosy. Certainly he understood Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:45 when he said, “For he makes his sun rise on the ___________ and on the __________, and sends rain on the __________ and on the ______________.” He understood the writer of Ecclesiastes frustration when he stated, “It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3). Paul also came to the same conclusion as the writer of Ecclesiastes when he said, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). This brings the second concept into play, which is that when one looks beyond the present circumstances to the overall circumstances of life, including eternity, we have the assurance that things will work out for the good of those that love God (8:37-39). Looking at Paul’s conclusion, it is easy to see because he taught that those who love God will ultimately be “glorified” (8:30). To understand the passage one has to look at each of the key words in Romans 8:28-30:
a. “Called according to his PURPOSE” (8:28) – (see Acts 2:22-23; Ephesians 1:7-10; I Peter 1:18-20) God’s eternal purpose, the one he always had in mind, was to provide a way for human beings to be saved and reunited with him.
b. “Those whom he FOREKNEW” (8:29) – (see Acts 1:24; I Peter 1:1-2) God knows and searches the hearts of individuals (8:27). Consider as examples the conversions of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), Cornelius’ household (Acts 10 and 11) and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:25-34). God knew their hearts and made sure that an evangelist would come into contact with them to preach the gospel to them.
c. “He PREDESTINED” (8:29) them “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (see Ephesians 1:5 and 11 and I John 3:1). Notice that the predestination is to be conformed (i.e. made like) his son. This became possible when Jesus came into the world (John 1:12). Paul has told us that this is one of the benefits of being led by the Spirit (8:14-17). To be a “fellow heir with Christ” with all its promises, rights and privileges is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith (see Ephesians 3:6).
d. “He also CALLED” (8:30) – (see 1:6-7; I Corinthians 1:9; I Thessalonians 2:12; II Thessalonians 2:14; Hebrews 3:1 and 9:15; I Peter 2:9 and 5:10). The way that one is called is through the gospel (II Thessalonians 2:14 and Romans 10:14). That calling is to a life of holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7 and Philippians 3:14).
e. “He also JUSTIFIED” (8:30) – (see 3:24 and 28; also 5:1 and 9; I Corinthians 6:11 and Titus 3:4-7). The word “justified” may be defined as “acquitted” in a legal sense or “declared to be innocent or righteous.” Using a play on words, someone has suggested, “It’s just-as-if-I’d-never sinned.” When God justifies us it is just as if we had never sinned.
f. “He also GLORIFIED” (8:30) – (see I Corinthians 15:43 and 49; II Corinthians 3:18 and 4:16-18 and Revelation 2:10). To be glorified is to be saved in the final sense, when we get to heaven.
In summary: God’s eternal purpose was to provide a way for human beings to be saved and reunited with him. The ones who fit into this plan are the ones who love him. Knowing the thoughts of the hearts of individuals allows him to know which ones fit the love criteria. Because he knows that they love him, he predestined them to be just like his son, that is to be his children. So they could be like his son, he called them through the gospel. When they are called through the gospel, he justifies them and since they are justified, they are going to be saved, reunited with him in heaven. Therefore, God’s eternal purpose is accomplished. He has promised that those who love Him are the ones who will be glorified with him when he comes to claim his own! That is how God can make “all things work together for good.” While things on earth may not be good for us, we may suffer and be without just like Paul, but he will accomplish seeing that those who love him can be glorified.
8. God has never promised Christians wealth, power, an easy life or fewer problems than the nonchristian. Suffering for us and everyone else is a direct result of our great grandfather Adam and the changes that took place at the fall (see Genesis 3:13-19). There are three reasons why things happen. Sometimes, it is because God wants it to or causes it to happen. At other times, it is the direct result of Satan (Luke 13:16; II Corinthians 12:7 and I Peter 5:8). The third reason events happen is due to the nature of the world we live in (Luke 13:1-2 and 4). For example, even though you love him, God is not going to suspend the law of gravity because you fall out of an airplane. Therefore, bad things can and do happen to good people who love God. His promise to us, however, is that when we look at the totality, from here to eternity, all things will end up working for the good of those who love him because ultimately that person will be saved or glorified.
9. In the last section of this chapter (8:31-39) Paul contemplates the question that since God will ultimately glorify those who are his, who or what can stand against us? (8:31). In answer, He describes our “support staff” to help us reach glorification: God (8:31), Jesus Christ (8:34) and the Holy Spirit (8:26-27). He reasons that God gave his own Son for us! If he were willing to do that, wouldn’t he be willing to “give us all _______________?” (8:32). Also, who can successfully bring any charge against God’s elect? God is the one who _______________ (8:33) and Christ Jesus is ________________________ for us (8:34). If Christ loved us enough to die for us, “Who shall separate us from the __________ of Christ?” (8:35). Are bad things that happen to us here on earth going to make any difference? No, because it is written that while these things can and will happen to us (8:35-36), they cannot and will not alter the long-term plan of God for those who love him. When bad things happen, we must remember that, “in all these things we are _________ _________ ____________________ through him who loved us” (8:37). Think of all the things that could happen to you and realize that none of these “will be able to separate us from the love of God _____ _____________ ______________ our Lord” (8:38-39). When those not-so-good-things happened to Paul (II Corinthians 11:23-27), he could still remember the long-term picture, which is that he loved God and ultimately would be glorified. This is our promise also!
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