Half-way there. Only eight more chapters to go after this one.
Romans eight might be the most critical chapter in the whole Pauline corpus of the New Testament. It transitions the sad argument Paul has been making about the guilt of humanity and the need for grace that culminated in Romans 7 with “What a miserable person I am” and moves into the good news–that Jesus loves us, died for us, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us and intercedes between our spirit and God.
We are not slaves. We are not servants. We are not debtors. We are not animals. We are children of God, joint-heirs with Messiah into all that eternity is. It is impossible to read Romans 8 without smiling.
It is very difficult at times to know whether Paul is talking about the spirit as a human aspect or if he is referencing the Holy Spirit. A good example is verse 5. However, it is very clear to me me that in verses 26 and 27 almost every English translation has it completely wrong. I believe Paul is addressing two different spirits, God’s Spirit and the individual human’s spirit. The Spirit of God searches the heart (v. 27), which is the same thing as the spirit of human beings (v. 26) who do not know how to pray for themselves. Our spirit, as it were, then connects us to the Spirit of God at a gut level that helps us move beyond our thoughts into the love and abiding presence of the Lord. Note that this does not give credence to the old heresy that human beings are composed of three mostly independent individual parts—body, soul, and spirit. That is platonic nonsense. Instead, it is merely speaking about that emotional center of human beings, when we can’t or don’t even know what to say because the pain is so deep. It is in these places that the Lord comes to us—he searches for us. He comforts us with his abiding presence and nothing can separate us from that.
Verse 23 has two different ‘ourselves’ and two other reflexive words that could be translated ‘ourselves.’ I shrunk it down to one because it sounded loopy.
1. Now then, there is no condemnation to those in Messiah Jesus.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Jesus freed you from the law of sin and death.
3. The law was incapable due to the weakness of the flesh, so God sent his own son who looked like fleshly sin and was near sin; he condemned sin in the flesh.
4. So that the demand of the law might be fulfilled among us, not by walking in the flesh but by Spirit.
5. Those who live by the flesh think about fleshly things, but those by the Spirit, spiritual things.
6. The thoughts of the flesh are death, but thoughts of the Spirit are life and peace.
7. For the thoughts of the flesh are hostile to God, it does not subject itself to the law of God, nor is it able to.
8. Those in the flesh are not able to please God either.
9. You are not in the flesh, but in Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But whoever does not have the Spirit of Messiah, this person is not his.
10. If indeed Messiah is in you, even though the body is dead through sin, the Spirit is life through righteousness.
11. If the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one that raised Messiah from the dead, he will give life to you and your mortal body through the indwelling of his Spirit in you.
12. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not now debtors to the flesh that we must live according to the flesh.
13. For if you live according to the flesh you are destined to die, but if you put the deeds of the body to death then you will live in the Spirit.
14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God.
15. For you did not receive a spirit of servanthood to fear yet again, but you received a spirit of family, in which we can call out to the Father, “Daddy.”
16. The same Spirit testifies within our spirit that we are children of God.
17. But if we are children and heirs, heirs of God, then we are also joint heirs of Messiah. Just as we suffer together with him so too we will be glorified together with him.
18. For I consider the suffering of right now incomparable to the glory which will be revealed in us.
19. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God.
20. Creation was not willingly subjected to emptiness, but the one who subjected it did so in hope
21. that creation itself will be liberated from bondage to decay into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22. For we know that up until now creation groans together as if in travail.
23. And not only that, but we too, who are the first-fruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves awaiting adoption—the redemption of our body
24. in hope that we will be saved—but if it is seen it is not hope, for who can see what he hopes for?
25. But if we do not see what we hope for, we wait with patience.
26. Likewise the Spirit helps us with our weakness, for we do not now what we should pray, but our spirit itself intercedes with wordless groanings.
27. The one searching out the heart knows the thoughts of our spirit because he intercedes for the saints according to God.
28. But we know that for those loving God it all works into good for those being called in accordance with his purpose,
29. because he knew before and predestined those to share in the image of his son, for him to be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
30. Now those he knew before he called, those he called he made righteous, and those he made righteous he glorified.
31. What then can we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32. How will he who spared not his own son but gave him over for us all not bless us all along with him?
33. Who will bring a charge against the chosen of God? God makes things right.
34. Who condemns? Messiah, who died and what’s more rose, is at the right hand of God and he intercedes for us.
35. What will separate you from the love of the Messiah: Distress, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or a sword?
36. Just as it is written, that “For your sake we are executed all day long, regarded as sheep to slaughter.”
37. But in all these things we gloriously triumph through the one that loves us.
38. For I am convinced that neither death, life, angels, rulers, things present, things future, powers,
39. height, depth, or any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Messiah Jesus our Lord.
Want to read my renderings of the first seven chapters in Romans?