Romans 8 (The Mirror Word)
1 Now the decisive conclusion is this: in Christ, every bit of condemning evidence against us is cancelled. (“Who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.” This sentence was not in the original text, but later copied from verse 4. The person who added this most probably felt that the fact of Paul’s declaration of mankind’s innocence had to be made subject again to man’s conduct. Religion under the law felt more comfortable with the condition of personal contribution rather than the conclusion of what faith reveals. The “in Christ” revelation is key to God’s dealing with man. It is the PIN-code of the Bible. [See 1 Cor 1:30 and Eph 1:4].)
2 The law of the Spirit is the liberating force of life in Christ. This leaves me with no further obligation to the law of sin and death. Spirit has superseded the sin enslaved senses as the principle law of our lives. (The law of the spirit is righteousness by faith vs the law of personal effort and self righteousness which produces condemnation and spiritual death which is the fruit of the DIY tree.)
3 The law failed to be anything more than an instruction manual; it had no power to deliver man from the strong influence of sin holding us hostage in our own bodies. God disguised himself in his son in this very domain where sin ruled man, the human body. The flesh body he lived and conquered in was no different to ours. Thus sin’s authority in the human body was condemned. (Hebrews 4:15, As High Priest he fully identifies with us in the context of our frail human life. Having subjected it to close scrutiny, he proved that the human frame was master over sin. His sympathy with us is not to be seen as excusing weaknesses that are the result of a faulty design, but rather as a trophy to humanity. He is not an example for us but of us.)
4 The righteousness promoted by the law is now realized in us. Our practical day-to-day life bears witness to spirit inspiration and not flesh domination.
5 Sin’s symptoms are sponsored by the senses, a mind dominated by the sensual. Thoughts betray source; spirit life attracts spirit thoughts.
6 Thinking patterns are formed by reference, either the sensual appetites of the flesh and spiritual death, or zoe-life and total tranquillity flowing from a mind addicted to spirit (faith) realities.
7 A mind focused on flesh (the sensual domain where sin held me captive) is distracted from God with no inclination to his life-laws. Flesh (self-righteousness) and spirit (faith righteousness) are opposing forces. (Flesh no longer defines you; faith does!)
8 It is impossible for those immersed in flesh to at the same time accommodate themselves to the opinion, desire and interest of God.
9 But you are not ruled by a flesh-consciousness, (law of works), but by a spirit-consciousness, (faith); God’s Spirit is at home in you. Anyone who does not see himself fully clothed and identified in the Spirit of Christ, cannot be himself. (If anyone does not embrace the Spirit of Christ, he is not himself. The word echo means to have in hand, to hold, in the sense of wearing like a garment, to possess in mind, to be closely joined to a person, and hauto from heauto, reflexive relation, himself, herself, themselves. In James 1:24, “for he goes away from what the mirror reveals, and immediately forgets what manner of man he is.” Also in Romans 1:23, “Losing sight of God, made them lose sight of who they really were. In their calculation the image and likeness of God became reduced to a corrupted and distorted pattern of themselves.” See also Luke 15:17, “The prodigal son came to himself … .” [same word used here, heauto].)
10 The revelation of Christ in you declares that your body is as good as dead to sin’s demands; sin cannot find any expression in a corpse. You co-died together with him. Yet your spirit is alive because of what righteousness reveals. (The word traditionally translated, “if” de ei, as in “if Christ is in you …” can either be a condition or a conclusion, which makes a vast difference. If God be for us” (v 31) is most certainly a conclusion of the revelation of the Gospel; all of God’s action in Christ confirms the fact that he is for us and not against us. Thus, because God is for us … ” in the same context this verse reveals that Christ is in us. See Galatians 1:16, “it pleased the Father to reveal his Son in me, in order that I might proclaim him in the nations.” See also Romans 10:6-8, “Righteousness by faith says … .”)
11 Our union with Christ further reveals that because the same Spirit that awakened the body of Jesus from the dead inhabits us, we equally participate in his resurrection. In the same act of authority whereby God raised Jesus from the dead, he co-restores your body to life by his indwelling Spirit. (Your body need never again be an excuse for an inferior expression of the Christ life, just as it was reckoned dead in Christ’s death, it is now reckoned alive in his resurrection.)
12 We owe flesh nothing.
13 In the light of all this, to now continue to live under the sinful influences of the senses is to reinstate the dominion of spiritual death. Instead, we are indebted to now exhibit the highest expression of life inspired by the Spirit. This life demonstrates zero tolerance to the habits and sinful patterns of the flesh.
14 The original life of the Father revealed in his son is the life the Spirit now conducts within us. (The word, agoo, means to conduct or to lead as a shepherd leads his sheep.)
15 Slavery is such a poor substitute for sonship! They are opposites; the one leads forcefully through fear while sonship responds fondly to Abba Father.
16 His Spirit resonates within our spirit to confirm the fact that we originate in God.
17 Because we are his offspring, we qualify to be heirs; God himself is our portion, we co-inherit with Christ. Since we were represented and included in his suffering we equally participate in the glory of his resurrection.
18 He has taken the sting out of our suffering; what seemed burdensome in this life becomes insignificant in comparison to the glory he reveals in us.
19 Our lives now represent the one event every creature anticipates with held breath, standing on tip-toe as it were to witness the unveiling of the sons of God. Can you hear the drum-roll?
20 Every creature suffered abuse through Adam’s fall; they were discarded like a squeezed-out orange. Creation did not volunteer to fall prey to the effect of the fall. Yet within this stark setting, hope prevails.
21 All creation knows that the glorious liberty of the sons of God sets the stage for their own release from decay.
22 We sense the universal agony and pain recorded in history until this very moment.
23 We ourselves feel the grief echo of their groaning within us while we are ready to embrace the original blueprint also of our physical stature to the full consequence of sonship. What we already now participate in as first fruits of the spirit will bloom into a full gathering of the harvest. (The glorified physical body [Mt 17]. Also the full realization of everything reconciled in Christ. In James 1:18, “It was his delightful resolve to give birth to us; we were conceived by the unveiled logic of God, the Word of truth.”) We lead the exhibition of his handiwork, like first fruits introducing the rest of the harvest he anticipates.)
24 For what we already experience of salvation confirms our hope and continues to fuel our expectation for what we still cannot see (in terms of realizing the full gathering of the harvest). In the final visible completeness of the harvest, hope has fulfilled its function.
25 In the meantime our expectation takes us beyond visual confirmation into a place of patient contentment.
26 The Spirit also sighs within us with words too deep for articulation, assisting us in our prayers when we struggle to know how to pray properly. When we feel restricted in our flesh, he supersedes our clumsy efforts and hits bulls-eye every time. (He continues to call things which seem nonexistent as though they were! [Rom 4:17]. He is never distracted, he only sees and celebrates perfection.)
27 He who scrutinizes the heart understands the intention of the spirit. His intercession for the saints is consistent with the blue-print purpose of God. (“I knew you even before I fashioned you in your mother’s womb” [Jer 1:5]. “Then you will know, even as you have always been known.” [1 Cor 13:12]. He knows us so much better than what we know ourselves. He intercedes for us, entungchano, means to hit the target with an arrow or javelin. He is not trying to persuade God about us, he persuades us about the Father! He brings our conversation back to the point; the success of the cross.)
28 Meanwhile we know that the love of God causes everything to mutually contribute to our advantage. His Master Plan is announced in our original identity. (Called according to his purpose, kaleo, meaning to surname, to identify by name.)
29 He pre-designed and engineered us from the start to be jointly fashioned in the same mold and image of his son according to the exact blueprint of his thought. We see the original and intended pattern of our lives preserved in his Son. He is the firstborn from the same womb that reveals our genesis. He confirms that we are the invention of God. (We were born anew when he was raised from the dead! [1 Peter 1:3] His resurrection co-reveals our common genesis as well as our redeemed innocence. [Rom 4:25 and Acts 17:31] No wonder then that he is not ashamed to call us his brethren! We share the same origin [Heb 2:11}, and, “In him we live and move and have our being, we are indeed his offspring!” [Acts 17:28].)
30 Jesus reveals that man pre-existed in God; he defines us. He justified us and also glorified us. He redeemed our innocence and restored the glory we lost in Adam. (As in Romans 3:23, 24; prooritso, pre-defined, like when an architect draws up a detailed plan; kaleo, to surname, identify by name.)
31 All these things point to one conclusion, God is for us! Who can prevail against us?
32 The gift of his son is the irrefutable evidence of God’s heart towards us. He held nothing in reserve; but freely and undeservedly gave everything we could ever wish to have; this is what our joint sonship is all about. (The word paradidomi, reflects the source of the gift, the very bosom of the Father. The word pheidomai, means to treat leniently or sparingly. To show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent, is the word charizomai. The word sun (pronounced soon) suggests complete union. Everything we lost in Adam is again restored to us in Christ. Sin left mankind with an enormous shortfall; grace restores mankind to excellence! [Rom 3:21-24, 1Cor 2:7])
33 God has identified us, who can disqualify us? No-one can point a finger; he has justified us. (He has placed us beyond the reach of blame and shame, guilt and gossip!)
34 What further ground can there possibly be to condemn man? In his death he faced our judgment; in his resurrection he declares our innocence; the implications cannot be undone! He now occupies the highest seat of authority as the executive of our redemption in the throne room of God. (See v 1, also Rom 4:25.)
35 What will it take to distance us from the love of Christ? You name any potential calamity: intense pressure of the worst possible kind, cluster-phobia, persecution, destitution, loneliness, extreme exposure, life-threatening danger, or war?
36 Let me quote scripture to remind you, “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Ps 44:22)
37 On the contrary, in the thick of these things our triumph remains beyond dispute. His love has placed us above the reach of any onslaught.
38 This is my conviction, no threat whether it be in death or life; be it angelic beings, demon powers or political principalities, nothing known to us at this time, or even in the unknown future;
39 no dimension of any calculation in time or space, nor any device yet to be invented, has what it takes to separate us from the love of God demonstrated in Christ. Jesus is our ultimate authority.