Let’s go through the whole chapter.
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Notice the condition involved. There is no condemnation for those who WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT. Are we still exempted from being condemned even if we would choose to live according to the flesh? No way. Then we would be in deep trouble.
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For 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: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The same condition once again. Thanks to Jesus sin offering we can be cleansed from our past sins, but the idea is to not get dirty once again. These verses don’t say that we are only free from the PUNISHMENT of the law while we continue to BREAK it. No, we are free from the law IF we live by the spirit. It’s the same thing as Paul says elsewhere:
Gal. 5: 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall NOT fulfil the lust of the flesh.17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But IF YE BE LED OF THE SPIRIT; YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.
5For 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. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But 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.
Paul is clear about that being carnally minded is DEATH. So to obey the flesh ( i e to sin) is to be ”carnally minded”.
10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But 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.12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13For 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.14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Paul says that we indeed have the power to overcome our fleshly desires and that is when we obey the spirit. IF we live after the flesh we shall die, but IF we live by the spirit we shall live. It’s one or the other and we can’t serve two masters. We are able to know WHO the ”sons of God” are and they are the ones who are led by the spirit of God. The spirit of God would never lead us into sin but AWAY from sin, so we know we are God’s children if we obey Jesus! As christians we must be careful since the devil walks about like a roaring lion, trying to tempt us and make us fall. Thankfully, God has promised us a way out. IF we fall, we must repent…
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17And 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.
We are in bondage as long as we live after the flesh and we have no reason to fear for the eternity ahead of us since we can KNOW that we are the children of God. IF we are his children (this could change from one day to another if we choose to live after the flesh) then we are also heirs of God, and we have something wonderful to look forward to. The children of God are promised a place in God’s kingdom. In fact, we are guaranteed a place in the kingdom, provided of course that we remain ”sons of God”. If we suffer with Jesus, carry our cross daily and endure to the end despite persecutions, then we will also be glorified with him.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
We live in a world which is in bondage of corruption and the whole creation groans. This is clearly not what God had intended when he created it. However, we shall be delivered!
23And 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.24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
As children of God, we can continue to live on the hope that we will get new glorified bodies, which we are indeed guaranteed if we endure to the end. We must remind ourselves that a few years in a painful and corrupted world is nothing compared to what is in store ahead of us. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more agony!
26Likewise 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.27And 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.
Our prayers have a great impact on things, and that’s why it’s so important to pray. We can change the outcome of the future. Paul tells us in his letters to the Corinthians that we should pray in two ways; 1) with our spirit and 2) with our minds. The first option means that we do NOT pray with our minds since we can’t understand what we are praying. That would be speaking in tongues.
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
The word ”HIS” is NOT in the Greek. And notice the condition again. Things work out well TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, which is the condition for a good outcome. If we love God we have reacted upon, and accepted Jesus sin offering for us. The Bible says, that if we love God we OBEY him, and that’s how we know we are the children of God. As children of God we are then CHOSEN, SPECIAL, PRECIOUS and ELECT. We can look forward to a wonderful inheritance which we are guaranteed (as long as the condition is met of course). In the parable in Matthew about the King who prepared a wedding feast for his son, we can read ”For many are called, but few are chosen”. The ones who were called ”chosen” were the ones who accepted to come (and also went) to the wedding feast and who made sure to dress up in wedding clothes. One fellow neglected to do this and was thrown out. WE must keep in mind to wear the wedding clothes because that is our responsibility. God will certainly not pick and choose who will enter his Kingdom, but he welcomes whosoever wills. And we know the conditions…
29 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.30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This is about a corporate election. Those who are predestined are those who will have persevered and God foreknows who those will be. We are justified when we are cleansed from our past sins, and after that our goal is to be conformed into the image of Jesus. We have assurance in the hope of salvation while on earth, as long as we abide in Jesus of course. Rom. 8:29 is referring to those WHO LOVE GOD, stated in vs 28. The promises are tied to THEM and no others. Also in 1 Peter 1:1 the elect are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge. Paul affirms that the body of Christ is foreknown, predestined and elect in the eternal plan of God and will persevere to final glorification. Individuals can take comfort in the promises, but only as they are identified as members of the Christian community. A person who is not part of this community has no claim to the promises. What is predestined is not who will be in or out, but what will happen to all who are in. They will eventually be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and glorified. God predestines the consequence of the choice to be in Christ or not, but he doesn’t predestine the choice itself.
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?32He 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?33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.34Who 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.
There are some who take the ”if God be for us, who can be against us” to mean that there are no worries as long as we have faith in God. While that is partly true, the conditions must still be met. If we make sure to belong to Christ, the enemy can’t harm our souls but only our bodies. If Jesus has cleansed us from our sins, and we have continued to kept us clean (and/or repented for any new sins we have committed) then there is no one who can charge us for any transgressions. We have been justified because Jesus had made us clean! However, Jesus is not automatically making intercessions for us. To be forgiven we must confess our sins and repent. Only THEN will Jesus make intercessions for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39Nor 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.
God will never cease to ”love the world” in such a way that he is hoping that as many people in the world as possible will turn to him and LIVE, but we also know there are conditions for God’s love and acceptance. If we love him and show it through our obedience, then nothing will separate us from his love.
Ps. 145:20 The LORD preserveth all them that LOVE HIM: but all the wicked will he destroy.
”that those whom God foreknew would become the kind to conform themselves to Christ by their sufferings, he even predestined them to be conformed and similar to his image and glory. Therefore there precedes a foreknowledge of them, through which is known what effort and virtue they will possess in themselves, and thus predestination follows, yet foreknowledge should not be considered the cause of predestination.”