If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
The body… the spirit. The division between the body (dead) and the spirit (alive) in this verse lead to all sorts of theological gymnastics. Some say, “Your spirit is saved but your body is not saved.” Which makes it sound like you are both saved and unsaved. Yet Paul exhorts us to present our bodies as holy, living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). Is your body living? Then it is holy. Other say, “Your body is a temple of sin.” Yet Paul says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
You are not your body. Rather, your spirit inhabits your body or earthsuit. Our body is not inherently sinful, but it is the battleground where we encounter sin. Paul is saying that on account of sin, our bodies age and die. But you won’t die because you are one with the Lord.
Further reading: “Why do people still die?”
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Waiting eagerly. In his eschatological parables Jesus told stories of masters, noblemen, and bridegrooms being gone “a long time” (Matt. 24:48, 25:5, 25:19). Since Jesus has been gone a long time, he exhorts us to “be like servants waiting for their master” (Luke 12:36). The need to wait is echoed by the epistle writers. “Wait eagerly for our adoption as sons” (Rom 8:23); “We hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom 8:25); “We eagerly await a Savior” (Php. 3:20); “Be patient brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits…” (Jas. 5:7); “Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:21).
Jesus and every New Testament writer spoke of the need to wait patiently and eagerly for the Lord’s return. We are to be watchful and ready, but we are not to put life on hold. Plant trees and raise families, and do whatever God put you on this earth to do. Invest, build, dig deep and go long. Let your light shine so others may praise your Father in heaven.
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
We wait eagerly; see entry for Rom. 8:23.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
(a) What then shall we say to these things? In other words, what does this mean?
The good news makes a number of amazing claims: God sets us free from sin and death (Rom. 8 2), raises us from the dead (Rom. 8:11), adopts us as sons and makes us his heirs (Rom. 8:17) – but what does all this mean? What is the takeaway?
(b) God is for us. Paul unpacks the significance of the gospel with the greatest set of rhetorical questions ever asked. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Well, no one, obviously. This is not to say we won’t encounter opposition, but those who set themselves against God’s kids are picking a fight they cannot win.
The Message Bible puts it like this: “With God on our side like this, how can we lose?” When you know you can’t lose, you’ll have the confidence to take great risks. You’ll walk into the lion’s den with a holy swagger and face the furnace without fear. “God is with me. I will not be burned” (Is. 43:2).
Sons and daughters who are supercharged by their Father’s favor shine like stars (Php. 2:15). Elevated by his love they mount up with wings like eagles and they race against horses. They are living testimonies of the affirming power of divine acceptance.
Further reading: “Acceptance elevates us”
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Paul’s letter to the Romans could be called the Christmas Epistle, because it’s full of gifts. In this letter we learn that righteousness is a gift (Rom. 5:17), eternal life is a gift (Rom. 6:23, 8:11), and God’s favor is a gift (Rom. 5:16). Everything you will ever need your Father generously provides.
In this world we talk about work and wages but in the kingdom of God it’s all grace and gifts. In this world you have to work for everything, but in the kingdom Jesus has done the work and your part is to receive the reward.
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