Rebuttal of the nomist critique, 6:1-11:36

4. Freedom in the Spirit, 8:1-39

New life in the Spirit


In this, Paul's fourth rebuttal argument against the nomist critique, that grace, without law, promotes sin / libertarianism (the nomist hold that grace + law promotes holiness), Paul explains that for a believer, holiness / the perfection of Christ, is manifested in our life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit apart from the law, ie., we become what we are, not by law-obedience, but by grace through faith. Paul first reminds us that we are free from the condemnation of sin and the oppression of the law and then goes on to explain that we may now choose to live either a natural life impelled by the law controlled by sin, or a spiritual life impelled by the indwelling Spirit and thus alive under God.


i] Context: See 6:1-14.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: This passage, serving to argue for life in the Spirit apart from the law, presents in four parts:

A believer is free from the condemnation of sin and the oppression of the law, v1-4;

A believer must choose between service to the Law, or service to the Spirit, v5-11;

The Spirit enables us to put to death the deeds of the body, v12-13;

The Spirit will constantly remind / assure us that we are children of God, v14-17.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

Paul's argument in context: It was implied by Paul's law-bound opponents ("the weak", nomists) that his thesis, namely, that the righteous reign of God, out of faith, apart from the law, facilitates the fullness of new life in Christ, undermines the law's role in making holy for the full appropriation of God's promised blessings. Against their critique Paul has argued in chapter 6 that "dead to sin" = freedom to live for God, then in 7:1-6 that "dead to law" = freedom to live for God. In 7:7-25 Paul handles the implication that "the law is sin", that it destroys and enslaves. Not so! says Paul; it is sin that destroys and enslaves. So now, back on track, in chapter 8 Paul explains the mechanism by which a believer experiences the freedom to live for God, namely, the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Paul structures his argument in chapter 8 to explain that through the saving work of Christ, believers, though plagued with sin and the troubles of this world, no longer face condemnation, defeat or separation from God, rather, they are impelled to new life through the indwelling Spirit of Christ. He begins his argument in v1-4, by restating the truth that in Christ Jesus, through his death on our behalf, we are free from the condemnation of sin (ch. 6) and free from the oppression of the law (ch. 7 - "the law of sin and death"). As such, we are free to live for God. Therefore, in v5-11, Paul argues that the believer is faced with two alternatives in the Christian life, one natural, the other spiritual. We may strive to fulfill the law, be controlled by sin and find ourselves at enmity with God, unable to please him, or we may rest on the promise of renewal through the indwelling Spirit and find ourselves alive unto God, beginning to live out the righteousness we posses in Christ. In v12-17 Paul goes on to explain what it means to be led by the Spirit in the Christian life.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes for 8:1-11, and 12-17.

Text - 8:1

Life in the Spirit through God's saving work in Christ, v1-17: i] A believer is free from the condemnation of sin and the oppression of the law, v1-4. Paul, in the form of a "theological pronouncement", Longenecker, makes the point that believers, through their identification with Christ (though they are still sinful in themselves), are now liberated from the condemnation of the law which served to expose and accentuate sin, v1. The agent of this liberation is Jesus, v2.

ara nun "therefore there is now" - [there is] now therefore. The nun is not so much temporal, but rather serves to make the inferential ara emphatic. Paul now draws a conclusion from what he has already said in chapter 7. The obvious link being to the question "who will rescue me from this body of death?", 7:24, but Barrett suggests that Paul, having digressed in 7:7-25 on the question, "is the law sin", returns to the argument which was cut short at 7:6.

ouden "no" - A strong negation.

katakrima (a) "condemnation" - condemnation, judgement. Most commentators argue that with God, condemnation most likely includes punishment, the carrying out of the sentence, "thus there is no doom now for those who are in Christ Jesus", Moffatt; "punishment", CEV. The word's other use in 5:16 supports this view. Dunn opts for deliverance from eschatological judgment, along with Moo and Morris who suggest "deliverance from the penalty that sin exacts." Bruce opts for "penal servitude" in the sense that a believer has been "pardoned and liberated from the prison-house of sin" and therefore has no need to go on serving the penalty. So, possibly here, freed from oppressive condemnation of sin accentuated by the law. None-the-less, the idea of condemnation, as distinct from punishment, deserves consideration, particularly in regard the function of the law to expose and accentuate human sinfulness. This was the subject of the previous passage and so it is more than likely that Paul is simply saying, "so then, the condemning function of the law (exposing and accentuating sin) no longer applies to those who believe in Christ." Cranfield argues this case, suggesting that the condemnation of the law is harking back to 7:1-6, expanding on 6:14b. He understands "not under law" to mean, not under the condemnation of the law. He believes 8:1 is a restatement of this truth.

toiV dat. art. "for those" - to the ones. Dative of interest, advantage, as NIV.

en + dat. "in [Christ Jesus]" - Expressing space/sphere, here of incorporative union, "in union with", or association, "with", as a development of the OT idea of God dwelling in the midst of his people, of encamping with. There is also the possibility that this preposition is acting in much the same way as eiV, "toward", as in the sense of "believing in / toward Jesus Christ."


The agent of this liberation is Jesus. In our union with Christ we are set free from the condemnation of the law. The law served to expose and enhance sin, but now, through the indwelling-compelling Spirit of Christ, the law serves to give life, ie. guide righteous living (enliven us).

gar "because" - for. Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why there is no condemnation for believers.

en Cristw/ "through Christ [Jesus]" - [the law of the S/spirit of life] in Christ [Jesus]. An instrumental sense is possible, as NIV, but local, space/sphere, is better, as above. Probably best linked to the verb "freed" and expressing identification with Christ, "union with Christ Jesus has set me/you free."

oJ ... nomoV (oV) "the law" - Note the different possible meanings of "law" in our passage for study: i] Law in a general sense. "the will of God as a rule of duty, no matter how revealed", Hodge; ii] A rule or governing principle; iii] Anything which exercises power and authority over us; iv] The Mosaic Law, God's Law, the Commandments, the Torah; v] The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Meanings [ii] and [iii] are the most popular, eg. C.F.D. Moule writes, "it is the Divine Rule of justification (which alone, as the whole previous reasoning shows, removes 'all condemnation,') and is thus, 'a law' in the sense of 'fixed process.'" New perspective commentators lean toward the idea that Paul is comparing "new covenant law", the law written on the heart by the Spirit, with "old covenant law", "the law of Moses", written on tablets of stone. Options [i] and /or [iv] seem best.

tou pneumatoV "of the Spirit" - of the spirit. The genitive is adjectival, possibly possessive, but more likely of definition / epexegetic, limiting by specifying "law". Although a matter of debate, it seems more likely that Paul has a singular meaning for the word "law", probably "the law of God", and that the genitives "of the Spirit", and "of sin", as with "of my mind", 7:23, serve to qualify the noun "law", describing the different ways we experience the law. "Spirit" here is most likely "the Holy Spirit", rather than "the godward inner self." So, under this interpretation the sense would be: "the law, under the ministration of the Spirit, gives life", ie. the guiding principles of God's law produce right-living ("life") under the ministration of the Spirit's compelling.

zwhV (h) gen. "of life / who gives life" - of life. The genitive is probably adjectival, descriptive / attributive, limiting "Spirit"; he is a "life-giving Spirit", or possibly idiomatic / of producer. Other possibilities are proposed: "life" may be a consequence of being in Christ, or even that "life" describes the function of law, namely, "unto life." "Life", probably as in "eternal life", although possibly in an ethical sense, "enlivening."

hleuqerwsen (eleuqerow) aor. ind. act. "has set [me / you] free" - freed, liberated. Constative aorist. Liberation, in the sense of freedom from the oppressive requirements of the law which served to expose and accentuate sin and thus, the human condition of loss and eternal death, with, of course, the ultimate purpose of driving the sinner to God for mercy. Some commentators argue that this sense of the law's function, articulated fully in Galatians, is not found in Romans, cf. Ziesler. Note the tense - a past completed event. Some suggest it is a gnomic aorist which should be translated in English as a present continuous, but the context does not support this.

se pro. "me / you" - you. A textual problem, either "me", NIV, or "you", TNIV, although BDF suggests it is an example of the second person being used for "someone". "Me" is to be preferred.

apo + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "away from."

thV aJmartiaV (a) gen. "[the law] of sin [and death]" - [the law] of sin [and of death]. The genitive is adjectival, of definition / epexegetic, limiting by specifying "law"; God's divine law as it operates upon our corrupted self, exposing and enhancing sin. "The law, by highlighting transgressions leads to death", Dumbrell. See eJteron nomon, "another law", and nomw/ qeou, "God's law", 7:23 and 25


Paul goes on in v3-4 to explain how Christ has achieved this liberation for a believer. The law was powerless to make us holy, in fact, it made sin more sinful. Christ, the sinless one, legally gave himself as a sin offering for us. The worth of this righteous act was applied to those who identify with Christ. Thus, the believer not only stands right before God, but begins to act rightly. In Christ's resurrection power we find ourselves living, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, ie. we begin to live a righteous life.

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining how the Spirit is enabled to release us from the law and its inevitable consequence, death; "for God has acted to condemn sin in the flesh by sending his Son as a sin offering, thus doing what the law could not do, in that it was weakened by the flesh"

to adunaton adj. "what [the law] was powerless to do" - what was impossible [the law]. The verbal adjective (+ the subjective genitive nomou) "powerless = powerless to do [of law]", could be read as active or passive. "The one thing the law could not do", Turner; "what was impossible for the law (God has done)", Dunn. What was impossible is not defined, it could be salvation, liberation from sin and death, but better, make holy / sanctify. The common view of second temple Judaism is that the Torah was designed to shape righteousness in the faithful and thus maintain Israel's covenant standing for the appropriation of the Abrahamic blessings. Paul states that the law was powerless to do this. Of course, this was not the function of the Sinai covenant which served to reinforce the Abrahamic covenant by identifying the priority of faith.

en wJ/ "because" - in that. As a relative phrase, "in which/that", but possibly causal, "because", as TNIV, providing the reason why the law is powerless.

hsqenei (asqenew) imperf. "it was weakened" - it was weak. "Weak through the flesh", Morris. Because of the human condition, the law only makes the problem worse.

dia + gen. "by [the sinful nature / the flesh]" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means.

thV sarkoV (x koV) gen. "the sinful nature / the flesh" - the flesh. Here, human nature weakened by sin producing "the innate human tendency to flee from God and his will", Ziesler.

pemyaV (pempw) aor. part. "by sending" - [God] having sent. The participle is adverbial, probably instrumental, as TNIV. "He did it by sending his own Son", Barclay.

en "in" - in. Expressing sphere; "sending his Son in a form like that borne by our own sinful nature", Cassirer.

oJmoiwmati (a) "the likeness" - something made like something else. Jewett makes the point that "likeness" is not really intended but total identity and involvement.

aJmartiaV (a) gen. "[of] sinful [man] / [of] sinful [flesh]" - of flesh of sin. The genitive is adjectival, attributed, "sinful flesh." Jesus' human nature is in the likeness of such "flesh". Not that Jesus is other than human, only like a human (the docetic heresy), but that he is sinless - like us, except for sin.

peri + gen. "-" - [and] concerning, about [sin]. Possibly reference, "with respect to sin", but better expressing advantage, "for"; "so for the purpose of dealing with sin", Cassirer.

katekrinen (katakrinw) aor. "he condemned" - he judged, condemned to destruction. God destroyed sin which had power over our life, by means of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ; "he passed a judgment of condemnation on sin", Cassirer.

en th sarki (sarx sarcoV) "in sinful man / in the flesh" - in the flesh, body, mortal body, human nature. The prepositional phrase is linked to "condemned", not "sin". Probably referring here to Jesus' death "in the flesh." Jesus, in his mortal body, in his humanity, destroys the power of sin to condemn and control. He does this by means of his sacrifice on the cross, such that those who identify with Jesus find themselves free of sin's power. Sanday and Headlam suggest "because of the flesh"; "because of sin", Thornton; "right within its own field of operation", Cassirer.


iJna + subj. "in order that" - that. Her forming a final clause expressing purpose.

to dikaiwma "the righteous requirement [of the law]" - The perfect demand, just demand, legitimate demand (tou nomou, possessive genitive, or source / origin) which belongs to the Law. Note, it is singular, not plural as in NIV. Christ's act of righteousness (his substitutionary sacrifice) fulfills the Law's requirement, namely, its demand for perfection.

plhrwqh/ (plhrow) aor. pas. subj. "might be fully met" - may be fulfilled. Constative aorist. The Law's demand for perfection is fully met in Christ and in those who identify with him. Cranfield suggests that v4b explains what "fully met" means. He suggests that a life lived in line with the Spirit is how the law is fully met (fulfilled) in us. It is also possible that Paul is illustrating the life of a person who has "fully met" the requirements of the law through their justification. As a consequence, their sinful nature is no longer master (because they are no longer under the law); they are now able to walk "according to the Spirit", of course, without the implication that the walk is perfect. "Might actually be realized."

en + dat. "in" - in [us]. Expressing space/sphere; "in the life of those who live their Christian life, not by the leading of the sinful flesh activated by the law, but by the leading of the Spirit." "Among us", Jewett.

toiV mh ... peripatousin (peripatew) part. "who do not live" - the ones not walking, conducting their life. The participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to hJmin, "us". There is the "walk" of the sinful flesh, prompted by the law, and there is the "walk" of the Spirit, prompted by grace.

kata + acc. "according to" - Expressing a standard; "corresponding to, in accordance with."

sarka (x koV) "the sinful nature / the flesh - flesh [but according to S/spirit. Again "flesh" is being used of human nature weakened by sin. A believer may think that they can live a faithful life in compliance with God's law, but our nature, affected by sin, makes it impossible to do so. Confronted by the law, the sinful nature is aroused and acts sinfully (a sinfulness usually covered by a thick layer of self-righteous speck-removal!). The law cannot shape holiness in the life of a believer. The righteousness that is ours in Christ, the what we are, is translated into action by the indwelling compelling of the Spirit of Christ, by grace through faith, apart from the law.


ii] A believer must choose between service to the Law, or service to the Spirit, v5-11. In verses 5-8 Paul compares two lives, a natural life and a spiritual life. A person aligned to the corrupt fallen nature and held to it by the law finds their whole being driven toward sin and thus, hostile to God; they inevitably face judgment. A person aligned to the Spirit finds their whole being driven toward righteousness and thus, they are blessed with life and peace.

gar "-" - for. Here possibly serving as a connective and not translated, but more likely serving to introduce an explanation as to the difference between walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh; "Let me explain, those who live but those who ......."

oiJ ... onteV (eimi) pres. part. "Those who live [...... but those who]" - the ones [according to the flesh] being. The participle serves as a substantive; the construction is repeated, but with oiJ only. The identity of these two groups is in dispute. They are often viewed as the unregenerate and the generate, but it seems more likely that they are believers, on the one hand nomists / children of the law, and on the other, children of grace. Of course, Paul may just be illustrating two states of existence such that it is possible for the regenerate to join the unregenerate in living "according to the sinful nature." In Paul's thinking, this occurs when a believer returns to the law to restrain sin and progress righteousness, Gal.3:3.

kata + acc. "according to" - according to. Expressing a standard; "according to, in accordance with, in conformity with, corresponding to", BAGD.

fronousin (fronew) "have their minds set on" - think about, have in my mind, set my heart on something. "Absorbing interest", Morris. Cranfield suggests, "to be on someone's side, to be of someone's party." This makes more sense. Those believers who tend to be overcome by recurrent sin, constantly falling short of the will of God, are those who rely on their human nature, weakened by sin as it is, to live in accordance with the divine will / the law. Those believers who tend toward a righteous life / holiness, are those who rely on the indwelling Spirit to live in accordance with the divine will.

thV sarkoV (sarx koV) gen. "[what] the flesh desires" - [the things] of the flesh. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, and with the article ta forms the substantival phrase "the affairs of the flesh", Robertson.

de "but" - but, and [the ones being according to the S/spirit the things of the S/spirit]. Adversative, as NIV. The "S/spirit" is obviously the Holy Spirit, so "the affairs of the Spirit."


gar "-" - for. Again more reason / explanatory than cause, but probably only in support of gar in v5, ie. continuative . The explanation of what is involved in walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh runs from v5 through to v8.

to fronhma (a atoV) "the mind" - capacity to think, reason. Possibly "way of thinking", although better, "mindset (with its resulting thoughts, assumptions, values, desires)", see Cranfield.

thV sarkoV (sarx) gen. "of sinful man / governed by the flesh" - of the flesh. The TNIV opts for a subjective genitive, as with tou pneumatoV, "of the Spirit = governed by the Spirit", although adjectival, possessive, is possible; "the mind which belongs to the flesh." As already noted, the word is being used of human nature weakened by sin; "lower human nature", Barclay.

qanatoV (oV) "is death" - death. Predicate nominative. There is no verb. NIV is probably right by saying that the mindset of the flesh is itself "death". Possibly, the mindset leads to death, "spells death", NEB.

eirhnh (h) "peace" - [but the mind of the Spirit is life and] peace. "Life and peace" expresses life in its full eschatological sense; "real life and every blessing", Barclay.


dioti "-" - therefore / because. Probably not drawing a conclusion, "therefore", but rather causal (instead of oJti), explanatory; "Why do those of the flesh think on fleshly matters and why are they destined for eschatological judgment? The reason given is that the mind-set of the flesh is at enmity against God", Schreiner.

thV sarkoV (x koV) gen. "the sinful [mind] / [the mind] governed by the flesh" - [the mind] of the flesh. Adjectival genitive, attributive, as above; "the fleshly mind / way of thinking / mindset."

exqra (a) "is hostile" - is enemy, enmity. Predicate adjective. A strong word expressing hostility.

eiV + acc. "to [God]" - toward [God]. Here expressing disadvantage; "against God."

gar "-" - for. Coordinating with dioti and therefore strengthening its causal sense; "that is because / the reason is that the mind of the flesh ....... (gar) for indeed, it does not submit to God's law (gar) because it cannot (is unable)."

tw/ ... nomw/ (oV) dat. "to [God's] law" - to law [of God]. Dative of indirect object.

ouc uJpotassetai (uJpotassw) pas. pres. ind. pas. "submit" - not to be in subjection to. Gnomic present tense. Fallen humanity does not submit to God's law, in fact, cannot.

gar "-" - for [neither can it be]. As above.


de "-" - but. Introducing a conclusion, "it follows that", Barrett, although possibly just a further step in the argument, in fact, nearly a restatement of v7; "so, those controlled by the flesh", Berkeley.

oiJ .... onteV (eimi) pres. part. "those who are" - the one's [in flesh] being. The participle serves as a substantive; "those who live under its (the unspiritual nature) control", REB.

en "in" - Expressing space/sphere, ie. the one's living in the sphere of the flesh.

aresai (areskw) aor. inf. + dat. "please" - [are not able] to willingly please [God]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "are not able", and regularly takes a dative of persons, here "God". Possibly here meaning "serve", so "cannot do what God's likes", TH. Believers who live in the sphere of the flesh (according to, v5, governed by / belong to, v6) are unable to obey the law.


Paul affirms his readers by assuring them that having received the Spirit they are no longer in the realm of the flesh. It is those not having received the Spirit who live in the realm of flesh and do not belong to Christ.

uJmeiV pro. "you" - Emphatic by position and use.

de "however" - but, and. Here adversative, as NIV. Some of Paul's readers may be living according to the flesh, v5, seeking to advance their Christian life by law-obedience, but such behavior is stupid when they are actually "in the Spirit" and "not in the flesh", assuming that the Spirit is en, "in", them, ie., has set up camp with them / indwelt, united with, one with them.

en dat. "controlled [not] by [the sinful nature] / [not] in the realm of [the flesh]" - [are not] in flesh. The dative may be modal, expressing manner, or instrumental, "controlled by", although "controlled by" the Spirit is questionable. "Guided", so "led by", even "walking by the Spirit" is possible, although it seems better to take the preposition as locative, "you are not carnal", Phillips; "aligned to the corrupt fallen nature", as TNIV.

alla "but" - Strong adversative; "but rather, you are ...."

en pneumati "by the Spirit / in the realm of the Spirit" - in S/spirit. Possibly into higher things, "spiritual", Phillips, but better in the sense of associated with the Spirit of God/Christ; "aligned to the Spirit."

eiper + ind. "if" - if indeed. The per strengthens ei, so strengthening the positive assumption of the conditional clause; "if it is true", Barclay, (and Paul assumes it is true). The clause itself is a 1st. class condition; "if, as is the fact, ..... then [you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit]."

oikei (oikew) pres. "lives in" - [the Spirit of God] dwells in. Durative present; "continues to dwell in / inhabit."

en + dat. "in [you]" - Local, expressing sphere. As already noted, the actual intention of this preposition is unclear. Possibly an indwelling of the Spirit is intended, or an incorporative union, or an involvement in the sphere/realm of one's life (so Moo). Laying behind the "in" word is the Sinai image of God dwelling in the midst of his people, of pitching his tent with Israel. Obviously something stronger than sun, "with", is intended.

ei + ind. "if" - [but] if [anyone does not have Spirit of Christ, this one is not of him]. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, then this person does not belong to him." This conditional clause elaborates on the opening clause of this verse, making the point that all believers possess the Spirit. As is always the case in English, the "if" prompts uncertainty, but uncertainty is not intended here; "Everyone who possesses the Spirit belongs to Christ", and so, if a person has received Christ then they live in the orbit of the Spirit, not in the orbit of their human nature weakened by sin. This being the case, living the Christian life by an effort of the will applied to the law of God is absurd, let alone destructive. A believer progresses their Christian life in hand with the Spirit, not the flesh.

autou gen. pro. "belong to Christ" - of Christ. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.


By being in Christ a person is righteous before God, and although still subject to indwelling sin, the righteousness they posses in Christ drives them toward uprightness (Christ-likeness).

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative; "but".

ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, Christ is in you, then men on the one hand the body is dead because of sin, de but on the other hand, the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

men .... de "even though ......" - on the one hand ..... but on the other. Adversative comparative / correlative construction, here somewhat concessive, as NIV, so Cranfield.

CristoV en uJmin "Christ is in you" - See above for en; "if you have the Spirit of Christ." This image may portray regeneration, but more probably, sanctification. The believer is guided by the Spirit of Christ. The sinful nature is still present, indwelling sin still troubles the believer - "your body is dead because of sin" - yet the believer is not ruled by it as was the case when subject to the law - "your spirit is alive because of righteousness" (ie. our being is now free to follow the leading of the Spirit because we are not subject to the law, but rather possesses the righteousness of Christ which is by grace through faith). The result is that the believer begins to live the new life that is a consequence of having been set right before God in Christ; "he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies" (life in the sense of godly living rather than rising at the last day, but that also).

nekron adj. "[your body is] dead" - [then although the body is] dead. The word is stronger than qnhton.

dia + acc. "because of [sin]" - Causal, expressing the cause of this death. Either, the self is defeated because of sin (a moral sense), or is dead, in the sense of being a walking corpse, again, because of the curse of sin. .

to pneuma "the spirit / Spirit" - Usually taken as the "Holy Spirit" who gives life (most modern commentators), although possibly the "human spirit" which is alive by virtue of justification (so Sanday and Headlam).

zwh (h) "gives life" - is life. Again possibly in a moral sense, or in an eternal sense, resurrection life.

dia + acc. "because of" - Causal.

dikaiosunhn (h) "righteousness" - Possibly in terms of justification, set right before God, "because of the right relationship with God into which you have entered", Barclay. Possibly in terms of right behavior, "in consequence of uprightness", Goodspeed. Possibly both... Possibly God's own righteousness is intended, "the righteousness of God" = "God's saving righteousness", Talbert, so Schreiner.


If the Spirit of Christ indwells us, then we will begin to live the new life of a righteous son of God through the resurrection power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

ei "if" - Conditional clause, as above. Turner notes that the use of the future tense in the apodosis gives the protasis a causal sense; "if / because, as is the case, the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life ......"

tou egeirantoV (egeirw) gen. aor. part. "of him who raised [Jesus]" - [the Spirit] of the one who raised [Jesus]. The participle serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, relational / possessive, referring to the Holy Spirit who stands in unity with the Father.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - Expressing separation; "away from.

oikei (oikew) pres. "dwells [in you]" - The root meaning of this verb is to make one's home, encamp, pitch a tent, so although usually taken to mean "dwells (en) within you", the sense may be "encamp (en = association) with you"; "has intimately associated himself with you."

zw/opoihsei (zwopoiew) fut. "will [also] give life" - [then the one having raised Christ from dead ones] will make alive. Predictive future. Cranfield, Dunn, Moo, .... understand "life" here in an eschatological sense, of resurrection life in the last day, "eternal life." Yet a moral sense is likely intended, "enliven", so Calvin, Jewett, ...

kai "also" - and [the mortal bodies of you]. Adjunctive; "also".

dia + gen. "because of" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing agency; "doing so by means of his Spirit." "Through his indwelling Spirit", NEB.

tou enoikountoV (enoikew) gen. pres. part. "lives [in you]" - [his] indwelling [Spirit in you]. The participle serves as an adjective, attributive, limiting "Spirit", "the Spirit who lives in/with you." The person who identifies with Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and as a consequence, is enlivened (as Christ was raised to life) morally. They begin to become what they are in Christ.


iii] Service to the Spirit as opposed to service to the Law, as experienced in the Christian walk, v12-17. Although our "mortal bodies" are "dead because of sin", yet because "the Spirit of God lives in" us, he will "give life" (enliven - prompt righteous behavior) to the mortal self, cf. 8:9-11. Therefore, we have an obligation to cooperate with the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

ara oun "therefore" - Drawing a logical conclusion.

adelfoi (oV) "brothers / brothers and sisters" - Inclusive language is intended, so as TNIV.

afeiletai (hV ou) "[we have] an obligation" - [we are] debtors (someone who owes something to someone) [not to the flesh]. Predicate nominative; followed by the dative (sometimes genitive) of the person or thing to which obligation is owed", [not] to the flesh", although Turner classifies the dative here as interest, disadvantage. The obligation here is toward God, to orientate our lives toward the Spirit's leading, not the leading of the selfish self, cf. 1:14, Gal.5:3. "We have a duty", Moffatt.

tou .. zhn (zaw) pres. inf. "to live" - to live. This infinitival construction seems to form a epexegetic clause explaining what the "obligation" is not. Yet, this particular articular infinitival construction would normally form a final or consecutive clause expressing either purpose or result. Cranfield suggests that it is consecutive, expressing the consequence of having no obligation to the flesh, namely, not living according to it. The point is that a believer should set the direction of their life, not toward self, but rather toward the Spirit. "We must not live to satisfy our desires", CEV.

kata + acc. "according to [it]" - according to [flesh]. Expressing a standard; "in accordance with, corresponding to."


To cooperate with the leading of the sinful nature is to die eternally, a condition easily created where a believer returns to the law to progress their Christian life. To "put to death" (be victorious over) the outworkings of the sinful nature is to live. Paul will explain how this is possible in the following verses.

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason, explaining why our obligation does not consist of living according to the flesh.

ei + ind. "if" - The first of two conditional clauses, 1st class, where the stated condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, .... then ....."

apoqnhskein (apoqnhskw) inf. "[you will] die" - [you live according to the flesh you are about, destined] to die. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "you are about"; "you are destined to die."

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative; "but". Paul establishes a direct contrast between a life lived to the flesh and a life lived to the Spirit.

pneumati (a atoV) "by the Spirit" - [if] by spirit. Usually taken as an instrumental dative, although possibly dative of the person to whom obligation is due, cf. v11.. The Spirit is the instrument by which God overcomes the flesh through the faith of a believer. As already noted in this passage, the human spirit is possibly intended; "but if by/with your spirit you deaden the practices of the body." It does seem likely that the person of the Holy Spirit is intended.

qanatoute (qanatow) pres. "you put to death" - The idea is of subduing selfish desire, certainly not by pious rigors, but by resting on the Spirit through faith. A continuous sense of this "resting" is intended by the use of the present tense, rather than a single spiritual assault on the sinful self. "You (continue to) cut the nerve of your instinctive actions", Phillips.

taV praxeiV (iV ewV) "the misdeeds" - the practices... (possibly: intrigues, treacheries). "If by the help of the Spirit you put to death the life your animal instincts make you want to live", Barclay.

tou swmatoV (a atoV) gen. "of the body" - of the body. The genitive may be classified as: verbal, subjective - the misdeeds produced by the body; possessive - the misdeeds that belong to the body; or ablative, source - the misdeeds originating from the body. Here with the same meaning as "flesh", the human self affected by sin. Of course, the word does not always have a negative connotation. The context dictates.

zhsesqe (zaw) fut. "you will live" - Predictive future. What does Paul mean by "live"? Cranfield opts here for "eternal life", but moral behavior may still be in Paul's mind.


Putting to death the misdeeds of the body is achieved by being "led by the Spirit." It is not a matter of effort applied to the law, but a willing submission to the indwelling Spirit of Christ who, as a work of grace appropriated through faith, will carry out his work of renewal in our lives.

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason, in the terms of a clarification. Those who, with the aid of the Spirit, deaden the impulses of the flesh, will live, and this because, as children of God / believers who are led by the Spirit.

oJsoV gar "Those who" - as many as. The "as many as" are those who put to death the misdeeds of the body, and this because they are "led by the Spirit."

agontai (agw) pres. pas. "led" - are driven, led, brought. The sense of "led" is not just "guided", but rather "controlled, governed by the Spirit", so Moo, Fee, Schreiner, ... Here the passive underlines the controlling influence of the Spirit over the selfish self, by grace through faith. "The sons of God are those who are led by God's Spirit", Bruce.

pneumati (a atoV) dat. "by the Spirit" - by Spirit [of God]. Instrumental / agency, expressing means.

qeou (oV) gen. "[sons] of God" - [these are sons] of God. The genitive is adjectival, possessive / relational. Possibly explaining "will live", v13b. Eternal life involves divine sonship.


Unlike the law, the Spirit does not enslaves us, but sets us free. Barth suggests that v15b says "in principle" all that is necessary about ethics. The business of avoiding what is contrary to God's will and striving toward behavior that is pleasing to him, is accomplished in the child of God by the indwelling Spirit as a work of grace appropriated through faith, a faith that approaches God in prayer, that cries out "my Father" and looks to the Father to complete his work of renewal.

gar "for" - More reason / explanatory than cause, Indicating that v15 and16 are a clarification of v14.

elabete (lambanw) aor. "[you did not] receive [a spirit] / [the Spirit] you received [does not]" - you did not receive S/spirit. Constative aorist. The reception of the Holy Spirit is probably intended; "the Holy Spirit whom they have received is not a Spirit of bondage but a Spirit of adoption", Cranfield.

douleiaV (a) gen. "that makes you a slave" - of slavery, servitude. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "S/spirit", either "a slave type spirit" (the human spirit, Sanday and Headlam, the old covenant, Dunn), or "a Spirit who enslaves." The law approached by an effort of the will enslaves, whereas the Spirit gives life. "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves", TNIV.

eiV fobon (oV) "to fear / so that you live in fear again" - [again to] fear, terror. The preposition eiV probably expresses result, "with the result that", but possibly purpose. Here probably "anxiety." Servitude to the law promotes "anxiety", a "fear of failing to com up to the mark of acceptability", Jowett. "To fall back into fear", ESV.

alla "but / rather" - Strong adversative.

uiJoqesiaV (a) gen. "of sonship / your adoption to sonship" - [you received a S/spirit] of sonship, adoption. The genitive is adjectival, of definition, limiting by specifying the S/spirit in mind. "You have received a Spirit of adoption, a Spirit who gives you the freedom of sonship." The word has its origin in the secular world where adoption was a legal practice. The notion of an outsider being included in the family was not foreign to Jews. "You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons", ESV.

en "by [him we cry]" - in [which we cry out aloud, shriek]. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of the Spirit believers cry out ..." The crying out may be the cry of spiritual ecstasy, but more likely it is a cry in prayer, an affirmation that God is our Father, so Moo. The thought here is either linked to v15 or v16 and this will be indicated by the position of the full stop - either after "adoption" ("makes you sons") or after "Father." The NIV has it both ways. Cranfield argues that crying "Abba Father" is likely to be the consequence of the gift of the Spirit and therefore the phrase is linked to what precedes rather than what follows.

Abba "Abba" - my father. A use, other than the vocative, is rare. Originally "daddy", but by the first century the term was no longer childlike. Jesus uses the term to emphasize the filial relationship he possesses with God the Father, while simultaneously including believers in this relationship through identification with him.

oJ pathr "Father" - The word is added to either emphasize "abba" or to translate it.


Our adoption into sonship, expedited by the Spirit, produces an assurance of sonship

summarturei (summarturew) pres. + dat. "testifies [with our spirit]" - [the S/spirit itself / himself] joins in giving evidence, / bears witness [with / to the spirit of us]. Durative present. Our tw/ pneumati, "spirit", is a dative of direct object after a sun prefix verb / association (Wallace classifies it as a dative of indirect object "to our spirit"). Often translated "with our spirit", although "with" is not demanded and so "testifies to our spirit" may be better given that our natural abilities are unlikely to know the unknowable, ie. the knowledge of sonship is revealed, not deducted. It is likely that all references to the Spirit in this passage so far are to the Holy Spirit, but it is usually accepted that "spirit" here refers either to the charismata, or more particularly "ourselves as acted upon by God", Ziesler, cf Kasemann, p228, and Cranfield, p403, thus, "testifies with our spirit." Barrett links the Spirit's testifying with "cry 'Abba Father'" - "The Spirit himself in this way bears witness..." Cranfield links the testimony with "adoption" ("makes you sons"). Only as a work of grace is it possible to know that we are God's sons and it is the Spirit who reveals this knowledge to us, who "testifies to us."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the Spirit testifies.

qeou (oV) gen. "[children] of God" - [we are children] of God. The genitive is adjectival, relational.


The life we live in Christ is maintained and progressed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ for the full appropriation of God's promised blessings - to share in the glory of Christ.

de "now" - but, and. Here as a transitional connective, but possibly adversative so as to draw out the implication that as children of God we are heirs of the covenant promises realized in Christ; "but if we are children."

ei + ind. "if" - if [children also heirs]. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, we are children of God, then by implication we are also heirs of the covenant promises."

men ..... de "..... and ....." - on the one hand ....... but/and on the other ...... An adversative comparative construction. "On the one hand heirs of God, and on the other hand, fellow heirs with Christ."

qeou (oV) gen. "[heirs] of God" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive; we are the heirs of God, we inherit his blessings, but it may be classified as verbal, subjective. Cranfield makes the point that "heirs of God" here should not be confused with heirship in Romans 4 and Galatians 3-4. For example, in Romans 4 believers are heirs of the promise to Abraham. Since God does not die, a believer is not an heir in the sense of inheriting the property of a dead parent, but because of our adoption as sons we do inherit, certainly God's blessings, but even in a sense his own being, his glory, his divinity. "If we are children of God then we are heirs of all the promises of God", Barclay; or possibly the stronger, "if we are his (God's) children we share his treasures", Phillips.

sugklhronomoi (oV) "co-heirs" - [but] fellow heirs, co-heirs. Our sonship and therefore, our heirship depends on our identification with Christ. "All that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well", Phillips.

Cristou (oV) "with Christ" - of Christ. The genitive is again adjectival, relational; Christ includes us as joint-heirs of the covenant promises.

eiper "if indeed" - seeing that. An emphatic "if". The English implies a condition, ie. if we suffer we will share glory, but the verse is only restating a fact, expressed causally; "because", CEV. "The fact that we are now suffering with Him, so far from calling the reality of our heirship in question, is a pledge of our being glorified with Him hereafter", Cranfield.

sumpascomen (sunpascw) pres. "we share in his suffering" - we suffer together with him. Durative present. The suffering is normally understood as sharing the daily troubles of a child of God as evidenced in the life of Christ (although without any redemptive effect), yet it is hard to see how such suffering has any bearing on sharing glory, or in any way serves as "a pledge of our being glorified ...." It is more likely that identification with Christ's suffering is intended, which identification guarantees our glory. This being the case, the present tense is durative where the identification began in the past and continues into the present; "we share his sufferings", Moffatt.

iJna + subj. "in order that" - that [also]. Possibly expressing purpose, "we share in Christ's sufferings in order that we may share in his glory, although a consecutive (consequence / result) sense is more likely; "and as a result we share with him in glory." Our identification with Christ's suffering guarantees our place with him in glory. The causal take of the CEV is less than convincing; "we will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him", CEV.

sundoxasqwmen (sundoxazw) aor. pas. subj. "we may share in his glory" - we may be glorified together with him. Constative aorist. The glory is the glory of the final consummation of all things, so Gaugler. "So that we may also be glorified with him", NAB.


Romans Introduction.

Expositions: 8:1-11, and 12-17


[Pumpkin Cottage]