Few Scriptures are praised as highly as Paul’s letter to the Romans. Though no more God’s revelation than any other of the 66 canonical writings, the book of Romans has been highly esteemed among evangelicals for centuries. Martin Luther referred to Romans as “the clearest gospel of all.” John Calvin once wrote, “If a man understands [Romans], he has a sure road opened for him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.” William Tyndale called Romans “the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament, and most pure Euangelion.” “All roads in the Bible lead to Romans,” wrote J.I. Packer, “and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.” Romans was so appealing and valuable to John Chrysostom that he had the letter read to him aloud once every week. O, Christian, where is our commitment and delight over Holy Writ?
Now if Romans is the Mt. Everest of the Bible, then Romans 8 is its peak. Or, as Packer puts it, “as Romans is the high peak of the Bible, so chapter 8 is the high peak of Romans.” After the turmoil expressed in chapter seven, Paul moves to write chapter 8 of Romans, the chapter of all chapters that brings joy incomparable and confidence unimaginable to the wayward soul in Christ! Hidden in this gold mine of biblical treasure are four valuable nuggets–four gifts of God that are the basis of the Christians only hope and joy. May you be encouraged and delighted in these eternal truths.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). If you are in Christ, you have been declared righteous. By faith one is counted righteous in Christ (Rom. 4:5). You are justified before God’s sight and by God’s might! The opposite of justification is condemnation. Condemnation is a declaration of guilt. God gifts the Christian with righteousness in Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). God’s grace is adequate to grant you righteousness.
2. The Holy Spirit
If you are in Christ, you have been given a Paraclete, a Helper, the Holy Spirit. In the grace of this gift, the Christian can “walk according to the Spirit” (v. 4) not according to the flesh. Christlikeness is made possible because of the work of the Spirit and the life of a Christian is to be spent focusing the heart, soul, and mind on the “things of the Spirit” (v. 5-6), for in this is the peace of God. Walking in the Spirit is essentially working out your salvation (Phil. 2:12). Though the flesh haunts us (see Rom. 7), the gift of the Spirit contains the gift of joy in pleasing God. Consider the many roles of the Spirit outlined in Romans 8:
- dwells in us (vv. 9, 11)
- gives us life (vv. 10-11, 13)
- makes us like Christ (v. 29)
- bears witness to our adoption as sons and daughters (v. 16)
- leads us through suffering unto glory (vv. 17-18)
- helps us in our weakness (v. 26)
- intercedes for us (v. 26-27)
If you are in Christ, you have been adopted into the family of God. All in Christ are sons and daughters of God. And this if a glorious gift of God (John 1:12-13). This gift is seen in Romans 8:14-17. Christians receive the Spirit of adoption into the divine family of which Jesus Christ himself is the firstborn (v. 29). We are not just coldly justified, but we are justified with affection for by it the Father of love adopts us as his own. What a gift!
If you are in Christ, you have the security of God for your soul. Not just security in this life; for man can kill the body. But security for life eternal; for only God can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). Paul shows us the gift of God’s security of believers now and forever.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”–Romans 8:28-30
Once you are in Christ, you can never not be in Christ! What a glorious truth this is! O, if we would but realize God’s supreme glory and power in salvation. O, if we would but grasp the glory and power of the work of Christ to atone for sinners. O, if we would but gaze in wonder upon the glory and power of the work of the Spirit in bringing us to the eternal Fountain of Christ to drink! This glorious trinitarian work in salvation cannot be undone. It is finished! was the cry from the hill outside Jerusalem! No sin or suffering can ever undo what Christ has done. His grace extends farther than any sin. No shadow can be cast on the light of the glory of God in salvation.
“…as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”–Psalm 103:12
Rejoice in the splendorous gifts of God and ever praise and be satisfied in the Giver of these gifts whose love can never be separated from us (Rom. 8:39). When you relish these golden nuggets of truth, no amount of pain or suffering or sin could keep you from rejoicing in your Lord. The righteousness, Spirit, adoption, and security you have in Christ is enough to support you through any trial or trouble.