LIVING IN THE SPIRIT
We have now come to the great chapter which sets forth that part in our salvation, which is exercised by the Third Person of the Godhead, the blessed HOLY SPIRIT. Without Christ’s work on the cross there would be no salvation, and without the presence and constant operation of the Holy Spirit, there would be no application of that salvation to us; indeed, no revelation of it to us!
This chapter is one of the most interesting portions of the sacred Scriptures. Some parts of it are approached with great difficulty; but its main scope and purpose is still apparent. This chapter is really a continuation of the previous chapter, and is intended mainly to show that the gospel could do what the Law was incapable of doing. In that chapter Paul shows that the Law was incapable of bringing about sanctification or peace of mind. He had traced its influence on the mind in different conditions, and shown that, equally before regeneration and afterwards, it was incapable of producing peace and holiness. Such was man; rather, such were his desires and tendencies that the application of law only tended to excite, irritate, or produce conflict. The conscience, indeed, testified to the law that it was good; but still it had shown that it was not adapted to produce holiness of heart and peace, but agitation, conflict, and a state of excited sin. In opposition to this, Paul proceeds to show in this chapter the power of the gospel to produce that which the law could not. In doing this, he illustrates the subject by several considerations.
The Gospel does what the law could not do in giving life, and delivering from condemnation.
The Gospel produces a spirit of adoption, and all the blessings which result from the filial confidence with which we can address God as our Father, in opposition to the Law which produced only terror and alarm.
The Gospel sustains the soul amidst its captivity to sin, and its trials, with the hope of a future deliverance–a complete and final redemption of the body from all the evils of this life
The Gospel It furnishes the aid of the Holy Spirit to sustain us in our trials and infirmities.
The Gospel the assurance that all things shall work together for good, since all things are connected with the purpose of God; and all that can occur to a Christian comes in as a part of the plan of Him who has resolved to save him.
The Gospel ministers consolation from the fact that everything that can affect the happiness of man is on the side of the Christian, and will co-operate in his favor; as: a. God, in giving his Son, and in justifying the believer (vv. 31-33).
b. Christ, in dying, and rising, and interceding for Christians (v. 34).
c. The love of a Christian to the Savior is in itself so strong that nothing can separate him from it (vv. 35-39).
By all these considerations the superiority of the Gospel to the Law is shown, and assurance is given to the believer of his final salvation.
Chapter 8 is really the counterpart of Chapter 5.
1. In Chapter 5 we see that Justification by Faith is once and forever; it is permanent.
In Chapter 8 we have basically the same things; a godly life, the Fruit of Justification is insured.
2. In Chapter 5 the argument for permanence of Justification is based on its ground; i.e., the love if God in Christ Jesus.
In Chapter 8 it is based on the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.
3. In Chapter 5 the justified man is looked at in his relationship to God.
In Chapter 8 he is also considered in the midst of his conflict with the world, over which he triumphs by the aid of the Holy Spirit.
4. In Chapter 5 the Holy Spirit mentioned only once (5:5). He is said to be given, but nothing more is said about Him.
In Chapter 8 the office of the Holy Spirit is completely unfolded.
5. In Chapter 5 two short verses (vv. 3-4) speak of “tribulations.”
In Chapter 8 they occupy almost wholly from verse 17 to the end of the chapter.
There are 4 main topics in Chapter 8:
1. Deliverance from the flesh by the power of the Spirit (vv. 1-11);
2. Realization of sonship by the same Spirit (vv. 12-17a).
3. Preservation in sufferings (vv. 17b-30).
4. Triumphs (vv. 31-39)
The happy state of those who believe in Christ, and walk under the influence of His Spirit.
The design of God in sending his Son into the world was to redeem men from sin.
The miserable state of the carnally minded.
How Christ lives and works in his followers; their blessedness here, and their happiness hereafter.
Sufferings are the common lot of all men; and from which Gentiles and Jews have the hope of being finally delivered.
The use and importance of hope.
The Spirit makes intercession for the followers of Christ.
All things work together for good to them that love God, and who act according to his gracious purpose in calling them.
The means used to bring men to eternal glory.
The great blessedness, confidence, and security of all genuine Christians, whom, while they hold fast faith and a good conscience, nothing can separate from the love of God.