How Children Of The Promise Conquer The World Through Christ — Romans 7 & 8 (Part 3)

In How Good Intentions Pave The Way To Hell — Romans 7 & 8 (Part 2), we covered Paul’s discourse in Romans 7 on the failure of our flesh — our bodies — to do good. According to Paul, the truth of the Law — and we’d argue truth in general — may curse us to death and ruin us if pursued in the flesh. This is done by something which Paul calls “the law of sin” within us, which seeks opportunity through the law, to bring about sin by our desire to do good.

In this way, good intentions do indeed pave the way to hell, as we become deluded by the world into thinking that our feelings are an adequate guide into the Kingdom of God. To make matters worse, Paul tells us that those who are in the flesheven Israelite flesh — are not even able to please God at all — and that such will die eternally as well.

In Romans 8, Paul gives us the solution to this problem — walking according to the Spirit. Through the indwelling of the Father’s Holy Spirit — and through the indwelling of the Lord Jesus — we put to death the deeds and desires of our flesh. We live according to the Spirit of the Law, which is the perfect fulfillment of the Law in the eternal body of Christ — as discussed in The Spirit Of The Law — Romans 7 & 8 (Part 1).

Those who walk according to the Spirit of the Law are children of God — those who attain to the resurrection of eternal life and the conformance of their bodies with the Lord Jesus’ glorious body.

ROMANS 8 — THE END OF FEAR

Romans 8:15-17,

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Fear is merely a fleshly emotion — and as we have discussed, fleshly emotions are not useful for us or for the Kingdom of God. Paul said that the one “to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey” (Romans 6:16) — and Peter said, “by what anyone is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19) If we act on our fear, then we are slaves of fear.

Satan is quite expert in riling up our fear and the rest of our fleshly emotions — just like the Israelites in the wilderness feared their enemies and became disobedient as a result. Hebrews 2:14-15 says,

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

One of the primary ways Satan brings us into subjection to him is through fear of death — as well as fear of any kind of worldly loss. It’s no wonder that Revelation 12:11 says the holy ones overcome Satan “because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

It’s quite incredible how cancerous fear has become in the hearts of Christians in these modern times. Fear of vaccinations, COVID-19, financial loss, inflation, riots, or whatever else one can think of. When we immerse our minds into these things — while being slaves of fear — we place Satan’s hooks into our hearts and minds. We give him the power to draw us hither and thither — wherever his whims would lead us. We’re automatically too busy worrying about our material lives and livelihoods to be useful to the Kingdom of God.

We are not proposing that anyone should be ignorant of things going on around them, but we should not fear them to the point of uselessness.

Yet maybe we do feel the fear in our flesh, but we are not slaves of that fear. We are children of God and Satan has no power over us. The Lord Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [bodily needs] will be provided to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Of course the main stipulation here is that we do indeed seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Yes, bodily provision is all we need, because our treasure is in the Spirit of the Law — the eternal body of Christ — “in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21) When we place our treasures in fleshly things, setting our mind on this earth, we “cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8) When we set our minds on these things, Paul says we have “pierced [ourselves] with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

In the same context, the Lord Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Yes, we “have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again” — because we are children of God. When Satans comes for us in the vulnerability of our flesh, we cry out to our Father, not to our flesh or our own strength. Regardless, we should savor the sensation and victory of conquering our fear while we can — because one day it will be no more.

When Caleb and Joshua returned from spying out the land of the Canaanites, they said in Numbers 14:7-9,

7 The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection is gone from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.

Yet the congregation sought to stone Caleb and Joshua for their good report. Israel would rather have rebelled in fear than enter the promised land in victory — and so they were cursed to wander the wilderness for forty years and die there. We should be careful to cry out to our Father that He does not curse us to die eternally in the wilderness of this withered and blighted world.

Joshua and Caleb

As we stated in Part 1, the Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance — it is the sign of our conformity to the Lord Jesus’ commands and our focus on perfect law of His eternal body. If we show these qualities in our lives, then “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). If we have the testimony of the Spirit, then we should not fear.

We are fellow heirs with the Lord Jesus — the very Creator of the universe — who gave His own life in service and suffering to His people. We should not invent a religion where we strive to live in comfort and do not walk as He walked. Paul does not say in vain, “if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17)

The Lord said, “The one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life.” (John 12:25) Didn’t He follow this same example in His own time on earth? Does He not eat the same food which He gives to His followers? He hated His own life to the extent that He even resisted being made king on earth (John 6:15). But He also comforts us when He says, “you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going to take your joy away from you.” (John 16:22)

Fear must flee from us, horror must hide from us, and terror must tremble in our presence. Our glory lies beyond an icy morass of trepidation — so let us “be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Yes, we will suffer with our Lord Jesus — and we will wear that suffering for all eternity like a crown of glory. We will see Him eye to eye — knowing that we all partook of the same — willingly subjecting ourselves to the same trial of fire. To this end Paul says in Romans 8:18,

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

Not only are our sufferings “worth it,” but they are not even worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed — and the glory which comes from suffering — as Paul said, “if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17) How generous is our God that His reward is not even worthy to be compared with the cost? What deal can we make on earth where the cost doesn’t even compare with what we have purchased? All we need is faith in the reward itself.

ROMANS 8 — THE PURPOSE OF CREATION

Romans 8:19-22,

19 For the eagerly awaiting creation waits for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

Here Paul plays the crescendo of his condemnation of the world. First, he anthropomorphizes the creation, attributing to it an eager expectation of the revealing of the children of God. Whatever travail the creation experiences will cease once the children of God are revealed. Then Paul tells us the creation was subject to futility — and that futility itself is the travail which the creation experiences — then he implicitly conflates that futility with “slavery to corruption.” Finally, he compares the whole process with a woman suffering childbirth.

“Futility” comes from the Greek word “mataiotés” (Strong’s G3153) — the same word used when Ecclesiastes was translated into the Greek Septuagint. In other words in Ecclesiastes 1:2,

Futility [G3153] of futilities [G3153],” says the Preacher, “Futility [G3153] of futilities [G3153]! All is futility [G3153].”

According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, “mataiotés” is “a purely Biblical and ecclesiastical word.” Therefore, not only has Paul used the same Greek word used in Ecclesiastes in the Septuagint — Paul’s preferred source — but it is also apparently a word specific to biblical Greek writings. We expect then that Paul’s use of the word is no coincidence — and that he is directly — or at the very least indirectly — referring to the same “futility” as in the book of Ecclesiastes. With that in mind, consider a few choice lines from the book itself:

I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is futility and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:14

So I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold, all was futility and striving after wind, and there was no benefit under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:11

For the fate of the sons of mankind and the fate of animals is the same. As one dies, so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath, and there is no advantage for mankind over animals, for all is futility.

Ecclesiastes 3:19

One who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor one who loves abundance with its income. This too is futility.

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, all the days of your futility; for this is your reward in life and in your work which you have labored under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:9

“Enjoy….all the days of your futility” indeed. We can’t help but notice a certain sarcasm in the tone, as one must acknowledge the futility of one’s own life in order to enjoy it. Then afterwards, the oblivion of death — “For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

Many consider Ecclesiastes hard to understand or dreary — however, with a reading and understanding of this Romans 7 & 8 series, one can hopefully begin to appreciate the potent wisdom contained within its chapters. Life itself — without faith in our adoption as children of God — amounts to little more than nihilism — or “futility.” Unfortunately, the world has deluded itself into believing the lie that if one can find “enjoyment” or create arbitrary meaning in one’s own life, then life somehow has meaning.

Ecclesiastes highlights life’s utter uselessness and futility — and as such it stands as a powerful — and almost secular — rebuttal against the perfect failure of atheism and whichever belief system glories in — and has faith in — its own eternal death.

Paul tells us that creation itself was subjected to this very futility — the perfect and nihilistic failure of the flesh. Not only was it subjected, but that subjection was no accident. It was subjected “in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21) Therefore, it was subjected by the Lord Himself.

Death is an overarching theme in Ecclesiastes — and the primary cause for the futility. The curse of Adam says “to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19) — as Ecclesiastes 12:7-8 directly links this curse with that very same futility,

then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. “Futility of futilities,” says the Preacher, “all is futility!”

Therefore, the curse of death cursed us to futility. To this end Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:22,25-26,

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive… 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Verily, in abolishing death, the Lord Jesus will abolish futility itself — but only for those who are “in Christ.” Those in Christ — who keep the Spirit of the Law and His eternal body — find the opposite of futility: Purpose. Consider for a moment the philosophy of creation — and even life and death itself. To the Lord Jesus, life and death are merely manifestations of purpose and futility. He could just as well have crafted futility in some other way — albeit incomprehensible to us.

Consider then His immeasurable wisdom in fulfilling His Father’s commands. Yes, He subjected us to utter futility so that through faith and love — eternal qualities — we may learn true purpose. In so doing, His hope was for us to transcend the futility of “human experience” — or humanism — “the things of the flesh” (Romans 8:5). Paul calls this “slavery to corruption” — and we needed to be set free from it so that we may experience the “freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

The futility of the flesh amounts to death and slavery to corruption. The purpose of the Spirit amounts to life, freedom and glory.

The children of God are free citizens of the Kingdom of God — and the Lord says that the children are free from tax in the Kingdom (Matthew 17:25-26). Revelation 21:11 describes our glory — and the glory of God — “like a very valuable stone, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper.” The preacher says, “I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself… and behold, all was futility and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:4,11) In contradistinction, Isaiah 65:21-23 says of the new heavens and the new earth,

21 They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will fully enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor in vain, Or give birth to children for disaster; For they are the descendants of those blessed by the Lord, And their descendants with them.

We are not suggesting that earthly things like tax, precious stones, houses and vineyards will even be relevant, but these are shadows of the freedom, glory and purpose which the children of God will have. They are metaphors to give us glimpses into the unfathomable goodness of the Kingdom of God. All of these promises stand in stark contrast to our physical reality in the futile and corrupt world we live in.

Some might ask, “Why didn’t God simply create eternal creatures which inherently understood these concepts?” The simple answer and truth is this: That’s exactly what He is doing — that’s what children of God are. The error of ignorance is to overstate the importance of the “human experience” of those who do not attain to freedom, glory and purpose.

They have elevated the shadow of creation — the flesh of Adamkind — to the Spirit of creation — the children of God — and so they stumble over their own futility and corruption. Unfortunately, the world has come to worship the futility of the flesh — it worships slavery to corruption — imagining that it should somehow be elevated above God’s purposes. But the preacher says, “All is futility.” What a pitiable state, that any would worship their own flesh, slavery and futility?

It’s no wonder the Lord Jesus is One “from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them.” (Revelation 20:11) He is the Logos — the very embodiment of purpose — and futility must flee from Him. Yet we must join Him in purpose, else we will not have been created in His image of purpose — for God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). So before the children of God — created for true purpose in His image — are revealed, the creation which was subject to futility “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Romans 8:22)

Romans 8:23-25,

23 And not only that, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, through perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Here Paul compares the futility of creation with the futility of our own bodies. Just as the creation groans to reveal the children of God, so we groan for the redemption of our own bodies. The creation rails against those who are not subject to futility — so our own bodies rail against the Spirit which is not subject to futility. The creation will stop railing and groaning only at such time as the children of God have been revealed. Therefore, our bodies will continuously suffer the futility of the flesh until our bodies have been redeemed — and we have been adopted as children of God.

But “by the Spirit [we] are putting to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13) until the day of our redemption. One of the greatest delusions we face is we believe that when we become Christians our bodies will somehow stop being corrupt and railing against us. On the contrary, we will continue to groan within ourselves until such time as we are redeemed. When we expect that our bodies will be at peace with us, we get blind-sided by the law of sin within us. Our body stalks us, captures us and kills us before we even know what has happened.

Just as the Lord Jesus subjected the creation to futility in hope that it may reveal the children of God, we are subjected to the futility of our flesh for a purpose. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 says,

And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, in order to humble youputting you to the test, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you go hungry, and fed you with the manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, in order to make you understand that man shall not live on bread alone, but man shall live on everything that comes out of the mouth of the Lord

See how the Lord exacerbated the fleshly futility in the bodies of the Israelites in the wilderness by letting them go hungry and humbling them in the wilderness. Yes, that is His modus operandi — His way of teaching us that we are not to rely on what our body tells us. When its senses are heightened in hunger and fear, the lesson becomes all the more vivid when the Lord saves us through our perseverance against those feelings and emotions. He actively rewards us for relying on Him instead of ourselves. Those feelings and emotions are futile — there is no purpose in them. We are to live by the Spirit — which is “everything that comes out of the mouth of the Lord.”

Gathering the manna

Thus we must be vigilant in the Spirit of the Law — always knowing that our bodies will groan as we eagerly wait for our redemption. This fate is not grievous because we know “in hope we have been saved” (Romans 8:24) — and “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) So Paul says, “through perseverance we wait eagerly” — because our bodies will never let us have peace.

Hope and faith are a critical part of this lesson. Like Paul said, “hope that is seen is not hope.” If when the Israelites were hungry, thirsty and afraid of their enemies, if they had something tangible on which to rest their hope, they would not have learned the lesson. Not being able to perceive a reason for hope was the very point of the exercise. Therefore likewise, we hope in what we do not see — the redemption of our bodies — despite our bodies telling us not to hope.

The Lord Jesus said of John the Baptist, “among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11) — yet, “John performed no sign” (John 10:41). John had no miraculous confirmation of his faith — yet he lived in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey as food. He persevered against all fleshly reason in the faith that he would one day see the coming of the Lord Jesus.

The New Testament authors don’t speak much of John the Baptist, but it would be a fair assumption to make that he led a very difficult life in his flesh. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the subjective experience of some of the heroes of faith, imagining that they were somehow supernatural in nature. No, they were simply better than we are — and we must understand that if we are to live up to their example.

Ultimately, faith is not a shadow — it is an eternal quality — and we need to have it now in order to persevere through the groaning of our bodies until our redemption and revealing as children of God. After all, who knows what further lessons our Infinite Father has for us into eternity — that our faith in Him must never falter.

ROMANS 8 — DESTINED FOR GLORY

Romans 8:26-27,

26 Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Paul says that “in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness” — but in what way is that? He also says the Spirit intercedes “with groanings too deep for words,” in comparison with how we “groan within ourselves” (Romans 8:23) for the redemption of our bodies. Therefore, the Spirit groans within us — also eagerly awaiting our adoption as children of God. This ought to stand as a great reassurance to any who have indeed received the pledge of their inheritance that even the Spirit of the Infinite Father would groan on our behalf — and in this eager awaiting, the Spirit would intercede for us toward our own adoption.

“Groanings too deep for words” may be more literally expressed from the Greek as “wordless groanings” or “inexpressible groanings” — in the sense that they cannot be communicated. The point is that we do not perceive the groanings of the Spirit even while they happen. Yet Paul tells us an incredible fact: There is One who can indeed perceive these inexpressible groanings of the Spirit. There is One who sees the Spirit groaning on our behalf and interceding for us — the Lord Jesus.

The Lord sees the evidence of the Spirit and “knows what the mind of the Spirit is” when He searches the intentions of our hearts. Indeed, The Lord Jesus says, “I am He who searches the minds and hearts” (Revelation 2:23). The Scripture is filled with such verses, such as Proverbs 21:2, “Every person’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord examines the hearts.” This is why David said, “Examine me, Lord, and put me to the test; Refine my mind and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2)

As we discussed in Part 2, both the Father and the Son must make their place in our heart. Here Paul describes the dynamic between the two — that they work in tandem with one another toward our good. The Lord Jesus — before whom the hearts of men are lain bare — understands the inscrutable work of His Father’s Spirit — with His inexpressible groanings — within our very hearts and intentions. The Lord Jesus even interprets the work of the Spirit as His Father giving those men to him, as He says in John 6:37-39,

37 Everything that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I certainly will not cast out38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of everything that He has given Me I will lose nothing, but will raise it up on the last day.

Later in John 17:9-10 He says,

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on the behalf of those whom You have given Me, because they are Yours10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

From here, let us jump straight back to Romans 8:28-30,

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Verily, children of God are children of the promise — they have all literally been predestined by the magnanimous will of the Father. Paul says in Ephesians 1:3-6,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved.

The Infinite Father has chosen and predestined all of His children since before the foundation of the world. By the mysterious workings of His Holy Spirit, He reveals who are His chosen to the Lord Jesus — who understands who are His by the very intentions of their hearts. Thus John 1:12-13 says,

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.

And the Lord Jesus says in John 3:6-8,

That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spiritDo not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again [or born from above].’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”

Christ and Nicodemus

Again we see attestation to the mysterious workings of the Father’s Spirit — likened to wind — which the Lord Jesus recognizes by the heart’s intentions (Romans 8:27). The Lord knows that these are those who His Father has given Him — and He will not cast them out or lose them (John 6:37-39). They belong to His Father and thus they belong to Him as well (John 17:9-10). They have been chosen and predestined since before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-6). Ultimately, they have been born of the will of God (John 1:12-13) — and so they have been born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8).

Therefore we ought to know exactly the magnitude of Paul’s words — and we will quote Romans 8:28-30 again,

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

The Father is engaging in a hitherto ongoing creation event with a very specific purpose in mind — the children of God. The Lord Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (John 5:17) The creation is still ongoing — and the seventh day Sabbath rest has not yet come (Genesis 2:2, Hebrews 4:9).

Therefore, we are still being created. And if we are still being created, then we are naught but clay — thus no one should lament over some clay being discarded while other clay is reserved for glory. “Or does the potter not have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one object for honorable use, and another for common use?” (Romans 9:21)

If we were subject to the futility of death — and the whole earth was subject to futility being reserved for fire (2 Peter 3:7) — and the children of God have been foreknown and predestined since before the earth was even created — then none of this was a coincidence or in any way unintended. Creation was not interrupted in the Garden of Eden — on the contrary, it is going exactly as planned. Not one child will be lost, or could even have been lost!

Death, pain, suffering, hunger — whatever inconvenience anyone can imagine — are merely the tools in the Lord’s hands — deliberately subjecting us to futility in hope to produce the glory of the children of God. If we question the Father’s morality or methods in so doing, then we have merely had our minds violated and seared by Marxist, humanist propaganda. He’s not even finished making us yet — and we would question Him? “Who are you, you foolish person, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?” (Romans 9:20)

Yet Paul gives the stipulation: “to those who love God.” If we do not demonstrate purity of heart and come to the Lord Jesus, then we are neither children of the promise nor children of God. To this end, 1 John 2:3-6 says,

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandmentsThe one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever follows His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked.

If we do not keep the Lord Jesus’ commands, keep the Spirit of the Law, and keep our minds on the things above — and we claim to be children of God, then we are liars. If indeed we can lay claim to these things with a pure heart, then we have confidence before our Father just as 1 John 3:21-22 says,

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

But what is that commandment? “That the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister” (1 John 4:21). Yet we must always remember that if any of us keeps this command in the flesh, the law of sin will capture and kill us through our desire to do good.

No one should confuse the true doctrine of predestined salvation with Calvinism — which believes a gnostic salvation that one is merely predestined by “believing in Jesus” and can’t ever lose that salvation regardless of their sin. Belief is important, but it is not the end of salvation as James says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19) If we believe, we have merely attained to no greater status than demons — a sobering thought indeed.

John said the one who does not keep the Lord’s commands is a liar — plain and simple. Being predestined to adoption as children of God comes with characteristics which fundamentally makes “resting on one’s laurels” — so to speak — not possible.

As we already stated, a child of God must keep the command of love in the Spirit — not the flesh. Furthermore, children of God are servants and do not lord themselves over others — as the Lord said in Luke 22:26, “the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.”

Children of God do not rest on their knowledge or take it for granted. Instead of presuming to have reached a state of sufficient knowledge, children of God rather strive to be known by God in service to Him. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:2-3,

2 If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him

Indeed, to be known is better than to know. They rest on the certainty that one day they will come to know themselves as God knows them — as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

By these characteristics, we see clearly how paradoxical the children of God are. They are destined for glory, but they are as children — meek and servile. Their characteristics cleanse them from all pretense or arrogance they might have in their destiny. If they do not exhibit these characteristics, they have no destiny in any case — and they are not children of God.

As such, children of God do not justify themselves in anything they do — but rather they seek to be justified — as Paul says, “these whom He called, He also justified” (Romans 8:30). The Lord said of the repentant sinner who asked for mercy in Luke 18:14,

…this man went to his house justified rather than the other one; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

Yes, children of God look to the Lord for their justification, because He promised to justify them. They are promised glory — as Paul said, “these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30) — but they do not seek their own glory, or glory from men. Rather, they “seek the glory that is from the one and only God” (John 5:44). Until such time as they receive their justification and their glory, they are content with their meek and servile place — just as the Lord said in Luke 17:10,

So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’

As such, the children of God are the true and only sheep of our Lord Jesus — of whom He said in John 10:28-29,

28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

If the sheep have been known since before the foundation of the world, then only the sheep will hear their Shepherd’s voice as the Lord said a few verses earlier in John 10:26-27,

26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me

These are the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6) — and they are the sheep from another fold (John 10:16) — those from the nations (Matthew 28:19). They are the children of the promise — because “it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants [or seed].” (Romans 9:8)

ROMANS 8 — THE CONCLUSION

Romans 8:31-34,

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 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? 33 Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, but rather, was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 

The children of God are destined to be slandered, insulted and have all manner of false accusation lain against them. Ironically, everyone who does so imagines in their own minds that they are doing the work of God — as the Lord says, “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering a service to God.” (John 16:2) They should expect to encounter people who are against them, bring charges against them and condemn them — and they truly believe they are correct in doing so. The Lord says in Matthew 10:24-25,

24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he may become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they insult the members of his household!

The children of God count it joy, because the Lord says to them, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (Matthew 5:11) And Peter says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:14)

Children of God do not take this personally — and they do not justify themselves — because “Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus… intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:33-34) Children of God are secure in the knowledge that if their hearts are pure, the Lord Jesus will intercede for them for all their sin — and He will remove it from their lives. Malachi 3:2 says of the Lord Jesus,

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap.

In response the children of God say, “Amen, Lord Jesus. Purify us!”

Therefore, if the One Who Tests Hearts dines with them (Revelation 3:20), what charges can any bring against them? The children of God have placed their hearts and their lives into the crucible of Christ — and a mere man’s accusations are like a dying ember by comparison.

Scoffers and slanderers generally insist on making doctrinal matters personal affairs — and many Christians are taken unawares by such behavior. Scoffers reduce a discussion to the lowest common denominator and drag their opponents into the mud — trying to make them feel as dirty as possible. They will make it out as if the Christian hates them personally or is out to get them by their adherence to the teachings of Christ Jesus.

Children of God ought to be confident that nothing they have done is personal — if indeed it is not personal. The flesh may lie and make one believe it isn’t personal, when in fact it is. A child of God does not bow to their own flesh. Conversely, they also do not bow to their accuser’s flesh when wielded against them — making their faces like stone as in Ezekiel 3:9,

Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them [Israel] or be dismayed before them, since they are a rebellious house.

Children of God do not answer fleshly fire with fire, and they do not “sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1) — who deride and insult, having worthless religion and no control over their tongues (James 1:26). Rather, as Peter said, “if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” (1 Peter 4:16) Likewise, children of God do not make their own religion worthless by losing control over their own tongues in the face of persecution.

Most of all, they never take their own revenge as Paul commands plainly, “Never take your own revenge” (Romans 12:19). As usual, in these endeavors they ought to find solace and strength in the faith of their inheritance and justification in Christ. Isaiah 54:17 says,

“No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; And you will condemn every tongue that accuses you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

Yes, no weapon, condemnation or accusation will stand against them — but their vindication comes from the Lord, not themselves. Romans 8:35-39,

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We were regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

After having covered the confidence children of God have the justification and glory coming for them — their Spiritual confidence, Paul then covers the physical and material confidence the children ought to have. As for “tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword”, why should we even care about or fear these things?

Such is the children’s destiny, as Paul aptly quoted in Psalm 44:22, “For Your sake we are killed all day long” — indeed, for the Lord’s sake the children of God endure all things, because they “overwhelmingly conquer through Him.” In all of creation — and all of reality — nothing can separate the children from the Father — because “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:29)

If the Lord Jesus and His Father are one (John 10:30) — being singular in unity (John 17:11) — and all that is the Father’s belong to His Son (John 17:10) — then there is literally nothing that “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

Thus the children of God cast out all fear and fleshly distraction in the world — setting their minds on the things which are above — bringing good reports of the goodness and glory of their God to their brethren — glorifying God in persecution — and subjecting themselves to one another and to their Lord Jesus in expectation of their justification and glory to come.

After having read all three parts on this Romans 7 & 8 series, we strongly recommend reading the New Testament cover to cover with all of these things in mind. Hopefully the reader may see and understand how all New Testament authors believed in and kept these very same principles — speaking of them incessantly.

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