An Exegesis of Romans Chapter 8
By Professor Mario Velez, Th.M.
(KJV) Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
(GNS) Romans 8:1 [ara] [nun] [ouden] [katakrima] [tois] [en] Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
[Christo] [Iesous] [paripatousin] [me] [kata] [sarxa] [alla] [kata] [pneuma]
The words “There is” are not part of the original Greek text. “There is” is basically just smoothing out the English translation. The first words in view would be the combination of the Greek conjunction [ara] and the adverb [nun]. The word [ara] is an inferential particle which means that it is used to derive to a conclusion from a previous statement and could be translated “therefore, consequently, then, thus, so.” The adverb [nun], on the other hand, is a primary particle of the immediate present and could be rendered “now, at the present.” By using [ara], Paul is summing up the themes in chapters one through seven. [Nun] is speaking of the present saved status of Believers who have accepted the Lord’s saving work on the cross.
To further understand this, we must reflect on what the Apostle has written up to this point of the epistle. He has explained that salvation is by faith to everyone that believes (1:16-17). Since we are all unrighteous sinners, every single one of us is in need of this salvation. We are completely incapable of obtaining God’s perfect righteousness on our own (3:9-20). Fortunately, this problem has been resolve through the redemption that comes by Christ Jesus to all that accept it by faith (3:22-26). When this faith is exercised, we are justified through the perfect righteousness that is imputed to us from God’s grace. Now that we are considered righteous before God, we can take comfort in knowing that we have peace with Him (5:1-11). This means that we are no longer the objects of God’s wrath because of our fallen state, but instead, we are now objects of His love which He now has for us as His beloved children.
As justified Believers, the Apostle now tells us that we should not go on sinning in Chapter 6:1-2 & 6:15. He states this even though he realized that we would fall now and then. The issue that he was pointing to was, that we would not continue in sin as a way of live, but that we would strive to continue to get up from our falls. To become refined in righteousness, we will definitely need to practice continually, this will not be without our share of struggles. These can be seen in the Apostle’s struggle with sin, which he discloses in Chapter 7:7-25.
After assuring us that we have been justified through Christ and are dead to sin, even though we still have struggles with sin, Paul now makes his conclusion. We have been told that God, in His gracious mercy, has made salvation available by faith. Since we are all sinners and deserve God’s judgement, we are in need of this gift of salvation. This gift is made possible because our Lord Jesus Christ has made His perfect righteousness available to all that will accept it by faith. Even after this justification occurs, we will have to strive to master our sin nature. This will, under no circumstances, affect our permanent justified position that we now possess in the Lord. Therefore [ara], because of this position that we now [nun] have “in Christ Jesus,” there is “no condemnation” against us.
The word “in” is taken from the Greek preposition [en] and denotes “remaining within the sphere of,” it could be illustrated as a dot residing within the sphere of a circle. Our new position is within the sphere of our Lord Jesus Christ. The preposition [en] is expressing a union that is seen in the bond between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct persons, but are one in essence. Each member of the Godhead possesses sovereignty (supreme authority), perfect righteousness (free from sin), justice (completely fair), love (unselfish loyal concern), eternal life (without beginning or end), omniscience (all knowing), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnipotence (all-powerful), immutability (unchanging) and veracity (all truth). The inseparable union of the Trinity is such that the decisions of one member will always line up with those of the other two members. The union of marriage is designed to reflect the image of the perfect community that is seen in the Trinity. As the husband trains himself in doctrinal truth, he shares this doctrinal viewpoint with his wife (Eph. 5:26). In time, God’s Word is design to bring every thought of that husband and wife into obedience with the mind of Christ (2 Cor.10:5; 1 Cor.2:16). There should eventually be such an integration of thoughts between a married couple and Christ that the decision of one person will always line up with the decision of the other, thus becoming one, not only in body, but also in mind (Eph. 5:31). Therefore, it is because of this permanent union with the Lord that there is now absolutely no condemnation against us.
The word “no” is the Greek adjective [ouden], from [oudeis]. [Ouden] implies “not one, not at all, in no respect.” Since this is a cardinal adjective, it means that it is of basic importance. It is in the nominative case, signifying that it is the subject in view. In the Greek order of this verse, [ouden] is the first word we see. The reason for this is that Paul was emphasizing [ouden] to his readers. He is comforting us by telling us that there is absolutely, positively not one condemnation that can be held against us. And to learn exactly what this condemnation entails, we must examine the Greek noun [katakrima], which means, “to condemn, a judgment against someone.” The word is in the nominative case, neuter, singular. The nominative case expresses that [katakrima] and [ouden] are making up the subject of the sentence. Besides here, [katakrima] is only found in two other places. The first place is in (KJV) Romans 5:16 where Paul writes, “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.” The second Scripture in view is (KJV) Romans 5:18 where we read, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
In Romans 5:16 and 18, [katakrima] is being used as the antithesis or contrast of the justification that our Lord provides. Seeing that through the Lord we are credited His life and perfect righteousness, then the contrast to
not having the Lord would be death and imperfect righteousness. God’s righteousness and justice can only embrace perfection, since He is perfect, He cannot have communion with the imperfect. When we, as imperfect sinner, stand before God’s Holiness without our Savior, He must condemn us. His righteousness declares our guilt of coming short of His law, and His justice executes punishment for that guilt, which is death. [Katakrima] encompasses both the verdict of guilty and the execution of the punishment for the crime. We have all broken God’s law and deserve His wrath. It is not a pleasant thing to be under the wrath of someone who cannot only destroy your body, but your soul as well (Matt. 10:28). It would only take one word from God to cause our existence to cease completely. Fortunately, for those who are in Christ Jesus, we can measure the great and endless extent of God’s mercy by seeing God withhold His wrath toward us. For the ones accepting His great mercy in His wonderful perfect sacrifice of His Son, they are the ones free from His condemnation. In (KJV) Colossians 1:22, we are told that we are now [nun] “unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” The word “unreprovable” means that we are unimpeachable. We are not only free from the punishment of all condemnation, but we are also free from all the charges from condemnation. And since all Believers now posses God’s very own eternal life (Rom. 6:23), not even He can destroy us, for He would be destroying Himself (1 Jn. 5:20). All this is possible to them who, by faith, are sanctified in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The words “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” have not been included in Nestle’s New Testament Greek. The Textus Receptus New Testament Greek is the nearest basis for the KJV New Testament. What we simply have to remember here, is that what Paul has just shared with us in proclaiming that there is no condemnation against us, is not based on what we do. The basis for Paul’s message is based on our union with our Lord Jesus Christ. God provided our freedom from all condemnation and, this great demonstration of His love should motivate us to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We will see this further in verse 4.
Corrective and expanded Translation
Romans 8:1 Therefore, in our permanent present state of justification, there is not one single verdict of guilt and punishment to those who are in union with Christ Jesus.
(KJV) Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
(GNS) Romans 8:2 [gar] [ho] [nomos] [tou] [pneumatos] [tes] [zoes] [en] [Christo] [Iesou] made made me free from the law of sin and death.
[eleutherosen] [me] [apo] [tou] [nomou] [tes] [hamartias] [kai] [tou][thanatou]
The concept of the previous verse is now joined together with the subordinate conjunction [gar] meaning “for, since, because.” Since this conjunction is a subordinate, it is subject to the preceding clause, which we have just discussed in verse one. The reason that there is now no condemnation to those in Christ is because “the law of the Spirit of life hath made us free.”
The word “law” is translated from the Greek word [nomos] which is a noun that is in the nominative case, masculine in gender and singular in number, it means “law, principle, rule.” Paul’s use of [nomos] in this verse is a figurative one, in a similar manner as he used it in Romans 3:27 when referring to the “law of faith.” The “law” that is being spoken of here is not a written code, but a controlling power. Kenneth Wuest states it this way, “The law here is not a written law but a regulative principle which exercises control over the live of the Believer.” The nominative case indicates that [nomos] is the subject in view. The possessor of this controlling power is disclosed in the Greek words [pneumatos] meaning “spirit” and [zoes] meaning “life.” These words are in the genitive case, which is the case that shows possession. The genitive case also expresses that this controlling power comes from the Spirit of life. The possessor of this influential power is God the Holy Spirit, it was He who also gave us eternal life the moment we accepted the gospel. As believers, we are beneficiaries of this power because of our union “in Christ Jesus.”
As discussed in our previous verse, the word “in” is translated from the preposition [en] and indicates being within the sphere of, with the idea of rest and continuance. The law of the Spirit of life resides within our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it is He who God used to bridge the gap between Him and us. First, the Holy Spirit set us apart from our fallen state and united us with our Savior’s perfected righteousness (Rom. 15:16). The Spirit, through His work, now allows us immunity from the condemnation that we explored in verse one. An immunity that has repositioned us to now possess perfect righteousness as well as God’s eternal life (Rom. 5:21). The next step for the Spirit to accomplish is to aid us in overcoming the power of our sin nature in our lives. Through confession (1 Jn. 1:9) and the intake of God’s word (Jn. 6:27, Deut. 8:3), the controlling power of the Spirit is strengthened to give us the ability to make decisions from a divine perspective. These decisions will ultimately have eternal benefits, since they are made with the aid of God’s omniscience (all knowing). True life is a monopoly of God and will never cease in its eternal profits. Because of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we can first reap the results of eternal life and perfect righteousness as unbelievers at salvation. After salvation, the benefits continue in our spiritual growth from the sound divine choices that we make in our everyday life. It is through this order of events that we can reap the happiness and blessings that God has in store for us. We now have the ability to be “free from the law of sin and death.”
The freedom we receive can be observed in the Greek verb [eleutherosen], which connotes “to make free, set at liberty: from the dominion of sin.” This verb is in the indicative mood, aorist tense, active voice and is third person singular. The indicative mood expresses the verb as making a definite statement. This particular mood is stating with absolute certainty that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the dominion of sin. The aorist tense of [eleutherosen] speaks of an action that was performed in a point in time in the past. The point in time in the pasted when this freedom occurred was when we accepted God’s gift of salvation. The active voice communicates that the subject, that being the law of the Spirit of life, produced the action of the verb, which is the freedom that we are now examining. The third person singular denotes the subject of conversation (Spirit of life) and it’s singleness in number. The Spirit has allowed us a freedom that has broken the chains of bondage for all the ones who are saved. After salvation, our freedom from sin is dependent on our spiritual growth through confession and biblical intake. It is through the combination of the principle of 1 John 1:9 and the continual perception of God’s Word that we have the ability to be filled by the Spirit. In this way, we can now be free “from the law of sin and death.”
The word “from” is the Greek preposition [apo], which expresses motion away from the surface of an object. It is a preposition that governs the genitive case. The genitive case is the case that shows possession or separation, in our case in point, it is separation that is seen. So, the Spirit of life has removed and separated us from the “law of sin and death.”
As in the first part of this verse, the word “law” is once again a reference to a controlling power rather than to an actual written rule or principle. It is the governing strength of “sin and death” which has been removed.
In the Greek, the word for “sin” is [hamartia] and is a reference to coming short of the mark of righteousness that God demands on us. The case of this noun is the genitive, which is the case that shows possession. The word for “death” is [thanatos] and is also in the genitive case. The genitive is portraying that the controlling power that is in reference belongs to sin and death. Death is consequently the result of sin beginning with spiritual death and ending with physical death, which for an unbeliever, will ultimately end in everlasting torment in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:2 For the controlling power of the Spirit of life which is within the sphere of Christ Jesus, has allow you to be liberated from the controlling power of sin and death.
(KJV)Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the (GNS)Romans 8:3 [gar] [tou] [nomou] [to][adunaton] [en] [hoi] [esthenei] [dia] [tes] flesh God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for
[sarxos] [Theos] [pempas] [heautou] [huion] [en] [homoiomati] [hamartias] [sarxos] [kai] [peri]
sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
[hamartias] [katekrinen] [hamartian] [en] [te] [sarxi]
The subordinate conjunction [gar] meaning “for, since, because,” is once again being used to tie the thought of this verse with verse two. Our writer is expressing that the freedom that was accomplished by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is a freedom that cannot be obtained through the law. The law that is being referred here, is not a controlling power, as in verse two, but the Mosiac law. The reason the law was not able to free us from the dominion of sin and death was because it was “weak through the flesh.”
The word “weak” is translated from the Greek verb [asthenei] and means, “to be weak, without strength, powerless.” The mood for this verb is the indicative, the tense is the imperfect and it is in the active voice, third person singular. As mention before, the indicative mood of the verb [asthenei], is used to make an indisputable statement, there should be no debate that the law is weak. The imperfect tense is implying a continuous past action, the law was weak when it was first established, and it continues to be weak today. The active voice is expressing that the subject, the law, is doing the action that results in weakness. The third person expresses the thing being spoken about, which is the law and it is singular in number.
In Hebrews 7:19, we are told that the Mosiac law made nothing perfect. The law itself was holy, righteous and good, since it was given by God (Rom. 7:12). Unfortunately, the law was unable to help mankind to overcome sin. The law simply pointed out what constituted sin and condemned it, it made us conscious of what sin was and the consequences of that sin, which is death (Rom. 3:20; 6:23). If we objectively evaluate ourselves in light of the law, we will conclude that we come short of fulfilling it’s rigorous rules and regulations (Rom. 3:23). The bible tells us that even if we were to keep all the law and yet stumble on just one part of it, we are guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10). The example of the young rich man is an illustration of how a person can get caught up in certain aspects of the law and totally overlook others (Matt. 19:16-22). The law shows us just what imperfect sinners we are and how helpless our situation is. For us to even consider satisfying God’s perfect holiness through our own human efforts, would be as preposterous as us claiming to be able to walk through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:24). God is the only one who can possibly accomplish such an impossible task. Therefore, the law reflected our fallen sinful position, but it could never be a means for us to escape that condition. And that is the reason that the law was weak, and the factor that caused it to be weak is found in the words “through the flesh.”
Proceeding in our study, let us now examine the reason for the law’s weakness. The answer is found in the next two words. The first word is “through,” which is taken from the Greek preposition [dia]. This preposition usually governs either the genitive case (case for possession or separation) or the accusative case (case for direct object). Here, [dia] is governing the genitive case which would denote “through-ness, as though intersecting a sphere into two by a line with the idea of traveling and passing out of it.” The law proceeds into our innermost being (flesh/sin nature) and condemns us (Heb. 4:12). It is this association with the “flesh” that is the means by which the law is weaken.
The word “flesh” comes from the Greek noun [sarxos] meaning “physical body, human nature, earthly descent.” The “flesh” that is being referred to is the sinful nature that we are born with. It has been passed down through the seed of man, beginning with Adam (1Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12). The sin nature reside in the cell structure of the body (Rom. 7:23) and is passed on through the chromosomes of the father at conception (Ps. 50:5). The sin nature becomes active the moment God breaths into our nostrils the breath of life and we are physically born (Gen.2:7; Job 33:4). The egg cell of the mother is the only cell that is not contaminated with sin as prophesied in Genesis 3:15. Through this prophesy, God set the stage for the virgin birth by which our Lord would be born perfect, uncontaminated and qualified to go to the Cross as a substitute for all sinners. The Holy Spirit provided the chromosomes that were required for conception in Mary (Matt. 1:20). Since all other births have required the chromosomes of sinful fathers, all are born with this sinful human nature.
Because of the influence of our sin nature, we continually have a tendency to bear the fruits that are contrary to the law. Paul writes about the negative fruits of the sin nature such as jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition and the likes in Galatians 5:19-21. Each person’s sin nature will have a trend to do obvious overt sins or more subtle mental sins like thinking that you sin infrequently. This very thought is the sin of self-righteous arrogance and it divorces us from the truth (1Jn. 1:8). The nature of a person or thing is the inner force or drive of that organism. In the same way that it is a dog’s nature to bark or a lion’s nature to roar, likewise it is a sinner's nature to sin. This is the reason that the law is weak, since it could never be kept by imperfect, unrighteous sinful beings. It would take something much greater than the law to overcome the power of sin. It was only the Lord that was perfect and righteous enough to accurately fulfill the law (Matt.5:17-20) and pave the way for the rest of us. Since the law was weak through the flesh, we are now told of the best way for God to save mankind, which was by “sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.”
We now begin to look at the main section of the verse, one that shares God’s solution to our dilemma. The first factor of this solution was that God sent His own Son in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” Our next word of interest is “likeness,” which is the Greek noun [homoiomati] and means “that which has been made after the likeness of something, representation, copy, resemblance.” The case of this noun is the dative, which shows that it is the indirect object. The gender of [homoiomati] is the neuter and it is singular in number. The word is indirectly (dative case) describing the form in which the Son of God would come, and that being sinful flesh.
As we have discussed in the first part of this verse, the Lord did come in the form of a human being. After all, He was conceived and was born of a woman in the same fashion as the rest of the human race (Gal. 4:4). The only difference being in the male chromosomes that are required for a woman to conceive. The chromosomes in our conception were provided by our human father, it was he who was the one that passed on the sin nature to us. This is why we are born with a sinful flesh. In contrast, the chromosomes in the conception of the Lord were not from human origin, but from God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, He was born in actual human flesh, but it did not possess a sin nature, thus it was only a copy of our actual sinful flesh. He appeared in the same form as the rest of us, but He did not have the sin nature residing in the cell structure of His body.
And the reason God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh was “for sin.” The word “for” is from the Greek preposition [peri]. This is a preposition that will usually govern the genitive (possession/separation) or the accusative (direct object) case. Paul is now using [peri] to govern the genitive case. When used in the genitive, [peri] marks the person or thing (sin) about which the action of the verb (sending) occurs. Since it is in the genitive, the preposition is marking sin as the central point of the action of the verb, which is the sending of the Son by God. We could translate [peri] as concerning or regarding. [Peri] is relating to us that God’s Son was send to do a work, and this work would be concerning sin. And the reason Christ’s work concerned sin, was because God would use Him as an instrument to “condemn sin in the flesh.” God’s Son was sent to be a sin offering.
The condemnation that Paul is relating to, is taken from the Greek word [katekrinen], which is derived from [katakrino] denoting “a passing of a judgment worthy of punishment. The verb [katekrinen] is in the indicative mood, which as previously mention, is the mood that presents certainty or reality. The indicative mood tells us that God condemned sin in the flesh as a reality. The verb is also in the aorist tense. When the aorist is used with the indicative mood, it refers exclusively to single actions that occurred in the past. The condemnation in view is one that occurred in a point in time in the past when the Lord hung on the cross. Since the verb is used in the active voice, it tells us that the subject (God) is producing the action (condemning). Lastly, the third person singular simply points out that God is the subject being talked about and He is one in number.
When [katekrinen] is used in the context of human judgment, it
usually expresses a verdict of judgment apart from the executing of the
punishment phase that follows that particular verdict. In Hebrews
is used when we are told that by adhering to God’s warning about the flood,
Noah condemned the world. Although Noah condemned the world, there was
no punishment phase to his condemnation of the world on his part. On the other hand, when [katekrinen]
is used of divine judgment, it relates the judgment as well as the punishment
accompanying that judgment. We can see
this in 2 Peter 2:6, the Lord
condemned the cities of
The sin that God was condemning is the sin that resides within our cell structure of our fleshly bodies. This sin is what was imputed to each of us from Adam, who was our original human father (1Cor. 15:22). Adam and Eve sinned when they disobeyed God’s mandate of not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). The mentality of thinking that their will was better than the will of an infinite, all knowing God was what constituted their sin. This is the same mind-set that is so prevalent in all of us who are born with our human father’s sin nature. All the sins that have ever been committed by every sinful human being were imputed to the Lord’s humanity on the cross. It was these sins that God the Father was condemning when the Lord was on the cross during those three hours of darkness (Matt. 27:45). This was the point in time in which God the Father “condemned sin in the flesh.”
Corrective and expanded Translation
Romans 8:3 Since what the law was unable to do, in that it was powerless through it’s association with the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the resemblance of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, passed judgment and execution on the sins imputed to His body of flesh.
(KJV)Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
(GNS)Romans 8:4 [hina] [to] [dikaioma] [tou] [nomou] [plerothei] [en] [hemin]
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
[tois] [peripatousin] [me] [kata] [sarxa] [alla] [kata] [pneuma]
The Greek subordinate conjunction [hina] is used to introduce a concluding clause relating to purpose. [Hina] introduces the purpose why God had to condemn sin and it could be translated in order that or so that. Since this conjunction is a subordinate, it is depending on the previous action of verse 3 and ties it to the purpose for that action, which is stated in verse 4. God condemned sin in the flesh, “in order that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.”
And the “righteousness” in reference is translated from the Greek noun [dikaioma] which speaks of a “righteous requirement” or “that which has been proclaimed just.” Since this noun is in the nominative case (subject), it is describing the subject of this verse, and that subject is the righteous requirement of the law. The requirement is one that is also neuter in gender and singular in number. The noun being in the singular points to a single regulation, one that required death as punishment for not adhering to a complete obedience to the law (Gal. 3:10; Rom. 6:23).
The law is a unit and we cannot selectively submit to only certain parts of it (Gal. 5:3). The righteousness of the law cannot be obtained unless there is a total submission to all of it’s mandates (Rom. 2:13). The reason no one will be declared righteous through the law (Rom. 3:20), is that we are all sinners. In the same way that one crime would classify someone a criminal, likewise, it only takes one sin to classify someone a sinner. That one sin would be enough to break the whole law and disqualify us from the required perfect adherence to the law, for James 2:10 states that whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. In light of this, we can comprehend why Paul tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). God’s omniscience knew that we would not and could not perfectly fulfill the law. This is why we are told in Romans 3:20 that no one will be declared righteous through the law. It was this association of the law, with sinful people that made the law weak, as we have already discussed in verse 3. Through the law, we are suppose to see how sinful and imperfect we are, since the law shows us what sin is (Rom. 3:20). The law should make us realize that we would have to be perfect to fulfill it, and concluding that we are far from perfect, we should seek God’s solution to our problem (Gal. 3:24). And the solution that we should seek is found in none other than the only person who was perfect enough to fulfill the law, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ Jesus, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled, and through His death, the punishment of death for our sins was taken away from us and placed on Him (Rom. 4:25).
The righteousness of the law was fully fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and God credited this work to us as declared in the words, “fulfilled in us.” The word “fulfilled” is translated from the Greek verb [plerothei] and means, “to accomplish.” [Plerothei] is a verb that is in the subjunctive mood, aorist tense, passive voice, 3rd person, singular, and is derived from [pleroo]. The subjunctive mood speaks of possibility. When the subjunctive mood is used in a purpose clause, the action (fulfillment of the righteousness of the law) should not be thought of as a possible result. Instead, it should be viewed as a definite conclusion that will occur as a result of another stated action (God’s condemnation of sin in the flesh). The righteous requirement of the law was fulfilled, but the fulfillment could not occur until God was able to condemn sin in the flesh of His Son Jesus Christ (verse 3). [Plerothei] is also used in the aorist tense and this tense is used to show a past action that occurred in a point in time. The aorist tells us that the requirement of the law was fulfilled in the past, in a point in time in which God the Father condemned sin in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we now look at the fact that the verb is also in the passive voice, this is the voice that declares that the subject (requirement of the law) receives the action of the verb (fulfilled). The third person indicates the thing being spoken of, and that thing is the requirement of the law, which is singular in number. Therefore, in a point in time in the past, God condemned sin in the flesh of Christ. God’s condemnation was for the purpose of bringing about a fulfillment or a completion of something. The completion was of the righteous requirement of God’s law. We are told that the completion of the law occurs “in us.”
When we look at the word “in,” we find that it is translated from the Greek preposition [en]. As previously discussed, this preposition refers to being “within a sphere” or “within a realm.” And the realm in reference is every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The righteous requirement of the law which Jesus Christ so perfectly accomplish, is credited to us when we accept it by faith (Rom. 3:23). When we exercise our faith, Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed in us (Rom. 4:23-25). As a result, we then posses a perfect righteousness that resides within us. This righteousness is that which satisfies God’s Holiness, and in turn, God declares us righteous and free from any condemnation (verse 1). Once declared righteous, we have now been called to a new protocol, one that requires us to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
The “walk” being proclaimed is taken from the Greek verb [peripatousin] and speaks of “how we conduct ourselves.” This verb is a participle in the present tense (action in progress), active voice (subject performs action of verb), dative case (indirect object/instrumental), masculine, 1st person plural and is derived from [peripateo]. A participle is a word that often ends with an “ing” in the English, such as running, eating, or in our case, walking. A participle not only carries the qualities of an adjective in that it shows case, gender and number, but has verbal qualities such as tense and voice. This participle is modifying the definite article [tois], which could be translated “who” or “the ones.” [Tois] is still referring to us, who are the recipients of the fulfillment of the righteous requirement of the law, and [tois] is the indirect object (dative case) of [peripatousin] “walking.” Since this participle is in the active voice, it is telling us that we are the ones who are to continually (present tense) be performing the action of walking.
By realizing the magnitude of the gift God has provided in condemning His Son, we should be moved to desire God’s approval as our loving Father. As His children, God desires for us to conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of His calling. In 1 Peter 1:15, we are commanded to be holy in everything we do, since He who called us is also holy. This is, of course, an impossibility to do if we regulate our life from the desires of the sinful nature (after the flesh). We can only accomplish this mandate if we allow God the Holy Spirit (after the Spirit) to guide our desires and actions. First, through confession of sin (1Jn. 1:9), and secondly, through the renewing of our minds (Eph. 4:23) by the intake of Bible teaching.
Corrective and expanded Translation
Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law may be fully accomplished in us, the ones walking not after the desires of the sinful nature, but after the desires of the Holy Spirit.
(KJV) Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
(GNS) Romans 8:5 [gar] [oi] [ontes] [kata] [sarka] [phronousin] [ta] [tes] [sarxos]
but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
[de] [oi] [kata] [pneuma] [ta] [tou] [pneumatos]
Once again, the Greek conjunction [gar] (verse 2&3) is introducing an explanation of the distinction between the walk of the flesh and the walk of the Spirit, which Paul addressed in verse 4. Even though this is the second word in the Greek text, when translated into English, it is place at the beginning of the sentence for a smoother translation. Some translations of the word [gar] could be seen in such words as “for, indeed, inasmuch as.” After announcing his introduction by the word [gar], Paul commences his comparison with those of the flesh, to those of the Spirit with the words “they that are after the flesh.”
definite article [oi] is used as a pronoun and
could be translated “they, those”
or “the ones.” The reference of the article [oi] is to the unbeliever. Paul makes this distinction in verse 9 when he states that whoever
doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, does not belong to
The action of the unbeliever is expressed by the verb participle [ontes] and refers to “one that exists” or “lives.” If we recall from verse 4, a participle is a word that usually carries an “ing” ending when in the English; therefore, we could translate this participle as “living” or existing.” The tense of this participle is the present, which indicates a continuous action, they are continuously living, and this living is an action that is occurring at the same time as the verb “mind,” living after the flesh is adjoined with minding after the things of the flesh. [Ontes] is also in the active voice and this is the voice that tells us that it is the unbeliever that is producing the action of living. In regards to it’s adjective qualities, [ontes] is in the nominative (subject) case, masculine gender and plural. The nominative case points to the unbeliever as the subject of this particular clause. The continuous living that these people are producing is “after the flesh.”
The word “after” is taken from the preposition [kata], which is governing the accusative case. The two cases that are governed by this preposition are the genitive (possession or separation) and the accusative (direct object) case. With the genitive case, [kata] illustrates downward vertical motion as in someone jumping down from the roof. With the accusative, as in our present example, [kata] is implying horizontal motion and has regards to the conformity of the two things that this motion connects. [Kata] is connecting the “living” of the unbeliever to “the flesh.” Since the living that is in view is conforming to the “the flesh,” a better translation of the preposition [kata] could be rendered “in conformity with” or “according to.” The conformity of living that we are to see, is one that is according to the sin nature that we studied about in verse 3, it is taken from the Greek noun [sarka], or as it could be translated in English “sin nature.” The accusative (direct object) case of this noun indicates that the sin nature is the direct object of the participle [ontes] (living). The ones that Paul is writing about are living in direct conformity to the sinful nature. And the conformity of living to the sinful nature is due to the fact that they “do mind the things of the flesh.”
The modification of the life of an individual to their sinful nature is a result that originates in the thinking of that person. Paul expresses this fact to us with the Greek verb [phronousin], which refers to “thinking” or “a setting of one’s mind on something.” The indicative mood of [phronousin] indicates a statement of fact or an actual occurrence. The thinking of the things that pertain to the sinful nature is an actual occurrence that the Apostle is sharing with us. This thought process that pertains to the sin nature is one that is continuously transpiring, since [phronousin] is in the present tense. The voice of our verb is the active voice, which expresses that the subject performs the action (thinking). The subject would be the ones that are living according to the sinful nature.
To further understand what is being express in this verse, we have to realize that our lives are made up of the decisions that we make. Each of the decisions in our lives, whether they are good or bad, is an influence by our thinking. The thinking of an individual is what truly makes up that person, Proverbs 23:7 states this in the words, (KJV)”For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”
Our soul is where our thinking takes place. The soul is the immaterial part of an individual that is located within a person’s brain and is comprised of that person’s essence. The essence of a person is made up of self-consciousness, volition, conscience, emotion and mentality. The dominant or right section of our mentality is referred to in Scripture as the heart, which is taken from the Greek word [kardia] in the New Testament, and the Hebrew word [leb] in the Old Testament. The [kardia] is the part of our mind in which we categorically store all the knowledge that we learn, from our vocabulary to the norms and standards that we live by. As our memory center retains more knowledge, it slowly develops our frame of reference on all aspects of our lives. The combination of all these factors is what makes up an individual’s viewpoint, the emotions are simply designed to act as an appreciating agent to certain aspects of the viewpoint of a person. Even though the words [kardia] and [leb] could mean the literal physical heart, when speaking of the mind, it is used as a metaphor. In the same way the physical heart circulates blood throughout our body, likewise, the memory center acts as the pump that circulates precepts throughout our stream of consciousness. Like the physical heart is regarded as the nucleus of physical life, so the right section of our mind is also the nucleus for our mentality. The left section of our mentality is the staging area for knowledge before it enters our right mental chamber. This section is translated “mind” and is from the Greek word [nous].
Someone who is living according to their sinful nature will always reflect a human viewpoint in their mentality. Human viewpoint is limited to the sphere of this life and is build through what our mind perceives. Whether it is from television, books, magazines, movies, music, radio or other people within our sphere, our minds are constantly being washed with worldly ideas. Since we are creatures of sin, these worldly ideas are naturally appealing to us because they line up with the desires of our sinful nature (Gal. 5:19-21). Living in a perpetual state of lust (e.g. money, power, approbation, sexual, etc.), hatred, jealousy, envy, gossiping, maligning, pride or selfish ambitions are the norm in this world. An individual without God the Holy Spirit and biblical inculcation, will most definitely, not be able to countermeasure the effects of worldly concepts. With a stream of consciousness saturated with norms and standards that originate from the sin nature, a person’s mental occupation and life will reflect, what the Bible calls, “wicked works”(Col. 1:21). An unbeliever only knows a worldly perspective, since that is all that occupies his stream of consciousness. An unbelieving mind simply draws from what it has available, and that being, “the things of the flesh.”
believer, now have the opportunity to live our lives opposite of what the flesh
dictates. We are mandated to live according to God (1Pet. 4:7) and be holy, as He is holy (1Pet. 1:13-16). Unlike the unbeliever, we now have the power of
God the Holy Spirit, as well as God’s written Word to help us overcome the
things of the flesh. We must simply
allow God’s Word to wash out all of our carnal doctrines from our minds and
replace them with God’s doctrines (
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:5 For the ones living according to the sin nature have their thinking set on the things pertaining to the sinful nature; but the ones living according to the Spirit have their thinking set on the things pertaining to the Spirit.
(KJV) Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
(GNS) Romans 8:6 [gar] [tes] [sarkos] [to][phronema] [thanatos] [de] [tou] [pneumatos]
minded is life and peace.
[to][phronema] [zoe] [kai] [eirene]
Paul is continuing his clarification of the dissimilarities between a mind of the flesh and a mind of the Spirit. The Apostle is now giving us the consequences that result in a pursuit for one or the other. The Greek conjunction [gar] is expressing continuation and could be translated “for” or “since.” Paul is telling us that “since to be carnally minded is death...”
Examining the word “minded,” we find that it is taken from the Greek noun [phronema] and is speaking of “what one has in the mind”or “a way of thinking.” The noun [phronema] is used in the nominative case, which is the case of specific indication and it names the subject of the sentence. In our case, that subject is the way of thinking that is in reference. As we have discussed in verse 5, the word “carnally” is from the Greek noun [sarkos] and is speaking of the sinful nature. [Sarkos] is used in the genitive case, which is the case of possession or sometimes separation. This is an instance in which the genitive of possession of [sarkos] is in used. The way of thinking, which Paul is sharing with us, is one that is possessed or controlled by the sin nature. The conformity of one’s thinking to line up with the desires of the sin nature is an enslavement to the unsaved (Jn. 8:34). Without Christ, an unbeliever is doomed in their enslavement, first because of their condemnation of death in Adam, and secondly of their sin nature. We are born into this slave market of sin the minute we take our first breath. For the unbeliever who has rejected God’s gift of salvation in His Son Christ Jesus (1 Th. 5:9), this condemnation of death continues in the lake of fire. A state of torture that will commence as soon as they're physical death here on earth has ceased (Luke 16:23, Rev. 21:8).
“death” in view was translated from
the Greek noun [thanatos],
meaning “death” or “dying.” The word [thanatos]
is a noun that is in the nominative case (subject) and is tied to the carnal
mind we have just covered. The noun form
of [Thanatos] is expressing, not
the action of dying, but the result of death.
The same form of this word is used to describe the result of Adam’s
imputation of sin into all humanity (Rom.
5:12, 1 Cor. 15:21). The result of
having Adam’s original sin imputed into us results in our spiritual death. Consequently, spiritual death triggers a
physical death, which is consummated when we die, this
is the lot that awaits all unbelievers.
That is, unless one accepts the Lord’s saving work of redemption on the
cross. In which case, we would receive
the Lord’s eternal “life” (Rom.6:23)
and “peace” (
The first benefit that Paul shares with us that pertains to a mind controlled by the Sprit is “life.” From the Greek, we find that the word comes from the noun [zoe], meaning “life” or “living thing.” This is a noun that is also in the nominative case. [Zoe] is tied to the mental faculty of the spiritual believer, as death is tight up to the mentality of the carnal unbeliever. The state of mind continues to be the forefront issue as the nominative case declares. [Zoe] is part of the state of mind of the believer, in that it is a result of that mentality which is controlled by God the Holy Spirit.
The life in reference is the Eternal life of God Himself, which all believers receive the moment they believe in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:15, 6:54, 10:58, Rom. 6:23, 1Jn. 5:11). God’s eternal life, as God Himself, has always been in existence, having no beginning or no end. Every believer should realize what a great privilege it is to possess our Heavenly Father’s very own indestructible life force. And not only do we have the benefit of God’s eternal life, but also His “peace.”
The word “peace” is taken from the Greek noun [eirene] and pertains to a “state of tranquility” or “harmony.” The nominative case is applied to this noun. Paul is introducing the second result of the spiritually minded believer with the word “peace.” The peace in observance is one that comes as a result of the believer’s justified position in Christ (Gal.2:15-16). The peace that we are examining is not a peace with the world, but instead, it is peace with God. A peace that has occurred when the Lord’s perfect righteousness reconciled a perfect God with imperfect man (2 Cor. 5:18). Because of the human sacrifice of Christ Jesus, God’s holiness has been satisfied and no longer condemns believers to death because of imperfection. The Lord has bridged that gap by being the perfection that God demanded before we could be united to His perfect and holy Being. Because of this fact, there is now no condemnation against us who are in Christ Jesus (verse 1).
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:6 Since the way of thinking of the sinful nature is spiritual death, but the way of thinking of the Holy Spirit is eternal life and peace between God.
(KJV) Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity
(GNS) Romans 8:7 [dioti] [tes][sarkos] [to][phronema] [echthra]
against God: for it is not subject to the law
[eis] [theon] [gar] [ouk] [hupotassetai] [to] [nomo]
of God, neither indeed can be.
[tou][theou] [oude] [gar] [dunatai]
To further assert why a sinful mind leads to death, our author continues with the Greek subordinate conjunction [dioti] meaning, “because, therefore.” Paul uses the conjunction [dioti] to connect the main clause of verse 6 with the subordinate clause of verse 7. The statement of this verse is depended on the statement that Paul has shared with us in verse 6. [Dioti] is introducing an inferential statement. An inferential clause is a conclusion of facts that have previously been stated, in this case, the fact that the way of thinking of the sinful nature is death. The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, and the reason for this occurrence is that “the carnal mind is enmity against God.”
Upon observation of the word “enmity,” we find that it is translated from the Greek noun [echthra] which connotes “hostility” or “hatred as one would have toward an enemy.” The noun [echthra] is also in the nominative case, which as we should know by now, is the case that points to this noun as the subject of the clause. The same form of this word is found in James 4:4, were we are told that friendship for the world is hostility towards God. This deep-rooted hatred is from a carnal mind or way of thinking (verse 6) which has all it’s desires limited to this world. These desires are in complete opposition to the desires of God, who is the target of this hostility. That God is the target is seen in the preposition [eis], meaning “against.” The preposition speaks of motion directed at an object with the purpose of reaching that object. It is also in the accusative case. The accusative case limits the action of the verb to a direct object. The direct object is God and the motion that is being direct at Him is the hatred that originates in the carnal mind.
The carnal mindset is one that follows the same self-seeking pattern that originally separated Adam and Eve from God. The same rebellious thinking of our original human parents is what continues to separate the unbeliever and God. When a person does not abide to a particular standard, it is because they do not think it to be important enough to do so. Their subjection is to the law of the sin nature; therefore, their mentality “is not subject to the law of God.”
The Greek verb that is translated “subject” is [hupotassetai] meaning, “to be under the authority of, submit to” or “obey.” The verb [hupotassetai] has the connotation of a military term as a soldier subjecting himself to the orders of his superiors. In examining this verb, we find that it is in the indicative mood, which is the mood that asserts something with certainty. It is a definite result that the carnal mind does not put itself under the authority of the commanding orders of God. [Hupotassetai] is also in the present tense. The present tense is explaining that this lack of subjection is a continuing present state. Whenever today is today without regards to the past or to the future. The state of the unbeliever is one of continued insubordination to the Lord, one in which they are locked into. A state that is without an escape unless the Lord’s saving work is allowed to set them free. The next thing to observe is that the verb [hupotassetai] is in the passive voice. The passive voice is explaining that the subject, which is the carnal mind, is receiving the action or being acted upon by the verb [hupotassetai]. The carnal thinking of the unbeliever is not under the authority of the law of God, but under the authority of the law of the sin nature (verse 2). It is passively being directed by the yearnings of the carnal nature. This is the reason why the unbeliever is unable to be subjected to the law of God, as seen in the words “neither indeed can be.”
When a person desires something above the Lord, they will base their values in life according to those desires. We are told that such a person makes those desires their god in Philippians 3:19. The word that is translated “belly” in Philippians 3:19 is the word that is a reference to the location of the carnal affections. The Lord tells us that we cannot serve two master in Matthew 6:24, we will love one and hate the other. When we hold to our carnal affections as our god, we end up despising God. As long as a person clings on to their carnal master, they will be unable to submit to the Lord’s righteous statutes that make up His precious Word.
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:7 therefore, the carnal way of thinking has a deep-rooted hatred directed toward God. For it is in a continual state of insubordination to the law of God, neither is it able to, since it is already under subjection to the law of the flesh.
(KJV) Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot
(GNS) Romans 8:8 [de] [oi] [ontes] [en] [sarxi] [dunantai]
Due to the submission of the unbeliever to their carnal nature, it is impossible for them to please God. Paul expresses this consequence beginning with the words “So then,” which is a translation of the Greek conjunction [de]. The conjunction [de] is connecting this consequence of not being able to please God with the action that caused it, that action being the hostility and insubordination of the carnal mind which was stated in verse 7. Other translations for this word could be “moreover, yet, also.”
The next word is the definite article [oi], and being in the nominative case, expresses the subject of the sentence, which is still the unbelievers of verse 7. Being in the plural form, [oi] could be translated “they” or “the ones.” We are told that the ones that are in reference in this verse are they “that are in the flesh.”
On examining the words “that are in the flesh,” we first see the verb participle [ontes], which means “be, stay, exist, remain.” Once again, we must remember that a participle is considered a verbal adjective in that it has the nature of both a verb and an adjective, it usually has an “ing” ending in English and could be translated “existing” or “remaining.” From its verbal nature, the participle explains the action of the verb and shows tense and voice. [Ontes] is in the present tense, indicating a continual action in progress during actual time. As to the voice of [ontes], it is in the active voice, indicating that the unbelievers are the ones that are actively doing the action. As an adjective, [ontes] reflects case, gender and number. In the participle in view, we see that it is in the nominative case. The nominative is the same case that expresses the subject of the sentence, that subject being the unbelievers that were referred to with the article [oi]. The gender of this participle is the masculine and the number is the plural. [Ontes] is modifying the subject of this sentence by stating that the unbelievers (subject) in view, are continually (present tense) “remaining” or “existing” in the flesh.
Let us now continue with the words “in the flesh.” The word “in” is translated from the preposition [en] signifying a “position within a set of boundaries” or “residing within the sphere of” (v. 1). The preposition [en] is being used with the Greek noun [sarki], which is a reference to the “human sinful nature,” or as it is referred to in the King James, “the flesh.” [Sarki] is in the dative case, which is the case for an indirect object. The sin nature is the indirect object that contributes to the unbeliever not pleasing God. The unbelievers who cannot please God are in this predicament due to the fact that they are continually existing within the boundaries of the control of their carnal sinful nature. Due to their continued enslavement to the flesh, it is cause for God’s holiness to reject them, since He cannot have fellowship with anyone that is not as righteous as He is. In Isaiah 64:6 we are told that the Lord considers our righteousness as filthy rags, this is a reference to a woman’s menstrual rag. This should be a sobering thought for anyone who may contemplate on standing before God’s Holiness on his or her own imperfect righteousness. Only the Lord Jesus Christ could ever claim perfect righteousness, and so He was the only one that could be a substitute for us to appease God’s Holiness.
The unbelievers that possess imperfect righteousness due to their continual existence within the sphere of the flesh, “can not please God.” The word “can” is translated from the Greek verb [dunantai], from [dunamai], meaning “be able, be capable of, have power to.” [Dunantai] is used with the particle negative [ou] meaning “no, not.” [Dunantai] is in the indicative mood, which is the mood that expresses a statement of fact. We are told that it is a certainty that the unbeliever is not [ou] capable [dunantai] of pleasing God. The present tense of [dunantai] also indicates that the incapability of the unbeliever to please God is a continual action occurring whenever now is now. When the present tense is used with the indicative mood, it expresses the action as taking place at the present time. The inability of unbelievers to please God is always going on. [Dunantai] is also a deponent verb. A deponent verb is one that is translated so that it reflects an active voice in the English, but in actuality is in the passive or middle voice form, depending on the context in which it is used. In our case in point, [dunantai] is in the middle voice. The middle voice shows the subject performing the action of the verb on itself and is affected from the action of the verb. The action of the unbeliever or lack of, is one that is attributed to them because they are the ones that choose to reject the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ from their own freewill. The result of their rejection is not being born-again spiritually. The result of our spiritual birth enables us to posses God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, for it is He who enables us to overcome our sinful human nature. Without God the Holy Spirit, we are doomed to be a slave to the controlling power of the sinful human nature that indwells every cell structure of our body (v.3). The affect of this incapability of the unbeliever is the inability to appease God, or as the King James states, to “please God.”
The word “please” is translated from the Greek
verb [aresai], from [aresko], meaning “to
please” or “to be acceptable.” [Aresai] is a verb
that is in the aorist, active infinitive.
The aorist tense describes the action as being punctiliar,
the concept of the verb is considered without regard to past, present, or
future time. The emphasis is on the
action as a whole. The active voice attributes
the action to the subject, which in this case would be the unbeliever. When an infinitive is translated to English,
it usually has a “to” attached to
it. The infinitive names the action
without limitations of person or number; hence, the name infinitive. In other words, an infinitive is not limited
to one particular single person, but to all those who are unbelievers. All the attempted actions of the unbeliever
to come to a state of acceptability before the Lord under the power of the their flesh, will be of no avail. Since only born-again believers are the
recipients of God the Holy Spirit (2
The Bible states in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. In Hebrews 11:1 we are told that faith is being sure of what we hope for and having an absolute certainty of what we do not see. Before an unbeliever can please God, they must accept the fact that God’s holiness will only be satisfied with perfect righteousness. The Lord Jesus Christ died for all sins and provides the perfect righteousness and penalty for sin that God’s justice and righteousness (His holiness) demands. The Lord Christ Jesus accomplished this work as a substitute for all of us unrighteous sinners who have come short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). This perfect righteousness only comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all that believe it (Rom. 3:22, 5:1). Those who believe this phenomenal biblical truth will be credited the free gift of salvation and the privilege of being in union with God (Eph. 2:8-10, Jn. 17:20-23). Of course, the unbelievers are those who reject this good news and instead decide to stand before God’s holiness on their own imperfect righteousness, which will never even come close to matching what God demands. The sin of rejecting the Lord is the one sin that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of, and is the basis for the unbeliever’s condemnation (Jn. 3:18,16:9). Since God’s holiness is only pleased with His own perfect righteousness, He must reject any other righteousness that comes short of His and must condemn all unbelievers to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). This should be a sobering thought to all who reject God’s free gift of salvation and decide to stand on their own self-righteous and arrogant merits in order to please God (James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; Proverbs 3:34).
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:8 Moreover, the ones continually existing within the sphere of their human sinful nature do not have the power to be acceptable to God.
(KJV) Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
(GNS)Romans 8:9 [de] [humeis][este][ouk][en] [sarxi] [alla] [en] [pneumati]
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not
[eiper] [pneuma] [theou] [oikei] [en] [humin] [de] [ei] [tis] [ekei][ouk]
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
[Pneuma] [Christou] [houtos][estin] [ouk] [autou]
After expressing the continued state of sin of the unbeliever, which prohibits them from ever pleasing God, Paul now focuses on the believer, which is the contrast to the unbeliever of verse 8. He begins his focus with the words “But ye.”
The words “But ye” are a translation from the Greek superordinating conjunction [de] and the pronoun [humeis]. Unlike a coordinating conjunction, which connects thoughts that are on balance with one another, or a subordinating conjunction, which connects a dependent thought with the main thought, the superordinating conjunction is different. The superordinating conjunction joins an inferior thought with a superior thought. [De] is introducing the contrast between the deficient state of the unbeliever of verse 8, to that of the considerable supreme state of the believer of our present verse. A better translation of [de] could be “on the other hand” or “however.” When [de] is combined with the nominative noun pronoun [humeis], which is the word “ye” or “you,” it should read “you on the other hand” or “you however.” As we have already seen, the nominative case of the pronoun [humeis] indicates that it is the subject in view. Since Greek verbs usually carry an ending indicating the person, Paul’s use of [humeis] independently is for emphasis. Paul uses the pronoun [humeis] to highlight that we, as believers, “are not in the flesh” in comparison to the unbelievers which he has previously addressed in verse 8. After stating the inferior position of the unbeliever in their constant state of sin and inability to be acceptable before God, Paul introduces the flip side to this dilemma. Paul is now saying that we, on the other hand, because of our superior position in Christ are not in the flesh, in contrast to the state of depravity of the unbeliever, who is always under the control of their sinful human nature and is completely unacceptable to God.
Due to our new exalted position as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are no longer in a state of continual sin as Paul states with the words “are not in the flesh.” The words “are not” come from the Greek verb [este] translated “are,” from [eimi] meaning “to be,” and the negative particle [ouk] translated “not.” The verb [este] is in the indicative mood, which is the mood indicating a statement of fact. [Este] is also in the present tense, indicating a continual action occurring in actual time. The voice of this verb is the active voice, stipulating that the subject is producing the action. The verb is also in the second person, which indicates the person being spoken to, and it is in the plural form. The negative [ouk] is negating, as a statement of fact (indicative mood), that the believer does not continually (present tense) produce the action (active voice) of residing within the controlling boundaries of their sinful nature, as those unbelievers of verse 8. Instead, Paul tells us that, unlike the unbeliever, we reside within the controlling boundaries of God the Holy Spirit.
Before one can be within the controlling sphere of the Holy Spirit, there is a condition that has to occur, this is seen with the subordinating conjunction [eiper], which is a conditional particle that could be translated “if indeed” or “if after all.” [Eiper] is introducing the condition that must exist before the believer can be within the sphere of the governing power of the Spirit, and that condition is that the Spirit of God must dwell in us, as seen in the words “the Spirit of God dwell in you.”
One of the assets that a Believer has the privilege of receiving at the moment of salvation is the indwelling Spirit of God (Acts 2:38). The word “indwell” is translated from the Greek verb [oikei], from [oikeo], meaning “live, reside in.” The verb [oikei] is in the indicative mood signifying a definite statement of fact from the writer's viewpoint. Also, the tense of this verb is the present tense, which denotes the action takes place at the present time. The Greek also indicates that [oikei] is in the active voice, which expresses that the subject is performing the action of this verb. In this case, the subject that’s producing the action (active voice) of residing is God the Holy Spirit, Paul proclaims this as a resounding fact (indicative mood) which is perpetually happening in actual present time (present tense). The connotation of this verb is that God the Holy Spirit inhabits the believer's body as His permanent home.
body of every church age believer is the
Old testament, every church age believer is now indwelled by God the Holy
Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit that provides a temple in our bodies for the
indwelling of the glory of Jesus Christ and God the Father as well (Jn. 17:20-23). Since church age believers are indwelled
by the three members of the Godhead, it is impossible for a believer to be
demon possessed. The possibility of
demon influence through satanic doctrines is another story (1 Tim. 4:1). Even though
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a permanent ministry, He only controls our
souls while we are under the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The filling of
the Spirit is a temporary ministry and is dependent on the confession of sin in
our lives through 1 John 1:9. As we expose ourselves to sound biblical
teaching, God’s Word renews our humanistic concepts to line up with His divine
Paul continues with another conditional phrase with the words, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The first word is, once again, the superordinating conjunction [de], translated “now.” [De] is used to display the contrast of the believers with the Spirit, to the unbelievers without the Spirit. Then comes the conditional conjunction [ei], which is translated “if” and marks a first class condition. The first class condition assumes that the premise of the sentence is true and lists the outcome of this premise. In other words, Paul is saying that if a man does not have the Spirit of Christ, and for the sake of this point let’s assume that it is true, the outcome will result in him not belonging to Christ. A first class condition is marked because the verb [echei], translated “have,” is in the indicative mood (presents certainty), and is negated by the Greek negative particle [ouk], translated “not.”
Another ministry of the Holy Spirit when we believe is that He seals us (Eph. 1:13). In the ancient world, the use of a seal was equivalent to a signature, and that signature represented a guarantee from the person who it was from. A seal usually consisted of a signet ring worn on the finger (Jer. 22:24) or a cylinder which hung around the neck on a cord (Gen. 38:18). The seal normally was engraved with the person’s name (Ex. 28:11) or their distinguishing design, and sometime with both. The seal’s raised or recessed symbol or signature was used to engrave theirs mark on wax or moist clay. When an individual signed a contract by using a seal, they were guaranteeing their future fulfillment of their part of the contract. A seal also served as proof of identity, ownership, as well as authentication of orders, laws or policies of kings and governing rulers.
significance of the use of a seal in the antiquated world is important because
the Lord has used this word in reference to church age believers. The Lord has put His seal on the believer
with the Holy Spirit in order to show that He owns us and we are now part of
Him. This seal is His signature
guarantee that we are saved and possess His very own eternal life, along with
many other advantages (2 Cor. 1:21-22,
Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30). Some of the
advantages of the believer is the Baptism of the Spirit in which we are set
apart into union with Jesus Christ (
Corrective and expanded translation
Romans 8:9 You on the other hand, are not continually residing within the controlling boundaries of your sinful human nature, but under the control of the Spirit, if indeed, the Holy Spirit makes His permanent home within you. Now, if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they are not his possession.
To be Continued