Author’s comment. These verse-by-verse notes are taken from Andrew Womack’s commentary (sometimes edited), John Wesley’s commentary (unedited), The Passion Translation notes, the English Standard Version notes, Seemuth Commentary notes, and personal thoughts. Translations are taken from biblegateway.com.
These notes may provide useful background information/insight for the reader in his or her personal devotions or in Bible study/sermon preparation.
Verse 18. Verse 18-30: Suffering to Glory
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
AMP. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time - this present life - are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us, in us, for us, and conferred on us!
TPT. “I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us.” Note: 1) Glory is the Greek word “doxa” which can also be translated “radiant beauty,” “splendor,” “perfection.”
We receive suffering and glorification as Christ’s heirs. However, these two are not at all equal in impact or character. The weakness and suffering are not worthy to be compared with the glory. True, we must live through such sufferings and God meets us in such travail. But the future glorification is so great in scope and quality that comparison of the two is close to ridiculous. The revelation of glory in believers far outweighs any difficulties in this present age.
ESV. The ultimate glory that Christians will receive is so stupendous that the sufferings of this present time are insignificant in comparison. They look forward both to the resurrection of the body and the new heaven and new earth.
Wesley. For I reckon — This verse gives the reason why he but now mentioned sufferings and glory. When that glory "shall be revealed in us," then the sons of God will be revealed also.
Womack. Some Christians have suffered terribly: the Holocaust, wars, slavery, shame, sickness, and hatred. Others have suffered shame, accusation, and ridicule. These and all other sufferings are nothing compared to the wonderful things the Lord has prepared for believers. The glory God has prepared for us is infinitely greater than all the pain sin has inflicted. Our consolation will be so great that the former things will never come to mind (Isaiah 65:17). Thank You, Jesus!
This glory will be revealed IN us. Currently, we have God’s awesome glory in our born-again spirits, although we can’t totally perceive it at this time. As Paul said, “We see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). But when we are with Jesus, or for those who are alive when He returns, we will receive glorified bodies and totally renewed minds. Then we’ll have the full revelation of what was in us all along.
Paul said this glory would be revealed “in us.” God’s glory is already in us! Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:14, “He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in 1 Peter 5:1, Peter said he was a partaker of the “glory that shall be revealed.” Paul also prayed for the Ephesians that the Lord would grant them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him so that they would see the glory of His inheritance that was already in the saints (Ephesians 1:17-18). Doubtless, as Christians, our spirits are already complete. We don’t need more faith, more power, or more anointing. We need to use more of what we have already received. Many Christians will be shocked when they stand before God and realize that all things, they prayed for were inside them from the time they believed.
“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
“For even the whole creation – all of nature - waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known, for their revealing and the disclosure of their sonship.
TPT. “The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters.” Note: 1) “standing on tiptoe:” The Greek word means “intense anticipation” or “anxiously anticipation” about what is going to happen (with an outstretched neck).2) Or “the manifestation of the sons of God.” Interestingly, the Greek word used for “unveiling’ (apokalypsis) is the same word for the full title of Revelation: “The Unveiling or Revelation of Jesus Christ. The created universe is but the backdrop for the dramatic appearing of God’s sons and daughters unveiled with the glory of Jesus Christ upon them. The verb tense in the Greek text is clear that his “unveiling” is imminent, soon to happen, and destined to take place. Christ’s glory will come to us, enter us, fill us, envelop us, and then be revealed through us as partakers of the glory. Although God will not share his glory with any other, we are no longer “another” for we are one with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit though faith in Christ. See Jo. 17:21-23.
ESV. Creation is personified to emphasize the wonder of the future glory of God’s sons (believers who have the right of inheritance of all that God has in store for them).
Seemuth. The created world awaits the believer’s future glorification because creation currently suffers along with believers. The cosmos has been profoundly affected by sin’s entry and rule. But the redemption of creation shall coincide with the final redemption of the believers.
Wesley. For the earnest expectation — The word denotes a lively hope of something drawing near, and a vehement longing after it.
Of the creation — Of all visible creatures, believers excepted, who are spoken of apart; each kind, according as it is capable. All these have been sufferers through sin; and to all these (the finally impenitent excepted) shall refreshment redound from the glory of the children of God. Upright heathens are by no means to be excluded from this earnest expectation: nay, perhaps something of it may at sometimes be found even in the vainest of men, who (although in the hurry of life they mistake vanity for liberty, and partly stifle. partly dissemble, their groans, yet) in their sober, quiet, sleepless, afflicted hours, pour forth many sighs in the ear of God.
Womack. Creation waits for the glory in us to be manifested, i.e., made visible to our eyes. This glory will be completely manifest when we receive our glorified bodies and totally renewed minds. However, we can experience His glory now to the degree that we renew our minds. Phillips translation says, “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”
The two English words “earnest expectation” were translated from the Greek word “APOKARADOKIA.” This word is used only twice in the New Testament (here and Philippians 1:20). It’s a compound word meaning “intense anticipation” (Strong’s Concordance). Other scholars have translated it as “to strain forward,” “a watching with outstretched head” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary), and “to expect on and on, to the end” (Cremer). Fritz Rienecker says this word “denotes diversion from all other things and concentration on a single object.”
Therefore, it’s clear that creation eagerly and intensely anticipates the day when God’s glory, which is deposited in God’s saints, will be revealed. That day will be revealed fully at Christ’s Second Coming. It’s logical, however, that creation rejoices to some degree every time a saint manifests His glory now.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “manifestation” as “an indication of the existence or presence of something.” Something that does not already exist cannot be manifested. As the Apostle John said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). We are already the sons of God. This is not something that has yet to transpire. All of creation is waiting for us to manifest what is already in us.
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope.”
AMP. “For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty - to futility, condemned to frustration - not because of some intentional fault of its own, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—
TPT. “For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin….” Note. Empty futility: Or “the purposelessness” or “the frustration.”
Seemuth. The emptiness and futility that now mark the created order due to sin will, in the future, be removed. This coincides with the release of the children of God from all the effects of sin. Just as believers struggle with their current suffering, so also does creation suffer. In the future, believers will find freedom from all of sin’s tentacles and creation will also find such freedom. God does not waste suffering. With it, He provides hope and grace by the Holy Spirit. The future holds a sure and certain freedom from decay and the bondage of sin.
ESV. When Adam sinned, the created world was subjected to futility. One thinks of the thorns and thistles that were to accompany work and the pain in childbirth for women.
Wesley. The creation was made subject to vanity — Abuse, misery, and corruption. By him who subjected it — Namely, God, Genesis 3:17; 5:29. Adam only made it liable to the sentence which God pronounced; yet not without hope.
Womack. The animal creation is corrupted; God placed it under man’s dominion, and it entered a fallen state through our transgression. God will bring the animal creation into our glorious liberty.
Some thought that the “creature” spoken of is human beings. However, the contrast made in Romans 8:22-23 clearly exempts the saints from this group. Romans 8:21 speaks of the creature being “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” If “creature” were referring to unsaved people, this would mean ultimate reconciliation of humans to God, and that is not the teaching of Scripture.
Therefore, the creature spoken of is all of creation, living and non-living, excluding humans. Paul spoke how creation did not choose to rebel against God. Mankind sinned. Yet the Lord brought the rest of creation, against its choice, into our cursed state with us. God will also redeem creation with mankind. Take for example the animal creation. Genesis 1:30 says that all the animals were given “every green herb” for their food. There were no carnivorous beasts. Yet after man’s rebellion, parts of the animal creation began to devour one another. This was not God’s original plan, and it was not because of a specific sin on the animals’ part that this happened. God subjected the animal creation to the same vanity that man had come into, in the hope of redeeming them also. The animal creation, as well as the inanimate creation, will be delivered from the corruption that we now see, to walk in the glorious liberty of the children of God. It is not clear that every animal that has ever lived will be resurrected, but the animal creation will be represented. The Scriptures declare this freedom for the creation when it speaks of the child playing with the snake; the wolf and the leopard dwelling peacefully with sheep; and the lion and lamb, and cow and bear dwelling together and eating straw like the ox (Isaiah 11:6-8 and 65:25). We know that in heaven, there are animals because the saints ride white horses at the Second Coming of Jesus (Revelation 19:14).
In summary, the animal creation was plunged into the same degenerate state as mankind so that they could also be redeemed with us into liberty. Therefore, it can be expected that on the new earth where the saints will live for eternity (Revelation 21:1-7), animals will be living in harmony with each other and mankind as God originally designed in His first creation.
The Greek word translated “vanity” is “MATAIOTES,” and it means “emptiness as to results” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). In this verse it specifically means “failing of the results designed, owing to sin” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). This is speaking of the non-human creation being subjected to a corruption (Romans 8:21) that was not God’s original design.
“Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
AMP. “That nature or creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay, sin, and corruption [and gain an entrance into the glorious freedom of God’s children.
ESV. The original creation did not suffer from futility and on the last Day, it also will be transformed and freed from the effects of sin and will instantly become far more beautiful, productive, and easy to live in than once can ever imagine.
Womack. The animal creation (in whole or by way of representation) will be saved and exist in the new heaven and the new earth.
Creation is involuntarily subject to the corruption entered into by man. God will reunite man and creation through redemption into the glorious creation He originally created and intended.
“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
AMP. “For we know that the whole creation has been moaning together as in the pains of childbirth until now.”
TPT. “To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth.”
Seemuth. The created realm is amid deep agony awaiting the dawn of the age to come. So, the creation groans. For this Paul moves to our own experience with suffering.
ESV. Again, creation is personified, showing that it also longs for the day when the salvation that has already begun in God’s children will be completed.
Wesley. The creation itself shall be delivered — Destruction is not deliverance: therefore, whatsoever is destroyed, or ceases to be, is not delivered at all. Will, then, any part of the creation be destroyed? Into the glorious liberty - The excellent state wherein they were created.
Womack. Animals fight and kill just like people do. They are corrupt just like people. The Greek word “SYSTENAZO,” translated “groans” means “to moan jointly, i.e. (figuratively) experience a common calamity” (Strong’s Concordance).
We may be awestruck at the perfect balance we see in nature. Creation, as of today, is corrupted. It’s far less than what God originally intended. Creation groans and travails together in pain. Creation will be delivered with the manifestation of the children of God.
“Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
AMP. “And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the first fruits of the Holy Spirit [ which is a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies, from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal our adoption or manifestation as God’s sons.
ESV. God’s people also groan and long for the completion of his saving work. The tension is seen between “the already” and “not yet.” Christians already have the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, but they still await the day of their final adoption when their bodies are fully redeemed, and they are raised from the dead. Their adoption has already occurred in a legal sense, and they already enjoy many of its privileges.
Seemuth. We groan within, because the agony of the fallen world touches us. We experience relational, emotional, as well as physical brokenness. We groan, awaiting the end of decay. Even though we have the first fruits of the Spirit as our guarantee of a blessed future, we still groan in concert with the world. The adoption spoken of here is the final restoration of the created realm, which includes a resurrected body when we gain full adoption in the age to come. Today, the first fruits of the Spirit are our guarantee of future perfection, even that of our bodies.
Wesley. For the whole creation groans together — With joint groans, as it were with one voice. And travails — Literally, is in the pains of childbirth, to be delivered of the burden of the curse. Until now — To this very hour; and so on till the time of deliverance.
Womack. Paul enjoyed all his born-again benefits. Even though he rejoiced in his spirit, he longed for the time when his flesh would be transformed into his glorified body and renewed soul. Then there would be no warfare against the wonderful liberty he had in his spirit. There would be perfect manifestation of life in spirit, soul, and body.
The Holy Spirit is the “first fruits” of our salvation. Where there are first fruits, there is further fruit. The Holy Spirit is the earnest, or down payment, of our salvation with more to come (2 Corinthians 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14). As wonderful as our salvation is, it is not yet complete. The flesh is our constant source of trouble, and even victorious Christian’s groan for the time when we are delivered from this flesh. We yearn for the redemption of our bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
The word “adoption” is used five times in the New Testament (Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4; Galatians 4:5; and Ephesians 1:5). People draw many analogies from this word that have merit, but this verse makes it clear that “adoption” refers to when we receive our glorified bodies.
Jesus purchased our redemption – spirit, soul, and body. But our redemption is incomplete. Only our spirits have experienced total redemption. The English word “redemption” is translated from the Greek word “APOLUTROSIS,” and this means “(the act of ransoming in full” (Strong’s Concordance). However, it’s more than the payment of a ransom; it includes the deliverance that comes as a result (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) of the ransom. So, Paul spoke of when we will experience in our bodies what Jesus purchased for us.
The purchase price for our total salvation has been paid with the blood of Jesus, but our bodies are not redeemed yet. We have not yet received all the benefits of that transaction in our physical bodies. That will take place at the Second Coming of the Lord, when we receive our new glorified bodies.
“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
AMP. “For in this hope we were saved [by faith]. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he already sees?”
TPT. “But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have?
Seemuth. A lie is perpetuated among Christians which causes us to think that if we suffer, the displeasure of God rests upon us. Paul, however, rejects this notion. He says that a believer suffers in hope. And we do not hope in something that may not happen. No, we hope in something sure. The redemption of our body will occur when though we do not yet see its fulfillment. Hope is not truly hope if we already have what we hope for. When the situation seems too difficult, the Holy Spirit prays for us when we are too weak to do so. It may be tongues, or it may be inter-trinity communication. Thus, the groaning prayers of the Spirit on our behalf join with the groaning of creation and believers.
Womack. Paul spoke of the glory that is in us (Romans 8:17) and the day when we would receive glorified bodies and renewed souls that would perfectly manifest that glory. This is the hope to which he referred. We can’t see the hope’s manifestation if we live in these bodies.
Hope “sees” something that can’t be seen. Hope sees on the inside what you can’t see on the outside. It appears to me that it is a positive imagination. Imagination is the ability to see things in your heart that you can’t see with your eyes. That’s what is spoken of here. We could take all the scriptures on hope and relate them to a positive imagination.
Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” Is there a contradiction between these two scriptures? Not at all. Putting faith in God’s provision is what saves us, but hope is an important part of faith.
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure.”
Seemuth. We hope in something sure. The redemption of our body will occur even though we do not yet see its fulfillment. So, we look for its fulfillment with dogged perseverance. Hope is not truly hope if we already have what we hope for.
Womack. Patience is directly related to hope. If we don’t have strong hope, we can’t have patience. Therefore, to increase our patience, we need to increase our hope. And if hope is a positive imagination, then our positive imaginations are a vital part of patience.
This verse links patience and hope. Hope produces patience.
“Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
AMP. “In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.”
TPT. “Intercession” is translated from “erentugkhano” meaning “super or hyper intercede.” We can only imagine how many blessings have poured into our lives because of the hyper-intercession of the Holy Spirit for us.
Groanings. We find three groanings in this chapter. Creation groans for the glorious freedom of God’s children, v. 22. We groan to experience the fullness of our status as God’s children, v. 23. And the Holy Spirit groans for our complete destiny to be fulfilled here.
ESV. Although Christians do not always know God’s will in prayer, the Spirit himself intercedes for them in and through their tongues, since what Paul says here applies to all Christians and according to I Cor. 12:30 only some Christians speak in tongues.
Wesley. Likewise, the Spirit — Nay, not only the universe, not only the children of God, but the Spirit of God also himself, as it were, groans, while he helps our infirmities, or weaknesses. Our understandings are weak, particularly in the things of God our desires are weak; our prayers are weak. We know not — Many times.
What we should pray for — Much less are we able to pray for it as we ought: but the Spirit makes intercession for us - In our hearts, even as Christ does in heaven. With groanings — The matter of which is from us, but the Spirit forms them; and they are frequently inexpressible, even by the faithful themselves.
Womack. The Greek word translated “helps” is “SUNANTILAMBANOMAI,” and it means “to take hold of opposite together, i.e. co-operate (assist)” (Strong’s Concordance). The Holy Spirit doesn’t do this for us but with us. It describes a union, not the Holy Spirit doing all the interceding for us. The Holy Spirit helps us as we are interceding, but He doesn’t automatically do it for us.
Some say that this groaning is speaking in tongues. But speaking in tongues can be uttered. This speaks of a groaning in the Spirit different from speaking in tongues. The Greek word “ALALETOS,” translated “which cannot be uttered,” means “unspeakable” (Strong’s Concordance).
The word “likewise” stresses that hope helps us endure until the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). The Holy Spirit helps us in the frailties of our flesh by interceding for us.
The Greek word translated “infirmities” is “ASTHENEIA,” and it means “feebleness of mind or body; by implication, malady” (Strong’s Concordance). This word is translated “weakness” five times (1 Corinthians 2:3, 15:43; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 13:4; and Hebrews 11:34). It describes mental and moral weakness, not sickness. Paul described these infirmities when he said, “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” The infirmities this scripture is speaking of are the weaknesses that come from not knowing how we should pray.
This has been an encouraging scripture for countless believers. None of us know how to pray in every situation. It’s comforting to know that the Holy Spirit helps us. He helps us; He doesn’t intercede for us but through us. Even Jesus drew on this ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is written in John 11:33 and 38 that Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice when He raised Lazarus from the dead. What infirmity did Jesus have that He needed this ministry of the Holy Spirit? Jesus had no sin, but He did have an infirmity–His physical mind. Even a sinless human mind could not comprehend raising a man from the grave after four days. If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to help Him when He didn’t know how to pray, then we need the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us when we don’t know how to pray.
This intercession of the Holy Spirit is with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” Some Spirit-filled Christians say that these groanings that cannot be uttered in our normal speech refers to speaking in tongues. Yet this refers to an intercession different from speaking in tongues. In John 11:33 and 38, Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice. It’s the exact term used in Romans 8:26, and in John 11. No words were uttered. It was a groaning in the Spirit. All those who have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit have or will have this happen to them. Paul referred to this in Galatians 4:19 when he spoke of travailing in birth for the Galatians. This groaning of the Holy Spirit is a groan of anger and resistance against Satan’s devices in people’s lives. Many times, Christians don’t discern this, thinking they are the only ones grieved with their situations. But this is the Holy Spirit interceding for people against their problems.
“Now he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Wesley. But he who searches the hearts — Wherein the Spirit dwells and intercedes. Knoweth — Though man cannot utter it. What is the mind of the Spirit, for he makes intercession for the saints — Who are near to God. According to God — According to his will, as is worthy of God. and acceptable to him.
AMP. “And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the Holy Spirit, and what His intent is, because the Holy Spirit intercedes and pleads before God on behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”
Seemuth. God searches our hearts. Through the Holy Spirit, God ministers to believers through perfectly focused intercession. The interceding ministry of the Holy Spirit is always in line with God’s will. Even in our weakness, perhaps especially in our weakness, God is at work to fulfill the work that is most needed in the life of the believer to bring the believer into conformity with the character of Christ. Since God always knows what we need to bring us into that conformity, the Holy Spirit’s intercession will effectively give us what we need. What assurance this is in our weakness.
ESV. God always answers the requests of the Holy Spirit in the affirmative, since the Holy Spirit always prays in accordance with God’s will.
Womack. The Holy Spirit always leads us and intercedes for us in accordance with the Father’s perfect will. He leads us and prays that God’s will comes to pass in our lives. We don’t always pray correctly, but when we intercede, the Holy Spirit translates our hearts’ cry to the Father. The Father and the Holy Spirit communicate perfectly.
“He that searches the heart” is God the Father. God knows our hearts, and He knows that the Holy Spirit will only intercede for His will to be done in our lives. The Holy Spirit knows how to convey our real and apparent needs to the Father. There is such oneness between the Father and the Holy Spirit that even His groanings are perfectly understood.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
AMP. “And we know with great confidence that the Father, who deeply loves us, causes all things to work together as a prepared plan for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
TPT. “So, we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Note: “together for good” in the Aramaic is “harmony.” God works all thing together harmoniously.
ESV. God weaves everything together for good for his children. The “good” in this context does not refer to earthly comfort but conformity to. Christ (v. 29), closer fellowship with God, bearing good fruit for the Kingdom, and final glorification.
Seemuth. This verse is an anchor. It does not say that everything that happens to us is God’s desire. Evil still happens. But for those who have been reconciled to God, who love Him, true good will result from suffering. God is interceding by the Holy Spirit for those in weakness. No extreme experience is without consequent blessing from God because He brings gold out of the furnace of difficulty. These sufferings work together for good. Isolated events may seem to be counterproductive to godly living, even contrary to God’s ultimate plan. But put together by the loving hand of God, events work for God’s design to bring blessings to believers. We may not know what is going on in our lives. But through this verse, God has given us His assurance that his ultimate plan for our lives.
Wesley. And we know — This in general; though we do not always know particularly what to pray for. That all things — Ease or pain, poverty or riches, and the ten thousand changes of life. Work together for good — Strongly and sweetly for spiritual and eternal good.
To them that are called according to his purpose — His gracious design of saving a lost world by the death of his Son. This is a new proposition. St. Paul, being about to recapitulate the whole blessing contained in justification, (termed "glorification," Romans 8:30,) first goes back to the purpose or decree of God, which is frequently mentioned in holy writ. To explain this (nearly in the words of an eminent writer) a little more at large: -When a man has a work of time and importance before him, he pauses, consults, and contrives; and when he has laid a plan, resolves or decrees to proceed accordingly. Having observed this in ourselves, we are ready to apply it to God also; and he, in condescension to us has applied it to himself. The works of providence and redemption are vast and stupendous, and therefore we are apt to conceive of God as deliberating and consulting on them, and then decreeing to act according to "the counsel of his own will;" as if, long before the world was made, he had been concerting measures both as to the making and governing of it, and had then writ down his decrees, which altered not, any more than the laws of the Medes and Persians. Whereas, to take this consulting and decreeing in a literal sense, would be the same absurdity as to ascribe a real human body and human passions to the ever-blessed God. This is only a popular representation of his infallible knowledge and unchangeable wisdom; that is, he does all things as wisely as a man can possibly do, after the deepest consultation, and as steadily pursues the most proper method as one can do who has laid a scheme beforehand. But then, though the effects be such as would argue consultation and consequent decrees in man, yet what need of a moment’s consultation in Him who sees all things at one view? Nor had God any more occasion to pause and deliberate and lay down rules for his own conduct from all eternity, than he has now. What was there any fear of his mistaking afterwards, if he had not beforehand prepared decrees, to direct him what he was to do? Will any man say, he was wiser before the creation than since? or had he then more leisure, that he should take that opportunity to settle his affairs, and make rules (or himself, from which he was never to vary? He has doubtless the same wisdom and all other perfections at this day which he had from eternity; and is now as capable of making decrees, or rather has no more occasion for them now than formerly: his understanding being always equally clear and bright, his wisdom equally infallible.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many sons.”
AMP. For those whom He foreknew, of whom He was aware, choose, and loved beforehand, He also destined from the beginning, foreordaining them, to be molded and conformed into the image of His Son, and ultimately share in His complete sanctification, that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.
TPT. “predestined” in the Aramaic is translated “sealed us with God’s mark.”
Seemuth. This is the rational for believing that God works all things together for good to those who love Him. Note that every verb is in the past tense. All these actions have already been accomplished. God foreknew us, predestined us to be like Jesus in character, called us to Himself, justified us, and glorified us. Note that glorification has been accomplished for the believer. Our glorification is certain and secure. What God promises, he also completes. Our glorification is sure, certain and though we suffer, and experience weakness and difficulties.
ESV. Verses 29-30 explain why those who believe in Christ can be assured that all things work together for good: God has always done good for them, starting before creation, continuing through their conversion, and then to the Day of Christ’s return. Foreknew reaches back to the OT, where the word “know’ emphasizes God’s special choice of, or covenantal affection for his people.
Wesley. Here the apostle declares who those are whom he foreknew and predestinated to glory; namely, those who are conformable to the image of his Son. This is the mark of those who are foreknown and will be glorified, 2 Timothy 2:19. Philippians 3:10; Philippians 3:21.
Womack. This verse is the key to predestination (1 Peter 1:2). God predestinates those who He foreknew would accept Him. He never predestinated anyone to hell. Those He knew would accept Him as Savior are predestinated to become like Jesus. As we renew our minds, such happens to a degree in this life, but every believer will be like Jesus when we see Him (1 John 3:1-2).
“Foreknowledge” refers to God knowing those of us who would accept His offer of salvation before we did so. We (believers) were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). God knows our choices in advance.
He told us to be wise concerning that which is good, and simple (or innocent) concerning what is evil (Romans 16:19). We are to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and things that have virtue and praise (Philippians 4:8). That’s the way He desires us to be because that’s the way He is.
“Predestinate” and its variant “predestinated” are used four times in the New Testament (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5, and 11). People have interpreted this doctrine as saying that God predetermines everything in people’s lives, including whether they will be saved or lost. This interpretation is not consistent with other doctrines in Scripture. This belief will destroy people’s motivation to fight evil and do good. If God predetermines everything that happens in people’s lives, then everything that happens to them is God’s will–even sin. That is not true.
This verse limits God’s predestination to those whom He foreknew. Only those people who God knew would accept His offer of salvation have been predestined. He does not predestine people to be saved or lost. Those whom He foreknew in Christ have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ.
All people have a God-given right to go to hell if they want to. Just as in Romans 8:28, God works everything together for good for those who love Him. And even then, He does not take away their free will. Everything that happens to them is not good, and it is not from God. However, God, in His infinite wisdom, can work it together for good. Romans 8:29 is simply continuing to develop the truth that God is for man and has predetermined that those who have come to Him for salvation will be saved to the uttermost. Understood correctly, this verse provides great reassurance to believers that God is for them and working with them to bring them to the complete stature of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
“Firstborn” is translated from the Greek word “PROTOTOKOS.” According to Strong’s Concordance, this is a compound Greek word comprised of “PROTOS,” which means “foremost (in time, place, order or importance),” and “TIKTO,” which means “to produce (from seed...).” Therefore, “firstborn” could refer to either first in order or first importance. Both applications are true of Jesus. Although others were raised from the dead before Jesus, Jesus was the first one to be raised from the dead never to die again. Jesus was also the firstborn in the sense of importance, since His resurrection made all other resurrections possible. In context, Paul stressed that believers are predestined to be just like Jesus, then that Jesus would be the firstborn (Psalms 89:27).
“Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
AMP. And those whom He foreordained, He also called; those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself); those whom He justified, He also glorified - raising them to a heavenly dignity, a condition the glory that Jesus has.
TPT. “Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with His Son. Note. Notice that all the verbs are past tense. The same faith that justifies us is the faith that glorifies us. This verse gives us four golden links in the chain of our salvation: 1) predestination; 2) vocation; 3) justification; 4) glorification.
ESV. The chain that begins with the word “foreknew” in v. 29 cannot be broken. Those who are predestined by God are also called effectively to faith through the gospel (see 2 Thes. 2:14). And all those who are called are also justified (declared to be right in God’s sight). Because not all who are invited to believe are justified, the “calling” here cannot refer to merely a general invitation but must refer to an effective call that creates the faith necessary for justification (Ro. 5:10). All those who are justified will also be glorified (receive resurrection bodies) on the last day. Paul speaks of glorification as if it were already completed, since God will certainly finish the good work, he started (Phil. 1:6).
Wesley. Them he — In due time. Called — By his gospel and his Spirit. And whom he called — When obedient to the heavenly calling, Acts 26:19. He also justified — Forgave and accepted.
And whom he justified — Provided they "continued in his goodness," Romans 11:22, he in the end glorified - St. Paul does not affirm, either here or in any other part of his writings. that precisely the same number of men are called, justified, and glorified. He does not deny that a believer may fall away and be cut off between his special calling and his glorification, Romans 11:22. Neither does he deny that many are called who never are justified. He only affirms that this is the method whereby God leads us step by step toward heaven.
He glorified — He speaks as one looking back from the goal, upon the race of faith. Indeed grace, as it is glory begun, is both an earnest and a foretaste of eternal glory.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
AMP. “What then shall we say to all this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who can be our foe if God is on our side?”
Seemuth. God’s gracious work on our behalf totally overwhelms our most extreme difficulties. God’s love for us seen in the atoning, justifying work of Christ, and indwelling presence and enabling power of the Holy Spirit is proof that God’s favor rests upon us. His certain and sure plan for the future allows peace to flow for us who look to His appearing and our full redemption and adoption.
Womack. God is for us. Who can successfully oppose us? No one!
Romans 8 answers to Romans 7: the truth that the flesh is hopelessly and totally unable to ever please God. Romans 8 is full of victory because of the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us (Romans 8:26-27), God works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). We are predestined to be conformed to Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29). Paul draws a conclusion from all these truths. Since God is for us (which is his affirmation), no one can successfully oppose us or defeat us.
Wesley. What shall we say then to these things — Related in the third, fifth, and eighth chapters? As if he had said, we cannot go, think, or wish anything farther.
If God be for us — Here follow four periods, one general and three particulars. Each begins with glorying in the grace of God, which is followed by a question suitable to it, challenging all opponents to all which, "I am persuaded," etc., is a general answer. The general period is, If God be for us, who can be against us? The first period, relating to the past time, is, He that spared not his own Son, how shall he not freely give us all things? The second, relating to the present, is, it is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? The third, relating to the future, is, it is Christ that died - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
AMP. “He who did not withhold or spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all other things?
TPT. “For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all, he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give.
Wesley. He that — This period contains four sentences: He spared not his own Son; therefore, he will freely give us all things. He delivered him up for us all; therefore, none can lay anything to our charge. Freely - For all that follows justification is a gift also. All things — Needful or profitable for us.
Seemuth. Jesus is God’s most precious Love and He sent Him to die for our sins. It is therefore perfectly logical that God will give us all other things that are to our benefit, these all pale in comparison to the glorious gift of the Son of God. When Paul says “all things” he refers to those things which only enhance our lives, whether now or for eternity.
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” See Is. 50:8.
AMP. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect when it is God Who justifies, that is, who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? God acquits us.
ESV. Satan, their enemies, or even their own consciences may bring charges against God’s elect, but those who have come to faith in Christ will never be found guilty, for God declares them to be right before all the world at the divine tribunal.
Wesley. God’s elect — The above-cited author observes, that long before the coming of Christ the heathen world revolted from the true God, and were therefore reprobated, or rejected. But the nation of the Jews were chosen to be the people of God, and were therefore styled, "the children" or "sons of God," Deuteronomy 14:1; "holy people," Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; "a chosen seed," Deuteronomy 4:37; "the elect," Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 43:10; "the called of God," Isaiah 48:12. And these titles were given to all the nation of Israel, including both good and bad. Now the gospel having the strictest connection with the Books of the Old Testament, where these phrases frequently occur; and our Lord and his apostles being native Jews, and beginning to preach in the land of Israel, the language in which they preached would of course abound with the phrases of the Jewish nation. And hence it is easy to see why such of them as would not receive him were styled reprobated. For they no longer continued to be the people of God, whereas this and those other honorable titles were continued to all such Jews as embraced Christianity. And the same appellations which once belonged to the Jewish nation were now given to the gentile Christians also together with which they were invested with all the privileges of "the chosen people of God;" and nothing could cut them off from these but their own willful apostasy. It does not appear that even good men were ever termed God’s elect till above two thousand years from the creation. God’s electing or choosing the nation of Israel, and separating them from the other nations, who were sunk in idolatry and all wickedness, gave the first occasion to this sort of language. And as the separating the Christians from the Jews was a like event, no wonder it was expressed in like words and phrases only with this difference, the term elect was of old applied to all the members of the visible church, whereas in the New Testament it is applied only to the members of the invisible.
Womack. The highest judge in the universe - God the Father - has acquitted us; therefore, all other judges have no authority to accuse us of anything. He will never bring any accusation against us. He’s the One who forgave us.
If the Father has dropped all charges against us through our faith in Christ, we must reject the accusations of all others.
Verse 34. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
AMP. “Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died to pay our sin penalty, and more than that, who was raised from the dead, and who is at the right hand of God interceding with the Father for us.”
TPT. “Who is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For He gave His life for us, and even more than that, He has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at His right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph? Note. Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, so does Jesus Christ. Two divine intercessors are praying for you continually, day by day, until the day you go home. Two-thirds of the Trinity is interceding for you continually. This is typified by Moses’s interceding on the mountain for Israel’s victory with one hand held high be Aaron (the High Priest, a type of Jesus, our High Priest) and Hur (or ‘light’ a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who prays with divine illumination for our good). See Ex. 17: 9-13; Heb. 7:25; 9:24.
Seemuth. Sin has already been punished at the Cross. No one can bring any charge against us. The One who is the just One and the Justifier of the ungodly now sits at the right hand of God the Father. He has been given His rightful place as the Judge who can pronounce condemnation. But He acts with intercession for His elect, not in condemnation. So, God has already judged sin and brought condemnation at the Cross. No foundation for any charges will be entertained against those who have the righteousness of Christ.
ESV. Who is to condemn? Christians rejoice with the certainty that they will never be condemned, for 1) Christ died for them and paid the full penalty for their sin; 2) he was raised, showing that his death was effective; 3) he now is seated triumphantly at God’s right hand (Ps.110:1); and 4) he intercedes for his people based on his shed blood. Interceding signified effective intervention.
Wesley. Yea rather, that is risen — Our faith should not stop at his death, but be exercised farther on his resurrection, kingdom, second coming. Who makes intercession for us — Presenting there his obedience, his sufferings, his prayers, and our prayers sanctified through him.
Womack. Romans 8:33: God had forgiven us, so we are assured that He won’t accuse us. He has wiped our slate clean. Jesus won’t condemn us. He’s the one who redeemed us from condemnation. Therefore, we are certain that any condemnation or accusations against us are not from God the Father or God the Son.
Those who interpret Romans 8:1 as saying there is only no condemnation toward us when we are walking in the Spirit don’t connect (but should) these verses. Considered together, there is no condemnation from God toward us–period.
Jesus is making intercession for us now. Therefore, Jesus couldn’t be the one ministering condemnation to us. Intercession and condemnation are opposites.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
AMP. “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s omnipotent love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?”
Seemuth. Since we have already received blessing from God in the most extraordinary way, through the death and Resurrection of His son, we are assured that His love shall continue no matter what. God adopted us; therefore, we need not fear anything. Tribulation and distress are not evidence of God’s abandonment.
Wesley. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ — Toward us? Shall affliction or distress - He proceeds in order, from less troubles to greater: can any of these separate us from his protection in it; and, if he sees good, deliverance from it?
Womack. These verses don’t say “who can separate us from our love FOR Christ.” Believers walking away from the Lord because of persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword have occurred. But those things will never stop Christ from loving us. That’s awesome!
“As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
AMP. “Even as it is written, for Thy sake we are put to death all day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Seemuth. As Jesus said: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33. See also Ps. 44:22 and Ro. 8:35.
Wesley. All day — That is, every day, continually. We are accounted — By our enemies; by ourselves. Psalms 44:22.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
AMP. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us so much that He died for us.”
ESV. Christians are more than conquerors, because God turns everything – even suffering and death – into good.
Seemuth. Such conquering depends not on the circumstances we find on earth, but upon the love of God. When his love is poured into our lives, the victorious life results. Life, even in extreme difficulty, can’t limit the conquering love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
Wesley. We are not only no losers, but abundant gainers, by all these trials. This period seems to describe the full assurance of hope.
Womack. How can we be more than conquerors? Conquerors have the victory and the spoils of war, but they fight to get them. We are more than conquerors because we have victory and all the spoils of war, but we didn’t do the fighting. Jesus fought and won this battle for us, and all we do is receive the benefits. That’s being more than conquerors.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come.”
AMP. “For I am convinced, and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers…”
Seemuth. Everything is covered!
Wesley. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
I am persuaded — This is inferred from the thirty-fourth verse, in an admirable order: - Neither death" shall hurt us; For "Christ is dead:" "Nor life;" ’is risen" Nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers; nor things pre - sent, nor things to come;" "is at the right hand of God:" "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature;" "makes intercession for us." Neither death - Terrible as it is to natural men; a violent death in particular, Romans 8:36.
Nor life — With all the affliction and distress it can bring, Romans 8:35; or a long, easy life; or all living men.
Nor angels — Whether good (if it were possible, they should attempt it) or bad, with all their wisdom and strength.
Nor principalities, nor powers — Not even those of the highest rank, or the most eminent power.
Nor things present — Which may befall us during our pilgrimage; or the whole world, till it passes away.
Nor things to come — Which may occur either when our time on earth is past, or when time itself is at an end, as the final judgment, the general conflagration, the everlasting fire.
Nor height, nor depth — The former sentence respected the differences of times; this, the differences of places. How many great and various things are contained in these words, we do not, need not, cannot know yet.
The height — In St. Paul’s sublime style, is put for heaven.
The depth — For the great abyss: that is, neither the heights, I will not say of walls, mountains, seas, but, of heaven itself, can move us; nor the abyss itself, the very thought of which might astonish the boldest creature.
Nor any creature — Nothing beneath the Almighty; visible enemies he does not even deign to name.
To separate us from the love of God in Christ — Which will surely save, protect, deliver us who believe in, and through, and from, them all.
Womack. This is all-inclusive. Death and life cover it all. Also, everything that exists now and anything that ever will exist covers it all too. This is tremendous assurance that nothing can stop Christ from loving us.
“Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
AMP. “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Womack. Religion makes these verses of none effect in many Christians’ lives (Mark 7:13). Religion says the Lord separates us from His love for many reasons. Many Christians live in dread of doing something that will cause them to lose their salvation or lose the love of God. That is against what these verses say. See Romans 3:4.