aA
aA
aA
Commentary on Romans
« Prev Romans 8:9-11 Next »

Romans 8:9-11

9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

9. Vos autem non estis in carne, sed in Spiritu, siquidem Spiritus Dei habitat in vobis: si quis vero Spiritum Christi non habet, hic non est ejus.

10. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

10. Si vero Christus in vobis est, corpus quidem mortuum est propter peccatum, Spiritus autem vita est propter justitiam.

11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

11. Si inquam Spiritus ejus qui suscitavit Iesum ex mortuis, habitat in vobis, qui suscitavit Christum ex mortuis, vivificabit et mortalia corpora propter Spiritum suum in vobis habitantem.

9. But ye, etc. He applies hypothetically a general truth to those to whom he was writing; not only that by directing his discourse to them particularly he might more powerfully affect them, but also that they might with certainty gather from the description already given, that they were of the number of those, from whom Christ had taken away the curse of the law. Yet, at the same time, by explaining what the Spirit of God works in the elect, and what fruit he brings forth, he encourages them to strive after newness of life.

If indeed the Spirit of God, etc. This qualifying sentence is fitly subjoined, by which they were stirred up to examine themselves more closely, lest they should profess the name of Christ in vain. And it is the surest mark by which the children of God are distinguished from the children of the world, when by the Spirit of God they are renewed unto purity and holiness. It seems at the same time to have been his purpose, not so much to detect hypocrisy, as to suggest reasons for glorying against the absurd zealots of the law, who esteem the dead letter of more importance than the inward power of the Spirit, who gives life to the law.

But this passage shows, that what Paul has hitherto meant by the Spirit, is not the mind or understanding (which is called the superior part of the soul by the advocates of freewill) but a celestial gift; for he shows that those are spiritual, not such as obey reason through their own will, but such as God rules by his Spirit. Nor are they yet said to be according to the Spirit, because they are filled with God’s Spirit, (which is now the case with none,) but because they have the Spirit dwelling in them, though they find some remains of the flesh still remaining in them: at the same time it cannot dwell in them without having the superiority; for it must be observed that man’s state is known by the power that bears rule in him.

But if any have not the Spirit of Christ, etc. He subjoins this to show how necessary in Christians is the denial of the flesh. The reign of the Spirit is the abolition of the flesh. Those in whom the Spirit reigns not, belong not to Christ; then they are not Christians who serve the flesh; for they who separate Christ from his own Spirit make him like a dead image or a carcase. And we must always bear in mind what the Apostle has intimated, that gratuitous remission of sins can never be separated from the Spirit of regeneration; for this would be as it were to rend Christ asunder.

If this be true, it is strange that we are accused of arrogance by the adversaries of the gospel, because we dare to avow that the Spirit of Christ dwells in us: for we must either deny Christ, or confess that we become Christians through his Spirit. It is indeed dreadful to hear that men have so departed from the word of the Lord, that they not only vaunt that they are Christians without God’s Spirit, but also ridicule the faith of others: but such is the philosophy of the Papists.

But let readers observe here, that the Spirit is, without any distinction, called sometimes the Spirit of God the Father, and sometimes the Spirit of Christ; and thus called, not only because his whole fulness was poured on Christ as our Mediator and head, so that from him a portion might descend on each of us, but also because he is equally the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, who have one essence, and the same eternal divinity. As, however, we have no intercourse with God except through Christ, the Apostle wisely descends to Christ from the Father, who seems to be far off:

10. But if Christ be in us, etc. What he had before said of the Spirit he says now of Christ, in order that the mode of Christ’s dwelling in us might be intimated; for as by the Spirit he consecrates us as temples to himself, so by the same he dwells in us. But what we have before referred to, he now explains more fully — that the children of God are counted spiritual, not on the ground of a full and complete perfection, but only on account of the newness of life that is begun in them. And he anticipates here an occasion of doubt, which might have otherwise disturbed us; for though the Spirit possesses a part of us, we yet see another part still under the power of death. He then gives this answer — that the power of quickening is in the Spirit of Christ, which will be effectual in swallowing up our mortality. He hence concludes that we must patiently wait until the relics of sin be entirely abolished.

Readers have been already reminded, that by the word Spirit they are not to understand the soul, but the Spirit of regeneration; and Paul calls the Spirit life, not only because he lives and reigns in us, but also because he quickens us by his power, until at length, having destroyed the mortal fesh, he perfectly renews us. So, on the other hand, the word body signifies that gross mass which is not yet purified by the Spirit of God from earthly dregs, which delight in nothing but what is gross; for it would be otherwise absurd to ascribe to the body the fault of sin: besides the soul is so far from being life that it does not of itself live. The meaning of Paul then is — that although sin adjudges us to death as far as the corruption of our first nature remains in us, yet that the Spirit of God is its conqueror: nor is it any hindrance, that we are only favored with the first-fruits, for even one spark of the Spirit is the seed of life. 249249     There are mainly two explanations of this verse and the following, with some shades of difference. The one is given here; according to which “the body,” and “bodies,” are taken figuratively for nature corrupted by sin; the “body,” as it is flesh, or corrupted, is “dead,” is crucified, or doomed to die “on account of sin;” and this “body,” or these “bodies,” which are mortal, and especially so as to their corruption, are to be quickened, revived, and made subservient to the will of God. It appears that this is essentially the view taken by Chrysostom, and also by Erasmus, Locke, Marckius, and by Stuart and Barnes. It is said that νέκρον and θνητα have the same meaning with “crucified” and “destroyed,” in Romans 6:6, and “dead,” in Romans 6:7, 8, and “dead,” in Romans 6:11, and “mortal,” in Romans 6:12. And as to the meaning of ζωοποίησει, is “shall quicken,” reference is made to Colossians 2:12, 13; Ephesians 1:19, 20; Ephesians 2:5, 6. It is also added, that the words “mortify the deeds of the body,” in Romans 8:13, confirm this view.
   The other explanation, adopted by Augustine, and also by Pareus, Vitringa, Turrettin, Doddridge, Scott, Chalmers, Haldane, and Hodge, is the following, — The “body,” and “bodies,” are to be taken literally, and the spirit, in the 10th verse, is the renewed man, or the renewed soul, which has or possesses “life” through the righteousness of Christ, or is made to enjoy life through the righteousness implanted by the Spirit. The meaning then is this, “The body is dead through sin, is doomed to die because of sin; but the spirit is life through righteousness, the soul renewed has life through Christ’s righteousness: but the dying body, now tabernacled by the Spirit, shall also be quickened and made immortal through the mighty power of the divine Spirit.” Thus salvation shall be complete when the “redemption of the body” shall come. See Romans 8:23.

   While the two views are theologically correct, the latter is that which is the most consonant with the usual phraseology of Scripture, though the former seems the most suitable to the context. The subject evidently is the work of the Spirit in mortifying sin, and in bestowing and sustaining spiritual life. The inference in the next verse seems favorable to this view. — Ed.

11. If the Spirit, etc. This is a confirmation of the last verse, derived from the efficient cause, and according to this sense, — “Since by the power of God’s Spirit Christ was raised, and since the Spirit possesses eternal power, he will also exert the same with regard to us.” And he takes it as granted, that in the person of Christ was exhibited a specimen of the power which belongs to the whole body of the Church: and as he makes God the author of the resurrection, he assigns to him a life-giving Spirit.

Who raised, etc. By this periphrasis he describes God; which harmonizes better with his present object, than if he had called him simply by his own name. For the same reason he assigns to the Father the glory of raising Christ; for it more clearly proved what he had in view, than if he had ascribed the act to Christ himself. For it might have been objected, “That Christ was able by his own power to raise up himself, and this is what no man can do.” But when he says, that God raised up Christ by his Spirit, and that he also communicated his Spirit to us, there is nothing that can be alleged to the contrary; so that he thus makes sure to us the hope of resurrection. Nor is there anything here that derogates from that declaration in John,

“I have power to lay down my life, and to take it up again.”
(John 10:18.)

No doubt Christ arose through his own power; but as he is wont to attribute to the Father whatever Divine power he possesses, so the Apostle has not improperly transferred to the Father what was especially done by Christ, as the peculiar work of divinity.

By mortal bodies he understands all those things which still remain in us, that are subject to death; for his usual practice is to give this name to the grosser part of us. We hence conclude, that he speaks not of the last resurrection, which shall be in a moment, but of the continued working of the Spirit, by which he gradually mortifies the relics of the flesh and renews in us a celestial life.


« Prev Romans 8:9-11 Next »

Advertisements


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |