Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
SO THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW
MIGHT BE FULFILLED IN US: hina to dikaioma tou nomou
plerothe (3SAPS) en hemin: (Gal 5:22, 23, 24; Eph 5:26,27;
Col 1:22; Heb 12:23; 1Jn 3:2; Jude 1:24; Rev 14:5)
So that (In order that)
(hina) is a purpose statement (purpose clause) clearly linking
verse 4 with the truth Paul has just explained in Ro 8:3 (In Greek
verses 3 and 4 are in one sentence). In short, he
is explaining the purpose of the death of Christ, which is the
fulfillment of the righteous requirement of the Law in believers
who walk after the Spirit.
It must be stated
here that several well known commentaries including works by John
Calvin, Charles Hodge (quoted
below), et al, interpret this verse as
referring to justification rather than sanctification,
this latter view being favored by the majority of conservative
evangelical commentaries (cp, John MacArthur, John Piper, Leon Morris,
William Newell, etc).
Reformed theologians have stressed
that justification and sanctification are not to be
separated, and it seems that this is what Paul is saying here. In the
full sense only Christ has fulfilled all the law’s requirements, but
when we are in Him (Ed: as occurs when we are justified by
faith) we in our measure begin to live the kind of life that God would
have us live (Ed: which is the description of progressive
Notice that Paul does not say “we
fulfil the law’s righteous requirement”, but that “the righteous
requirement of the law is fulfilled in us”, surely pointing to
the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
Before we came to know Christ we were
continually defeated by sin. When we came to know Him and to receive the
indwelling Holy Spirit we were able to attain a standard we could never
reach in our own strength. In interpreting these words the
emphasis (is) on the way the Christian life is lived.... (Ed: See
Romans Road to Righteousness). (Morris, L. The
Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: W. B.
explains the relationship between Romans 8:3 and Romans 8:4 reminding us
The word “condemned” in Romans 8:3
recalls the words from Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus.” This is a reference to the reality of
justification. (“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It
is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” [Ro 8:33, 34, ESV].) The Son
of God became flesh so that the “condemnation” of sin might be on Him
(Who had no sin). That is, He bore our condemnation. We are now viewed
as free from condemnation “in Christ” (Ro 8:1) when we are united to Him
Now what is the relationship between
this justified state and our being freed from the slavery of sin
(sanctification)? Romans 8:4 describes the fulfillment of the law
“in us” (not just for us), and therefore refers to the
real practical progress of sanctification (“in order that the
righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not
according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”). The logical
relationship with Romans 8:3 (justification) is that Romans 8:4 (sanctification)
results from and is the purpose of verse 3.
“[God] condemned sin in the flesh (Ro
8:3b), so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. (Ro
In other words, our union with Christ
in His death for us secures our justification, which then leads, as a
result, to our moral transformation (Ed: progressive
sanctification). This is the same logic we saw in Romans 6:6, 7. We were
crucified with Christ so that we might not serve sin (Ro 6:6), because
the one who has died is justified from sin (Ro 6:7), and on the basis of
that justification, moral transformation becomes possible. (Piper, J.
Counted Righteous in Christ. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books) (Bolding
added for emphasis)
agrees with the previous writers noting first that...
Throughout the Psalms, and all the
Old Testament Saints' experiences, we find that there is under the Law,
an almost constant striving and groaning after a righteous state, -
seen, but not experienced, because the Law consisted of outer
enactments, to be fulfilled by man. The Law furnished no power.
Now in Romans 8.4 we have three
things: first, this righteous state or result; second, the
fact that it was not fulfilled by us - we have no more power in
ourselves than had the Old Testament saints: but it is fulfilled in us -
it is the
be fulfilled. Third, it is fulfilled in us as we consent to
reject the flesh and choose to walk according to the Spirit (Ed: Be
careful here - this is subtle - don't try to fight off the desires of
the flesh with the flesh, your old nature! The correct "order" is
submission to the Spirit, Who will enable you to fight the good fight of
click for more detailed explanation
of this principle discussed below). In the
Spirit lies all the power. With us, the responsibility of choice - a
blessed, solemn one! (Romans 8: Expository Notes Verse by Verse)
In summary, the
comments on Romans 8:4 in the preceptaustin commentary, reflect the
interpretative view that Paul is referring to progressive sanctification
which is a natural (supernatural) "outflow" of the justification
described in Romans 8:3. If you favor the interpretation of this verse
as referring to justification, you might want to consult the
commentaries by John Calvin and Charles Hodge.
from dikaióo = to justify <> díkaios = just,
righteous <> dike = right) refers to what God has declared to be
right - His righteous demands. He is Holy and has the right to make
Handbook explains that the requirement of the law refers
the righteous deeds which the Law
demands must be done” or “what the Law demands, which is right.”
United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series
explains the how the requirement of the law is now
fulfilled in us noting that...
As we turn over the control of our
lives to the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to love God and to love our
neighbor, and that, after all, is what the law requires. (MacDonald,
W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Middletown Bible has a very good explanation first reminding us
"righteous requirements." The law has certain righteous
requirements. The law demands and requires that a person live a
righteous life of loving God (perfectly) and loving one’s neighbor
(perfectly). How can I fulfill what the law requires? How can I keep the
law? The Person and Power of the Holy Spirit makes this possible. Note
carefully that the verse does not say "by us", it says "in us"!
This is something God does IN ME by His power and by His Working
and by His Spirit!
"The flesh" is that which I do
in and of myself (that which I produce). "The Spirit" refers to
that which God does in me by the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The law requires that I LOVE GOD and
LOVE MY NEIGHBOR (Mt 22:36, 37, 38, 39, 40) These two commandments
summarize not only the Ten Commandments but all of God’s commandments.
I cannot keep the law by trying to
keep the law (Ed: You might want to read that statement again!).
A sinner cannot keep God’s holy law. It is impossible. Even a "renewed
sinner" (Ed: Regenerate sinner = a believer) cannot do this. As
we saw in Ro 7:14-25, the saved person wants to but he can’t:
"How to perform that which is good
(the keeping of God’s law) I find not" (Ro 7:18)
The key to fulfilling the law is LOVE
(Ro13:8, 9, 10 and Gal 5:14). The key to having LOVE is a Spirit-filled
walk (Gal 5:13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and Ro 8:4). The
Spirit of God thus produces this LOVE in me (Gal 5:22). I cannot but
He can! If a person is walking according to the Spirit, then God is
at work in Him producing that righteous life. We are His workmanship (Ep
2:10)! It’s impossible for me, that is my
to keep God’s law. It’s impossible for God in me (when I allow Him to do
His work) not to keep the law! What the flesh could never do, God can
Wayne Barber comments that...
the character of God that is demanded in us now can be fulfilled in
every one of us because the Holy Spirit of God has come to live in us.
On one hand the Law shouts at us
"Thou shalt not, Thou shalt not"
And I say
"Come on flesh, we've got to do this thing".
And the flesh says
"No we can't."
And then you say
"Well how am I going to do this Lord?"
And the Lord says
"I fulfilled all of that already and I am in you. Now obey Me. In you
is the fulfillment of everything I require by the Holy Spirit's power
Who will work it out of you."
It is the character of God in us that is now being worked out in and
through our lives. It is His righteousness not ours. And
practical righteousness (Ed: essentially synonymous
with "practical" or "progressive" sanctification) is what God demands and is the only thing
which He can approve. We could never produce "righteous acts" in
our own power. We could not justify ourself by works so why do we
think we can sanctify ourself by our own efforts? But God can
and He will, if we obey the Holy Spirit's leading (Ro 8:14-note,
Gal 5:25-note) in our life. The character and righteousness (right
actions) of God that God requires is now fulfilled or accomplished
in us by the power of His Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4: Frustration of
Living Under Law)
And what was the aim and issue (of
sin being condemned in the flesh)? That the righteous demand of the Law
might be fulfilled in us, us who walk not flesh-wise, but Spirit-wise;
that we, accepted in Christ, and using the Spirit’s power in the daily
“walk” of circumstance and experience, might be liberated from the life
of self-will, and meet the will of God with simplicity and joy.
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans - Google)
Might be fulfilled in us -
To reiterate, Paul does not say "by us" (not by our
innate power) but "in us" (by His power, His
Spirit within us).
Henry Alford explains that
might be fulfilled in us does not mean...
merely, be performed by us, for the
apostle has a much deeper meaning, namely, that the aim of God in giving
the law might be accomplished in us, in our sanctification, which is the
ultimate end of our redemption, Colossians 1:22 (note); Ephesians 2:10
passive voice is used, to show that the work is not ours, but that of God by
Might be fulfilled
(pleroo) (Click word study on
pleroo) means satisfied,
The Law has certain righteous
requirements (dikaioma). As discussed above, the Law demands and requires that a
person live a righteous life of loving God (perfectly) and loving one’s
neighbor (perfectly). How can I fulfill what the law requires?
How can I fulfill the law? The Person and Power of the Holy
Spirit makes this possible (The
speaks of an external power, the "divine" passive = God's power). To
reiterate, notice that Paul does not say the
requirement of the law is fulfilled "by us",
but "in us"! In other words, this fulfillment or
something God does in me by His power and by His Working and by
What God demands,
we could not do. But praise God that what God demands, He supplies.
To run and walk the
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
A better word, the gospel brings,
Bids me fly and gives me wings.
S Lewis Johnson
The apostle has made it plain in
chapter six and in chapter seven that, as Professor Bruce says,
Christian holiness is not a matter of
pains-taking conformity to the individual precepts of an external
law-code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit's producing His
fruit in the life, reproducing those graces which were seen in
perfection in the life of Christ.
On the other hand, the believer is
responsible to have produced in his life "the righteous requirement of
the law." In other words, while he is not under the Law as a code
(Ro 6:14, Ro 7:4, 6), the
Christian's life is to be such that the Law of Moses in its moral
demands can find no flaw in that life. In other words, holiness is the
goal of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Further, that holiness (Ed: Johnson is referring to progressive
sanctification) consists in the same righteousness that
is fostered by the Law of Moses.
And one final thing should be said:
That holy life is the product of the Holy Spirit. That is suggested by
the passive voice of the verb, "be fulfilled." The meeting of the
righteous requirement of the Law is done by Another in us. The apostle
by the words, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,"
refers to the bent of life of the believer. He is the one who walks
after the Spirit as the pattern of his life; service of sin does not
characterize him (cf Ro 8:14, 15, 16, 17).The word, "walk," is the best biblical
term for the believer's responsibility in the Christian life. It should
be used rather than the word, "filled," which has a more specialized and
limited force. (Romans 8:1-4)
So let us repeat
again that what God demands,
He supplies, and this great truth means that in the midst of our struggle
with fallen flesh, the fallen world system and Satan, victory (including
victory over that sin which so easily entangles us) is possible and is
God's desire for His children.
Wayne Barber adds that pleroo conveys...
"the idea of filling full,
supplying fully, fill up what was otherwise empty. We are "empty"
apart from the Spirit of God and unable in our own strength to do
anything that God requires. For anything that comes out of me that
manifests the holiness of God has to come from the One Who
lives in me. All the righteous character of God can now be
supplied fully in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us to
produce conformity to the image of Christ as we "walk according to
the Spirit". Therefore we are forever free from the condemnation
of the Law because what the Law requires can now be produced in me
because the Holy Spirit lives in me. This is the message of the
so-called "Exchanged Life" - you can't - God never said you could
- He can and He always said He would. In Christ (regenerated,
saved) now we are free from
the control (bondage) of the
flesh (unless we choose to go back
under it). In Adam (unregenerate, unsaved) we were totally under the control of the
as alluded to in the introductory comments on Romans 8:4 interprets this
verse as referring to justification. He notes that one's interpretation of verse 4...
determined by the view taken of
Romans 8:3. If that verse means that
God, by sending His Son, destroyed sin in us, then, of course, this
verse must mean, “He destroyed sin in order that we should fulfill the
law” — that is, so that we should be holy (sanctification). But if
Romans 8:3 refers to the sacrificial
death of Christ and to the condemnation of sin in Him as the sinners’
substitute, then this verse must refer to justification and not
Click for discussion of
Justified, Sanctified, Glorified). (Ed note: this commentary was written in the early 1800's)"
C. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 1835
But what is the context of this
section of Romans (see the chart at the beginning of these notes,
specifically beginning in Romans 6)?
Does not this section of the letter deal primarily with sanctification
or the practical outworking of our salvation? Clearly that great truth is the
of Romans 6-8. Notice also that the immediate
context speaks of one's "walk" which is either according to the
according to the Spirit. This description is clearly a reference to
sanctification, which is counter to the view expressed by Hodge
The respected expositor John
MacArthur disagrees with Hodge,
obviously is not speaking here of the justifying work of salvation
but of its sanctifying work, its being lived out in the
believer’s earthly life. Apart from the working of the Holy Spirit
through the life of a redeemed person, human efforts at righteousness
are as contaminated and useless as filthy garments (Is 64:6). But
because the Christian has been cleansed of sin and been given God’s own
divine nature within him, he now longs for and is able to live a life of
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
(quoting from a different source than Piper's previous quotation at the
beginning of these notes) agrees that this
section is not a specific reference to justification but refers to
sanctification and to a believer's walk in the power and fullness
of the Holy Spirit. Piper writes that...
this ("the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled") to mean that
Christ fulfilled the law for us when He obeyed it perfectly and died as
the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. In Him we are perfect with His
perfection and in Him we are pardoned by His blood. Now I believe that
is true. And it is foundational for everything. But I don't think that
is the point of Romans 8:4. And the reason I don't is that it won't fit the
wording of the text. Romans 8:4 says the aim is "that the requirement of
the Law might be fulfilled in us." It does not say that the law
is to be fulfilled for us. That is true, I would say, from Romans
5:19. But that's not the point here. And then he focuses specifically on
our walking, that is, our living, as the way the
fulfillment will happen: "that the requirement of the Law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk . . . according to the Spirit. (Romans
Piper then asks the
How do we
fulfill the requirement of the law? And specifically how can any of my
"walking" by the Spirit – which is always imperfect in this life – be
said to "fulfill God's law which is holy and just and good. Since when
does God's holy law and divine standard say, "Pretty good will do"?
Piper goes on to
enumerate what he calls "12 theses" to help us understand what
"fulfilling the requirement of the law" looks like in real life...click
for his discussion.
William Newell adds
that the "requirement of the Law"...
is fulfilled in us as we consent to reject the
flesh and choose to walk according to
the Spirit. In the Spirit lies all the power. With us, the
responsibility of choice-a blessed, solemn one!" (William Newell. Romans Verse by Verse).
Warren Wiersbe adds that
The believer lives a righteous life,
not in the power of the Law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit (cp Ga
Law does not have the power to produce holiness; it can only reveal and
condemn sin. But the indwelling Holy Spirit enables you to walk in
obedience to God’s will (cp Ga 5:25-note). The righteousness that God demands in His Law
is fulfilled in you through the Spirit’s power. In the Holy Spirit, you
have life and liberty (Ro 8:2) and “the pursuit of happiness” (Ro
The legalist tries to obey God in his own strength and fails to
measure up to the righteousness that God demands. The Spirit-led
Christian, as he yields to the Lord, experiences the sanctifying work of
the Spirit in his life (Ga 5:18-
note). “For it is God that worketh in you, both to will
and to do of His good pleasure (see note
Philippians 2:12-13)" (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
So dear believer you must
understand, believe and live out the truth that now you possess the power to
reject those strong desires (epithumia
= lusts) that come from the old corrupt
which is still resident in our physical bodies (and will be until we are
glorified). As an aside, remember that progressive sanctification has no
effect on the fallen
In other words, the old flesh nature will never be made "better" in this
life. It's power was broken to be sure, but it is still the same "nasty"
evil flesh and it will be until the day we are glorified. The basis of
our victory over sin is not that the fallen flesh is getting
progressively better. To the contrary, the basis for our new power is the
New Covenant (Je 31:31, Lk 22:20, 1Co 11:25, 2Co 3:6, He 8:8-note,
He 12:24-note) in which God has given each of us a
new heart and His Spirit as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel (in context referring primarily to Jews who
were to be
saved by faith in Messiah but also applicable to Gentile believers)
where Jehovah declared:
will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I
will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of
flesh and I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My
statutes (God's empowerment), and you will be careful to observe My
ordinances (our responsibility). (Ezekiel 36:26, 27) (Compare parallel passages - Dt 30:6 Eze 11:19,20
Je31:31, 32, 33, 34, 32:39,40 Jn 3:3, 4, 5 2Co 5:17 Ga 6:15)
As New Covenant believers, we
now possess a new heart which
energizes a new motivation and desire to please God and to obey Him (Php
we can obey because God has placed that desire in
our new heart and given us the provision and power of His indwelling
Holy Spirit. We have the power to satisfy His commandments fulfilled in "love God
and love your neighbor" (cp Mt 22:36, 37, 38, 39, 40). We can fulfill
these requirements by His power not because we try hard to "keep" the Law. If we try to "fulfill"
the requirement of the law in our own strength or power, we will fail because the power
of Sin (our old sin nature, the old Adam) lies in the LAW (cf "The sting
of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law" 1Co 15:56 and as Phillip's
paraphrases it "While we were "in the
the Law stimulated [or aroused] our sinful passions" -- see note
In summation, to
fulfill the requirement of the Law is only possible as we learn to
surrender to, lean on, submit to, yield to and rely on the Holy Spirit
Who indwells every believer. The external, written code was unable to
accomplish this requirement but, the Spirit is able to do so by writing
the law on our hearts (Je 31:33) and giving
us the power to obey it.
WHO DO NOT WALK ACCORDING TO (controlled by) THE FLESH BUT (continually
ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT: me kata sarka
peripatousin (PAPMPD) alla kata pneuma:
Version renders Ro 8:4 as those
who live and move not in the ways of the
flesh but in the
ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and
according to the dictates of the
but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
Who do not walk
according to the flesh - First the negative description as those who
as the generally conduct their life not under the dominion or control of
the fallen flesh, that evil "anti-God" disposition every individual has
inherited from Adam.
(4043) (peripateo from peri = around + pateo
= tread) (Click
word study of
peripateo) means literally to "tread around".
“To walk” in Semitic thought is merely another way of saying “to live,
to behave, to act.” Paul's figurative use in this verse refers to how one lives or passes their life.
continually conducting one's self not according to the dictates
of the old sinful flesh but according to the indwelling Holy Spirit.
What is the habit of your life...in the general direction of good or of evil?
As Jamieson notes "walk" is "the most ancient expression of
the bent of one's life, whether in the direction of good or of evil"
(Ge 48:15, Ps 1:1-see
note, Isa 2:5, Mic 4:5,
1Jn 1:6, 7)? That's what Paul is
describing here. An unregenerate person cannot keep God’s holy law. It
is impossible. Even a regenerate person who wants to keep the Law
because of their new heart cannot keep the Law in their own strength.
The key is a Spirit-filled walk, admitting that "I cannot but He can!"
If a person is walking according to the Spirit, then God is at work in
that person producing a righteous life.
passage which helps to amplify Romans 8:4, Paul charged the Galatian believers to
command to make this their "lifestyle"!) by the Spirit, and you will not
carry out the desire (epithumia
- word study) of the
flesh. (Gal 5:16-see
in depth discussion of "Walking by the Spirit")
Comment: Now, under the
New Covenant, all believers are commanded to conduct their supernatural
lives by the
Spirit and as we obey this command, we will not fulfill the evil
desires of our
Note the order:
First walk according to the Spirit. He will enable you to not walk according to the
flesh. Don't try to reverse the order of Galatians 5:16 and attempt in your own power to
not fulfill the
corrupt strong desires of your fallen, sinful
flesh (still present in
believers, albeit its power was defeated at Calvary) thinking that by
not carrying out the desires of the flesh, you are in a sense by "default"
walking according to the Spirit. The only way you can not carry out the
desires of the flesh is by first walking according to the Spirit.
Does that make sense? If you reverse, the order, and attempt to keep a
list of do's and don't's, you are essentially placing yourself under the
dominion or power of the law and are practicing "legalism" (cp Gal 5:18
note] "if you are led by
the Spirit, you are not under [the power, authority or control of] the
Law."). And the result of "inverting" Galatians 5:16 is that you will negate
or blunt the power of the Spirit. It cannot be overemphasized
that the primary "requirement" is reliance on
the Holy Spirit, continually choosing to walk in His power. This may at first seem
somewhat "mystical" but in Gal 5:19f Paul provides a list of
behavioral "markers" by
which one can assess whether or not they are walking according to the flesh (Gal
5:19, 20, 21-notes) or
walking according to the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23-notes).
Dear believer in union with Christ Who is now your life (Col 3:4-note),
become discouraged, but keep pressing on, seeking moment by moment to
submit to your Helper and Teacher, the Spirit (Jn 14:26), Who enables
you to strive against your old flesh, according to His
power which mightily works within you. This is the Spirit filled life
This is abiding in the Vine (Jn 15:5). This is walking by the Spirit. This is
abundant life (Jn 10:10b) in Christ. This is life on the highest plane.
Similarly Paul instructed the Ephesian believers to
walk no longer just
as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind”
Comment: Because of the truths Paul explains here in Romans 8 (and
Ro 6-8) the Ephesian saints had received
the supernatural power to live holy lives in the midst of an unholy
John declares that,
if we walk in the light as [God]
Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:7).
Ray Stedman commenting on
has some interesting insights on our "walk"
notes) is the true basis for
living a Christian life. Scripture calls it "walking with the
Lord." I like that figure because a walk, of course, merely
consists of two simple steps, repeated over and over again. It is not a
complicated thing. In the same way, the Christian life is a matter of
taking two steps, one step after another. Then you are beginning to
walk. Those two steps follow in this passage. Paul describes them
as, "Put off the old man," (Col 3:9-note) and "put on the new."
(Col 3:10-note) Then repeat them. That
is all. Keep walking through every day like that. That is
how Scripture exhorts us to live." (see his full sermon
True Human Potential) (Bolding added)
Holiness of life and
is an inseparable concomitant
of union with Christ
The expression, to “walk,”
is frequently employed in Scripture regarding any particular line of
conduct, as when it is said, Acts 21:21, “that they ought not to
circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs”; or it
denotes the course of life in which we are proceeding as in Ephesians
“Ye walked according
to the course of this world.”
In this way, comparing our life to a
journey, in the usual style of Scripture, the Apostle comprehends all
our actions under the figure of walking. To walk, then, according to the
flesh, is to act agreeably to the principles of corrupt nature. To walk
according to the Spirit, means to regulate the conduct according to the
influence and dictates of the Holy Spirit, Who has given us a new
nature, serving God in newness of spirit (cp Ro 6:4-note;
The expression, walking not
according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, in the verse
before us, is generally interpreted as referring exclusively to the
practice of good or of wicked works. It is supposed that the Apostle is
here guarding his doctrine of gratuitous justification from abuse, by
excluding all claim to union with Christ, and to exemption from
condemnation, where there is not purity of conduct, under the influence
of the Holy Spirit. This is undoubtedly a highly important truth, which
is to be constantly affirmed and insisted on. Holiness of life and
conversation is an inseparable concomitant of union with Christ; for to
whom He is made righteousness He is also made sanctification, and they
that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts (Gal 5:24-note).
R. An Exposition of Romans. ca 1839 - ONLINE)
To reiterate, the words “who walk not according to the
according to the Spirit” are descriptive of the regenerate man and
are one of his
identifying characteristics. This description is true of every child of God. Being
indwelt by and empowered by the Spirit is not a mark of special maturity or spirituality, but the mark
and privilege of every believer without exception (Ro 8:9-note;
cp 1Co 12:13).
- This phrase is the Greek preposition kata the root meaning of
which is “down,” which in turn suggests domination. The born again believer is one who orders his
or her behavior in such a way
that it is not (habitually) dominated by the old evil
nature (still latent in our physical bodies), instead, allowing
themselves to be "dominated
by" (controlled by) the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18-note).
word study on
as used in this context does not refer to physical flesh (like "flesh
and blood") but to that evil disposition inherited from Adam (cp Ro
5:12-note) which is
opposed to God ("anti-God" energy). Walking according to the
means behaving as the
dictates, so that the sinful
nature entirely governs ones life. It means to have one’s life
determined and directed by the values of this evil world system in total
rebellion against God. This is the only way an unsaved person is able to
walk - according to the flesh.
On the other hand the regenerate person
can and should walk according to the Spirit which means to live
in submission to and domination by the Holy Spirit Who leads and
empowers. Stated another way, if a person claims to be saved, that person’s life
cannot be cannot totally
dominated by the flesh. To be sure, even saved men and women, unfortunately
can "fall into" sin, but we will not persist in sin as the habit
of our lives or as our lifestyle (eg, see especially 1Jn 3:4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10 - John is not saying a believer never sins, but that he does not
practice sin). If a person habitually makes a practice of committing sin and there has never been any
time when there was a change toward holiness or godliness, then that
person has never genuinely born again and has never received a new heart
and God's Spirit, Who gives the new man in Christ the
inherent disposition toward holiness, however imperfect that might
manifest. However when a believer chooses to walk in
submission to the
flesh, he is not
walking rightly and he grieves
the Spirit which makes him
miserable (Ep 4:30-note). A sinning saint is
a sad sight!
Middletown Bible notes that
when a genuine believer commits sin, then...
by the Spirit’s conviction, by
confession and if needed, by chastening (1Cor 11:31, 32,
cp He 12:5ff-note),
he is brought back to the path of obedience. The believer at any given
time may manifest any of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19, 20, 21-see
notes) but his life will
not be dominated by the works of the flesh because "they which do
(present tense--‘keep on doing’; those who persist in these things)
shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians
5:21 and compare 1Cor 6:9,
and Ep 5:5-note). (Romans 8)
(Bolding added for emphasis)
commenting on Romans 8:4-8 writes that...
The contrast here is between an
unregenerate life dominated by the
flesh (= sinful nature within) and
one controlled by the Holy Spirit. (The
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody
A T Robertson says that Paul is contrasting
the two laws of life" and that the phrase "according to the Spirit"
he interprets as "most likely the Holy Spirit or else the renewed spirit
Ironside writes that...
The law demanded righteousness from a
man whose nature was utterly corrupt and perverted, and which could only
produce corrupt fruit. The Holy Spirit has produced a new nature in the
man in Christ, and linked with this new life are new affections and
desires. The new man gladly responds to the will of the Lord as revealed
in His Word. Thus the righteousness of the law is actually produced in
the one who walks not after the flesh, not in the power of the old
nature. The practical good required by the law is produced in the person
who lives in obedience to the Spirit, Who has come to take possession of
us for Christ. (Ironside,
Harry. Romans and Galatians. Kregel. 2006)
In short, as we
walk according to Spirit we are progressively being sanctified by the
same Spirit, growing in grace and the knowledge and likeness of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ
(Click for relationship of
Relationship of Justified, Sanctified, Glorified). As we yield control of our
will (and our heart and our mind) to the Holy Spirit,
He empowers us to love God and to love our neighbor (Phil 2:13-note),
which is the fulfillment of the law (Mk 12:30, 31, Mt 22:37, 38, 39, Lk
10:27, 1Jn 4:7, 8, 21, Ro 13:9-note,
The next time someone hurts you, just try to rely on your own strength to
truly forgive them.
You can't, but God never said you could (in your own power). But He can and
said He would (by the power provided by His Spirit indwelling each
believer). This supernatural transaction takes place as we learn
to live the Christ life, a life many have referred to as the "exchanged
life" which Paul so memorably described testifying...
I have been crucified with Christ;
and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life
which I now live in the (physical) flesh I live by faith in the Son of
God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for (in place of) me. (cp Gal 2:20-note)
The purpose of the gospel is not to make men happy but to make them
holy. Genuine happiness comes to those who
belong to Christ and are obedient to His will. Ultimately this true
"supernatural happiness" comes
only from holiness. God promises happiness, but He demands holiness,
without which “no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14-note).
Don't misunderstand. Living a holy life does not save us, but it does
demonstrate that we are saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Who
prompts and empowers this holy, happy life!
Ray Stedman says that...
the mind set on the Spirit desires that God be glorified in all these
things, which are proper and right. When your mind is set on the Spirit
you look at the events of life from God's point of view, not from the
world's. Your value system is changed and it touches everything you do.
You no longer see that the important thing must be to make a lot of
money. The important thing is that, in seeking to fulfill your needs,
God be glorified (Mt 5:16-note). That is what makes the difference. That is the mind
set on the Spirit (Ro 8:5-note). It does not remove you from life -- it puts you right
back into it. But it does it with a different point of view. (Read his full
Why Not Live?)
F B Meyer
in Our Daily Walk has the following devotional...
WALKING NOT AFTER THE FLESH,
AFTER THE SPIRIT
THE APOSTLE here (Ro 8:1-4) is dealing with the conditions of a
holy life; and the condemnation to which he refers is that caused by the
constant failure so graphically described in the previous chapter. From
my own experience, I think that the
which is often induced by ill-health and weakness makes us very
sensitive to the failure and shortcoming of the inner life. We know that
we are accepted in Christ, and that our sins are forgiven us for His
sake; but we are deeply conscious that in us (i.e. in our flesh)
dwelleth no good thing from. Rom 7:18-note).
The Reservoir of Eternal
Life.--"the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus." We perceive what
physical life is when a child comes bounding into our room in a very
ecstasy of health and joy. We know what intellectual life is as we see
the mind developing under the process of education. We know what the
moral life of a stoic is, repelling by force of will the
appeal of the senses.
But above all these, there is Life which is resident in Jesus
Christ, stored in Him, abounding in Him, which He longs to communicate
to every soul that trusts in Him. This was the witness of those who knew
Jesus most intimately in His brief human life--that "God hath given unto
us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son." "He that hath the Son
hath the Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not the Life."
This more than outweighs the down-pull of the serf-life. The aw of that
life makes us free from the law of sin and death, for it has mastered
death and the grave.
This Life is communicated and
sustained by the Holy Spirit. We must be one with Christ; we must be
in Him, as the sponge is in the ocean. We must be in Him, not only in
our standing, but also in our daily walk. We must be in Him as the
branch is in the vine, and the vine-sap in the branch. And this must not
only be a theory, but an hourly experience.
We must abide in Him and He in us. But how can this
become our daily experience? There is but one way. Through the
co-operation of the Holy Spirit, as we walk in Him (Gal
5:16-note). He is
the essence of the Life which is in Christ Jesus. "The Spirit of Life in
Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Almighty God, I beseech Thee to raise
me from the death of sin to the life of righteousness by that same power
that brought the Lord Jesus from
the dead, that I may walk in newness of life through the
aid of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
(F B Meyer)