Review of Romans 8

Review of Romans 8

— by Pastor Joseph Ola 

Yaay! Finally, we arrive at what is the climactic chapter where all the message Paul is trying to pass across in this epistle reaches a climax. I have known a pastor who spent years teaching from just this chapter alone (and spent almost 9 years teaching on the entire book of Romans!) 

Anyways, the central issue in this chapter is on OUR ETERNAL SECURITY — understandably so. We will recall that Chapter 6 addressed how salvation changed our spirit (from a sinful spirit to a new perfect spirit) and Chapter 7 explained why, despite our perfection in Christ, we still experience sin in our body. These two seemingly conflicting realities naturally give rise to questions that border around eternal security. For example:

— Does the fact that I continue to experience sin AFTER becoming saved suggest that I am not truly saved at all?

— How do we tell the difference between an unbeliever acting like a Christian (coming to church, serving, etc without a genuine salvation experience) and a true believer ruled by their sinful flesh?

— How can we make sense out of the trials of daily life that come upon us while living in our present condition? Are they evidence of God’s displeasure with us?

These are the kinds of questions in Paul’s mind as he sets out to pen this part of his letter. Which is why, right from verse 1 of chapter 8, Paul launches head on to his thesis for this chapter, viz:

PART 1: PAUL’S THESIS FOR CHAPTER 8 (verses 1 to 4)

Right from verse 1, Paul begins to unpack what he intends to communicate through this hyper-loaded chapter.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (verse 1 NIV)

“So now the case is closed. THERE REMAINS NO ACCUSING VOICE OF CONDEMNATION against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.” (verse 1 TPT)

The case is closed. The verse begins with a ‘therefore’ to point you to the fact that what he’s talking about here is ‘as a result of’ everything he has been saying before.

As a result of your salvation by grace through faith ALONE… and as a result of receiving the righteousness of Christ rather than relying on your own righteousness… and as a result of possessing a perfect spirit despite temporarily inhabiting a sinful body — as a result of all these — there is NOW no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus

Notice that little word: ‘NOW.’ God’s no-condemnation verdict concerning us is not only for when we appear at the judgement seat of Christ where we will receive our heavenly rewards, but also RIGHT NOW—in this current seeming rising and falling state that we are in as we walk with God—we are approved by God on the basis of Christ’s righteousness.

That’s beautiful! And why is that so? It’s so because, as we’ve established in chapter 7, the ‘real you’ is not the one sinning when you still fall beyond the mark occasionally; it’s the flesh in which your perfect spirit is residing that is responsible… and sooner than later, it will receive its judgement when it literally dies and our perfect spirit gets freed from it.

So since our spirit does not sin, there is no condemnation for our spirit — not now and not ever. And since our spirit is the only part of us that carries on into the presence of the Lord, our body’s sin has no bearing on our spirit’s standing before God.

Good news right?

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU GET THIS! You cannot engage in a serious and productive pursuit of God’s grace, truth and godliness until you get this point, otherwise, we will either revert to self-righteousness (trying to work for something we have already obtained by faith) or we will become so discouraged or defeated by our sin that we give up the pursuit of Christ altogether.

You don’t want to find yourself in either of those places.

Let me put it in a way that I have found very liberating: Your concern over the fact that you still sin occasionally is actually proof that you are a child of God who has the mind of Christ.

That’s what Part 2 considers.

PART 2: THE FLESH VS THE SPIRIT (verses 5 to 13)

We have established from both chapters 6 and 7 that there is a war going on now between our flesh and our spirit — and that the one we feed more will win. That, again, is what verses 5 to 11 are addressing. 

This war, I should add, wasn’t there before we got saved. While we were unbelievers, the only times we refrained from doing what the flesh wanted, it was mainly because we were avoiding the negative consequences we assumed would follow or in accordance with our conscience which has been shaped by general morality. There was nothing righteous about our motives for abstaining from sin while we were unbelievers. Our default setting — living from a fleshly mindset — is both antagonistic to God and His Law. It’s not bothered about pleasing God…

By contrast, after we come to faith in Jesus Christ, our spirit is born again and becomes aligned perfectly with the will of God. It’s now a perfect, sinless, and unable-to-sin spirit. We now have a new default setting —bliving from a spirit-focussed mindset. From that point, our mind is set on righteous things and we desire, above all else, to please God.

So Paul writes, “Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities.” (verse 5 TPT)

Our thinking moves 180º from opposing God to pleasing God. Now we think about eternal matters and we share the Lord’s concern for sin. Now we care more about the eternal consequences of our sin rather than the earthly consequences. As a result, we start having concerns about eternal security and we start having worries about pleasing God. 

Here’s the thing: these concerns are unique to the believer. The fact that you are even wondering whether or not you could lose your salvation is a proof in itself that something has happened internally that makes you more concerned now about wanting to ensure that you remain in God’s pleasure. Essentially, therefore, only a believer can truly worry about losing his/her salvation. Unbelievers are not bothered as such. So Paul wants us to understand, among other things, that this new thinking of ours is proof in itself that we are not under condemnation. 

How refreshing!

So Paul says in verses 9-11 (MSG): “But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells — even though you still experience all the limitations of sin — you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!”

We’ve mentioned how we can give permission to the Holy Spirit to fully animate this body of sin in which we still dwell. Feed Him. Feed your Spirit. Feed and feed and feed until this new you is fed, then feed again!

That said, your current seeming sinfulness, in spite of being saved, is UTTERLY UNABLE to undo your salvation because, as Paul says to the Philippians, “God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” (Philippians 1:6 TLB)

In the meantime, the battle continues. Our perfect spirit and sinful flesh will continue to wrestle one against the other; we can’t avoid it. Our only choice is whether we will seek to win this battle or to just keep losing it over and over again and keep being miserable. But we must never forget that the very fact that this wrestling is happening is a reflection of our new identity.*


In verse 14, Paul defines who a believer is: “If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children.” (VOICE)

The believer is the one who has the Spirit of God. It is the presence of this Spirit that made possible our new birth in the first instance and it is that Spirit that obligates us to start wrestling against our body’s tendency to sin. This Spirit is the evidence to us that we are truly saved.


Some denominations, in the name of Pentecostalism, have added another ring to this that further confuses God’s children. They say you must be able to speak in tongues — that’s the evidence that you have the Holy Spirit. And so many genuinely saved folks who are yet, for whatever reason, not speaking in tongues, doubt that they have (or are ‘baptised by’) the Holy Spirit.

If we stay in the context of Romans 8 in light of all that we have been saying, the evidence that you have the Holy Spirit is the fact that you are now concerned about wanting to please God and concerned about your body’s lingering tendency to sin.

To move out of Romans, there are many other scriptural verses that make it clear that every saved child of God has the Holy Spirit. It’s not something that comes later. We can’t even be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit, to begin with.

Ephesians 1:13 VOICE says “Because you, too, have heard the word of truth — the good news of your salvation — and because you believed in the One who is truth, your lives are marked with His seal. This is none other than the Holy Spirit who was promised.”

Baptism in the Holy Spirit: My Experience

Thought to share this. Few weeks after I became born again (again … lol), I started yearning for this ‘baptism’ of the Holy Spirit ‘with the evidence of Speaking in Tongues’. I prayed and fasted for 3 days. (I was a first year student in Uni at the time). Each day, I will go from lectures to the prayer ground in my Uni. (Students use the school’s Sports Complex as a place of prayer at Obafemi Awolowo University). I will pray between 5pm and 6pm asking for this dramatic baptism that will make something spectacular happen that will take over my vocal chord and begin to make unique sounds. Nothing happened on day 1. Nothing on day 2. Even till 5:50pm on day 3, nothing happened. Then few minutes to 6pm, I felt like there was an impression upon my heart to start thanking God BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.

I yielded. As I continued thanking God that I ALREADY have the Holy Spirit, a further impression came for me to open my mouth and begin to speak in tongues. Again, I yielded. Nothing dramatic. I mumbled some ‘meaningless’ syllables for a while, then I stopped myself. “It can’t be this easy.” I said to God. All I heard back (as an impression on my heart) was “You’ve had it all along. Just continue. Open your mouth and speak. Keep speaking.”

I did. The more I continued, the more I started believing that it was for real. I went back to my hostel, got on my knees and prayed. I slipped in a few more tongues (lol) and I saw that it was still there. I went to fetch water later that evening and saw some guys praying around the place. I opened my mouth to speak in tongues some more. It was still there! The next morning, it was still there. 14 years later, He is still there! Halleluyah!

Over the years, speaking in tongues has become a multi-purpose capacitor for me. In speaking in tongues, I get edified in my spirit. In speaking in tongues, I’ve had tremendous revelation both into God’s words and happenings around me. In speaking in tongues, I’ve solved questions and conquered battles. And all it took to open that portal was a simple realization that I’ve had it all along! I think someone needs to hear/read that today.


Let’s recap. So far, we’ve established that SIN cannot undo our salvation. The Lord didn’t die for us only to require we die for ourselves also. Besides, the very fact that we have concerns for our salvation is proof in itself that we are saved.

But stuffs happen. To put it as some like to put — as a question — “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

If God truly loves us and we have no condemnation, then why would He permit bad things to happen to us? Why would Christians see suffering? Might our suffering for one reason or another suggest that our eternal security is in doubt?

So for the rest of this chapter, Paul addresses the question of suffering. He tries to answer the question of why God does permit suffering and what suffering says about our eternal security.

How did Paul address this?

a. He put suffering in perspective — an eternal perspective.

Verse 18 TPT says “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.”

This is a good starting point. None of us is knowledgeable enough to factor in all the details known to God before He permits whatever He permits in His sovereignty and love. 

Why did Myles Munroe or Bimbo Odukoya die in a tragic plane crash? 

Why is CORONA Virus infecting both believers and unbelievers? 

Or more personally, why was I involved in that motor accident? 

Why did that elder die in that sickness in spite of our prayers? 

Why did I fail BCH 304? 

Why am I yet to get pregnant and have a child of my own? 

The whys are endless.

This is why we must never lose an eternal perspective on our sufferings or else we will let them erode our confidence in God’s love. If you’re going through an especially bad season of life, it doesn’t mean God has stopped loving you, stopped caring, or stopped listening. There is something God is doing for His glory and your benefit which, for some reason, depends on you suffering, at least for a time.

Christ too experienced suffering while on earth, but we can’t judge God’s pleasure in His Son from that perspective, can we? We have to wait to see the end of the story, which we won’t see until we’re in the next age with Christ — the age Paul is speaking about when he says that our present sufferings can’t be compared to what’s in store for us.

Truly, if we could look ahead to see what God has planned for us, we wouldn’t be thinking much about our problems now. In fact, they would seem like nothing compared to what’s coming. Think of comparing the pain of childbirth to the joy of having a child for all your life; surely, a few hours of discomfort can’t compare to those years and years of joy.

b. We are not alone in our suffering.

Paul goes on to show in verses 19-22 that we are not alone in this. In a sense, all of creation is suffering and groaning, waiting for what’s coming next. Think of it; because of the sin of Adam and Eve and the curse that followed (upon the earth), all of creation has since then been existing in its unnatural state. You thought the skies are beautiful? You thought peacocks are majestic? You thought lions are glorious? You thought that onion purple is a beautiful colour for wedding aso ebi? Wait till we get home. Wait till the full dawn of the new creation. All of creation will be back to factory setting. No wild animals will prey on humans. Colours will find expression in all of their beauty. Creatures that we thought were beautiful will become out-of-this-world in beauty. Sceneries that had left our mouths agape will leave our hearts agape and our mouths endlessly chorusing with irrepressible exultation, “Holy! Holy!! Holy!!!”

So God has ordained it that suffering must precede glory. We must live in this sinful body before we occupy a sinless body. We must live life on this sinful earth before we can enter into life in the sinless Kingdom.

In verses 23-25, Paul makes the suffering even more personal — 8:23-25 (VOICE) says:

“…it’s not just creation — all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete — for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.”

c. Being a believer doesn’t exempt you from suffering.

Christians, too, feel the weight of the curse in our bodies. Like all humans, we suffer sickness, pain, toil, sweat, weakness, aging, and physical death. Yes, we have access to God’s power which is able to protect and/or deliver us from these things at various times, but everything still happens within the overarching principle of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, sovereignty and love.

If the message of “prosperity Gospel” is that God wants us to be happy, rich and free of sickness, such a message needs to be qualified. Yes, God wants us to be blessed and He only blesses us with good things, not evil, but we are often too shortsighted to make an accurate judgement of what is good or evil. Was it good or evil to kill your son? We wouldn’t think twice before saying it is evil, but that’s what God did with Jesus. Yet, the aftermath of that is that “had the princes of darkness known what was in store by the reason of Christ’s death, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory!”

In my little life, God has afforded me some few experiences with a partial before-and-after perspective. I’ve seen how the death of a saved teenager led some of his colleagues to know the Lord. I have seen how years of delay in child-bearing has turned a couple into intercessors for people going through delays with signs following. I have seen how my unexplainable 32F in BCH 304 added a nuance to the authority that backs up my words for a refreshing reassurance when I speak with fellowship members struggling academically. I have seen how testimonies of God’s last-minute provision in times when I have been in financial lack had rekindled the hope of others in God’s unwavering ability to provide… — and these are all results of suffering on this side of eternity; how much more on the other side!

With this hope on eternal things, we will be able to persevere in earthly suffering because we understand it as a prerequisite for the soon-coming glory — same way a mother will persevere through childbirth pain because she knows where it’s leading. The person, however,  who puts his hope in temporal glory, prosperity, healing or whatever, is less likely to persevere.

d. The Holy Spirit is Praying for us!

The good news is that we are not doing all these waiting alone! The Spirit is working with us to support us through our weaknesses. When we feel like we can’t go further in this world, or that we can’t find hope, or we don’t see the goodness of God, or we doubt God’s love…, we must remind ourselves that the Spirit is interceding for us. The Holy Spirit is praying perfect prayers to God! And sometimes, what the Holy Spirit is praying in His intercession on our behalf (and even sometimes through us via speaking in tongues) is contrary to what we would have thought was the best thing to pray for.

(Time won’t permit me to share the story of when I was praying in the Spirit [in tongues] for a dying brother who eventually died. Weeks later, the Holy Spirit decided to let me know what I was saying in tongues as I prayed for the young man, I was alarmed! I was literally praising God for taking the brother home when everything in my fibre was hoping that he would live. Does that make me scared of God? Absolutely not! On the contrary, now, I adore Him even more. He’s so in charge of the universe that the devil will always continue to make a fool of himself as far as you and your relationship with God are concerned!)

Believe Romans 8:28. It will transform your life. It says in the TPT:

“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”



Verse 30 in NIV says “those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Two things to note here:

(i) note that the actor here is God, not us.

(ii) but note more that this is an unbroken chain.

Mathematically speaking, if A = B, and B = C, and C = D, then we can say that A = C, A = D, and B = D! In other words, A, B, C, and D are ALL THE SAME THING!

In like manner, the people who are predestined are also the ones called, justified, and glorified. Have you received Christ’s saving grace by faith? Then you are called! The implication is that you have been predestined, you have been justified and you will, no doubt, be glorified!

The rest of the chapter is explicit enough to exegete itself. It’s the best thing you will ever read about how you can be assured of your salvation. Seeing that so much has been said already about this incredibly rich and long chapter, I will post verses 31 to the end below in a rich collage of various translations. See if it sounds even richer to you now.

31 So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? (VOICE)

32 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. (TPT)

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself. (TLB)

34 Who then 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? (TPT)

35 So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. (VOICE)

36 No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day — we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; (TLB)

37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. (MSG)

38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 39 There is no power above us or beneath us — no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

The Yorubas will say “kin lo tun fe gbo?” (What again do you want to hear?)

The Lord bless His Word in our heart in Jesus name. Amen.

POSTSCRIPT (Answer to a question) 

First, I should clarify that while suffering is a constant for every Christian, so is spiritual warfare (part of which, as Romans 8:26 tells, the Spirit helps us with).

Secondly, whatever difficulty/ hardship/ tribulation/ suffering (or whatever terminology we want to use for it) which we are going through (including unemployment), we must be willing to talk to God about it and be willing to listen to what He’s saying to us about it. Even Paul went to God in prayers not once, not twice, about his thorn in the flesh. Three times. And when God says to him “My grace is sufficient for you…”, he found the strength to live with it.

So if I’m the First Class graduate who is yet unemployed, it’s inconsequential where the challenge is coming from; what I want to know is what God is saying to me in my unemployment.

My wife finished with a first class in Law in 2016. She didn’t get a proper job in her preferred career line until 2019. But she wasn’t busy wondering what was going on because she had a word from God for that season of her life. “Be a mother.” She rested in the satisfaction of that word. Gave birth to 2 lovely boys within that time frame.

Was it an easy phase for us as a family financially? Not from a physical perspective. But the good news is that we never lacked anything. And when the time was right, without her putting in any effort as she would normally do with most of the other applications I’ve seen her put in, God came through. She gets back home each evening now feeling fulfilled and excited.

So unemployment is not the issue. What is God saying about it? That’s the real deal. Could it be that God is saving the person from employment so that (s)he can be an employer instead? Could it be that the person is applying in the wrong places? It could be anything. Let Wisdom (God) speak into the situation.

I hope this helps.

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