Romans 8

Romans 8 Devotional
by Pastor David Groendyk

What can we say about Romans 8? This chapter is many Christians’ favorite chapter in all of Scripture. It’s one of the most theologically-rich and pastorally-helpful passages in all of the Bible. How can you summarize everything that it teaches in just one short devotional? The theme(s) that all these glorious truths revolve around are God’s preservation and our perseverance. After two full chapters detailing our struggle against indwelling sin, Romans 8 gives us all the confidence and assurance we need to know that we’ll make it to the end, not because we are strong enough to do it, but because God has promised to give us the grace to make it.

Verses 1–17 all center around the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, the believer. What benefit is the Holy Spirit to us? A great one! His presence is the guarantee that we belong to God (v. 9); he bears witness in our hearts that we are God’s children and heirs of all his promises (vv. 14–17); he is the power by which we will be raised to life again after we die (v. 11); he gives us the ability to obey God’s law now (v. 4) and so please God (vv. 7–8). Without the Holy Spirit and without God having already saved us, we have no hope of pleasing God in anything that we do, we live a life enslaved to our sin, we are indwelt by a spirit of fear of death and judgment, and we have no hope. Praise God that, even in the midst of great struggle, the Holy Spirit is actively working within us to sanctify us and assure us that God cannot forsake us or give up on us any more than he could give up on his own Spirit. There is no longer any condemnation for you. Let that truth sink into your heart when you face the struggle against sin. And then make every effort to put that sin to death with a renewed strength that can only come from the power of God himself (v. 13).

Verses 18–30 remind us of God’s great plan, both for you as an individual and for the whole of creation. We have a great glory waiting for us in eternity, which should give us hope in the midst of great suffering. Paul is quite real about what life looks right now, isn’t he? We groan under the pain of this life (v. 23), the whole of creation is in bondage to corruption (v. 21), and we wait longingly for the full redemption yet to come about (vv. 19, 23). Yet Paul helps us to make sense of the corruption of this life in a couple ways. He tells us that God is using all of the evil we experience to conform us to the likeness of his Son (vv. 28–29). That sort of conforming work in our lives should reassure us that we are actively on our way to being glorified (v. 30). We must suffer in this life, because that means we are becoming more and more like Christ, and if we are like Christ in his suffering, then we will definitively be like Christ in our glorification (v. 17). But Paul also tells us that the Holy Spirit himself is interceding for us and helping us to pray in the midst of suffering. What a great blessing to know that one of the members of the Trinity is actively interceding for his own. Can God deny himself? No! And so, although we may be afflicted in every way or perplexed or persecuted or struck down, we are not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8–9).

Finally, in verses 31–39, we have some of the greatest and most precious promises in all of Scripture. If God is for us, no one can condemn us and no one can destroy us. God’s unending, unquenchable love for us means that nothing will be able to separate us from him, both now in this life and for all of eternity. Your final salvation is sure because God loves you. He loves you so much he sent his Son to die in your place. And if he has sent his Son to die in your place to secure your eternity, how will he not also give you everything you need to get through this life and make it to the end? The certainty of God’s love and his faithfulness guarantee that he will preserve you and that he will give you the grace to persevere and continue in the faith through any suffering in this life. As Paul will later conclude, to him be glory forever!