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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Eighty-Sixth (Romans Part 15)

I hope your week was a good one!  Were you able to fill your mind with His Word during the week?  I’ve mentioned it before, but if you’re ever looking for an easy to read and understand, highly cross-referenced and foot-noted version of the Bible that I have found to be one of the more accurate translations from the original language of scripture (in some cases, more accurate than the KJV), I recommend the Berean Standard Bible.  It’s available on Biblehub.com, and you can even download it free on bereanbible.com if you want to try it before buying one or if you just prefer reading electronically.  I have a soft cover version and the quality is excellent as well.  Don’t worry, I’m not an affiliate for Bereanbible.com!  I just think it’s a really awesome Bible!


We’re continuing with Romans 8 this week, and there’s some exciting stuff in the rest of this chapter.  We might not get through the end of the chapter, but let’s see.  After coming through the portion on walking in the spirit, that we looked at last week, Paul moves on to present a very interesting concept as far as our relationship to YHWH.


We see that the two parts of our being that Paul is talking about is our spirit and our flesh.  Our spirit is/was reborn through spiritual baptism into the death of Yeshua, and based on that rebirth, Paul says we are obligated to live according to the spirit (Romans 8:12).  Actually, the way he exactly puts it is we are not “debtors” to the flesh, and the Greek word he used is the same used to refer to the debt of sin (Luke 13:4).  This is quite an interesting concept, isn’t it?  A debtor is someone required to pay back a debt, and when you think about what Paul is saying here in that way, his point is that YHWH’s Spirit living in us despite our sinfulness, and His promise of eternal life, means we owe Him.


Does YHWH require us to pay Him back?  No!  He gave us His Spirit in grace, meaning He asked for, and requires, nothing in return.  Not to mention the fact that nothing we could ever do could equal the full balance of this debt.  Paul’s point is not that we are required to live according to the spirit based on some terms of YHWH giving us His Spirit, but that we should do it because it’s the right thing to do.  By living according to the flesh, we will die, but if we live according to the spirit, those things of the flesh are put to death in us, meaning we have no desire to do them any longer.


The other interesting word Paul uses here, when talking about the things of the flesh, is the Greek word praxis (Romans 8:13).  This word only occurs six times in the New Testament, and with one exception is translated to deeds or works.  However, when you look at the definition of this word it’s more than what those words imply.  The Greek word means something someone does regularly.  In other words, something someone does as a regular practice.  So, Paul is saying that living by the spirit results in us no longer regularly practicing the things of the flesh.  Those things no longer are a regular part of our lives, they aren’t habit anymore, and they don’t control how we live and what we do.


Then Paul says something interesting.  He says all those who are led by YHWH’s Spirit are sons of Him (Romans 8:14), and then goes on to clarify that when baptized onto Yeshua’s death we receive a spirit of “sonship” or adoption, depending on which version of the Bible you’re reading (Romans 8:15).  This word is a combination of two Greek words, which put together mean “to place a son.”  But I thought we all were YHWH’s children already.  I mean, He created Adam and Eve, so all descendants of them are His descendants, right?  How can we be placed into a familial position in which we already exist?


The context of this occurrence of the word is obviously spiritual (Romans 8:15-16), but later, Paul uses the same word to reference the physical (Romans 8:23); something that will happen when our bodies are redeemed like our spirit already is.  Again, we have to remember that there are two aspects to consider always: the spiritual aspect and the physical aspect.  When Adam and Eve were created, their familial position both physically and spiritually were as a son and daughter of YHWH.  As such, their authority was from YHWH, both physically and spiritually.


Once they sinned, listening to the serpent and eating of the forbidden fruit, they lost that familial position and authority.  YHWH breathed His own Spirit into Adam and Eve when He created them (Genesis 2:7), and made them the head of all the earth, to cultivated and keep it, and to name all the animals (Genesis 2:15, 19-20).  Once they sinned, they were made subject to the land and animals (Genesis 3:17-19) and their rebellion made them spiritually a son and daughter of Satan (1 John 3:8).  They followed Satan’s influence, which gave him authority over them spiritually, and as a result had fear rather than comfort when YHWH came around (Genesis 3:10).


Yeshua’s sacrifice gave us the opportunity to be restored as a son or daughter of YHWH, and Paul seemingly references this event in the Garden of Eden to contrast our status of restoration.  He tells the believers in Rome that the Spirit they received was not one of slavery to fear (Romans 8:15) and he says “again” almost as if he’s referencing the fact that this spirit of slavery to fear was one originally obtained in the Garden.  Whether that’s what he was going for or not, I don’t know, but we can rest assured in the fact that we are children of YHWH if we have been baptized into Yeshua’s death, and the Spirit of YHWH Himself testifies to this fact (Romans 8:16).


In the next section of this chapter, Paul focuses on the future.  Interestingly, something he says here seems to confirm the thought that he actually was referencing Adam and Eve’s fear in the Garden previously.  He reminds the believers that all of creation was subjected to “futility” by YHWH, by which he means regardless of what it produces and how much life it gives to both man and animal it is still continuously in a state of decay (Romans 8:20-21).  In other words, despite the fact that it keeps man alive through its growth of plants and trees that provide food and medicine, in the end man dies and returns to dust (Genesis 3:19).  


All of creation is eagerly anticipating our physical redemption (Romans 8:19, 22-23), and this is our hope as well, that we receive this physical redemption (Romans 8:24-25).  The only way we have this hope though, as Paul says, is because we have the Spirit of YHWH through our already completed spiritual redemption.  The presence of His Spirit helps us to see, hear, and feel things that don’t align with what is seen, heard and felt solely physically.  When you look around, there is nothing that you can point to that gives you the idea there is anything to look forward to, anything to hope for, because by all accounts once you die physically you are gone forever.  Because this prospect is so grim, and in the absence (or more accurately the rebellious ignorance) of YHWH, man creates beliefs like reincarnation to give themselves hope that being gone forever isn’t what actually happens in the end.


Paul also tells us that like the help we get from YHWH’s Spirit to have hope, He also helps us in our praying (Romans 8:26-27).  The “groanings” Paul talks about the Spirit interceding with here is stenagmos, which refers to a groaning or sighing brought on by circumstances creating great pressure.  It can be either a positive or a negative, depending on what is anticipated to come.  For example, Paul uses the root of this word to describe our groaning, or longing, for our heavenly dwelling (2 Corinthians 5:2), and in Hebrews it’s used to describe a groaning of grief (Hebrews 13:17).


Our symbiotic spiritual relationship with YHWH’s Spirit produces hope in us for what is to come, and serves to bring about YHWH’s will.  Paul makes reference to multiple Old Testament verses referring to YHWH searching hearts (Psalm 139:23, Jeremiah 17:10, 1 Chronicles 28:9) to illustrate how His Spirit intercedes for us to fulfill the will of YHWH, and as we saw last week, His Spirit also helps us to live according to His will.  Sometimes, these are one in the same and His intercession for us to fulfill the will of YHWH is to help us live according to His will!


Next week, we’ll finish off Romans 8, but until then, as you go through this week, try to focus on the hope of your future.  Baptism into Yeshua’s death gives us our spiritual redemption, and our symbiotic relationship and connection to YHWH’s Spirit, as well as the future redemption of our bodies.  Look forward to that moment when our bodies are redeemed! (1 Corinthians 15:42-43)  


Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!


-Rob and Sara Gene

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