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Romans 8 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Romans 8 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

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.

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

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.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

"The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
Some Christians use this verse to show that we live in a sin cursed world. (But others disagree.)
This verse is not the only one that is used to show that we live in a sin cursed world. We read that simply in Gen. 3:17. Christians might differ on the interpretation of this verse, but that does not mean that true Christians do not agree we do not live in a sin cursed world.
That said, the site the author of the SAB links to is from Hugh Ross. They believe what scientists say about the universe and the earth, and try to fit the Bible into that. Whenever the scientists change their mind, they'll make another fit and let the Bible say something else. True Christians start with the Bible, not with fallible men. Hugh Ross believes there was sin and death before Adam and Eve. That there never was a paradise. He rejects the first 11 chapters of Genesis and interprets it metaphorically to the current scientific consensus. Hugh Ross is not a Christian, but a heretic.

23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

"For we know not what we should pray for as we ought."
In Mt.6:9-13 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. Yet here Paul says that Christians don't know how to pray.
Do Christians know how to pray?
A Christian always knows what to pray, because he has the Lord's prayer. That is what the author of the SAB asserts here in order to make a contradiction. But Paul knew that the Lord Jesus just gave an example, a template if you will. But Jesus intention was not to give us a prayer that we should blindly copy. Our prayers depend on the circumstances and our true needs. Often we have to admit that we are blind and see not. We depend on God for light, because only in his light, we shall see light (Ps. 36:9). See also the remarks on Matthew 6:9.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

"The Spirit ... maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
God intercedes with God by talking to, and sometimes even arguing with, himself.
The meaning of the word intercession is not “arguing with”. “Arguing for” would be closer. This verse is a clear example of the Holy Spirit being a person. He dwells in the heart of believers. John Gill adds this:

It may be rendered, "he maketh intercession for holy things according to God"; for spiritual blessings, divine favours, things that belong to God; or divine things, which are agreeably to his nature and will: and since it is the Holy Spirit that makes intercession, and the persons are holy for whom he makes it, and this is made for holy things, and all according to the will of God, which the Spirit of God must fully know, saints may be confident of the prevalence and success of such intercession.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

"All things work together for good to them that love God."
One of the greatest and most absurd lies in all of scripture.
John Gill starts with:

There is a temporal good, and a spiritual good, and an eternal one. Temporal good is what the men of the world are seeking after, and generally have the greatest share of, and the saints the least

And that probably explains the scoffing of the author of the SAB: the radically different view he and the believer has on what is good.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

(8:29-30) "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate."
Everyone is predestined by God to be either saved or damned; they can do nothing to affect their final destiny.
Do humans have free will?
What must you do to be saved?
What the Bible says about determinism and free will
Both the positions that God can be surprised by what we do or that we are just robots doing God's will, are untenable. It is also clearly unnecessary that we have to understand exactly God's predestination. But the Bible tells us clearly what the predestination is not. As God will judge us, it indicates we have a free will. Else the judgment would be a mockery. But it is also clear that our free will is no longer free in the sense that we can choose good and evil. Our will is inclined towards evil. The condition of humanity is described in Ezek. 37 as a valley of dry bones:

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

Elsewhere (Gen. 8:21) God describes the condition of man as: “for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” All have sinned, all are guilty of death. No one would be saved if God had not decided to intervene.
But rather than be concerned about free will, determination and predestination, we have only one duty (Luke 13:23-24):

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
No one can oppose Christians since God is on their side.
Paul isn't saying that one shouldn't oppose Christians. Christians can sin and can be mistaken. The issue though is if their enemies can destroy them. That they cannot do.

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

"He that spared not his own Son" shouldn't be trusted by anyone.
God's son freely offered himself. And that for enemies. It was a voluntary act. God's son bare the sins of his people. He was punished, so we are not. No injustice was done.

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?"
A Christian cannot be accused of any wrongdoing.
Paul does not say that a Christian cannot be accused of any wrongdoing. Paul does admonish Christians in many letters. John Gill explains this verse when commenting on “It is God that justifieth”:

he against whom sin is committed, who is the lawgiver, and the righteous judge, justifies them from every charge; not by teaching them the way of justification, nor by infusing righteousness into them, or on account of any works of righteousness done by them, but by pronouncing them righteous through the imputation of the righteousness of his Son unto them.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

No one who has received a new heart will ever fall from grace. There is no power —not the elect themselves nor anyone else— who can separate them from the love of God. One could argue that this text would allow falling from grace if Paul had said: “no power can separate God from us while we love him.” But Paul says that no power can take away God's love towards us. That the saints cannot fall from grace is not due to their own (will) power, it is God's love and preserving grace.
There is a second argument as well: the saints have received a new heart. That new heart cannot not love God.

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.