June 9 Epistle Reading

Romans 8:2-13

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.

Thomas Soroka quotes the writer of a commentary called Ambrosiaster in regard to this topic of"How to live life in the spirit of Christ"…

"Paul holds out security for us by the grace of God so that we may not be tempted the suggestions of the Devil as long as we reject them. We instead shall be rewarded if we repel the counsels of that sin which remains in us. For it demands great skill to avoid the tricks of the enemy within. The law of the spirit of life is the law of faith. For even the law of Moses is spiritual in that it forbids us to sin; but it is not the law of life. It has no power to pardon those who are guilty of the sins which merit death, and thus to bring them back to life. Therefore it is the law in Christ Jesus, that is to say, through faith in Christ, which frees the believer from the law of sin and death. The law of sin, which Paul says dwells in our members, tries to persuade us to sin. But the law of Moses is a law of death because it puts sinners to death."

Eusebius of Caesarea discusses v.3 in his "Proof of the Gospel":

"Because God has done what the law could not do, we reject Jewish customs on the ground that they were not meant for us and that it is impossible to accomodate them to the needs of the Gentiles, while we gladly accept that the Jewish prophecies contain predictions about ourselves."

In his "Homilies on Romans 13", we find Crysostom's commentary on Christ's flesh…

"…it appears as if Paul is criticizing the law, but in reality he is harmonizing it with Christ. The problem with the law was that it was too weak to accomplish what was intended…And even the law's weakness was not its fault but the fault of the flesh, by which he means not the substance itself but the carnal mind.

"Just because Paul says that Christ came 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' you must not think that his flesh was any different from ours. It was because he called it 'sinful' that he added the word 'likeness.' For Christ did not have sinful flesh but flesh which, though it was like ours by nature, was sinless. From this it is plain that flesh is not sinful by nature. It was not by taking on a different kind of flesh nor by changing ours into something different that Christ caused it to gain the victory over sin and death. Rather, he allowed the flesh to keep its own nature, giving it the crown of victory and after its resurrection life immortal.

"Are we to cut our bodies to pieces in order to please God? Should we become murderers in order to practice virtue? You see what inconsistencies result if we take these words literally! What Paul means by the flesh in this passage is not the essence of the body but a life which is carnal and worldly, serving self-indulgence and extravagance to the full."


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