Romans: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators

By J. Patout Burns Jr.; Constantine Newman | Go to book overview

Romans 8

The chapter deals with many different topics that are not unified into a single argument. In the initial sections, the commentators are concerned to rule out any interpretation that would make the human body itself the source of evil. Later, some depict the liberation of creation from futility as the restoration of the whole of creation to that incorruption and immortality which was lost through the sin of human beings.

Paul’s assertion that Christ overcame sin by sin required specifying which sin was used to destroy the power of sin. Ambrosiaster and Chrysostom offered the most common explanation: the devil sinned by killing the innocent Christ and thus lost dominion over other sinners. Origen and Augustine identify the sin as a term used for the sacrifice offered for sin.

In the last sections, Paul introduces the topic of election, which will play a major role in the following chapter. Augustine stakes out his characteristic position on the gratuity and efficacy of divine operation; in general, other commentators think it important to defend divine fairness, that is, the integrity of God’s justice, by insisting on the (foreknown) human intention to which God responds.


Romans 8:1-4

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death.
3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 41in
order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not ac-
cording to the flesh but according to the Spirit
.


(1) Origen on verse 1

Now then, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. In the preceding section, Paul has pointed out that different forces were locked in battle within

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Romans: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church’s Bible i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Interpreting the New Testament xiii
  • An Introduction to Romans xxiii
  • Preface to Romans 1
  • Romans 1 13
  • Romans 2 37
  • Romans 3 61
  • Romans 4 83
  • Romans 5 102
  • Romans 6 132
  • Romans 7 154
  • Romans 8 182
  • Romans 9 217
  • Romans 10 245
  • Romans 11 260
  • Romans 12 289
  • Romans 13 314
  • Romans 14 334
  • Romans 15 359
  • Romans 16 381
  • Appendix 1- Authors of Works Excerpted 394
  • Appendix 2- Sources of Texts Translated 396
  • Index of Names 414
  • Index of Subjects 417
  • Index of Scripture References 422
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