Let’s walk through the passage.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The use of the word therefore tells us that Paul is building of what has come before, immediately before Paul has talked about us obeying God with our mind even if we do not with our bodies, but this is not what I think what Paul is pointing to as he qualifies it by the phrase those who are in Christ Jesus he is pointing to the start of chapter 6 where he talks of how we have been united with Christ through baptism, made slaves to God, etc. The following verse continues to support this idea:
2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
see the second argument for righteousness in chapter 6; no longer are we slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness…
3 For 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, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Paul ties in chapter 7 this is therefore the concluding idea of a section that began in chapter 6, Christ through his death and resurrection has made the conquering of the flesh possible.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Paul sums up the position we were in, and the position that some remain in, see also Romans 3. The default position (see Romans 5; we once were in Adam, but now we are in Christ, we once were fleshly but now we are spiritual) is opposed to God, unable to submit to God’s law.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Paul now describes the process we have come through to where we are now, the major change is that the Spirit of Christ now dwells within the believer, we are no longer dead in our transgressions but alive because of Christ.
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Because of what has happened, we should not look to the flesh for our direction, but to the spirit, we should put to death the acts of the flesh. No longer are we unable to do things which are pleasing to God, no longer are we at enmity with God.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Our placement now as people who seek after the spirit, who seek after God’s will puts us in a unique standing, we are now deemed as sons of God and where there is sonship there is inheritance, both in good things and bad things, our suffering is part and parcel of our inheritance that eventually leads to our own glorification, after all we are the brothers of Christ, so if his inheritance has lead to his glorification then our inheritance will lead to the same. Paul puts it in a reassuring tone that suffering will ultimately give way to the glorification of the faithful. Also to be pointed out Paul sees the Spirit as the seal and guarantee of the believer’s adoption as a son of God.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Paul continues to reassure the Romans that their suffering will lead to greater things.
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
The expectancy of Gods creation is as a pregnant woman, but what is interesting here, the point Paul is making here is that even though Creation is in a state of futility, in a state of decay, it is God himself who has made it this way, Creation is longing, groaning hoping for the end of its futility where it is released, and even glorified through the revelation of the sons of God.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Paul now moves to see this expectancy of Creation as the same as that of the believer, we are expectant, we are hopeful for the Resurrection where we will be as Christ.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
So as the Spirit is the guarantee of our adoption so it is our intercessor and our strength in weakness, he is the supernatural link between the believer and God.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
After going on about the glorification of ourselves as the ultimate inheritance in which all believers have been adopted to gain the good in my mind is one to look forward to, not the wealth and fame which the prosperity heretics would have us believe is the point of this verse. This heretical reading also does not fit in with the idea of being called according to God’s purpose, God’s purpose throughout scripture is his glorification not our wealth.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
I’ll start in this passage from God’s act of glorification since that is a theme that has been going through the passage so far, we know that it is the sons of God who are glorified (v17), going backwards this group has also been justified, they are in right standing with God, they have been called by God and finally they are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Does man then have the ability to choose God? Well we saw earlier in v5-8 that those who are not indwelt by the Spirit are actively opposed to God. As Paul puts it the Spirit comes into us whereby we are able to cry “Abba! Father!”(v15) we become sons of God through this act, we become right with God [justified] (for on what level can a son of God not be justified?) What does Paul mean by foreknew? The Greek here is active; God knows what is going to happen in an active sense, he is not sitting back looking at history going “oh they’ll choose me,” the Greek here is intimate, the idea of knowing can be traced back throughout the Bible, Adam knows Eve and Cain and Abel result, as Christ says God knows every hair on our heads (Lk 12:7) it is Salvific, when the false believers approach Christ at the end, he says depart from me I never knew you. So what then? Then God predestines those to be conformed into the image of his Son, this to my mind is the only piece that is exclusively present/future as opposed to all the others which are past/present/future, God has already known us, and as we will see God has already, called, justified and glorified us. Then God calls us, is this calling universal? Well this plays into whether God’s justification is universal as God justifies those who he calls, since we know that justification is not universal it is easy to say that God’s calling is not universal. Is the calling effectual? Well since God justifies all he calls it must be, all respond positively to the call of God. So then God justifies all who he calls and calls only those who he will justify. The justification of all who are to be justified happens at the Cross, as following this Paul says that the only person who is to condemn is Christ, yet as we see earlier in Romans while we were still sinners, while we were still opposed to God Christ died in order that we might have life. (c5) So we also have been glorified, remember we have been united with Christ through baptism (6:3) are we not also united in his resurrection and ultimate glorification?
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
We have therefore firmly established that God is for us, especially through the death of his Son a willing (on the part of the Father) sacrifice for the people of God.
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
So then since we have been justified through the Father’s giving up his Son, the charge of condemnation is laid at the Son’s feet, yet since he also willingly died for us we have security, more than that we have hope, and the knowledge that Christ also intercedes on our behalf.
The following is just beautiful and I don’t think I need to add anything to it, however I will point out that the quote Paul uses is a celebration of us being counted worthy of the persecution of the world for the sake of Christ!
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To the glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity Amen!