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Reading the Bible with Dead Guys: Schaeffer on Romans 8

This article is part of the Reading the Bible with Dead Guys series.

Reading the Bible With Dead Guys is a weekly blog series giving you the chance to read God’s Word alongside some great theologians from church history. With content adapted from the Crossway Classic Commentaries series, these posts feature reflections on Scripture by giants of the faith like John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, and more.

Today we’ll hear from Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) on Romans 8:1-3


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (8:1-2)

If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we will never have to face the prospect of eternal condemnation. This first verse of chapter 8 should remind us of the first verse of chapter 5, with which Paul introduced this section on sanctification: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He is really saying the same thing here in 8:1, and he will return to this great theme in verses 18-39: Eternal life is forever. Eternal life is eternal. If we have taken Jesus as our Savior, our condemnation is past forever.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (8:2)

We just heard Paul ask, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (7:24). And now comes the answer: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has [once for all!] made me free from the law of sin and death” (8:2).

Because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, my condemnation is past. I am once for all free from the law of sin and death.

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. (8:3)

The Finished Work of Christ

Francis A. Schaeffer

A dynamic commentary on the first eight chapters of Romans by one of the most influential Christian thinkers of this century. Schaeffer provides fresh biblical insights and an arresting perspective on our times.

The law is good, but there is something it cannot do. It cannot save me. Why? Because it “was weak through the flesh.” The law is all right in itself, but it is weak through the flesh, that is, through my flesh and your flesh. We can’t keep the law. Therefore “God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

We couldn’t keep the law, but Christ did. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin [by a sacrifice for sin], condemned sin in the flesh.”

By emphasizing that Christ condemned sin specifically “in the flesh,” Paul seems to be reminding us again that he is talking about our present life, in our present bodies. He’s talking about life in the real world of real people like you and me.

This article was adapted from The Finished Work of Christ: The Truth of Romans 1-8 by Francis Schaeffer.



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