on Romans 8 :10
And if Christ be in you, etc. - This is the criterion by which you may judge of the state of grace in which ye stand. If Christ dwell in your hearts by faith, the body is dead because of sin, δι' ἁμαρτιαν, in reference to sin; the members of your body no more perform the work of sin than the body of a dead man does the functions of natural life. Or the apostle may mean, that although, because of sin, the life of man is forfeited; and the sentence, dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return, must be fulfilled on every human being, until the judgment of the great day; yet, their souls being quickened by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, which enables them to live a life of righteousness, they receive a full assurance that their bodies, which are now condemned to death because of sin, shall be raised again to a life of immortal glory.
on Romans 8 :10
And if Christ be in you - This is evidently a figurative expression, where the word "Christ" is used to denote his spirit, his principles; that is, he influences the man. Literally, he cannot be in a Christian; but the close connection between him and Christians, and the fact that they are entirely under his influence, is expressed by this strong figurative language. It is language which is not infrequently used; compare Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27.
(The union between Christ and his people is sometimes explained of a merely relative in opposition to a real union. The union which subsists between a substitute, or surety, and the persons in whose room he has placed himself, is frequently offered in explanation of the Scripture language on the subject. In this view, Christ is regarded as legally one with his people, inasmuch, as what he has done or obtained, is held as done and obtained by them. Another relative union, employed to illustrate that which subsists between Christ and believers, is the union of a chief and his followers, which is simply a union of design, interest, sentiment, affection, destiny, etc. Now these representations are true so far as they go; and furnish much interesting and profitable illustration. They fall short, however, of the full sense of Scripture on the point. That there is a real or vital union between Christ and his people, appears from the language of the inspired writers in regard to it.
The special phraseology which they employ, cannot well be explained of any relative union At all events, it is as strong as they could have employed, on the supposition, that they had wished to convey the idea of the most intimate possible connection. Christ is said to be "in them," and they are represented as "in him." He "abides in them, and they in him." They "dwelt" in each other; John 14:20; John 15:4; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:12. Moreover, the Scripture illustrations of the subject furnish evidence to the same effect. The mystical union, as it has been called, is compared to the union of stones in a building, branches in a vine, members in a human body, and even to what subsists between the Father and the Son; 1 Peter 2:4; Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 2:22; John 15:1-8; 1Co. 12:12-31; John 17:20-23. Now if all these are real unions, is not this union real also? If not, where is the propriety or justice of the comparisons? Instead of leading us to form accurate notions on the subject, they would seem calculated to mislead.
This real and vital union is formed by the one Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit pervading the Head and the members of the mystical body; 1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13. It is true, indeed, that the essential presence of Christ's Spirit is everywhere, but he is present in Christ's members, in a special way, as the fountain of spiritual influence. This spiritual presence, which is the bond of union, is manifested immediately upon a man's reception of Christ by faith. From that hour he is one with Christ, because the same Spirit lives in both. Indeed this union is the foundation of all the relative unions which have been employed to illustrate the subject; without it, we could have no saving relation to Christ whatever. That it is mysterious cannot be denied. The apostle himself affirms as much, Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:27. Although we know the fact, we cannot explain the manner of it, but must not on this account reject it, any more than we would the doctrine of the Spirit's essential presence, because we do not understand it.)
The body is dead - This passage has been interpreted in very different ways. Some understand it to mean that the body is dead in respect to sin; that is, that sin has no more power to excite evil passions and desires; others, that the body must die on account of sin but that the spiritual part shall live, and even the body shall live also in the resurrection. Thus, Calvin, Beza, and Augustine. Doddridge understands it thus: Though the body is to die on account of the first sin that entered into the world, yet the spirit is life, and shall continue to live on forever, through that righteousness which the second Adam has introduced." To each of these interpretations there are serious objections, which it is not necessary to urge. I understand the passage in the following manner: The body refers to that of which the apostle had said so much in the previous chapters - the flesh, the man before conversion. It is subject to corrupt passions and desires, and may be said thus to be dead, as it has none of the elements of spiritual life. It is under the reign of sin and death. The word μέν men, indeed, or truly, has been omitted in our translation, and the omission has obscured the sense. The expression is an admission of the apostle, or a summary statement of what had before been shown. "It is to be admitted, indeed, or it is true, that the unrenewed nature, the man before conversion, under the influence of the flesh, is spiritually dead. Sin has its seat in the fleshly appetites; and the whole body may be admitted thus to be dead or corrupt."
Because of sin - Through sin δἰ ἁμαρτία di' hamartia; by means of sinful passions and appetites.
But the spirit - This stands opposed to the body; and it means that the soul, the immortal part, the renovated man, was alive, or was under the influence of living principles. It was imbued with the life which the gospel imparts and had become active in the service of God. The word "spirit" here does not refer to the Holy Spirit, but to the spirit of man, the immortal part, recovered, renewed, and imbued with life under the gospel.
Because of righteousness - Through righteousness διὰ δικαιοσύνην dia dikaiosunēn. This is commonly interpreted to mean, with reference to righteousness, or that it may become righteous. But I understand the expression to be used in the sense in which the word is so frequently used in this Epistle, as denoting God's plan of justification; see the note at Romans 1:17. "The spirit of man has been recovered and made alive through his plan of justification. It communicates life, and recovers man from his death in sin to life."
The "body" in this passage has generally been understood in the literal sense, which, doubtless, ought not to be rejected without some valid reason. There is nothing in the connection that demands the figurative sense. The apostle admits that, notwithstanding of the indwelling of the Spirit, the body must die. "It indeed (μεν men ) is dead because of sin." The believer is not delivered from temporal death. Yet there are two things which may well reconcile him to the idea of laying aside for a while the clay tabernacle. The "mortal body," though it now die, is not destined to remain forever under the dominion of death, but shall be raised again incorruptible and glorious, by the power of the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead. Meanwhile, "the spirit, or soul, is life, because of righteousness." In consequence of that immaculate righteousness, of which Paul had had said so much in the previous part of this Epistle, the souls of believers, even now, enjoy spiritual life, which shall issue in eternal life and glory.
Those who understand σῶμα sōma figuratively in the 10th verse, insist, indeed, that the resurrection in the 11th, is figurative also. But "the best commentators" says Bloomfield, "both ancient and modern, with reason prefer the literal view, especially on account of the phrase θνητα thnēta σῶματα sōmata which seems to confine it to this sense.")
on Romans 8 :10
8:10 Now if Christ be in you - Where the Spirit of Christ is, there is Christ. The body indeed is dead - Devoted to death. Because of sin - Heretofore committed. But the Spirit is life - Already truly alive. Because of righteousness - Now attained. From Rom 8:13, St. Paul, having finished what he had begun, Rom 6:1, describes purely the state of believers.