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Notes on Romans 1:4


*Updated on 18th October, 2016

And declared [to be] the Son of God

The word 'declared' is translated from a Greek word which primarily means to mark out (the boundaries or limits of a place or thing).

Hence, in this verse (and from the context in which it appears),  it means that our Lord Jesus Christ was clearly shown, marked out, or made manifest as the Son of God.  He is therefore,  irrefragably the Son of God. And whether or not one agrees with this is immaterial “for we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”  (2Co 13:8 KJV).

“...the Son of God

This speaks of His divinity. The previous verse, in speaking of His humanity, had just described Him as being of David's lineage. Now, in stating that He was shown to be the Son of God,  the apostle is essentially affirming the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is divine.  He is a member of the Godhead; He is God. See John 5:18.

Therefore, writing to the church at Corinth, he says in 2 Corinthians 5:16:

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Now,  in that He was shown to be the Son of God,  the apostle is implying that there are attributes of one who is the Son of God. This in turn means that the ‘Son of God’ is also a name or designation. It is a name or designation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this respect, His being shown or made manifest as the Son of God refers to His instatement as such.

with power

‘Power’ here means miraculous power. ‘With power’ refers to how He was shown to be the Son of God. Thus,  He was shown to be the Son of God by means of miraculous power or with great might. It also means He was raised from the dead with great power. See Eph. 1:19-22.


according to the spirit of holiness

This phrase has been subject to various interpretations by Bible translations and Bible scholars. In my opinion however,  it makes the verse such a beautiful treasure mine of knowledge and instruction.

This is my understanding of the phrase

If in describing His pedigrees or identities (as man and as a divine being), ‘according to the flesh’ refers to his physical body,  that is, His human nature,  then ‘according to the spirit of holiness’ doubtless refers to the nature of His spirit,  that is,  His spiritual nature; who He was in His spirit. It says that He was holy, inherently so.

It therefore means that He was shown to be the Son of God with power as regards His spiritual nature, that is, being or because He was (inherently) holy. See 1Tim.3:16 cf Luke 1:35. Holiness fundamentally signifies separateness. See also Heb. 7:26.

The phrase ‘according to the spirit of holiness’ can also be understood to mean ‘inasmuch as it is in keeping with the spirit of holiness’,  or ‘inasmuch as it is in keeping with being holy’,  or simply, ‘being holy’: “And was shown to be the Son of God with miraculous power, being holy… .” This would mean that He was shown to be or marked out as the Son of God not just because He was holy in His spirit but also because He was holy in character, that is,  His essential quality of holiness (being holy in His spirit) was evident in His character. He lived a life dedicated or consecrated unto God.

In other words,  holiness (in spirit and in conduct) is prerequisite to being made manifest as the Son of God for it is an essential attribute of the Godhead. See Rom. 6:22; 2 Cor.6:16-7:1; Eph. 1:4,5; 1John 3:1-3 cf Heb. 12:14. See also 1Peter 1:15,16; 1 Sam. 2:2.

The spirit of holiness also means the spirit whose attribute is holiness (meaning sacredness, separateness unto God,  sanctity,  etc). In other words, the spirit who makes holy, sacred,  sets apart, or sanctifies. The phrase can then rightly be rendered ‘according to the spirit who sanctifies’. See also Young's Literal Translation where the phrase is translated,  “according to the Spirit of Sanctification.”

From Scriptures we understand that the Holy Spirit (the Spirit whose attribute is holiness) is the spirit of sanctification; He is the one who sanctifies us: 2Thess. 2:13; 1Pt. 1:2; 1Cor. 6:11; Rom.15:16.

This means that He was sanctified,  set apart, or made holy by the Holy Spirit. In other words,  His being made manifest as the Son of God with power was because He was made holy (set apart or sanctified) by the Holy Spirit. Again, compare Luke 1:35 with 1Tim. 3:16.

Summarily then,  the phrase means that He was shown to be the Son of God with power because He was inherently holy (in His spirit) and by virtue of the Holy Spirit.

The can be explained by the fact that:

One,  it is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies,  who sets apart unto God and,

Two, the “Spirit of Christ,” “Spirit of God” “Spirit of Jesus Christ” and “Christ” are used interchangeably to refer to the Holy Spirit: Rom.8:2,9,14; Phil.1:19; 1Pt.1:11,12. In Gal. 4:6, the Spirit of God's Son is also used to refer to the Holy Ghost.

It is therefore impossible to rule out (as some have done) the person of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection or revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

This is because if He was shown to be the Son of God with power, by virtue of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit that makes holy) and
His resurrection from the dead (which was accomplished with great power) was what marked Him out to be the Son of God then,
It can rightly be said that He was raised from the dead through or by virtue of the Holy Spirit. See 1 Ti.3:16; 1 Pt. 3:18; Rom. 8:11 cf Eph. 1:19-22.

More so, if the resurrection is what marked him out or proved Him to be the Son of God and can be ascribed to God and Jesus Himself then, it most certainly can be ascribed to the Holy Spirit who is one with both and is the one who bears witness (In this regard,  “Spirit” in 1 Tim. 3:16 may accurately be used in reference to the Holy Spirit): 1John 5:6,7

Furthermore,  the fact that: Jesus's conception was by the Holy Spirit (Mt.1:20; Luke 1:31,35); He was endorsed on earth by God as His Son by means of the Holy Spirit (John 1:32,33; 3:34) and in short, did everything that He did by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38) makes it even more unlikely and outrightly impossible to rule out from Scriptures the person of the Holy Spirit from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is therefore my considered opinion that it was precisely in order to capture these interconnected meanings represented by the phrase ‘spirit of holiness’ that the apostle made use of it in the verse.

In sum, we also, because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us (the spirit that sanctifies), are holy: 1 Cor.3:17; Heb. 3:1; and shall be made manifest as sons of God for we are one with Christ and He is our forerunner. However,  as was hinted at above, we also, like Jesus, are to live lives in consecration or dedication to God.  This is what is meant by perfecting holiness. See below.

by the resurrection from the dead

This simply means (in connection with the entire verse) that His resurrection from the dead marked Him out or showed Him to be the Son of God and that this resurrection was accomplished with miraculous or great power. See Eph. 1:19-22.

Jesus’s resurrection from the dead marked Him out to be the Son of God because, in contrast with others in Scripture who rose from the dead,  His was unto eternal life, never to die again: Rom.6:9. In His resurrection,  He rose anew with a glorified immortal, incorruptible spiritual body (1 Cor.15:42,44) to a position of authority, far above all: Mt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil.2:9-11. (In this respect then,  His being shown as the Son of God can also be taken to mean His instatement into the office and dignity of the Son of God.) His was clearly a case different from the resurrection of others from the dead.

Inasmuch as we who believe in Christ are sons and daughters of God: John 1:12; 1John 3:1,2; and Christ is our precursor: Heb. 6:20 (forerunner); we also shall be like Him and shall have a body like His: 1John 3:1,2; Phil. 3:20,21; 1 Cor.15:47-49. In other words, we too shall, with great power be shown to be or manifested as sons of God by the resurrection from the dead (1 Cor.6:14; 2Cor. 15:43). This is why the Bible, in Luke 20:36, refers to the children of God as being the children of the resurrection. See also Rom. 6:5.

Thus,  resurrection from the dead as contained in this verse and in some other parts of Scripture refers not just to the coming back to life, rather it more accurately refers to and signifies the glorious instatement of the children of God into their glorious inheritance as sons or heirs of God whereby their bodies are transformed into a glorious one for, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God: 1 Cor.15:50. For some that takes place after death for others it will take place while we're still alive.

The phrase,  ‘resurrection from (or of) the dead’ is used to refer to it because the instatement is marked by a transformation of the body from that which can die and is therefore mortal and corruptible to that which cannot die and is therefore immortal and incorruptible. Therefore, when it happens,  then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory”: 1Cor.15:54. See also Luke 20:36 and Rom. 6:5.

Thus, though all of us shall be changed (transformed or, if you like, obtain the resurrection from the dead), not all of us will have to die and be literally raised from the dead. For some of us,  it will be an instantaneous process of mortality being swallowed up of life: 1Cor. 15:51-55; 2Cor. 5:4.

Conclusion

Now,  if being holy or because He was holy,  He was, with great power, shown to be the Son of God. And if the resurrection from the dead showed Him to be the Son of God,  then, it can rightly be said that, being holy  or because He was holy, He was raised from the dead

As such, holiness guarantees the resurrection from the dead. See Acts 2:24-27; 13:34-35; Rom. 6:22; 8:12,13; 1John 3:3.

Additionally,  as the ‘spirit of holiness’ also refers to the Holy Spirit, and it can rightly be said that He was raised from the dead by virtue of the Holy Spirit (see explanation above) it follows that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit guarantees the resurrection from the dead: Rom. 8:11,15-17,23; Gal 4:6; 2Co 1:22; 5:4,5; Eph. 1:13,14.

This is why we are admonished to yield ourselves to the Spirit for it is He who makes us holy; a prerequisite and attribute of the Divine nature. See Rom. 8:11-27; 1John 2:27; Jude 1:20 cf 1Pt. 2:5 and Eph. 2:19-22.

This is what is referred to as perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Even Jesus Himself lived blameless by the Spirit: Heb.9:14 and is as such said to be made perfect: cf Heb. 2:10; 4:14,15; 7:28 (rendered consecrated).

I believe one of the ways through which we live holy lives through the Spirit is by giving ourselves over to speaking in tongues: See Rom. 8:26; 1Cor. 2:13 cf 1John 2:27; Jude 1:20 cf 1Pt.2:5.

Lessons learned

Jesus Christ is undisputedly the Son of God. This means that He is divine, a member of the Godhead; He is God: John 5:18.

The Son of God is a name or designation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this respect, His declaration or being made manifest as the Son of God is His instatement as such.

Holiness is prerequisite to being made manifest as the son of God (Rom. 6:22; 2 Cor.6:16-7:1; Eph. 1:4,5; 1John 3:1-3 cf Heb. 12:14. See also 1Peter 1:15,16).

Jesus's resurrection, which was accomplished with great power, marked Him out as the Son of God because when He was raised,  He rose anew with a glorified immortal, incorruptible spiritual body (1 Cor.15:42,44) to a position of authority, far above all: Mt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil.2:9-11.

We too, as sons and daughters of God (John 1:12; 1John 3:1,2) shall, with great power, be in the likeness of His resurrection (1John 3:1,2; Phil. 3:20,21; 1 Cor.15:47-49).

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11,15-17,23; Gal 4:6; 2Co 1:22; 5:5; 1Tim. 3:16; Eph. 1:13,14) alongside being holy guarantees the resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:24-27; 13:34-35; Rom. 6:22; 8:12,13; 1John 3:3).

As such,  it behoves us to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit in living holy lives (Rom. 8:11-27; 1John 2:27; Jude 1:20 cf 1Pt. 2:5 and Eph. 2:19-22.)

One of the ways through which we do this is by giving ourselves over to speaking in tongues: See Rom. 8:26; 1Cor. 2:13 cf 1John 2:27; Jude 1:20 cf 1Pt.2:5.

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