In Rom 8:16, Paul makes the statement that, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Many feel that this verse is saying that we are able to gain assurance of our eternal salvation from the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit tells our spirit that we are God’s children.
If this is the case, we must conclude that such assurance is very subjective. How do we know if it is the Spirit of God “speaking” to us, or if it is our own spirit? Couldn’t we even wonder if an evil spirit is communicating to us in order to deceive us?
This issue is of extreme importance. If assurance of salvation comes from such a subjective source, can we ever be certain? Maybe one day we feel that the Spirit is telling us we are children of God. But on another day, perhaps a day in which we have failed badly, we do not “hear” this testimony. Or, perhaps, we feel the exact opposite is the case. The Spirit is telling us that we are not children of God. At face value it seems that we could never have assurance of salvation. In this article I will argue that Rom 8:16 is not telling believers that they gain assurance of salvation from a subjective witness of the Holy Spirit within them.
II. SUPPORT FOR THE SUBJECTIVE VIEW
In the writings of many Evangelicals, one can find support for the view that assurance comes through the subjective witness of the Holy Spirit. This is seen in most commentaries. In addition, both grammatical and lexical arguments are used to argue the same thing.
A. The Commentary Tradition
Many conservative Bible scholars take Rom 8:16 to mean that believers find assurance of salvation from an inner testimony of the Spirit of God. Newell says that the Holy Spirit produces, within the believer, a “consciousness” of being born of God and being a part of His family.1 However, the Spirit does not say this “to” our spirit, since the spirit of the believer already knows that he is a child of God. The Spirit of God joins “with” our spirit in declaring the truth.2
Newell, however, recognizes the subjective nature of this testimony of the Spirit and tries to alleviate it. He says that the assurance it brings is not a “feeling.” Instead, it is an unconscious certainty. At the same time, the Holy Spirit bears witness of these realities with the consciousness of the believer. All of this is a “profound mystery.”3 One wonders how something can be an unconscious certainty and how such an unconscious witness is made to the consciousness of a person.
That Newell recognizes that there is no complete assurance with this testimony of the Spirit is seen in the fact that the believer must test to see if the testimony he thinks he is receiving is true. He says that the book of 1 John gives us tests by which we can assure ourselves that we are children of God.4 But it is clear that these tests involve works. Some days we will think we have passed the test, and on others we will feel we have not.
Moo also takes the verse in this way. He says that the Spirit of God makes the believer aware that he is the child of God. He tells the believer this in the innermost part of his being. Moo says this is something the Spirit probably does “to” our spirit, not “with.”5
Boice explicitly states the subjective nature of this assurance. After saying that the Holy Spirit witnesses to believers that they are sons of God, he calls this an “experience” of the Spirit. Such an experience can be an overwhelming sense of God’s presence. Or, the Holy Spirit gives us a “spiritual whisper” of who we are. At the same time, however, there can be counterfeit experiences. Boice also recognizes that some Evangelicals will feel uncomfortable with finding assurance of salvation in emotional experiences and that such language can lead to excesses.6
Those who seek for complete assurance might be encouraged by the fact that Boice says we must go to the Scriptures for our primary source of assurance, and not a subjective experience. But even here he does not offer such confidence. Regarding Romans 8, Boice believes that Paul says we find assurance if we pass the tests. These tests involve the good works of walking by the Spirit.7
According to MacArthur, the assurance that the Spirit gives to the believer is a constant inner testimony. But this testimony also involves a work of the Spirit in the life of the believer in which He produces a longing for communion with God and sanctification in the life of the child of God. The Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in such a life and compels the believer to love God, hate sin, reject the world, long for Christ’s return, love other Christians, and long to be more like Christ. This testimony and work of the Spirit is one of His most precious ministries. However, it is subjective.8 Like others, MacArthur is saying we can test the testimony of the Spirit by our works.
When it comes to the issue of whether the Spirit testifies to our spirit or with our spirit, Cranfield seems to have influenced many others. He says that our spirit cannot testify that we are children of God. Therefore, the Spirit of God testifies to our spirit. The Spirit enables the believer to believe the good news and then testifies to the believer that he is eternally saved.9
Morris is an example of those influenced by Cranfield. He quotes from Cranfield and says that the Spirit of God testifies to our spirit, even though the usual meaning of the verb would be to testify “with” our spirit. Morris maintains that without this witness of the Spirit we could not testify that we are children of God.10
Finally, Schreiner disagrees with Cranfield and says that the Spirit of God testifies with the spirit of the believer. However, he agrees with Cranfield and others that this is a subjective experience. He calls it a religious one. But this religious and mystical experience is one that is given to all believers, without exception. It begins at the moment of conversion.11
While there is disagreement as to whether the Spirit testifies to our spirit or with our spirit, there are areas of agreement between all these writers. This testimony of the Spirit can be described as a mystical experience that is impossible to quantify.12 As such, it is subjective and therefore it can be said that complete assurance is not possible. The same arguments are sometimes made from both grammatical as well as lexical standpoints.
B. The Greek Grammar of Romans 8:16
There are two main grammatical/lexical issues in Rom 8:16 when it comes to the role of the Spirit of God in assurance of eternal salvation. One is the meaning of the dative tō pneumati hēmōn (“with our spirit”). The other is the meaning of the verb summarturei (“bears witness”).
1. Dative of Association?
The word spirit in the phrase with our spirit is in the dative. A common use of the dative in Greek is one of association. The word in the dative indicates a person or thing associated with another person or thing. It is often translated by the English word “with.” An example of this use is 2 Cor 6:14, in which Paul says that believers are not to be unequally yoked “with” unbelievers. He is saying that believers should not be in close association with unbelievers.
Another common use of the dative is the indirect object of a verb. This is most often translated by the word “to.” The question in Rom 8:16 is whether the word “spirit” is one of association, or whether it is an indirect object. If the former, the Holy Spirit testifies “with” our spirit that we are children of God. If the latter, He testifies “to” us. If it is a dative of indirect object, Wallace maintains that the believer receives the testimony of the Holy Spirit that he is a child of God and is in this way assured of eternal salvation.13
An important part of this discussion is the verb “bears witness” (summartureō). It has a Greek prefix sun. This prefix has the basic meaning of “with” and suggests that the dative that follows it has an associative idea. This is certainly the way that the NKJV, as well as most other versions of the Bible, translate it (e.g., KJV, NASB, NIV, HCSB, ASV, CEB, ESV, RSV, NRSV, GNV, MEV).14
But Wallace points out that a verb with this prefix does not have to carry with it an associative idea. He recognizes that most of the time when such verbs are followed by an indirect object, the indirect object is an impersonal noun, but there are a few examples where the indirect object is a personal noun.15 Here in Rom 8:16, the word spirit is a personal noun.
Following the view of Cranfield, Wallace says that the context does not favor the idea of association. Such a context does not support the idea that the spirit of the believer testifies that he is a child of God. Quoting Cranfield, Wallace says, that the spirit of the believer “has no right at all to testify to our being sons of God.”16 The Holy Spirit alone testifies to these spiritual realities.
2. Lexical Argument
Wallace maintains that while sumartureō once did signify association, through time it came to mean simply “to testify.” The prefix only adds emphasis to the basic verb. The loss of an associative idea with the verb happened as early as the sixth century BC.17
The verb only occurs one other place in the NT with the dative. It is in the form of a genitive participle. It is found in Rom 9:1 in which Paul says, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” The dative in this case is the word “me.” Wallace says that the verb simply means “to testify” and there is no associative force present.18 Paul testifies in his conscience that he is not lying. He testifies “to” himself (“me”), which does not require association with somebody else.
Based upon these two arguments, Wallace states that Rom 8:16 seems to be “secure” as a text that teaches us that the assurance of eternal salvation comes from the inner witness of the Spirit.
He takes this a step further. The objective data, by which he means the Scriptures, are helpful, but they cannot by themselves give assurance of salvation. The Christian, if he wants such assurance, also needs an “existential and ongoing encounter with the Holy Spirit.”19 In other words, assurance is also an ongoing process. It is easy to see that, as Wallace states, this has profound implications on the doctrine of soteriology.20 On that point, it seems all would agree.
If the assurance of salvation is based upon the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, there are indeed many profound implications. As the writers in this section indicate, such assurance is subjective. The promises of the Lord in such verses as John 3:16 and 5:24 are not sufficient. We need to look elsewhere.
These writers recognize such implications. For them, assurance is based upon some mystical experience. It is mysterious, an ongoing process, and is built upon emotions. Not surprisingly, they recognize that such statements will make many conservative Evangelicals uncomfortable. It certainly would be uncomfortable to somebody looking for assurance!
Anybody considering these things will conclude that assurance is impossible. Even if we test the supposed testimony of the Spirit by doing good works, complete assurance will always be out of the believer’s grasp because we all fail these tests on occasion.
The subjective nature of such testimony is easily seen in the fact that even cult members will claim to have the same testimony. Mormons repeatedly appeal to the “burning in the bosom” which confirms that Joseph Smith has given them the truth about what it means to be children of God. Catholics will proclaim similar feelings when they take communion or go through Catechism as a means of salvation. So will almost all believers who are trying to earn eternal salvation through works such as baptism. We often hear of testimonies about how God has revealed to them that they are doing the work of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses also claim that God has told them they are on the right path. Clearly, many people are misinterpreting the “whisper” of the Holy Spirit.
Fortunately, assurance is not based upon such subjective evidence. Paul is not teaching such subjectivity in Rom 8:16.
III. ANSWERING THE GRAMMATICAL ARGUMENTS
The grammatical and lexical arguments, on closer inspection, do not support the view that the Holy Spirit testifies to the inner spirit of the believer that he is a child of God. This is seen by looking at the meaning of the verb, the dative that goes with it, as well as the use of words with the prefix sun in Romans 8.
A. The Meaning of “Bears Witness”
Wallace argues that the verb simply means to testify and does not have an associative aspect to it, even though the prefix sun (with in Greek) is attached to the verb. He points out that this is seen in Rom 9:1, the only other occurrence of the verb with the dative in the NT. Paul’s conscience testifies to himself that he is not lying.
However, a closer look at Romans 9 argues for the exact opposite conclusion. In Rom 9:1 Paul says that he is not lying. Then he says that his conscience also “bears witness.” This bearing witness makes more sense if taken in an associative way.
Paul is saying that he is not lying to the Christians in Rome. He has a great sorrow in his heart for Israel (9:2). Then he says that his conscience bears witness of the same thing. In the Greek, the word me is in the dative. What Paul is saying is that he bears witness that he is not lying and that his conscience bears witness “with” him of the same fact.
The indirect object here is not the word me. The indirect object is implied. It is the Christians in Rome. Paul, and his conscience with him, bear witness to the Roman Christians of the truth of his statement. If we conclude that Rom 8:16 follows the same pattern, it would mean that the spirit of the believer testifies with the Holy Spirit to someone (God) that the believer is a child of God.
Wilkin points out that Paul uses the verb with the word conscience only one other time. This other occurrence is also in Romans (Rom 2:15). In that verse as well, the conscience bears witness with the person involved.21 The conscience, along with the discussions that people have had with others, shows that they knew the works of the Law. The important thing to see is that in Romans 2 the verb has a strong associative idea.
There are many similarities between Rom 2:15 and Rom 9:1. The verb is the same. Both are genitive participles. Both use the same word “conscience.” And, it may be concluded, both have an associative idea. The prefix on the verb carries with it its most common connotation.
B. Dative Personal Nouns and Sun Verbs
Wallace argues that the dative in Rom 8:16 can be an indirect object because there are examples of non-associative datives with sun verbs in the NT. The two examples he gives are 1 Cor 4:4 and Acts 6:9. He admits that usually such verbs are associative.22
It appears, however, that these are not good examples. In the case of 1 Cor 4:4, the sun verb is sunoida. The word can mean to be aware of something.23 The dative noun here is “myself.” But the noun is not an indirect object. It is probably a dative incommodi, or a dative of disadvantage.24 Paul is not aware of anything against himself.
However, one could argue that the verb sunoida is also associative in nature by its very meaning. The only other time it occurs is Acts 5:2, in the account of Ananias and Sapphira. Sapphira is aware (or conscious) of the price of the field, But implied in the statement is the fact that she has this knowledge with her husband. They were both conscious of the price. BDAG also sees an implied associative idea.25
Even in the case of 1 Cor 4:4 there can be an implied associative idea. Paul knows with himself. He is conscious of nothing against himself because there is a self sharing! Moulton and Milligan take the verb to mean to be conscious of something, which means to “share knowledge with.”26
In Acts 6:9 the sun verb is sudzēteō (“to argue”).27 The dative is the word “Stephen.” It seems that this is a strange example for Wallace to use. The word “Stephen” is not an indirect object. It is an associative noun. The Jews of the synagogues were arguing with Stephen.
It appears, then, that Wallace does not give a single example in which a personal noun in the dative acts as an indirect object of a sun verb. This should give us pause when suggesting that Rom 8:16 does use the dative in this way.
IV. ANSWERING THE COMMENTARY TRADITION
As mentioned above, many Evangelical writers appeal to Rom 8:16 to argue that assurance of eternal salvation is subjective. In addressing this issue, the grammatical and lexical arguments of the verb and the dative noun are enough to refute that notion. However, we can look at the context as well.
A. What Is the Indirect Object?
Even those writers who take the verb and dative noun in an associative sense usually do not address who the indirect object is. To whom do the spirit of the believer and the Spirit of God testify that the believer is a child of God? Most seem to indicate that there is not an indirect object. Wallace points this out. He says that if the verb is associative, the one that receives the testimony is unstated. It could be God or it could be other believers.28 Perhaps this is another reason Wallace rejects the associative idea. In his opinion, if we do not know to whom the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the believer are testifying, the meaning of the verse is very vague.
However, the context of Romans 8 makes it clear that God is the indirect object of the testimony of the believer and the Holy Spirit. Both testify to God that the believer is a child of God.
Even the writers mentioned above recognize in the context that the Spirit of God is speaking to God the Father. This is seen in Rom 8:26-27. Newell says that the context speaks of the Holy Spirit’s interceding to God on behalf of the believer. The Father “searches” to see what the Holy Spirit in the believer is saying.29
Moo agrees and says that the Holy Spirit prays to the Father on behalf of the believer because the believer often does not know what to pray for.30 Boice says the Spirit pleads the case of the believer to the Father.31
MacArthur says that the Spirit takes the needs of the believer to the Father. He adds that if this ministry of the Spirit were to cease, the believer would be eternally lost.32 Of course, for MacArthur, this is an impossibility, and a “true” believer cannot lose eternal salvation. However, it is another indication that the believer’s assurance is based upon an ongoing work of the Spirit in the life of the believer.33
Schreiner and Morris also believe that Rom 8:26-27 refers to the Holy Spirit’s speaking to God the Father for the believer. The Holy Spirit is in the believer and has an ongoing ministry of interceding for the believer.34
Even though all these writers recognize that in the context Paul says the Holy Spirit speaks to God, they do not see that as occurring in Rom 8:16. Instead, in that verse, the Holy Spirit is involved in telling the believer that he is a child of God. This leads to a subjective view of assurance. However, if we look at Romans 8 more closely we will come to another conclusion.
B. Considering the Other Words That Begin with Sun in the Context of Romans 8
If one looks at the context of Rom 8:16, he finds that there are a number of Greek words that have the prefix sun. Counting the verb “bears witness” in 8:16, there are nine such words in 8:16-29! All of the others carry an associative meaning. Of the nine words, seven are verbs and two are nouns.
1. “Joint Heirs” with Christ; “Suffer with Him;” “Be Glorified Together” (v 17)
The words “joint heirs” are all one noun in the Greek. The NKJV adds the word “with” with the word “Christ” which is in the genitive case. This clearly has an associative idea. Paul is speaking of believers who will reign with Christ.
In this verse there are also two verbs with the sun prefix. The first is the verb “suffer with.” The believers who suffer with Christ are the ones that will reign with Christ. When they do so, they will “be glorified together.” The associative idea is clear here as well. The suffering believer will share in the glory of Christ’s reign with Him. The reason is that they suffered together as well.
What we see is that in the verse immediately after v 16 there are three words with a sun prefix that clearly have an associative idea. Since this is the usual meaning of such words, and if it makes sense in v 16, one should be hesitant to deny an associative idea in v 16.
2. “Groans Together;” “Labors with Birth Pangs Together” (v 22)
In v 22 there are two more sun verbs. Both speak of the fact that all the parts of God’s creation are longing for the day when the consequences of man’s sin are taken away. Together, they all are “groaning” for that day to come and are going through the “labor” that the birth of the Kingdom of God requires. Both these verbs also are associative. The NJKV adds the word “together” to bring this out.
3. “Helps” (v 26)
This verb is also associative. In the midst of our weaknesses, the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. When we pray, He prays with us. The believer and the Spirit both pray.
4. All Things “Work Together” (v 28)
The strong associative idea of this verb is brought out once again by the addition of the word “together,” even though no such separate word appears in the Greek, it is implied by the prefix sun. The verb “work together” appears five times in the NT. It always involves more than one party working together. BDAG defines the verb as “to engage in cooperative endeavor.”35
All of creation works together with the believer who is suffering. When the Christian suffers for Christ, he is working together with all of creation (which is also suffering) to produce the good of the coming reign of Christ.36
5. “Conformed” (v 29)
This word in v 29 is another noun with the sun prefix. The suffering believer will be conformed to the image of Christ. As with the other words looked at in the context, this too has a strong associative meaning. BDAG lists the definition as having “a similar form” with something or someone else.37
The believer who suffers with Christ will share the image of Christ in the sense that he will reign with Him (Rom 8:17). Christ will be the “firstborn” in the Kingdom. He will rule over it. However, many brethren will as well. These are the ones who suffer with Him.
There are a number of verbs in the immediate context of Rom 8:16 that also have a sun prefix. All of them have a clear associative meaning. In other words, the whole context speaks of different groups doing or experiencing things together. The different groups can be believers and creation, believers and Christ, or believers and the Holy Spirit. It should not surprise us if the verb with the sun prefix in v 16 also carries with it an associative idea. If so, the Holy Spirit does not testify to the believer; He testifies with the believer. This, in turn, impacts assurance of eternal salvation.
V. AN ASSOCIATIVE MEANING OF ROMANS 8:16
If the verb “bears witness” in Rom 8:16 has an associative meaning, Paul’s point is fairly straightforward. The NKJV takes it this way by adding the word “with” after the verb. The verse is saying that both the Spirit of God and the spirit of the believer testify to God. This certainly fits the context, as both the believer and the Holy Spirit are seen in vv 26-27 as speaking to God through prayer and intercession.
Others have seen this to be the case. Fitzmyer points out the obvious. He says that the believer calls God “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15). He does this in prayer, and the reason he does so is because he knows that he is a child of God. The Spirit of God does the same thing when the believer prays. He joins with the believer in proclaiming that the believer is a child of God. The cries of the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the believer are the same.38
When the believer prays to God and calls Him Father, by these words he is saying that he is part of God’s family. Only a person who knows he is a child of God would call God his Father. When the Holy Spirit intercedes for the believer, He says that same thing: “This is your child.”39 The Spirit says it with the believer.
This is the opposite of a subjective assurance of eternal salvation. As seen above, the context of Romans 8 is one of suffering. Paul is encouraging believers who go through difficulties. Part of that encouragement is that the believer has complete assurance of his standing before God. When he prays, not only he bears witness that he is a child of God, so does the Spirit of God within him. He knows that God will hear his prayers, even when he doesn’t know what to pray (vv 26-27).40 In that case as well, the Spirit of God is praying with the believer.
In the midst of suffering, the last thing Paul would want to say is that the believer is left with a subjective view of his relationship with God. In fact, Paul is saying that the believer can endure such suffering because he knows he is a child of God. The believer is not left to a mystical feeling of assurance, or trying to hear the whisper of the Spirit of God. Nor does he have to pass a series of tests to see if he is a believer. If we take the promise of Christ at face value—that all who believe in Him have eternal life—we already know it. That is why we call God Father when we pray.
Many find a subjective view of assurance in Rom 8:16. In today’s Evangelical climate that is not surprising. Most Evangelicals do not have assurance of eternal salvation. It is common to hear them say that believers must test themselves to see if they are believers or not. These tests usually involve obeying certain commandments found in the Bible. In Rom 8:16 there is supposedly another test. The believer can listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in him to see if he is a child of God.
With all of these tests, it is clear that assurance of salvation will always be elusive. We will pass the tests some days and fail them on others. On some days we will feel confident the Spirit is giving us assurance, and on other days we will be convinced that He is not. This lack of assurance is exactly what we find among many churchgoers today.
It is somewhat ironic that Fitzmyer, as discussed above, did not see Rom 8:16 that way. It is ironic because he was a Catholic priest (1920-2016). In Rom 8:16, at least, he offers more assurance than many Protestant writers. That is a sad commentary on the doctrine of assurance among Evangelicals.
Jesus offers the believer eternal life at the moment of faith (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-26). He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). We have His word that at the moment of faith we become the children of God. As a result, we can boldly call God our Father, just as He did (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15). We also know that when we pray, the Holy Spirit says the same thing about us. These words from the Word of God are better than the shifting sand of any mystical experience we might try to find.
1 William R. Newell, Romans Verse-By-Verse, Reprint, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1994), 313.
2 Ibid., 314.
3 Ibid., 313-14.
4 Ibid., 314.
5 Douglas J. Moo, Romans 1–8, The Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1991), 539-40.
6 James Montgomery Boice, Romans: The Reign of Grace, Vol 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1992), 843-44.
7 Ibid., 844.
8 John F. MacArthur, Romans 1–8, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1991), 438-39.
9 C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975), 1:402-403.
10 Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 316-17.
11 Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998), 426-27.
12 Editor’s Note: Mormons also use Rom 8:16 and Luke 24:32, along with Doctrine and Covenants 9:8, to support their teaching that the Spirit “will cause your bosom [to] burn within you” as a means of assurance. See https://www.lds.org/manual/ new-testament-student-manual/romans/chapter-36-romans-4-8?/ang=eng.
13 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 159.
14 The two that translate summarturei as “bears witness to” are NET and LEB.
15 Ibid., 160. He cites 1 Cor 4:4 and Acts 6:9 as examples.
16 Ibid. See Cranfield, Romans, 1:403.
19 Ibid., 161
21 Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath (Corinth, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 223. Wilkin, who edited the book, makes this observation in footnote 13.
22 Wallace, Grammar, 160.
23 BDAG, 973.
24 Wallace, Grammar, 142-43.
25 BDAG, 973. In the case of 1 Cor 4:4, it says that Paul shares the information with himself.
26 James Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament: Illustrated from the Papyri and other Non-Literary Sources (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949), 611.
27 This is indeed a sun verb. The final “n” of the prefix is dropped when it is added to the verb for ease of pronunciation.
28 Wallace, Grammar, 160.
29 Newell, Romans, 326-27.
30 Moo, Romans, 561-62.
31 Boice, Romans, 889.
32 MacArthur, Romans, 467-69.
33 Of course, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is wonderful beyond description. We can also agree with Wallace that this ministry is neglected in evangelical studies (see Wallace, Grammar, 161, footnote 57). But both MacArthur and Wallace make this ongoing “process” of the work of the Spirit either part of obtaining eternal life or any assurance that goes with it. Once again, in this view, assurance of eternal salvation is not found once for all by simply believing in the promises found in Scripture. Clearly they are mixing up obtaining eternal life and the role of the Spirit in sanctification.
34 Schreiner, Romans, 444; Morris, Romans, 328-29.
35 BDAG, 969.
36 Hodges, Romans, 237.
37 BDAG, 958.
38 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible (New York, Doubleday, 1992), 501.
39 Hodges, Romans, 223.
40 Ibid., 224.