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God Is for His People (Rom. 8:31)

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GOD IS FOR HIS PEOPLE
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” ().
This text forms the application of the discourse presented to us in the preceding part of the chapter. That discourse forms a complete outline of Christian experience, commencing in the day of the believer’s reconciliation to God, and terminating in the triumphs of full and eternal salvation. Observe in the text, there is,

I. A Character Which We Must Define, II. A Privilege Which We Must Illustrate and III. An Important Interrogation Which We Must Explain and Answer. Notice in the text,

I. A Character Which We Must Define.

“If God be for us,” etc.
Now the character is the same as is presented to our notice through the whole chapter. They are represented,

A. As being in Christ, and therefore justified (v. ).

B. As regenerated (vv. , ).

C. As sanctified (v. ).

D. As under spiritual influence (vv. , , , ).

E. As adopted into the divine family (vv. , ). And,

F. As heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (v. ).

Now, a very slight attention to this description will lead us to a right knowledge of the characters who may properly assume the triumphant language of the text: “If God be for us,” etc. In the text we have,

II. A Privilege Which We Must Illustrate.

“If God be for us,” etc.
In the divine Word we read of God going before His people, to lead them—God being with them, as their reconciled friend—God being round about them, as their defense—God being in them, as their light and salvation. But the language of the text represents God as being for us. It comprehends all mentioned in the preceding observations; and more especially it includes,

A. The possession of the divine favor. God being for us is God reconciled, God loving and delighting in us, as His people—smiling upon us in the face of His Anointed One. The enjoyment of this divine peace passes all understanding (; ; ). It includes,

B. An interest in all the divine perfections. If God is for us, all His attributes are on our side. His power is ours, to sustain and protect us; His wisdom, to guide and direct us; His goodness, to supply our wants; His holiness, to purify our hearts; His mercy, pity, and patience, to forbear, to pass by our infirmities, and to forgive our sins; His truth, to verify all His promises. All that the blessed God is and has is for the benefit of His people: “I am thy God.” It includes,

C. A believing claim to all His great and precious promises. These are the Christian’s present riches. These refer to every conceivable state and circumstance. They are exceedingly great and precious. And they are all given to us; and are “yea and amen in Christ Jesus to them that believe” (; ).

In the text there is,

III. An Interrogation Which We Must Explain and Answer.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Let us,

A. Explain the interrogation.

1. It does not mean that, God being for us, none will really be against us. This is contrary to the statements of Scripture and experience of all God’s people. Satan will be against us—world against us—internal enemies against us. There would be no conflict were none against us.

2. Neither does it mean that our enemies are insignificant and unworthy of our notice. For they are powerful, malignant, combined, and desperate. They are, also, very numerous ().

3. Neither does it mean that we may not suffer, and that severely, from those who are against us. We may suffer much. Temptation, persecution, reproach, loss of goods, and even life itself, may be required. But it signifies that, God being for us, none can be effectually against us. Our adversaries will not succeed—our souls will not suffer final loss—for He who is for us is greater than all that are against us. Let us then,

B. Endeavor to answer the interrogation.

1. If God be for us in the arrangements of grace, who can be against us? If He justifies, who can condemn? If He sanctifies and adopts us, who can pollute and cast us out? If He loves us, who can change His mind? If He saves, who can destroy? (, ).

2. If God be for us in the dispensations of His providence, who can be against us? The cloud may be dark, but it shall shed down blessings on our heads. The bud may be bitter, but the flower will be sweet. “All things shall work,” etc. (v. ). His eye will watch over us—His ear be open to our cry—His hand supply our need—His arm keep and protect us.

3. If God be for us in the spiritual combat, who can be against us? Men may rage; but the wrath of man shall be made to praise Him, and the remainder He will restrain. Satan may roar, and bring His temptations upon the soul as a flood; but God’s Spirit shall lift up a standard against Him.

4. If God be for us in the decisions of judgment, who can be against us? If He smiles, who shall frown? If He says, Well done! who shall condemn? If He pronounces us blessed, who shall make us accursed? If He place the crown upon our brow, who shall snatch it? It is clear, if God be for us, we need not fear nor care for all who may be against us.

Application:
Then, if God be for us,

1. Ought we not, also, to be for God? Shall we not honor and confess Him before men—be zealous for His glory—diligent in His service, etc.?

2. Should we not be anxious to retain His friendship—by being reconciled to God? How dreadful an enemy is God? who shall contend with Him? Let the sinner throw down His weapons and sue for peace, and by faith in Christ Jesus, he shall be accepted of God, and saved to eternal life.

Jabez Burns
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