What then are we to say about these things?
Romans 8:31-39 (NRSV) 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Introduction: In Romans 8:31 the phrase “If God be for us” is poorly translated. The particle does not provide for a supposition, but for a certainty. It is not a condition, but a conclusion. It should really read, “since God is for us.” Because it is certain that God is for us, the conclusion follows, “who can be against us?”
Obviously, Satan and his demonic hosts are against believers (cf. Eph. 6:11-13; 1 Peter 5:8), and if you have lived even a little bit of this worlds life, sometimes it can seem like there are all kinds of people can “be against us,” causing us trouble and pain and sorrow. But nothing can ultimately triumph over us. God wins, and in Christ, we win with Him.
Point 1: God Himself is the believer's assurance. God Himself has acted for the believer; He has done everything necessary and then more:
It was God who "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). The words "spared not" (/ouk epheisato) mean that God did not hold back or refrain from giving His Son; He did not refuse or even hesitate to give His Son.
The picture is that of God weighing man's eternal separation from Him against the sacrifice of His Son. He had a choice to make and He made it; He deliberately chose to sacrifice His Son for us. God knew exactly what He was doing. He wanted man delivered from this struggling and suffering world, and there was only one way for man to be saved:
⇒ Someone had to bear man's penalty for transgression and sin, which was the judgment of death.
Therefore, God handed His own Son over to die for us—in our behalf, in our stead, in our place, as our substitute. God spared not His own Son; He delivered Christ Jesus up for us all. What a glorious, marvelous, wonderful love! And just how wonderful His love is can be clearly seen in this: it was while we were sinners, acting and rebelling against God, that He gave His Son to die for us.
Point 2: God is our Provider. Since God has done such a great and glorious thing, how shall He not also give us all things? Giving His own Son for us was the greatest gift in all the world; therefore, He is bound to give us everything else. Nothing could ever cost God anything close to the price He has paid in giving up His Son; therefore, God shall give us everything else. Note three points.
a. God's provision includes spiritual, eternal, and material gifts.
⇒ The spiritual provision is the fruit of the Spirit (Ephes. 1:3.)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephes. 1:3).
⇒ The eternal provision is deliverance from the struggling and suffering of this sinful world. It is the gift of eternal life, of living gloriously conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (see note, pt.2—•Romans 8:29 for just what this means).
⇒ The material gifts are the necessities of life (see outline—• Matthew 6:25-34, and notes—• Matthew 6:25-34).
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:31, 33).
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
The provision is freely given. God's gift of His Son was freely given; therefore, all that God provides for man is freely given. No man can merit or earn God's provision. God provides and meets the need of the believer because He loves the believer.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephes. 2:8-9).
The provision of God comes through Christ and through Him alone. Note the words "with Him." It is with Christ that God gives us all things. If we are with Christ, then all things are given to us. We shall be delivered from struggling and suffering. Believers can rest assured of this. No matter how much we struggle and suffer through the sin and shame of this world, God will see us through it all. He is is going to conform us to the glorious image of His Son.
The next two questions Paul raised and answered are forensic or legal in nature. Who will bring any charge (enkalesei, “make a formal accusation in court; press charges”; Acts 19:40; 23:29; 26:2) against those whom God has chosen?
Satan is identified as “the accuser” of God’s people (Rev. 12:10; cf. Zech. 3:1). His accusations are valid, because they are based on the believer’s sinfulness and defilement. But Satan’s accusations will be thrown out of court, because it is God who justifies.
Point 3: God is our Justifier. This is the most glorious truth: God does not charge us with sin. In fact, He does not lay anything to our charge; He justifies us (see Deeper Study #1, Justification—Romans 4:22; Deeper Study #2, Justification—Romans 4:22; note—•Romans 5:1 for more discussion).
Note the question: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God; only God can charge us with sin and shame. But note: if we have truly trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, if we are one of God's elect, he does not charge us with sin. He justifies us. He forgives our sin and counts us righteous in Christ Jesus. If we are God's child, no one can charge us with anything. We are God's; we belong to God. No one can charge, count, or doom us to be...
|• a failure• a detriment• a shame• a sinner• lost• unusable||• an embarrassment• hopeless• helpless• defeated• unworthy• of no value|
Man is not our judge; therefore, man cannot judge these things to be true of us—only God can.
God is our Judge, and this is the glorious truth: God does not judge His elect. He does not lay sin and shame against His children; He justifies His children. No matter how much we have struggled and suffered through the sin and shame of this world, God delivers us.
No matter how far we have fallen, no matter how discouraged we have become, if we are truly God's child, He picks us up and justifies us in Christ Jesus and continues to conform us to the image of His dear Son. God does not leave us down and defeated, nor does He go around charging us with sin and shame. God justifies us and continues His work of forgiveness and grace in our lives.
Point 4: Christ protects the believer from the severest circum-stances. This is one of our assurances of deliverance, and it is the most wonderful assurance imaginable.
Too many people, even believers, feel that God does not love them, that He just could not love them. They feel unworthy of His love, for they come too short too often, been too disobedient, and failed too many times. So often the Father of Lies plants within us the question: how could God possibly love them when they go against His will so much?
The results of such feelings are...
|• a sense of unworthiness• a downing of oneself• a sense of discouragement||• an accusing of oneself• a low self-esteem• and a defeated life|
Note a crucial point: all such feelings totally contradict Scripture.
Look at the verse: "Who [or what] can separate us from the love of Christ?" There is no circumstance, no situation, no event that can cause Christ to turn away from us. No matter how terrible or severe the situation, it cannot separate the true believer from the love of Christ. Christ loves the believer regardless of the circumstance, and He longs to be reconciled to the believer.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."
Take some time when you can to study that portion of scripture, no more severe circumstance can be imagined than the ones given:
⇒ Tribulation: to undergo struggle, trials, temptation, suffering, or affliction.
⇒ Distress: to suffer anguish, trouble, strain, agony; not knowing which way to turn or what to do.
⇒ Persecution: to be abused, mocked, ridiculed, shamed, mistreated, ignored, neglected, harrassed, attacked, or injured.
⇒ Famine: to have no food, to be starving and have no way to secure food.
⇒ Nakedness: to be stripped of all clothes and earthly comforts; to be bare, having all earthly possessions taken away.
⇒ Peril: to be exposed to the most severe risks; to be confronted with the most terrible dangers to one's body, mind, soul, property, family, and loved ones.
⇒ Sword: to be in battle, to be under attack.
Just imagine a person experiencing all this. What would his thoughts be? Would he feel that he had been forsaken by God? In the midst of so much dark trouble, would he believe that God loved him?
Scripture declares loudly and clearly that God does love him. There is absolutely nothing—no matter how dark and depressing, no matter how severe—that can separate the believer from the love of Christ. Circumstances are not evidence that God does not love us. God loves us no matter what the circumstances may be.
No matter the circumstances, we are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us (Romans 8:37). No matter the circumstances and their severity, Christ will carry us through all, strengthening and encouraging us. We cannot lose, no matter the severity of the situation. Christ loves us and is going to look after and take care of us. The believer can rest assured, Christ protects him from the severest circumstances.
Sin, death, and the world are conquered enemies (1 Cor. 15:55, 56; Rom. 8:37-39; 1 John 5:4).
Conclusion: Illustration - It was a cold winter’s night. Five-year-old Bobby held his father’s hand tightly as they walked along a dark footpath which led to a neighboring farmhouse. It was evident that Bobby was afraid—afraid of the pitch-black darkness which stretched out endlessly before him.
Finally, looking at the lantern in his father’s hand, he whimpered, “Daddy, I am scared! The light reaches only such a little way!” The father tightened his grip on the little boy’s hand and answered with confident assurance: “I know, son. But if we just keep on walking, we will see that the light keeps on shining all the way to the end of the road.”
What a fitting parable for the Christian pilgrim as he leaves another day behind him and places his feet on the unknown road which lies ahead! To our Heavenly Father you and I are little children—sometimes confident, but sometimes frightened by the black darkness of the road before us. How often, in the blackness of our night, have we have had a few sleepless nights and cried a little bit because it seems like the light which God has given us “reaches only such a little way!”
And how often have we found that, if we just kept on walking in the light which He has given us, His light would keep on shining, illuminating each new step as we would take it. God has not given His believers a battery of large spotlights that light up each detail of the road which lies ahead; but He has given us a lantern in the darkness which, if we pay attention to it, it will light our entire pathway—step by step.
Somewhere I read “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
There is no darkness which cannot be pierced by that lamp. And in the light of that lamp we can take each new step with confidence.
There may be vast stretches of the road ahead which we cannot see, but the lamp of God’s Word assures us that those stretches, just as the step which lies before us, will be lit up by His love.
Somewhere I read “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
The light of God’s lamp is the light of His love. His love, revealed to us in Bethlehem, on Calvary, and again in Joseph’s garden, is the guarantee of our security.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Surely, if we will just keep walking in His light, He will be with us—all the way.
Let Us Pray. . . . .
cf. confer, compare