Romans 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
We come back to Romans after dealing with Easter and all the events before and after. We find Paul asking a question. What shall we say to these things? Before we try to answer that question we need to know what it really is. “These things” has a significance. This question directly follows the “Golden Chain” found in verse 30. The links in the chain are: predestined, called, justified and glorified. We could spend the rest of our lives studying these four verbs. But, like Paul, we must get on with his letter to the Romans.
Paul ends this part of his letter by many words of encouragement! Up until now, he has emphasized the opposition we face, along with the Romans, in living out the Christian life. He has written about the opposition of the flesh, sin, and the law! Now he turns to the fact that…
God is for us. Let’s look at 1 John 4:4. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
John, in his first little letter, picks up the same emphasis. No question, God is on our side. We don’t always feel like he is for us. We need to remember, God operates on a different level than we do. We humans are often dominated by our feelings. And, on a day-to-day basis, we do not “feel” like we are united to one who is greater than the one who is in the world. Well, rain on your feelings! We often do not feel victorious. God’s word says that we are and we have a decision to make are we going to believe our feelings or are we going to believe our God as revealed in his word? One of the best illustrations of our victory is the story of Elisha and his servant. Just like Elisha’s servant we may not be able to see his forces arrayed on our behalf.
Let me remind you of the Old Testament account found in 2 Kings 6:8-19. Elisha had taken over the role of principal prophet after the departure of Elijah. Our story picks up with the Syrians raiding the northern kingdom of Israel. The king of Syria is very suspicious that he has a spy in the camp! One of his advisors understands the situation perfectly. He assures the king of Syria that the prophet Elisha is able to hear all his plans. So the Syrians set out to capture Elisha. They come to Dothan, the city where he is currently living and surrounds it during the night. Elisha’s servant wakes up to find them completely surrounded. He is terrified! He is operating on what he can see and he reacts. Elisha simply asked God to open his servant’s eyes so that he can see the true situation. When he does he sees the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire between them and the enemy. Elisha then prays a simple prayer, “Please strike these people with blindness.” Then he offers to guide the blinded Army of Syria and leads them to the king of Israel. After restoring their sight they are given a banquet and sent back to Syria in disgrace.
One of the reasons that story is contained in the Old Testament is to encourage God’s New Testament people. God is for us! None of our enemies can approach us without God’s permission. We may not like the way God does things but we may as well accept them because he is God and we are not. So we need to ask ourselves…
Who opposes us? We can look at Peter’s first letter to get an answer. 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Beginning in the Garden of Eden Satan, tempted Eve to rebel against God’s restrictions and bring death to us all. Moving on to the story of Job where Satan is allowed to test Job’s faith. That is a story very hard to understand (Job 1-2). We also see Satan standing against Israel leading David to sin by numbering Israel and questioning God’s ability to take care of them (1 Chronicles 21:1). Zechariah, in his vision, saw Satan standing at Joshua’s right hand to accuse him. Joshua the high priest did not see Satan. Zechariah did and he also saw Satan being defeated and Joshua being honored (Zechariah 3:1-5). Going on to the book of Revelation 12:9 where we see Satan being thrown down in defeat before our God. There are many other places we can find out about the opposition of Satan. Yet all of these and many more are…
Evidences of God’s favor. But the greatest evidence is found in John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
We do not deserve God’s love. In spite of that He gave his Son! Not one of many sons but the original language here indicates “one-of-a-kind”. You and I, having believed in him, have eternal life. That is God’s favor to all those who believe.
Let’s also look at Romans 4:24-25 It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Jesus tells us that all who believe in him should not perish but instead have eternal life. This passage in Romans tells us that those who believe in Jesus have Abraham’s faith counted to them. Jesus not only died for our sins but the Father raised him from the dead. He died for our sins and came back to life to give us life eternal. When Jesus died on the cross, spiritual death that had entered the earth through Adam, died with him. When he was raised alive from the grave he brought those who believe in him to be justified, vindicated and acquitted. Isaiah chapter 53 tells us that the Messiah — Jesus — has lifted our sickness and carried our pain. God, in Christ, gives us what we cannot earn on our own. The coming Messiah would be “pierced for our transgressions”, “crushed for our iniquities”, “upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace”, “with His wounds we are healed”. Isaiah assures us that Yahweh “laid on him the iniquity of us all”! How do we arrive at this condition? God gives us…
The shield of election. Let’s look at the words of Jesus found in John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
In this passage, Jesus is explaining why some people follow him and others do not. The crowd wanted him to clearly state whether he was the Messiah. In this passage he talks about “my sheep”, “I know them”, “I give them eternal life”, “they will never perish”, and, “no one will snatch them out of my hand”.
He then confirms the protection that he gives us because “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”.
The shield of election is best explained by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) who was often called the prince of preachers. In his own words, he tells us about how he came to faith in Christ.
One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change wholly to God."
Several passages in the New Testament clearly affirm that God ordained those who would be saved. Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, tells us that when he was preaching to the Gentiles in Antioch in Pisidia “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,” (Ephesians 1:4). A few verses further on Paul told the Ephesians “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12). The first letter to the Thessalonians Paul tells the believers there “we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4). The scripture is filled with references that affirm we are only saved because God chose us. Because of that, there is…
No condemnation. Let’s look back to Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Since we are under the protection of the God who chose us we cannot be condemned. God has legally declared that we are justified in his sight. Therefore, we have no guilt. Elvina Hall wrote a hymn entitled “Jesus paid it all” the chorus goes like this: “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.” Much as we deserve condemnation our God has laid all our guilt on him. If we have genuinely come under the protection of our King nothing can be held against us. He has made us just!
Since we are free from condemnation there is…
No separation. Let’s look at the words of Jesus found in Matthew 28:18-20. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We often quote this passage and it is called the great commission. Based on the authority given to Jesus Christ we are able to go in his name and make disciples.
The last sentence in the passage fulfills the promise found in John 14:3. There Jesus affirms that he is going to prepare a place for us in order that we will be where he is. God has prepared many dwelling places for his children. We can rest in confidence that he loves us and has prepared a place for us.
What shall we say to these things? In fact, what shall we say to so many things scattered throughout the living word of God? There needs to be a response on our part. There are many false responses. One response that I want to deny is, “Everything will always be okay." It’s just not true! When we read of the victory faith grants in Hebrews chapter 11 we often stop before verse 36. It begins with “Others”. And then it lists many of the ways that people of faith have suffered. I am here to tell you that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life. That being true, I’m still willing to tell you that he will never leave us nor forsake us no matter what the world does. I hope you have placed complete faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, search your heart for his choice in your life. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Convert that belief into action for his glory and your good.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton, Ill, Standard Bible Society.