God is for us: Devotional Commentary for April 16-22
Romans 8:31-39 (NASB)
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
The Word of God for the Christian.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Paul draws our attention to a very important Truth by asking "What then shall we say to these things?" Which things, one might wonder! That: we are free from condemnation, we are God's children and privileged to call Him Father, we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, we are moving forward in the sure hope of the certainty of our redemption, and we are aided and secured by the intercessory Prayer of the Holy Spirit. But even more, we are pre-purposed for salvation and therefore predestined unto redemption.
Being therefore foreknown as redeemed, the called, justified, and glorified in Jesus Christ, we have nothing or no one to fear. God is certainly for us and with us. No one can prevail against those who belong to God. After all, Christ is our eldest brother being the firstfruit of His glorious Resurrection to be followed by the redeemed as each one rises into Glory, one by one.
Paul's confidence on the security of the redeemed is anchored in God. He did not deny the weakness of the believer as human. Nor did he discount the troublous conditions of life on earth. However, looking at what God purposed, planned, and accomplished, Paul is assured of God's timeless commitment to His own counsel and His own faithfulness to the security of those whom He redeemed. So he reminds us that we are safe and secure in Christ. No negative impact from the forces of evil can come against the Power of God's Providence, His Favor, and His sovereign Grace.
Faith in Christ is, therefore, more than accepting what is offered. It is an expression of complete dependence upon God in all things, at all times, at all places. God our Father handed over His own Son to judgment in order to accomplish what He had purposed and planned, that is, the redemption of the lost; our redemption. To be sure, we do not have to wait for the consummation of our redemption to savor the joy of our salvation. We can look at the troubles of the present age in the context of who we are in Christ and what we have in Him, realizing that no power can prevail against those who are in the safety of God's Care.
We rejoice in Christ even now because He Who did not spare even His Son to redeem us has certainly given us everything else necessary to be fulfilled in Him. God's faithfulness is publicly displayed on the Cross at Calvary where His judgment was executed and the Law was satisfactorily answered on our behalf. God showed in Christ His commitment to the redemption of the lost, giving the redeemed the freedom to live in the liberty and victory we have in our Savior. To be a child of God is then, to completely depend on God and His commitment to reveal His Glory through the redemption of the lost and His Goodness toward men.
33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36Just as it is written,
"FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Paul continues to underscore the meaning and the significance of God's act of redemption, emphasizing that it is both immutable and incontestable. "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?", he asks, perhaps focusing on the harmony and distinction between God's Grace and His Law. Here, the object of accusation are God's Elect and the Judge is God. So, if the accused are God's Elect who are predestined and called unto redemption, justified, and glorified, and if God is the only One Who justifies, then what significance would any accusation have against those who are already acquitted?
Who can succeed in seeking judgment against those who are free from condemnation? Who can indict those whose indebtedness to the Law has been satisfied by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ Who died, was buried, and was raised from the dead? Who can challenge the advocacy and intercession of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and bring a verdict of condemnation against God's children. The answer is a resounding no, not one.
No power or condition can ever separate the redeemed from God. Not Satan because he is a defeated enemy, nor any other forces or conditions because they too serve God's purpose. God is the only Judge with a sovereign prerogative over man and creation to acquit or condemn. No one can lay guilt upon the acquitted. No earthly hardship can break the bond of God's Love with His children.
Citing the words of the Psalmist, Paul reiterates the reality of the suffering and persecution of God's children during their sojourn in this world. Some are committed to sustained atrocities with endless cruelty. Some are persecuted, others are imprisoned, and still others killed. But the Victory of Christ in the redeemed is overwhelming and real.
No sustained or short-lived affliction, natural catastrophe, or humanly contrived persecution can redirect the path of the righteous toward a disastrous end. The redeemed are safely anchored in the unshakable foundation of God's Love. The lion would roar seeking whom he may devour. The enemies will rise seeking to destroy the redeemed. But nothing or no one can touch God's Elect.
38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In closing, Paul brings his teaching on the security and the freedom of the believer to the highest level of confidence in Jesus Christ. He says he is convinced that nothing, no one, nothing material or spiritual, no authority, no condition, nothing in creation, nothing high or low, not even time, life, or death, not even angels or any other force can come between God and His Elect. The redeemed are inseparable from the Love of God. Why? Because God dispensed His Love toward the lost, in Christ Jesus while we were yet sinners.
Jesus laid down His Life because He loved sinners with the same Love He shared with His Father. There is no greater love than that: that the One Who is offended would love the offender. The Love that binds the redeemed with God is sealed by the blood of the Lamb of God. So being secure in such a great Love, the believer's confidence should not be quenched by a simple confession of faith or by the fear of suffering, persecution, or the trials of pilgrimage.
What we have in Christ is indescribable. What God has prepared for those who love him is not yet seen with eyes, nor is heard by ears, neither has it entered into the heart of man. If God is for us, who can be against us. Who can accuse God's acquitted? So let us live and serve in the Love of God being without fear, but confident in Him Who loves us, glorifying God, pleasing our Father, honoring our Lord, and conveying the message of real faith in a meaningful expression of God's Love, His Glory, and His Goodness.
Paul is convinced. Are we? Paul is convinced that nothing or no one can separate us from the Love of God. Unlike most of us, Paul is not giving excessive attention to the benefits of redemption at the expense of the One Who actually did the redeeming. He lifts up his eyes beyond the obvious and gazes at the Glory of our divine sovereign Benefactor.
Who is this Benefactor? God. God our Father, Jesus Christ His Son our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our companion, God's transcending and immediate presence and the Spirit of Truth. God is the ultimate Power behind and in everything causing all forces and events to facilitate His Goodness for our good in keeping with His Purpose and His Will. However, since we habitually fall short of realizing this foundational Truth, we often easily slip into discouragement because the hostilities and hardships we face inundate our expectations with despair. Our thoughts are then drawn to worries and concerns over what we could lose out of what we expect to gain from redemption.
Our heart is then intensely tied to worries and concerns for our salvation instead of our Savior. Therefore, we always feel destabilized whenever we feel our expectations are threatened. There is no salvation without the Savior. Nor is there redemption without the Redeemer. Therefore, our disproportionate focus on the benefits of redemption exposes our self-centered sentiments. Such selfish and prideful ways erode our confidence in God. This is when the child of God finds himself or herself in the turbulent seas of a life out of fellowship with God. This is when the soul is thrown into a restless fit and the heart starves for the Peace which passes understanding.
We are redeemed because God has purposed to save us from His judgment before creation was ever brought into existence. So nothing or no one can stand against us because God is for us and with us, not just because of the fact of our redemption. Our redemption is what God did for us and to us. No charges of guilt can be brought against us because we have been acquitted by God, Who is the only Judge who has the Right, the Power, and the Authority to condemn or to set free.
Even the Law, God's Law, cannot condemn us because God has laid all of our iniquities upon His Son. It is God Who declared us just by crediting the righteousness of His Son to us. It is God Who adopted us and made us His sons and daughters. We are God's children by God's sovereign determination not just by the fact of our redemption. Nothing or no one can touch us because we belong to God.
So we celebrate not just the fact of our redemption, but also God's faithfulness to save us and preserve us in Himself. We have confidence in God and courageously face all forces, knowing that the lion shall roar and hostilities will rise but they cannot touch us unless it is purposed by God for His glory. The crux of the matter is not what we have received, but that we are received into the family of God through Christ Jesus Who brought us into His Glory with Himself through His Resurrection.
If God is for us, and He is, who can be against us? Who can bring a charge against God's Elect? It is God Who justifies, and Has justified and glorified us in Christ Jesus our confidence. Be still my soul for God the Almighty is your God and your Father. In Him you have Peace and in His Goodness you have rest.