Calvary Road Baptist Church

“IF GOD BE FOR US”

Romans 8.31-34 

So, how are you doing, Christian? How have you handled these past several weeks of knowing that you are caught up in the eternal purpose of Almighty God? Pretty good, eh? How have you handled the realization that the suffering that you’ve endured of late really isn’t to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us? Kinda takes away the reason for complaining, doesn’t it?

Has God placed you in a situation, or exposed you to some person who sought to do you harm? And when it happened, did God remind you about what we’ve been studying of late in His Word? Please make your way to Romans chapter 8. Over the last couple of weeks were you reminded of the provision of hope? Were you reminded of the Person of the Holy Spirit? And the purpose of God? Did God send you to school of late, so you would learn to apply the lessons the Holy Spirit has been teaching us for the last few weeks? I’ve been to school big time; I want you to know. God is helping me to evaluate my suffering, what little there is for me, in light of these three glorious assurances.

Everyone is on the spectrum of personal suffering, with no suffering more than everyone else. But glorious assurances are wonderful only if they are properly applied to everyday life. And in our text for today Paul begins to pointedly and practically apply what we have learned in recent verses leading up to Romans 8.31.

Let’s stand and read Romans 8.31-39: 

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32  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?

33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

When Paul asks the question “What shall we then say to these things?” he is asking his readers what conclusions can be drawn from what they have just learned. He teaches and teaches and teaches and wants you to conclude from the facts he has presented. What conclusions can we draw from having just learned that we are a part of Almighty God’s purpose for displaying His Son’s preeminence?

Does your life display the preeminence of Christ? It better. You were saved to be used to display in your life by God the preeminence of Christ. But also, what conclusions can we draw from having just learned that our suffering is relatively inconsequential when compared to our future glorification? And since our glorification is an essential feature that gives evidence of our justification, we might well imagine Paul to be asking us, “What shall we say to this subject of justification I’ve explained to you, Roman Christians?”

In light of what Romans 3.21-8.30 says about this matter of justification, salvation to use the common term, what conclusions can we, what conclusions shall we, what conclusions must we, draw from what we have been taught? There are two sets of conclusions to be drawn. First, in verses 31-34, Paul presents to his readers conclusions about persons who might threaten our soul’s security. And then, in verses 35-39, Paul presents to his readers conclusions about circumstances which might threaten our soul’s security.

Having time for just verses 31-34 today, observe with me that the conclusions that can be drawn about the persons who might threaten your security as a Christian, who might interfere with your eternal destiny, who might endanger your salvation, turns into a celebration. When you start considering these things you will end up rejoicing. You heard me right. A celebration.

Three questions Paul asks to survey the conclusions which must be drawn by the Christian in light of what we know to be true about our past justification, about our future glorification, and about our present suffering, and our involvement in God’s great purpose for the ages: 

First, THERE IS THE QUESTION OF COMPARISON 

31 What shall we then say to these things? 

Remembering that this is Paul’s way of drawing his readers to conclude some important things about what he has written to them, we see that verses 31-39 comprise the answer to this question. What I’m after, however, is the first question Paul asks about those individuals who might conceivably pose some threat to the Christian’s security, those individuals which might pose some dire spiritual threat to your soul’s safety:

The question is asked, 

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

Two things to point out in this phrase: First, take note that Paul is not questioning whether or not God is for us or against us. That’s not the issue at all. The fact that we have been foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and that we will be glorified establishes the fact that God is for us. God is obviously for us. Paul is essentially asking, here, “Predicated on the fact that God is for us, who can be against us?” Not that any Christian will ever be without opposition of some kind. Every believer experiences opposition of some kind. But what possible threat can anyone be to the Christian who has God “for” him? That’s a valid question. Your personal answer to this question is entirely dependent upon, not who some real or imagined enemy might be, someone who is “against” you, but who God is. Amen? So, you have an enemy, but you have God. So, you have more than one enemy, but you have God. So, you have a nation against you, but you have God.

The question is analyzed. Please note that in verse 32 Paul seeks not to answer the question he has just asked, but to analyze it. Neither does he analyze the entire question, but only recalls for his readers some pertinent historical facts. And here are the words that he uses: 

“He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” 

Four quick items to point out: First, God did not spare His Own Son. It is natural, and it is expected to seek to spare your son whatever harm you can. I have no respect for a dad who is not willing to die to protect his kids. But God did not spare His Son. That is so very important. Second, it wasn’t a son of God by adoption that He did not spare. Not like you and me. No. This is His Own Son Who is being referred to here. This is Jesus Christ, the unique and the eternal Son of God, that He did not spare. Third, not only did God not spare His Own Son, but He delivered Him up. In Acts 2.23 Simon Peter indicates that our Lord was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Thus, the cross was God’s idea. Not yours. Not mine. Fourth, He delivered up His Own Son “for us all.” In this context, we must realize that “for us all” refers only to believers. By recalling for us the crucifixion from God’s perspective, Paul seeks to remind us how much God is “for” us. Has he succeeded with you? He certainly has with me.

Then, the question is added. It shouldn’t have surprised you that Paul didn’t answer the question that he asked, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Some questions are so obvious that answers aren’t needed. And this is a case in point. With just a little analysis, no one with orderly thoughts needs Paul’s question answered. But this question and his analysis of the situation in the first part of verse 32 does give rise to yet another question: “How shall he not freely give us all things?” Look at that question a moment. Some people think this question suggests that since God has given us so much in giving to us His Son, He is more than willing to give us anything else we need. But such misses the point entirely. This additional question asked by Paul indicates that after having already given to us Jesus Christ, the issue to be pointed out is not that God is willing to give even more. The issue is . . . how can God not give more? That is, having given to us that which is of infinite value, how can God possibly justify not giving to us also that which is less valuable. Let’s not get lost in the argument and lose the main point of what Paul is driving at. He has shown us that God has so powerfully demonstrated that He has been “for” us that He must presently be “for” us. And if God is “for” you, what in the world difference does it make who is against you? Is there any comparison between God, Who is “for” you, and anyone who could be “against” you? No. 

Second, THERE IS THE QUESTION OF ACCUSATION 

33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 

The question is asked, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Again, Paul scans the horizon looking for someone, anyone, who might be perceived as a threat to the believer’s security; anyone who might be a danger to our standing before God. Two observations: The verb “lay to the charge” is a legal term.[1] Paul is asking if anyone would be in a position to make a charge, to level an accusation, to point the finger. You and I know people who are eager to point the finger of accusation at a Christian. And who would be the one charged, accused, or indicted? The believer, to be sure. But Paul specifically uses the description “God’s elect” to describe us. My goodness. I wish I would have remembered that verse when I was being charged with wrongdoing by someone who’d heard that I’d done her wrong. Folks let’s get this straight. The question Paul is posing is this: Who shall lay anything to the charge of one who has been chosen by God? You find yourself dealing with someone who has been chosen by God, and you dare, and you dare accuse that person? Who do you think you are to accuse of any kind to one who has been chosen by God. “But he did it.” It doesn’t matter. Tread lightly when accusing someone chosen by God.

Again, Paul analyzes the question. You might get the idea that Paul doesn’t like answering questions. But, in reality, Paul is led of the Holy Spirit to show that many of the most important questions that can ever be asked don’t need to be answered. They only need to be understood. Indeed, if the question and if pertinent information is properly evaluated, analyzed if you will, the answer is obvious. Paul has asked, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” But instead of answering that question he states a simple, yet extremely profound, truth: 

“It is God that justifieth.” 

What does that mean? Well, what have we been studying since Romans 3.21 bears here. Justification. And what justification is is the acquittal of charges leveled against someone. So, what in the world does it matter if there is someone who levels charges against you? And what does it matter if they happen to be true? God justifies. God acquits. Every believer in Jesus Christ is a person who, though guilty, has been granted the standing of innocent in the sight of God. God declares innocent those who stand guilty as charged. Therefore, when it comes to the issue of a person accusing you of wrongdoing, even if you have done wrong, their accusation poses no threat to your security as a Christian. Why? Because not only were you justified, Christian, but you are being justified, as well. 

Finally, THERE IS THE QUESTION OF CONDEMNATION 

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 

The question is asked, “Who is he that condemneth?” As if it isn’t bad enough that there are always those who are against the Christian, and as if it isn’t bad enough that there are always those who will accuse Christians of this, that, or the other thing, there are also those who pretend that they are judges and find us guilty, as well. And who is this person who fancies himself judge, jury, and executioner of the Christian? My friend, it doesn’t matter who it is. Be it your mother or father, your husband or wife, your son or your daughter, your classmate or your colleague, it doesn’t matter. And why doesn’t it matter who this person is who levels an accusation against the child of God, rightly or wrongly?

Because, once again, the question is analyzed. 

“It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” 

Four things are pointed out by Paul about our Lord Jesus Christ, in ascending order if you will, that shows how futile are attempts of any kind to condemn the believer in Jesus Christ. Remember, Paul has previously written that “There is now therefore no condemnation.” Four things: First, there is the crucifixion. Christian? Christ died. And who did He die for? He died for you. He died for me. He died for the person the accuser points his finger of accusation at. First Peter 3.18 says 

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.” 

Jesus Christ died for me. He suffered on the cross for my sins. All of them. Second, there is the resurrection. This was the demonstration of His great victory over sin, death, Hell and the grave. And His victory by resurrection is our victory. Amen? His victory by resurrection is my victory. After His resurrection came His exaltation. Jesus Christ ascended up to heaven and was seated at the right hand of His Father. And it is in that position of great exaltation that our Lord Jesus Christ makes intercession “for” us.[2] Now, let me ask you a question. Who, in all creation, can successfully condemn the believer for whom Jesus Christ died, while that same Jesus Who died, and Who rose, and Who ascended, and Who now sits at the right hand of the Father, is, right this moment interceding on behalf of that one who is being condemned? No one. 

We have been told by the inspired pen of Paul that all who are justified will be glorified. And we rejoice in that. But a few minutes after we have been told that (if you are like me) we begin to think. Our fears and doubts assail us from every point on the compass. But remember that Paul has sought to give us comfort in the midst of our suffering, and in the midst of our doubts. And comfort we’ll get if he has to spoon feed us.

Think for just a moment. If you are in spiritual danger, believer, then your danger can only come from two possible sources: It must be a dangerous person, or it must be a dangerous circumstance. There is nothing else. In our text for today, Paul has examined the possible danger to believers from persons, from people. And he has done so by asking three logical and forthright questions. These are good questions to be asked. Because you see, you never get the right answers unless you are willing to ask the right questions. And Paul asks the right questions.

Question number one was a question of comparison: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Compare any person or any combination of persons who might be against you, who are against you, to God. Having established that God is “for” you, Christian, it doesn’t matter who is against you. With God “for” you no efforts “against” you can succeed in an attempt to bring eternal harm to you.

Question number two was a question of accusation. Of the many who are “against” you, some would even accuse you. They may even be family members of your fellow Church members who have brought an accusation against you. So, Paul asks, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” And the question isn’t so much who will accuse you as who will successfully accuse you. If you are the elect of God, the chosen of God, and if God justifies you, which is to say He acquits you, can anyone’s charges mean anything? No. Insofar as the court of heaven is concerned, no one gets to first base when accusing you before the God Who acquits you, especially with the interceding Savior at the Father’s right hand.

Question number three was a question of condemnation. Of the many who are “against” you, some will accuse you, and a few will even go so far as to condemn you. That is to say; they will even seek to find you guilty of the charges they have brought against you. But what good will it do them? And what harm will it do you? You have the Savior Who was crucified to atone for your sins, Who then rose from the dead on the third day, Who then was exalted to heaven, and Who is presently seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you. How can the accuser possibly succeed? He cannot.

So, the question is what person can do you harm, Christian? To your soul? To your spirit? Oh, people can mess with your mind and body, but what combination of persons can harm your soul? Can any combination of individuals stack up against God? Can any accusation spoken against you find God’s ear when, in fact, He is the One Who acquits the believer? And can anyone condemn you while Jesus Christ is speaking on your behalf to the Father? Who do you think God the Father will listen to more, His Son or some snide hypocrite? And I say hypocrite because accusers always assume a posture of moral superiority when they accuse believers.

No wonder it can be said that a review of those who would threaten our soul’s security escalates into a celebration of our security in Christ. Mull it over and chew on it as many times as you wish. But if you ask “Who,” the answer will always be “No one.”

But this security is given only to those who can rightly say, “If God be for us . . . .”

__________

[1] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 367.

[2] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 1.9-11; 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; 6.9; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

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