12
Jan
14

“If God is For US” Romans 8:31-32

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave himself up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things (Romans 8:31-32).

In Romans 8:31 the apostle begins the conclusion to the argument he began to pursue in chapter five of this epistle. Note the words, “What then [or therefore] shall we say. . .?” That argument is that everyone God has justified, he will certainly glorify. He wrote,

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2).

It is important to note that Paul did not write, “We have a conditional peace with God based on our repentance and confession every time we sin.” We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have obtained an access by faith in to this grace in which WE STAND, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,”

Believers have been introduced into a standing in grace in which we continue to stand. The reason this standing does not change is that it does not depend on the believer’s faithfulness but on the faithfulness of Christ. It is grace that now governs the relationship of the believer to his God. Grace now reigns for all who are in Christ. The believer no longer rests on his record but on Christ’s record.

When Paul writes that we rejoice in hope of the glory of God, he refers to a confident assurance that the believer will be fully conformed to Christ’s image. We rejoice in the reality that our glorification with Christ is absolutely certain. If our rejoicing in hope of the glory of God depended on our faithfulness, there would be no ground of rejoicing whatsoever. On our very best day, we continue to fall short of the glory of God. God’s holiest people are not yet completely conformed to Christ’s image.

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before God’s throne,
But faith can answer his demands
By pleading what my Lord has done.

The level of righteousness to which we have arrived in the process of sanctification is never intended to form the basis of our rejoicing regarding glorification. Though we should be encouraged to believe our faith is genuine when we observe the righteousness and obedience the sanctifying Spirit has produced in us, that righteousness can never form the basis of our acceptance before God or the ground of our certainty of glorification. Instead, it is because we have been granted an introduction into the reign of grace that we are able to exult in the confident assurance that we will certainly be conformed to the image of God’s glory in Christ. It is when we are assured that God has arrested us in our sinful course and that we are now under his control and under the reign of his sovereign grace that we will begin to have confidence that our glorification is certain.

Our concern as believers is to be certain we are found on the rock that cannot be moved. It is to ascertain whether God is for us or against us. Once we are convinced that we have been united to Christ by faith, we have every reason to believe God is for us and that our final perseverance in faith as well as our full conformity to Christ’s image is an absolute certainty.

There is no promise in the God’s Word that all who profess faith in Christ will infallibly be glorified. We must remind ourselves that not every blossom brings forth fruit. The focus of the Christian life is not on the inception but on the finish. It is the character of true faith that it endures. In Romans 8:37, having posed the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” and having suggested a number of trying circumstances that might provoke such a separation, the apostle boldly asserted that none of these things could prevail to separate us from the great lover of our souls. This is a love that will not let us go. We are firmly in his loving grip. As a result, he wrote “ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” By his grace, God enables every true believer to be more than an over comer. It is not merely that he preserves us, but that because he keeps us and continues to perform his sanctifying work in us, we over come every trial and persevere in believing.

Once the Spirit of God assures us that God is for us, we are flooded with the abundant consolation of the gospel.

Before we consider the text itself, it is important that we examine its component parts and clear our minds of any faulty ideas that might cloud our minds and obscure its true teaching.

1. When Paul begins to draw his conclusion based on “these things” the blessings mentioned are not limited to the immediate context but extend to those blessings mentioned in the entire context beginning in chapter five.

2. The conditional clause “if God is for us, . . .” does not express any doubt. It is a condition of the first class in which the condition is assumed to be a reality. It is as if Paul is saying, in the light of everything we have been asserting, if we are genuine believers we must assume for the sake of argument that God is for us. If that assumption is true, who can prevail against us?

3. We must not derive from the words, “who can be against us?” a false notion that if God is for us we will never have enemies or face opposition. In reality, the exact opposite is true. Jesus made it clear the world is going to hate us if we follow him. Satan himself is our adversary. Paul’s teaching is that no one will be able to prevail against us if God is for us.

4. We must not think that the “us” in the phrase, “if God is for us” or the words “us all” in the phrase “gave himself up for us all” refer to all the members of the human family. The context clearly limits the referents of those terms to believers. To understand this we need only consider to whom these words were addressed. Consider the apostle’s salutation and greeting in chapter of this epistle. He addressed his words “ To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Rom. 1:7-8). Suppose one day while walking down the street I found a letter addressed to Frank Smith. Then out of overwhelming curiosity I opened the letter and read the message. It read as follows,

Dear Frank,

It seems like years since I was in your arms. You have no idea how much I miss you and how excited I am about being with you again. I can hardly wait to be in your arms again and to smother you with tender kisses. I am excited about seeing you soon. Incidently, since I saw you last, it have come into a sizable inheritance. It will be yours to share with me as soon as we are married. I am counting the days until I see you again.

Love and kisses,

Jane

The question is, What meaning would that letter have for me? Of course, the answer is Absolutely none since it was not addressed to me. The Epistles of the New Testament were not addressed to mankind at large, but to believers in Christ. When Paul speaks of “us” and “us all,” he refers to all of us believers in Christ.

5. When Paul wrote, “how shall he not with him also freely give us all things” he is not referring to physical, material, and temporal blessings. God does not promise us health and material prosperity. He has not promised to give us everything our greedy little hearts may desire. I am not warranted by this verse to “believe God” for a jet airplane or for a vacation home in the Bahamas. I can only “believe God” for what God has promised. The words “all things” in this verse refer in context to all things that belong to our salvation, more specifically speaking, they refer to our glorification with Christ.

Consider the blessings Paul refers to as “these things” that should induce us to understand that God is for us.

1. He has declared us righteous in his sight and given us an entrance into a standing of grace (5:1- 2).

2. He has given his Son to die for us when we were still his enemies (5:6-10).

3. He has freed us from slavery to sin (6:6).

4. He has freed us from condemnation (8:1).

5. He has made us his heirs in union with Christ(8:16).

6. Before we were even born he determined to conform us to the image of his Son and in accordance with his purpose, he called us into union with Christ in whom believers are justified and glorified (8:28-30).

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

Paul’s argument is that our glorification is certain because the only being in the entire universe who has a right to be against us has shown himself to be for us.

Further he argues that if God has given us the greatest gift imaginable, the delivering up of his Son to death for his people, he will not withhold any lesser gift but will graciously give us everything that belongs to our salvation. He has too much invested in us to cast us off now.

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