If God is for us...
Romans 8:26-39 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He 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? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who 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. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor 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.
Anyone who reads and follows Daily Nuggets on a regular basis probably knows that Romans 8:28-29 is a foundational principle to me. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. God does not cause all the things that happen in our lives. He is sovereign and He does have all power and all authority, but He has given man free will. The psalmist says: The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. (Psalm 115:6) God still has full authority, Jesus says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) But in Genesis 1, in the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, when He created man He said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28) Just as the free will of Adam and Eve, their decision to disobey God, caused the curse on the earth, the free will and the authority God gave man are responsible for much of what happens, the bad things, in our lives. God does not cause bad things to happen, but He will use all things, both the good things and the bad things to work together for our good. He uses the good because as James 1:17 says: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Romans 2:4 says: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? James 1:2-4 says: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. So God uses all things, the good He uses to lead us to repentance, the bad, the various trials, He allows so that we may be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, conformed to the image of His Son, restored to the image and likeness of God.
The text continues asking three questions: If God is for us, who is against us?... Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?... Who will separate us from the love of Christ? If God is for us, who is against us? Paul doesn’t answer this first question, but rather gives evidence that God truly is for us. He says: He 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? Scripture, both Old Testament and New, are filled with accounts of God being for His people. The deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians, His preserving them for the forty years in the wilderness, the victories they won, by God’s hand, over the nations which possessed the land God gave them; David’s victory over Goliath, Gideon and his three hundred men defeating a large and powerful army, all these things and more assure us of what God will do for His people. God’s assurance and promise is: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? Again, Paul doesn’t answer the question, but rather gives us an assurance: God is the one who justifies; who 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. The point is with God on our side and with Jesus at God’s side interceding for us, it really doesn’t matter who will bring a charge against us or condemn us. For full disclosure though, regardless of who might speak against us, who might bring charges or condemnation, whether doubters, mockers or others who wish to harm us, there is really only one source of condemnation against believers, it is the accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10 says: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. It is the devil who accuses and condemns. In John 8:44, Jesus says this about the devil, the accuser: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” All of the devils charges, accusations and condemnation are lies. Romans 8:1 says: There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. As a side note, it is important that we watch what we say about others. If we are the ones bringing charges and condemnation, if we are the ones accusing them day and night before God, then we are being used to do the devil’s work.
Finally: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Paul says: In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 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. Even sin cannot separate us from God’s love. Sin can separate us from God’s presence but it cannot separate us from His love. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” No one, not even the devil, can separate us from God’s love. Nothing, not sin or any trial or difficulty that comes upon us, can separate us from His love. In truth, the only thing which can separate us from God’s love is our own choice not to believe or receive. Even that does not stop God’s love, it only separates us from it and from all that we have in Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You, that You use all things in my life, the good and the bad, to work together for my good. Your goodness and kindness draw me to You and away from sin. The difficulties strengthen my faith, knowing that if You are for me nothing that comes against me will prosper. Thank You most of all that nothing can separate me from Your love. Your love is unconditional and everlasting. It is mine through the cross of Christ. Thank You. Amen.