A Season of Promise
2. The Promise of Victory
Romans 8: 31 – 37
Here’s where we’re headed today: Because God is faithful, He is for you.
What Then Shall We Say?
The Apostle Paul is utilizing a Q&A format in a rapid-fire manner as he moves quickly from one question to the next. We could call them, “Frequently Asked Questions” or FAQs.
The first question really helps frame the entire passage. As a preacher Paul has been giving a lot of teaching related to justification and sanctification in the first 8 chapters of Romans. Chapter 8 begins with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation.” As he wraps up this chapter he’s moving from information to application to transformation: “What then shall we say to these things?”
Two thoughts come to mind in response to this question: What then shall we say to these things?
1. Nothing. Have you ever received a totally undeserved gift and you couldn’t even find words to express how grateful you were? In light of everything that God has done, what really can we say?
2. Everything. We should be filled with praise and never stop thanking God for all that He has done. Because He’s given everything to us we should also give him everything that we have, including our very lives.
Like water cascading over a waterfall, these questions serve to celebrate our security in Christ and the victory that is ours – no matter what happens around us, and no matter what happens within us. We’re going to summarize the 5 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) in this passage and respond with a corresponding FAP (Faithfully Answered Promise) for each one. I want you to notice that these questions are personal (“who”), not impersonal (“what”). Because God is faithful, He is for you.
FAQ #1: Who Opposes Us? v. 31
FAP #1: God Protects Us!
The 1st question is found in v. 31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The meaning is not so much “if” but is rather “since” or “because.” It literally reads this way: “Because God is for us, who against us?” Since God is for us, what difference does it make who is against us? Others may intimidate us, but we have the Almighty on our side.
Friend, with God on your side, there is nothing that anyone else can do to you. Psalm 118: 6: “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Paul is not suggesting that we have no opposition because we all have enemies. The point he is making is that every opponent is puny compared to how big God is. Focus on giants – you stumble; Focus on God – your giants tumble.
Unfortunately, many of us judge whether God is for us by how events or circumstances turn out. If something goes bad, some of us immediately think that God is against us and when things go well, we think He’s for us. If you’re a born again believer, God is always for you, no matter what happens.
In order to make this promise more personal, I’d like you to insert your name into this verse right now: “God is for .” When you feel like someone or something is against you, remember that God is for you. God is your proponent and He is bigger than any opponent you may be facing. In the midst of your problems, claim the first FAP that God is for you and that He protects you. Because God is faithful, He is for you.
FAQ #2: Who Withholds From Us? v. 32
FAP #2: God Provides for Us!
The 2nd frequently asked question is framed in v. 32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” The gift of God’s Son is the promise and pledge that He not only protects us – He also provides for us. Notice the phrase “His own.” This emphasizes the Father’s possession of His Son, who He freely gave up to die on the Cross. He gave him “for us all” which means that Jesus died in our place, instead of us, for our benefit.
This argument is from the greater to the lesser. Since God did not hesitate to give His greatest gift, certainly He will give us lesser gifts. It would be like a dad building a full-length cricket net for his son and then refusing to give him a cricket ball to play with. That would be absurd, wouldn’t it? 2 Peter 1: 3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
God protects and He provides. That leads to the third question and answer.
FAQ #3: Who Accuses Us? v. 33
FAP #3: God Purifies Us!
Check out v. 33: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Many of you hear the accusing voice of guilt and shame that plays in your own mind on a daily basis.
On top of that, we know from Revelation 12: 10 that Satan, whose name means “Slanderer,” brings charges against Christians “before our God day and night.” Satan brings every flaw, every sin, and every shortcoming up before God all the time. But none of it sticks because we have been justified, or declared righteous. God knows what we’ve done but he has forgiven all Christ-followers. We are pure before Him. Friends, because God is faithful, He is for you.
FAQ #4: Who Condemns Us? v. 34
FAP #4: Jesus Prays for Us!
God protects us, He provides for us, and He purifies us. We see in v. 34 that Jesus also prays for us: “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Our sins deserve condemnation but Christ now commends us. Check out these 4 deep truths right from this verse:
Because of His crucifixion: “It is Christ who died…” The cross of Christ is the basis for our confidence.
Because of His resurrection: “…and furthermore is also risen…” The resurrection is proof that God the Father accepted the payment of His Son, who conquered sin and death.
Because of His ascension: “…who is even at the right hand of God…” This is the place of exaltation and honor. 1 Peter 3: 22 says that Jesus “has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
Because of His intercession: “…who also makes intercession for us.” He is like our divine defense attorney. Hebrews 7: 25: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
In the midst of accusation and condemnation, we have an Advocate who is interceding for us. I love what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery in John 8: 10, 11: “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’”
The Holy Spirit is interceding in our hearts and we have the Son interceding for us in Heaven. The perfect one is praying for those He has purified. Isaiah 54:17: “‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the LORD.” We’re protected, provided for, purified and prayed for. There’s one more promise…
FAQ #5: Who Separates Us? v. 35, 36
FAP #5: Jesus Preserves Us!
Friends, v. 35, 36 tell us that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ because He preserves us: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’”
To “separate” means to place a wedge between and was also used as a synonym for “amputate.” There is absolutely nothing that can get in the way of the Lord loving us. We will never be cut off from Christ, no matter what we go through. Paul could personally attest to this as he faced profound persecution in his life.
We all face trouble within and hardship without. None of this can separate us from the Saviour. Nothing can break the bond between us and God. Those who are persecuted for their faith will never be severed from the love of Christ. Persecution in Iraq, Iran, Syria and many other places have led to threats that are increasing. Many believers certainly are “killed all day long.”
The Romans who heard these words would see them come true in their own lives as the Emperor Nero threw Christians to the lions and burned believers at the stake. Death does not separate us from God.
Uber-Conquerors v. 37
I understand that one of the cool words today is “uber.” This comes from German and means “above” or “over” and is used to communicate something that is “intensely super.” In v. 37 Paul declares that we should be doing more than just surviving, we should be thriving; we’re called to not just cope, we’re called to be conquerors: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We need five words “we are more than conquerors” to translate what is just one word in Greek. It carries the idea of being a “super-conqueror.”
Many of us think of victory in terms of winning. We tend to look at the successful, the beautiful and the wealthy as winners. The context however is that God uses apparent defeat to produce ultimate victory as He accomplishes His purposes through our problems. That means you can be an “uber-conqueror” even when you’re dealing with health issues, relational ruptures, financial trouble, stress on the job and whatever persecution you are experiencing because of your faith. The key is to think less about the power of things over you and more about the power of Christ within you.
Let’s go over the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and the FAPs (Faithfully Answered Promises) again so they go down deep in our hearts. Savor the security you have because of what the Savior has accomplished.
FAQ #1: Who Opposes Us? FAP #1: God Protects Us!
FAQ #2: Who Withholds From Us? FAP #2: God Provides for Us!
FAQ #3: Who Accuses Us? FAP #3: God Purifies Us!
FAQ #4: Who Condemns Us? FAP #4: Jesus Prays for Us!
FAQ #5: Who Separates Us? FAP #5: Jesus Preserves Us!
Because God is faithful, He is for you.