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Romans chapter eight moves to a grand climax of assurance of salvation and sanctification. No matter what the circumstances are, we are "more than conquerors" through Christ who has loved us and died for us. Is there anything that can defeat God's eternal purpose? Anything? Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Paul looks over the full range of life and gives a resounding, "No!" "Nothing!" "No, in all these things we are super–conquerors through Him who loved us." The last verses in Romans eight are the song of triumph for the believer. The contemplation of God's saving purpose for His people in Romans 8:28–30 leads to a stronger encouragement to walk by faith.
Christ will carry us through all chances, changes and circumstances in life giving us strength and encouragement.
We have already seen in Romans 8:28–30 salvation is God's gracious favor and work. From beginning to end our salvation is of God. There is no place for human merit. The purpose of divine predestination is not favoritism, but holiness. It is Christ likeness. When God is through with us He will glorify us. He will take us to heaven to be with Him, and present us to the Father in a glorious resurrected body, clothed in moral and spiritual character like Christ's. The only way we can be saved is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter preached, "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). The Apostle Paul made it as clear as you can get in Ephesians 2:8–10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know that if you died today you would go to heaven? If you don't have that assurance take a few moments and think through A Free Gift for You.
I used to think, "Where there is will there is a way." That is the best formula for failure. God did not save us and turn us lose to live the Christian life. It is not, "God helps those who help themselves," but God helps those who can not help themselves. It is a matter of grace. Neither can we save ourselves, nor sanctify ourselves. It is not, "We'll I'm trying my best preacher."
Again, the Apostle Paul clearly states that only God alone can make us holy. He sets us apart for Himself. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass" (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24).
goal of sanctification is to conform us to the character of Jesus Christ.
Everything that happens to believers is to cause us to focus on that supreme
goal of the Lord God. The Holy Spirit works in us so one day He can present us
complete in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul stated his goal clearly to the
Colossians, "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with
all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this
purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works
within me" (Colossians 1:28–29). God has selected before hand the goal toward
which He is moving every one who believes on Christ. This sanctification is the
daily process by which God imparts to our human spirit by faith the
righteousness of Jesus Christ. In a sense glorification has already begun in
what is called sanctification. God will complete what He began in our lives at
the moment we believed on Christ.
Our personal sanctification is progressive conformity to the image of Christ here and now. Our glorification is the perfect conformity to the image of Christ. One day we will stand complete in Christ before God the Father (1 John 1:1-3). Our glorification began in sanctification and will one day be complete when Christ presents us to the Father. Our glorification will take place when our sanctification is completed. Perfect sanctification or glorification will take place when we stand before Christ in heaven.
No one will get lost in the process. This is God's work. He is responsible for the believer. What God sets out to do He will complete.
With these two great truths firmly in mind Paul ask five unanswerable questions.
FIVE UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS (8:31-39)
"If God is for us, who is against us?" (v. 31)
Without the introductory clause, I can think of quite a few adversaries such as the world, flesh and the Devil.
Paul's question is "If God is for us" –– the God who foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and even glorified us, if that God is for you –– "who is against us?" "With God on our side, who can be against us?" (New Jerusalem Bible). Our English word "if" gives the idea of possible doubt, but the original language implies no doubt. The "if" here is a first class condition indicating certainty. It has the idea "if as is the case," or "since." Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." The LORD God is not going to stop until; He has conformed us to the image of His Son.
"God is for me." He is not hostile. God is for sinners who come to Him and receive His abundant grace. Since "God plus me is a whole person" what does it matter who may be against me. Our text assumed that the Lord is on the side of His people. Our confidence is in God alone.
We have peace with God because we have been reconciled (8:1; 5:1-2, 5).
God is for us in a way that produces His highest "good" in our lives and accomplishes His eternal purpose. Since God is for us, all things work together for our good.
Would you like a great verse of Scripture to write down on your 3x5" card and memorize this week? "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? (Psalm 27:1). Those words will give you encouragement this week.
No foe can prevail against people who are supported by a God so committed to His people. Since God is for us, what difference does it make who is against us? Here is encouragement and assurance in our times of suffering. "God + Me = A Whole Person."
How can we be certain God will meet all our needs? We are certain because of His supreme act of love.
"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?" (v. 32).
The cross proves the generosity of God. God gave up His most treasured possession in heaven for us (I Peter 1:18-19). Even though there exists a very special relationship between the Father and the Son the Father still "gave Him up for us all." He graciously gave His Son as a free gift. Jesus reminds us in John chapter ten that this was also His volitional choice –– He gave Himself "for us." Paul reminds us the same thing Galatians 2:20. He was delivered up for our transgressions.
The words "for us" have the meaning "in the stead of" here. Paul speaks clears about substitutionary atonement because Jesus was delivered up “in our stead” or “in our behalf.” He took our place on the cross. If you remove the idea of substitution then there is nothing of saving value in Jesus dying “in our behalf.” Christ stood in our place. He died as our substitute.
Moreover, He did it "for us all." No one is going to get left out. However, this is not universalism. The "us" refers to born again Christians. Cf. Gal. 2:20; Rom. 4:25.
This passage is not a catch all for those who see God as a great vending machine dispensing whatever magic genie we desire. Paul is not teaching the false "prosperity gospel" that is common in our day.
God has already given His very best while we were His enemies; will He not also give us the trivial things we need in life? He has given us His Son. Do you think He is gong to hold back anything else we need to live the Christian life?
God will never turn to someone He has chosen and done everything that needed to be done to save him and say, "I no loner love you and I no longer want you as my own." We are forever secure in His everlasting love and grace.
The "all things" refers to those things which are essential to the "good" He has purposed for us from eternity.
Since God has done the greatest thing in giving up His Son, how can He not now do the lesser things for us? This is the final guarantee that He loves us enough to supply all our needs. Is there anything He will not do for His church?
Christ our Advocate pleads our case before the Father. Our conscience accuses us, the Devil never ceases, carnal Christians grumble, we blow it, etc. There has never been a shortage of enemies to make accusations against God’s people.
"Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies" (v. 33).
But God is the Judge and He has already acquitted me (v. 33). Since "God is the one who justifies" our justification can never be overthrown. He is completely satisfied in the righteousness of Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." God has taken us to court to show us that there is no condemnation for those who are "in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). We now have peace with God (5:1-2).
We are God's elect whom He has justified, and if God has justified us, no accusation can stand. Now if God is not listening to these accusations, then why should we? Because a holy God has justified us, the believer’s justification can never be overthrown. A holy, righteous God has acquitted the believer. The only cure for our sin problem is “justification by faith.” When we trust in Christ the infinite love of God in Christ takes charge of our whole life, sins and all its implications. When God justifies us, we have nothing to fear about our relationship with Him. He has taken care of our greatest problem in life.
God will never turn His back on us and say, "I no longer choose to call you My son, My daughter." We are forever secure in His mighty arms. God is never two–faced, or deceitful in relationships.
And when we sin what should we do? God has provided a bar of soap for us and we should use it often! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:9–10). As soon as we admit to Him that we deserve condemnation, He restores our fellowship with Him. Christ has already born our guilt and condemnation when He went to the cross and died for us. That is the only way to deal with sin. He is the friend of sinners –– saved sinners and lost sinners!
Sometime our heart condemns us, but it is Christ. It is not our heart that matters in the final resort.
"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" (v. 34).
The only one who has the right to condemn us is Jesus Christ and He died for us! Moreover, He was raised from the dead to live again for us. He is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding for us. Now is there the slightest chance that He is going to condemn us? Absolutely not! Jesus Christ now lives in us. We have His power imparted to us. He lives His life in us. His risen life is our life. We now have what it takes to live the Christian life. However, remember, it is not us; it is Christ living in us.
Jesus Christ is either our Savior or our Judge. If He has pronounced you righteous, justified by grace through faith then He is your Savior. If you reject that free offer of grace He will be your Judge. The Bible is clear on this subject. "He who believes in Him (Christ) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).
We have a heavenly Lawyer who pleads our case before the Father (v. 34; 1 John. 2:1; Rom. 8:1).
Christ will never condemn us if we are trusting in His death to pay the penalty for our sin. He died for our sins. Why would He condemn that for which He has already paid the price in full? His death removes the possibility of condemnation. No one can ever reverse God's choices. He has justified us, He is sanctifying us, and He will glorify us when He returns.
A. T. Robertson well said, "Our Advocate paid the debt for our sins with His blood. The score is settled. We are free (8:1)."
Is there any way you can lose your salvation? Who is more powerful than Christ? Who is sufficient to come and remove you or me from the hands of God? Turn to John 10:27–30. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
Paul gives a list of struggles in the Christian’s life. Can life at its worst remove us from Christ?
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35).
"Tribulation" is the strong pressures in life, like the treading of grapes in a winery. These are the pressures that burst and trouble us.
"Distress" is hardship, outward affliction plus inner stress, anguish. The word was used to describe being caught in a tight place between high rocks. Are you feeling like you have been caught in a tight place? Is life squeezing in on you? Do I write to someone who carries a heavy burden? Have you grown weary of life and feel beaten down by life? Have you come to the place where you feel like you cannot take it any more? Has life become an overwhelming burden to you? Jesus said, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Literally, He says, "I will rest you." As we exchange our burden He gives us His rest.
"Persecution" is to be hunted down like an animal and killed.
"Famine" and hunger are brought on because of draught or persecution. Like the people in Jesus' day we worry over what we will eat, drink, or wear tomorrow. Jesus said God would take care of the basic necessities in our daily lives. We worry because of a sense of inadequacy. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). When we seek first the kingdom of God we become super–conquerors.
There is "nakedness" or lack of clothes because of no means of getting them. Economic persecution brought on because they could not find employment because they are believers in Christ.
"Peril" is dangers, perils of any sort. The King James Version uses the word "peril" eight times in 2 Corinthians 11:26. "In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren." The NIV and NASB use the word "dangers."
The "sword" of judicial execution is against them because of being a Christian. Paul will later be executed by the executioner's sword because he is a believer.
Paul quotes Psalm 44:12, “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’" (v. 36).
What is my attitude toward the pressures, circumstances, chances and changes that come in my life?
Some blame God and whine life away. Others yield these sorrows to Him and are drawn to a sweeter more intimate walk with Christ. Compare "all things" in verses 28, 37-39. For some of us these things draw us closer to Christ. They cause us to cling harder to Christ. They cause us to go running to our Savior knowing His love never fails.
No one and nothing can sever our relationship with Christ because He will never cease to love us.
Can these separate us from Christ? NO! Christ’s love toward us never changes. If none of these things can effect a separation then why should believers fear? God keeps us secure in His love.
What is your response to these pressures in life? We get an entirely different perspective when we bring eternity into the picture. Can you praise God when you are going through the fire? We can when we see Him and His eternal purposes in our lives.
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (v. 37).
Now, if you would like to see this great truth played out in the life of the Apostle Paul take a few moments a read for yourself his own words in Second Corinthians 11:23-28.
We are "super–conquerors" (hypernikomen). He doesn't say we are copers, but super–conquerors. The word comes from nikao, meaning “to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious," and huper which means "above." These “super-conquerors” are more than victors; they gain a surpassing victory. We are "more than conquerors," "we are super–conquerors!" Christ proved His love by His sufferings; therefore our sufferings cannot separate us from His love. Nothing in life can stop God from loving us: neither life nor death, or angelic power, no demonic power, no human influence can separate His love from us. God accomplishes His eternal purposes in our lives through pain, suffering, affliction, tribulations, stress, etc. He causes us to grow in the likeness of Christ as the pressures of life are applied to us. He does not promise to take us out of our pain, but to fashion and form us like Jesus. "We gain a surpassing victory through the one who loved us" (Robertson).
"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" (vv. 38–39).
"I am persuaded" is perfect tense in the original. The apostle Paul has come through a process of persuasion and has reached a settled conclusion. It is his settled conviction. Is that your evaluation of life? Can you say it with confidence?
The word "powers" may be referring to mighty works of power, miraculous works, or spiritual powers above or below the level of the earth. Paul is saying God is sovereign and nothing in all of His creation is outside of His control. The LORD God will accomplish that for which He has purposed and He will not fail.
Christians in a constant spiritual warfare in which we are battling supernatural as well as natural forces that are arrayed against us. Nothing and no one will defeat His eternal purpose. We are empowered and encircled by His unchanging love and grace.
It is always amazing to me how God turns defeat and disaster into victory. He uses what we would call defeat to produce His ultimate victory in our lives. He accomplishes His goal through our suffering. He makes us more than conquerors through the suffering of the saints.
Neither can we save ourselves, nor keep ourselves. Only a sovereign God is capable of keeping us. He alone saves and keeps us. We dare not boast in ourselves, or take confidence in our own virtue, worth or works. However, we are more than conquerors when He lives His life in and through us. That security makes it possible for us to serve Him successfully. We are "more than conquerors" because Christ loves us with a love from which no one and nothing can ever separate us.
There are hurting people all over this community watching you and me to see how we handle life. Christ should make a difference in our families, our marriages, our work place, our witness and our church. Let's continue to demonstrate to a lost community the difference Christ makes in His body. They'll know we are Christians by His love working itself out in our lives. The pagans of the first century Christianity pointed to the Christians and said, “See how they love one another!”
Let’s use our suffering to grow closer to Christ. Let Him cleanse us of indwelling sin with His blood; teach us how to minister to others who are hurting; and to bring glory to the name of Jesus.
Have you come to the place where your back is to the wall and you have no where to turn? Do you feel overwhelmed and powerless? Are you at a place where you feel weak and frail in your spiritual life? Are you in the need of His enabling? Congratulations, now you can be an over-comer.
It is when we fall flat on our face that God can use us. His love is changeless. His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. Perhaps the song has left your private inner world and you feel shattered. The Savior still holds you in the palm of His steady hand. Jesus promised us that nothing can separate you from His measureless love. Life, death, hurts, disappointments, pain, suffering, loss, you name it; cannot separate you from God’s unfathomable love. Not even all of life’s difficulties put together can separate you from His love.
We are dearly loved, completely forgiven, and forever set free through Jesus Christ! We are super over-comers through God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
If you need help in becoming a Christian here is A Free Gift for You.
Title: Romans 8:31-39 We Won!
Series: The Exchanged Life in Romans
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2007. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey College, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.
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