Sermon on Romans 8:31-39
Text: What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The scene has been played out many different times on the playground. A game is going to be played and the two teams must be chosen. The captains begin choosing the members of their team. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones that was chosen toward the beginning. How you hated to be the last one chosen. Sometimes there would a very good player. If you had the opportunity to be the captain, you would be sure to pick him for your team. If your team had that better than average player, you felt that you would definitely win. This morning, Paul sets up a situation where we would be in a life and death struggle. But, he tells us, ‘God is on our side.’ This morning as we study this portion of God’s Word, we are reminded that GOD IS FOR US. 1. He Gave Us His Son. 2. He Declared Us Righteous. 3. He Loves Us To Eternity.
The Eighth chapter of the book of Romans is one that builds on the seven chapters preceding it. Paul had spent a great deal of time teaching the congregation the basics of Christianity. He spoke of the fact that all of the world is, by nature, depraved and lawless. They sin against God in every way, shape and form. He also spent a great deal of time talking about the salvation that God provided for mankind in the person of his Son. Then, starting in chapter 6, he talks about our response to what God has done for us. Just prior to this, Paul had written the familiar words, “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” All of the preceding, then, is what Paul meant, when he wrote, “What, then, shall we say in response to this?” The “this” that he is talking about is everything he had taught before.
Then, by way of summary, Paul reminds the Romans and us, as well, of a most beautiful truth. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” This phrase could, just as well be translated, “SINCE God is with us, who can be against us?” This is really a short history of redemption history. God is on our side with more than just kind feelings. He has acted on our behalf with his salvation and will continue to do so. And how did God show that he was with us, that he was on our side? In verse 32, Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.” There is the focus of the love that God has for us. He did not spare his Son. That fact is especially amazing when you look at whom God gave up his Son for. It was for people like you and me. It was for you and me. It’s hard for us to own up to this, because there is, at least a small part in us, that likes to think we’re pretty good. It is only when we take a hard look in the mirror of the law that we realize just what kind of people we are. If we’ve ever held a grudge, we’re sinners. If we’ve ever become angry with anyone, we’re sinners. The list could go on and on, but it really doesn’t matter. One sin or a million sins, there is still sin and where there is sin, there is eternal condemnation. That is whom God gave up his Son for. That is the message of the Lenten season. God loved us so much that he gave up his Son. He sacrificed him on the altar of the cross to pay the entire debt of sin that we owed our God.
Paul continues with that point in verses 33&34, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” We are brought into the courtroom, as Paul asks what charge can be brought against us? The charges that could be brought against us would be our sins. The accusations of Satan would carry a great deal of weight, because it is true that we have committed these acts. However, these accusations do not carry any weight in this courtroom for three reasons, which are mentioned in verse 34. #1 – “Christ Jesus, who died.” Christ died to pay for all sins. That is the first reason that these charges hold no weight. The debt has been canceled. Note that it wasn’t that God changed his mind about sin. He still demanded that it be paid for. But, #2 – rather than exacting the payment from us, he took it from his Son. We know that he accepted the payment from his Son, because he raised him from the dead. If Jesus had not done enough or was lacking in any way, he would not have risen from the dead. Again in verse 34 we read, “-more than that, who was raised to life.” That is the second reason that this charges carry no weight. The third reason is the fact that Jesus “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Christ, as our lawyer, pleads for us. He calls to his Father’s remembrance that all of our sins were paid for. He speaks to the Father in our behalf. For these three reasons, Satan cannot accuse us of sin in God’s courtroom.
Another that, at times, accuses us, is our consciences. We catch ourselves thinking over our past, whether it be years, days, or minutes. We remember the various sins that we have committed and the feeling of guilt just seems to overwhelm us. However, dear friend, don’t let your conscience accuse you. Jesus paid for that sin on Calvary. He has forgotten your sin. Don’t cheapen his work, by holding on to a sin. Repent. Receive forgiveness and move on. Don’t let Satan rob you of the joy that is yours in Christ.
There are other accusers of Christianity who are all around us, trying to make us ashamed or afraid to call ourselves Christians. For example, look at the media. How are Christians usually portrayed on television or movies. They are either a bunch of uneducated goofs or hypocrites of the first degree. At every turn they find reason to question, make fun of, or show hostility toward what we hold to be most dear. Don’t let the world make you uncomfortable to be a Christian. It is your honor that God has called you to be one of his own. Be proud of who and what you are by God’s grace shown in his Son. God is on your side. What can they offer that is better than that?
In verses 35-39, Paul mentions a number of things that would try to defeat us. We read: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Do you hear the confidence in Paul’s words? First of all, God never promised the Christian that life on this earth would be a stroll through the roses. He doesn’t promise a heaven on earth. Paul even works under that assumption that there will be trouble. But, as he quotes from the psalms, this is nothing new. The people who have gone before you have faced them. The people who follow you will face them.
However, in answer to his question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?,” Paul writes, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Paul said that we can count on a victory. As a matter of fact, Paul writes that we are “more than conquerors.” We are super-conquerors. How wonderful it is to know that, no matter what may come our way, it has already been defeated. Note, however, that this ability to be “more than conquerors” does not come from us. It isn’t that we are such strong, brave people. Rather the victory is ours “through him who loved us.” With God on our side, we can and will win. Can you see why Paul speaks with such confidence? It goes back to the opening verse of our text, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer, with God’s help and by his grace, is no one! It is no wonder, then, that there are so many verses in the Bible, where the writer sings, with joy, about his constant help in God. For example, Isaiah wrote, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2) The psalmist wrote, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1&2) Many poets and hymn writers have penned similar words of confidence. This is a blessing that is ours because God is on our side. Since that is the case, live in confidence. Don’t fear tomorrow. The same God, that has been with you in the past, will be with you in the future. Live in the security of knowing that God is on your side. David expressed this certainty in the twenty-seventh psalm, “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) The answer to that question, as well as the question Paul posed, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is no one. God is on your side. He showed that in the fact that he gave his Son for you. He showed that when he declared you to be righteous, and he has promised to love you to eternity. It doesn’t get better than that. Amen.
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