Study 8 IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
GREAT QUESTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
by Francis W. Dixon
(Scripture Reference: Romans 8:31)
Romans 8 contains a wealth of spiritual truth. Here the Apostle Paul lays emphasis on what God is to His people and what He has done for them, then suddenly bursts out with the question – “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Notice that the word ‘if’ which Paul uses does not denote doubt but is a conclusion, a consequence or an affirmation signifying since. The argument is this: God is so evidently for us that nothing or no-one can successfully be against us. There are plenty of opposing forces against the Christian but nothing can successfully overthrow him – compare Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 1:19; 1 John 4:4; and then look up Psalm 118:6. Take your Bible and underline some of the things that are against us as Christians:
(1) CONDEMNATION (verse 1). This is our state, apart from grace.
(2) SIN (verse 2). We are all sinners.
(3) SINFUL NATURE (verse 8). This refers to the self-life.
(4) SUFFERINGS (verse 18). Not one of us is exempt from these.
(5) DECAY (verse 21). We are dying all the time.
(6) PAIN. We all know what this means.
(7) WEAKNESS (verse 26).
Now, over all these we can write the words ‘The Devil’, because he is against us all the time (1 Peter 5:8). But if all these things are against us and the Devil himself is against us, “if God is for us, who can (successfully) be against us?”
1. We know that God is FOR us because He has given us His Son.
Look at verses 3 and 32. What more could God do than send His own Son into this world to be our Saviour? Surely this is sufficient proof that He loves us (John 3:16); and notice in verse 32 we are told not only that God did not withhold His own Son but that He delivered Him up for us all. Here undoubtedly is reference to the purpose for which Christ came into the world, which was to become a sacrifice for our sins and to offer Himself upon the cross of Calvary. Compare John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24. We also read in verse 32 that with the gift of His Son God guarantees to give us “all things” – that is, all that we need for time and for eternity.
2. We know that God is FOR us because He has settled the question of our sin.
In verses 1-3 and 33-34 we read that through the gift, the sacrifice, the resurrection and the present intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ, the whole question of our sin has been settled once and for all by Him. Apart from Him we were condemned (John 3:18); but now, because He has died as our Sin-bearer, Saviour and substitute, we are no longer under condemnation (John 5:24). Who can charge us or condemn us? The Devil, of course, will try to do so, but we have an answer for him in verses 33-34. Because the Lord Jesus Christ has died and risen and has been exalted at the right hand of God the Father, there to intercede for us, God has justified us once and for all.
3. We know that God is FOR us because He has given us His Spirit.
The Person of the Holy Spirit is mentioned twenty times in this chapter. Why has God given us His Spirit?
(1) He has come to indwell us (verse 9). This is true of every child of God.
(2) He indwells us to give life (verse 10). See 2 Peter 1:4.
(3) His indwelling guarantees our resurrection (verses 11,23).
(4) He is in us to emancipate us (verse 13). See verse 2.
(5) He is our constant guide (verse 14). He leads us according to God’s will.
(6) He gives us assurance that we really are the Lord’s (verse 16).
(7) He indwells us to be our Helper (verse 26).
4. We know that God is FOR us because He has adopted us into His family and has made us joint-heirs with His Son (verses 14-17).
Notice the word ‘sonship’ in verse 15 and try to grasp that stupendous thought, that God has brought us into His family circle; He is our Heavenly Father and we can utter those words “Abba, Father” – a child’s first cry of recognition and relationship. But then verse 17 tells us that we are actually heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ!
5. We know that God is FOR us because He has promised that all things will work together for our good (verse 28).
Many things appear to be working against us, but He causes even these to work for our good.
6. We know that God is FOR us because of the declared purpose of His grace.
Verses 29-30 contain five unbroken and unbreakable links in the golden chain of God’s marvellous purpose for every one of His children:-
(1) FOREKNOWLEDGE – compare 2 Timothy 2:19 with 1 Peter 1:2.
(2) PREDESTINATION – compare 2 Corinthians 3:18 with 1 John 3:2.
(3) CALLED – compare John 6:37-39 with 1 Corinthians 1:2.
(4) JUSTIFIED – compare Romans 3:26 with Romans 5:1.
(5) GLORIFIED – compare John 17:20-26 with Romans 8:17.
7. We know that God is FOR us because He has guaranteed our eternal security.
Verses 35-39 make a triumphant conclusion to this great chapter, and they include the final evidence that God is for us. Nothing in time or eternity, in heaven or on earth – no force of evil, no demon from hell – absolutely nothing will ever separate us from the Lord and from His love for us. Yes, God is for us, but there is one question we must ask: are we for Him? – are you? – are you on the Lord’s side? If so, banish your fears and doubts and be content in the assurance that “since God is for me, who can successfully be against me?”