The book of Romans is the one book in the New Testament that talks in detail of the work of Jesus Christ in justifying mankind from their sins, and then talks about how we should live after we have been justified. Romans 1-4 talks about being justified by faith (and we all know that faith includes being obedient to God and his word – James 2:14-26 and Hebrews 11). Romans 5-8 discusses the idea of sanctification – the idea of being holy because we have been set apart. In the great passage of Romans 8:31-35 we read a series of questions that emphasizes what Jesus has done for us, and what our response should be. Two of those questions are considered here:
IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? Paul makes the point that God “did not spare his own son, but delivered him up FREELY for us all.” Let us make no mistake in understanding that what happened to Jesus on the cross was part of the divine plan, inaugurated before the foundation of the world, to save mankind through the death of his son. Let us understand that it was God who loved us enough to send his Son to die for our sins. While it is true, in one sense, that sin killed Jesus (he bore our sins and carried our sorrows – Isaiah 53), it was God who gave his Son to die, and it was Jesus who freely, willingly offered himself up to take our place and die for my sins and your sins. What great cost – what great love!
And Paul makes the point that if God was willing to do this, he is willing to do whatever is necessary to help us with whatever we need to become the Christians we need to be.
We must understand that being immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) is just the beginning of our walk with Christ. While baptism puts us into him (Galatians 3:27), we are then commanded to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16; Hebrews 12:10-14). We work at rooting out sin in our lives – secret sins as well as public sins. We strive for holiness. The point Paul makes in Romans 8 is that if God was willing to allow Jesus to die for our sins, he will be with us as we walk with him and seek to root out the sin in our lives. We can fight sin with his help, and only with his help. We can know that we are forgiven if we repent and ask for his forgiveness, and that motivates us to greater godliness (God-like-ness). God will help us in our walk with him, because he wants nothing more than to see all men to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). Truly, if God be for us, who can be against us? NO ONE – not even Satan himself.
When we realize that God is on our side helping us to grow closer to him, it is encouraging to us to know that we can be victorious in Jesus (it’s not just a song – “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37). Hence, the next question is:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) If we truly understand the cross and what God and Jesus were willing to do to save us – if we truly understand his great, passionate love for us, then what man or scheme of man can separate us from the love of Christ? Paul mentions some things that might have caused some to be separated from Christ. He mentions tribulations (but all men go through some tribulations in life. Some do give up on God because they have to suffer, but are tribulations enough for God to stop loving us? NO! He knows that we have to suffer some things to become the people he knows we are capable of being.). What about distress? Persecution (again, some fell away because of persecution, but is persecution worth being separated from God – NO!)? Famine? Nakedness? Peril? Sword? NO, NO, NO, NO!! Paul went through all these things as a Christian, and even encouraged young men like Timothy and Titus to go through these things because being with GOD is worth it all. God will still love us even though we go through tough times, and sometimes he allows them to happen to us (read Job) so we will remember that he is in control, and he has his reasons, even if we do not understand them.
He loves us no matter what, and, it is worth whatever we have to go through in this life to be with him.
God wants us to have fellowship with him throughout eternity, and he gave his Son for it to happen. And he wants us to succeed in living the Christian life. Christian, don’t be discouraged – “heaven will surely be worth it all.”