One of the great testimonial songs in the hymnal begins this way:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
In the midst of life’s storms, assurance that God will never let you go is a wonderful comfort. The fact that you, no matter the situation, will be victorious in the end through Christ is a soothing balm to a stinging sore. Friend, through God, you are not just a conqueror, but a super-conqueror! Romans 8:31-38 promises this to be so.
Christian, you can rest in knowing that God’s love is fixed on us. In Romans 8:31, Paul asks a critical question: What then shall we say to these things? When Paul says “these things,” he’s talking about the massively good promises made to Christians contained in Romans 8:
- There’s now no condemnation for us (Rom 8:1)
- The Holy Spirit has indwelt us (Rom 8:9)
- God has made us sons and heirs (Rom 8:16-17)
- The Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom 8:26)
- God is working for our good (Rom 8:28)
- God has foreknown us and predestined us to conformity to Christ (Rom 8:29)
- God has called us, justified us, and glorified us (Rom 8:30)
What amazing promises from God to all who believe on Christ! And so again, Paul asks in Romans 8:31, What then shall we say to these things? Actually, he answers his question with more questions.
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)
The answer to this rhetorical question is: absolutely nobody. Nobody can be against us if Christ is for us. Now, Paul is not saying that we won’t have opposition, but rather that any opposition to us will not be victorious. We are on God’s side through Christ Jesus, and God always wins.
Having God on your side is way better than having Kobe Bryant on your basketball team, Peyton Manning on your football team, or even our great American armed forces in your military. They’re all great, but even they aim and miss from time to time. But God…God cannot miss. His sovereign power linked up with His sovereign grace has already undeniably won the victory.
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? (Rom 8:32)
Paul is astounded by the gift that we’ve been given in the person and work of Jesus Christ. You see, the Son is the ultimate gift from God. The rest is lesser and easier to give. God’s already shown the depth of His charity in Christ. Therefore, anything else you need, God will surely give you.
Now, some take this phrase “all things” here in this verse and pervert to mean that God will give you just anything you ask for. They say things like, “If God’s given you Christ, He’ll give you a new car or that dream home or exceedingly good health or surpassing material riches.” That sort of teaching is called the Prosperity Gospel and is a terrible perversion of Scripture. You can read my critique of the Prosperity Gospel here. In truth, when Paul says that God will freely give us “all things,” that phrase has the scope of all things that are necessary to complete God’s purpose of conforming you to Christ. That’s the good for which God is working in your life (Rom 8:28-29). It very well could be material things that He’ll use to conform you to Christ, but most likely it will be spiritual things.
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? (Rom 8:33)
Again, the direct answer to this rhetorical question is: nobody. In the end, God’s elect are completely innocent through the blood of Christ. You see, God’s elect are those individuals whom God has foreknown, predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:29-30). That’s why Paul indirectly answers his question here by saying in Romans 8:33, It is God who justifies. In other words, God has made His elect righteous. Their scarlet sins have been washed white as snow through the blood of the Lamb. By grace through faith in Jesus, we are in the end as righteous as Jesus because we’ve been given Jesus’ righteousness. Any charges brought against those of us in Christ will be false.
Who is the one who condemns? (Rom 8:34)
Again, nobody can condemn those who are in Christ. Why? Paul basically says in v34 that Christ has already been condemned for us—Christ Jesus is He who died. But he goes on to say that Christ didn’t just die. Christ was also resurrected, is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and intercedes for us—yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
You see, our debt has already been paid by Christ. He was our substitute on the cross. We deserved it, but He took it for us, leaving no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35)
Paul breaks this question down into different scenarios:
- Will tribulation separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will distress separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will persecution separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will famine separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will nakedness separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will peril separate us from the love of Christ?
- Will sword separate us from the love of Christ?
To illustrate what Paul is talking about here, he alludes to Psalm 44:22, saying, 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” (Rom 8:36). Indeed, there is often great hardship in the lives of those who follow Christ. But will these difficulties separate us from the love of Christ? Paul basically says, “No way! We are victorious!” That’s what he means when he says, But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37). The KJV says that we are “more than conquerors.” We are super-conquerors!
Paul is talking about a landslide victory. To apply what Paul is talking about to basketball, the score would be 100-0. To football, the score would be 49-0. To baseball, the score would be 15-0. To war, it would be zero soldiers killed, while the opposing army experiences complete obliteration. Keep in mind that Paul makes it clear that the landslide victory is because of Christ. He is our champion, and without His alliance, we are lost.
Paul finally gives us a direct answer to his question—who will separate us from the love of Christ?—in v38-39, For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.
Simply nothing will separate us from the love of Christ. The Lord Jesus himself promised this assurance to us in John 10:27-29: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 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.
Friend, even in the valley, God loves you. Even though He’s brought you into the valley, He’s doing it because He loves you. God loves you more than you can even imagine. His love is fixed on you. This truth is good news and is reason for celebration. The victory is ours! I tell you the truth, church should sometimes be like Rupp Arena (for us Wildcat fans) or like Memorial Gymnasium (for you Commodore fans) or like Neyland Stadium (for you Volunteer fans). God has worked miracles in our lives by saving us through Christ, and we should celebrate the victory! Christ is the super-conqueror, and so are we along with Him! Won’t you praise Him?
This is my story, this is my song!
Praising my Savior all the day long!