ROMANS LIVE: INSTALLMENT 43

WITH DALE RATZLAFF

 

We continue our study in Romans 8:31-32.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 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?

 

Commentary

Paul links “these things” with the long list of God’s saving grace in the previous verses. God’s saving activity states that were foreknown, predestined to be conformed—transformed—to the image of His Son. We are called, justified and glorified. God’s grace takes us from one step to the next on our onward march to glory. So, overwhelmed with the largeness of God’s saving grace, Paul says,

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 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?

if God is for us…

Sometimes we make foolish mistakes. At other times we may fall into sin and doubt God’s leading and presence. Our hearts may condemn us and we wonder about our relationship with God. These verses give us strong assurance. “…if God is for us…” is not designed to foster doubt in our hearts. Rather, we should understand that in this context we might say, “If God is for us, as is the case…” or “Because God is for us…” At the same time there is danger to boast before others that God is for us in whatever we decide to do. For example, it would be easy, or at least possible, that competing sports teams might boast that because they won, God was for them. During the Civil War both sides prayed that God would give them the victory. While we must avoid boastful claims of how God is for us and our every activity, at the same time we must not soften the assurance of this wonderful statement. Truly God has shown in myriads of ways that He is for us. The statement continues.

Who is against us?

This statement does not imply that Christians don’t have enemies, because they often do. Jesus said,

Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law (Lk. 12:51-53).

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12).

The truth of this passage it that is does not matter who is against us!

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?

Our confident assurance is not based on our ability to fend off those against us. Today, Christians around the world are suffering great persecution. Even here in the USA, Christians are seen by some as “hate groups” because they believe in biblical morality. Rather, our confidence is based 100% on God’s caring love for His children. He has already paid the ultimate price in delivering up His own Son for our sins. The logical conclusion is that having paid that much for our redemption, He would with the price of His own Son freely include all things necessary for our eternal good. In his commentary The Epistle to the Romans, p. 335, Leon Morris notes the allusion to Abraham offering up his own son.

He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you” (Gen. 22:2).

Abraham was spared at the last moment and did not “deliver him over” but offered up a ram in the place of his own son. Even though Christ prayed to have the cup of suffering taken away from him, He submitted to the Father’s will.

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Mt. 26:42).

…delivered Him over for us all.

“For us all” takes in every believer, not one is excepted. Yet the phrase in no way limits the atonement: the Son died for all men alike. When it is said in various connections that he died for the believers, this is due to the fact that so many men reject the atonement that only in the believers does it become personally savingly effective, that they thus stand out as a group by themselves ( RCH Lenski, Romans, p. 566.).

…how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

When we read the above statement the question arises, when will He give us all things? Is it here in this life, or is the next life in view? I believe this statement applies to both. God has promised the Holy Spirit to be with us now and forever.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you (Jn. 14:16-17).

All the promises of God belong to the believer! They are ours only by our union with Christ. He died that we might live. With the gift of God’s only, beloved Son comes a train load of blessings, promises, and enablings. As the mythical Santa never drives his sled empty, so it is with our Father. With Christ He freely gives us everything we need in this life and the next. We may not always understand what we really need. Often our true needs do not match our felt needs, but our God works out all the details of our life events for our eternal good. Thus, as we near the end of Romans 8, Paul emphasizes the assurance Christians have.

 

Application

The application of this section to our own lives is two-fold. First, we can take this passage at face value.

If God is for us, who is against us? 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?

Second, we are to trust this word of grace. He has and will freely give us all things beneficial to our well-being. Not only here, but forever.

 

Prayer

Father, like Paul I am speechless when I consider all that you have done for me “in Christ Jesus.” Strengthen my faith to believe and trust your word.

In Jesus name.

DaleRatzlaff
DaleRatzlaff

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