Provided we Suffer with Him
Starting at the beginning of Romans 8, we read that God, “by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who WALK not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
It doesn’t say “fulfilled in us who believe in Jesus,” or who have “made a profession of faith in Jesus,” but fulfilled in us who are living to the Spirit of God and who are no longer living according to the sinful flesh; who are no longer making sin our practice, for whom sin is no longer our master.
And, then he went on to explain that if you live according to the flesh, and that if you set your minds on the things of the flesh, it results in death, not life eternal. “For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” Thus, those who are still living according to the flesh “cannot please God.” (cf. Rom 6:1-23; 1 Jn 1:5-9)
Regarding those who are walking according to the Spirit, it says that if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live. And, it says that we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, PROVIDED we SUFFER with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Romans 8:31-39 ESV
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“’For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Who is Us?
I want to point out here that the “us” in this passage of Scripture is not all who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is not my opinion. These are not my words. It is what this passage and others like it teach all throughout the New Testament. The “us” are those who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to Christ and to his righteousness.
It doesn’t mean we are perfect or that we never sin, but that sin is not our master. We are not ruled by it. We are no longer under the control of sin, but we are now under the control of the Holy Spirit. We are no longer enslaved to sin, but we are now enslaved to righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
Thus, this is not censorship against anyone who is confronting sin issues within the church and within the lives of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. So, if you are walking in sin, habitually repeating the same willful sins over again, and if someone speaks to you about your sin, you can’t claim this passage of Scripture as your comfort or as your assurance that you are protected under the mighty hand of God.
The promises here are for those who are walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, who by the Spirit are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and whose minds are set on the Spirit and not on the flesh.
Who Can Be Against Us?
This is not teaching here that no one will come against us. They will. Jesus said so. The apostles said so. If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, and we are living the truth of the gospel, and we are not living to the flesh, we will have people who will oppose us, who will falsely accuse us, and who will attempt to bring us down in any way that they can.
Especially if we are those who are out there on the front lines exposing the evil and the lies of Satan for what they are, and if we are calling people to repentance, to obedience and to submission to Christ, we are going to be opposed, even by many who profess faith in Jesus.
And, the more that we speak against evil, the stronger the attacks will be against us, because Satan does not want his stronghold in people’s lives disturbed. He will not give up without a fight. But we must not surrender to him, for people are dying in sin with the false hope of heaven when they die because they are believing the lies of Satan instead of the truth.
Some of the Opposition
There are many people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are still addicted to sin, or to specific (pet) sins. Sexual immorality is at the top of the list of those sins, as it is listed near the top of most lists in the Scriptures, too. And, this is running rampant in the church.
Those who are addicted (enslaved) to sin will mostly be those who also cover up their sin with lies they tell themselves and/or with lies they tell others. They will make many excuses for their sin, pass the blame onto others, or they will deny that they are living in sin when they are.
Often, the lies include inflating their track record for not “acting out,” i.e. they will exaggerate their success rate and thus they will give a false picture of where they are regarding their recovery (deliverance) from addiction. They want to put forth a good impression, but it is not always true to life.
Those who are giving the addicted an “out” for their sinful addiction (enslavement) are those who are teaching a diluted false grace gospel which makes no demands for repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord. They teach, as well, that how we live on this earth will not impact where we end up for eternity. But Scripture does not support that.
So, those who are teaching this diluted half-truth gospel of salvation from sin stand strongly opposed to those of us who are teaching that faith which saves is God-given faith which submits to Christ as Lord, and which repents of sin, and which walks in obedience to Christ’s commands (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Eph 4:17-24).
And, so they are attacking us with lies, calling us hateful, unloving, unkind, intolerant, legalistic, self-righteous, hyper-religious, crazy, and those who are both teaching and living “works-based salvation.”
But we must not cave to the lies. We must not succumb to them. We must stand on the Word of truth, examine our own hearts before God to see if there is any truth in what they say, and if not, then we need to keep pressing on in exposing the lies and in proclaiming the truth, for many need to hear and so be saved.
And, we must believe the Lord that if God is for us, we don’t need to fear those who come against us unless we are doing wrong, and then we need to do right. There are no weapons and no words forged against us that can separate us from God’s love. Amen?
Knowing You Jesus
By Graham Kendrick
Oh to know the power of Your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord,
So with You to live and never die.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.
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