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.”
This is certainly not implying here that if God is for us that no one will be against us, for the Scriptures teach that we will have enemies, and that we will be hated and persecuted as Jesus was hated and persecuted. But the encouragement here is that God is with us through it all.
But then, who is “us”? This is not everyone on the earth, and it is not everyone who merely professes the name of Jesus. It is us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, who do not live according to the flesh, but who by the Spirit are putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:1-14; cf. Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14).
For, the world is not against us if we are living just like the world. Then they will love us as their own. But since God called us out of the world to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, the world should hate us, and this includes the worldly church, too, which will reject us.
So, even though the world and worldly “Christians” will hate us, reject us, falsely accuse us, not want anything to do with us and/or they will fight against us and sin against us to willfully harm us, we are not to fear them or what they might do to us or say about us or to us.
For, our Lord is watching over us and he is interceding for us. So, none of these things that we might go through will separate us from God’s love – not persecution, or tribulation, or trials of any kind, or people using and misusing us, lying to us, and doing all sorts of evil against us.
And if we are following the Lord Jesus in wholehearted devotion to him, and we are going where he sends us, and we are doing and saying what he commands us to do and to say, we will be hated by the world and by the worldly church, too, because we stand for righteousness and holiness.
We will be opposed even by many who call themselves Christians because we stand on the truth of God’s word, and because we are not compromising with the world, but we are living holy lives pleasing to God. For a cheap grace gospel is permeating the church which does not call for holy living.
But we should not be overcome by the hatred and the persecutions which come our way, but we are to stand firm on the truth of the gospel (the whole counsel of God) and not bend. We should not be insensitive to people’s feelings, and we should not be harsh, but we should speak the truth in love, even if it does offend some people, for the truth is what saves people.
For, being conquerors does not mean that we are hateful or harsh in our dealings with those who strongly oppose us. Being conquerors just means we don’t let their treatment of us take us out. We don’t cave to the pressure to compromise so that people will like us or so that they will not hate and mistreat us. But we remain steadfast in our faith and in genuine love.
For, if we are following our Lord in obedience to his commands, and if we are not living in sin, but in righteousness, serving our Lord with wholehearted devotion, it doesn’t matter what the world or worldly “Christians” do to us or say about us. Our relationship with our Lord is intact, and he will never leave us or forsake us, and on his love we can depend.
For, we know that for those who love (obey) God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*Caution: This link may contain ads