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.”
All These Things
I am not certain what all is included in “these things,” so I am going to just summarize Romans 8 up to this point. And I want us to be thinking about this phrase, “If God is for us,” for when a sentence or phrase begins with “if”, this indicates that what follows is conditional or uncertain, such as “providing that” or “presuming that.” The phrase “If God is for us,” thus, suggests that God may or may not be for us depending on the conditions being met for that to happen.
So, let’s look at the conditions. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So, then we have to look at what it means to be “in Christ Jesus” so we understand if we are or are not in Christ. For God condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us (and here is the condition) who walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to (in cooperation with) the Spirit.
For if we live according to the flesh our minds are set on the flesh, and to set the mind on the flesh is death, not life eternal. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law (the gospel). So, those who are in flesh cannot please God. So, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live. Are you getting a clear picture of this?
Our Present Sufferings
And then the passage goes on to talk about our present sufferings and how we who are in Christ (in truth) are suffering while we wait patiently for our Lord to return and to take us home to be with him for eternity. And then it says that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, and this is not indicating that the Spirit helps us if we are deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord and if we are praying for wisdom but then not doing what he says. This is not suggesting God does it all and that we do nothing, either.
The weaknesses mentioned here have to do with us not knowing what we ought to pray for, particularly in our time of suffering on this earth, a suffering having to do with our walks of faith and not having to do with us living in habitual sin. The Spirit of God will intercede for us when we don’t know what to pray, at times. And we know that for those who love God (who obey him) all things work together for good, for those of us who are called according to his purpose, which is for us to obey him and to walk in holiness.
If God is For Us
Okay, so now we are back to verse 31 where we started. What shall we say to these things mentioned here above especially in relation to “If God is for us”? Hopefully we can see in Romans 8:1-30 that God is only for us if we are for him. And if we are for him it will be expressed not just in our words but in how we live. For we will be those who are living our lives in agreement with and in cooperation with the Spirit of God in holiness and righteousness, in dying daily to sin, and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands.
So, when this says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” this is not indicating that this applies to everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ. The word “if” is there for a reason, and we need to examine our own lives in the light of that reason stated in vv. 1-30. Thus, everything that follows here cannot be applied to your life just because you made a confession of Christ as Lord or just because you profess Christ as your Savior and heaven as your eternal destiny. You have to be obeying the Lord (Matt 7:21-23).
So, if by God’s Spirit we are daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are walking, in conduct, in cooperation with God’s Spirit in holiness and in righteousness and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands, then we can claim these promises of God as our own. For all God’s promises have conditions that have to be met for us to apply them to our lives so we need to know what those conditions (the “ifs”) are so we do meet them and thus we can be assured that these promises are for us.
[Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25]
Who is Against Us?
And when this says, “Who can be against us?” this is not implying that no one will be against us if we are “in Christ.” Satan is our enemy and he is on a warpath against all those who are following Jesus Christ with their lives in truth, who are giving testimony to the true gospel of our salvation and who are not compromising with the world in order to be accepted by the world. Especially if we are countering his lies with the truth and if we are exposing the lies and the deceptions he will be strongly against us.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Jn 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 10:14-15; 2 Co 1:3-11; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 2:6]
So, this isn’t saying we won’t have people against us, either. The Scriptures teach we will. But the point is that God will be for us if we are for him, and he will provide for us everything we need to endure unjust suffering and the trials and tribulations of this life. He will be with us and he will help us every step of the way if we are living for him and not for the flesh. He will intercede for us and give us wisdom and courage and strength, etc.
Now, when this says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” the “us” are those who love God, who are walking in obedience to the Lord, who are putting sin to death, by the Spirit, and who are not deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord while claiming him as their Savior. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.
But, if you are one who is professing faith in Jesus Christ but who is still deliberately and habitually and even premeditatedly sinning against the Lord and who is not walking in obedience to the Lord and to his commands (New Covenant), then these promises do not apply to you. For Jesus said that not everyone saying to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). So, please take this to heart.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]
I’ll Live On
Lyrics and Music by Thomas Laney, 1914
’Tis a sweet and glorious tho’t that comes to me,
Jesus saved my soul from death, and now I’m free,
When my body’s slumb’ring in the cold, cold clay,
There to sleep in Jesus till the judgment day,
When the world’s on fire and darkness veils the sun,
Men will cry and to the rocks and mountains run,
In the glory-land, with Jesus on the throne,
Thru eternal ages singing, home, sweet home,
I’ll live on, yes, I’ll live on.
Thru eternity I’ll live on;
I’ll live on, yes, I’ll live on,
Thru eternity I’ll live on.
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