By Dale Porter
Many of you have flown to other cities. Before boarding the plane, you have to run the gantlet of screening checks for security reasons. Terrorists’ threats have become a real concern in our modern world! You might say Romans 8:31 gives you comfort concerning security threats to our salvation.
These words in Romans 8:31 give hope to Christ followers who face inexplicable pain, physical abuse, sexual abuse, child miscarriage, spousal abandonment, family shunning, job loss and trials of all kinds. Romans 8 bleeds with hope for people in difficult situations. This kind of Biblical hope points you to a confident expectation concerning God’s goodness in the present and in the future based upon His character and promises.
How would you answer this question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Most people including myself have answered the phrase “who can be against us” in some different ways.
One way some have answered Paul’s question is to say people are against us. We struggle with what people think of us, what they see in us and what they will do to us. In other words, what if they humiliate, harm or hurt me! Face it. We tie ourselves up in knots over fear of man issues. People in our eyes become big and our God becomes small. The reality is that if you decide to fear God more, people may humiliate, harm, reject and hurt you. Yet Paul encourages you by using Romans 8:31 as a fact of certainty—God is for you because of what He has done for you in justification, progressive sanctification and glorification. These spiritual realities can never be taken away from you!
Next, as Christians we can think and act like the Prince of Darkness is against us. No doubt Satan is active in this world and we can have a bullseye on our back for Christ’s sake. Satan goes after Job after God gave His permission to torment Job (Job 1:6-12). Satan also demands to have Peter and to sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31).
Certainly, you may suffer for God’s glory at the hands of Satan. People and Satan could bring accusations against you (Romans 8:33-34) saying: “How could you say you are saved? Your past life was so sinful and bad! And then you have blown it by losing your temper toward your boss!” Praise God when that type of accusation comes to you, Jesus declares: “Your past sins before your salvation are forgiven and wiped clean, because you believed in my finished work on the cross and resurrection from the dead for your sin. I no longer condemn you” and “You can be forgiven of your anger toward your boss if you ask me and your boss for forgiveness.”
We can also think predicaments are against us. Romans 8:35 mentions tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword. All these hard situations have impact on our lives, but what’s important is how we respond to our circumstances. Are you going to respond in fear, anger or bitterness over your circumstances? Or are you going to see nothing will separate you from the love of Christ? Remember God uses hard circumstances to see what will be squeezed out of you—love for what Christ has done for you or bitterness over circumstances not going your way.
One final answer can be given to “who can be against us?” You as a person can derail your faith! You could deny Christ like Peter did around people. You may choose not to solve conflicts in your relationships and give the Prince of Darkness a foothold in your life (Ephesians 4:26-27). You may view predicaments as God not working all things together for good in your life (Romans 8:28).
We have come full circle with Paul’s question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Clearly the answer is no one or nothing can stand in the way of our relationship and growth in Christ. The“if” in Romans 8:31 points to a fulfilled condition. In other words, since God is for us, who can be against us!
So what does God being for you look like? How is God “for” you? He answers these questions in Romans 8. Verse 23 says He is your Father (adoption). Verse 29 declares He will conform you to the image of Christ. Verse 30 reveals He will complete your glorification to Christ likeness in body and spirit. Verse 32 indicates He gave His Son for your salvation. Verse 39 shows He will love you through hard times.
“If God is for us” reminds me of a line in the praise song “Before The Throne Of God Above.” “When Satan tempts me to despair, inward I look, outward I look!” No!!! Here’s what it says: “When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look.” Oh, fellow believer, this Christian life can have people, the Prince of Darkness and predicaments against you, but your focus must be on what God has done for you (adoption and justification), what God is doing in you (progressive sanctification) and what God will do for you (glorification). “So, if the person of Jesus Christ is for us, who can be against us.”