Romans 8:31-39

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Text: Romans 8:31-39

EXULTANT ASSURANCE

INTRODUCTION:

In Romans 1:16-17 we have noted the theme of Romans. It is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.

In 1:18 - 3:20 we have seen that all people lack righteousness.

In Romans 3:21-5:21 we have seen that God has provided righteousness for all when he sent Christ to die for our sins on the cross and raised Him from the dead.

In Romans 6 we have seen how God united the believer with Christ in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. In Romans 7 we have seen the conflict of the old sin nature and the new sinless, Christlike nature. In Romans 8 we have seen that our salvation has not yet been completed but that it will be completed at the rapture when we are glorified and made completely Christlike with our old sin natures removed.

Now, there are those who believe one can lose his salvation, but the Bible teaches no such thing. In Romans 8:31-39 we see some reasons we have for our assurance that our salvation will be brought to completion and not be interrupted by anything.

Romans 8:31 a - What shall we say to these things?

What shall we say to what things?

We are all sinners - Romans 1 to Romans 3

Christ died to pay for our sins - Romans 3 to Romans 5

God is bringing us into Christlikeness - Romans 6 to Romans 8

God's program of salvation from beginning to end - Romans 8:29-30

Romans 8:29-30 - 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

We see three reasons for Paul's triumphant confidence for believers: 1) their relation to God (v. 31b -33); 2) their relation to Christ (v. 34); and 3) their relation to circumstances (v. 35-39).

The first reason for Paul's triumphant confidence for believers is -

I. THE RELATION OF BELIEVERS TO GOD - 8:31 - 33

Romans 8:31-33 - (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Paul has asked this same question several times previously.

In Romans 3:9 he asked, What then?

In 4:1 he introduced a question by, What shall we say then?

In 6:1 he asked, What shall we say then?

In 6:15 he asked, What then?

In 7:7 he asked, What shall we say then?

Now in 8:31 he again asks, What shall we say then? In all but one of these previous places Paul follows his introductory question with another question to which he gives a strong negative answer. In Romans 8:31 Paul also follows his introductory question with another question. However, this time there is no strong negative answer; this time he provides his own answer and not one which he will proceed to argue against. His answer encompasses the rest of the chapter.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

If God be for us is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. Therefore, since it really is true, its conclusion, Who can be against us?, is also going to be true. Thus, if is understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that. God is for us. The context demands that if God be for us means if God is on our side.

Who can be against us? does not mean that we will not have enemies; it means that no enemy, including Satan, will be successful against us. The point is thus made that all things will work together for good to them that love God not only because God has determined our course, but also because no one or no thing is able to thwart God.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Verse 32 furthers the thought begun in verse 31 that if God be for us, who can be against us?

He that spared not his own Son is God the Father. It is literally, Who indeed did not spare His own son.

But indicates a statement in strong contrast to He that spared not his own Son.

Delivered him up means handed Him over or gave Him over. When it came time for Christ to die for the sins of all mankind, God did not spare Him; instead, God gave Him over to be crucified.

For us all means on behalf of us all or, possibly, for the sake of us all.

How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

How is in what way?

Shall he refers to God the Father.

Not is emphatic.

Also suggests in addition delivering up Christ to be crucified.

With him (i.e. with Christ) suggests together with him or along with Him. It indicates that God the Father Who has already given Christ to believers will not hesitate to give believers these all things Christ has procured for them. In addition to giving Christ on behalf of believers, God the Father will also give all these things to each and every believer.

Freely give is give freely or give graciously as a favor.

Us refers to believers.

All things has the before it in the Greek text so that it reads literally, How shall He not with him freely give us the all things? These all things are the things which accompany salvation.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Another question follows in verse 33, Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?

To lay to the charge of is a technical legal term meaning to accuse or bring charges against. The question is literally, Who shall bring charges against God's elect ones?

Elect is plural means chosen ones.

It is God that justifieth means God is the One Who justifies.

The point is that God has chosen them, and, therefore, God has justified them. It will do no good for someone else to charge them with anything because God, Who is on their side, has justified them; and there is no one who has more authority than God the Father. In His omniscience God the Father declared them to be righteous. Nothing will ever be able to be brought up against any believer which will cause God to change His mind. There will be no surprises.

Not only is Paul's triumphant confidence for believers seen in their relation to God, but it is also seen in -

II. THE RELATION OF BELIEVERS TO CHRIST - 8:34

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Paul continues his line of reasoning by asking, Who is he that condemneth?

Condemneth suggests passes judgment against someone.

The implication is that there is no one who can condemn the believer, and the reason given is, It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

It is Christ that died. Christ is the One Who died, and in His death He provided for the salvation of all who will place their faith in Him as personal Savior. His death was sufficient for all.

Yea rather is used in the sense of but rather also. It is used to introduce something which supplements what has already been said.

That is risen again is Who was raised. He not only died, but He was also raised from the dead in order to show God's complete satisfaction with and acceptance of His atonement.

Christ is further described by Who is even at the right hand of God. God is a spirit and does not have a right hand. It is something called an anthropomorphism, a truth meaning put in human form; and it is done in order to help our understanding. This phrase pictures one seated at the right hand of a ruler, thereby, co-reigning with the ruler. Thus, for Christ to be at the right hand of God indicates that He is co-reigning with God the Father over the entire creation.

Furthermore, Christ is described by who also maketh intercession for us.

Who also maketh intercession means who also petitions. The idea is that Christ is praying or making petitions for believers.

For us, which refers to believers, is on behalf of us or for the sake of us. Since Christ died and rose again for believers and since He prays for them at the right hand of God, He is not about to condemn them. He has provided for their salvation and for their victorious Christian living, and His prayers will certainly be answered by God the Father.

Hebrews 7:24-25 - (24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. (25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost (i.e. completely) that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (comment added).

Not only is Paul's triumphant confidence for believers seen in their relation to God and in their relation to Christ, but it is also seen in -

III. THE RELATION OF BELIEVERS TO CIRCUMSTANCES - 8:35-39

Romans 8:35-39 - (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Paul asks, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall separate us means shall divide us, i.e. believers.

From the love of Christ is from the love Christ has for us. Paul then lists seven possibilities for consideration.

Shall has been placed in italics to indicate that Paul is asking if each of these seven things which follow might possibly separate believers from the love of Christ.

Tribulation is understood in the sense of oppression or affliction.

Distress is difficulty, anguish, or trouble.

Persecution was very real to those living in New Testament times. It would not separate them from the love of Christ either. Persecution suggests being harassed or oppressed by others because of being a Christian.

Famine means hunger. It does not matter what our physical needs may be; they cannot separate us from the love which Christ has for us.

The same is true of nakedness, i.e. destitution or lack of sufficient clothing.

Peril is danger or risk. Even danger cannot separate believers from the love of Christ.

Sword is used figuratively suggesting violent death.

The clear implication from the context is that none of these things will have any bearing on the love of Christ for us, and none of these things will ever in any way separate us from it.

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

As (i.e. just as) it is written introduces a quotation from Psalms 44:22 which is intended to indicate that these seven calamities mentioned in verse 35 are normal for believers and are thus to be expected.

For thy sake, where thy refers to the Lord, means on account of the Lord or because of the Lord.

We are killed is used in the sense of we are being killed or we are being put to death.

All the day long is throughout the whole day.

We are accounted is the result of a calculation and means that God's people are evaluated, are estimated, are looked upon as, or are considered.

What we are considered is as sheep for the slaughter which means like slaughtering sheep or like sheep to be slaughtered. Believers are pictured as people just waiting to be martyred, but this makes no difference. This will not separate us from the love of Christ as the next verse makes abundantly clear.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

In verse 37 Paul answers the question he asked in verse 35, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Nay is an emphatic translation of a word ordinarily translated but or rather and is used to introduce a statement in strong contrast to Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

In all these things is a reference to the seven things specified in verse 35.

Rather than being separated from the love of Christ by them, We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

We are more than conquerors is an emphatic form of a word which means we conquer.

Through him that loved us refers to God the Father. He loved us and sent Christ to die for us. In verse 39 Paul speaks of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

I John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come.

Verses 38 and 39 are used to explain and summarize what Paul has written in verses 31-37.

I am persuaded is I have been persuaded, I have been convinced, I have come to believe, or I have believed. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes its existing result. Its action occurred in past time, and its result has continued on. Paul became convinced of this in the past and continues to be convinced of it. Thus, I am persuaded indicates an existing state. It was a completely settled matter.

What Paul is persuaded is expressed by the rest of verse 38 and all of verse 39.

Death cannot separate the believer from the love of God.

Neither can its opposite, life, separate the believer from the love of God.

Neither can angels, principalities, and powers separate the believer from the love of God. All of these have to do with supernatural beings.

Things present are things which have come, and things to come are things which have not yet come. Everything that will come at some time has either already come or will come at some time in the future. Nothing that has already come or that will come at any time in the future will have any capability of separating us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Verse 39 continues the explanation and summary of verses 31-37 begun in verse 38.

Height was a, astronomical term used of the space above the horizon; whereas, depth was an astronomical term meaning the celestial space below the horizon from which the stars arise. They are both apparently supernatural forces as are the angels, principalities, and powers from the previous verse.

Any other creature is any other creation and is all-inclusive of the entire creation including the individual himself.

To separate us from means to divide us from.

The love of God is the love of God which He has for us.

The love of God is further defined as which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is here that God demonstrated His love for us when He sent Christ to die in our place.

Thus, the Apostle concludes that there is absolutely nothing or no one, including the believer himself, who is capable of ever separating him from the love which God has for him.

CONCLUSION:

Thus, believers have good reason for rejoicing. If they have been genuinely converted, they will never lose their salvation. It is as certain as the fact that God exists.