What then shall we say to these things? … how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?
It is often helpful and necessary to ask questions. I recall receiving over two hundred written questions in one meeting alone in July 1992 in Bucharest while teaching the Gospel to a crowded congregation. There was chaos for minutes after I spoke in the first meeting as folk tried to ensure their questions reached me!
Paul loves to employ questions in explaining and applying gospel truths as we find in these verses. How many questions are there in verses 31-39? There are at least six questions, though some suggest seven. Paul’s questions are rhetorical but persuasive and challenging, packed with solid teaching explaining further the Christian’s safety and blessedness in Christ. Today our aim is limited to only drawing attention to the questions, but I urge you to read and re-read these Bible verses in order to meditate on them. Pray too for the Holy Spirit to make these truths more vital and real in your experience.
We have already looked at two questions and their answers in verse 31. The first question expresses a sense of amazement at the wonderful gospel message and love of the triune God towards us, whilst the second question affirms the impossibility of anyone or anything defeating God’s redemptive purpose or preventing a believer entering glory. God is for us and that is a gloriously encouraging fact. Christians are on the side of victory, so we ought to rejoice rather than fear.
The third question occurs at the end of verse 32, ‘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?’ There is massive encouragement and assurance for believers in considering the Father’s love for us. Here is an aspect of Bible teaching we often fail to appreciate, but make no mistake about it, this verse is extremely important, especially so if you are uncertain whether God’s love will continue towards you or if you doubt God’s love. Paul is telling us that God, having given us the greatest possible gift in his Son, will not fail to provide all we need to bring us safely to glory. That is absolutely certain and reassuring, for He is sufficient in all our needs, whatever they are.
Two further questions appear in verses 33 and 34 which again are foundational and take us to the heart of the gospel message: ‘Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?’ and ‘Who is to condemn?’ These two questions are linked as they deal with the subject of our standing before God with its implications for our personal assurance of salvation. Some writers have regarded verse 34 as one of the most wonderful verses in the entire Bible. Carefully consider the answers to these two questions provided by Paul then ask yourself whether you have understood what is being taught and emphasised.
The sixth question appears in verse 35: ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?‘ where the apostle Paul shows in the following verses how secure and certain salvation is in Christ for all Christians. Perhaps a further question appears in this verse, ‘shall tribulation or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ Whilst this may only be an amplification of the question, the point is convincing as nothing and no one at any time, now or in the future ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord‘. Christians are eternally secure in the love of Christ. Read through verses 35-39 again and notice that there is nothing and no one who can break our relationship with Christ and his love. That will give you great encouragement as you bathe yourself in the glorious, refreshing truths handled in these verses.
Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)