If God be for us, who can be against us?
You may know the feeling of being on a winning side or seeing your team winning – that is always thrilling and memorable.
Commentators regard verses 31-39 in Romans chapter eight as the Christian’s triumph song – victory is being celebrated with assurance and joy as the apostle brings this part of the epistle to a conclusion. But in celebrating victory, Paul is also giving further assurance to Christians that they are really involved in the victory both now and in the future, despite their sufferings and the opposition they encounter. It is the point the apostle hammers home again and again in these verses, the victory is assured, no matter if we feel a failure or are struggling to keep going. The Christian should never be negative or complaining as we march victoriously to heaven!
The question is a bold one: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ The ‘if’ here does not suggest doubt for it is Paul’s way of saying to us, ‘If – as is the case – God is for us’ then who isable to snatch this salvation away from us? The point is obvious – nobody could ever have the ability to defeat God’s purpose or make Him change his mind with regard to us. No one! The almighty, triune, and eternal God has purposed and acted successfully in Christ to save his elect and glorify them. He is the creator, sustainer and controller of all things and of all people. He is Lord over all, and the victory achieved in the sacrifice, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus has been won once and for all. This can never be reversed, and Paul can therefore ask defiantly, ‘who can be against us?’
Admittedly opposition against Christians can be constant and fierce. The devil also seeks to destroy our faith and spoil our witness, but we must remember that he was defeated at Calvary. Our God is almighty and sovereign, guarding each believer by his power (1 Peter 1:5); the Spirit of God also indwells all believers to strengthen them while the Lord Jesus prays for his people in heaven. Christians will persevere in grace to the end because ‘God is for us‘.
The persecution of Christians worldwide is one of the biggest human-rights issue of this era. During the last year, over 340 million Christians live in areas where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination. Many Christians have been killed and church buildings attacked or destroyed. In 2021, North Korea and Afghanistan were among the countries with the strongest suppression of Christians and with Taliban recapturing Afghanistan the plight of the small number of Christians there is dire. There are at least fifty countries where it is dangerous for people to identify themselves as Christians.Let us however remember that they cannot be separated from God’s love. No one is able to destroy or even frustrate God’s purpose or break the links in the golden chain of salvation because ‘God is for us‘. Not even death can separate a Christian from God’s love.
The note of triumph in these verses remains relevant and vital for Christians everywhere. With confident trust in the Lord, we can declare, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?‘. If you look at the final question in verse 35, you will observe that Paul is addressing anxious, fretful Christians who fear whether they can keep it up in extremely challenging circumstances. Can they fail before reaching heaven and be cut off automatically from God’s love in Christ? The answer is firm and uncompromising – No one can frustrate God’s purpose or break the links in the golden chain of salvation. Not one Christian, despite horrific persecution and suffering, can be separated from God’s love in Christ. Our God rules and the Lord Jesus enthroned as King of the universe is building, supporting, and protecting his church.
This mighty, loving God is for each and every Christian for eternity. There is no Plan B, and there will never be need for one either!
Rest in your mighty, sovereign and loving God concerning your eternal salvation in Christ.
Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)