Meditations in Romans : 42: God is For Us
Rom 8:31,32 What, then, shall we say in response to this? 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, along with him, graciously give us all things?
All that is going to follow in this chapter is Paul’s response to his own question: “What, then, shall we say in response to this?” What is the ‘this’? It is the wonder of what God has done for us, as we ended the previous meditation: “God foreknew … predestined … called… justified… glorified.” If God did all that, what more can we say about our salvation?
His answer is, as we just said, spread through the remaining verses of the chapter, but initially he makes a very simple but profound response in the form of yet another question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” In other words, all of this points to the incredible fact that God is FOR us and so – in the light of that verse 28 where He works ALL things for our good – who can be against us because whoever or whatever appears against us, God will be working to bring their activity to good for us, so in one sense even they are not against us. Now isn’t that amazing, and I wonder how many of us have actually ever seen that?
But there is another aspect to that part of the verse. When Paul asks “If God is for us…” it is almost a rhetorical question for, as we’ve already implied and concluded, what he is really say is that “God is for us and so who can be against us?” So let’s take that little phrase: “God is for us” Take it word by word.
“God” – the almighty creator of all things, the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise One is on our side and is for us.
“Is” – not might be! This takes on incredible significance in the face of the doubts that the enemy would sow in so many hearts and minds. When things aren’t going well, to say the least, and you are feeling under severe pressure, do you find yourself with the question, “Does God really love me? Is He really here for me?” That’s the whisper of the enemy. There is no question about it, this God IS love and IS for YOU.
“For” – not against! Here it comes again. I am ‘for’ my children. That means in all things I want to be there for them, helping, encouraging and blessing them. If God is ‘for’ me, then that adds strength to verse 28 – He is there working FOR me to bring good in all things.
“Us” – this is all about us Christians, sons of God, children of God, as Paul described us earlier on. This is not about other people; we are the most blessed on the earth, the people of God who have responded to the good news of Jesus Christ. God is for us and working all things for our good.
Now to prove his point Paul refers to what God has done with Jesus: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.” How horrific it must have been for the Father and Son (who had already always existed in heaven with the Father) to be separated when the Son left heaven to dwell on earth for thirty three earth years with limited communication? But then how even more terrible it must have been when sin covered the Son on the Cross and for moments the Son could not even sense the Father’s presence as he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” That was the cry of the human element of the wonderful God-man that was Jesus Christ. The godhead did this for you and me, knowing it was the only way that justice could be satisfied and all sins dealt with, as the unique Son of God carried our punishment. The eternal one carried every sin of every person of all time, but for it to happen the Father had to allow the Son to go through it and carry and take our sins and punishment, knowing that for the all-perfect Son who had existed with Him in eternity there would be the awfulness of having the sins of the world dumped on him on the Cross. How awful.
But Paul’s argument doesn’t stop there. In what he has said so far he sought to support the declaration that God is for us by showing what God has done for us already, but it didn’t finish with our rebirth; that was simply the beginning for us and so Paul adds, “will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Note key words in the midst of that, “along with him”. When Christ ascended we find, “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body.” (Eph 1:22,23) Christ was put in a position of rule next to his Father, yet elsewhere we are told he is ruling in the midst of his enemies and will continue that process until he hands the kingdom back to his Father finally. So Jesus has everything he needs to rule: he is God and so has His capabilities now in heaven, and he has been given the Father’s authority. But then we are part of his body and so we find, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6,7) Thus God expresses His grace in us and grace in this context means both His favour and His abilities to be Christ-like and do the works of Christ as He leads us. These are the “all things”.
Today, as a member of the body of Christ, God has provided all we will ever need “in him”. So when Paul says God is ‘for us’ the foundation is the work of Christ on the earth when he came the first time, and the practical outworking is through the Holy Spirit, who will work in and through us until the day we are presented before God in heaven. Our past, present and future have been assured all because God is for us!