Security in Christ found in our eternal union – Romans 8:31-39

Romans 8:31-39 is filled with richness and beauty. It’s encouraging nature brings great joy to the heart of every true believer. Nowhere else in scripture do you find anything that matches the power contained within this text. Paul shows how that God will not lose a single one of his children. Our salvation is eternally secure because by God’s great foreknowledge He predestined us to be glorified, fulfilling His eternal purpose in all those who come to faith in Him. Our security in Christ that is found in our eternal union with Christ is solidified in two amazing facts.

God is for us. Notice what Paul says in verses 31-34. 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. 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.”[1]What, then, are we to conclude from all of this? As children of God we have been adopted into his family (v. 15). We are co-heirs with Christ (v. 17). We have received the Spirit as the guarantee of final redemption (v. 23). Our prayers are taken up by the Spirit and laid before God (v. 26). Though sinners by nature, through faith we have been acquitted of all wrong (v. 30). Our future glorification is so certain that God speaks of it as already having taken place (v. 30). Certainly if God is for us, what does it matter who may be against us?” [2] When we think of God being for us, there are several reasons as to why God is for us seen in this passage. (1) God is for us because He has invested much in us.  In verse 32 Paul talks about how God sent His own Son to deliver us from the penalty and bondage of sin. What an amazing sacrifice! How many of us would give up our own son in order that the world may be saved? I must be honest, I love people, I love you, but I would never give up my son so that you may live. Yet, God’s love for us is far greater than any love that we have ever known. He loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that all who believe on Him will not perish. He gave everything for us. Since God has invested so much in the saving of mankind, don’t you think that God will finish what He started in the lives of all those who have come to faith in Him? That’s what Paul points out in verse 32. Since God has already done so much for us, then He will obviously freely give us all that He has predetermined to give us. (2) God is for us because He has elected us. In verse 33 we see that no one can accuse God’s elect. God is the judge and He is the one that justifies. Once someone has been justified, then no one can bring anything against them. It is God who declares us as righteous. Once the declaration of righteousness has been made on the life of one who comes to Christ by faith, no one can challenge or change God’s Divine decree. Time must be given here to consider who the ‘elect’ of God are. The term ‘elect’ in scripture basically means to be chosen. As believers in Christ, we are a ‘chosen’ generation. Angels are ‘chosen’ to minister to the needs of believers. God’s people are chosen or ‘elected’ to live a holy live, one that is consistent with a sanctified believer. God ‘elected’ Israel to be His people through which He would bring salvation to the world. God also ‘elected’ Jesus to be the Savior of the world (Isaiah 42:1). It is interesting to note that the only time the term ‘elect’ is used in a single sense is in that passage in Isaiah when it is referring directly to Jesus. Every other time the word is used, it is used to describe a group of people; a special people, a chosen people. As believers, we are God’s elect in the sense that God has called us out of the world and has called us forth into the world as ambassadors of Jesus Christ. In other words, we have been elected by God to carry out His purpose in bringing the world to repentance. We must be careful to not come to a conclusion that God ‘elected’ some for salvation and some for condemnation. This is not what election means. Election is God’s choosing for Himself a special people to carry out His purposes. God chose Israel for a particular purpose and God has chosen the church for a particular purpose. Therefore, in eternity past, it is the church that he has elected to carry out His purposes in this age. Those who come to faith in Christ are adopted into the family of God, and are thus, a part of God’s elect. In God’s foreknowledge, He knew that you would come to faith in Him and thus be a part of His elect. However, this does not mean that God specifically selected you over someone else to be saved. Therefore, if you have placed your faith in Christ, not only are you justified, but you are also adopted into the family of God, thus a part of God’s elect. Paul mentions that no one can bring accusations against God’s elect. This is where we see our security in Christ found in our eternal union. As believers, we are eternally part of God’s family. We are a part of His church, the elect, and no one can come against us. (3) God is for us because he cares for us. In verse 34 the question is asked, “Who is he that condemneth?” There are various views as to the meaning of this question. Personally, I look at it as saying that since Jesus died for you and rose again and is interceding on your behalf, then no one can condemn you. No one can condemn us because of what Jesus has done and is doing for all those who believe on His name. If an accusation does come against a believer, Jesus is our intercessor. It is by His blood that we are kept safe from the wrath of God and from condemnation. God does not desire to condemn us; therefore, He has made it possible that we can stand before Him uncondemned through the sacrifice of His Son.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Look at verse 35-39. “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.”[3] What an amazing and beautiful passage of scripture! Paul realized that we live in a very hostile world. There are many things that comes against those who have given their life to Jesus. There are trials, tribulations, persecutions, demons, and the list goes on of those things that are constantly attacking the life of a believer. Paul is encouraging us here with the fact that none of these things can ever separate us from the love of God. God’s love for us never changes. The Holeman Bible Commentary says, “Paul himself will become like a sheep to be slaughtered within a few short years under the brutal hand of the Roman emperor Nero. He could have included “Roman emperors” in the list in verses 38–39, but that would probably seem trivial to Paul—like a gnat bite or a speed bump on the high-way to heaven.”[4] Not only will these earthly concerns not separated us from the love God, but neither will spiritual things. “Paul was a man of unshakeable confidence in the love of God. He feared neither the tangible hardships of life (see his experiences in 2 Cor. 6:3–10; 11:16–33) nor the intangible fears that creep into the consciousness of any normal person. Am I suffering for a reason? What if I wake up on the other side of death and discover I have been fooled? What if I do not wake up on the other side of death? Where will the love of God be then? All normal saints have considered these questions, and Paul is just bold enough and confident enough to get them out on the table and answer them. He wanted the Romans to deal with them, and wanted third-millennium believers to deal with them as well. His answer then, and his answer now, is that [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[5] Praise the Lord! Whether it is real life experiences or something conjured up in my imagination, nothing can separate me from the love of God. My salvation is secure in Christ!

John Chrysostom (a.d. 347?–407), eventually patriarch of Constantinople, earned the moniker “golden-mouth” because of his eloquent sermons against the lavish excesses of his day. This earned him no favor with Roman authorities, and when he was brought before the Roman emperor he was threatened with banishment if he remained a Christian. Chrysostom’s reply to the emperor reflects the insight of one who understands that true freedom in life comes with freedom in the Spirit and security in the love of God:

“Thou canst not banish me for this world is my father’s house.”

“But I will slay thee,” said the emperor.

“Nay, thou canst not,” said the noble champion of the faith, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

“I will take away thy treasures.”

“Nay, but thou canst not for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive thee away from man and thou shalt have no friend left.”

“Nay, thou canst not, for I have a friend in heaven from whom thou canst not separate me. I defy thee; for there is nothing that thou canst do to hurt me.” (cited by Hughes, p. 171)

Chrysostom understood what Paul wanted the believers in Rome to understand—that once we are liberated from the condemnation of sin and death, we are truly free. Nothing else matters—not geography, not possessions, not relations, not life or death. When we have condemnation and judgment lifted from our shoulders, we escape into the mental, emotional, and spiritual freedom that we created to live in. Indwelt by the Spirit, we enter into the life and peace that only can be experienced by those who have come to know freedom through Christ.[6]

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:31–34). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, pp. 189–190). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:35–39). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 264). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 264). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 264–265). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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