“What shall we say to these things? 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 with Him graciously give us all things?
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who
justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—
more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:31-34
Do you live your life each day basking in the glow of this reality that “God is for you?” Or do you find yourself having more in common with the prodigal son returning home with an overwhelming sense of suspicion of his father’s love, welcome and acceptance? I have a confession to make. I have tended to believe that there was a dark side, i.e. God’s holiness, righteousness, justice and wrath that was against me. As I read Scripture, I became aware of God’s ineffable holiness and in comparison with Him my utter sinfulness led me to conclude that God was against me. This mindset led me to the conclusion that the mission of Jesus was to come and change the Father’s disposition toward me. In terms of the Trinity, the Father was against me and the Son came to reconcile the Father to me. The biggest problem with this notion is that it is an outright lie. God the Father has never been my enemy even though I was His enemy according to Romans 5:10. We need to understand that the triune God is for us.
When we do not grasp God the Father’s love for us, we tend to see Him only as our Judge. We fear Him and feel distant from Him. When we see God only in legal categories, we have a one-sided view of the atonement. We see the Son’s propitiation of the Father and it seems that God had to be conditioned to love and accept us. The truth is the judicial (propitiation) is an expression not only of the Son’s love for us but is also an amazing sitenstration of the Father’s love for us. We need to balance the legal side of the atonement with the filial side. Then the benefits of the Gospel become life to us. Our guilt is removed and condemnation is forever gone. The Father was willing to lose the joy of His Son’s face in order to turn our face toward Him. This is astounding.
In Romans 8:32 Paul’s statement that God is for us is a great summary of the Gospel. Paul, in a burst of emotion and passion hurls questions in the air almost in a spirit of bold defiance. Paul’s main point is that God is for us. If we really believed that how would that transform us? Paul gives evidence that God is for us and fleshes out and expounds upon the implications of God being for us.
Who can be against us? We have many opponents and enemies but no opponent or enemy will ever successfully wage war against us. Because God is for us, nothing and no one at the end of the day will prevail but Him.
How do we know God is for us and nothing will defeat us ultimately? We know because of what God has done, is doing and will do on our behalf. First, v. 32 informs us that He did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up, i.e He handed Him over to death for our sake. He lost His Son for us. He took out of His Son’s hide what we deserved to have taken out of our hide. He has sitenstrated forever that He is for us
by actively handing over His Son in our place. In Genesis 22 we have a picture of what it costs the Father to lose His only beloved Son. Abraham is told to take Isaac his beloved son, in whom all of God’s promises are fulfilled and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. As Abraham is ready to proceed with the knife God stops him and substitutes a ram. On Mount Calvary God did not spare His Son. Who delivered Jesus up to die? Was it Judas for money or Pilate for fear or the Jewish leaders for envy? Here Paul says it was the Father who did it for love.
We know God is for us because He will graciously grant us everything along with His Son. Paul argues from the greater (giving up His Son) to the lesser (giving us all things). His giving up of His Son guarantees that all gifts we receive are given by God’s grace and generosity. All things both now and in the future. All the benefits we already enjoy and those we have not yet received are in God’s gift of His Son.
We know that God is for us because no condemning accusation (v. 33) will ever be successfully lodged against us. God has acted as our advocate, vindicator and defender, not our prosecutor, through the death and resurrection of his Son. It is not the intent of this text to deny that some may press charges against us and to indict us. However no accusation will stick because all have been answered in the one who justifies. The Judge is the one who justifies and Paul’s main point in verse 33 is that we believers can face judgment day with confidence for the ones God has justified He will certainly not accuse and condemn on the day of judgment. He has forever declared us to be in a right relationship with Him. In v. 34 Paul answers the question “who condemns us?” with four assertions. First, Jesus died for us and in doing so satisfied the justice of God by absorbing His wrath in our place. Second, the resurrection is the vindication that His work is finished and satisfied the Father (cf. Romans 4:25). Third, He has been exalted to the right hand of the Father and is in session as our King and Lord, a position of authority and preeminence. At the right hand Christ is in one sense seated, i.e. resting from His finished work and waiting for His final triumph in His return and in the consummation of all things in Him. Fourth, He is active at the right hand as our heavenly advocate (1 John 2:2) and our High Priest (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:14-16). He defends us against every charge and accusation by pleading His wounds and His righteousness. His presence at the right hand of the Father assures us of two things. It is rock-solid evidence that He has completed the work the Father had given Him to do, i.e. to redeem His people. It also assures us that His intercession continues to secure for us all the benefits of His death. Who condemns us? There is an absolute delightful silence.
So how should we live Coram Deo (before the face of God) since this is true? We should live with humility in the face of such love. If you know what you really deserve you are dumbfounded. We should live with boldness because we know He is for us, that we are loved, accepted and approved of forever. We should live with zeal because we are so loved. Our heartbeat should be to please our Father. When we discover we are in a far country wasting our lives in riotous living we should come to ourselves and return home to our waiting Father (Luke 15).