Quarterly Reprint 09

If God be for us, who can be against us?

It is always a very comforting and encouraging thing, especially in the midst of the various trials and ordeals of our lives, to know that there is someone who is “for us” and who, therefore, cares for us and desires the best for us. When we are children we take comfort in knowing that our parents are for us. One of the things which makes a friend a true friend is that aspect of their affection that shows them to be for you when the going gets tough. As husbands and wives, the marriage bond of intimacy of fellowship is most deeply appreciated and enjoyed when each spouse confidently knows the other is for him or her regardless of what happens. Understanding and appreciating that someone is for us is a wonderful thing, and it should marvellously work in the details of our lives to produce needed comfort, encouragement, confidence, peace, rest, cheer, and a host of other things which stabilize and gladden our hearts.

With this being the case, much more such comfort and encouragement should be ours as Christians when we understand and appreciate that God is “for us,” just as the apostle Paul says in Romans 8:31.

“What shall we say then to these things? If GOD BE FOR US, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

God is “FOR US”!! What a wonderful truth to hear, and what a blissful thing to consider. And that is just what God wants this truth to be, especially since He has Paul declare it to us in the midst of talking about the “sufferings of this present time.” Obviously, God wants it to be a source of joy to us and a reason for a gladdened heart. He wants it to be a comfort to us when the various things we can suffer in this world would tend to produce distress, misery, doubt, discouragement, dejection, or despair. He wants us to understand and appreciate that He is “for us” regardless of what happens in the details of our lives, and for that truth to enliven us in the face of the “sufferings of this present time.”

In connection with this, briefly consider some of the issues Paul sets forth to us in Romans 8:18-39 which teach us the reality of God being “for us.”

Notice, first of all, how that in verses 18-25 Paul deals with the issue of the great “hope” of the glory of God that has been given to us in Christ Jesus.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Our great hope of the glory of God excels in importance, grandeur, and magnificence anything we might experience in this world. In view of this “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared” with it. Our God-given hope is designed by God to work for us just as Paul describes in verses 24-25.

“FOR WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

The knowledge of our great “hope” of the glory of God saves us from the distress and despair that the “sufferings of this present time” and their “groanings” could easily produce. Rather than being distressed by them, our God-given “hope” works for us to produce “patience” instead. The ability to endure them, and to do so to the glory of God, is what God has designed the doctrine of our hope to do for us.

In verses 26-27 Paul teaches us how that the Holy Spirit also works “for us” in a very special way.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what to pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US with groanings which cannot be uttered.

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession FOR THE SAINTS according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

God is “for us” in times of our infirmities. The Holy Spirit makes intercession “for us” when we don’t know what to pray for. In view of God being “for us” in this way, we can relax within even at times when we are perplexed and at loss concerning what to pray for or do.

God is “for us” in connection with the outworking of His purpose with us in Jesus Christ, just as Paul goes on to teach us in verses 28-30.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)

In view of the certainty of God’s counsel regarding us, we “know that all things work together for good” and that nothing can therefore thwart the accomplishment of God’s purpose with us.

In the remaining verses of the chapter, Paul describes how that God is “for us” in all His fullness. God’s grace is “for us” as verse 32 declares.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

God’s justice is completely “for us” as verses 33-34 set forth.

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

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.” (Romans 8:33-34)

And God’s love is “for us” as verses 35-39 describe.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

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.” (Romans 8:35-39)

In view of the love of God for us in Christ Jesus, even the worst of the “sufferings of this present time” and anything that Satan’s policy of evil can direct against us actually work “for us” to make us “more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Without a doubt, God is “for us.” And as Paul triumphantly asks in verse 31…“If God be for us, who can be against us?” No one, nor any thing can successfully be against us, seeing that God is “for us.” Not even ourselves. What a wonderful comfort and encouragement that is! What a glorious truth to revel in!

BUT THERE’S MORE

As glorious as the reality of this is, there is one thing which outshines it in glory, and that is the WHY of it all — WHY God is “for us.” In ourselves by nature there was nothing to commend us to God. Nor of ourselves could we do anything that would make us attractive to God and would move Him to be “for us.” Instead, by nature we were just as Paul describes us to have been in Ephesians 2:1-3.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

We were “children of wrath,” being “dead in trespasses and sins” and having our conversation in “the lusts of our flesh. What we did by nature and by our works was a continual affront to God’s Holiness and Righteousness, and thereby we only provoked His Justice to wrath. We couldn’t move God to be “for us,” all we could do was move Him away from us. Therefore, for God to be “for us” there would have to be something in He Himself that would so move Him, and He Himself would have to do the work necessary to remove the barrier that alienated us from Him so that He could be free to be “for us.” Thanks be to God that because of Who He is, that’s just what He did. As Paul joyfully declares in Ephesians 2:4-5…

“But God, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, FOR HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US,

Even when we were dead in sins, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, (by grace ye are saved);…” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

God’s own “great love” moved Him toward us, and the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ for us on the cross paid for everything that was wrong with us. Through the magnificence and perfection of Christ’s substitutionary redemptive work He propitiated God’s Justice in connection with the debt and penalty of our sins. He provided for the complete abolishing of the barrier of alienation that existed between us because of our sins and unrighteousness. The perfect redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ satisfied every aspect of God’s offended character in connection with us, and therefore has freed Him without compromise to now be “for us.”

It is because of the “power of God” and the “wisdom of God” in the cross of Christ Jesus that God is now free to be “for us.” Because of the cross every aspect of His being is set free, so to speak, to operate “for us” and to do so without hindrance, without restraint, and without reservation. Every aspect of God’s character now embraces us and devotes itself to us. And all because of, and only because of, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The glorious knowledge that God is “for us” is a supremely comforting and encouraging thing in the face of the “sufferings of the present time.” But it is also an awe-inspiring thing. For the only reason God is “for us,” is because of the magnificence of God Himself, and the genius of the cross of Christ Jesus. — K. R. Blades