Friday, June 30, 2017
Romans 8:31-32 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
In our last post we considered the blessed assurances that flow from Christ's finished work on the cross as spelled out in Romans 8:31-32. We observed how God has an unquestionable commitment to the child of God who trusts in Christ in saving faith. We then noted too how Christ supplies unending representation for the Christian before the throne. These first two assurances were explored. Today we want to consider a third marvelous blessed assurance, namely...
Unbreakable Relationship between God and the Christian. Romans 8:35-37
Note what we read in Romans 8:35-37
"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." The seven underlined words represent increasing levels of "worse-case" scenarios (at least for us living in the 21st century). The Bible Knowledge Commentary notes:
"These things—stated in increasing intensity—do not separate Christians from Christ; instead they are part of the “all things” (Rom. 8:28) God uses to bring them to conformity to His Son. Then Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 to remind his readers that in this life the people of God must face much affliction (cf. John 16:33) including even martyrdom for some. In the early days of the church one or more Christians were martyred every day, or faced the possibility of it. Their persecutors valued Christians’ lives as nothing more than animals to be butchered."
In looking at these seven negative experiences, one can note some observations:
1. We find two sets of three and a final, ultimate negative experience: martyrdom at the sword.
2. Of the two sets of three, we find in each set two negative experiences that occur as a result of circumstance (tribulation, distress and famine, nakedness) with each followed by a respective negative event caused by other people (persecution, peril).
3. Paul's listing here is said in light of what is clearly his meditation on Psalm 44, from which he quotes Psalm 44:22
The unbreakable link between God and the Christian is not only cemented at saving faith by the sealing ministry of the Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13-14); but continues on through the preserving work of the Father (1 Peter 1:5) and the continuing mediation of the Son on the believer's behalf (Hebrews 4:15; 7:24-25).
Will there be those times in the Christian's life where life, trials, sin and spiritual warfare weakens them enough to yield to short seasons of sin? Yes. We see it for example in Peter's life, when he was giving into the hypocrisy of the Judaizers in Galatians 2. Yet, Peter did not remain in such hypocrisy, as evidenced in what we read of his expositions on the Gospel and Christian life in his two epistles of 1 and 2 Peter. The Baptist Faith and Message notes in its comments on the doctrine of perseverance or what is more popularly known as "eternal security":
"All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
What assurance can we find as believers when everything else seems not so sure? In Romans 8:32-37 we find a major assurance for salvation - the glory of the cross. The glory of the cross is like a multifaceted jewel in these verses. We saw the unbreakable relationship between God and the Christian. Note the following glories of the cross that follow from these considerations:
1. Riches of the Father's grace. 8:31-32
2. Representation by Christ. 8:33-34
3. Royalty of God's Sovereignty. 8:35-36
4. Reality of the believer's victory 8:37