Celebrate God's Unfailing Love
CELEBRATE GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE ROMANS 8:31-39
Today is Mother’s Day, in which we celebrate these amazing women in our lives. We are grateful to God for the blessing of mom. After all, they do so much for us with very little thanks. Yet, this day is set aside to show to them how much we love them for all their sacrifice and hard work they have put in for us. Connie Ragsdale sent me an email this week about a mother’s dictionary. I thought I would share a few of them with you. But most of all when we think about mothers, we think about their love for us. Moms have a special love that can be expressed in their care, concern, nurture, and tenderness.
But even Mom’s love cannot compare to God’s love for his children. For those who are born again have the love of God poured out into their hearts. God’s love is almost indescribable, but Paul in the verses this morning helps us to celebrate God’s love.
Paul, in Romans, walks us through the gospel. In chapters 1 and 2, he reminds us that all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. In chapter 3, he tells us that God had a remedy for our dilemma in his son Jesus Christ. In 4, he illustrates how we obtain this remedy for our lives through the live of Abraham. In 5, he elaborates on what this gift of God gives us and chapter 6, as a result of salvation, we no longer have to be slaves to sin. But in 7, he reminds us that this is not easy because what we want to do we do not always do and what we do not want to do we sometimes do.
Then he comes to our present chapter and talks about life in the Spirit. If you are in Christ, you need never fear divine condemnation. You are assured through the Holy Spirit that you are sons of God. Even though you suffer and groan due to the fact that sin is still a part of your mortal body one day you will be released from the presence of sin. Creation groans for that day when our mortal bodies are redeemed. The Holy Spirit is on our side interceding for us because of our groaning and suffering. But God is going to work out all things according to his purpose to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. In verses 29-30, Paul addresses our position in salvation and the progress for salvation, which leads us to this great praise that Paul has for God because nothing can separate us from the love of God.
So take your Bibles and turn to the Romans 8:31-39. In this passage, Paul addresses the topic of can anything separate us from the love God. If there were two things that could do so: it would be somebody or something. And as we will see Paul says with a resounding no that no-one and no thing can do this. He does this through five questions.
NO ONE CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD – 31-34
In light, of everything I mentioned about salvation and God working out everything to His purpose what then shall we say to these things? For the unbeliever, they would call all this nonsense, foolishness, others just ignore these great truths by being indifferent to the facts of salvation, and still others pay no attention at all to the question.
But Christians can answer these questions with confidence in God, not themselves. They can be assured of God’s love just by the very fact that the Bible tells us so. So Paul answers the first four questions about who can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If God is for us, who can be against us? God has done everything for us. He took us when we were in sin, redeemed us, saved us, effectually called us, justified us, and He announced that he looks upon us as being already glorified. In looking at this question, it would seem that there was a doubt in the mind of the one asking the question. In fact, some people have a hard time believing that God is on their side. Sometimes it is due to sin in their life, sometimes it maybe in light of a terrible circumstance or situation. But the “if” could be better translated “because” or “since.”
As men and women or boys and girls of God we need to get this truth deep into our minds and hearts. Scripture tells us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Now, how much more is God’s love for us that we are Christians? Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “When we for a partnership with God He demands that we do it on His terms. We put up weakness and he puts up strength; we put up sin and He furnishes pardoning grace; we cats in our nothingness and he answers with His all-ness.”
“The Bear,” has in the final scenes a little grizzly cub being attacked by a mountain lion. The life of the little cub seems to be in great danger as the mountain lion moves in for the kill. Suddenly, the baby bear rears up on its hind legs letting out the fiercest growl it can muster. Amazingly, the mountain lion shrinks back! The camera then slowly draws back to reveal just behind the cub a massive grizzly, reared on his hind legs, delivering a fierce warning to the mountain lion. The cub’s enemy was great. But in the protective shadow of the great grizzly, that mountain lion was nothing. With the giant grizzly as its protection, who was this mere mountain lion? With God on our side, who could possibly be an opponent who would cause us to shrink back in fear? The sovereignty of a God who is “for us” provides a new perspective on anyone or anything which threatens to oppose or destroy 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? The certainty of God’s faithful provision for all of our needs is in view in this question. It is an argument based on the greater and the lesser: if God did not hesitate to give us the greatest gift of all, certainly He can be counted on to freely give us lesser gifts.
Paul says that God gave that which was most precious to him. He gave up his Son for us. This means that he died in our place because you and I deserved to die that day on the cross but Jesus took our place by God’s plan and design. For three hours, Jesus endured the wrath that you and I deserved.
He already spent the maximum amount on our salvation, He's certainly willing to spend a lesser amount getting us to glory. This is the greatest proof of God's grace. God has already given the best, He's already given the most, He's certainly not going to hold back the least. And He's certainly not going to undo the work of the Son. If the Son died on the cross, follow this, and actually paid the penalty for your sins, for God to turn around and let you go would be to depreciate and undo what the Son had accomplished...so say nothing of disdaining the supreme sacrifice that the Son of God Himself would bear the punishment for sin. Since He delivered His Son up for us all to save us, will He not also along with His Son give us whatever we need to get us to glory? Whatever grace it takes? Whatever strength it takes? Whatever wisdom it takes?
Author Peter Kreeft tells the story of a poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.” Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.”
Who should bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Most of us know what the courtroom is like from watching Perry Mason on television. At the front of the courtroom, the judge is seated. He will be the one who hears the testimony, views the evidence, and pronounces the verdict.219 To the left of the judge, the prosecution is seated. The task of the prosecutor is to make accusations against the accused and to prove that they are legitimate charges. To the right of the judge sits the defendant—the one who is to be accused. And at the side of the accused is seated the counsel for the defense, whose job it is to argue on behalf of the accused in his defense.
Before considering the courtroom scene Paul describes here, we must first be reminded of a fundamental truth without which Paul’s words fail to make their point. Just as God has ordained that there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ, so there is no other Judge than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has two roles. The first is that as Savior. The second is that of Judge. All who receive Him as Savior need never fear facing His sentence of condemnation as the Judge of all the earth. Those who reject Him as Savior most certainly will be condemned by Him as their Judge.
Ponder this courtroom scene for a moment. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ, every man is a guilty sinner. When judgment day comes, he must sit in the defendant’s seat, the seat of the accused. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge, the One whom the sinner has scorned and rejected. The Lord Jesus is also the prosecutor. The accused sinner has no defense. He is, as Paul has said earlier in Romans, “without excuse” (1:20; 2:1).
But salvation changes all this. The courtroom scene becomes vastly different. The forgiven sinner need not sit in the defendant’s chair. This is because the prosecutor cannot press any charges. The Father, the Judge, has already pronounced us to be righteous, justified by faith. How could the Judge condemn us? Jesus Christ has already been condemned in our place. He was raised from the dead, and He now is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
The picture is something like this. The Father’s beloved Son, who would have been our prosecutor, has taken our place and has paid the penalty for our sin. More than this, having been raised from the dead, the prosecutor has left His seat and has seated Himself beside us, committed to our defense and pleading with the Father on our behalf.
The force of Paul’s argument now begins to emerge. The only One who could have accused us has resigned His post. The only One who could have condemned us as a righteous Judge has brought about our salvation. Our dreaded foe, viewed from the perspective of the unbeliever, has now become our beloved Defender. The only one who can mete out divine punishment has meted it out on His own Son so that we might be saved. Who, then, can accuse us? Who, then, can condemn us? No one can legitimately accuse us. No one can rightfully condemn us. The One who was our Judge has become our Justifier.
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. Already, Paul has mentioned in verse 1 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God is the one who justifies, so no one can condemn us. Satan may be our accuser and his accusation maybe correct, but they can not undo what God has done in the death and resurrection of Christ. Justification means God declares the ungodly to be perfect while he is still ungodly.
He was our substitute meaning he took our place and the resurrection is our receipted bill that God was satisfied with the death of His Son instead of our death. God will never look upon our sin and open a case against us that could bring us to eternal jeopardy.
In fact, Christ is seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. In the Old Testament and priest was one who interceded on behalf of the people to God and Jesus is that High Priest of the New Testament. The difference between Christ and the priests of long ago is that his work is finished and their was never complete.
Yet, the fact is that Jesus is in constant intercession for those he has redeemed and is doing everything for our best interests. Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), pioneer missionary to America, testified, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!” We might think it strange if the President of the United States met with the Prime Minister of Britain and the heads of other states and spent a large amount of time discussing, for example, a common standard of wage payment for street-sweepers in various capitals of the world. There would be many who would think that these men in positions of great power should spend their time on more important issues which affect the peace of the world and the flow of history.
NO THING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD – 35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Paul moves from the persons who might separate us from the love of God and found no one. Now he moves to the things that could be a possibility of separating us from the love of Christ. Is there any way you can lose your salvation? Who is more powerful than Christ? Who is sufficient to come and remove you or me from the hands of God? Turn to John 10:27–30. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
Paul gives a list of circumstances that everyone of us faces in life. Tribulation – this word has an interesting history to it. A flail was a piece of wood, longer that a broomstick and has attached to it by a leather thong of a shorter piece of wood. It was used to separate wheat from chaff. This came to be called tribulation. The word literally means “pressure.”
Distress – comes from two words “narrow” and “space”. It convey the idea of being hemmed in. The word was used to describe being caught in a tight place between high rocks. Are you feeling like you have been caught in a tight place? Is life squeezing in on you? Do I write to someone who carries a heavy burden? Have you grown weary of life and feel beaten down by life? Have you come to the place where you feel like you cannot take it any more? Has life become an overwhelming burden to you?
Persecution - is to be hunted down like an animal and killed. Jesus reminded us that people will revile and persecute you. Paul tells us that to be godly is to be persecuted.
Famine - and hunger are brought on because of draught or persecution. Like the people in Jesus' day we worry over what we will eat, drink, or wear tomorrow. Jesus said God would take care of the basic necessities in our daily lives. We worry because of a sense of inadequacy. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). When we seek first the kingdom of God we become super–conquerors.
Nakedness - There is "nakedness" or lack of clothes because of no means of getting them. Economic persecution brought on because they could not find employment because they are believers in Christ.
Danger - "Peril" is dangers, perils of any sort. The King James Version uses the word "peril" eight times in 2 Corinthians 11:26. "In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren." The NIV and NASB use the word "dangers."
Sword - The "sword" of judicial execution is against them because of being a Christian. Paul will later be executed by the executioner's sword because he is a believer.
Read Hebrews 11:33-38. Second Corinthians 11:23-28
We are "super–conquerors" (hypernikomen). He doesn't say we are copers, but super–conquerors. The word comes from nikao, meaning “to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious," and huper which means "above." These “super-conquerors” are more than victors; they gain a surpassing victory. We are "more than conquerors," "we are super–conquerors!" Christ proved His love by His sufferings; therefore our sufferings cannot separate us from His love. Nothing in life can stop God from loving us.
Barnhouse gives says we are more than conquerors because our foe is much more than our equal, the length of the warfare which we have to wage ( no reprieve), the result of the battle is eternal and therefore our victory is eternal, we receive rewards that far surpass anything given to earthly conquerors.