God Is for Us!
Romans 8: 31
"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
This is probably the most majestic passage which has come to us from the apostle Paul.
It is the climax of his argument.
From the beginning of chapter 5, Paul has set out the grounds of Christian hope.
He has shown that believers in Christ are justified by faith, and that our justification results
in holy living, and finally issues in eternal glory.
And now, we follow Paul in this triumphant hymn which voices for us as believers
our confident assurance of salvation.
We see in verses 31-32 that for us that can be no loss.
We see in verses 33-34 that upon us that can rest no condemnation.
We also city in verses 35-39 that to us there can be no separation from the love of God
in Christ Jesus.
Paul has been tracing the successive steps by which God carries out His eternal purpose
toward them who love Him.
In verses 31, Paul asks "What then, shall we say to these things?"
In view of this divine plan of God's mercy, what conclusion can we draw other than that
of comfort and of confidence?
Here Paul makes a sudden and solemn pause, while he emphatically demands:
What shall we say to these things?"
What can be said against them?
Is it possible to value these words -- these truths, too highly?
What use shall we make of such consoling truths?
What comfort shall we draw from them?
Can anything detract from the peace these words bring?
There can be no doubt of the power of God for there is no enemy that can withstand
His purpose: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
All the varied streams of thought has converged at last in one mighty river,
and that river had poured itself out into the ocean of God's final glory.
The calm voice of reason was now exchanged for the thrilling tones of oratory,
and this was in the form of a series of bold rhetorical questions.
These questions were like battle cries which thundered over the field of battle,
and are meant to show us how to apply these truths in the hour of trial and conflict.
So, Paul begins with clear and ringing questions:
"What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Here that question sums up the whole previous argument.
What conclusion shall we draw from these facts?
But his reply took the form of further questions.
If God has set us free from sin and death, and has given us His Spirit, and has made us
sons and heirs, and has chosen us for glory; then who can prevail against us?
The real effect of this is to reduce all that has gone before to a single, mighty statement:
"God is for us; therefore, we have nothing to fear."
The expression, "if," which Paul uses here, does not denote doubt,
but is a conclusion,
or a consequence, or an affirmation, signifying "since".
It is as if he had said, "Since we see by all these things that God is for us,
who shall be against us."
For it is evident that God is for us, since He hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son
into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father".
Also, since the Spirit helps our infirmities.
Also, since all things work together for our good.
And since we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.
When we were alienated from Him, He called us.
When we were lost sinners, He justified us.
And finally, He translated us from a scene of trouble, afflictions and death.
And He will confer on us a crown of eternal life.
So, since God is for us, who can be against us?
With this truth doubt melts away in the sunshine of God's declared favor,
and the word, "if," in these circumstances was the strongest testimony
to the fact that God is for us.
There are those who would ask, "How do we know that God is for us?"
We answer with Paul that He demonstrated this by the death of His only Son
upon the cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the dead.
The statement that God is for us is based upon historical facts.
Christ died on the cross, and rose from the dead; therefore, we know that God is for us.
If we are ever inclined to wonder about God's care, and about God's sovereign rule in our lives,
no matter what the circumstances may be, remember the Son of God died on the cross
and rose from the dead.
So, the question is not whether we are on God's side, but whether He is on ours.
If He is, we may be exposed to perils and pains of every kind, but none can ever
endanger our salvation.
That God is "for us" is proven by the fact of Jesus Christ, and it is to Him
that we must cling, as the pledge that God will give us every good thing.
"God is for us" -- God is our shield!
He holds us in His hand, and nothing can pluck us out of His hand.
"The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!"
God was for us before we ever were.
God was for us before ever we were for Him.
God was for us even when we were against Him.
He was still for us when the world was marred by sin.
The supreme proof that He is for us was the death and resurrection of His only Son.
The question, "Who can be against us?" supposes the existence of
a combined hostility to us as Christians.
God's Word declares this, observation confirms it, and our experience demonstrates it.
Satan is against us.
All his power, all his malice, all his subtlety, all his skill, and all his demonic forces
are placed in opposition to us as the children of God.
The world is against us.
The Christian life is a constant and solemn rebuke of the world. (John 15: 18, 19)
The flesh is also against us which is the worst of the three.
Our own heart is against us with indwelling sin.
And sickness, suffering, and death itself is against us.
For a moment Paul visualizes the situation in terms of a court of law, where the believer
stands to be judged.
But who will dare to come forward as prosecutor?
God Himself, the Judge of all, has pronounced us acquitted and justified.
So, who can call His judgment into question?
The law cannot.
Justice cannot for Jesus has met its demands.
Sin cannot nor Satan, nor men, nor suffering, nor death.
The condemnation of sin is removed, and Satan is vanquished, and the ungodly
are restrained, and suffering works for our good, and the sting of death is taken away.
So, the implication is not that no one is against us, but that it makes not a particle
of difference who is.
Bring on all the world -- a thousand foes, and unnumbered ills, God is greater, mightier,
and He is for us.
So, when we are inclined to fear, to hysteria, to panic, to doubt, and to be preoccupied
with concerns which are in the Father's hands, we are reminded through passages
such as these that God is absolutely faithful, and that for Him nothing is too difficult
and nothing is impossible.
It was this assurance that calmed the fears and and strengthened the faith:
Of Abraham (Genesis 15: 1)
Of Isaac (Genesis 26:24)
Of David (Psalm 27: 1)
Of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1: 17-19)
Of Paul (Acts 18: 9, 10)
And the last words of Christ were, "Lo, I am with you alway..."
"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
That is, who can safely be against us?
Who can be against us with any convenience, peace or comfort, or contentment
"If God be for us," then we can afford to have the world against us.
If it be God's method, it will work His purpose in spite of the ridicule and unbelief of others.
Since God is for us, what could ever prevail against us?
Since His love was supremely manifested in the sacrifice of His own Son on our behalf,
what good thing will He withhold from us?
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
No truth can be more evident than this.
Although we have innumerable enemies, and have our own weaknesses,
yet, if God be for us, nothing can be so against us to finally injure us.
As the angel said to Gideon, "The Lord is with thee," and the same is said
in this passage to every Christian.
"All men forsook me, "said Paul, "but the Lord stood by me."
As God had said to Israel, and Moses, and Joshua, so he said,
"Fear not, Paul, for I am with thee."
And He is to us!
I Will Pilot Thee
1. "Sometimes, when my faith would falter
And no sunlight can I see,
I just lift mine eyes to Jesus
And I whisper, "Pilot me."
2. Often, when my soul is weary
And the days seem, oh, so long,
I just look up to my Pilot,
And I hear this blessed song:
Fear thou not, for I'll be with thee,
Never mind the tossing billows,
I will still thy Pilot be...
Take my hand and trust in Me.
3. When temptations 'round me gather
And I almost lose my way,
Somehow in the raging tempest,
I can hear my Saviour say:... Chorus
4. When I come to Jordan's River
And its troubled waters see,
On the brink I'll see my Saviour.
And I know He'll pilot me."
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White