If God is for Us!

In the first half of Romans, Paul presents the “Gospel.” It is the “power of God for salvation to Jews and Greeks” alike. He provides salvation through the “faith of Jesus Christ” to everyone who responds with repentance and faith. Death passed from Adam to all men, both to those “within the Law” and those “apart from the Law” because “all sinned.” Now, however, “apart from the Law,” the “righteousness of God” is being revealed for “all men who believe, for there is no distinction.”

While Paul covers much theological ground in Chapter 8, he is driving relentlessly toward his conclusion. If the same God who accomplished so much on our behalf through the Death and Resurrection of His Son is for us, how can anything or anyone destroy us or thwart His redemptive plans, including for Ancient Israel?

Mountain trail - Photo by Peter Vanosdall on Unsplash
[Photo by Peter Vanosdall on Unsplash]

What
does distinguish the believer from the unbeliever is the Gift of the Spirit. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The faithful believer remains mortal, still subject to suffering, temptation, and death, but that is not the end of the story:

  • If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised him from the dead will give life also to your death-doomed bodies through his Spirit that dwells in you” – (Romans 8:1-11).

The problem is not our embodied existence, but the resulting mortality and human frailty due to our sin. This condition will be remedied through the resurrection of the dead when our bodies are “quickened” by God’s Spirit and become immortal. The Gift of the Spirit is a foretaste and guarantee of that promise.

The indwelling Spirit attests that we are the “sons of God,” and therefore, “heirs” and “joint heirs” with the Son. In this life, we are subject to suffering and death, but this also means we will be “glorified with him” in the future - (Romans 8:12-17).

The faith proclaimed by Jesus and his Apostles was and remains forward-looking. Salvation and glory will be received in the future when Christ returns. The “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.”

The creation itself is “waiting for the revelation of the sons of God.” Adam’s sin did more than condemn humanity to sin and death - it sentenced the entire Universe to disease, decay, and death.

Even now, the “whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain.” However, the “creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption.” The resurrection of the “sons of God” will also mean the arrival of the New Creation – (Romans 8:18-25).

Believers are “groaning within themselves waiting for the redemption of their body” – Namely, resurrection. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so He will give “life to our death-doomed bodies.” Thus, the future bodily resurrection is foundational to Christian “hope” and salvation. It is not optional. It is a “hope not seen,” NOT because it is invisible, but because it is in the future.

WORKING ALL THINGS FOR GOOD


God “works all things together for good to them who are called according to purpose.” Since He “foreknew” those who belong to Him, He also “marked them out beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son.” The Greek verb does NOT mean to “foreordain” or arbitrarily “predestine” one person over another, but simply to “mark something out ahead of time.”

Paul was not a fatalist promoting later church traditions about “predestination” and God’s all-consuming “sovereignty” that allows no place for our free will.

The text does NOT state that God “causes all things,” but that He “works” in all things to bring about “good” for His children. Rather than an abstract explanation of predestination, Paul highlights the faithfulness of God. Despite our frailties and failings, He will form us into the “image of His Son” and consummate our salvation – (Romans 8:26-30).

Because of all that He has done for us already despite our many sins and constant disobedience, Paul exulted - “If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?

His Death and Resurrection reassure us of our coming salvation and victory. Just as God raised Jesus, so He will raise us from the dead – (Romans 8:32).

Alpine Path - Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash
[Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash]

No longer can anyone successfully bring any charge against the children of God since the very same “Righteous One” who died on their behalf and was “
raised from the dead” for their justification reigns from the “right hand of God to make intercession for them.”

Nothing in this Universe is capable of separating believers from the love of this magnitude, not even death. When God resurrected Jesus, He reversed the sentence of condemnation under which all men live. He will do the same for the “brethren” and “joint heirs” of His Son.

It is “in Christ Jesus our Lord,” especially in his Death and Resurrection, that the “love of God” is manifested, and the sufferings of this life cannot compare with the glories that lay ahead for the men and women redeemed by the life that he poured out on the Cross.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Redemption of our Body - (Paul links the bodily resurrection of believers to the New Creation, and both events are part of the promised redemption – Romans 8:1-23)
  • Resurrection Hope - (Central to the future hope of the Apostolic Faith is the bodily resurrection of the dead when Jesus arrives to gather his saints)
  • Abolishing Death - (Paul reminded Timothy of Christ’s own resurrection since false teachers were denying the future resurrection of believers)

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