What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against 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? (Romans 8:31-32)
- If God is for us, who can be against us (31b)?
- Remember what we said all the way through the order of salvation series: the central actor in the passage is God. The central focal point of salvation’s order is God. God begins it, God carries it out and God completes it for God’s own glory. If that is true, there are some massive implications for the way we look at our lives.
- “If” is better translated “since”. Since God is for us, who can be against us? Since God is for us (as we have seen in Romans 5-8, what can happen?) Since God has ordained our salvation and is carrying it out and will finish it to his own exaltation and glory, who can be against us in the sense that they could ever rob us of our glorification, or thwart God’s advancing us to glory?!
- The question arises after this argument by Paul, “How can I be sure that God will carry it out? How can I be sure that he who began a good work will complete it? Do you hear the fear in that question? How do I know this is all going the way it should go? Paul crafts a brilliant argument in the style of moving from the greater to the lesser. The idea is that if this huge, amazing thing is true of the character of God, why wouldn’t this small, easy thing be true of the character of God?
- He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all…
- Who is he? (God)
- To whom is he referring when he speaks about killing his son? (Jesus) Think of Genesis 22 here, when God tells Abraham to take his son, his only son, the son he loves, Isaac up on the mountain and kill him. Think of the affection that Abraham had for Isaac and the weight of his death that had to be mounting in his heart and mind when he raised the knife in the air and then think of the relief and joy when he heard God call out to him to stop and offer a substitute sacrifice instead. That weight and reality is infinitely greater in the perfect, trinitarian love of God the Father for God the Son. God the Father loves Jesus. He tells the world that in Matthew 3:7 when he says, “This is my beloved son.” You see the weight in the words “did not spare”. Jesus didn’t just come to die; Jesus was sent by his Father to die. Isn’t that the cry of John 3:16? God so loved that he gave what he loved to an infinite degree.
- To whom is he referring when he says “us” (Those referred to in the previous verses, those who are foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified, or more simply, believers!) God sent Jesus to die to redeem his children.