The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
WHAT SHALL WE THEN SAY?
Text: ROMANS 8:31-39
- We stopped off last Wednesday evening at verse 31 -- "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
- "These things" (8:31) refers to everything that has been taught in this epistle -- condemnation, justification, sanctification, glorification, etc.
- The point here is that these important doctrinal truths should grip us, and motivate us, and change us (8:28-30).
- It ought to be impossible for a true Christian not to be moved by the doctrinal truths taught here in this epistle.
- From verse 31 to the end of the chapter, the apostle Paul asks and answers a series of questions. The first question is, "What shall we then say to these things?" (8:31).
- What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
- Marcus Rainsford, Sr. said, “There is no ground for condemnation since Christ has suffered the penalty; there is no law to condemn us since we are not under law but under grace; there is no tribunal for judgment since ours is a Throne of Grace, not of judgment; and above all, there is no Judge to sentence us since God Himself, the only Judge, is our Justifier" (cited by W.H. Griffith Thomas).
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? (8:31)
- "If (Since) God be for us, who can be against us?" and the obvious answer is "no one."
- Remember what the LORD said to Abraham, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Gen. 15:1).
- God spared not His own Son (8:32). He spared Abraham’s son but not His own Son – this is a picture of God’s matchless grace.
- "Freely give us all things" (8:32) speaks of God's matchless grace.
- Since God gave us His only begotten Son, "how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (8:32). D.L. Moody used to illustrate this verse this way: He said, "Suppose I go into the best jewelry shop in town and they bring out the biggest and most beautiful diamond in the store and the owner says, `Take it, it’s yours.’" Moody then asks the jeweler, `Are you sure you want to just give me this very expensive diamond?’ and the owner replies, `Yes, I am giving it to you – it’s free, I want you to have it.’ Moody then used to say, "If this man gave me this beautiful diamond, do you think I would hesitate asking him for a piece of brown wrapping paper to wrap it up and take it home with me?"
- Moody’s point was plain – since God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us, don’t you think that He is going to give us everything that is necessary for us in this life and in the life to come?
- As wonderful as this life is when you are saved and walking in the light and enjoying fellowship with God, and working in a good church – as wonderful as all this is – just wait till we get to heaven!
- I heard a story of a poor little girl who lived down in the Appalachian Mountains and she had no mother, and no friends, and not even any shoes – she was very, very poor. She lived in a little old cabin with her father. The cabin had no heat and no plumbing. The roof leaked and the wind whistled through the holes in the walls.
- Her father was so poor, oftentimes they had no food. They usually just ate fish or a squirrel or whatever he could catch. But then his father got real sick and died and the poor little girl moved into an orphanage.
- Her father had a wealthy cousin who lived in NYC and by and by he heard what happened and called the orphanage, offering to adopt her. He spoke to her on the telephone and promised to come and get her.
- Finally, the day arrived and he pulled up to the orphanage in his big Lincoln Continental and together they drove up to his big apartment building in NYC. When she got out of the car she was amazed – she never saw anything like this before! They walked into the building and she looked at the beautiful mahogany walls and the fancy mirrors and the lush carpet and she started crying and crying. He said, "Honey what’s the matter?" and she said, "Oh, Uncle Joe, your apartment is so beautiful!" and he said, "Honey, this is just the elevator – wait till you see the apartment!"
- These are precious words for the Christian – "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things" (8:32).
- There was a wealthy Roman who had a son who disappointed him greatly and broke his heart time and time again. But this wealthy man owned a slave named Marcellus, who was very faithful and loyal. On his deathbed he decided to disinherit his son and give everything to Marcellus. He drew up the papers and called for his son. He explained everything to him and said, "I have given everything to Marcellus. However, you may choose one item from my estate for yourself." The son replied, "I’ll take Marcellus!"
- This is the idea conveyed here – when we receive Christ, we get everything that God wants us to have – not everything we want, but everything we need.
WHO SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD'S ELECT? (8:33)
- The word "elect" is a strong word. It is a secure word. There is neither a man or devil that can bring a charge against "God’s elect." The very word elect indicates that would be impossible (cf. 8:28-31).
- If God has chosen someone, if God has justified someone, if God has declared them righteous – then no one can undo it (cf. 8:28-31).
- Some people get confused over the word "elect." D.L. Moody said, "The elect are the 'whosoever wills' and the non-elect are the 'whosoever won'ts.'"
- Spurgeon said, “I know that God chose me before I was born for He never would have chosen me afterwards!"
- Spurgeon used to pray, "Lord, save the elect, and then elect some more."
- Christ's substitutionary death, His resurrection from the dead, and His intercessory work on our behalf ensure that no one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect.
- One time, when Calvin Coolidge was vice president and presiding over the Senate, a big argument broke out between two senators. Tempers flared, rough words were exchanged and then one senator told the other to go straight to hell. The offended senator ran down the aisle to Mr. Coolidge who was quietly leafing through a book. "Sir," he said, "did you hear what he said to me?" Coolidge looked up from his book and said calmly, "You know, I have been looking through the rule book. You don’t have to go."
- Lost sinners do not have to go to hell. If they repent of their sin and trust Jesus Christ, then God will save them.
WHO IS HE THAT CONDEMNETH? (8:34)
- "He that believeth on him is not condemned..." (John 3:18).
- There is no condemnation because we are in Christ Jesus (8:1).
- There is no condemnation because we walk after the Spirit (8:1).
- There is no condemnation because Christ died for our sins (8:34).
- There is no condemnation because Christ rose from the dead (8:34).
- There is no condemnation because Christ is seated at the right hand of God, making intercession for us (8:34; cf. Heb.7:23-27).
- One preacher put it this way:
- Can Christ’s substitution be contested? "It is Christ that died" (8:34).
- Can Christ’s sovereignty be contested? He has risen and has ascended into heaven (8:34).
- Can Christ’s supplication be contested? He maketh intercession for us (8:34).
- Anyone can issue a charge, but only God has the authority to condemn. And God has committed all judgment unto the Son. John 5:22 says, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."
- And since Christ is at the right hand of God interceding for us, how can He condemn us? It would be illogical and impossible? (cf. 8:1).
- Therefore, there is no accuser (8:33).
- And there is no judge to condemn us because the judge is our advocate (8:34).
WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD? (8:35)
- Romans 8 begins with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation."
- Romans 8 begins with "in Christ Jesus" and ends with "in Christ Jesus."
- It has been noted that verses 35-37 describe the life and ministry of the apostle Paul.
- "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (8:35). Back in the 1930’s there was an American missionary in Korea named Harold Voelkel. Years later, when the Korean War broke out he was taken into the U.S. Army as a chaplain and assigned to the camps of the prisoners of war. Tens of thousands of North Koreans were imprisoned in great compounds and the Communists had infiltrated these camps with their agents, stirring up riots and rebellion. Chaplain Voelkel went into each pen, one by one. There were hundreds of men in each pen and he would go from sunrise to sundown into each pen preaching the love of Christ to them in their own language. After a few months there were several thousand North Koreans saved, there was no more discipline problems in the camps, and the communists were finding it increasingly harder to recruit. When the war ended, these men insisted that they did not want to go home – they wanted to live in the free world. All because someone who cared preached the love of God to them.
- "For I am persuaded, that neither death…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:39).
- Death has no fear for the Christian because it is a promotion!
- "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (8:35). Spurgeon once saw on a weathervane the words, "God is love" and he remarked to his companion that he did not think it was appropriate to place that Scripture verse on so changeable a thing as a weathervane.
- But his friend replied that Spurgeon had misinterpreted the meaning. "It means," he said, "that God is love no matter which way the wind blows."