Justification and Assurance
(g) If God Be For Us Who Can Be Against Us
In this final section of Romans 8 Paul now poses some questions which in many respects are unanswerable. A close examination of v31-39 reveals that there are 7 questions and their answers. Bible expositors, however, point out that there are in reality 5 questions. The first (v31) is not part of the set but is a method employed by the apostle to move his exposition onto another phase. Also, the last 2 questions (v35) are part of the same enquiry and are therefore employed for emphasis. There is no doubting that the apostle employed this technique to encourage God’s people who were suffering and fearful. As human beings we are apt to ask questions concerning God, faith and the mysteries of the divine purpose. Paul engages these questions to teach us that our faith rests upon an unshakeable foundation. The question in v32 is in reality a reply to the enquiry which lies at this heart of this passage. In asking the question, “If God be for us who can be against us?”,the apostle replied, “He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with also freely give us all things?” In helping God’s people face their doubts and their fears Paul immediately reminds them of the love of God that was manifested at the cross.
1: The Offerer and the Offering
Christ was offered up as a deliberate act of God the Father. One of the clearest statements of the Father’s intent in the offering of Christ is found in Isaiah 53:
“…smitten of God and afflicted” (v4)
“…the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (v6)
The Saviour himself confessed to the Father’s involvement in his own death when he cried “My God my God why hast thou forsaken me?” On the Day of Pentecost Peter emphasised this truth by declaring that Christ was “delivered by the determinate counsel and
foreknowldege of God.”
This reminds us that the sacrifice of Christ was an extraordinary offering on the Father’s part who gave up the Son whom he loved. He afflicted Christ in the severest fashion imaginable because he loved us so much. This was a voluntary offering. He did not “spare” Christ indicating that he could have spared him. He chose to sacrifice his Son for our sake.
The refusal of God to spare his only son is rooted in the ancient story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham showed a willingness to offer his only Son but was prevented by the ram caught in the thicket. Isaac survived but Abraham called the place Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. God did what Abraham was willing to do in type, and he provided the perfect lamb at what many believe to be the same place where Abraham saw the ram caught among the briars.
2: The Gifts and the Giver
Paul teaches us in v32 that God freely gives us all things, as a consequence of the atonement. The one who gives us all things, is the same God who gave his Son.
The “all things” that we are promised are undoubtedly the 5 elements in our salvation already mentioned; foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification and glorification.” The argument therefore runs that if God gave up his Son then we are assured of these blessings. They cannot be removed, nor can they be taken from us. God will do for us what he sacrificed his Son in order to accomplish.
These glorious elements of our salvation are bequeathed to us through Christ. He gives us all things “with him.” Here we are reminded that our Saviour was raised and that he lives as our Great High Priest in the courts of heaven. We are chosen in Christ, Christ sends forth the Holy Ghost to call us unto life, we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we will be like Christ in the resurrection at the last day. All off this is ours on account of the precious blood shed on the cross.
Ultimately, we are assured of salvation because God loves us. We know that this is so because of Calvary. The fact of the cross is the greatest source of assurance that we can claim.