I have been pouring over Romans 8 the last few days, and there is so much good stuff in there I don’t even know where to start! I love how the Word of God is alive, and a passage we’ve read 100 times before can jump off the page at us on the 101st time.
So, I jumped in with verse 31 which says, “What than shall we say in response to these things?” I guess we’d better back up and see what “these things” are that Paul is referring to. Beginning in verse 18, Paul says that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” What are your present sufferings? What is the worst suffering you have ever endured in your life? Now put that up against glory, and not an equal amount of glory, no, Paul says an incomparable amount of glory that will one day be revealed in us.” That’s promise number one.
He acknowledges that it’s not just Christians that eagerly await the return of their Savior, but that even the creation is frustrated and groans at the decay it endures as sin stole its intended purpose away for a time. We are all eagerly waiting…hoping in that which we can’t see. Eternal life with Christ.
That’s right, hope cannot exist standing next to a gift we’ve already received. Why would we hope in something we already have? No, hope is reserved for the promise of what is to come. Sometimes the waiting seems unbearable, especially when we are deep in the cavern of suffering. But God knows that, and He’s done something about it.
Verse 26 says that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. There are times we don’t even have the strength to form words to pray, other than perhaps, “Jesus, help me.” Do you know that the Holy Spirit prays with and for you? One thing that jumped out at me as I read this passage was that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with wordless groans.” I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what that must sound like. Try it. Think of your worst pain or suffering and draw a picture in your mind of the Spirit relaying that to God your Father in wordless groans, to convey your hearts cry. I found that overwhelming!
The verses go on to say, “he who searches our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” I find great comfort in that. The spirit is praying for us in accordance with God’s will. We shouldn’t fear praying, thinking we have to say everything “just so.” We have an interpreter, who is bringing our heart before God, conveying to Him our deepest needs, all in accordance with God’s will. God hears the prayer of a sincere heart, and He will answer.
So here comes promise number two. In verse 28 we read, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” This is a wonderful promise and definitely one to hold onto in times of discouragement. It is important though, that we have a proper perspective of the little phrase, “for the good.” I certainly think I know what’s for my good. I can tell you in my humanity, “for my good” means great health, no financial stress, happy and fulfilling relationships, and on and on. God of course has the ultimate advantage. He can see into my life five minutes from now, five years from now, and into eternity. “For my good” may not always feel like it’s for my good, but it’s so important during those times to hold onto the hope that Paul spoke of. The hope of what we have been promised but cannot yet see, and pray for the Spirit to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
So, that’s the precursor to “what shall we say in response to these things?” Here we go…this is the where the promises just get piled on, and we are given specifics on what God has done for us.
Paul fires out several questions.
- “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
- “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?”
- “Who then is the one who condemns?
Here are his responses to those questions.
- “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
- “It is God who justifies.”
- “No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
What is causing you fear in your life today? Who do you feel is judging you? Do you feel alone, or distanced from love? You can’t lose with God in your corner. He is giving us all things, removing our sin, and has given us the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ to intercede for us, and this is the result…it is impossible for us to be separated from His perfect love for us.
Take a look at all of the circumstances in this life that are absolutely powerless at removing God’s unshakeable love from our lives.
- Nakedness (exposure)
- Sword (weapons)
- Present circumstances
- Future circumstances
- Powers (realm of evil)
- Anything else in ALL creation
I’m pretty sure that list covers every situation we could encounter. Do you know what we are? We are more than conquerors! We are secure! We are eternally loved with a love that is so unlike any human love we struggle to comprehend it! We have been guaranteed that absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Jesus Christ is perfect love and perfect love casts out all fear. Believe what God says about you, and live today and every day as the Spirit-filled Conqueror you were created to be!