The Believer’s Security (Exposition of Romans 8:31-39)

To listen to this sermon online click here.

The events of September 11, 2001 forever changed America. Along with the many adjustments that have been made by America’s approximately 300 million citizens is the new emphasis upon the word – “security.” Security threats, security alerts, and the Department of Homeland Security have now become a part of our national vocabulary. Of course, security has always been important. But 9/11’s exposure of our vulnerability to terrorist attacks has increased our awareness of our need for security. Thankfully, for the child of God the issue of security has been settled by the author of salvation Himself as Paul shows us so eloquently in Romans 8:31-39.

This morning we come to the conclusion of a tremendous chapter of God’s Word. This chapter which began with no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, now ends with no separation from the love of Christ Jesus. The theme of this final paragraph of Romans 8 is the Believer’s Security. This security is demonstrated in two ways. First, by the language of the courtroom. Second, by the love of Christ. Let’s look at Romans 8:31-39 now.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) 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? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Before we examine Paul’s argument for the believer’s security from the language of the courtroom, let’s look at verses 31 and 32 as making a transition between the content of verses 28-30. Our security as believers is bound up in the truths of these three verses. If these things are not true, then we have no security! All these things, however, are true! Therefore, we have real security!

Paul begins this section by asking the question: “What shall we then say to these things?” In other words: “What is our response to God’s foreknowing, predestining, calling, justifying and glorifying us?” The answer (in form of a question): “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Paul does not mean that the Christian has no foes. We have many. The world, the flesh and the devil to name a few! The point is that it doesn’t matter who is arrayed against us, they cannot prevail if God is for us!

What a beautiful expression of the gospel is the phrase: “God for us”! This is the message of verses 28-30. God is for us working all things for our good. God is for us in foreknowing us (predetermining to set His love on us). God is for us in predestining us to be conformed to the image of His Son. God is for us by calling us. God is for us in justifying us. God is for us in glorifying us!

In verse 32, the apostle Paul argues from the greater to the lesser. The argument is that if God has done the greatest possible thing for us, doesn’t it stand to reason He will take care of the small stuff?!?! What has God done? It is what God didn’t do that’s important here. He didn’t spare His own Son! Think of it! When Christ bore our sins, God didn’t spare His own Son! O, what judgment our sin must deserve! The language here is a reminder of the language of Genesis 22 where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. The angel of the Lord stopped him and commended him for not sparing his only son (Gen. 22:12). But Isaac was spared! But on Mount Calvary (which some believe to be the very same hill that Abraham and Isaac stood on nearly 2,000 years earlier), God did not spare His own Son. Instead He plunged the sword of His wrath into His own Son for us! “He delivered him up for us all”! If God was willing to do THAT, don’t you think He will “also freely give us all things?”

Now in the remaining verses of chapter 8, Paul sets forth two powerful arguments for the believer’s security. The first argument is based on the language of the courtroom.

I. The Argument from the Language of the Courtroom, vv. 31-34.
You’ve noticed already how Paul uses rhetorical questions throughout this section to make his point. We’ve already seen one, here’s the second: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” Notice the legal language used here of bringing a charge. The question is who can bring a charge against the people whom God has chosen. The point is not that no one can made an accusation. The devil is called the accuser of the brethren. He is constantly bringing accusations before God against God’s people. The point is, however, that none of his accusations can stand in God’s courtroom. It is not that Satan does not have valid accusations. I don’t think that he has to falsely accuse us, we give him plenty of ammunition to use against us. But the same God who chose us also justified us (see verses 29-30). This means that God has declared the believing sinner to be both “not guilty” and righteous! If you’ve been declared righteous in the courtroom of God, you don’t have anything to worry about. Why? Two reasons:

1. There’s no higher court! There is no court of appeals. This is the Supreme Court! What this court decides is the settled law of the universe!

2. There’s no more holy court! This court is perfectly just because sitting behind the bench is the God who is “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

If this court justifies you, you are justified! Not only that, God is the one who has been sinned against. It is His laws that have been broken. His worship neglected. If He declares you to be righteous, it’s not the devil or anyone else’s business!

The next rhetorical question asked by the apostle Paul in verse 34, still using the language of the courtroom, is: “Who is he that condemns?” Again, the point is not that no one tries. It is that no one can be successful condemning the believer for four important reasons:

1. Christ died! No condemnation is now possible for the one who is in Christ. For as Romans 8:3 tells us, God condemned our sin already in the person of Christ on the cross! As John Newton wrote in his hymn Approach My Soul, the Mercy Seat:

Be Thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!

When Satan brings accusation against you, simply tell him that Christ has died! Who then can condemn us?

2. Christ rose again! The resurrection of Christ is vitally important to our salvation. Paul states in Romans 4:25 that Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul argues that our faith is in vain and we are hopeless if Christ has not been raised from the dead. The Father validated the sacrifice of His Son by raising Him from the dead. As someone said, “The resurrection was God’s ‘Amen!’ to Christ’s ‘It is finished!’!” Bible teacher R.A. Torrey once noted, “The crucifixion loses its meaning without the resurrection. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ was only the heroic death of a noble martyr. With the resurrection it is the atoning death of the Son of God.” Who then can condemn us?

3. Christ is at the right hand of the Father! This is a position of authority! As Jesus said after His resurrection to His disciples, “All authority has been given me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). The one who died for us has been granted all authority, who then can condemn us?

4. Christ makes intercession for us! The same Jesus who died, rose again and ascended to God’s right hand is making intercession for us now! This is security! Our sacrifice sits beside the Father bearing the marks of His mission to save us. These wounds testify to the Father that He has bore our condemnation. His very presence is an intercession for us! His wounds cry out in the words of the hymn Arise, My Soul, Arise by Charles Wesley: “Forgive him, oh forgive they cry! Don’t let that ransomed sinner die!” As Hebrews 7:25 states, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Who then can condemn us?

II. The Argument from the Love of Christ, vv. 35-39.
Another rhetorical question: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Again, Paul does not intend to suggest that nothing will try. In fact, Paul immediately lists several candidates that might attempt to separate us from Christ’s love. They will in the end, however, prove to be unsuccessful!

After listing the circumstances of life that seek to sever us from the love of Christ, the apostle Paul next inserts in his argument a quotation from Psalm 44:22 which states,

For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

After quoting this verse which highlights the constant threat of death experienced by the Roman Christians to whom Paul was writing, he now answers his question regarding the possibility of the success of the aforementioned circumstances of life in severing us from the love of Christ. His answer is “NO!” Not only will they not separate us from Christ’s love, we are “more than conquerors” over these things! The Greek can be literally translated: “super conquerors”! How can we be “super conquerors”? Because the God who makes “all things work together for good” (verse 28) has turned these threatening circumstances in our lives as believers into positives! He has converted our enemies into our friends!

Let me explain. When an army conquers another army there is loss on both sides. One side (the losing side) obviously suffers more losses than the other (the winning side), but there is loss all the same. However, God has made us more than mere conquerors. We experience all the tragedies of this life without loss, only gain. The trials of this life become the gateway to greater blessings. How is this so? This is accomplished in a couple of different ways. First, the trials of this life drive us to Him! Whatever makes us aware of our dependence on God and causes us to turn to Him is good for us! Second, the trials of this life serve to conform us into the image of His Son! This is God’s purpose for us from the start. According to verse 29 this is the reason God predestined us: to be conformed to the image of His Son!” Note how the following passages of Scripture present the trials mentioned in verse 35 as blessings:

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Philippians 1:21, 23

Even death itself, our last and greatest enemy has been changed into our friend by the power of God. That which terrifies the unbelieving world has become a means of entering into perfect eternal fellowship with our Creator.

The final two verses (38-39) are Paul’s conclusion based upon all the above. Here he states,

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is real security! Demonstrated by the language of the courtroom and by the love of Christ!

Conclusion:
As wonderful as it is to say that God is for us, it is equally terrifying to be one whom God is against! This is, however, the sad state of unbelievers. You are being opposed by God! Jesus writes of some who will appear before Him on the day of judgment. His words are a chilling reminder of the importance of putting your faith in Him during this life.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

What a tragedy to be forever cast away from Christ’s presence! To have Christ against you for all eternity! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from your sin today!

To listen to this sermon online click here.

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