Summary: If God be for us, who can be against us?
CALLED TO BE CONQUERORS, CONFORMED TO CHRIST
We are, it seems, surrounded by “infirmities” (Romans 8:26). These may be caused by lack of strength (which is what the word means), emotional weakness (including ‘burnout’), financial hardships, sickness, or sin. Paul also speaks of the possibility of ‘weakness in faith’ (Romans 4:19).
Sometimes we do not know what to pray; sometimes we do not know how to pray. Yet it is here that we encounter the Holy Spirit: that ‘other Helper’ promised by Jesus (John 14:16). Just as Jesus intercedes for us in heaven (Romans 8:34); the Holy Spirit prays with us (Ephesians 6:18), in us (1 Corinthians 14:14-15), and for us here on earth (Romans 8:26).
It is with His prayers that we, too, receive an audience before God the Father. We pray in the name of Jesus (who is ever interceding on our behalf at God’s right hand), and in the authority of His shed blood. We pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus we, unworthy though we think we are, may ‘boldly’ approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
There is an intensity to the prayer offered by the Spirit which reaches beyond the mere ‘obtaining of an audience’ with God. His intercession reaches beyond mere petition and appeal. With audible sighs and moans the Holy Spirit gives wordless voice to our groaning, and the groaning of creation (Romans 8:26).
Not only this, but we can also be sure that our prayers are heard, because the Holy Spirit’s intercession, like that of Jesus, is also heard. His prayers on our behalf are “according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). This is the efficacy and the power which lies behind all true prayer.
I have often heard unbelievers say, ‘All things work together for good.’ Believers might correct them, adding ‘for those who love God.’ But the whole verse must be put in context, as it continues: “who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God, in His foreknowledge, predestined some out of the mass of fallen mankind to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He called them, justified them, and glorified them (Romans 8:30). He continues to work all things for good in favour of those whom He has “called”: those who thereafter, incidentally, have come to love Him (Romans 8:28).
It is because of the efficacy of this call that Paul, and the believer, can be assured of the affirmations that conclude this chapter. Since God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? The Apostle points us to the cross, and encourages us to embrace all that God so lavishly bestows upon us (Romans 8:32).
Paul goes on to reassure us that there is no-one to accuse us, because God has chosen us (Romans 8:33). Because God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh (Romans 8:3), there is now no-one to condemn us (Romans 8:34): Christ died for us, and the Father accepted the sacrifice of the Son by raising Him from the dead. The Lord is seated at the right hand of God, His work completed (cf. Hebrews 1:3), ever interceding on our behalf.
Who can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-36)? The answer is clear: there is nothing, and no-one, that can possibly separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39)! “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).