Summary: How would you summarize the Gospel message? Do it in one sentence. Now, take what you have, and shorten it. Can you do it? Paul can. He summarizes the Gospel message with just four small words....God...is...for...us!
The message of salvation is the most important thing that we will ever hear in our lives. It is also something that we are called to share as well. If you had to summarize the Gospel message in one sentence, how would you do it? What words or phrases might you use? What things would you mention? Think about it for a few seconds. How would you summarize the Gospel message? Got an idea of what you might say? Now let me throw a wrench in it. Shorten what you came up with. Use the least amount of words as possible. What would you say then? Have a few seconds to do that too. Could you do it? As Paul finishes Romans 8, he summarizes the Gospel message in just four small, simple words. He chose “God…is…for…us!” While it is just four small words, it is a loaded phrase. For it is not only the summary of the Gospel, but also the summary of the first eight chapters of Romans. It is also the theme for our text. This morning, Paul tells us what the summary “God is for us” means for our lives.
Paul writes, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” What are these things? These things are everything that he was written about in Romans so far. He has written that God declares us righteous through faith in Jesus. He has told us that we are saved by faith and not by works. He said we can rejoice in our sufferings and that we have been baptized into Jesus. He tells us that we are no longer slaves to sin and that we have God’s Spirit. He told us two weeks ago that we are God’s children. All of these things show and prove that God is for us. If He wasn’t, He would not have done any of these things. Since God is for us, who can be against us? The answer to that question is no one, nobody, nothing! Paul explains why that it is.
He says, “He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God Who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One Who died-more than that, Who was raised-Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us.” No one can accuse or condemn us because God is for us! Paul uses a court room image here to prove His point. Imagine you are on trial, and you are at the stand. A prosecutor walks up to you, points his finger at you, and begins to bring up charges against you. He says, “This person has been caught red handed about breaking Your laws God. They have not always trusted You. They misuse your name. Their hearts have lusted over others. They are not content with what You have given them. The list can on and on and on. I even have many witnesses that can prove these things. What is your verdict, O God?” God pounds His gavel and declares over the thud, “Not guilty! They are innocent. They are free to go.”
Because of Jesus, and our baptism into His death and resurrection, we have been given His work, righteousness, and merits. God truly declares us not guilty of those sins that we have committed. This is not pretend. Those sins that we are too ashamed to speak about. Those sins that we stumble and struggle with. Those sins that have messed up relationships and opportunities in our lives. Those sins that we hate that we do. All of these are not counted against us and we are seen as innocent before Him. No one, and I mean, no one, can condemn or accuse God’s people because of Jesus. We even have our resurrected and ascended Lord pleading and interceding for us. Nothing can change His verdict. God is for us! No one can accuse or condemn us.
But that is not all that this phrase means for our lives. The fact that God is for us means that we cannot be separated from His love! In sports, when you have a young and upcoming team, an old veteran player is often signed who has won it all and seen it all. This veteran player helps the young team and players get through the slumps, the highs, the lows, and all of the pressures that come during a season. They are a reassuring presence and a source of encouragement. Paul serves as the old veteran player here with what he writes. He has endured the highs, and he certainly has endured the lows. For as Paul tells us that we cannot be separated from God’s love, He speaks from experience! All of these things have happened to him!