Summary: Nothing can separate us from God’s love
Power in the Blood
This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. The words in verses 31-39, especially make such a powerful statement about God’s love in Jesus. These verses are used quite often at funerals because they seem to be what people need to hear when a loved one dies: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress,….” Did you notice that Paul asks a lot of questions in these verses? You may have asked them a time or two yourselves. You see, when we grieve we often have questions. “Why did my child die?” or “What will I do now that my spouse of 35 years is gone?”
That is where our faith comes in, in verse 28 where we read that, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.” A statement we have trouble with after losing a child or a spouse or any other tragedy you want to think of. Those are questions that we don’t have answers to. Only God has those answers. Those are “why” questions and Paul wants us to focus on the “who” questions he’s asking. Paul asks these questions to challenge us to focus upon God and believe that He loves us and is always in control, even at times when it seems that death has won.
The first question I would like us to examine is: “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” God is the Judge and He has already acquitted us. And since “It is God who justifies.” our justification can never be overthrown. 2 Cor. 5:21 tells us, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." You might remember a few weeks ago when I told you that being “justified” means that it is “just if I’d” never sinned. We are secure from all charges against us; if we have been declared "not guilty" by the highest Judge in the land, who can bring additional charges against us?
Paul then asks, "Who is to condemn?” You’ve heard the words of condemnation just like I have. "There’s no way God could love you, you’re a sinner!” Where do those words of condemnation come from? Well, they don’t come from God. Those words come from one who doesn’t want us in the arms of our father. Revelation 12:10 tells us that there is one who stands before God day and night accusing Christians of sin. He is the one whose name means "accuser." We call him Satan.
So can’t you just picture it? Here’s God the Judge sitting behind this huge bench and we’re brought before Him, Satan starts ranting about our sins, all the terrible things we done in our lives. But we have the greatest defense attorney in the world! “It is Christ Jesus…who indeed intercedes for us.” Jesus sits there patiently while Satan jumps around, yelling about how bad we are and that we don’t deserve to go to Heaven. Finally, exhausted, Satan slumps in a chair, a smile on his face because he knows what a lousy sinner we are and he’s confident he’s won his case. God asks Jesus what his defense for you is. Jesus rises and approaches the bench and wordlessly hold out his hands. God says “case dismissed” and Satan storms out, defeated again.
With that in mind, we come to my favorite verse in this passage, Paul’s question of, “If God is for us, who is against us?”
Now, Paul could have asked simply, "Who is against us?" and there would have been many answers. Every person who lives has some form of opposition. We all face disease, disappointment, or difficult circumstances at different times in our lives. But that’s not the question Paul asked. His question is, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" And that’s a whole other question.
Now note that the one who wrote these words knew very well who was against him. The Jews were against him. The Romans were against him. The false teachers were against him. The magicians in Ephesus were against him. Satan and all his followers were against him. For he’s the one who also wrote, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Based upon the premise that God is “for us,” Paul wants us to think about the implications. “If God is for us [as He most certainly is], who is against us?” Paul’s not saying that we have no opposition. His question is intended to point out the insignificance of any opponent in light of the fact that God is for us.