Summary: God is sovereign

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Romans 8:31-39

John Shearhart

November 7, 2010

I remember once when I heard someone ask, “So, if you fell off a cliff and said a curse word on the way down, would you go to heaven or hell?”

Many of us believe in the eternal security of the believer (once-saved-always-saved), but do we know why we believe it, and do we understand all the implications?

What's the basis for assurance?

Are we sure because of our faith or because we know we made a decision?

What if we lose faith? What if we change our minds? Shouldn't it be assumed that if God saves us because of our faith that if we lose faith then we can also lose salvation? The way I understand it, that's the only logical conclusion.

So, I’ll ask again, what's the basis for assurance?

I'm suggesting that it doesn't begin with our faith (not that that’s not important) but rather it begins at God's love for His elect.

Remember what we read last week:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom. 8:28-30, NASB).

God loved those whom He foreknew and He therefore predestined us for glorification—to be conformed to the image of Christ.

We’re going to continue this thought through the rest of chapter eight. We're going to see that because of God's choice there is now no condemnation (:31-34) and therefore no separation between God and the ones He loves (:35-39).

31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

“These things” are the things just mentioned—God predestines the ones He loves to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Now, let’s think about this: If God is sovereign in our salvation, and if He’s sovereign in our sufferings, and if He causes all things to work together for our good, and if He's predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ, then how can anything work against us?

“If God is for us, who is against us?”

God is sovereign in all things.

Those who reject the sovereignty of God in salvation (those who say that everything is left to man’s free will apart from God’s choosing) have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to His sovereignty in anything else. Has God saved those He loves or hasn't He? Is salvation sort of up for grabs, and maybe God's closing His eyes and crossing His fingers hoping for “just one more good decision”?

If He hasn't made up His mind yet or if He's waiting to see what man will do, then how can He promise that our sufferings are for our good? What if we ultimately reject God and turn from the faith? Is that for our good if we go to hell?

If He isn't sovereign in our salvation, and if He's sitting up in heaven hoping that all men will just turn from sin and be saved, then isn't this verse for all men in general?

“If God is for us, who is against us?”

How can He promise that He's for us and that nothing can stand against us if we’re actually slaves of sin and of Satan? How can He make that promise if we’re actually dead in our trespasses and under the power of death?

If God is for all men because of His will to see them all conformed to Christ's image, then won't ALL men be conformed because God is on their side?

“If God is for us, who is against us?”

But if God is sovereign in salvation and suffering and everything else, and if He chooses us in love before the foundation of the world, and if He works to see that we're conformed to the image of His Son, then we can say that God is for us, and that nothing (not a single thing) can thwart God's purpose so that all things are caused to work together for our good.

“If God is for us, then who's against us?”

32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Why did Christ die? Was it to save the world in general? Was His sacrifice in hopes that at least one person would come to faith in Him, or is the reason more specific?

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