Summary: How can you be sure? When it comes to heaven, how can you be sure that you’re going to make it? Christ the King gives us the sure confidence that heaven awaits us as he turns us to the power of his love in the past, present and future.
How can I be sure? You’re looking at the sign that says “Best Price Guaranteed” but how can you really be sure? So you pull out your phone and go to Amazon just to make sure that you’re really getting what you were promised. You stand there looking at a car or a new appliance. You want to make sure that you’re getting what is promised, and so you do you read reviews and take it for a test drive. You’re about to purchase a house, but before doing so, you want to make sure that your purchase is a good one, so you get a home inspection. You just want to make sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting.
How about when it comes to heaven? Are there ever times when you wonder, “How can I really be sure that I’m going to arrive safely in the glory of heaven?” Remember what we learned last weekend in the verses leading up to the ones we’re going to study today. In Romans 8:29,30 the Apostle Paul wrote, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29,30). Yes, God foreknew, predestined, conformed, called, and justified us for the glory of heaven. But how can I be sure that I’m going to make it to that glorious place? The sinful world can be so convincing people to compromise on what the Bible teaches. The devil’s lies can seem so good. After all, if a perfect Adam and Eve fell for the devil’s lies, what kind of chance do we stand? My fight against sin is not always so successful. The sinful world seems so strong and I feel so weak. How can I be sure that I’m going to make it?
That’s what this final section of Romans 8 talks about. It begins by reminding you of who is on your side. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32). What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to sacrifice a few hours to watch a football game or to sit in a deer stand? You are if those things are important to you. You are only willing to give up something (time, money, comfort, personal desires) for things that are important to you. These verses remind you of what God the Father was willing to give up for you. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.”
When we think of the crucifixion, we naturally think of Jesus. Afterall, he is the one hanging on the cross and suffering. But have you ever thought about the suffering of God the Father watching his Son go through the crucifixion? If you are a parent who has had to watch your child be in pain, you understand how excruciating that is. You would do nearly anything to make that pain stop. God the Father watched as his Son Jesus willingly suffer the eternity of hell as he hung the cross. What must have made it even more difficult was that his Son had done nothing to deserve it. Instead, this was the suffering that was required for our sins. This was the death that was necessary for God to give you eternal life. That’s how important you are to God. He allowed his Son to be punished in our place so that we could be called his sons and daughters forever. If God was willing give up that much for you to have the glory of heaven, don’t you think that he is going to do everything in his power to make sure that you get it? If God was willing to pay that high of price, do you think that he is going to just let someone slip away from him? You are far too valuable to him to let that happen. Jesus sacrificed his life for you.
That powerful love that Jesus demonstrated for you in the past has not diminished one bit. Remember what Jesus is doing for you right now! Look again at verses 33, 34, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:33,34). Whenever the devil gets the nerve enough to march into the throne room of heaven and call for your condemnation because of the sins that you have committed, Jesus is right there to intercede for us. He is doing exactly what God promised in John 3:17,18, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned” (John 3:17,18). Jesus is right there as our intercessor to plead our case before God the Father. And it doesn’t actually take much pleading, just some pointing. Jesus points to the empty cross and says to his Father, “It was there that I was condemned and punished for that person’s sin. There is no condemnation for those whom you have called to be your own through faith. My resurrection from the dead sealed the deal once and for all. There is only forgiveness, peace and life.” And what can the devil say in response? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He retreats with his tail between his legs knowing that he has no hope of changing God’s mind about you.