Dear radio friends,
Sometimes we are left speechless. We simply cannot find words to express how we feel. This can happen after a blow, or the weight of sorrow, has shattered our life and left us speechless. David speaks of this in Psalm 39:9 —“I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” Whatever that horrible experience was for David, he had this comfort, that it was not by chance but by the gracious hand of a sovereign Father in heaven.
But there are other times when we are left speechless before an undeserved and unimaginable kindness and love shown to us. We simply do not know what to say. Have you ever experienced that?
When the apostle Paul, in Romans 8:28-30, finished writing those verses, when the reality of what he had said in those verses fell upon his mind and heart, he said: “What shall we then say to these things?” What things? Amazing, wondrous things! Romans 8:28-30, the truth that God has foreknown His children in love and predestinated, predetermined from all eternity, that we should be conformed to the image of His Son (v. 29); that God went on to call us irresistibly, by the power of His grace, out of the darkness of death and sin, to the light of Christ; that He justified us freely in the blood of Jesus and is now glorifying us, and will give us bodies like Christ in eternal glory. And, therefore, that God now is working all things together for our good, that by His sovereign hand everything in the life of the child of God serves God’s gracious purposes. This leaves Paul speechless! “What shall we then say to these things? How do we respond to them?”
It left him almost speechless. For the connection between Romans 8:30 and 31 is that the apostle Paul will summarize what appears to him so great, beyond the ability of words to express. What can we say to the eternal, matchless, gracious love of God who elects, calls, justifies, and glorifies and who now works all things, everything, both good and evil for our good? What shall we say to that? Well, we will say this: Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
And that God is for us, how are we going to judge that? What are we going to point to? How do we know that God is for us? Well, the apostle says in verse 32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The assurance that God is for us is written in the cross and therefore brings the absolute and rocklike assurance that God will also, if He has given us Christ, will also freely give us all things with Christ.
This is true for you as a child of God today. No matter the way that God in His sovereignty leads you as His child today, you take up your place before the cross of Jesus Christ. And in the light of that cross you judge the events of your life. God is for you. And God works all things for your good. If you are a Christian in name; if you live a careless, sinful life; if your Christianity is but a mask for your own rebellion against God and hardened heart, then you cannot drink of this fountain of perfect water. Then the call of God to you is: Repent.
But standing as needy sinners, convicted of our need of Christ and amazed by God’s grace, we stand speechless. God did not spare His own Son for us.
When the apostle says in verse 31 that God is for us, he means that in gracious love He has come to our side and wills to do us good. It is the conclusion of what he has been saying in verses 28-30. As I said, verses 28-30 are marvelous things. And Paul says the conclusion of it is this: God is for us. In those verses (vv. 28-30), the apostle spoke of the fact that God foreknew or elected who would be saved before they were even born. He predestinated them and freely determined whom He would conform to the image of His Son. He went on to say that those are also called. They are called irresistibly by God’s own voice in their heart, out of their sin, to Himself. They are justified. And they shall be and are being glorified.
How shall we say all of that? How can we put that all together? We put it together this way: God is for us. That is how we express the wonder of the infinitely exhaustless gospel of grace. God is for us.
Now ponder that. There are no more precious words in all of the world than: God is for me. In the midst of every story, how precious to look upon the cross with the evidence and say, “This I know, that God is for me” (Ps. 41:11). When I do not know anything else, I know this: that God is for me.
And there are no more horrible words in all of the world that you could ever hear than this: God is against you. If the omnipotent wrath of God is against you and you remain yet in your sin apart from Christ; if God is against you, then obliteration would be a sweet thing. There is the false teaching among some in the Christian church called annihilationism. This is the teaching that the wicked are simply at the end annihilated, that they are given no existence, that, therefore, God is neither for them nor against them because they are gone, they do not exist.
But this can never be. This is false. This is delusion. The soul of man exists. God ( Gen. 2) created man a living soul. And if God is against you, you will not be annihilated. You will suffer for an eternity in hell, justly, for your sins.
But the text is speaking of inexpressibly and unspeakably good news: God is for us freely, graciously, willingly, to predestinate and to call and to justify and to glorify us in His Son. God is for us. We read in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now [right now] no condemnation to” those who are in Christ Jesus. God is entirely for us, never against us. God says, “I am, every second of every day, for you.” None of our sicknesses are against us, the loss of a job, the rejection of a friend, the struggle in a family; when God leads us through a dark, dark tunnel; when with Psalm 4 we say, “Who will show us any good”; when we are in trial, like cancer, or the waywardness of a child or of a loved one—all of this is not the crack of the whip of God’s retribution. No, God is for us, not against us, in and through all things—in both ease and in pain, in joy and in sorrow, in good and in evil. Not, sometimes God is for us and sometimes not. Not, sometimes God rules and other times the Devil slips one in. No, always! God is for us. He works all things for our good (Rom. 8:28).
And, to underscore this, Paul asks: Who can be against us? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).
Now, what answer do you think that Paul is expecting? The answer is plain enough. Nobody. Nothing. If God is for us, who can be against us? The answer is: No one.
What does that mean? And, we might ask: Is that really so? We often feel like many things are against us. We get down, we are depressed, we become bitter or hopeless. It is easy for us to respond with Jacob in Genesis 42:36 when his sons brought him news that Simeon their brother had been kept as a prisoner in Egypt and that they could not go back unless they took dear Benjamin with them. Jacob said to his sons: “Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” Jacob said, “These things are tearing me down.”
The apostle Paul corrects him and says, “Nothing can be against us. Who can be against us if God is for us?” And the answer is: No one, nothing. Nothing can successfully be against us. Nothing can destroy the work of God.
More. Everything in the hand of God is used as a servant for our spiritual and our eternal life. Oh, the Devil is against us. He seeks to harden and to deceive and to blind us in sin. Men can steal; men can slander; and men can hurt you. You can be sick. You can be confined to four walls. Leukemia can come to your child; you can lose your job; you can see a child hardened in sin. Or you might have to walk in a way of personal darkness, in which you say you see no light. But Romans 8:28 says, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The darkness that is sent to you; the things that you measure as being against you—in and through them all God works His saving good.
If that is not true; if verse 28 of Romans 8 is not true; if verses 30 and 31 of Romans 8 are not true—then we should pitch the whole Bible. Then we have no hope. But it is not true, that is, it is not true that there are things outside of the hand of God. In everything, without exception, God works and is working for us. And, therefore, in that sense, nothing can be against us.
What a difference this makes. The world chooses its lifestyle because it fears. It fears sickness, loss of job, and terror. Therefore they live the way they do—out of fear. By the grace of God we follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and we remember that in His cross and in the hand of a sovereign God, all things serve our eternal good.
But, you say, “Where is the evidence of this? We still do not see it.” So the apostle, or the Holy Spirit, continues in verse 32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The apostle is saying, “The cross is the evidence that God is for us and that nothing can be against us.”
We have here the solid logic of God. There is an argument being given in verse 32 from the greater to the lesser. And the argument is that if the greater is true, then the lesser must also be true. We have an argument here from the hard to the easy, or from the insurmountable to the surmountable. Children use this type of logic and argument all the time. A little boy will bring to you, his father, his toy, or a little girl her doll, and will say, “Fix it, Daddy.” It is a little thing. They are confident that you will do that little thing because they are confident of a greater thing, that you love them.
So, if God did not spare His own Son, if that great reality and truth abides forever true, that God gave His own Son and did not spare Him the punishment that we deserved, then is it not also true that God will freely give us all things with Christ? Here is the great thing that God did: He gave His own Son to the spitting, to the lashes, to the nails, to the jeers, to the spear, to the mockery, to the betrayal, to the abandonment—all of which was due to us. The burden of the wrath of God against our sins fell upon Him, and He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” If God did that, and He did do that, then nothing will stop Him in giving us all things together with Christ.
You see, you must not judge your life as a child of God with your eye, with your feelings, or with your mind—but from the hill of Mount Calvary. There you stand, and you say, “If God so loved me, if God so gave Him for me, will He not now also give me all things for my eternal and spiritual good?” The emphasis here in verse 32 of Romans 8 falls upon the words “His own Son.” On that we must be clear. It is the very center of our salvation and our hope. All religions are not one. Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, Jewish—all are not one because His own Son means that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Jesus Christ is not a prophet among the prophets. He is not a man whom God found and adopted and who became a great and a godlike man. We read in Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” God sent His own Son, meaning that He was God’s Son before He was born in the flesh, of the virgin Mary. He is not an angel, He is not the best of men, He is not the prophet of prophets. Jesus Christ is the uncreated, eternal, co-equal God. He is the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
By the grace of God, we are Christians. We believe in God’s own Son. God, without profit to be gained to Himself, gave His own Son, His dearly beloved Son, the Son in whom He was well-pleased. He spared not His own Son, says the apostle. Everything that God would want to spare His Son, He did not spare Him. He did not keep Him back from the shame and from the awful abuse and from the full deluge of His wrath owed against our sins. A horrible thing happened to His Son: Gethsemane, the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Herod, soldiers, the nails pounded into His flesh, the three hours of darkness. In all of it, God was pouring out on Him the punishment that we deserved. He did not spare His own Son. God did not shield Him, but delivered Him up for us all.
And how shall we express this? It all comes together at the cross—the divine love of God and the divine hatred for sin. The love of God gave His Son, and the divine hatred of sin gave to His Son all that our sins deserve. All that the sins of God’s elect deserved, Jesus bore upon the cross. He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. God did this.
The very same words, “delivered Him up,” that the apostle uses in verse 32, are used in the Bible for the action of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, Pilate, Herod, and the Jewish people, and for us as well. We gave Him up. But Paul says that the ultimate truth is that God delivered Him over to the cross in and through, under and above, all these things. God did this. We read in Acts 2:23: Christ, “being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Judas in his plotting, the Jewish Council in their hatred, Pilate in his cowardice, Herod in his indifference, the soldiers in their cruelty—yes. But God did this. God did not spare Him. And why? That we should not perish. God is for us. Romans 8:29: He predestinated us that we should be conformed to the image of His Son.
Well, if that is true, then the consequence is also true. How shall He not with Christ also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32 is one of the greatest verses in all of the Bible. You should write it out on a card and tape it on the dashboard of your car. You should make a plaque and hang it on the wall. Or make one of those pretty needle-works and hang it in the window for the light to come through it. You cannot wear this out. It is the cross. God did not spare His own Son. And then the benefits: How shall He not also freely give us all things? Holding them together is God’s solid logic: If God has done this, the greatest, then God shall also do the lesser. He will work all things for our good.
This is how one lives who is saved, by the grace of God, in the cross. This is the confidence that we have in Him. We have every spiritual blessing. He will give us all things with Christ. Everything that God worked, God works out of His own infinite wisdom for our spiritual good. If you believe that Christ died for you, you must believe that. Standing at the cross, how can it be that God will not give me, spiritually, all things that I need today? How can it be that God will not work all things for my good?
God does what is good for us always. If you believe that He gave His own Son for you, that is what you believe. And the Christian life is living out of that faith. God is for me. God did not spare His own Son. God will give me in Christ always what I need and will work all things for my eternal and spiritual good.
Look to the cross, look to the marvelous love of God and fear no more. Be speechless before the wonder.
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for the Word. We pray for its blessing upon our souls today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.