And here is love:
Romans 8:31 (CSB) What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
The love of God cannot be simply defined by the merest of affections and words that we might share with one another. Is our relationship to our spouse, children, family, coworkers, or neighbor compare to one’s relationship with God? Although our relationships should be held in the light of God’s relationship with us, it is preposterous to think that anybody we know would compare to God is perfect in all things especially when it comes to love.
Yet, if we are not careful or perhaps we just do not know any better, we can let what other people do and say including circumstances and abuse and trauma and failures dictate what love is all about. Never mind the fact that we sin and we fail and we have fallen short of what is good and right.
John so boldly stated that God is love but we have no right nor authority to redefine what love is in light of our past experiences and current situation. In order to find out what good and perfect love is, we have to go to the One who is love.
How do we do that? How can we go to God and define what love actually is. We can certainly go by what he said. But when it comes to God’s love for us, we see time and time again in the Bible that God does not use just mere words but concretely and certainly backs up those words with real action. Namely:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Christ’s death is not only the ultimate display of love for any living creature on this earth, it is the fullest display of all the attributes of God. It the absolute proof that God will stop at nothing to save His people and bring them back to himself—even if it meant the death of His Son.
So when we see the question that Paul asks in verse 31, we must understand that question is not merely rhetorically or unspecifically generic, but instead, there is a correct and direct answer that Paul is searching.
Fair enough. Shall we look in the context of the verse in order to get the answer? My friends, I suggest to you it is mere more than just a few verses before or even the chapter 8 itself. Not to be overly dramatic, but I think at bare minimum, we have to consider every single thing Paul said in his Epistle to the church in Rome and examine and thinking through these things.
Let us walk through from Romans 1:1 to where we are at now in 8:37 for the straight facts:
- Romans 1:1-17 The Gospel of God - The gospel is the power of God in salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek, and in that same gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for it is written, “the just shall live by faith”. To that end, we are cannot be ashamed.
- Romans 1:18-32 The Depravity of Man - God’s wrath from heaven is revealed against those who suppress the truth of God and by doing so, do not believe in and obey God.
- Romans 2 Our Stony Hearts towards him and yet His Soft Heart towards us - While our hearts remained hardened towards Him and his gospel, God continues to be slow to anger, rich in kindness and patience and abounding in steadfast love in hopes that we would repent.
- Romans 3:1-8 The Law of God - Those who were born without the law will perish without the law. However, those who were born under the law had every advantage of the nature and being of God and yet perish because they do not seek nor love God.
- Romans 3:9-20 Everyone is Unrighteous - All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
- Romans 3:21-26 We are saved by grace alone
- Romans 3:27-31 There is no boosting - We have done nothing yet God has done everything to save us
- Romans 4:1-8 We do not put God into our debt
- Romans 4:9-25 We are saved by faith alone
- Romans 5:1-8 God did not save us because we were good but because we were sinners
- Romans 5:9-11 We were once enemies of God and now we are reconciled to God
- Romans 5:12-21 We were dead because of Adam and because of our own sins but we live because of Christ and what he has done in us
- Romans 6:1-14 Where law increased the sin, the grace of God abounded all the more
- Romans 6:15-23 Likewise, our old selves are dead and buried in the ground Because Christ has risen, we have risen with him through faith in him who saved us. Further still, we are no longer obedient to sin but slaves to righteousness
- Romans 7:1-6 We are released from the yoke of the law so now we have the ability to obey the law of God freely
- Romans 7:7-13 Even still, I struggle with obeying God
- Romans 7:14-24 I am wretched! Who will save me?
- Romans 7:25 Christ Jesus is his name!
- Romans 8:1 Because I am in him and He is in me, there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for me
- Romans 8:2 Once dead, now alive
- Romans 8:3 Cannot be saved by the law, can only be saved by Christ alone
- Romans 8:4 Christ is the righteous requirement for his people
- Romans 8:5-8 There are only two paths: One, being led by the flesh which does not possess the ability nor the will nor the power to please God which only ends in death; Two, being led by the Spirit of God which only leads to life abundantly and pleasures every more.
- Romans 8:9 We are led by the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells within us
- Romans 8:10 If Christ is in us, we are alive because of the righteousness of God
- Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of Christ who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, the Spirit of Christ will give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us.
- Romans 8:12 We are not debtors to our old selves We are free from our old dead selves!
- Romans 8:13 But if by the strength and might of the Spirit of Christ, if you place your hands upon the neck of your sins and choke it unto death, you will live!
- Romans 8:14 If you are led by the Spirit of God, you are a son of God. Period. End of discussion.
- Romans 8:15 You are no longer a slave to fear, but you are a son of God who by the Spirit we can call upon our Father in heaven!
- Romans 8:16 You no longer have to defend yourself—the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God
- Romans 8:17 And because we are sons of God, we are heirs of God and coheirs with the Son of God who has inherited the whole world
- Romans 8:18 Here’s a promise of God: we will suffer but we will receive his glory
- Romans 8:19-21 Even all of creation, which was subjected to death because of our sin, waits and groans for all of the children of God to be finally and completely saved
- Romans 8:23 Along with creation, we also wait eagerly to be saved perfectly and completely
- Romans 8:24 For it is in the hope that is Christ Jesus that we are saved
- Romans 8:25 While we wait and hope, the Spirit of God gives us strength where we are weak; the Holy Spirit intercedes for us
- Romans 8:26-27 The Spirit of God searches hearts, knows the mind of God, and intercedes for us according to the will of God
- Romans 8:28 No matter what we go through or what happens to us, all of those things are meant for our good—for it is only for those who are called according to his purpose.
- Romans 8:29 To those whom he saw as sinners and extended grace to them, He has decided that he would mold, shape, and nurture his children to look like His Son so that his Son would be the eldest Brother
- Romans 8:30a For every single person he predestined, he called.
- Romans 8:30b For every single person he called, he justified.
- Romans 8:30c For every single person he justified, he glorified.
So what shall we say to all of these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
But who can actually go against us? We know for sure that it is not the people on this earth. They are not our real enemies. They are prisoners of war and by only God’s sovereign grace and mercy, they shall be set free!
Isaiah 61:1–3 (CSB) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify him.
Luke 4:16–21 (CSB) He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
What are our actually enemy? Paul perfectly defines it:
Ephesians 6:10–12 (CSB) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.
So if the ONLY ones could go against us would be the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil, then let us see what the Bible says about our real enemies.
Who can go against us?
Definitely not the rulers and authorities of this age, namely, Satan and his demons:
Colossians 2:15 (CSB) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.
Romans 16:20 (CSB) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
What about the gates of hell:
Matthew 16:13–20 (CSB) When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” Then he gave the disciples orders to tell no one that he was the Messiah.
Certainly cannot be the sin you have done:
Colossians 2:13–14 (CSB) And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.
What about the sin you will commit?:
Romans 5:8 (CSB) But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalm 103:8–14 (CSB) The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.
Not even Hell itself nor Death itself:
Revelation 20:13–14 (CSB) Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
If God is for us, who is against us?
Who is left standing against the children of God?
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! When the people of God announced to the world that there is one God who reigns over heaven, earth, and hell, completely decimated the walls of Jericho.
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! God is the David who flung the single headshot to the vicious enemy of God who is Goliath who only came to kill, steal, and destroy the children of God while we sit and trembled in fear, loathing, and doubt before our mighty Savior. And with that thundering smashing of the pebble against the the skull of the Giant that struck him dead, our David pulled the sword from sin’s sheath, and bared the weight of this own Cross, and sliced open the neck of our enemies once and for all.
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! God is the raised hand of Moses who turned the tide of war in favor of the Israelites.
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe!: Christ is the heel of that crushes the head of the serpent!
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! Christ is the dead bronze serpent mounted on a pole so that everyone who looked upon him will live!
John 3:14–15 (CSB) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe!
Christ is the worthy lamb that was slained! Christ is crucified for us!
John 19:28-30 (CSB) After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! Because Christ was crucified and has conquered, we are saved to Him forever.
Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
So, again, I ask you:
If God is for us, who is against us?
The question that Paul asked was never rhetorical.
The absolute answer is that no one can ever stand against us because of everything God has done in us.
Give thanks, saint, for here is love. God has saved you!
Thanks be to God!
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