Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be 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 God’s sovereign grace, they shall be set free! 1
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.2
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: He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.3
Also, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.4
Certainly not the gates of hell: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.5
Cannot be the sin itself: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.6
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Not even Hell itself nor Death herself: And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.7
God has perfectly and completely conquered the wicked foe! God is the David who flung the single head shot 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, our David pulled the sword from the sheath, and bared the weight of this own Cross, and sliced open the neck of our enemies once and for all.
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, for here is love.