Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Security of the Saints (Romans 8:33-36)

In our studies of Romans 8 we have been considering the truth that the things that would work against us and cause us to turn away from the truth of God and our trust in Him are actually being used by God to work for us and not against us. This means that all the trouble that the saints have to endure for the sake of righteousness strengthens their faith instead of stifling it. It is because of this that the saints persevere to the end by patiently enduring all trials and tribulations with complete faith and confidence in God’s love, wisdom, and power on their behalf in and through all situations and circumstances.

We could summarize Romans 8:31-39 like this: God is for us (Romans 8:31); Christ died for us (Romans 8:32); God justified us through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:33); Christ intercedes for us and so we cannot be condemned (Romans 8:34); Christ loves us and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-36); and God loves us and nothing in all creation can separate us from His love which He has given us in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).

The security of the saints is guaranteed based on what God has done and on nothing that we have done. God justified us freely as a gift by His grace without any cause whatsoever in us to merit that gift (Romans 3:24). He chose us by His foreknowledge (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:1-2); He called us through the Gospel (Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28); He predestined us to become conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29); He justified us through Christ (Romans 3:24; Romans 8:30); and He speaks of our glorification in the past tense because of all that He has done for us (Romans 8:30) which means that our salvation is completely by His grace and not based on any works that we have done or will do (Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8-9).

There is one thing that the saint is sure of and it is the truth that God loves him with an out of this world love because he doesn’t and couldn’t deserve to be loved by God. The saint knows that God is for him and not against him and that God has proven it by giving His Son to pay the penalty of capital punishment for him while he was yet a capital offender (Romans 5:8; Romans 8:31-32). With that in mind the saint knows that no person or any problem can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

No person can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:33-34). We notice in these two verses that there are people who would accuse us, charge us with ungodliness and condemn us to hell if it were in their power. We are not to be surprised by this but are to expect it. Jesus told us that the world would hate us because it hated Him and it now hates us because He has chosen us out of the world (John 15:18-19).

These are the people who substitute light for darkness and darkness for light. They call evil, “good” and good, “evil.” They claim to be servants of God although they do not know God nor are they known by Him. They claim to be Christians while labeling true Christians as false. They think that they are serving God when they charge us with ungodliness, insult us, persecute us, falsely say all kinds of evil against us, and would want to kill us (Matthew 5:11; John 16:2).

These are servants of the devil who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 10:13-14), who boast in the flesh (2 Corinthians 11:18), who do not live by faith (Romans 8:5-8), who do not have the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), who do not have accurate knowledge of the way of salvation (Romans 10:2) and who seek to establish a way of salvation that depends in some form or fashion on what they can do for God (Romans 10:3). It is because their understanding of the way of salvation violates God’s way of salvation that they hate, persecute, and would charge God’s elect with ungodliness.

They think they are right when they are wrong and they think those are wrong who are right. They hate the real Gospel and love a false gospel. Therefore they bring charges of arrogance, pride, speaking against the people, speaking against God’s Word, and speaking against God against God’s elect. There are two problems with that: one, the charges are false and two, God is the one who justifies! They cannot undo the justification that God has granted in Christ Jesus. They may bring up our past but that is under the blood. They may bring up our present but that is under the blood. They may bring up our future but that is under the blood. They cannot condemn us because that is not their prerogative. The intercession of the Lord Jesus on our behalf guarantees that all genuine charges are paid in full and that no false charge will be considered as true.

No problem can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-36). Not only will men who are of the world hate us and charge us with ungodliness hoping to condemn us, they will also attempt to get us to water down and compromise the truth in order to separate us from Christ and silence our witness. They will cause us problems.

Notice all the ways that men of the world have at their disposal to try and separate us from our love for Christ and His love for us. First is tribulation which is trouble or pressure of a general sort. They put pressure on us and cause us trouble. Second is distress which carries the idea of strict confinement or being helplessly hemmed in. Third is persecution which refers to affliction suffered for the sake of Christ. Fourth is famine which results when Christians are persecuted and discriminated against in employment and cannot afford to buy enough food to eat. Fifth is nakedness which refers to destitution in which a person cannot adequately clothe himself. Sixth is peril which means to be exposed to danger in general, including danger from treachery and mistreatment. Seventh is the sword which means having to face being murdered or executed because of unwavering commitment to the truth of Christ.

Christians should not be surprised by the problems they have to face for the sake of Christ. It is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered (Psalm 44:22; Romans 8:36). Instead we are to face these problems knowing that no person or no problem can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We are to sing the victory song of the saints to the praise of the glory of His grace.

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