What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Back in the 80's I attended a sleepover at my karate school. Mostly, we played games and watched movies. It was awesome. I stayed up the whole night. At some point in the early morning I watched a movie called No Retreat, No Surrender. The main character was in a David vs. Goliath fight with Jean Claude Van Damme in order to defend the honor of his master. He got destroyed. Van Damme demolished him, and his confidence. But then, the spirit of Bruce Lee showed up and trained him. And, when he finally got his rematch, he was victorious.
Basically, with Bruce Lee, the main character could do anything. I so wanted Bruce Lee to have my back. If Bruce Lee trained me, I could beat anyone.
So when I first read Romans 8:31 and found out that God is on my side, I should have been super excited, in the "Bruce Lee is going to train me" sense of the word.
But, I wasn't.
I wasn't because when I read that verse, my mind immediately asked the following question:
Why should God be for us?
- We don't deserve his love
- We sin against him daily
- We ignore his call on our life
- We are disobedient
What kind of person would continue to say, "yeah, I'm on your side" when all we do, it seems, is kick dirt on his name?
Maybe you've thought something similar.
Maybe you've completed the verse with your own ending:
- If God is for us, then why do bad things happen?
- If God is for us, then why did cancer strike?
- If God is for us, then why is this still a struggle?
- If God is for us, then why did that marriage fall apart?
- If God is for us, then why did they have to die?
Fill in your major complaint, hurt, struggle, pain, or memory.
What do we do with Romans 8:31? Well, like most of the Bible, when a verse doesn't make sense, we should go back and read the verses leading up to it, and the verses after it.
We have taken a pretty close look at the verses leading up to this. We've spent the last 7 weeks talking about everything leading up to this one grand statement.
So what do we know?
- There is no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus
- God sent his own son to do what the law could not do
- Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace
- You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you
- When God adopted you, you received the Spirit
- All of creation has been groaning in pain right up until the present time
- God causes everything to work together for the good of those that love God
Let's see if we can put this all into one sentence.
God will never condemn you because he loves you, you aren't alone, the whole world is in pain just like you, but if you love God then you will receive the Spirit of God and he will always provide exactly what you need.
It seems like everything we've learned up until now has proven that God is definitely on our side. No matter how many times the Jean Claud Van Damme's of the world demolish us, we can always get back up and continue to fight because God is for us, and no one, not even Bruce Lee (or Chuck Norris) can take that away from us.
Instead of trying to close this series out with some super insightful words, I'm just going to let Paul do it.
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.