What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32 ESV
God’s redemptive plan is perfect and complete. Paul reminds us that “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV). In spite of all of the suffering, heartache, difficulty or pain we may see or experience in this life, God’s purpose regarding our salvation and ultimate glorification will be done. He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee and as a constant reminder of His love for us and constant presence with us. He is in the process of transforming us into the likeness of His Son. He is using the presence of His Spirit within us and the constant pressure of difficulties that are always around us, to mature and perfect us.
So Paul asks us a question. What shall we say to these things? To what “things” is Paul referring? Most likely he is pointing back to all that he has discussed in the verses that have preceded.
• We have been set free from the law of sin and death
• We now walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh
• We are putting to death the deeds of the flesh with the help of the Spirit
• We are led by the Spirit
• We are adopted sons and daughters of God
• We are children of God and fellow heirs of Christ
• We experience suffering in this life just as Jesus did
• We have our future glorification to look forward to
• We have the Spirit to help is in our current weakness
• We have the Spirit’s assistance even when we pray
• We have the assurance that God’s plan for us is perfect
• We can know that all things really do work together for our ultimate good
• We can rest in the fact that we will one day be glorified
So how should be our response to all of “these things”? With an awareness that God is for us. That He is on our side and in complete control, regardless of what we may see going on all around us. If God is for us, who can be against us? Even Satan himself can’t stand against the purposes of God for our lives. He can’t thwart the plan of God. Jesus made that point clear when He said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT). Satan will attempt to steal our joy, kill our faith and destroy our hope in God. He will bombard us with reasons to doubt. Just as he did with Eve in the garden, Satan will whisper in our ear, “Did God actually say…?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV). He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). But Paul started out this great chapter with the reassuring words, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ESV). Satan can attack us. He can accuse us. He can attempt to demoralize us and distract us from our God-given purpose. He can try to derail God’s plan for us. But if God is for us, who can be against us?
Paul gives us undeniable proof of God’s unwavering love for and commitment to us. He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us. Earlier, in chapter five, Paul wrote, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV). Jesus, the Son of God, “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25 ESV). “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6 ESV). If God was willing to give His own Son as the sacrifice for our sins, “will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 ESV). God WILL conform us to the image of His Son. God WILL supply all our needs. God WILL answer our prayers. God WILL work all things together for our good. God WILL one day redeem our bodies. God WILL one day give us our full inheritance as His sons and daughters. God WILL one day complete His purposes for us by glorifying and perfecting us. So what should be our response to these things? Gratitude. Obedience. Praise. Joy. Peace. Hope. Trust. Contentment. Faith. Boldness. Fearlessness. If God is for us, there is no one or nothing that can stand against us. I am reminded of the words from an the old hymn, Leaning On The Everlasting Arms.
Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.