Hello, my name is Trillia Newbell and I am looking forward to talking to you about the hope we have in Romans 8. What interesting times we are in! I’m going to talk about one of the rhetorical questions that Paul addresses. A rhetorical question is asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point, rather than to be answered. But during this time, it’s almost as if Paul is saying, “If God did all of these things for you, he provided his Son for you, how would he not also grant you all things?” Read Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
That is where we are going to focus. If God is for us, who can be against us? “God is for us” means that God is on our side, he’s working on our behalf. One commentary wrote that God is continually, always giving himself to others for the benefit of others.
Tim Keller once said, “Who dare wake a king at 3 AM but a child? That’s the kind of access you have.” That’s the kind of access we have! He is for us, with us, always working for our good, which is amazing! God is on our side! That is good, good news right now to a weary, discouraged world – to us. If we’re honest, we’ve had moments of being discouraged and weary. I had a moment just earlier – I heard of a pastor who died and my heart sank and my throat felt like it was closing with anxiety and I had to ask the Lord for help, immediate help, and pray for the people who lost and who are losing their loved ones. But the fact is, we know that God is for us and with us and that we can come to his throne of grace in our time of need and that is such a comfort. So if this is true, who can be against us? Here’s the answer: everyone and everything can actually be against us. People will be against you. Paul, the writer of Romans, had everything and everyone against him. Listen to this in 2 Corinthians 11. He wrote: “Five times I received at the hand of the Jews the 40 lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. A day and a night I was adrift at sea. On frequent journeys in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, dangers from false brothers, in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night in hunger and thirst, often without food.” This was Paul – in cold and exposure.
And apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all of the churches. Paul had everything against him and yet he could write, “If God is for us, who could be against us?” Who? Paul had pressures and he suffered greatly. We have pressures and suffer greatly. There are things that will come against us, but what this text is saying is not that your circumstances are going to be perfect or that nothing will ever be a pressure or a trial. Actually, through the whole of Scripture we see that there are going to be trials, many trials! But God is saying to us that though these things will try to come against us, nothing can ultimately thwart God’s good plans for us. Nothing! Nothing can ultimately come against us because we have God. Ultimate: even the evil plans of others turn out for our good. That’s remarkable and amazing and such good news.
An early church writer wrote this – and excuse the language here, it’s a little old – “Yet those that be against us, so far as they from thwarting us at all, that even without their will they become to us the causes of crowns and procurers of countless blessings. In that, God’s wisdom turneth their plots unto our salvation and glory.” See how, really, no one can come against us. God, in his goodness to us, works all things together for the good of those who love him. If we read the rest of that Scripture, it points to that: God is for us. Nothing can thwart his good plans for us. Nothing can ultimately come against us and, most importantly, nothing, no one, no trial, no tribulation, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
I‘m going to read the rest of this chapter for you because it is so encouraging: “So 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? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us right now.”
Jesus is interceding for us right now. That is our hope! “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No! As it is written, for your sake we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen! Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. If you have placed your faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, you are secure in him. Nothing can ultimately come against you, nothing will separate you from the love of God, no trial, no tribulation.
These are hard times, and we have to remind our hearts of the hope we have in the gospel. Remind yourself, preach it to yourself. I will need to, you will need to, because the days are evil. So we need to ask God to help and remind us that he is with us, he is for us, and that we can run to his throne of grace, and that Jesus is interceding right now for us. He is alive and we can go to him.
Watch the full video: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-w8XFIFeWe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
TRILLIA NEWBELL is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts (2016), Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015), United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014), a children’s book, God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family, and a six-week Bible study on Romans 8, If God is For Us: The Everlasting Truth of Our Great Salvation. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at www.trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.
This content originally appeared at www.moodypublishers.com/help for the Moody Publishers Rethink Rhythms. Find Joy. campaign. Used by permission.