2020 - Romans
God is For Us
This morning we come to the last section of a high place of Scripture; Romans chapter 8. In Romans 8:31-39 we reach the conclusion of Paul’s arguments of the first 8 chapters. If Romans 8 is a high place of scripture… Romans 8:31-39 is the summit!
In reaching the summit of Romans 8, Paul cannot contain himself. Paul breaks out in seven rhetorical questions. Rapid fire questions which all demand decisive answers. It’s like when you get to the summit of a 14er for the first time… “WOW, have you ever seen anything like this before?” Paul’s seven rhetorical question are that kind of questions…
Romans 8:31-35 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? 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
I am not, personally, a big fan of rhetorical questions because sarcastic people will often answer them. So, I’m going to be sarcastic. I’m not going to take them as rhetorical. I am going to take them as real questions. In fact, I am going to treat them as…test questions on a final exam at the end of our study of Romans 8. It is that time of year when students take final exams. Romans 8:31-38 the final exam of Romans 8! (This test counts 50% of your grade.)
This morning, we have seven essay questions on the Roman’s 8. Let’s see what we have learned…
Final Exam Question #1… What, then shall you say to these things?
This sounds like a trick question. I hate essay trick question… What, then shall you say to these things? What things?
I know… the things we have learned in Romans 8!
--There is no condemnation for those in Christ! There is no judgment for us in the nowor in the next life.
--We live in the diplomatic immunity of the Spirit, rather than under the lawof death by sin.
--We live in acquittal. Jesus condemned by sin. The old 180…
--We live in the success of grace which continually zaps our sins.
--We are adopted as sons who inherit the family business of taking the glory of God to the ethnos!
--We know our present sufferings are not even on the scales of glory!
--We live in the hope, of someday! We will be revealed as the sons of God living on the renewed earth with our Jesus-body dwelling with our God… forever!
--We live patiently with hope knowing…
-God listens… to us!
-God works… with us!
-God transforms… us into His Firstborn son!
-God “chicken dinner’s” us!
What do I say to these things? I got it. My answer to question #1… God is for me!
Final Exam Question #2… If God is for you, who can be against you?
Let’s think about our answer… to this question. We are on a roll. We don’t want to miss number 2. Who could be against us? Well, a whole lot of people or beings or powers or evil, or people on Facebook… could be against us. But I think the question is what difference would it make, if God is for us, who would matter if they were against us. It’s not just who could, but who could make a difference if they were against us?
I think the answer is… nobody that matters. If God is indeed for me, then it doesn’t matter who is opposed to me. God is YHWH, the I Am, the Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, God is God! If God sent his own Son in the likeness of humans for sin, there is no-one or no-thing that matters who could be against me!
Final answer… No-One! Who matters!
Wow…Another Good answer…
Final Exam Question #3… 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?
God has already given us his most precious gift; His firstborn; Jesus. After having invested in us, so completely, God would not chump out on anything else.
I used to have a friend who, whenever he would take us out to eat or get something for us at the store, when we offered to pay him back, he would say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That’s what Paul is saying! Since God has given us so much in the death of his son, adopting us as his children, entrusting the family business to us… God is going to say to us… don’t sweat the small stuff.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. All the small stuff of this life is going to be used to advance the plan. We learned this last week. The all, the small stuff, the stuff we usually sweat over, the struggles we can’t give up… are all going to be turned into glory!
Remember the family business is to take the small stuff produce glory!
Don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as we are his children, God will transform all things into blessings!
Can our status as God’s children ever change? That could be bad… that’s the next question.
Final Exam Question #4… Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
There is, usually, a transition period before an adoption is final. During that transition time - between when the papers are filed and the judge stamps the papers making the adoption final - there is a time when the kid could be given back or the adoption challenged. It seems we are in that time. Remember…
Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Is there someone that could challenge our adoption? Could Satan step up and accuse us of some terrible behavior which would cause God to cancel the adoption; reject us?
The answer to question 4 is… no. God makes us right. He forgives us and then transforms us by His Spirit to be polymorphed into his Firstborn Son! It is not possible for anyone to bring a charge that would interrupt the adoption process, because God is the One who makes us Right.
We ARE on a roll 4 for 4! No one can condemn us!
Final Exam Question #5… 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.
Just in case we needed some more help, which we don’t, Jesus is ruling from the right hand of God… Jesus leans over to God, just in case God forgot what he was doing… Jesus whispers to the Father, “They are my little brothers and sisters, cut them some slack!”
If Christ is also for us… that’s double stamped.
Answer #5… Who could condemn us? No one. Christ is also for us!
Final Exam Question #6… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
I remember my first true love. I was a 10th grader. She was a freshman. She was a cute little blond thing. Maybe, there is a pattern here. Life was sweet. Life was vivid. I had my first car; a 64 Pontiac. She was sweet too. I would pick her up - that is the girl - on the way to school and sit in the parking lot and fog up the windows. Life was good.
But then, this other guy came into the picture. Sure, he was good looking. Sure, he was rich. Sure, he was charming. Sure, he was everything… I wasn’t. But that was no reason for her to dump me. He came between us. He separated her love from me.
Question #6 is… Can that happen with Jesus? Can someone better looking or more charming or more devoted cause Jesus to like them better? Can anyone come between us? Can anyone separate us from the love of Jesus?
How do we answer this? I know…
Romans 8:15-17…but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
There are too many “withs”. There are 4 compound words in the Greek. Literally translated it would be co-witness, co-heirs, co-suffers, and co-glorified. Paul could not have worded it any strong.
--The Spirit is the co-witness with our own spirit that we are together-with-Jesus-heirs!
--The Spirit is the co-witness with our own spirit that we are together-with-Jesus-suffers!
--The Spirit is the co-witness with our own spirit that we are together-with-Jesus-glorifiers!
We are bound together WITH Jesus in such a way that no one can separate us from his love. Jesus is not a sixteen-year-old fickle teenager! Jesus is with us!
Answer #6 –Who could separate Jesus from us… no one.
But what about stuff… Could something happen that will cause him to give up on us? Can there be some catastrophe that will change our relationship? Will Jesus ever quit being for us?
Final Exam Question #7… Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Can the stuff of the world change the mind of Jesus… about loving us?
Paul answers this one for us. It’s like a bonus question at the end of a test and then the teacher tells you the answer.
Romans 8:36-37 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.
We are like sheep being slaughtered. “Wait, a second. That doesn’t sound like God loves us. Being slaughtered to be made into lamb chops doesn’t look like love.”
Don’t forget the family business. When we face tribulation or distress or persecution or even death, God transforms “all these things” into glory. Lamb chops is the purpose of lambs. Even if we are martyred for God… we advance the glory of God to the ethnos!
The phrase "more than conquerors" comes from one Greek word; hypernikomen. This is a great word. Does anyone have on any Nike shoes? The word Nikeo means victory. Hyper means super, unless you are talking about kids; then it means noisy. So, we are Super-noisy-victors - more than conquerors!
We don't just have victory over problems, that would mean we just lived through them, or we survived. We have super victory over them. We use the bad to make us better. We turn our calamities into remedies. We turn disaster into blessing. We turn our enemies into allies. We turn adversity into glory!
Good answer… Even in our slaughter, whatever happens to you, you are a hyper-nike! “A hyper-nike?” A hyper-nike!
Well, did we pass our final? Yes, if you can read these next two verses… honestly. Do these last two verses describe you?
Romans 8:38-39 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 me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
November 29, 2020
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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