What then shall we say of these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8: 31

 

This is very confident verse. It is the sort of idea that can compel bold action and incite brave words. It is also an idea that has been seriously misused on many occasions, for much that is unjust and unrighteous has also been done while claiming the name of God as the impetus behind the deeds. I think that there is a basic line of determination to be observed in considering what is within the realm of serving God and what is done in service to self and to the world. In one sense it is as simple to discriminate as asking the question, “Is this something that Jesus would have done?” However, that question is never all that simple when placed into the complexity of the world as it is experienced. The other determinate that comes to mind involves the question, “Does this bring glory to God and serve the purposes of His Kingdom?”

 

These questions tend to sift out actions which are violent, oppressive, greedy, based in fear or anger, and other sorts of words and deeds that gain power and control for people instead of pointing toward Christ as the One who holds all power and who we trust to be in control of it all. So, I am led back to the question that Paul raises in the text. Who can be against us? Well, experience, both personal and that of people throughout history, says that many can oppose people who seek to serve Christ. In fact, this opposition is guaranteed in God’s Word, and the narrative of opposition is clearly one that runs throughout Jesus’ life.  We also live in a fallen and a broken world where nothing works as it was intended to in God’s creation design. Thus, people and things do work against us, bodies and minds fail, and the earth itself erupts and blows forth winds of destruction and chaos.

 

With all of this wreckage and destruction running about in our world and impacting our lives, how can the idea that none can oppose us in Christ still be true? We need to look at the setting of Paul’s words, for he is specifically speaking about our standing before God as people who have been made holy and blameless, justified, by the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. This does not guarantee an easy path through life or that we will not be opposed in small and in great things along the way. We will encounter many difficult and trying situations and antagonistic people, and these are the times when it is most important to remember that in Christ no can stand against us. When we are acting out of love, seeking after justice, lifting up the oppressed and the weak, and doing other things that reflect the heart of God in our world, we may get bloodied and battered, but we will be held up by Christ and the truth of what we do for the glory of God in our world will be known by the Father as Christ does proclaim us to the heavens to be beloved daughters and sons of the one True King.

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What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8: 31

 

The idea that God is with or for particular people, groups, nations, or causes is one that forms the foundation of hopes, wishes, and motivates actions. It has been a battle cry and a rationale that is set out in defense of human endeavors that range from the noble to the outrageous. So, what does it mean for God to be for people, and who are those people?

 

First off, it seems to me that God has always been for us. All people are a part of His creation, and we are that specially crafted portion of creation that was made in the image of our Creator. He breathed His life, our souls, into us and entered into a form of relationship with us that is utterly unique. Even in our rebellious and willful rejection of God’s rightful authority and rule, God set out a perfect and complete plan for salvation and for restoration. The Lord has never waivered from this plan, and He has never stopped pursuing each and every one of us. Still we humans are not easy to love and to nurture. We allow fear to motivate our thoughts and actions, and we treat people who are different from us as inferiors or as enemies.

 

None of this is pleasing to God, for nothing in these thoughts and actions is based in His will or upon His Word. So, I think that God is for all people in the sense that He desires for all to know Him by entering into a relationship with Christ. He is also for those who know Christ in that our motives, confidence in life, and capacity to love others are reflections of His character and are founded in our engagement with His Spirit. So, it would seem that God is truly for us as we set aside our personal aspirations and desires and yield our lives fully to Christ’s will. God desires for His people to be reconcilers, to be peacemakers, and to engage with our whole beings in His redemptive work in our world.