Romans 8v26-39               The Seventh Sunday After Trinity                 26 July 2020

Paul wrote in Romans 8v31 ‘What then are we to say about these things?’ What things?  Some of the things that Paul has described in Chapters 5 to 8 that we have been thinking about these past few weeks are the great privileges that are ours as Christians.

5v1 We are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

5v2 We boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

6v2 We have died to sin because Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross.

6v5 We are united with Christ in his death and resurrection.

6v23 The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

7v24-25 Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord

8v1 There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

8v14-16 All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

In today’s reading Paul now rises to dizzy heights as he brings his thoughts to a conclusion. ‘The apostle rises to sublime heights unequalled anywhere in the New Testament ….. The burden of the apostle’s climax is the unchangeable, irresistible, invincible purpose of God, and by this purpose and in it, the eternal security of the people of God.’ (John Stott – Men made New).

Paul asks five questions to which there are no answers, he asks the questions as though a challenge to anyone and everyone to deny the truth which they contain. But they can’t – nobody can eternally harm the saved people of God. The questions are unanswerable because they are based on the firm promise of the truth of God.

Question 1.  v31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’ If Paul had simply asked ‘who is against us’ there could have been a multiplicity of answers. The answer could be those people who are our enemies, the devil, death, etc.  But Paul said ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’ In v29-30 we are reminded that ‘Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son …. And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.’ (GNB). In the light of these truths, who can be against us? It reminds me of a song I used to sing in my Sunday School days:

On the victory side

On the victory side

No fear can daunt me

No fear can haunt me

On the victory side.

On the victory side

On the victory side

With Christ within

The fight we’ll win

On the victory side.

Question 2. v32 ‘He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?’ If Paul had simply asked ‘will God give us everything’ we could have questioned it. But God has already given the greatest possible gift, the gift of Jesus his Son. Knowing this, will God not also give other things as he thinks needful for us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6v33, Jesus said ‘But strive first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’

Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And his righteousness,

And all these things shall be added unto you

Hallelu, hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Hallelu, hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Ask and it shall be given unto you,

Seek and ye shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto you,

Hallelu, hallelujah.

Hallelujah! Hallelu, hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Question 3. v33 ‘Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.’ ‘Who will bring any charge against us?’ The question sounds as though it is given in a law court, and if that question stood by itself, there could be many answers. Many people might accuse us, our own consciences might accuse us, the devil might accuse us. But God through his Son Jesus has declared us ‘not guilty’ because it is God who justifies.

We read in Isaiah 50v8-9 that the Lord’s Servant says ‘Does anyone dare to bring charges against me? Let us go to court together! Let him bring his accusation! The Sovereign Lord himself defends me –who, then, can prove me guilty? All my accusers will disappear; they will vanish like moth-eaten cloth.

Question 4. v34 ‘Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.’ Paul began Chapter 8 by saying ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’. It is as though he is emphasising this ‘no condemnation’ point by coming back to it and asking us to think about it. There are perhaps lots of people who might try to condemn us, perhaps our critics or those with whom we disagree, perhaps in our low moments we condemn ourselves. But hold on! Paul emphasises there is no condemnation because Jesus died for us, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God our Father where he intercedes for us. I mentioned in my sermon on Romans 8v1-11 Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood’, and it’s last verse

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine!                                                                                                                          Alive in him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine,                                                                                                                      bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love how can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Question 5. v35 ‘Who will separate us from the love of Christ?’ It has been a bit like climbing a staircase and this fifth question Paul asks when he is on the top step. He looks round for a possible answer and thinks of all the possibilities, are there any people or any circumstances that can separate us from the love of Christ? ‘Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or family, or nakedness, or peril, or sword.’ These are all real things, real suffering brings real pain. But no, none can separate us from the love of Christ. v37 ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’

And so Paul’s great conclusion in v38-39 ‘For I am convinced 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.’

Just think of that! Just think of the great love that God has for each one of us.  Neither the crisis of death, nor the disasters of life, nor the heavenly rulers and powers, nor time, nor space – nothing can separate us from God’s love. The love of God seen in the death of his only Son Jesus on the cross; the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Stuart Townend  & Keith Getty’s hymn  puts it wel

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

Here in the love of Christ I stand.


No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life’s first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from his hand;

Till he returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Paul’s conclusion in v38-39 reminds me of the story of the great 19th century Baptist leader Charles Spurgeon who once saw a weathervane on which were written the words ‘God is love’.  And he commented to his friend that he didn’t think they were appropriate words to put on so changeable a thing as a weathervane, something which changed direction as the wind blew.  He was met with the answer that he had misinterpreted the meaning.  What it really meant Wesley’s friend said is ‘God is love, whichever way the wind blows’.

What is God like?  We believe that the answer is ‘God is love’, but more than that ‘God is love whichever way the wind blows.’

                                                                                                                            Colin Wood