Who Can Separate?

Romans 8:31-39


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 delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Father, we thank You for Your word. We praise You Jesus that You have revealed Yourself to us in a way that we can know You, that we can know Your will, we can know what You are like. Lord, You desire that we would have relationship with You, and so You have made it possible, Jesus, that we can come before Your presence with thanksgiving; that we can come before Your presence to honor and worship You as we have been doing already this morning. And so we pray now, that as we open Your word, this also would be worship, as we see You high and lifted up in Your word, that You would draw us to Yourself, and that You’d continue to transform us by the renewing of our minds, that we would be able to reflect and display what is Your good and perfect and awesome will. God, we recognize that we live in a world that is in desperate need, desperate need of Your grace and Your mercy and Your peace, and You’ve given these things to us, and You’ve given us a ministry of reconciliation. Lord, help us to be ambassadors, carrying Your word to those who are in need. But Lord, teach us now by Your Spirit. We ask this in Jesus’ name. And all God’s people agreed saying, “Amen.”

You can be seated.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus;” and we are in Christ Jesus, not because of anything that we have done, because we have seen that the law could not do it, in that it is weak through our flesh. But God did this by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh; on account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that God’s perfect and just and righteous requirement that is given to us in His law might be fulfilled in us and through us to the glory of God. And so Jesus has done this work in and through and for us. And because of that, we have been adopted as His children; we’ve been made the children of God. “Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called His children.” It’s an awesome thing. And when we take time to meditate or think on the fact of the love of Christ that is displayed for us – we already saw this in Romans chapter 5, verse 8 – He “demonstrates His love towards us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we think on that, those things that God has done, then it brings us in to a place of recognizing that, what we’re going to see here in this passage today, “how shall He not also freely give us all things?” If He’s already done that, how shall He not also fulfill what He’s promised to do? And Paul had such confidence in this, that in Philippians chapter 1, he said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” So it is certain, church, God will finish the work that He started in Christ. He will fulfill that work; we can be absolutely sure of that.

And so Paul, in response to all of this, he says, “What then shall we say to these things?” Romans chapter 8, verse 31 – what should our response be to all that we see that we have in Christ? And, as we’ve already seen, what are those things? What are those things that we’ve seen that we have in Christ? Well, in Christ we’re no longer under condemnation, meaning that we no longer sit under the sentence of damnation. We’re no longer condemned to eternal punishment because of our sin. In Christ, we are in the Spirit, having the Spirit of God dwelling in us. And the Spirit of God enables us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to God. We all recognize, we’ve all been in that place of Romans chapter 7, where we’ve tried to walk in a way that is pleasing to God by our own strength, and the good things that we want to do, we don’t do, and the bad things that we don’t want to do, that’s what we practice. And we come to that place of complete defeat and absolute frustration, where we say, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” And Romans chapter 8 reveals to us that Jesus is our deliverance. He’s the one who delivers us. And Spirit-indwelt followers of Christ are the adopted sons and daughters of God. And as children of God we have now an inheritance. And not only do we have an inheritance, but we are told here in Romans chapter 8 that we are joint heirs with Christ; we are joint heirs and partakers of eternal glory. So that means that when we see Him, “we shall be like Him.” That’s what John tells us in 1 John. And Paul tells us in Philippians chapter 3, he tells us that He is going to “transform our lowly body that it will be conformed to His glorious body.” 1 Corinthians chapter 15 says, “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye” this is going to take place, and this “corruption will put on incorruption, this mortality will put on immortality,” and we shall be like Him. And although we may suffer, and we see suffering mentioned here in Romans chapter 8, verses 18 and on, although we may suffer trial and tribulation in this life, although there are testings, Paul says that these things “are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” And notice he does not say these are not worthy with the glory that might be revealed in us, that shall be revealed in us. It is certain. For we know that not only a glorious redemption awaits us in Christ, but also, verse 28, “all things work for good to those who love God and those who are the called according to His purpose.” So, in this life, even though there are sufferings in this present time, all things work for good. And God has a plan; He has something that He’s doing. Now, as I mentioned last week, not all things are good things. But all things are working for good. And we know that there are people in our midst at this moment, or people connected to us by family relationships or co-workers, who are going through things that are not good things, that are difficult things, that are hard to face. And yet we know that all things work for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. Finally, we know all this because God, according to His foreknowledge, has predestined us, in Christ, to be conformed into His image; that is to be conformed to His likeness. We know that that’s our final destination. “When we see Him, we shall be like Him.” We don’t know what that’s going to be like yet, but we know this for certain: “when we see Him, we shall be like Him.” So, that’s what He’s predestined us to, to be conformed to His likeness, the likeness of His only begotten Son. Therefore, because He has predestined us, we finished with this last week: because of this reality, He has, therefore, called and justified and glorified. And I love that Paul says there in verse 30, he says “glorified,” as if it’s in the past tense, as if it is done. Although in the realm of time, where we sit here today, it’s not done, but as God looks at us, it is finished. It’s done. We are holy and blameless before Him. And so we recognize all that is ours in Christ. Ephesians chapter 1, verses 3 through 14 speak about this. Paul uses those words – in Him or in Christ or in whom – about 14 different times in that passage, and he reveals to us all the things that we have that are complete in Him. We have all “spiritual blessings in heavenly places;” we’ve redeemed and adopted and called. We are the children of God, forgiven of our sins, cleansed. All these things are ours in Christ.

And seeing these things, what do we conclude? Well, notice what Paul says, what does he conclude here in Romans chapter 8, verse 31? What do we conclude in response to all this? “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” Now that word, if, should not be viewed as implying doubt, but in many ways, it could equally be translated: “since God is for us.” Having seen everything that we’ve seen already, it tells us that God is for us; and since He’s for us, then we conclude that no one can stand against us. We’ve considered previously in Romans, especially chapters 1 through 3, that we are completely lost apart from Christ. Every speck of humanity, every part of humanity is completely lost – from the hedonist, where it’s very abundantly clear that “Man, that person’s lost.” Have you ever see someone, and you just go, “That person’s lost?” Maybe it was in looking in the mirror. I don’t know. [laughter] But you see someone, and that person’s lost. The hedonist, the person who lives in just absolute and complete rebellion against God. You say, “Gosh, that person is lost.”

And then Paul shifts from the hedonist into chapter 2 of Romans, and he shows that it’s not just the hedonist, but the moralist, the person who casts condemnation or judgment upon that person saying, “Oh how terribly lost they are.” And yet they’re guilty of the same things in their heart. Because sin is not just the active deeds of sin that people do, but sin resides in the heart, and it’s from the heart that comes forth evil thoughts and evil actions. Jesus tells us that in the Gospel of Mark, in chapter 7. So, even the person who’s not actively participating in those things, they might as well do those things, because they’re guilty of the same things in the heart. And so the moralist is guilty before God.

But not just the moralist, but the self-righteous religionist. The one who lives by a codified set of ethics, and they seem to look really good, like the Pharisees that Paul was of the very group of the Pharisees when he was Saul of Tarsus. He’s well learned in a form of religion, in living in a way that looked really good to everybody else. And yet he too was just as much a sinner.

And so we see our absolute lostness in Romans chapters 1, 2, and 3; so completely and desperately in need, and then God comes and redeems us, He buys us back. While we were His enemies, while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins, He loves us in a very clear and demonstratable way. And the conclusion that can only be seen from this is that God is for us. We have given God every possible reason to be against us. We lived our sin openly; we lived our rebellion out in the open against God. Every possible reason He could have, He has, that He would be set against us as our enemies. And yet we see here that He has died for us, when we were in that state, to redeem us to Himself. And so when, in so many ways, we have set ourselves against Him, we that are in Christ find this to be the reality – that God is for us, and if He is for us, then who can be against us?

Now, notice that we read here who and not what. I note that because there are many various trials and temptations that the follower of God endures. There are many sufferings and hardships that the Christian faces in their life, but with God as your “shield and exceedingly great reward” who can stand against us? Who can stand against us? Psalm 118, verse 6, the psalmist says there, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” “The Lord is on my side. What can man do to me?” It is so very important that we remember that one with God in an unequivocal majority. One with God is a great majority. Now how many of you remember the movie The Lord of the Rings? Okay, The Lord of the Rings, the second one, The Two Towers? At the end of that movie the battle is raging at Helm’s Deep, and there it seems like everything is lost, and they’ve been through five days of battle, and now on the morning of the fifth day Aragorn, he remembers the word that Gandalf had said, “At the morning of the fifth day I’ll come at the east. Look for me at the light.” And then, right there, they ride out of the fortress there to battle with this insurmountable group of orcs, these ugly beastly things, look like demons in every way. And they ride out into this, and as they do, they look up to the east and there’s Gandalf with this huge army coming in, to come and tip the scale in their favor. And ultimately they win, and it’s all “Yea, rejoicing, Frodo’s going to make it. It’s all good!!” So you have this picture, and there’s a part of us, even though you kind of anticipate this going to happen, you know that good’s gonna win, good’s gonna win. But there’s a point, in the middle, that you’re going, “Is it really gonna be okay?” And then all of a sudden you go, “Oh, okay, all right.” Blood pressure kind of decreases, everything’s gonna be OK. And there, he comes in, at just the right time. We love stories like that, where he comes in at just the right time. And we recognize that in this battle, and every single one of us is in a very clear spiritual battle, Paul speaks of it throughout his writings, we see it throughout the whole of the Scriptures; there is a spiritual battle. And what happens in our realm, in the realm of humanity, is just the physical manifestation of a spiritual battle going on behind the scenes. I’m convinced of that.  Every physical warfare battle that we see in this world is just the manifestation of what’s happening behind the veil, if you will, the spiritual battle going on. And there we see, in the midst of this spiritual battle in which, whether you recognize it or not, when you put your faith in Christ, you enlisted as a member of this spiritual battle. Now maybe the evangelist didn’t tell you that, but you found out real quickly. You say, “W-a-i-i-t-t a minute. Was there some small print here that I didn’t see.” No, it’s there, it’s in, you know, in some people’s it’s in large print in their Bibles. We’re in a spiritual battle, we war not “against flesh and blood, but against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” And there in this battle we think, “Oh, we’re gonna lose.” Have you ever had a time where you thought, “I’m gonna lose; I can’t handle this anymore.”

And then we come to a passage like this that says, “No, who shall stand against us?” “If God is for us, then who can be against us?” Now obviously this rhetorical question has a very clear answer, a simple answer – No one!! No one. Why? Because “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Now it may seem, at times, that this battle is too big for us, but we’re told here that we have a great partner in the battle, if you will. And He is far stronger than anything we could ever think or imagine. Not only that, we’re told, and you may want to look at this sometime later, but there’s a book at the end of your Bible, it’s called the book of Revelation, and it clues us into – remember, the answers are always at the back of the book – it clues into this reality. We win!! I don’t know if you’ve recognized that, you see there’s a lot of people living in defeat. I look around our nation today, I look around at Christians in our nation, and they think, “Oh my gosh, everything’s falling apart!!”

And they’re just reading too much of the Drudge Report and listening to too much Glenn Beck. We win church!! It’s His battle, and He already won it. And so “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.”

How can we be so sure though that He is for us and no one can be against us? Look at verse 32, Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” How can we know with certainty that God is for us, and will accomplish all that we’ve previously seen in Romans chapter 8 and throughout the book of Romans? How can we know this? Well we need to remember anew, we need to ponder anew, if you will, upon this reality – what He has already done. What has He already done for us? And if He has already paid the greater price, then we are guaranteed He will pay the lesser. If He’s already paid the greater price, we’re guaranteed He will pay the lesser. Well, “how shall He not also freely give us all things?” If He’s already done all these great things for us – our redemption, our salvation, our adoption – if He’s finished that, He said on the cross, “It is finished.” He didn’t say, “It’s nearly done. You’ve got to do some more.” No, “it’s finished.”  So, if on the cross, Jesus cries out, “It is finished,” then it’s finished. And if He’s already paid that great price for our redemption, then will He not also fulfill the rest? Now there may be two different ways to look at this declaration in Romans chapter 8, verse 32. We can read verse 32 – How shall God the Father, with Jesus by His side, not also freely give us all things. So it’s as if God the Father and Jesus together are freely giving us all things. And we recognize that when Jesus ascended on high, He gave gifts to men. So there is a way in which that is true, that He, Jesus, is the “giftor,” if you will; He’s giving us these things, all things. We have all these things in Him. But another way in which we can read this is – How shall God the Father not freely give us all things along with Jesus. If He’s already given us Jesus, then He’ll give us everything. And I think you can read it in both ways. Because there is the way in which Jesus is the “giftor,” He’s the one giving to us. But we also see that Jesus is the first of many gifts that have been given to us. And so if God the Father was willing to spare not His own Son, but to deliver Him up for us – that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish” – if He’s willing to bankrupt heaven, if you will, by giving us His Son, then everything else is “w-h-a-t-s that?” It’s just not that big of a deal to give us the other things that He has promised us here in this passage.

Now whatever the case, God, in Christ, has paid our insurmountable debt. He, Jesus, has borne our unbearable burden. But even beyond what He’s already done for us, He has given us great and precious promises. And we’re told here that He will “freely give us all things,” all things. Not just a couple things; it’s not just like God says, you know, “I’m going to give you a few little gifts along the way, and then you’re going to have and try and work out the rest of it. You know, I’ll give you, I’m going to give you a bow, but you’re going to have to make your own arrows, you’ve got to figure this out, you know.” Kind of like sometimes we feel that that’s the way it should be. “You’ve gotta do this on your own!”

God gives us everything that is needed. How do we know this? Well, 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 3, 2 Peter 1, verse 3: according to “His divine power…” Now how many of you would agree that God’s divine power is great? According to “His divine power, He has given to us all all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Everything that we need to live this life in a godly way, He, according to His divine power, has given these things to us, “through,” how does He do this? “…through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which,” verse 4, 2 Peter 1, verse 4, “by which having been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” So He’s given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. In Ephesians chapter 1, verse 3, we read there: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us,” not might bless us, “who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places” – everything, He’s blessed it to us. He’s gifted it to us in Christ, is what Ephesians chapter 1 tells us. It’s all there, in Christ. And so God is for us, and He who spared not giving His own Son, He has promised also to freely give us all things.

Therefore, verse 33, Romans 8, because of this, “Who shall bring charge against God’s elect?” “Who shall bring charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Now if God is for us, and He has done all the aforementioned things that we’ve seen in this passage, then who possibly can bring an accusation against God’s elect? Now it’s important to recognize that the word “elect” here in this verse, it is in the plural form. So it’s speaking about us who are in Christ. Okay? The issue that we need to recognize though, is that Jesus, as revealed in the Scriptures, He is the “Elect One.” He is the Elect One. How do we know this? Well Isaiah 42, verse 1 tells us this. Isaiah 42, verse 1: “Behold! My Servant,” God the Father speaking through the prophet Isaiah, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” He will bring forth salvation to the Gentiles. That’s us; I mean most of us seating here today, we’re a bunch of pig dog Gentiles. Me too; I mean don’t feel like you’re being called a pig dog by the pastor. No, that’s what we are; we’re just Gentiles. And yet Jesus is the Elect One to bring forth salvation to us who are desperately lost. And so He is the Elect One. 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 4 and 6 tell us also that He is the Chosen One, the Elect One. Here we read it, it says, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.” Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect and precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’” So Jesus is the Elect One, He is the One that is chosen and elected of God, and we are elect in Him. By the very nature of us being in Christ, Ephesians 1, verses 3 through 14, therefore we are elect. This is the only way, I believe, that you can see the idea of being elect in the Bible.

Now, there is a teaching, and we’ve talked about this quite a bit over the last several weeks, there is a teaching within the church that says that God, before the foundation of the world, He elects certain people to be saved, and He does not elect the rest of them; He elects the rest of them to be damned, to go to hell. The overwhelming majority go to hell. Now I have a problem with that because it brings, it impugns the character of God. It makes Him evil. He elects that certain people will go to hell for sin, and then because they sin, He sends them to hell, and says, “Well that’s your fault. But really I elected you to go to hell in the first place.” No, that’s just not revealed in the Scriptures. So, Jesus is the Elect One, and God has elected that all who are in Him will also be elect. So if you’re in Christ, by grace through faith, you’re saved, just as Rahab was saved when she was in the house. And anyone in her family who was in the house in Jericho – I’m going back to the book of Joshua, some of you may remember this story – all who were in the house of Rahab the harlot, they were saved. Because why? They’re in the house. They’re safe, elected, because they’re there. And so we are elect, in the Son. He is the Elect One.

So, being that we are in Christ, Paul asks the question. And that’s the context of Romans chapter 8, verses 1 through 39. Three times the words in Christ Jesus are mentioned. In chapter 8, verses 1 and 2, and then again in verse 39. So there’s like the big bookends of being in Christ, in Romans chapter 8. So for all who are in Christ, they are elect, and “Who shall bring an accusation against God’s elect ones?” Who’s really going to bring a charge against us? Now we recognize that in the Scriptures the devil is called the what of the brethren? The accuser of the brethren. And yes, he does come before God day and night to accuse us before God. And when he does, he’s met with this reality that we also know – “It is God who justifies.” “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Jesus is the Elect One, and we are elect in Him. And God justifies, Romans chapter 3, verse 26 tells us that God is the justifier. So God justifies those that are in Christ, as He has predestined that those who are in Christ would be conformed into the image of His Son. We saw that in Romans 8:29. So, it is God who justifies; and when the enemy, the adversary, the accuser of the brethren, when he stands before God to accuse you or to accuse me, God says, “I’ve justified that person, he’s in My Son.” What does it mean to justify? To declare them righteous; they’re in the Righteous One. Jesus is the Righteous One, and we are clothed in a robe of His righteousness, not our own. So He says, “I have justified them, declared them righteous.”

Therefore, having predestined us – remember I mentioned that all who are in Christ, it’s as if they’re in the airplane, and the destination of the airplane is Detroit. And so there they are, they’re in the airplane, and they’re going to get to the destination. You’re in Christ, and everyone in Christ is going to get to the destination, and the destination is being conformed into the image of His Son. So He will fulfill it. And so since He has predestined us unto that, therefore He calls and justifies and glorifies – Romans 8:30. Because of this, He does this.

Verse 34: “Who is he who condemns?” Who’s the one who brings judgment and condemnation? “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.” Now, it is noteworthy, because many times when we read the words, “Who is he who condemns,” we instantly process that to mean that Satan is the one who condemns. But, you see, Satan has no authority or jurisdiction to condemn. He has no power to be able to bring a judgment or a condemnation upon a person. Who is the one who has authority and power to condemn? I suggest to you that Jesus does. John chapter 5, verse 22 says that God the Father has committed unto Jesus the authority, that is the Greek word exousia, which means jurisdiction; Jesus is the only one who has jurisdictional power to condemn. Jesus clues us into this in the Scriptures when He says, “Do not fear the one who can take your life. But fear Him who can not only take your life, but condemn to hell.” Who’s that? Jesus. He is the one who has authority and power and jurisdiction to condemn. He said this, verse 26, “For as the Father has life in Himself,” this is John 5:26; “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority.” God the Father has committed unto Jesus “authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” Because He is both Son of Man and Son of God, He has jurisdictional power to condemn. So, when we read here, “Who is he who condemns,” the only Person who has authority to condemn is Jesus. He’s the only one who can justly damn someone to hell. Do you follow?

But, in Christ, what do we have? Well, Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no” what? “condemnation to those who are in Christ.” In the same way that the manslayer, under the old covenant, someone who had killed someone unintentionally – we call it manslaughter – they called it manslaughter as well. Someone who had accidentally killed someone, they didn’t intend to, but the example is given – you’re out in the forest, and you’re cutting down a tree, and your axe head flies off and hits your buddy in the head, and he falls down dead on the ground. And you go, “Oh goodness, I didn’t mean to do that.” That probably won’t happen to any of us, unless you’re chopping trees, be careful. But there, he’s dead. What are you going to do? Well, before the covenant, the old covenant was given, there was kind of a global rule, if you will, that came from Genesis chapter 9; after the flood, God spoke to Noah and his family, and it was given down to the rest of humanity – “Whoever takes man’s life, by man shall his life be taken.” Capital punishment. So here is how that was played out in the ancient world before God’s law was given: If you killed someone, even if it was unintentionally, then their near of kin would come and kill you. You’re dead, even though it was an accident. “I didn’t mean to do it.” Doesn’t matter, you’re dead.

Then God gives His law. And God makes a provision in His law for the manslayer. And here’s what He does: He says, “I want you to establish what are called Cities of Refuge. There shall be six of them in the nation of Israel.” There were three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west side of the Jordan River. They were to be within a day’s journey by walking, anywhere in the nation. So if, unintentionally and unaware, you killed someone, you could flee to the City of Refuge. And there in the City of Refuge, after your case was heard by the elders of that city – you would sit before a jury of your peers, essentially – after your case was heard, if it was determined that you had done this unintentionally, you could live in the City of Refuge. And as long as you were in the City of Refuge, you were safe from the near of kin who would come. Do you know that in the Old Testament there is not a single reference to anyone ever using that? That’s not that no one ever did, there’s just no reference to anyone ever using the City of Refuge in the Old Testament. Seems like an awful lot of prime real estate for six great cities on hilltops in the land of Israel. Seems like an awful lot of tax money to provide for these Cities of Refuge, and yet there’s no reference in the Bible that they were ever used.

What were they? Well, 1 Corinthians chapter 10 tells us all these things were written as foreshadowings, they were written as instructions to us. For what? Do you realize that every single human being is guilty of manslaughter? Whether they realize it or not they have killed the only begotten Son of God, by their sin. We are all guilty, whether we intended to do it or not. And here’s the problem, He’s got a near of kin – His Father. And so we come to the recognition that we’re guilty. So what do we do? We flee for refuge. Where do we flee to? The only time in the New Testament the word refuge is used is in reference to Jesus in Hebrews chapter 7. He is our refuge. We flee to Him; He is our City of Refuge. And if we’re in Him, we’re safe from condemnation and judgment, although we’re guilty. We’re guilty!! He’s dead – we’re guilty. But in Him we’re safe. There is no safety outside of Christ, church – only safe in Christ.

“It is Christ who died,” Romans chapter 8, verse 34, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen.” Now one may seek to accuse us before God the Father, “but it is Christ who died, and furthermore is risen.” What does the death and resurrection of Jesus have to do with anything in this situation? Only this – 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 3 says this: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Now why is the death and resurrection of Jesus important? Well, He died for our sins. What did He raise for? Romans 4:25 says this: Jesus “was delivered up,” that is He was delivered up to the cross. Why? “For our transgressions,” for our offenses, and He “was raised up for our justification.” He was delivered up to the cross for our sins; He was raised from the dead for our justification.

Well, what about now? What’s He doing now? Well, what’s the verse says – verse 34, Romans chapter 8, verse 34? He is “even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” He died for our sins; He rose for our justification. He is on a throne in heaven, a throne of power, which is called the Mercy Seat. He’s on the Mercy Seat, and what is He doing there? Well, He is our Advocate; He’s our Advocate. Would you turn in your Bibles to 1 Timothy chapter 2? You’re in Romans, turn to the right; you’ll pass 1 and 2 Thessalonians. 1 Timothy chapter 2, look at verse 5: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men.” Who? “The Man Christ Jesus.” There’s only one who’s going to be the Mediator between man and God – “the Man Christ Jesus.” Let me read to you from 1 John chapter 2, verse 1; while I’m reading, turn to Hebrews 7. 1 John 2: “My little children,” says John, “these things I write to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So, if we sin, and we will, if we sin, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Now Hebrews chapter 7, you’re already there, verse 25: “Therefore He,” Jesus, “is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him.” He’s the one Mediator between God and man. “He is able to save to the uttermost,” that’s completely safe, “those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to” what? “To make intercession for them.” The enemy, the accuser, he may accuse you before God, and yet Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Why? It’s says, “They are in Me.” So J.B. Phillips, he renders verse 34 in this way: “Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself,” that’s Jesus, “the judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn?” He’s the only judge; who can condemn? The judge has already declared us righteous. “Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us.”

Verse 35, Romans chapter 8, well then, if this is true, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Listen, every single one of these is a rhetorical question, since we’ve seen everything that God has already done. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is an immediate “No one!” Okay, well then shall any of these things – if no one can separate us, what about these things? Shall tribulation? No! How about distress and anguish? No! How about persecution? No! Famine? No! Nakedness? No! Peril? No! How about sword or war? No! No, no, no, no, no! Nothing shall separate us.

And so Paul says in verse 36: “As it is written,” quoting now from Psalm 44 – “As it is written: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’” He quotes the Psalms to highlight that those who are God’s possession, they endure continual tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword. Those who are Christians, they’re not taken away from these things; they go through these things. They experience difficulty, and trial, and tribulation. Although such things may separate life from this feeble body, they will not separate us from Him. When facing persecution, and we’re actually going to be in this section of the book of Acts when we’re finished with the book of Romans, Acts 20; when facing persecution, Paul is on his way to Jerusalem, and everywhere he goes people say, “Don’t go to Jerusalem. Tribulation awaits you; they’re going to arrest you; they’re going to kill you. Don’t go there.” There’s prophecy being spoken about what’s going to happen to Paul when he gets to Jerusalem; all of it would come to pass. And he says this, Acts 20, verse 24: “None of these things move me; neither do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.” You’re telling me I’m going to be persecuted, you’re telling me that I’m going to endure tribulation. None of these things move me. Let me read to you from 2 Corinthians chapter 4, 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 7. Paul says there, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

“And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ and also believe and therefore speak, know that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all these things are for your sakes, that the grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound for the glory of God.

“Therefore do not lose heart. Even though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

What’s being said there? Listen, we may go through tribulation and difficulty and distress, but we know this – it’s nothing to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

Verse 37, Romans 8: “Yet in all these things…” All what things? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword… “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We’re not more than conquerors by our own strength. We’re not more than conquerors by our own ingenuity. We are more than conquerors through Him. Jesus prayed, in John chapter 17, verse 15 to God the Father, “I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” Nothing will separate us from Him. And He is not determined to take us out of tribulation and distress and difficulty, but He has promised to be with us in the midst of it, and through Him we have great strength. When Paul the apostle was facing more difficulty, he cried out to God three times that God would take it from him. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12 we read about this, and God’s response to the apostle Paul was: “’My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in your weakness.’” And Paul says, “Therefore I’ll boast in my infirmities, that the power of God may rest upon me.”

Verse 38, Romans chapter 8: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” Again I read from J.B. Phillips, his translation of this, he says this: “I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch on earth, neither what happen today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord!”

And so as we prepare to close today, I add to the list that we started last week. You may remember I listed out a number of things that we know in Christ, in Christ. The key words of this victory that we have are in Christ. There’s no victory outside of Christ. So we know, in Christ, that we are God’s children, both by new birth and adoption. We know that we have an inheritance with Him forever. We know that suffering is temporary. We know that tribulation produces perseverance, character, and hope. We know that the Spirit of God helps us in our weakness. We know that the Spirit of God intercedes for us, and apparently through us. We know that all things work together for good. We know that it is certain that we are predestined in Him. We know that we are called and justified, and ultimately we’ll be glorified. We know that God is for us. We know that Christ is making intercession for us. We know that we are more than conquerors. And we know that nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

The question then is: Do you know this, or is it just words on a paper to you? Do you know this? Have you come to the place where you are in Christ, and you are assured of this reality, that nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus? Are you today in Christ, or are you trying to fend for yourself outside of the refuge that is only found in Him? God is our refuge, an ever-present help in time of trouble; there’s no help outside of Him. Desperation, frustration, and loss await those who are not in Christ.