by Calven Celliers
Like a good film, Romans 8 has got it all. It starts with an attention-grabbing introduction – “1 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1NIV), it has a fairy tale finish – “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38 & 39NIV), right in the middle we have this majestic truth, “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28NIV), then there’s the subplot – “37 … we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37NIV), but the linchpin, the hinge on which this awesome chapter turns is verse 31 – “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31NIV) That’s the game changer!
Perhaps you’re reading this blog post today and you’re wounded, broken and desperately in need of God to heal your heart and your emotions. Underneath the mask you live in pain and wonder if anything is ever going to change. For many, religion has created an atmosphere where we find it hard to believe that God is on our side because all we see God as is the punisher if we don’t get it right. If all you have is that kind of narrow vision of who God is you’ll never be able to walk in the fullness of your relationship with Him.
In his book “If”, Mark Batterson makes this amazing observation. He writes, “Most people who reject God are really rejecting religion, without knowing it. They aren’t really rejecting God for who He is. They are actually rejecting God for who He isn’t … everything I rejected about God was not God. It was religion. It was people who go to church and do not show the love of Jesus, people who don’t practise what they preach, people who are indifferent to the poor and suffering. I had rejected that, but guess what? Jesus also rejected that. Jesus was and is the enemy of dead religion.”
Let me pull this thread for just a minute. The most insidious lie that you can ever believe about God is that He is somehow against you. If the enemy can get us to buy into that lie, then we land up rejecting God for all the wrong reasons. If you don’t love God, it’s because you don’t really know God; to know God is to love God. Religion is all about what you can do for God. Christianity on the other hand is all about what Christ has done for you.
“Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.” (Watchman Nee)
But it starts with this kernel of truth – God is for you. Perhaps no promise in the Bible has more leverage than Romans 8:31, because if God is for you, it doesn’t matter what comes against you. As the prophet Isaiah put it, “17 No weapon forged against you will prevail.” (Isaiah 54:17NIV)
God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, but many of us feel defeated by circumstances or by our own inadequacies. We need to know, to believe with all our hearts, all the time, that in all things we can be overcomers, we can be more than conquerors, because we have One in us who is greater than he that is in the world, greater than any obstacle or difficulty we may face. The God who is in us is greater than anything we may face. In dealing with any problems we may encounter, we operate from a position of strength. We have Almighty God in us, and He is greater than any difficulty we may encounter. He gives us His mighty strength. David faced and defeated a giant. He did not look at how big and powerful the giant was; he looked at how much bigger God was. In 1 Samuel 17:45 he said, “45 …You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45NIV)
When we face our own giants, we need to know who we are in Christ, to stir up awareness of our position in Christ, and the incomparably great power that He has made available to us.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?