Romans 8:31, 32
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
The argument of vers. 28-30, and, indeed, of the entire chapter, is now summed up in a triumphant hymn - the victorious battle-cry with which the conqueror surveys the vacated field (Godet). Vers. 31 and 32 refer to God's call according to purpose; vers. 33 and 34 to the solemn justification of believers by God; and vers. 35-39 to their final glorifying as involved in the justification. Here the reference is to God's great purpose in Christ, and the apostle challenges an answer to his question, "If God is for us, who is against us?" Nay, God's purpose is irrefragable. And what a pledge has he given of his intent to carry out that purpose to the uttermost! "He spared not his own Son." Surely, therefore, in him all things are ours. Let us consider, then, what are the "all things" that we need, and what is our assurance that God will give them.
I. OUR NEED. Ours is a triple need - of guidance, grace, and glory.
1. Guidance. A venture has been made upon a new career. Is it a venture? and may we possibly find ourselves in endless mazes lost? Or are we not sure, rather, of the leading of an unseen hand? "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel."
(1) Belief. As an essential requisite of advancement in salvation, God will give knowledge of his truth. How immense is the potency of ideas! A false idea will sway a world to its destruction; a true idea will impel men with mighty progress in the way of life. So is it in the way of the Christian life: zeal may hasten men to all vigorous endeavour, but zeal without knowledge may make their endeavours futile, or even ruinous. A prejudice, an error, may dwarf, or even vitiate, our Christian character and work; a true belief, a real knowledge, will be our strength and conquest. But how liable we are to prejudice and error! How insufficient is our intellect for grasping truth! We may so easily follow false lights. No; "Thou shall guide me." The God who calls will lead, and he will lead our thought, our knowledge, our belief, if we rightly seek his help. Use of all available means presupposed - self-training, experience, God's Word. A right spirit also - humble, teachable, true. Then not far astray.
(2) Growth. The truth is as food, and our appropriation of it must be followed by true growth of Christian character. But the growth needs to be watched and tended; the application of the truth to our own hearts needs care. Illustrate food and bodily health; but how much more the spiritual! God gives wisdom to use knowledge, and above all he himself guides the upward growth.
(3) Life. As with the character, the hidden man of the heart, so with the life, the outer man. Principles may be formed; but the application of principles in practice yet remains. And how multifarious the applications! how complex! how sometimes conflicting! We need to seek all help that right knowledge affords, a well-informed conscience. But also we need the intuitive perception, the pure intent, which itself is often the surest guide; the right spiritual instinct. In either way the life shall have guidance of the God that leads us.
2. Grace. If we need direction, do we not also need active help? for we are not only fallible, but frail.
(1) The grace of life shall be given. All the power of love which constitutes our spiritual life shall be supplied by him. His Spirit is within us; we are led by himself to himself.
(2) The grace of conquest also. All power, as well negatively towards evil as positively towards good. Whatever oppositions there may be to our spiritual well-being, we shall conquer through his love.
(a) Actively: as pressing our way through temptation;
(b) passively: we learn to suffer and be strong.
3. Glory. While guidance and grace are given to conduct us to the glory, the glory itself is sure.
(1) Perfect purity: all possibility of sin then done away; all fulness of good.
(2) Perfect manhood: our outward and inward nature harmonized.
(3) A perfect world: our habitation and our nature then at one.
II. OUR PLEDGE. But how know we that these things shall be given? The pledge is twofold: God's purpose - "God is for us;" God's gift - "He spared not his own Son."
1. God initiates salvation. Not begged of him by us; not procured by a third. "Of his own will." If he begins to work, he will finish.
2. God gives the supreme Gift. The very life: his Son; himself. Hence all subordinate gifts will be given. "Is not the life more than meat?"
3. God loves with such a love. Beyond our thought. But more than all which the analogue suggests: "his own Son." How then shall he not, etc.? Argue the matter to yourselves. He gave his Son for me! And then -
"All, all he hath for mine I claim;
I dare believe in Jesu's Name!" T.F.L.
Parallel VersesKJV: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?