What then shall we say? - As Seen On Sunday
Last week we had a really honest talk about suffering in life, how things work out for the good of those who love God and I think that this next passage is actually very important to encouraging us in hard and dark times. Paul raises the question:
31 What then shall we say to these things?
He answers the question immediately after:
If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
I think that these statements are meant for us to take hope in despite a situation which might cause us to think otherwise. I often tell my mom things and she always poses this question “ does that line up with scripture.” I usually give her a quote that is slightly out of context as an example of why I am right but she gets her point across. “ Am I listening to what God truly says about a situation?”
A great example of this in the Old Testament is when David is being hunted by Saul when he has been told that he would be king. If there was ever a time someone could have felt that someone was against them, David fits this description, yet we read how David let everything up to God. There are several times when David could have taken Saul’s life and thus the kingdom that was going to be his and yet he constantly says “touch not God’s anointed.” Each time he makes a point to basically say to Saul “look I honour you as king why do you want to kill me?” He eventually ascends to the throne and prospers because of God. Perhaps one of the coolest things is that his family eventually leads to Jesus. In Protestant circles, we don't put a whole lot of stock in Jesus’ family as being special, but it has to be a great honour for God to promise that the throne will never leave the house of David and the way He does it is by God incarnate being born into the family.
Secondly, since today is Pentecost Sunday, I figured I would pick the day of Pentecost as a New Testament example. This day is a very important moment for the disciples and the followers of Jesus. Jesus promised them persecution. Said people would reject them but they would be really rejecting Him. And here we are. First, it felt as if everyone was against them when Jesus died, but then He came back. But now Jesus left again leaving them with instructions to wait. Verse 32 has a whole new light if you consider the sending of the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended. If 32 could be used for anything in this life as we talked about during our podcast, I would say it would apply to the Holy Spirit rather than material things.
Verse 33 directs this idea of who can be against us a little further, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” The assumed answer is no one because it is God who justifies. If we remember from earlier in our series, there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The accuser of the brethren cannot bring any charge against us. If anyone would bring charges it would be God himself who justifies so he is the only one who could bring judgement against us. It is the cliche “only God can judge me.” Well, it's true that at the end God will judge everyone, but that's not what people mean when they say that.
Paul then poses the question “who is to condemn” and then follows it up with Jesus being our intercessor; Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. We are given this image of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God speaking on our behalf. Jesus is the judge and the one to condemn yet He is interceding for us.
Jesus said that he had to go and ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit as our helper.
And He stayed there, not having left us as orphans since we have the Spirit but also interceding for us.
And finally verses 35 and 36 I want to read again:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Literally, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. I don't think that this is a commentary on the ability to lose salvation, I think is it the assurance that for believers who have been saved by grace through faith, cannot be taken away from Christ’s love by anything. The rejection of Christ’s love is a topic for another time, but as it were, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Paul’s quote of Psalm 44:22 emphasises the type of persecution that still does not separate us from Jesus, and in fact reminds us that these present suffering are nothing to be compared to the future Glory in Christ Jesus.
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.