Romans Week 2 - Pastor Joshua Kapchinsky

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Today we are going on our Journey into Romans and we will be on this very short series for a few weeks. Today when we stop in Romans we will be talking about Strength. Romans 8:31-39 may be the most comforting and encouraging passage in the entire Bible.1 These verses definitively declare that: Security leads to stability and productivity. Paul offers three hopeful assurances: (1) There is no opposition (8:31-32); (2) there is no condemnation (8:33-34); and (3) there is no separation (8:35-39). 1. There Is No Opposition (8:31-32) In spite of who or what comes against you, God is for you. In 8:31a Paul writes, “What then shall we say to these things?” This is the first of seven questions in this passage. Seven is the number of completion and perfection in the Bible. Throughout this passage, Paul’s goal is to exhaust any and every objection. “These things” (tauta) likely refers to the previous contents of his letter (1:18-8:30).This section is the Cliff Notes on Romans 1-8. Since Paul is astounded by God’s unconditional love he writes in 8:31b, “If God is for us, who is against us?” Notice Paul doesn’t ask the question, “Who is against us?” Rather, he qualifies the question with the phrase: “If God is for us . . .” The Greek word “if” (ei) is not a term of uncertainty, but of certainty. Paul is saying, “If God is working on our behalf (and He is), then who could succeed in opposing us?” His point is that no adversary or enemy is of any account when God is for us. Romans 8:31 was John Calvin’s life verse because it brought him much comfort and confidence. Today you may feel defeated, but Paul’s encouraging truth is that evil will never ultimately prevail. You will always be led to victory in Christ because God is for you. Today personalize the verse by adding your name: “If God is for ________, who is against__________?” In the movie, The Lion King, the young cub Simba is being surrounded by hyenas, and he gets ready to defend himself, when his father jumps up behind Simba and roars. At that great roar, the hyenas scatter. Now the truth is, sometimes hyenas do gang up on and defeat adult male lions. But, if every created being in the universe were to gang up on God, they still would not be able to defeat Him. With that kind of God for you, who can possibly be against you? Who or what do you have to fear? No one. Nothing. Security leads to stability and productivity. 2. There Is No Condemnation (8:33-34) Although you may feel condemned from time to time, God’s love for you is timeless and He will never condemn you. Paul writes in 8:33, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?17 God is the one who justifies.” This is a rhetorical question, equivalent to an emphatic denial. So the question is: Who would dare “bring a charge against God’s elect?” The answer, of course, is no one. This question is from a courtroom setting. No one can charge you with sin crimes because God has justified you. God has acquitted you and declared you righteous before His perfect justice. If God pronounced this verdict, who can resurrect the charges of wrong doing that would bring you before Him again? There is no double jeopardy in God’s legal system! As a believer, you can be sure you are eternally secure because there is no sin that has not already been dealt with by Christ. Therefore, if God the Father went to all this work to save you, it is nonsensical to contemplate the remote possibility that you could somehow be lost. If “God is the one who justifies,” who is able to “unjustify” you? Absolutely no one! There Is No Separation (8:35-39) Since God set His love upon you in eternity past, He will continue to love you for all eternity. Paul makes this point inextricably clear by emphasizing the love of God or Christ three times in this section (8:35, 37, 39; cf. 5:5-8). Furthermore, the verb “separate” (chorizo) bookends this section (8:35, 39), confirming that there is no separation in your relationship with God. Paul begins with the question that is potentially the most critical question a Christian can ask: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:35a) Of course, the answer is: No one can separate us from the love of Christ. However, you may say, “But I don’t feel like I love Christ all the time.” No, you misread 8:35a. It’s not who is going to separate us from our love for Christ, but who is going to separate us from Christ’s love for us. I don’t know about you, but my love for Christ can fluctuate between hot and cold. If my salvation depends upon the fervency of my love for Christ, I would have already been cast into hell. Thankfully, my salvation does not depend upon my love for Christ; rather, it depends upon Christ’s love for me. His life, death, resurrection, and intercession have secured my eternal destiny. The only reason that I will spend eternity with God is because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. In closing There are three pairs in 8:38-39: (1) Death/life: Nothing in this life and nothing in death can separate a believer from God’s love. The two things we fear most, living and dying, are not threats to our eternal life. Whether we live or die, we are in God’s love. (2) Things present/things to come: Nothing in our present experience, nor anything to come, can separate us from God’s love in Christ. (3) Height/depth: If we were to travel to the “highest” or “lowest” points in the universe, or anywhere in between, we would never arrive at a place where we could escape Christ’s love. There is nowhere we can go where anyone or anything can take our eternal salvation away from us. By using these three pairs Paul could not be any plainer or clearer. Eternal life is eternal: Nothing in life or in death, nothing in our present or in our future, nothing in the entire universe, no matter how “high” or “low” we might go—nothing can separate us from His love. Paul selected these pairs because each represents the extreme of something dear to us (i.e., existence, time, and location). Just like we can’t cease being the children of our earthly parents once we are born, so we can’t cease being children of God once we are born again. We can no more be unborn spiritually than we can go back and be unborn physically. When we trust in Christ for salvation, by His grace, at that very moment, we become members of God’s family forever.

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