A Study of the Epistle to the Romans
Preservation: Kept Securely in Christ Jesus
Our New Assurance
The thirty-first verse is a conclusion of the first eight chapters of Romans and not merely of this chapter.
"What shall we say to those things?" He means everything that has gone before - our condemnation, our justification, our sanctification, and our glorification. The last word he used was "glorified." Now he says, "What are we going to say?" That is a searching question. What are "you" going to say this day to these things? Shall we say, "Well, that is interesting. I am glad that it is that way. But I am going to go on living as I have always lived. Certain things I like to do, and I am going to keep on doing them"? If you do say that, you do not know God! No true Christian can be brought into the presence of these truths without having them grip his heart and lead him in the path of righteousness.
But that is not principally what Paul intends to talk about now. There are four questions here:
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" The answer: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" (v. 32).
"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" That is to say (and he is issuing the challenge to a universe), "If there is any man, any angel,and demon who can bring forth a charge and lay it at the door of God's elect, let him stand up!" There is no answer. Why? Because "it is God that justifieth" (v. 33). Who is the man then that can bring a charge against God's elect when the very word "elect" shows that you can never do it? This is a foretaste. God has declared them righteous; no other man can undo it.
"Who is he that condemneth?" Anybody can issue a charge, but there is only one who has the authority to condemn. God has committed all judgment into the hand of - whom? The Son of God! (John 5:22). There is not a being - not even the Father nor the Holy Spirit - no angel or archangel - there is only one person who can condemn any man. That is Jesus Christ! The only person in the world who can condemn you died for you! Even right now He is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. How can He condemn us? It is impossible!
"Who shall separate us?" He is thinking now of those "present sufferings." Some say that present sufferings have a tendency to separate us from God. But these things cannot separate the true believer. Paul is talking about his own personal experience here too. He suffered every one of those things except the sword, and he was yet to suffer that at the hands of Caesar. For we are told that he lost his head on the Appian Way at the hands of the Roman governor. Not only can these things not separate us from Christ, but that is not all. In every one of them "we are more than conquerors." Are "we" that? No, let us finish it - "through Him that loved us." A French translation says, "Nay, we are conquerors and beyond, through Him that loved us!"
He goes on to his final paean of praise! A Christian may take those words upon his lips without the least shadow of presumption. "I am persuaded that nothing shall be able to separate me from the love of God!" Now he is going to search the universe for anything that could possibly separate us. He goes to the realm of death - he looks at it, he searches it. He says, "There is nothing that that can separate us." He turns then to the realm of life. He finds nothing there. He looks to the angelic or spiritual world. He finds nothing there among the good angels. He regards the other side - the principalities, representing satan and all his hosts. There is nothing there!
He then begins to examine "things present." In all the vast realm of "things present" he finds nothing! Then he peers out into the future, "things to come." Who knows what those three words comprehend? Judgment - the ages of eternity! But he says, as he looks through the ages of eternity, "There is nothing there!"
But he does not stop. He scans the entire universe - the heights and depths of the universe. He finds nothing there!
One would have thought that Paul had covered everything, but lest he may have missed something, he says, "There is no creation that is able to separate us from the love of God." Do you know what he means when he says that? He is considering the future, imagining the present creation passed away. he is anticipating that perhaps there will be infinite creations - on and on through the ages of eternity! He says, "They all come up, as far as the prophetic eye can reach, and there is nothing in it all that can possibly separate us."
And he closes the passage as it began - "in Christ Jesus!"
~Alva J. McClain~
(continued with - "The Exhibition of Divine Sovereignty in Election")