Romans 8:31-35; 37-38
31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]
34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?
35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?
37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This morning as I sit on my back porch listening to the birds chirping and as I enjoy the cool morning breeze, I am overwhelmed with the amazing divine love of the Father. I have been thinking about the scripture above in Romans 8 that tells me if God be for me, who can be against me? If we really were convinced and assured of this love He has for each one of us personally and individually, how it would affect our daily life and decisions.
Think of this: God is for me. God’s thoughts toward me are good and beautiful and right. Even when He asks me to do something seemingly difficult, He is for me. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows my past, present and future. I really can trust Him. I don’t have to make a demand for my own rights or my way. He is for me. The God of the universe, the God who made the sun, moon and the stars, the God who counts every hair upon my head, the one who split the Red Sea and saved an entire nation through a young woman by the name of Esther. Yes, He is for me!
What does this mean? How do I respond to this love? I think first of all I have to receive this love. I have to embrace the truth that I am forgiven and that the blood of Jesus has made me white as snow. I need to take the time each day to dwell on the fact that the Father God no matter my mistakes, failures or even successes unconditionally accepts me. I need to wake up each day remembering that my God is for me. Whatever He asks me to do, wherever He asks me to go, whomever He asks me to help…. He is for me and I don’t have to be afraid of obeying Him. I just have to listen and then follow what He puts in my heart. I have to take the time to get still long enough to shut out a thousand other voices calling my name and listen only to the voice of my Good Shepherd. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing masquerade and promise me fulfillment and peace only to leave me desolate and empty.
Secondly, Romans 8 reveals to us that we need to look at how we treat others. Do we treat people like God treats them? Do we hold grudges? Do we condemn? Do we bring up the past? Do we talk about past failures?? Or do we imitate our Father and treat people like we are for them and not against them. It is easy to treat those who do everything right this way but what about the unlovely person? What about the wounded soul? What about the one who is struggling? What about the one who has deeply hurt us?
If I am for you and not against you then I will:
- Pray for you
- Not gossip or talk about you to others
- Accept you as you are
- Help you become who God wants you to be
- Forgive you
- Not bring up yesterday
- Support you
- Put your needs before my own
- Protect you
- Think good thoughts about you
Lastly, Romans 8:35 discusses the obstacles that come our way to try and distract us from our real purpose- suffering, affliction, tribulation, calamity, distress, persecution, hunger, destitution, peril (danger), sword…. These are all real evil forces (which take different shapes and forms) designed to stop us from the plan of God for our lives. The author of these words, the apostle Paul, experienced an abundance all of these adversities in his lifetime. Yet, he was able to say he was more than a conqueror and that none of these things succeeded in extinguishing the flame of love between himself and his heavenly Father. Paul writes that this love relationship with the Father through His Son, Jesus, was stronger than any other force in the universe.
Today so many are searching for true inner peace and meaning in life. The first place to begin is to believe the scriptures that reveal the greatest love story ever told. I Corinthians 13 describes this love as one that is patient, kind, not self-seeking, not easily provoked. It is a love that takes no account of the evil done to it and rejoices in what is right and true.
We have God on our side today. He is with me. He is with you. Let’s go out into the world and act like this is true.
You are loved today,
Pastor Maureen Stanek