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He Will Hold Me Fast - Part 1

Tom Pennington • Romans 8:31-39

  • 2018-08-19 AM
  • Romans
  • Sermons

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Well, I invite you to take your Bibles with me this morning and turn to Romans 8, as we come to the last paragraph in this wonderful chapter - a favorite paragraph of mine and I know of many of you as well. It's about our security; our security in Jesus Christ. That's a word, by the way, that we hear often today. There's a lot of talk about security - whether it's personal security, internet security, financial security. But I think you understand, and perhaps have experienced firsthand, that there really is nothing in our world that is truly secure. There have been breaches, literally, at every level. My wife, Sheila, and I discovered that last summer when through, we think, one of the major breaches across the country that our information, specifically hers, was revealed. An identity thief took it, and ran with it, and started opening up post office boxes, and redirecting my wife's mail to Florida, and opening up credit cards all across the country. And, literally, it took me a month to try to shut down the work that this identity thief had done with all of our information. So, there really isn't anything that could properly be called security in our world.

But, if I were to ask you this, if I were to say, identify the one thing in our world that you would say is the most secure, what would that be? Well, I think one thing that we think of as most secure, we even use it as a sort of figure of speech for security, is Fort Knox. "It's like Fort Knox", we say. This has been called the most secure vault on the planet. Officially, it's not known as Fort Knox but the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. It was built in 1935. It holds half of the US treasury's gold reserves as well as valuables from other government agencies. Today, Fort Knox houses 5000 tons of gold bullion with a value exceeding $186 billion. During World War II, we're told that the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and reportedly, even the Magna Carta and the British Crown Jewels were secretly stored at Fort Knox in order to protect them. Now, many of the details of the security systems there are uncertain since the staff have been sworn to secrecy and civilians have only visited Fort Knox a handful of times. In fact, two US Presidents, supposedly, have visited there. Only one signed the ledger. So, we only know for sure that one did. In addition, there have only been two congressional delegations that were allowed to view the gold there. One was back in 1974, and then 40 years later (a little over 40 years), last year in 2017. It is heavily secured. In fact, within the side of the vault is a US Army post with 30,000 soldiers, 300 tanks, armed personnel carriers, attack helicopters, and artillery. Surrounding the entire facility, are three electric fences with motion detectors. It's also reported that there are virtual tripwires surrounding Fort Knox. And between the second and third fences, we hear that there are landmines, surface-to-air missiles, and motion-sensored automatic rifles. Then you get to the building itself. The foundation of the building consists of multiple layers of concrete, topped with 10 feet of solid granite, so that no one can burrow up from beneath. In addition to that, the outer shell that houses the vault, the outer shell is four feet thick granite, reportedly, lined as well with concrete, steel, and some sort of a fireproof material. And, supposedly, it can withstand a direct strike from an atomic weapon. The front door weighs 22 tons and is blast proof. Once you get inside the outer shell, and you come to the vaults themselves, they are 27 inches thick. Security inside the building, reportedly, includes an advanced biometric ID system with a stereo camera. I didn't even know what a stereo camera was, but it's a camera with multiple lenses and it's so sensitive that it can distinguish facial features altered by plastic surgery. No one person can gain access to the vault. Several members of the staff must dial in separate combinations. And those combinations are changed daily. And the staff rotates on a random time schedule so that there can be no collusion among the staff. And the entire facility is, reportedly, under the constant surveillance of one of the US satellites. Now, folks, that's security!

But there's something on this planet that is far more secure than Fort Knox. If you're in Christ, it's you. It's you. You are eternally and absolutely secure in Jesus Christ. That's the theme of this eighth chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans - the absolute security of the Christian. There's not a command in the entire chapter. Instead, every verse develops that theme. Every part of the chapter feeds that one great story. In fact, as the chapter unfolds, Paul lays out seven great reasons that we are secure in Christ. We've already discovered six of them. In verses one to four, we are secure because God has delivered us from condemnation. Verse one says, "There is therefore now" what? "…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." In verses 5 to 13, we learned that we are secure because God has changed and empowered us by His Holy Spirit. If you're in Christ, He has radically transformed you. You are not the person you used to be and that secures you for the future. Thirdly, we discovered in verses 14 to 17, that our security rests in the fact that God has adopted us as His children. This is not a fantasy. If you're a Christian, God, your Creator, has literally adopted you as one of His children. And He never returns a child He adopts. Fourthly, we learned that we are secure because God has destined us for glory. Verses 18 to 25, He has said we are destined to both see and to share the glory of Jesus Christ. He's already determined that destiny. It's going to happen. A fifth reason for our security is that God has given us His spirit as an intercessor in verses 26 and 27. The Holy Spirit is within you. And, often, we don't know how to pray. We don't know what to pray for. And the Spirit intercedes for us based on what He knows is best, based on what He knows is in our hearts, and He intercedes "with groanings too deep for words", directly to the Father, on our behalf. And then, lately we've been learning a sixth reason, and that is in verses 28 to 30, that God has called us according to His eternal plan. We are called according to His purpose and that purpose is unpacked in verses 29 to 30. This great, sweeping, eternal plan of redemption - the Golden Chain of Redemption, as it's often been called; these links that are inseparable and that bind us ultimately to the heart of God Himself.

Now, today, we come to the final paragraph in this wonderful chapter, and to one final reason for our security in Jesus Christ. Number seven is this: God has loved us eternally in Christ. God has loved us eternally in Christ. This is the message of verses 31 to 39. These verses have been called a Hymn of Security or a Song of Security not because it's poetry - it's not poetry, it's prose - but, rather, because of the profoundly rich truths that are contained here.

Let's read it together. Romans 8 beginning in verse 31. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring charges against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, but rather, was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger [peril], or sword? Just as it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We were regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Now, the theme of that paragraph is evident, but let me just give it to you in brief form. Here's the point. There is no one and there is nothing in the universe that can separate us from God's eternal love in Christ. There is no one and there is nothing in the universe that can separate us from God's eternal love in Christ. Let's look at it together - such a magnificent passage. Notice how he begins in verse 31. He begins with the question - "What then shall we say to these things?" As you know, Paul loves that question. "What do we say?" or "How do we respond?". He uses it often, even in Romans, to introduce a logical deduction, or an application, or a summary of what he's already taught. Here, he adds to it those words "to these things". "What shall we say then to these things?" In other words, what we have just read, that paragraph we read in verse is 31 to 39, is a logical deduction, an application, a summary of what Paul has already said.

But the question is what? What are these things? Well, there are several possibilities. This paragraph we've just read may be Paul's summary and application of just the previous verses, verses 28 to 30. Another option is that "these thing" refers to all of chapter 8 and the great truths of security we've learned here. A third possibility is, when he talks about these things, he's referring to this section in which this occurs - a section that begins in 5:1 and runs through the end of chapter 8. Or, a fourth option, is that he means the entire letter so far. "What then shall we say to these things?" Now, it wouldn't be wrong, frankly, to say that he means all of it. But because Paul reintroduces here in these verses some of the language that he uses back in chapter 5, in the beginning of chapter 5, I think it's most likely that Paul is, here, summarizing the section that runs from 5:1 here through the end of chapter 8.

Now, let me remind you, that section has a theme. And the theme of this section, 5 through 8, is this: The Gospel Experienced: The Security of Our Justification. Paul set out, in these chapters, to prove that our justification is absolutely, completely secure. And so, when he comes to the end of that section, this is what he says, "What then shall we say to these things?" How do we respond to the security of our justification that we enjoy? Well, in the rest of verse 31, Paul answers that question. And he answers it with two great affirmations, although if you look at verse 31, at first glance, neither of the comments in the second half of verse 31 appear to be a statement at all. One is a condition - "if God is for us". The other is a question - "who is against us?". But make no mistake, both are in fact massive, sweeping statements of spiritual reality. Here they are. They are really statements, and these are the statements. Number one, God is for us. And number two, if we turn that question into a statement, which is really what Paul is doing, it comes out like this. The question is, who is against us? But in reality, it's no one can successfully be against us. No one can successfully be against us. Now, those two great statements summarize, not only what he is said in chapters 5 through 8, but also the rest of what he's going to say in this entire paragraph.

So, let's start by making sure we understand those two basic statements. Let's take the first one, in verse 31, God is for us. Now, I think you have to start by making sure you don't make a big mistake at the very beginning. Paul does not mean that God is for everyone. In fact, the Scripture is very clear about that. God is not for everyone alive on this planet today. In fact, and this is sad to say, but God at this point is not for everyone in this room. In fact, there are two possible positions when it comes to our relationship to God. Christ explains, in principle, these two positions in Mark 9:40, when He's talking about, with His disciples, those who appear to be against Him and He says this, "For the one [he] who is not against us is for us." Those are the two possibilities - against us, for us. So, we are either for God or against God. That's Jesus point in Mark 9. But what Paul is saying, here, is that God is either for us or against us. In fact, one of the most sobering statements in the Old Testament, is when God says to a group, often even a nation or to individuals this, "I am against you." Imagine hearing that from God. "I am against you". And yet the truth is that is true of every single person who has not humbled him or herself before God their Creator, repented of their sins, and embraced the solution of the Gospel, that we read about in I Corinthians 15 this morning, through Jesus Christ. In fact, here in Romans, God even describes Himself not only as against those who have not done so, but as their enemy, the enemy of all who do not know Him through His Son. Go back to Romans 5:1. As he begins this section, he says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith..." So those who have been declared right with God, by their faith in the life and death of His Son, we have peace with God. He's not talking about some feeling of peace in your heart. He's talking about an objective state of peace, the cessation of hostilities between the sinner and God. And just in case you don't believe that go down to verse nine of chapter 5. "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood [that is by His death], we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." Uh-oh! Why do we need to be saved from God's wrath? Verse 10: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son..." You see, every person who has not yet been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, is God's enemy.

That's the reality. If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, I hesitate to even say this to you because it's a hard thing to say, but God is your enemy. That's what the Scripture says. You are at war with Him. You say, "How am I at war with God?" Because God has made demands of you and you haven't kept those commands. You've disobeyed Him. You've made choices, as I have, contrary to His will and purpose. And He is, therefore, at war with you. The only way that war ever ends is if you are willing to turn from your rebellion against God, humble yourself before Him, and plead for His mercy through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. And I plead with you today to do just that, because if you haven't, then God is against you. He is your enemy and sees you as His enemy. That's your state as you sit here this very moment. And some day, as Paul said, comes God's wrath - His just anger, His justice outworked against man's rebellion. So, I plead with you today. Come to Christ, and I promise you this, if you will humble yourself, you will find Him open to receiving you, because that's the kind of God He is.

So, for most of us, that's already happened, right? I mean most of us have done that. We have humbled ourselves. We have pled for God's mercy in Christ. And if that's true of you, then here's what Paul is saying - God is no longer your enemy. He is no longer against you. Instead, exactly the opposite is true. He is for you. That statement really comes from the Old Testament. Several occasions it's made like this, for example in Psalm 56:9 the Psalmist writes, "This I know, that God is for me." Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord [Yahweh] is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?" That's the background of this statement, here. God is for us!

Now, in what sense does Paul mean, God is for us? Well, look in the context. Go back to chapter 8. Read all of chapter 8, but especially, read verses 28 to 30. Look at them. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew [that is, those with whom He predetermined a relationship, those on whom He set His eternal love], He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son [He predetermined our destiny that we would be like Jesus], so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters [brethren]; and these whom He predestined, He also called [that is, powerfully, irresistibly, through the Gospel, to Himself]; and these whom He called, He also justified [He declared us to be perfectly right before His Law, His justice satisfied]; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." You see, here's Paul's argument: if God set His love on you in eternity past, if He predetermined that you would be like His Son, if He decided that He would adopt you and you would be part of his family, if He called you to Himself through the Gospel, and if He justified you, and will glorify you, then clearly God is for you. God's for you! He's on your side. That's actually one of the definitions that the leading Greek lexicon gives of this expression. He's on your side. Better, He has taken you and plucked you by His sovereign grace from the enemy's side and He's put you on His side. That's what's really happened. That's how Paul refers to it in Colossians 1 when he says He transferred you from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son.

Now, as we're going to see, Paul is going to explain even further how God is for us in the rest of this paragraph. But for now, we'll leave it at that. Now, the second affirmation that Paul makes in verse 31 is that if God is for us, who is against us? No one can successfully be against us. That's his point. In fact, I want you to notice that Paul doesn't just ask the simple question alone, "Who is against us?". Because if that was the question he'd ask, you know, get in line, right? There's a long list of people or a long list of things that are against us. Satan is against us. His demons are against us. The world system, that he created, is clearly against us. Simple human beings are against us, sometimes, because of our faith, other times just because of their personal dislike of us. And our own flesh is against us. So, we have no shortage of enemies. But that's not how Paul asks this question. Notice, how he puts it, "If God is for us who is against us?" In other words, it's not that we don't have enemies, we do. Instead, he's saying if God is for us, or better here in the context, since God is for us. He's not questioning that reality. If you're in Christ, God is for you. Since God is for us, what does it matter who's against us? That's the point. You see, this is the real question Paul is asking. Is there anyone in the universe who can stand against us in order to successfully undermine our security in Christ? Or let me put it a different way. Is there anyone who can successfully undermine our justification before God? That's really what he's dealing with here.

Let me ask you. Have you ever wondered about that? Have you ever asked yourself that question? If not, you should. Paul does. He wants us to have this security based on having faced the facts and answered the questions. Have you ever wondered if God, or if Christ, might change their mind about you and rescind their salvation and offer? Have you ever wondered if Satan might make an accusation against you so powerfully that it sticks in the presence of God? Have you ever wondered if somehow by your own sin, or by your response to the troubles and difficulties of this life, you somehow managed to undermine your internal security? I've certainly asked those questions. And if you've ever asked those questions of yourself, Paul has an answer for you in this text. Because in the rest of this paragraph, Paul considers, one by one, all of those who might potentially undermine our security and leave us, once again, damned and condemned. Now let me ask you a question. If that would ever happen, who can do it? Who's powerful enough to change, or potentially change, our standing before God? Who are the beings in the universe that could somehow break the Golden Chain of Redemption recorded in verses 28 to 30? Well, there are only a few possibilities. And Paul considers each one of them in this paragraph and he proves, in the end, that no one in the universe can destroy our faith, can undermine our security in Christ, and, ultimately, leave us once again condemned and hopeless. This paragraph is to put the final nail in the coffin of our doubts.

Let's look at it together. Paul says if your justification is ever to be successfully undermined, overturned, it will not be the Father who does it. It will not be the Father. Verse 32. In verse 32 Paul begins with the unthinkable. He says, "What if?". Think about this now. What if our salvation is not secure because the Father, at some point, changes His mind about us? What if over time, as our lives are lived out or even in eternity, what if the Father's love for us diminishes? Or what if it ceases entirely? Where are we, then? And you know what, at a human level, I can understand this. If I were God, and I had to put up with me every day, there might very well come a time when I would wash my hands of me and say, "Enough! I'm done!" And if you're honest with yourself, you can understand that as well. Paul says that will not, in fact, it cannot happen. And here's why. Verse 32: "He who did not spare His own Son..." Here, he says it negatively. He didn't spare His own Son. I love that phrase "His own Son". Paul says that distinctively because it points to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ; the special relationship that Jesus and Jesus alone has with God. He is God's unique, one of a kind Son. There's only one like Him. He's distinct from the adopted sons. He is "His own Son". Now, in the rest of that expression, Paul seems to intentionally borrow the Greek language from the Septuagint translation of Genesis 22:16 where, it is said of Abraham and his sacrifice of Isaac, "you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son." There are, of course, similarities between Abraham and what's being described here of God. But there is one huge difference. And that is, Abraham was willing not to spare his son, but God actually didn't spare His Son. God didn't "spare" Him. It's not a word we use very much, but in this context, it means this: God didn't save Him from what was about to happen. God didn't hold Him back from death. Instead, he goes on to say in verse 32, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all..." It was put negatively in the first half of verse 32. Here it's put positively. "He delivered Him over for us all..." Folks, there is the ultimate expression that God is for us. He delivered His own Son to death for us. Let's make it very specific. If you're in Christ, if you have repented and believe, He delivered His own Son over to death for you. For you.

Now, when you look at that verb translated "delivered over", that's an interesting verb. It's actually been used in Romans before. We've seen it. We saw it three times in Romans 1 where three times it says of sinners, "God delivered them over". "God delivered them over". "God delivered them over". That's what God did with Christ. He delivered Him over. The point of this expression is that God took the initiative in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Go back to chapter 4. In fact, let's go back before chapter 4 to chapter 3, and look at verse 25 of chapter 3. Speaking of Jesus verse 25 says, "...God displayed publicly [Christ Jesus] as a propitiation in His blood through faith." In other words, it was God who initiated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Now, go over to chapter 4:25. It says, "He [Christ] who was delivered over..." Now, we know it was by God Himself. He was delivered over, why? "...because of our wrongdoings [transgressions]". In other words, God delivered Christ over to death and to suffer His own justice because of our transgressions. Or as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2, "He Himself brought [bore] our sins [plural] in His body up on the cross [tree]." That's what happened. He delivered Him over to suffer His justice on the cross. Look at 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Again, God is demonstrating His love. God is initiating the death of Jesus Christ.

When you say, "Who's responsible for Jesus death?", there are a lot of correct ways to answer that question. Certainly, we are. Certainly, the Jewish leaders were. Certainly, the Romans were. But, ultimately, that's not the answer. I love the way Octavius Winslow puts it. He says, "Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas for money. Not Pilot for fear. Not the Jews for envy. But the Father for love.

Now, notice, how he puts it - "He delivered him over". I love this - "for us all". Who's that - "for us all"? Well, that refers back to verses 28 to 30. We just read. It refers to those whom God loved eternally, those He predestined to be like His Son, those He called, those He justified, and those He will glorify. In other words, "us all" includes all believers without exception. All who will believe. Now, when that preposition there in verse 32 "for us", when that preposition "for" is used with this verb, "delivered over", it almost always means in the place of. That's the idea. God took the initiative and delivered Jesus over to death for all believers in our place. Christian, if you ever are prone to doubt that God is for you, just remind yourself of this: God delivered over to death His own Son in your place.

Now, here, he says, "God delivered Christ over to death", and that's obviously true. But it's equally true in Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 5:25 that Christ delivered Himself over to death for our sins as well. But notice verse 32. Verse 32 is a kind of conditional sentence, with the first half being the if statement. Let me read it that way. Look at verse 32: "[If] He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, [then] how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Now, the kind of argument that Paul uses in verse 32 is called "the argument from the greater to the lesser". It's the same kind of argument he used back in, we just read a moment ago in 5:9-10. Particularly verse 10 he says, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." In other words, if God is done the greater thing, if when we were His enemies, He gave His Son to die for us, then He'll certainly do the lesser thing which is: now that we're His children, complete the Salvation that He's begun. That's his argument in chapter 8. If God was willing to deliver His own Son to death for us, if God has, think of it this way, if God has already given us the most precious thing He has, then what is the likelihood that He's going to withhold something of much less value that's necessary for our salvation? It's illogical. In fact, it's inconceivable. If I'm willing to give you, to sacrifice one of my children for you, then I'm not going to withhold $100 from you. That's Paul's argument here. If He's given us Christ, and He has, then He will with Him, look at verse 32, "freely give". The Greek word translated, "freely give", is the word that's related to our word "grace". He will with him, graciously or in grace, give us all things.

What does he mean by "all things"? You mean He's going to pad your bank account? No! He's talking here in the context about all those things necessary for our salvation. Douglas Moore, an excellent commentator on Romans, explains that having given us His Son, God will give us "all those blessings, spiritual and material, that we require on the path toward final salvation - all things necessary for our salvation." Charles Hodge, another excellent commentator in Romans, puts it this way. I love this. He says, "The believer is assured of salvation, not because he is assured of his own constancy [in other words your own faithfulness, your own ability to keep yourself on the right path] but simply because he is assured of the immutability of the divine love. God's love doesn't change, and he is assured of its immutability because he is assured of its greatness. Infinite love cannot change. A love which spared not the eternal Son of God, but freely gave Him up cannot fail in its objective."

You see what Paul wants you to understand, Christian, is that if your justification is ever going to be undermined, if your position before God is ever going to be changed, it will not be the Father who does it. He simply will not change His mind about you. He is not going to somehow fail to provide something necessary for your ultimate salvation, because He has already demonstrated His resolve by giving you His most precious treasure, His own Son, in order to accomplish your salvation. If He's willing to give up Christ, then what in the world is He going to withhold to accomplish your salvation? He simply will not allow the death of His beloved Son to be wasted. He will complete what He's begun. So, do you understand? Your security is based on the fact that God has already done the most costly, profound thing that He could do. Nothing is going to change His mind in what He has begun.

Secondly, if your justification is going to be undermined, it will not be Satan. This is the point of verse 33: "Who will bring charges against God's elect?". That expression, "God's elect", Paul is jumping back into the previous verses, verses 29 and 30. He's talking about those whom God foreknew, those whom God set His love on in eternity past, those whom He has chosen to love. That's God's elect.

Who will bring a charge against them? This is an interesting word. It means to accuse or to bring charges against. Again, it's important for us to recognize that there are many who make accusations against believers - happened in the 1st century, happens today. Pagan governments make accusations. The enemies of our faith accuse us. Sometimes, personal enemies accuse us. Even our own conscience constantly accuses us, unless you're an extraordinary person. Mine certainly does. I'm sure yours does. But this word "bring a charge", here, isn't typically used of those kinds of accusations. In fact, the Greek word Paul uses, here, is specifically from the courtroom. It appears only six other times in the New Testament - all of them in the Book of Acts, and all of them of actual legal charges brought in a court setting. So, Paul isn't saying who can (you know on the Internet) say something bad about you? He's not talking about that, or somebody, to your face, say something that's negative. No! He's saying, who can really prevail to bring legal charges against us before the throne of God? So, let me ask you this question. Who has the opportunity to do that? Who has the opportunity to accuse you before God? Only Satan. In fact, listen to Revelation 12:9-10: "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him [this was when he was judged for his rebellion in heaven]. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying [listen to this], '...the accuser of our brothers and sisters [brethren] has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before our God day and night.'" You understand, that by God's permission, Satan has continual access to the throne of God and he constantly, day after day, night after night, accuses believers before God. Zechariah 3:1 says, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right [hand] to accuse him." If you want an example of this, read the early chapters of the Book of Job. In Job 1:9-11 and in Job 2:4-5, you find Satan showing up in God's presence accusing Job. You know what he says about Job to God? He says, "Listen, let me tell you something God. He doesn't love You. He's not committed to You. This is all about what he gets. And if you will take away what he enjoys in this life he will curse You to Your face." He accuses.

So, back in Romans 8, Paul probably isn't asking generally, here, who can accuse us. Instead, he means this: what if Satan, the one who accuses us night and day before God, is able to bring a successful accusation against us? Now, that's not as far-fetched as it might seem. I mean, think about this for a moment. Satan is not omnipresent. He's not like God. He can't be everywhere at the same time. But he has a network of demons and clearly, based on the evidence of Scripture, he knows (this is a sobering thought) he knows about your sin. He knows about it. He knows everything that's happened externally. He can see, and observe, and know. And he's smart enough to observe what happens externally and to have a pretty good idea of what's going on in your mind - just like you do with young children. So, he knows.

What if Satan were to come to God about you like he did with Job and, by the way he does, and what if he were to argue that God shouldn't save you? "God, really? Look at him! Look at her! They don't love You. That person is not committed to You. Look at their sin!" Verse 33: "Who will bring charges against God's elect? God is the one who justifies." You see, Paul argues that Satan can never, will never make a successful case against you before God. Why? Because the very judge, who would always hear every formal charge against us, is the very same judge who has already justified us. And His verdict stands. You see, Jesus died for every sin that you, believer, would ever commit - not just the ones in the past, every sin. There's no sin for which He did not pay the full and complete penalty. And when God forgave you, He didn't forgive you for sins in the past, the moment of salvation. He forgave you for all sins - past, present and future. He knew them all. They're all covered in the blood of Jesus Christ. He knew that. And so, if He already knew every sin we would ever commit, and if He has already declared that His justice has been fully met with reference to every sin, then what is the chance that He's going to accept some future accusation against you? That's Paul is saying. It's not going to happen. So, if our security is ever undermined, if our justification is ever successfully overturned, it will not be the Father. He's already proven His love by what He did with His Son. And it certainly will not be Satan. There's no way he can make an accusation stick. We are "Teflon Christians".

Thirdly, it will not be Jesus Christ our Lord. Notice verse 34: "who is the one who condemns?" Now, immediately, that takes our minds back to chapter 8:1 where Paul writes, "Therefore there is now [what?] no condemnation". No condemnation! That is, no guilty verdict and no sentence that goes along with the guilty verdict. There is now, right now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And now, go back to verse 34: "who is the one then who condemns?" That word "condemn", is obviously also the language of the courtroom - just like to bring a charge or to accuse. It means to pronounce a sentence after determination of guilt. So, who condemns us? Well, I mean obviously, in one sense, Satan condemns us, right? We just saw that he comes and says, "He's not what he seems. She's not what she appears." Also, other people condemn us. Our own consciences condemn us as well. So, we're no strangers to condemnation. But that's not what he's talking about here. He says, "who will actually condemn us?" In other words, who truly has the power to pronounce a sentence of "guilty" against us, and carry that verdict out with a sentence that's deserving? You see, there is only one final judge and that is Jesus Christ. Only He has the right to condemn. In John 5:22 Jesus says, "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son". Only the Son can condemn. Acts 10:42, Peter talking to Cornelius says, "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and to testify solemnly [of Jesus] that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead." Paul on Mars Hill, in Acts 17 says, "[God] has set [fixed] a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness [how?] through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all people [men] by raising Him from the dead." You see, there is only one final judge. There is only one person in the universe who has the power to condemn you, and that is Jesus Christ.

So, here's the question. What if Jesus Christ, the final judge in our case, somehow changes His mind? What if He just gets fed up with you and with me? What if He reverses His verdict of "justified" to a verdict of "condemned"? Paul gives us four reasons, here, that that will not, that cannot happen. Look at them. Very quickly, first of all, it can't happen because of His death. "...who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died". You see, He can't condemn us for our sins when He died for the very sins based on which He would condemn us. He fully satisfied the demands of God's justice. How could He ever, then, reverse His verdict about us? Look back at chapter 8:3: "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did [what did God do? Well, He sent]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin [and by doing that, notice the end of verse 3], He [God] condemned [our] sin in the [Jesus'] flesh." He already condemned it. It's done! In Galatians 3:10, Paul writes, "For all who are of works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the Law, to do them.'" In other words, "Okay, you want to be right with God by obedience? It just requires this: perfect obedience!" All things written in the law; you have to perform. And if you don't, you're under a curse. Verse 13: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'". Listen, Christ will never condemn us because He died to remove the grounds on which we would be condemned.

Secondly, this can't happen. Christ would never allow our condemnation because of His resurrection. Verse 34 says, "Christ Jesus is He who died, but rather, was raised..." Go back to chapter 4 and look at verse 25 again. It says, "He who was delivered over because of our wrongdoings [transgressions - there's His death. God delivered Him over to pay the penalty for our sins, to satisfy God's justice against our sin], and [He] was raised [notice it doesn't say to accomplish our justification but] because of our justification." You see, we are justified by His blood Scripture says, that is, by His death. So, what's the relationship between our justification and the resurrection? It's this: in raising Jesus from the dead, God proved that all of His claims were true, and, that God Himself had accepted the sacrifice of Jesus as the payment that accomplishes our justification. So, in raising Him, He guaranteed that He had accepted the full payment for our sins. Therefore, we can never be condemned.

Thirdly, we can never be condemned because of Jesus being at God's right hand. Again, in verse 34: "who is at the right hand of God..." What does that mean? What does that have to do with our security? Well, whenever this expression is used in Scripture, it refers to Jesus' position, and power, and authority. You can see this in His right to rule. You can see this in Psalm 110:1, in Hebrews 1:3, in Revelation 3:21, again and again, when He's at God's right hand, He's exalted to a position of honor, and authority, and power. Paul's point is we can never be condemned because the one who died for us, and was raised on our behalf, now occupies the highest place of honor in heaven, and the most powerful place of authority in the universe. No one has the power or authority to even question His verdict of us, much less, overturn it. He is seated at the right hand of God. Who's gonna to argue with Him? Who's going to overturn that verdict?

The fourth reason we cannot be condemned is because of His intercession. Verse 34 ends: "who also intercedes for us". In verses 26 and 27, we learned that the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Now, we learn that Christ also intercedes for us. Turn over to Hebrews. Look at Hebrews Chapter 7. I love this passage, Hebrews 7:23. The writer of Hebrews is comparing the sort of shadows of the Old Testament sacrificial system and the priest that went with it, with the reality, that is, the service of Jesus Christ as our great High Priest, and His sacrifice. And notice what he says in verse 23 of Hebrews 7: "The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing". You needed more priests because they kept dying. They couldn't continue to serve. But Jesus on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. He has the power of an indestructible life and, therefore, He will forever be our High Priest. Verse 25: "Therefore [because of that indestructible life, that continual high priesthood] He is also able to save forever". Now, if you have a New American Standard and you have a reference edition, look over at the marginal note for the word "forever". You can see that it says, "or completely". That's because the Greek word can talk about extent of time, or extent of quality or completion. So, it could mean: He's able to save forever or it could mean He's able to save completely. I think both are true. I think the writer intends for us to read both in and here's why. If it's forever, then it's complete. If it's complete, then it's forever. So, let's read it that way. Look at verse 25: "Therefore He is also able to save forever [and completely] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

He always lives to intercede for you. How does He do that? But we studied that a couple of months ago on Sunday night. You can go back and listen. But let me just give you the short version. He intercedes by praying for us. And He also intercedes just by His very presence; His very presence, in God's presence as our sacrifice, intercedes for us and reminds the Father that we have been purchased and forgiven. Again, Charles Hodge writes this: "Christ intends to save those who put their trust in Him and therefore in their behalf, He presents before God the merit of His work [and I love this] and urges [that is, urges God. He urges] their salvation as the reward God promised Him." That's His intercession: "Father, save that one because You promised Me. You gave him or her to Me in eternity past. Save them. Look at the work. Look at what I did for them. Save them. Finish what You began. Bring them to glory. Make them like Me." Christian, do you see the point of this passage? God used to be against you. But now, through the work of His Son, He is for you. And since that is true, there is no one who can successfully be against you in order to undermine God's love for you, to undermine your security in Christ, or to in any way, reverse God's decision of "justified".

It will not be the Father. He's already demonstrated the magnitude of His love by giving the greatest thing He could: His Son. What's He gonna withhold? It will not be Satan - he simply can't make an accusation stick because the very judge He appeals to is the same judge who said "justified". And it will not be Christ our Lord - He will never condemn you. You will never stand before Him and hear "condemned" if you have trusted Him, because your sins were condemned in His death. And His sacrifice was approved by His resurrection. And He is the most powerful. He occupies the most powerful place in the universe. There's nobody that can overturn His verdict or question Him in any way. And He constantly, by his presence and his prayers, intercedes on your behalf. If God is for us, who is against us? Can't be the Father. Certainly, can't be Satan. And will not be the Son.

Next time, we'll learn that no human beings, even you, can undermine your security in Jesus Christ. Let's pray together.

Our Father, these are so wonderfully, encouraging truths. We thank You that You have loved us with an eternal love, that Your Son has loved us. Thank you, Father, that You have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that You are no longer against us but that You are for us. Oh, God, help us to think on these things. Help us to find security in our souls based on the real, objective security that is ours because of these magnificent promises, because of these rich and profound truths. Father may all of those here, who have truly repented and believed in Your Son, may they leave here with a more profound sense of love and gratitude to You because of what You have done. Lord, how could You have any better proven Your love to us when You have not spared Your most precious treasure, Your own Son? Forgive us! Forgive us oh God for ever doubting You - for doubting Your generous, benevolent, gracious heart. Father help us to live in light of these truths that we are, by Your sovereign grace, more secure than the most secure thing on this planet. Father, I pray for those, here this morning, who have never repented and believed, against whom You are still set. You are against them. You are their enemy. Father let the seriousness of that sink into their souls and may they realize that all it takes is their willingness to turn from their rebellion, to humble themselves before You, and to cry out for Your mercy in Jesus Christ. And You will never turn such a person away. Father may do that today. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen!

Romans