God’s All-Conquering Love (Romans 8:31-39)

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These closing verses of Romans chapter 8 provide the pinnacle of Paul’s defense of the Gospel. He has powerfully contested every argument that could have been brought against the concept of justification by faith alone. The fact that he answers every seemingly imaginable objection to the Gospel is a mark of divine inspiration in itself. And now that the case has been presented, defended, and exhausted, the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, asks this important question, “What shall we then say to these things?” And then he answers with a rhetorical question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Look at how amazing the love of God is! Look at what He has done for us in the Gospel! With all the was against us, look at how He saved us! Not only that look at what He gave us! He gave us everything – His own Son! And if He didn’t spare Jesus, but delivered Him up for us, then how can He not give us all things freely? The point is very clear and has been all along. The summation here is that God is in control, He loves us, and because of that, nothing can separate us from His love. His love conquers all.

1. God’s love has conquered all things against us before salvation

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Before salvation, we had been accused of wrongdoing, and rightfully so – we all have broken God’s law. Therefore, Satan, whom the Bible calls the Accuser of the Brethren in Revelation 12:10, is laying the charges out against mankind. But there is one group of people over whom his charges have no effect – God’s elect. This phrase literally means to come forth as an accuser. But when Satan comes forth as an accuser, the Bible replies, “It is God that justifies.” Satan may be the accuser, but God is the Judge, and the Judge has the last word. With God on our side, who can lay any charge against God’s people? Who will condemn us? With Christ dying for our sins, being raised again, and sitting at the throne of God to make intercession for us, nobody can:

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Through His love, we have conquered condemnation

Through His love, we have been made free from the law

Through His love we are freed from death

Romans 8:5-9 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Through His love, we have conquered the flesh.

Romans 8:10-13 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live

Through His love, we conquer the grave

Through His love we have God in us

Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Through His love, we are the children of God

Through His love, we have conquered fear

Through His love we are joint-heirs with Christ

Through His love, we suffer with Christ

Through His love, we will be glorified together

We have seen clearly through preceding chapters just how morally bankrupt and depraved we were. Everything it seems was against us. The indictments were made, the Law stood firm, and we were guilty as charged awaiting an eternal Hell. But God stepped in, and His all-conquering love shone through, that we may have deliverance from all of those things.

2. God’s love conquers all things against us now

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

God’s love makes us more than conquerors. While some look at trouble and say, “for thy sake we are killed like sheep for slaughter”, Paul says, “no! We are overwhelming, super conquerors through the love of Christ!” How? Big money? Healed diseases? A life of tranquility? No. Victory through suffering:Tribulation – also meaning pressure, indicates trouble or danger. Jesus spoke of a time of Great Tribulation in which God will pour out His wrath on earth. In this life, tribulation is any sort of trouble that puts the pressure our situation to change.

Distress – also meaning narrowness. Times in life in which it seems there is no where to go, no hope in sight.

Persecution – In the early church it was much more severe, although it happens today more in foreign countries. Christians still suffer from some persecution today, although it is very minute in contrast to Paul’s day.

Famine – this is hunger, and should be taken literally, although it may indicate a famine of blessings, a famine of health, work, etc.

Nakedness – coinciding with famine, it vividly pictures someone in physical want – no food, no clothes, and the logical but unstated, no shelter. Famine and nakedness go hand in hand as deprivation of material needs.

Peril – this means danger, and can be distinguished from tribulation in that it is more momentary than lengthy.

Sword – Real, physical attack.

These verses are often used in messages that we take for granted. We think that it’s just more blessing on top of the comfortable lives we live today. But one preacher said that these verses represent:

“God’s design for your security for the sake of suffering in the Christ-exalting path of obedience, not to add eternal security as a layer on a life devoted to earthly comfort. The design of this text is to promise you a security that frees you from a pursuit of earthly comfort.” - John Piper, The All-Conquering Love of Christ

The conquering spirit is missing in Christianity today. It may be that men don’t feel like they belong. But think of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Peter, and Paul. These were men! And they were more than conquerors! May God bring back that spirit to our churches today and may we see a revival of men.

3. God’s love will continue to conquer all things that will arise against us

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No state of being (life or death), no entity (angels, principalities, or powers), no physical locale (height, depth), no person (any other creature), can separate us from God’s all-conquering love. Its everlasting impact doesn’t end now, it stays with us through life and throughout eternity.

With the way things are becoming in this world, there is no telling what will happen. American Christianity is far removed from the persecution in Paul’s day, but it may be coming. This is not limited to the removal of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse or the removal of prayer in school. It is not simply about who refuses to say “under God” or how badly undermines Christian values are in America. It may come to a point when pastors cannot even preach what the Bible says about homosexuality from the pulpit (it’s happening around the world already). It may come down to making evangelization illegal. This may all lead to real, physical persecution. As long as the Lord tarries His coming, we must be ready to embrace all that might happen. Thank God He has given us these promises.

There’s a lot of talk about the End Times. The subject has always fascinated people. Even today, Christians still debate about who has the best eschatalogical program. Now I believe in standing firm on what the Bible teaches about the end times, but I recall what one preacher said:

“When Jesus comes back, your eschatology will be perfect. But it will take all of eternity to comprehend the gospel.” – Paul Washer

Things might get better, things might get worse. In either case, as we wait for the Lord’s coming, remember that none of these things can separate us from His love.

4. A proper understanding of God’s All-Conquering love turns everything else into nothing.

A new movie is in the works based on a Dr. Suess book, Horton Hears a Who. What is a Who? A Who is a microscopic inhabitant of a planet called Who-ville, which is about the size of a spec of dust.

Getting a big picture of God and His All-Conquering love turns all of those trials into a bunch of “Who’s”. Think about the questions Paul asks:

If God be for us, who can be against us?

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?

Who is he that condemneth?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

The point is, God is so big and His love so powerful that Satan, the law, tribulation, height, depth, and any other possibly imaginable person or circumstance is a “who” in His sight!

Nebuchadnezzar asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego “who” the God was that will deliver them. When God delivered them, it was the king, the Chaldeans, and the flaming fiery furnace that become “who’s”.

Although Goliath thought David was a “who”, it was proved that in God’s sight, the slain giant was a “who” after all.

No matter how big the opposing army, the small army of Gideon made the Midianites look like a bunch of “who’s” through God’s all-conquering love for His people.

We may go through some things that make us feel like small, insignificant “who’s”. But with the inseparable, powerful, all-conquering Love of God, everything else is a who and we have secure victory.

 

1 comment so far

  1. Matthew Millet on

    Great article! It was very encouraging to read!


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