Oh, Victory in Jesus!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare 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 bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes 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 Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who 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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
We live in turbulent times. There is a lot of unrest in the world around, and there is a lot of death. Just this week I was on my way to work, and just before I got to work, I saw the remains of an investigation involving the death of a cyclist just around the block from my dealership. It reminded me of how fragile life is. Most likely, that person did not leave home thinking that today would be their last day. They had plans, maybe a family, a job expecting them to show up, a Facebook page waiting to be updated, and on and on we can go. But that day, that Tuesday morning was that day, the day that they died and then had to face the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
My wife and I put close to 100,000 km per year, about 60,000 miles for my US readers, on the road. We drive in all manner of weather and conditions. We have driven when we are tired and sick; we have driven in the middle of the night; often we have driven 24 hrs. with just washroom and fuel stops. God has been gracious to us and has watched over us all these years. The Word of God is the only sure footing we have in this life. In it are the promises that grant us security in the insecurity of this world. It is the true foundation that cannot be moved.
We celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday, and I enjoyed it. I had dinner the night before at my daughter’s home. On Sunday I got a couple of nice gifts and enjoyed some Chinese food. I got a card from my son; we have had a tumultuous relationship for the past 2-3 years, one filled with arguments, lots of tears, broken hearts and, at times, long periods of silence. He has been asked to leave our home at times and has been back just 6 months. He gave me a card thanking me for being his dad and letting me know that he is still working on making better decisions. It surprised me and brought me great joy.
This chapter that we are considering in Romans is so powerful that it is one of those chapters that one can read over and over and not get tired of. It completes the journey that we take from Salvation on and gives us a very in-depth understanding of the Christian life. Let us do a quick review;
- No Condemnation, verse 1
Those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer condemned before God. While God does love all mankind and, in his Holy love, has provided a way for us to be saved (John 3:16), He also reminds us that those who are not in Jesus are under the wrath of God (John 3:36);
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
So, we have two classes of people on earth – just two; no more – those who are in Jesus and are no longer under condemnation, and those who are not in Jesus and are under the wrath of God. It is that simple; we like to complicate things. God makes things really simple for us. We that are in Jesus should not fear the wrath of God. God, we are told in Hebrews, deals with us as children, and He lovingly chastens us (Hebrews 12:6-11);
“‘For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
To chasten is to discipline and to instruct in righteous behavior. God deals with us as children. We all understand children; we have all been children or have children, and we understand the relationship that is there; it is permanent. Once you have a child, there is nothing that child can do to stop being your child. You may disown him or her, but that does not change the fact that they are your children. Being born into a family is a permanent situation. As God has allowed mankind to discover the science of life, we have come to understand DNA, and that we can trace one’s ancestry back for generations with DNA; you are family to people you did not even know and vice-versa because of blood. In the spiritual world, we are washed in the blood of Jesus and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and we are children of God, and no longer under the condemnation of the 2nd Death (Revelation 20: 11-15).
We are told that God works on us to help us learn to live by the Spirit and not to the flesh. He chastens us and trains us to give ourselves to Him (verses 9-17). And then last week we talked about our sonship in Jesus and the special relationship we have in Him with God the Father (verses 18-30). This is the journey that the Christian’s life takes.
Salvation (many want us to believe that sonship is seen by rampant prosperity, health and favor), rather, is seen by chastening and correction. Then, as we mature in Jesus, we begin to have this sweet relationship with God the Father. We see it in our human lives. A child is born into the family, and they grow up; and over the years there is chastening – some little, like being denied a privilege; some harsher by a spanking – and then, maybe as they get older, the loss of freedoms. There may be a lot of hard moments, fights, raised voices, tears and long periods of silence; but as children mature, the vast majority enter into this loving relationship with their parents. There is less conflict and more harmony and more joy. Parents and their children can be friends, they can laugh at things that went on, forgive, forget and love.
- Eternal Confidence verses 31-39
We, you and I, who are saved and washed in the blood of Jesus, are no longer under the wrath of God. On the contrary, we are now targeted by the devil. We have bullseyes on our backs and fronts, so to speak. At times it may feel that we are abandoned; we are not. It may feel that we are under the wrath of God; in Jesus, we are not. It may feel as if we are not safe in His hands; we are. Paul comes to the conclusion that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. You did nothing to earn it, and you can do nothing to keep it; it is a gift. A child does not earn our love, even as human parents. If we sinful people understand that power of love for a child, then imagine the powerful love of our Holy Heavenly Father.
The goal, of course, is that of friendship, for us to move beyond being mere children of God; that is done in a one-time act of instant salvation at the time of belief. And, to become the friends of God. In John 15:14-15 we see these words,
“You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father, I have made known to you.”
In Genesis 18: 17-19, God revealed what He was about to do in Sodom to Abraham because they were friends. There are parts of the Bible you will only understand as a friend of God. God will only reveal them to His friends. There were saved persons in Jesus’ day that did not get the same revelations and personal teaching that the apostles did. He showed them things that only they knew, and only they understood; and only they could understand. Friendship opens doors that other relationships can’t, even the relationship of being a parent. Thus, we have two secure relationships in Jesus: We are children of God, saved and secure forever. And, we have friendship with God, one that is intimate and personal.
Nothing can separate us from God; neither external nor internal forces can separate from God. In His love, according to 1 Corinthians 13:6, God does not keep a record of our sins and failures; they are cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19) and are covered by the blood and in His love (Proverbs 10:12). Not even our sins as saved persons can separate us from God; they were and are covered by Jesus’ blood. We will be chastened lovingly, but never condemned. We are secured in Jesus, secured by Jesus, secured with Jesus; and in John 10: 28-30, Jesus puts the cherry on the cake with these powerful words,
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Are you secure in Jesus? Are you under the wrath of God? Are you a child of God? And, if you are a child, are you learning to be His friend? Do you have eternal life in Jesus?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church