Who Can Condemn?
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Romans
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31–39)
We come to the end of this famous chapter of Romans, and Paul begins to rejoice at the wonder of it all. If the Son died for us, the Spirit prays for us, and the Father called us then who can possibly condemn us? How can anything possibly separate us from the love of Christ? If God did not even “spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” then will he withhold any other good?
We suffer. We go through all sorts of trials, but these do not separate us from God. Anything can be overcome through the strength of the God who dwells within us. “For I am sure” says the Apostle “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. That’s pretty comprehensive!
And note that all of this is founded not on us, but on God. Not on our goodness, but on the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not on anything we do, but on something Jesus has already done. It is this ‘givenness’ which gives Paul such a strong assurance and hope. Rather than relying on his own frailties, he is relying God. The more we acknowledge God is sovereign, the more peace we will find.