What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
Many people hold to a rather negative impression of God the Father. He is often seen as a bearded old man who sits up in Heaven, waiting to catch you in your next sin so that He can smite you. Sadly, many people have suffered under an abusive earthly father, and therefore believe that their heavenly Father is also trying to find ways to “get” them or to condemn them.
Yet this is not the picture of God that is presented in the Bible. While it is true that God is no justifier of sin, and calls upon mankind to repent of sin and serve His Son (Acts 17:30-31), God is not out to “get” anyone. God is not the enemy– the Adversary, the devil and Satan, is the enemy (cf. 1 Peter 5:8, Revelation 12:9)! Instead, God is quite the opposite– He has worked to save mankind, not condemn him! After all, if He sought to “get” us, He would have to do nothing but wait, and we would provide plenty of reasons for our own condemnation (cf. Romans 3).
But God loves mankind (John 3:16), and has done what is necessary to allow men to be redeemed from those sins and to be restored in their relationship to God (cf. Romans 8:1-17). God does not want anyone to be lost in their sins (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)! God, therefore, is not out to “get” us condemned, but to “get” us saved!
Yet Paul’s message here in Romans 8 is directed primarily at those who already believe in the Lord (cf. Romans 1:7). They are to consider these rhetorical questions– if God is for us, who can be against us? If He did not spare His own Son, will He not provide many other gifts?
Why is there a need to ask such things? It is easy to become discouraged on the road of life. Sometimes, even when you believe in God and strive to serve the Lord Jesus, you can feel that God is either not there or perhaps even set against you. Some despair of any divine assistance– sure, Jesus came to redeem mankind, and will come again someday, but in the meanwhile, they think, we are out on our own.
When we feel this discouraged or have these feelings, we would do well to consider Paul’s questions. Is God for us? If we serve the Son, He is indeed for us (Romans 8:1-17). If that is the case, who can stand against us? Even if the forces marshaled against God seem great, and the trials and temptations are many, as long as God is on our side, those with us are stronger than those against us (cf. 1 John 4:4). We can overcome and have the victory (cf. Revelation 22:3-4)!
And let us not feel as if the only gift God has ever given us is His Son. Instead, let us ponder the great mystery: if God was willing to give up the Son so we could have life, what else is He willing to give? Why would God give someone so beloved and yet “skimp” on more “minor” issues? If God’s love for us meant that He was willing to see His own Son die, can we really think that God is against us, not with us, far from us, or unwilling to help us?
In the days of Israel, God delivered Israel with a mighty hand from the power of Egypt. Then, in the wilderness, Israel had no faith that God would provide food and drink, despite the great salvation wrought on their behalf. That generation died in the wilderness because of their faithlessness, and their sons inherited the promised land. If we believe that God has delivered us with a mighty hand, and has wrought a great redemption through Jesus Christ, shall we not have faith that God can see us through the wilderness to the Promised Land, providing the necessary sustenance and direction on the way? Or, despite God’s great faithfulness, will we stand faithless? Let us never doubt God’s love and devotion to us!
Ethan R. Longhenry