Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
July 27, 2014
Dear Friends in Christ,
Life as we know is full of questions. Some questions are important but not life-changing. Other questions are life-changing: What college will you go to? Will we find a new church home when we move? Will you marry me? Doc, is it cancer?
There are also faith questions. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” This question is colored by another: “Do you trust me?” These are the sorts of questions that will really change your life, even your eternal life. It’s real life-changing questions that our text today raises. But because God is for us through Christ, we have . . .
“THE ANSWER TO ALL LIFE-CHANGING QUESTIONS”
The first question raised by Paul in our text is simply this: “What then shall we say to these things?” (v. 31a) What things? All things. Lots of things aren’t pretty in this fallen world. What does Paul say about that, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (v. 28)
We often quote this to those who are suffering. But the sufferer can hear, “don’t sweat it – it’s going to be okay.” Which really is no comfort at all. The real point of the verse is: “We know that God works in all things.” God isn’t the cause of bad things; we live in a broken world because of sin. The good news is this: God works in all things for our good.
Look at it this way. Try to eat the individual ingredients of a cake individually, things like flour, shortening, salt, baking powder, spices, even sugar and they are not very tasty. But mixed them together and bake and the taste buds come alive. Each event in our life is like one ingredient in a cake. It may not seem good by itself, but when mixed by god with other events, it will surely produce what is good.
Since God causes all things to work together for good, we can’t judge the goodness of God’s work until his program is finished. Ever been hasty in testing the cake batter? The result can be unsatisfactory. Until God’s recipe for our lives is complete, we dare not judge God’s cooking.
Another life-changing question posed is “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v. 31b) It’s not simply “Who can be against us?” You can answer that one. Disease, taxes, exhaustion, media elites, unbelievers, the politically correct. We can easily list our foes, but that is not the question. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The thrust of the text, “Since God is for us.” Paul reminds us that since God is for us, it doesn’t really matter who is against us. All of our enemies together are no match for God. Please remember God is for us as you go about your daily business.
Now to the pivotal question: “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?” (v. 32) How far is God willing to go for us? He has no limit as He did not spare His own Son, but sent Him to the cross because of His great love for us. God is for us!
We have that phrase “all things” again in this verse. The Lord graciously takes away the worry about the things of this world. He goes to the cross so that we can have the joy of living. He hears and answers our prayers. God is for us!
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (v. 33) The prosecuting attorney in the courtroom scene turns up the heat with his accusations. Our answer: Since God is for us, what other opinion matters? Every voice that accuses us, even our own voice, holds no court in the presence of a God who spared nothing for us. God is for us!
“Who is to condemn?” (v. 34). Go back to Rom. 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The only one with the right to condemn is Jesus and he has already answered the question with the offering of his own life. Sitting next to God is the one who died for us. Our defense attorney continues to speak to us. God is for us!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (v. 35a) Paul makes a list: “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (v. 35b). This list can do us no harm if we remember God’s love for us. We die with him to our sin, and we are raised with him. Nothing, “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” (vs. 38-39).
Since nothing can separate us from Christ Jesus, God is for us – the answer to all life-changing questions.