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# 38: 10-19-12

Romans 8:31-39
Paul has been outlining the ramifications of the gospel to the believers in Rome throughout chapters 5
through 8; they have been justified by the blood of Christ; they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and
they will be glorified their bodies, redeemed from Death.
Paul has just shown that this is all according to the purpose that God has for those who love Him; those
who respond to the call of the gospel. And from Gods perspective, its all finished; the believer is
justified, sanctified, glorified. So for the believer, it is as good as done.
The final passage in this part of Pauls letter the end of chapter 8 contain Pauls reflections on all that
God has done for us, in Christ. In essence, what Paul is showing is that based on the fact that our salvation
is all Gods doing, our salvation is perfectly and eternally secure. We are secure in the love of God; we can
never be separated from Him.
Lets read the passage together first.
[Read Romans 8:31-39]
In the first part of the passage (v. 31-34), Pauls use of judicial language brings to mind a courtroom scene,
to show that the ones whom God has justified can never be condemned; we are safe from judgment.
In the second part of the passage (v. 35-39), Paul presents things which believers tend to fear might
endanger their salvation. But Paul lays out that we are safely delivered from all of them, by the love of
God.
Lets start back in verse 31.
v. 31 Paul begins by saying, What shall we say to these things? He is looking back at his letter,
reflecting on the Fathers amazing plan, for men; the Creators high purpose, for His creation of mankind
to become sons of God. What can we say, in the face of such glory? The awe of what God is doing
silences us, into a mute praise of Him.
But as Paul is thinking on Gods plan for His sons, he recognizes how critical it is that believers be assured
Gods plan for them will indeed be realized. Believers have a foundation in the faith Jesus Christ and
they must come to know how sure and strong that foundation is, because then they will build their lives
upon it (1 Cor 3:11-15).
So here, Paul seeks to further establish the believers in the faith (Rom 1:11), by showing them that their
salvation is secured by the hand of God Himself; by His work, on their behalf.
Now as mentioned, the language in this section (v. 31-34) contains several judicial terms. In verse 33, we
have the idea of someone bringing a charge against believers; like being accused, in a court of law. Of
course, the term justifies in verse 33 is a judicial word, indicating that a judge has pardoned someone
from the charges that were against them.
And in verse 34, Paul asks who can condemn the believer again, a judicial term, speaking of judging
someone as guilty, and pronouncing sentence against them. So when Paul is speaking of God being for
us, in verse 31, it doesnt just mean He favors us; it means that He has ruled in our favor.

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Paul has used this imagery extensively earlier in his letter to the Romans (chapters 1-4). Paul acted as the
prosecuting attorney in the Divine courtroom, introducing the accusations against both Gentiles and Jews.
Both were found by God to be guilty as charged, and were under a sentence of condemnation - death.
But into the courtroom of Gods justice came an Advocate, to represent mankind and who is that? Jesus.
And this Advocate interceded with the Judge, offering His life on behalf of sinful men, dying in their stead.
This satisfied Gods justice, and enabled Him to extend His mercy, so that men could be freed of the
charges of sin against them, and be made righteous.
We who have believed have chosen to take Jesus Christ as our Advocate, and on the basis of His shed
blood, God has extended us His mercy, and graciously ruled in our favor; God had ruled for us. The
charges of sin that were against us have been removed; they were nailed to the cross of Christ (Col 2:14).
Now if God has ruled for us God, the highest Judge of men, as their Creator; in the highest court
possible, heaven Paul asks, who can be against us? Whats the answer? No one. Who could possibly
overrule Gods ruling? This is the REAL Supreme Court; its decisions cannot be overturned.
But perhaps there might be some believer somewhere who is concerned that God Himself might overturn
His own decision; that is, that God would change His mind. Its the fear that Gods salvation is conditional.
And what do they imagine that it is conditioned upon? Upon the believers own actions; that if the believer
continues to sin, he could fall into disfavor with God, and lose his salvation. And this is what Paul
addresses next.
v. 32 God the Father did not spare His own Son. We cannot help but think of another father, and another
son, from long ago of Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to take his son, his only, Isaac, whom he
loved; and offer him up as a burnt offering to God.
Abraham was willing to offer Isaac; and Isaac was willing to be offered; father and son were together, in
their obedience to Gods will. God spared Isaac; and a ram was offered, in his stead (Gen 22:1-13). But
God did not spare His own Son His only, whom He loved.
The Father delivered up the Son of His love, for us all. Jesus was delivered by the determined purpose and
foreknowledge of God; delivered into the hands of lawless men, and was crucified slain (Acts 2:23).
What was that determined purpose, that God foreknew? To bring many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). Pauls
question is, if God sacrificed His own Son in order to bring about this purpose the greatest sacrifice that
could ever be made would not God ensure that His purpose is then fully realized? Would God let any
part of His plan be compromised, after such sacrifice?
What is the answer? Of course not! So God will give us all things needed to accomplish our complete
salvation all things pertaining to Life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). And He will give us those things freely
based on His grace. It is based, not on anything we do, but on the work that His Son has done on our
behalf.
Notice how Paul says that the Father shall freely give us all things with Him meaning with Christ. That
word with means together with, a term which denotes a nearer and closer connection than the typical
Greek word for with. The Father ensures that His purposes for us are accomplished by positioning us in
His Son (Rm 5:19); we have been joined together with Him by faith, so that His accomplished destiny
becomes our assured destiny glory.

# 38: 10-19-12

Paul has shown that the Father, who has justified us through the death of His Son, will glorify us through
our union with Him. We can never lose our standing of grace before God, for He Himself has placed us in
Christ; we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6).
So no one has the authority to overrule Gods gracious decision in our favor, to free us from all charges of
sin; and God Himself will not change His ruling. Now Paul looks at the same issue from a different
perspective, not of the ruling of the judge, but of the charge of an accuser.
v. 33-34 Paul is here continuing to allay the concerns of believers. No one can overrule Gods decision in
our favor, to save us; and in verse 33, no one can even bring a charge against us. Now, Paul is not really
considering here who would bring such a charge; his emphasis is on the idea that any charge could even be
made, against Gods elect.
The elect refers to those who responded to the invitation that God extends through the gospel to be saved;
these would be the same as the called in verse 28; believers. The elect are those whom God chose before
time began for salvation, based on His foreknowledge that they would believe into His Christ.
It is God who justifies the elect. When a human judge declares someone free of all charges against them, it
is based on his knowledge of their past crimes. But here, it is God who justifies; and His decision is based
on His omniscience; He can see all of our sins, for all time past, present and future.
For the believer, all of those sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ. Jesus took our sins upon
Himself on the cross, so that our sin is no longer on us. That means there can be no fresh accusations
against us. It was all taken care of at the cross.
To further emphasize this, Paul now points to Christ, and His specific work. First Paul asks the question, in
verse 34, Who is He who condemns? Condemnation is the action of a judge; a pronouncement that one
is guilty, as charged. But there are no charges against Gods elect; so there is nothing to condemn us for;
therefore, no one will condemn us.
Who is it who will be the judge of men? Christ; the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (Jn 5:22),
and has given Him authority to execute the final judgment (Rev 20:11-15). Paul is asking, will Christ
condemn those who have believed into Him? And whats the answer? Of course not; Christ died for us, in
order that we would be saved.
Pauls progression in verse 34 takes us along the path of the glorious ascent of Christ: He was lifted up in
death on the cross, then rose in His glorified body to the position of honor and glory in heaven.
And there, in that powerful position at the Fathers right hand, Christ is interceding with the Father on our
behalf, continuously ensuring our salvation on the basis of His work for us. The author to the Hebrews
wrote that He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Christ, since Christ always
lives to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25).
Paul has made it clear that it is the Father and the Son who secure the salvation of the one who has believed
into Christ, and that it does not at all depend on the believer, himself.
Jesus said, I give them eternal Life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of
My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out
of My Fathers hand. I and My Father are one (Jn 10:28-30); one in the work of salvation.

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Paul has shown here that believers have been delivered by God from sin and its consequent judgment. Sin
therefore no longer separates those who have believed, from God. Now Paul goes on to assure believers
that there is no one and nothing else that can separate them from Him, either. They are safe within His
love.
v. 35-36 As Paul continues, he begins to lay out a series of perceived impediments; things that believers
might fear could be obstacles that would keep them apart from God; opposition, or enemies, that could
keep them from reaching their heavenly destination.
Verse 35 begins with the word, Who; this can also be translated, What. Well see that Paul refers to
both Whos and Whats both personal beings, and impersonal things that tend to concern believers.
Paul begins with difficult circumstances, of believers, in their lives. This has been a thread in Pauls
discussion since verse 18. His list in verse 35 reflects various sufferings that believers encounter, on the
earth.
Tribulation refers to troubles that press us from without, such as afflictions or trials. In contrast,
distress is something that arises from within us; anguish, or discomfort. Persecution is bearing the
reproach of Christ, from those in the world who are at enmity with Him.
Famine in this context is suffering hunger, and nakedness would here refer to lack of decent clothing,
due to poverty. A peril is a danger of any kind. And the sword here would specifically refer to
execution, the standard mode used by the law, in that day.
With the exception of the last item mentioned, Paul is naming things from his own personal life; and one
day, even the sword would become part of Pauls experience.
Paul recognized that difficult circumstances can be a cause of concern for believers, fearing separation from
God because of them. How so? Well, believers fear that their faith will fail, in the midst of these
difficulties, and that this failure means they will not be saved.
First of all, real faith never fails. If a person has truly believed into Christ to be saved, they have real faith,
and it will not fail; it will endure to the end their deliverance from death. The issue is not a failure of
faith overall, but a lack of faith in God, just for a given circumstance in life.
Now, if a Christ One lacks faith to believe God in a trial, will that separate Him, from God? Never. Why
not? Because God is the One who secures the believer; who has united Him to Christ. The bond between
Christ and the believer is based, not on the believers love for God, but on Gods love, for the believer. And
nothing can sever that bond.
The circumstances of this life are like a difficult course that the child of God must negotiate, fraught with
peril and hardship. The course is uphill and long; the weather is stormy; the temperature, extreme; the path
is rough and unstable; and dangers lurk in the darkness.
But is the child of God alone on the course? No; his Father is with him, and He is holding the childs hand,
helping him to stay on the path, and to make progress.

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But what about when the going gets really tough or when the child slips? Does the Father let go of His
childs hand? Never; in fact, the Fathers love causes Him to grasp His childs hand all the more securely.
And the child knows that his loving Father will never abandon him. So the child learns to endure,
completely trusting in his Fathers love to see him through to the end.
So Paul is saying it is not possible for the difficulties of life to separate us from Christs love; His love will
see us through all of our trials.
In support of what he is saying, Paul quotes a verse from one of the psalms. In looking just at this verse,
we might think that Paul is simply reflecting on the idea of martyrdom for ones faith, based on his mention
of the executioners sword. But the psalm itself gives us a fuller picture of what Paul had in mind.
Turn to Psalm 44. This is not one of Davids psalms, but a contemplative song written by the sons of
Korah. It speaks of Gods covenant relationship with the nation Israel, His chosen people. And based on
His faithfulness to them, the nation seeks His deliverance in the midst of severe affliction. The psalm is
prophetic of the remnant of Israel that will seek Gods deliverance out of the Great Tribulation.
[Psalm 44]
v. 1-3 The nation Israel was chosen by God to be His people. The psalm speaks of the past generation of
Israel who believed God to enter the land of Canaan. God routed their enemies, and planted them in the
land.
v. 4-8 This is prophetic of the future time of the Tribulation. At the beginning of that seven-year period,
two-thirds of the nation of Israel will enter into a covenant of death with her enemies; but a third of the
nation, the believing remnant, will instead be seeking deliverance by God, who they recognize as their
King.
v. 9-16 The setting is the Great Tribulation the last three and an half years of the Tribulation. This is
Jacobs time of trouble; the entire nation will be plunged into unimaginable suffering. From their
perspective, God has cast them off; but what is it that God is doing? He is purifying His nation, through the
fiery trial, so that they will come forth pure; an entire, regenerate nation.
v. 17-22 Here is the groaning of suffering of the believing remnant, during this time of anguish. Notice
that they are persevering through the trial; they continue to look to God for deliverance. Verse 22 is the
verse that Paul quotes in Romans. Some are being martyred for their faith.
v. 23-26 The remnant cries out to God for deliverance. And will God deliver them? Yes; their hope will
not disappoint.
[Return to Romans]
So the idea that Paul would have in mind here, in quoting this psalm, is that despite suffering even unto
death, those with their eyes on the Lord, trusting in Him will learn to persevere, through afflictions. Gods
love will see them through their trials.
In fact, it is through these very circumstances in life that God builds on our real faith, adding to it, purifying
us of our unbelief, so that the genuineness of our faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory, at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet
1:7).

# 38: 10-19-12

It is the love of God, of Christ, that sees us through our trials. But we do more than survive them, as Paul
shows next.
v. 37 In all these things these difficult circumstances in life we are more than conquerors through
Him who loved us Christ.
Jesus said, In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (Jn
16:33). And Paul wrote, Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1
Cor 15:57).
So we have the victory, through our union with Christ. But Paul doesnt say here that we simply conquer.
The term more than conquerors in the Greek means literally to over conquer. Now, how is it that we do
that, in our tribulations? Because our tribulations work for us.
We learned this back in chapter 5. Tribulations produce perseverance; we learn to stay under the load. And
perseverance produces character Christs righteous character. And character produces hope; the glory that
will shine out for eternity through our ever-living bodies (Rm 5:3-4).
So we do not merely overcome, in our trials; it is not just that we have the victory of faith, in the trial. In
persevering, we more than overcome; we advance further along the course which is taking us right into the
presence of our Father, in heaven; and we are actually further strengthened in our faith, for the rest of the
journey. And all of this is the result of Christ loving us; its our response of love, to Love (1 Jn 4:19).
Paul now extends the list of things that concern believers, thinking they might cause separation from God
from His love.
v. 38-39 Paul begins by saying, For I am persuaded. Paul was convinced that none of these things could
separate believers from the love of God in Christ. Love is the bond that secures us to God, and assures us
that His purposes will be realized, for us. Paul was absolutely certain that this bond of love could not be
broken, and his goal was to convince all other believers of it, as well including you.
The first item on Pauls list is death, speaking of the death of the body. God has consigned the bodies of
men born into this world to Death (Rm 5:12).
When a son of Adam an unregenerate man breathes his last, Death will take his body and it wont
ever let it go. His body will corrupt in the ground, only to be raised in the resurrection of condemnation (Jn
5:29); and after the Great White Throne Judgment, the man, in his body of death will be cast into the Lake
of Fire, where he will be separated from God forever.
But is this so for the believer? No. Death will not be able to hold on to the believers body. Having been
born again of the incorruptible Seed, the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23), Christ, the believers earthen body will
bring forth the fruit of Life everlasting a glorified body. So death cannot separate the believer from the
love of God; death is just like a door that opens, through which the believer passes, right into the presence
of God.
And life cannot separate the believer, from the love of God, either. Now, remember that Paul is referring in
this list to things that seemingly could sever the cord of love, that secures us to God, and the completion of
His purpose for us. So life here in that sense must refer to life on earth, in this world system.

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Sons of Adam are born into this world system, which is enmity against God. It keeps unregenerate men
focused on the things of time and sense; the things that are seen, and felt. It feeds the lusts of their flesh
and the lusts of their minds, so that they have no appetite for God. And if they continue in the way of the
world, they will end their earthly course, remaining at enmity with God; they will die in their sins.
Not so for the believer. The believer is in this world, but he is not of it. He has been delivered from the
power of darkness, and has been translated into the kingdom of the Son of Gods love (Col 1:13).
The believer doesnt live by the seen and the felt, but by the unseen spiritual realities (2 Cor 4:18). His
citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), and he is just waiting for the day when he gets his passport validated
the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6b). Life on earth cannot cut us off from the love of God, because we have
been cut off from the world: the world has been crucified to us, and we have been crucified to the world
(Gal 6:14).
Next Paul lists a group of related things: angels, principalities and powers that can separate men from the
love of God.
Ordinarily, we would think of angels as Gods ministering spirits, who serve Him. But in that these are
angels that can separate men from the love of God, we can see Paul is intending the angels who followed
Satan in his rebellion against God; that is to say, these are demonic spirits.
Principalities is often used in the NT to denote princes or chiefs among the demonic angels; evil
archangels (Eph 6:12, Col 2:15). Powers is often used in association with principalities in the NT, and in
the plural form as here, means powerful ones, or those invested with power more evil angels, perhaps
indicating those who execute the orders of the archangels. These are ranks of demonic spirits.
Demonic spirits serve Satan, who is engaged in conflict with God, for rule over the earth (Isa 14:14). The
war is for the souls of men (Eph 6:12, 1 Pet 5:8). But whose souls? Not those of believers, for their souls
have already been won to Christ. It is for the souls of unregenerate men.
And unregenerate men have the door of their mind open to the false winds of doctrine with which the
demonic spirits sway this world; for these evil spirits know that in the war of souls, the battle is for the
thinking. And if the minds of men welcome in those false doctrines, which are anti-God and anti-Christ,
that thinking will separate them from the love of God; and they will be lost forever.
But this is not so for the believer. Their thinking is not open to the winds of doctrine that the evil ones waft
through this world. They have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
Believers have an anointing from the Holy One the Holy Spirit and they know all things; they can
discern the truth from the lies. Abiding in God, the Father and the Son through the Spirit, they will have no
cause for shame when Jesus returns for them (1 Jn 2:20-29); He will welcome them into His heavenly
home.
Paul then speaks of things present, and things to come; things in the now, and in the future, which have the
potential to separate men from the love of God. Things present means things at hand; things that are
happening now. What has Paul been writing about that is happening, now? Suffering; the sufferings of this
present time (Rm 8:18).

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Paul has already made it clear that suffering works for the believer, and as Christ enables him to overcome
his adversities, he is growing in grace. But unregenerate men are not benefited in this way by suffering;
suffering can harden their heart against God, enabling them to resist His love, so that they come up short of
the grace of God (Heb 12:15), to their eternal destruction.
What does Paul mean by things to come? This would refer to future happenings, which can separate men
from Gods love.
What will be happening, that could do that? The Tribulation; the hour of trial which shall come upon the
whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (Rev 3:10). That fierce trial will separate many from the
love of God. And finally, after the reign of Christ on the earth, the Great White Throne judgment will take
place (Rev 20:11), resulting in the final separation of men from the love of God.
But these judgments will not affect believers, at all. Remember, the Judge of all the earth has already ruled
in our favor; God is for us. The true church will be kept out of the hour of trial, the Tribulation (Rev 3:10);
Jesus will return for us before it begins; He will deliver us from the wrath that is to come (1 Th 1:10).
And having been justified by the blood of Christ, we shall be saved from the wrath of the final
condemnation, as well (Rm 5:9); no place will be found for us, at that judgment (Rev 20:11).
Next Paul comes to something that seems ambiguous to us, in the English: nor height nor depth. It turns
out that these were common astronomical terms, which were familiar in Pauls day.
Height, hupsoma in the Greek, refers to the high point of a stars path; and bathos to its lowest point, as
viewed from earth. These terms were used to denote the celestial space below and above the horizon, and
to further denote celestial powers.
Now, why would Paul bring in this mention of the starry heavens, in his list of things that have the potential
to separate men from the love of God? Well, Pauls listeners here were predominantly Greek. And the
Greeks feared the stars they believed that the power of Fate worked through the stars, controlling their
destinies.
Pauls Jewish listeners also had a knowledge of the stars derived from the gospel in the stars although
that knowledge had been corrupted, by Pauls day as it had with the Greeks, and their mythical stories.
So based on their knowledge, and their fears, Paul makes a mention of the stars, in his list. Although fear of
the stars themselves is pure superstition, unregenerate men have plenty to fear, based upon what those stars
represent; the true story that is told, by them.
What are some of the things represented by the stars, that men should fear? Judgment is pictured, including
the Lake of Fire. The seed of the Serpent is pictured; these are unregenerate men who have rejected Christ
and chosen to follow Satan; their father is the devil, and they carry out his work (Jn 8:44), to blind the
minds of others to the truth (2 Cor 4:3-4).
And Satan himself is pictured; the serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole
world; and in the end, he will have grown into a great big dragon (Rev 12:9). All of these beings and things
can separate the sons of Adam from God, forever.

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But not so for the believer. His course through the stars does not lead him into any encounters with those
enemies of men. Why? Because he is following the path of the Son. In Christ, we have been made safe
from the condemnation to come, and the wicked one and his minions cannot touch us (1 Jn 5:18). In fact,
the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet, shortly (Rm 16:20). Because we are in Christ, we will
arrive safely at our destination heaven.
Paul completes his list with a statement that encompasses anything else that men might fear nor any
other created thing that would mean everything but God Himself. No one and nothing can separate us
from His love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This should allay every fear of every believer, so that we
can say with Paul, I am persuaded.
Id like to end with something that John wrote. Turn to First John, chapter 4.
[First John 4:15-19]
v. 15-16 The idea is that we abide in the circle of Gods love; making our home there; God in us, and we,
in Him.
v. 17 Perfected here means completed; we are complete in love, for we have made the circle of Gods love
our dwelling place. We will have boldness in the day of judgment, because we will not be judged. As He
is, so we are in the world; a son of God, waiting for the day when we enter into the presence of our Father.
v. 18 He who fears is continuous action here; the idea is one who fears as a way of life; he has no
assurance of salvation, because he isnt saved. There is no fear in love; as we abide in God, and He in us,
He gives us assurance that we are truly safe, secured by His love; He casts our all of our fears.
v. 19 There is reciprocity, in the circle of love; circles of love, within the circle.
Next week: What about the nation Israel? Read Romans 9-11.

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