Security in Place of Fear
We live in an era in which many people feel insecure. The causes of insecurity are numerous: fear of losing a job, fear of the future, fear of life and fear of death. The most debilitating fear is a fear of separation from God. Romans 8:28–39 provides three assurances that enable believers to be more than conquerors over our fears.
God works in all things for our good. (28–30)
Paul begins this passage by setting forth a truth all Christians know or should know: All things work together for the good. Paul did not claim everything that happens to us is good. Nor did he claim all things work together for all people. Paul reminds believers God is working in the lives of His people, namely Christians — people who love Him and are called to His purpose.
What is the purpose for which God works in our life through all things? God works in the life of a believer so the believer may be conformed to the image of His Son. God’s purpose is that Christians are to become more like Christ.
Paul provided a list of God’s activities in a believer’s life. God predestines us, calls us to salvation through the Spirit, justifies us before His eyes (meaning God the Judge declares us not guilty because our penalty was paid by Christ) and glorifies us, a reference to our glorified bodies in a place of glory in heaven. The rich promises set forth in these verses apply only to believers.
Old-time believers referred to verse 30 as a golden chain that cannot be broken. God began a good work in believers at the point of their salvation; God will bring His work in believers to completion when they enjoy an eternal relationship with Him.
No one can condemn us before God. (31–34)
Paul does not state we are not worthy of condemnation. Since God is for us, no one can be against us, even the accuser Satan. God did not spare His own Son. Rather, God gave up His Son for all of us in the sense that He handed Jesus over to the Jewish and Roman leaders to die. Since Christ died on our behalf to meet our greatest needs, Paul asked a rhetorical question: Will He not give believers more?
Paul asked a series of rhetorical questions: Who is the one who condemns? No one, not even Satan the accuser, can condemn a believer. Why? Because Jesus died, rose from the dead to be in the presence of God and presently intercedes for believers in prayer. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? No one can.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. (35–39)
Paul follows up his claim that no one can condemn us with a claim that life experiences cannot separate us from the love of Christ. Affliction, defined as an oppressive state of physical, mental, social or economic adversity, cannot separate a believer from the love of Christ. Oppressive conditions cannot separate us. Nor can the physical circumstances of life such as hunger, nakedness, insufficient clothing or even death by sword — perhaps in persecution — separate a believer from the love of Christ.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida