What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
As we focus on verse 34 let’s be very clear whatGod’s design is for us in these verses. What is this sectionof Romans meant to accomplish in you? It is meant to make youunshakably secure for the sake of suffering in the Christ-exaltingpath of obedience. The point is to build into your lifeGod-wrought, blood-bought security to help you suffer well.
To those who love God and trust Christ and are called accordingto his purpose, verse 28 says that all things will work for yourgood. Verse 30 says that your final glorification is secured. Verse31 says that since God is for you, no one can be successfullyagainst you. Verse 32 says that since God gave his Son for you, hewill give you everything you need. Verse 33 says that since God isthe one who justifies, no one can make a charge stick against youin the courtroom of heaven. Verse 34 says that since Christ diedand was raised and is at the right hand of God and intercedes foryou, no one can condemn you.
What Is God’s Design in This Truth?
What is God’s design in all of this spectacular truth? Hisdesign is your security for the sake of bold, joyful, unwaveringsuffering for the cause of Christ. How do we know this? Because ofthe next verse. Everything is getting us ready to hear this: "Whowill separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, ordistress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, orsword?" That is where we will be next week, the Sunday before theone year anniversary of 9-11. The point is that the massive powerand wisdom and love of God for his people does not promise escapefrom these things. The power and love and wisdom of God promisestriumph in these things.
In the sword that cuts off your head or pierces your heart. Inthe peril that sweeps away your family and leaves you alone. In thenakedness that shames you in the rape or prison yard. In the faminethat leaves you and your bloated children with bones draped inskin. In the persecution that blocks all your professional advancesor burns your house. In the distress or calamity that leaves youparaplegic or takes all your life savings. In the tribulation thatwrings your soul till you wonder if every drop of faith will besqueezed out of it.
The design of God in this chapter is to give you such a deep,firm, unshakable, God-wrought, blood-bought security in hisall-conquering love, that in these seven kinds of sufferings youwill not curse him or forsake him or reproach him, but trust himand hold fast to him and be satisfied with him when all else istaken away. "When all around my soul gives way, he then is all myhope and stay." Or, as Job said, after he tore his robe and shavedhis head and fell on the ground, "Naked I came from mymother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, andthe Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job1:21; see 42:11)
In other words, the design of this passage is not to add eternalsecurity to a life devoted to earthly comfort. The design is topromise eternal security to free you from a life devoted to earthlycomfort, and give you the freedom and joy and courage to movetoward need, not toward ease. Oh, the joy and holy health of soulthat Americans forfeit in living for their own comfort while thepoor and sick and oppressed and unloved and unconverted people ofthe world perish. Sum it up like this: Romans 8 is about God inChrist giving massive security for merciful service through manysufferings.
So now let’s look at verse 34 as Paul puts more pillarsunder our security and service and suffering. "Who is the one whocondemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised,who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." Againhe asks a question without giving the answer because he expects usto give the right one and to draw us in: "Who is the one whocondemns?" Answer: No one. Then the rest of the verse isfoundation. He gives reasons why no condemnation can stand againstChristians. Last time (verse 33) the answer was: Because God is theone who justifies. This time the answer is: Because Christ Jesusdied, was raised, is at God’s right hand, and intercedes forus.
Christ’s triumph in verse 34 is the foundation ofGod’s justification in verse 33. The reason the infinitelyjust and holy God can justify the ungodly by faith alone is becauseof what Christ did in verse 34. Remember Paul already said in verse32, "God did not spare his own Son." Now in verse 34 he spells outwhat the Son of God did so that the Father could justify theungodly by faith and remove all possible condemnation.
You see what Paul is saying here: "no condemnation!" Just likeverse 1. Only here he says, no condemners! John Stott sees theuniversal impact of this and says after verse 34, "We can thereforeconfidently challenge the universe, with all its inhabitants humanand demonic: Who is he that condemns? There will never be anyanswer" (Stott, Romans, p. 257).
Listen carefully, you who are oppressed by the devil – orsome day may be. That is, everyone. Get blunt and courageous andtough with the devil. Did you hear what Stott said? You canchallenge the demonic hosts of the universe: "Satan! Whom do youput forward to condemn me?" Get in Satan’s face and stateyour case with authority. Tell him four things and bid him go."Christ died for me. Christ was raised from the dead for me. AndChrist is at the all-seeing, all-powerful, all-ruling right hand ofGod for me, and Christ is interceding for me with almighty God. Begone little, created, dependent, defeated, ruled devil! And hearthis little devil! If you kill me – which almighty God maylet you do – in that moment, my soul is freed (I win), yourmisery is multiplied (you lose), and thousands follow behind meblessed with my blood."
Jesus Christ: Four Pictures
The design of this text is to make you valiant inChrist-exalting service and suffering. So look at the four thingsChrist does for you in verse 34. Or to be more faithful to thewording of the text, look at who it is that does these four things.You recall we almost made the same mistake last week. Verse 33 didnot say, "Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? Theyare justified!" It focuses not on justification per se, but on theGod who justifies: "Who will bring any charge against God’select? God is the one who justifies!"
So here in verse 34 Paul does not say, "Who is the one whocondemns? Christ died for you, was raised, is at God’s righthand and intercedes for you." No, he focuses again on the personwho does the work. He says, "Who is the one who condemns? ChristJesus is He who died," and he continues this focus on the person bythe way he writes about each of the following three deeds. "Yes,rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who alsointercedes for us." He did not have to use two substantivalparticiples and two relative pronouns. He did it to keep our focuson the person: Jesus Christ died. Jesus Christ was raised. JesusChrist is at the right hand of God. Jesus Christ intercedes forus.
No death for us, no resurrection for us, no presence atGod’s right hand for us, no intercession for us would do usany good if it were not Jesus Christ who died and rose and reignsand intercedes. So let’s keep our focus on him. Look to him.Know him. We are not talking about a mythological event or a randomdeed or a mere human happening. We are seeing the historical JesusChrist in action. And the point is to know HIM as our security.Jesus himself is our No-condemnation.
Let’s see him and know him in four painfully briefpictures that Paul paints here.
1. Know Him as One Who Gave His Life for You
First know him as one who gave his life for you. I say "gave hislife for you" instead of "died for you" just to make plain that hechose to die. He planned to die. He embraced death for you. Hedidn’t stumble in front of the divine bullet meant for you;he stepped in front of it. Mark 10:45, "The Son of Man came . . .to give his life as a ransom for many." So know him that way.
Know him as the one who gave his life for the ungodly, not thedeserving and worthy, but the undeserving and unworthy, even whilewewere still enemies (Romans 4:5; 5:6).
Know him as the one who gave his life to complete his perfectobedience so it could be imputed to us (Philippians 2:8; Romans5:19; Galatians 2:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Know him as the one who gave his life to forgive all our sins(Ephesians 1:7).
Know him as the one who gave his life to become a curse for usand remove the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).
Know him as the one who gave his life to absorb our condemnationand remove the wrath of God (Romans 8:3).
Know him as the one who gave his life to prove that God is justwhen he justifies the ungodly who has faith in Jesus (Romans3:26).
Know him as the one who gave his life in all these ways to provethe love of God for us. "But God demonstrates His own love towardus, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans5:8).
2. Know Him as the One Raise from the Dead by the Father
Second, know him as the one raised from the dead by the Father.I stress that he was raised by the Father because the verb ispassive in verse 34: not "Christ rose" but "Christ was raised." Thepoint is that the Father was so satisfied with the once for all,atoning work of the Son that he vindicated his obedience andsuffering and his infinite accomplishment by raising him from thedead.
So know your Friend and Savior and Lord and Treasure as oneabsolutely approved by God. And know him, as Romans 6:9 says, asthe one who "will never die again; death no longer has dominionover him." And therefore know him as what Paul describes in thenext two phrases.
3. Know Him as the One Who Is at the Right Hand of God
Know him, third, as the one who is at the right hand of God.That little phrase "right hand of God" was full of power for thosefirst-century Christians who knew their Old Testament. Psalm 110:1is quoted by New Testament writers more than any other verse in thePsalms. God says to the Messiah, "Sit at my right hand, until Imake your enemies your footstool."
The meaning is triumph and rule and authority. We can see thisin Ephesians 1:20-21, "[God] raised him from the dead and seatedhim at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all ruleand authority and power and dominion, and above every name that isnamed, not only in this age but also in the one to come." And 1Peter 3:22, "[He] has gone into heaven and is at the right hand ofGod, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected tohim."
In other words, to be at God’s right hand is to rule overall authority and power and dominion and angels and names. Knowyour Savior, your Lord, your Friend, your Treasure this way –triumphant and ruling now over all the universe until all hisenemies are put under his feet. Know him and enjoy this unshakablesecurity.
4. Know Him as the Intercessor between You and God theFather
Finally, know him as the intercessor between you and God theFather. Verse 34 ends, ". . . who also intercedes for us." He wasand is now and ever will be our go-between (1 Timothy 2:5). Ouradvocate (1 John 2:1). Our intercessor. We might ask, Why do weneed an intercessor if the death and resurrection of Jesus providethe full ground of our forgiveness and righteousness? The answer isthat today in heaven Jesus does nothing to add to the ground andpurchase of our forgiveness and righteousness. That he finishedonce for all. What he does is represent that finished work for usin heaven. He stands as a lamb slain and triumphant. And provides aliving evidence and witness for the ground of our salvation.
Hebrews 7:25 says, "He is able to save to the uttermost thosewho draw near to God through him, since he always lives to makeintercession for them." We experience this intercession every timewe pray in Jesus’ name. Why do we say, "In Jesus’ name,Amen"? Because we have no rights with the Father apart from what hedid for us on the cross and what he is for us in heaven. So knowhim as your intercessor every time you pray. Be thankful to himthat he loved you and died for you and bought all your salvationand every answered prayer at the cost of his life.
I have emphasized know him. Not just knowing his work. Know himwho did – and is doing – for you these great things.Know him as your freedom from condemnation, and your fearlessness,and your massive security in merciful service through manysufferings.
And since I have emphasized this personal dimension of knowinghim, it would fitting to end with an insight from John Murray onthis final point of Christ our intercessor. He catches a dimensionthat could be easily missed. I close with this as my final call toknow him:
Nothing serves to verify the intimacy and constancy of the Redeemer’s preoccupation with the security of his people, nothing assures us of his unchanging love more than the tenderness which his heavenly priesthood bespeaks and particularly as it comes to expression in intercession for us. (Murray, Romans, Vol. 1. p. 330)