The Supreme Confidence of Being “In Christ”- Thoughts from Romans 8:31-39

It is a sad thing that the last section of Romans 8 is often dissected and referred to only in little bits and pieces. These approaches miss the wonderful theology that Paul is building in the text. Chapter 8 begins with the life that we as believers now enjoy in the Spirit. The presence of the Spirit confirms that we are heirs with Christ (v. 12-17), and if we are heirs with Christ, then we will experience a future glory unlike anything we could possibly imagine (v. 18-30). This future security changes everything about how we should live. I found this text particularly challenging as 2015 looks to have our brothers and sisters being persecuted and killed around the world, churches in our own country filled with significant groups of professing Christians who are apathetic towards genuine spiritual growth, and a culture around us that is more hostile to the gospel than it was even a year ago.

So, straight from the apostle Paul, a few gospel truths you (and I) need to preach to ourselves on a regular basis…

  1. Nothing can thwart the plan of Almighty God. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v. 31b). Simple answer? No one. Think about what Paul is saying. You have been saved! The God of the universe sacrificed His only Son (v. 32) so that our sins might be paid for. If He was willing to do that, we can be assured that He will give you everything you need for this life. In 2015, as I walk with Him, He will grant spiritual growth. He will grant armor that is thick enough to resist the attacks of those forces that oppose His design for my life. His Word will grant light for each day’s journey. And no matter what happens, it has either been ordained or allowed by my sovereign Lord. Because He is sovereign AND because He is good, I can grow through any trial or triumph that 2015 may contain.
  2. I have been justified, no one can condemn me. Verses 33-34 contain some great truth. Inevitably, the dark shadows of life arise. The guilt of sins past. The temptation of potential future sins. The incredible shame when we fail yet again in the service of the King of all things. A voice whispers, “you aren’t worthy. You’ve gone too far this time. How can you really claim to be a child of God?” Now, don’t ever let yourself coast into sinning willfully. That makes a mockery of the cross. But don’t ever allow the grace of Calvary to be made cheap by some thought that maybe there is a sin that places you outside of His grace. Who can bring a charge against those who have been justified by God? If God is the One Who justified you, and Jesus is interceding for you, Who is left to bring any kind of credible charge? No one. If you are in Christ, you have been justified. It is finished. It has been paid for. Live freely in 2015. Not to sin, but to experience the grace of forgiveness.
  3. No matter what happens, you are loved. We all crave love. Let’s face it, we are social creatures. I am a  fairly introverted person who enjoys quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of life. But even people like me desire to be loved and accepted. But the desire for love and acceptance from those around us pales in comparison with the importance of being loved by our Lord. No matter what- and Paul gives a laundry list of potential “separators”- the love-bond between you and Christ cannot be broken. For those who struggle with this concept, you need to spend time in this text. Meditate on it, revel in it. “But what about times that I don’t feel loved?” VERY legitimate question! We live in a society obsessed with feelings. My little girl got a Frozen bedspread for Christmas with the wonderfully unbiblical advice of “follow your heart” on it. That is quite possibly the worst thing you could ever do. The second worst is trusting your feelings. Feelings are fickle, God’s Word is not. So you come to a day when you don’t feel loved. Does that change reality? NO! No matter how you feel, if you are in Christ, you are loved. That promise rests on the authority of the very Word of God.

2015 is another year. It will have ups and downs. It will have joys and sorrows. But in all times, remember who you are. Remember what Christ has done, and what that means for our everyday lives…

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