Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 7 July 2018
Page 11

Now I Know

Cecil May, Jr.

Abraham raised his hand to plunge the knife into his son, Isaac, the son of promise, when the angel of the Lord stopped him with a word. Then, the Lord said, “Now I know that you fear God seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis 22:12).

Isaac was loved by Abraham, as all fathers love their sons. Beyond that, however, Isaac was the son of whom God had said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named” (Genesis 21:11). Every promise God had made to Abraham was to be fulfilled in Abraham’s descendants through Isaac, not in Abraham himself. So, Abraham had faith that God would keep his promises to raise up children through Isaac, even if he also had faith enough to kill Isaac as God commanded.

If God Be for Us

John Stacey

People often hold to one of two positions. Some say that God is loving and will never send men to a place like Hell even if they don’t believe in Christ. Others believe that despite their faith in the Lord, they will still be lost. The truth is that unbelief will condemn the best of us, and a simple application of Bible truths to our lives will work to save the worst of us.

Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” This text is directed to people who believe that their lives will never be good enough to be saved. God posed the question of Romans 8:31 to Christians who fear becoming lost. All kinds of answers come to our minds when we think about the question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” The devil is against us. The world and our own humanity are against us. The list of people and things that are against us is truly endless. However, the point here is this. Everything that is against us is powerless with God on our side.

As a husband is for his wife, or parents are for their children, God is for Christians. Romans 8:32 tells us how much God is for his people. He “did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all.” Yes, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Let us now continue looking at some more verses in Romans 8 that show us that God is for us.

First, since God is for us, we need not fear accusations. Romans 8:33 says, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Again, we can think of answers to that question. Satan accuses us day and night before God. Notice the rest of Romans 8:31. “It is God that justifieth.” One translation of that verse is this: “Who will accuse God’s chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty.”

Imagine walking into a courtroom too late. The defendant is standing before the judge. You approach the judge. You say, “The defendant is guilty. He stole my car. I saw him do it. He told me he did it.” The judge then says, “You are too late. I have already declared him not guilty. The Constitution will not allow him to be tried for this again. I must set him free.”

In the spiritual realm, you and I are the defendants. Satan is the accuser (Revelation 12:11). Jesus has pronounced us innocent because of our obedience to the Gospel. The devil has no case against us. Satan, though, doesn’t care. He will say, “Look at their filth. Their hearts are deceitful, their minds corrupt and their mouths are open sepulchers.” God replies, “I see no filth. These have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are white as snow” (Revelation 1:5; Isaiah 1:18).

“Then look at their flaws,” says the devil. “They have fallen short of your glory. They are far from perfect. They often neglect their Bibles, prayer and the church.” But God says, “I see no flaws. They are clothed in the righteousness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The devil replies, “Then look at the facts. These men have disobeyed You thousands of times. They have broken Your laws in their thoughts, words and actions. They have lied, cheated, stolen, lusted, cursed and were arrested for drunk driving and selling drugs.” God says, “The only thing I see is that their names are in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20:14-15). Their sins were blotted out when they became Christians.” Thus, my friends, we need not fear accusations from Satan or from anyone else.

Secondly, since God is for us, we need not fear condemnation. In Romans 8:34, Paul asked, “Who is he that condemns?” Again, we can all think of possible answers. However, Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation to those in Christ. We may suffer from temptation and tribulation, but not from condemnation.

Let us consider the rest of the verse; it will lay before us four facts. (1) Christ died. Because of His death, we cannot be condemned. (2) There is no condemnation because He was raised from the dead. If the head is above the water, the foot cannot drown. Christ is the Head of the body, the church (Colossians 1:18). We as Christians make up the spiritual body. (3) There is no condemnation for us because Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. This is a place of great honor and safety. The honor and safety bestowed on Christ are also bestowed upon the church. (4) In this verse we learn that there will be no condemnation because Christ intercedes for us. We so often think of Christ as Judge, but here He is our defense attorney. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:24). I can’t imagine that the Father would not respond to Him on our behalf!

Thirdly, since God is for us, we need not fear separation. In Romans 8:35 Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” He then listed seven possible answers. (1) There is “tribulation.” Jesus told us, “In this world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Christians rejoice in tribulations. We know that they will work to produce patience (Romans 5:3). Let Satan send a tidal wave of tribulation; nothing will separate us from Christ. He will be with us always (Matthew 28:18-20; Hebrews 13: 5-6).

(2) Paul lists “distresses” in verse 35. This word literally means, “a narrow place.” Daniel was cooped up in a narrow lions’ den. He didn’t let it separate him from God. God’s love closed the lions’ mouths.

(3) Paul lists “persecution.” If we could ask Stephen, the first Christian to die for the faith, if he died without the love of Christ, he would say, "No." Jesus stood up and looked down upon Stephen’s death (Acts 7:56). (4) The next thing listed in this verse is “famine.” Jacob endured a seven-year famine. The saints in Jerusalem faced a death or a famine. The Gentile saints came to their aid. David said, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

(5) “Nakedness” is mentioned in verse 35. When Job lost family and possessions, he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Did this take him away or separate him from the love of God? No. He later wrote, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).

(6) The next thing Paul mentioned is “peril” or danger. David found it dangerous to be around King Saul. Yet, he wrote that God had prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies (Psalm 23:5). The same Paul who wrote the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 also wrote in 2 Corinthians 11 about the perils or dangers he faced during his apostolic ministry. David and Paul had the love of God throughout their lives.

(7) Paul mentioned the “sword.” John the Baptist lost his head to the sword (Matthew 14), and so did the apostle James (Acts 12:2). If we could talk to them again, we could ask if their deaths meant that God did not love them or if their deaths separated them from the love of Christ. Their answers would be, “No.”

Finally, let us look at Romans 8:37-39. In verse 37 we have these words: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” To conquer is to defeat one’s enemies, but note the word “more.” It carries with it the idea of turning an enemy into a friend. This is what Christ did with Paul.

Christians are a people who can turn stumbling blocks into steppingstones. God uses our trials to build our faith. In weakness, we are made strong. Our losses are turned into gains. Death sends us into the presence of God. Trials, far from separating us from Christ, drive us closer to Him than ever before!

In verse 38 Paul wrote, “Or I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” Notice the fact that Paul began verse 38 with the words, “I am persuaded” or convinced. Every child of God can stand assured that nothing can come between him and Christ’s love.

Paul, then, listed some personal dividers. “Death” will be the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Can you think of anything that is neither dead or alive? Therefore, nothing can get between us and Christ’s love.

Angels and principalities cannot separate us from Christ’s love. That means that good and evil spirits, angels or demons, cannot do it. No one and nothing can stand between Christians and their Lord. No earthly “power” can match Him who has all power in Heaven and Earth (Matthew 28:18). Next, we have “things present and to come.” Nothing in this life or in the life beyond can come between Christ and the saints. Then, we have the words “height and depth.” Nothing between Heaven and Hell can separate us from the love of God. No creature be it animal, human or spirit can come between God’s love and His children.

If we believe that God is for us, we will show it by obeying the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:1-16). As Christians, we will show by our lives that we believe that God is for us.

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