Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Non-series Sermons by Year 2021 Sermons . God vs God (Part 2)

. God vs God (Part 2)

GOD VS GOD (PART 2)

 

So, now, we come to our text in context. After contemplating the ramifications of ‘agony’ and ‘ecstasy’ and understanding that there is an eternal purpose behind it all, Paul’s next words make total sense in context: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 (ESV)


Now, before we look at verse 31, and we do not have to do it in too much detail. But verse 31 starts with “What then shall we say to these things?” Which things. Well, everything we spoke about. All this Hallelujah stuff.  So, we can shout ‘hallelujah’, we can shout ‘praise the Lord’, we can shout ‘glory to God’, we can shout ‘Abba Father’.  But there is a little phrase we need to get back to which we saw in Romans 8:28 (ESV) 28 And we know that for THOSE WHO LOVE GOD all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Once again somebody who is opposed to a mind-set where God’s just gets too much Glory in salvation and perseverance will quote John 1:12 (ESV) 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” Aha, there it is, salvation is all your choice based on your self-will. But they will ignore the context once again and not quote John 1:13 (ESV) 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John is clear. Salvation is not OF THE WILL OF MAN. But perseverance. Well, we can qoute many verses that seems like it is all of man whether you remain in God or not. A favourite verse is Philippians 2:12 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,…” There you are, check mate, I work out my own salvation based on my will and if I feel like walking away from God, I can do it. Again, they choose not to deal with the text in context and again ignore verse 13 which says: Philippians 2:13 (ESV) 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”


God’s predetermined, purpose was to have children of God who will love Him. No wonder it is the first commandment. To accomplish that, God called the world into being, set up the whole universe, peopled the earth with a race of men, permitted them to fall, sent into this sin-ridden earth his own beloved Son, accomplished the cross and the resurrection, and now, as Paul so clearly says, "works all things together for good to those who love him, who are the called according to that great purpose," (Romans 8:28). In this we have a tremendous statement of what life is all about. We see that God's purpose is to have a race of people, his own children, who will love him. Love is the end and aim of life.

 

To accomplish this, Paul summarizes the process that God follows. Paul looks back through this letter to the Romans and sums up in five brief steps the process that God takes (Verses 29-30) which we have read a short while ago.  Now, I wish he had time to study the book of Romans, and to look at God’s 1. foreknowledge, 2. election, 3. predestination, 4. justification and 5. glorification. It is all there.

 

Here is the simple fact in all of this. I believe the first thing we need to say in response to the question in verse 31 is simply this: “Abba Father, I love you”. All, other impulsive responses in response to Paul’s question: ‘what shall we say in response to this” can be egocentric. We need to respond with God as the centre of our response. Paul, now implies an answer: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer is really, nobody, and nothing because God is for us.

 

Okay, let’s be fleshly and take it back to sport, politics, business ventures, relationships etc. Is this in mind? NO! I believe the context is clear. All the ‘agony’, however it reveals itself in life, will never remove ‘ecstasy now’ and it will not remove ‘THE GREAT ECSTASY’ forever. There are none lost in the process. Those whom he foreknew, before the foundation of the world, he also predestined to conform to the likeness of his Son; the same number of people he called; and the ones he called, he also justified; the very ones he justified, he also glorified. No one is lost in the process because God is responsible for it. It is going to involve pain and toil, death and tears, disappointment, bereavement, sorrow, sin – yes even sin, stumbling, failure, falling, and forgiveness -- all these things. But it is going to happen, because what God sets out to do, he does -- no matter what it takes. And because God is for us, nothing and nobody can be against us. Romans 8:32 (ESV) helps us to understand all of this. 32 He who did not spare his own Son (agony) but gave him up for us all (agony), how will he not also with him graciously give us all things (agony and ecstasy)? This is critical. Even agony comes our way graciously, as it shows that we are children of God. Somebody once remarked that: “God’s grace often comes riding on a black horse, called ‘mercy’.” Now remember, we saw earlier that we must suffer with Christ. Christian, God has already given you His Son, and He will give you everything you need.

 

Now, remember again that verse 31 is in the context of the preceding verses, but also in the context of verses to follow.  Without going into it in too much detail. Paul asks two more questions that helps us keep our theology straight regarding the actual theme, which is not sport, business, politics, the enemy in the trench etc.

 

He firstly asked: “What shall we say in response to this,” and I believe we have our theology in check here, as we understand the context. The next two questions will help us keep the context.

 

Question 2 is found in: Romans 8:33-34 (ESV) 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”


Notice again, that everything is about sonship, or in other words the elect of God. And as in verse 31-32 again it is God who is the answer to our agony. We suffer the attack of the principalities, the forces of evil, but God foreknew us, elected us, and justified us. See, how Paul writes in context, and we must understand it in context. Remember that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. He will try to accuse us constantly. This verse tells us that we must not listen to his voice. We must not listen to these thoughts that condemn us, that put us down, that make us feel that there is no hope for us. These thoughts will come -- they cannot be stopped -- but we do not have to listen to them. We know God is not listening to these accusations. Who can condemn us when God justifies us? Therefore, we refuse to be condemned. We don't do this by ignoring our sin or trying to cover it over or pretending that it isn't there; we do it by admitting that we fully deserve to be condemned, but that God, through Christ, has already borne our guilt. That is the only way out. That is why Christians should not hesitate to admit their failure and their sin. You will never be justified until you admit it. But when you admit it, then you also can face the full glory of the fact that God justifies the ungodly, and therefore there is no condemnation.

 

Church family – the essence of the whole of Romans is that our whole relationship with God rests upon that magnificent person Jesus Christ, and therefore we are willing to ‘agony’ with Him and to enjoy ‘ecstasy’ with Him.  And as I said earlier, we must therefore love God. How do you love God? Well, you love him by reminding yourself of the implications of his continual, unchanging commitment to you. You love him by remembering and trusting the full effect of his work for you.

 

And finally, you love God by answering this question which is the third question that Paul asks. Romans 8:35 (ESV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”


Look carefully now. What did we see in verse 31? “What shall we say in response to this?” Besides Hallelujah, and we love God and all that stuff, we will ask three questions.


So, the first question is: “If God is for us, who shall be against us”.

The second question is: 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?”

And now the third question: 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”


Now notice, that all three questions have to do with the fact that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, that those who are led by the Spirit are children of God, Children of God are God’s elect, who have been known before the foundation of the world, they are the once who are called by God, by His Spirit, through His Son, they are justified and glorified, which means that God is on our side, and THEREFORE, who shall be against us, who shall bring any charge against us and who shall separate us from the love of Christ.

 

To show us how final this is, Paul elaborates on the third question with a sub question.

 

Romans 8:35 (ESV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”

The issue is not what I can do, but back to the context that nothing or nobody can be against us, as it all works together for our good, nothing or nobody can accuse us and nothing or nobody can separate us from the love of Christ, because God is on our side.

 

Back to reality: 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed (agony) all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered (agony).” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors (ecstasy) through him who loved us (ecstasy). So, to put in plainly, in your agony, enjoy the ecstasy which is more than the temporal as it is eternal. God is for you, even in your trials, because trials exist for believers and there is no guarantee that it will be taken away.  But God will ensure that you are a conqueror in it. Why? Because you are a ‘child of God’, ‘led by the Spirit,’ ‘foreknown’, ‘elected’, ‘predestined’ ‘called’, justified’, ‘glorified’ and you love Him. Wow, what a package? No, wonder God loves you and is for you.

 

Now, have you wondered just how great and effective this really is. Let’s allow Paul to have the final word. Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No wonder Paul could say: Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV) 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”


Oh, that we may know Him and the power of His resurrection, through which the sons of God will be revealed, namely those who are led by the Spirit of God that we may share in his agony, that by any means possible we may attain ecstasy.

 

None of us love agony, but agony draws us closer to Him, it makes us cling harder to Him, it makes us run to Him, because we know that in Christ the one whom we love we can never be defeated, so we are more than conquerors and therefore nobody can be against our son-ship, nobody can accuse us as sons, and nobody can separate us from God’s love for us.

 

We are not Super-immune to agony, but we are Super-conquerors in ecstasy.


Christian you are dearly loved, completely forgiven, and forever free through Jesus Christ and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Your agony is not there to condemn you but to free you so that you may understand ecstasy. So, God is not against God, by picking sides in earthly matters. But God is for God and His glory, and He is for His own, and if God is for His own, then we can say with confidence: “If God is for us, who shall be against us”. And “33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” and 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” And the answer is no one or nothing, not even Satan the accuser. So next time somebody quotes this verse out of context, invite them to read this article, and then to provide a basis why they disagree theologically.

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church - 29 August 2021