Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome back to Home Bible Study. Before we press on, I think it would be good to sum up or review the material we’ve gone over for the sake of everyone, including me.
There are five blessings in Romans 8:29-30 which every true Believer may hold fast.
Their origins are from eternity past, extend to eternity future, and were pre-ordained by our loving Father in heaven: foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
All those who truly love God were foreknown before they were born (Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5), and God even knows the number of hairs on their heads (Luke 12:7), they have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), they have been called by God’s grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14), they have been justified by faith alone (Romans 5:1), and their glorification is as certain as the 2nd Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20-21)!
I also take note of the fact that the number five symbolizes God’s grace, goodness, and favor toward humanity and is mentioned 318 times in Scripture.
Please open your Bible to Romans 8, at verse 31.
From No Condemnation to No Separation
We began our study of Romans 8 with Paul’s teaching on our present standing in God’s grace. If you responded to God’s call through the gospel, you have been justified by faith, you have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus, and you now have peace with God. Paul combined all these truths in one statement:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The oft overlooked portion of this phrase is, “in Christ Jesus.” Those three words take us back to these three words: justification by faith.
All those who believe in Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice are no longer in Adam; they are now in Christ Jesus. Therefore, God will never condemn (reject) those who belong to Christ Jesus. Put another way, God is not going to kick you out of His family no matter what you do! We’re talking eternal security.
Then after preaching on the “sufferings of this present time,” Paul makes a powerful and uplifting statement addressed to Believers ONLY:
31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
This verse reminds me of a popular contemporary Christian song by Jesus Culture.
It goes like this:
Higher Than The Mountains That I Face
Stronger Than The Power of The Grave
Constant Thru The Trial And The Change
One Thing Remains
Your love never fails
It never gives up
It never runs out on me…because on and on and on it goes. (One Thing Remains)
I can’t get this song out of my head now; that’s a good thing – I suppose.
I pray you can see how these words pair up so well with the teachings of Paul and line up with what has been taught, using the Scriptures, here. No matter what “storm” you’re facing now, or maybe you’ve passed through a trial/hardship; no matter if you’ve been on the “backslide” in your walk with the Lord these past few months, God is for you!
God’s love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out on you and me.
Let’s look at the front section of verse 31.
What then shall we say to these things?
The words, “these things” takes in all of Paul’s writings from Romans chapter 5 thru 8.
Beginning with Romans 5:1, Paul gives us an accounting of the Results of Justification – and represents an outpouring of God’s love for those who are in Christ Jesus. When you bracket Romans 5:1-11 with Romans 8:31-39 you have an “inclusio.”
Inclusio = Latin - literary device that brackets a subject. Romans 5:1-11 bracketed with Romans 8:31-39 = Love of God/Difficult journey; but God will bring you through it.
“Both texts feature the confidence that comes from the hope of Believers.”
Now let’s look at the back half of this verse.
If God is for us, who is against us?
The word “If” Romans 8:31 is poorly translated. This is not a conditional statement.
If you are a Believer then God is for you! The Scriptural evidence to this effect is overwhelming (John 3:16). Try using the word “Since” or “Because” instead of the word, “if.” This is how it should have been shown in your Bible.
In its original form the verse read, “…God for us who against us?”
I want to draw your attention to two words in this section.
First, the emphasis in this short phrase is on the word “for.” God is for His elect!
Isn’t that encouraging and we need encouragement every day.
Consider the teachings we’ve covered to date:
- Verse 17 says we will be glorified with Christ if we suffer with Him.
- Verse 18 says that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us.
- Verse 20 says the creation was subjected to futility – including us.
- Verse 21 says the creation is in bondage to decay.
- Verse 23 says that even Spirit-filled Believers groan with the fallen creation awaiting our adoption, the redemption of our weak, sick, dying bodies.
- Verse 24 says we have been saved, “in hope,” and you can’t see hope, otherwise it wouldn’t be “hope.” So, most of our salvation is invisible and still future.
- Verse 35 says there are tribulations and distress and persecutions and famine and nakedness and danger and sword…oh my!
Then amongst all this, to give us strength, hope, and courage verse 28 says, yes, this is all true, but, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
So, the answer to the question of Romans 8:31 is: many will stand in opposition to us; there will be many disappointments, discouragements, distresses, and obstacles to overcome in life. But in all these things we are more than conquerors because of the sovereign love of God in Christ Jesus. We may think we’re down, but we’re not out!
For nothing will succeed against us. This is the message of Romans 8:31.
I brought up the Scriptural account of young Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers not long ago because he understood this truth. Joseph may have been “down” but he knew he wasn’t “out.” Why? The faithfulness of God never changes. What his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. God used this bit of “ugliness” committed by his brothers to benefit not only Joseph, his immediate family, the nation of Egypt at that time, but also the nation of Israel came out ahead as well (Genesis 50:22-26).
God’s purpose and plan cannot be undone by the evil intentions of anyone or anything and this truth brings me to my next teaching point.
The second word I want you to look at in this section is “who.” Who against us?
Notice Paul didn’t say what he said, “who against us?” This is a being and not a thing.
In the Old Testament the nation of Israel fought numerous enemies. Throughout their history, Israel and Judah contended with enemies committed to their total destruction, finding refuge only in their covenant-keeping God. But may it be known Israel’s chief enemy from day one to this very moment in time has always been Satan.
For instance the sin of King David is Satan’s work. Satan moved David to sin against God – to disobey His expressed will (1 Chronicles 21:1-8; 2 Samuel 24:1). These two parallel passages tell of the same event from two very different perspectives. The account in 1 Chronicles informs us of Satan’s role in the numbering of Israel’s men. It also tells us Satan worked through David and that his purpose was to oppose Israel.
Most people deny the existence of Satan. Since most people deny the existence of God, Jesus Christ, heaven, and hell this should come as no surprise. However, the existence of Satan cannot be determined by the opinions of men. The only source of true information concerning him is the Bible and not the internet, Hollywood, television, etc. This is one of the reasons why Satan is so busy trying to discredit the Word of God.
He is not the god of this earth for this distinction belongs to its Creator alone, but Satan is the god of the “world systems” i.e. business, society, politics, and religion.
Can anyone deny the presence of evil/corruption in any these world systems?
Satan is not a prominent person in the Old Testament. He is introduced early in the Scriptures and consistently represented as both the adversary of God and of men (Genesis 3:1-5). Satan was the adversary of Job (Job 1, 2) for instance.
Some think when this world was created and fit for habitation, Lucifer, Son of the Morning (Satan) was put in charge of it. It was at this time that he said, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars (other ruling powers) of God, And I will sit upon the Mount of Assembly In the recesses of the North. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High; (Isaiah 14:13-14)
Take note of the “I will’s” in this declaration from Lucifer. His prideful act caused the Pre-Adamite World to become, “without form and void” as described in Genesis 1:2; this is called the Gap Theory by some Bible scholars.
However, this justifies the claim of Satan that this world rightfully belongs to him, and that he had the right and power to transfer the “kingdoms” of this world to Jesus, if He would only bow down and acknowledge Satan’s superiority (Matthew 4:8-9).
After Christ was born, it was Satan who prompted Herod to kill all the male children at Bethlehem under two years of age (Matthew 2:16-18). We find him attempting to thwart God’s plan and purpose by directly opposing God through the temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Unlike Satan, Jesus was intent on doing the Father’s will. This mind-set led to His success in the wilderness and in His ultimate victory at the cross over Satan, sin, and death.
Jesus is the Victor but Satan continues to wage spiritual warfare against God’s elect. The history of Christ’s Church reflects the ongoing hostilities between God’s people and Satan. Our apostle Paul writes, “For we wanted to come to you – I, Paul, more than once – and yet Satan hindered us (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
The Apostle Peter wrote: Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him (he’s a person – not a thing) in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
A dedicated football coach carefully scouts out their next opponent. They never walk onto a football field without facts and a plan. They gather as much data as possible about their next rival before they meet them on the field. They seek knowledge of their weaknesses, their strengths, and their methods. A good coach understands to succeed against your opponent you must know them; you must be prepared to counter their attacks.
Now apply this concept to what we’ve learned today. Satan is your adversary.
He is the deceiver. He is crafty and intent on doing you harm. He doesn’t like to be revealed for who and what he is or how he operates. But Believers must be informed.
Our apostle Paul wrote: so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his (what) schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).
And there are these words of wisdom from Paul as well: But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:10-18).
We must heed the warnings of all of Scripture concerning our adversary Satan.
Seven Old Testament books teach his existence: Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. In the New Testament Satan’s name appears 36 times and every writer refers to him as a personal being. If this isn’t enough evidence, Jesus Christ also affirmed the truth of Satan, his activity, and as a personal being (Matthew 12:27; Mark 3:26; Luke 10:18; Luke 22:31)
The main reason why humanity rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s gift of grace today is Satan. He holds men and women captive to accomplish his will and they aren’t even aware of it (Luke 8:11-12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Of the end times Jesus said, “See to it that no one misleads (deceives) you…” (Matthew 24:4)
Since Paul has informed us that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” our heavenly Father wants us to know and appreciate this Truth. Regardless of what happens to us in this life we may live in each day courageously and encouraged knowing no one (including Satan) will succeed against us because - God for us, who against us!
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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