Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Spirit's Presence and Attributes (Part VIII)

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” 
(Romans 8:31-34)

When a man has submitted himself to God's ways, what is left to fear? Three young Hebrew men had such confidence in God's supreme ability to keep their souls that they were able to say to the most powerful monarch of their day, “...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods...(Daniel 3:17-18).” When the soul is safe with God, circumstances no longer have to cause fear. The preposition for means on behalf of or in place of. God's righteousness has stepped in on behalf of the believer through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; therefore, what is left to fear? This passage does not teach that God joins man in his own purposes. God does not take sides with mankind (Joshua 5:13-15); rather, this passage offers security to the God-fearing who would come to their Maker in humble faith seeking rest and peace.

If God handed over His own Son to be the Sacrifice for man's sin, He will not stop short by failing to impart the promised inheritance. The word freely give is derived from the same root as grace. This verb means to give graciously. God's grace is the reason that such a secure salvation is available. No one can condemn the believer because the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ have forever justified him. Not even the believer's own failures and wanderings can infringe upon such security, because not only is the Spirit making intercession according to the will of God, but the Son is ever there at the Father's side, interceding on behalf of the saints because of His blood payment. This intercession is not based upon some inherent goodness in the believer, but rather, upon the payment for sin that Christ has made. His righteous and holy character plead for the believer, and no one can accuse such faultless perfection!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37)

Verse thirty-six is a quote of Psalm 44:22. This Psalm is filled with the troubles and trials listed here; yet, near the end, the Psalmist's trust is declared to be in God's faithfulness and mercy, thus enabling him to be at peace. Paul is making application of an Old Testament truth. God has not changed down through the years. Regardless of situation, circumstance, or feeling, He has always been the believer's Rock, and He forever will be. In fact, the man who rests in God's ability is not only a conqueror; he is more than a conqueror. In this passage, the believer is reminded of the importance of living by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Adversity is the real test of a man's faith, yet, if God's peace is only present during times of prosperity, was it ever truly present? The believer must mature beyond the point of using his feelings for a measure of God's faithfulness. Christ had peace in the middle of the tormented sea as well as in the quiet place. Daniel knew God's peace in the lion's den as well as in the palace. The love and peace of Christ is most real during the times of spiritual warfare. It is then that the Christian fully realizes that he is more than a conqueror through the Son of God.

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