God has promised to work everything together for the good of His people. If God is for us, it follows that, ultimately, nothing can stand against us. That is logical. Otherwise, God would not be God. If something could rise up against God and overcome Him, that other thing would be God. God would then prove to be a false god—no God at all. But on the contrary Paul is saying that in the last analysis, nothing can be against us if God is for us.
But this raises the million-dollar question: “Is God for me?” Perhaps even more pointed is the personal question:
“How do I know that God is for me?”
Well, do you know that? How do you know?
Satan is very insistent about this—indeed, he has been insistent on this question from the beginning. He asked it in the Garden of Eden. In fact, his first recorded words are an assault on God’s gracious character (will we never learn how much he hates God and His people?): “Did God put you in this lavish garden and forbid you to eat from any of its trees? What kind of God does that? You don’t think He is really for you, do you, if He does that kind of thing?” (see Gen. 3:1).
You will find this innuendo repeated in various forms and guises throughout your Christian life. You need to have biblical answers to these questions:
- How do you know God is really for you?
- Where should you look for the proof that God is for you? Does it lie in the fact that your Christian life has been unbroken happiness? Does it lie in the fact that your Christian life been one of ecstatic joy?
There is only one irrefutable answer to these questions. It cannot be found in our circumstances. It lies only in the provision that God has made for us in Jesus Christ.
This is the whole point of Paul’s question in verse 32. We can be sure that God is for us because this God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up to the cross for us all.
If this is true, Paul affirms, we can be confident He will give us everything we will ever need.
This is the only sure way we can know that God is for us.
Frequently in the closing pages of the Gospel records we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ was “delivered up” (e.g., Matt. 26:15; 27:2, 18, 26). He was handed over by one person or group to another until eventually He was handed over by Pilate to be crucified as a criminal.
But Paul understood that behind every human “handing over” was the purpose of the heavenly Father. He “handed over” (it is the same verb) His own Son to bear the condemnation due to sinners.
Here is the heart of the plan of God and the wonder of the gospel. The best of all men dies as though He were the worst of all criminals. This is not merely a matter of human wickedness destroying a good man. It is the heart of the purpose of God, as Isaiah had long before prophesied (Isa. 53:4–6, 10).
Behind the handing over of the Lord Jesus—by Judas Iscariot, by Herod, by the priests, by Pontius Pilate—stood the purposes of His heavenly Father handing Him over to the cross in order to die in the place of sinners. He bore God’s judgment and wrath against our sin.
What inexpressible love this is.
This excerpt is adapted from By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me by Sinclair Ferguson.