(Rom 8:31-34) What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
God’s passion for our salvation is amply shown by the gift of his Son. Therefore, God’s forgiveness is complete. As the Hebrews writer says, we are made “perfect forever” and saved “once for all” (and he says this despite also teaching that we can fall away (Heb 6:4-6; 10:26 ff).
(Rom 8:35-37) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Why would Paul bring up such things? Well, because he’d suffered such things. Indeed, he points out that, although many Christians are destined to be martyred, we should see this as a victory. Rather than feeling abandoned by God, Paul says we who suffer in this life are nonetheless “more than conquerors”!
Consider the setting. The Jews were about to seek to end the exile by conquering Rome! Paul is writing to Rome. He says we are already more than conquerors, even when we are naked and starving, because God has given us the blessings he promised.
Implicit is the understanding that these promises will be fully fulfilled at the end of time, when all the blessings of the Kingdom will come to us. Until then, although we may not see the peace and prosperity the prophets spoke of, we have no need to go to war and conquer to be conquerors. God has already won the victory. We need only celebrate the victory already won and the fruits we will surely receive.
As a result, Paul can see with his own eyes the majesty and power of God. The prophecies have come true in exquisite detail, and therefore we can count on God to keep the promises he made through the prophets. Indeed, through the sweep of history, we can see God working his plan, using kings and nations and powers to work his will. God is over all, and those things that appear to be defeats for God are shown to be steps toward the ultimate working out of his plans.
(Rom 8:38-39) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why the reference to “powers”? Why angels and demons? Paul declares that Christ is above all other powers — earthly and heavenly — as demonstrated by God’s ability to work his redemptive plan throughout history, while the powers were surely arrayed against him.
(Col 2:15) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
If God can defeat the powers through Christ, so that the Jews and Gentiles can be joined together in the Kingdom to enjoy the blessings of God, then there is no one who can defeat the purposes of God!