Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kept Securely in Christ (Part 3)

Eternal Security

Romans 8:26 – 39
 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 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 Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

In our two previous considerations of this Chapter (Part 1 and Part 2), we looked at the Christian in Christ Jesus with the New things that happen to him. We had earlier subdivided Romans Chapter 8 into seven New Things. We had looked at Our New position – position of no condemnation. Position in which the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death. We have also seen our New Life – life in the Spirit as against life in the flesh. We have seen our New relationship – Sons, Children and Heirs of God; joint heirs with Christ. This new relationship enables us to call God “Abba Father” for God has declared us righteous and made us sons. We have also considered our New hope – “the manifestation of the sons of God”. The whole creation is groaning waiting for this day when the sons of God would be manifested. The sons of God themselves are groaning because of the presence of the flesh and the Spirit of God is groaning for the sons of God. But there is a day when all groaning will cease – the day we are hopefully waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. So that is our New position, our New life, our New relationship and our New hope.

In this third and final consideration of the New things in Christ as in Romans Chapter 8, we shall consider our New help vv 26-27; our New Knowledge vv 28 – 30 and our New Assurance vv 31-39.

Our New Help in Christ Jesus 

The word “infirmities” is better read in the singular – infirmity. We have an infirmity. In the midst of the suffering of this life; we do not know how to pray as we ought. Paul prayed three times for the removal of a thorn. Then the Lord admonished him and said in effect; “Paul, you are praying wrong” (Second Corinthian 12:7-9), you ought to pray for grace to stand the thorn. You ought to pray to learn the lesson of the thorn and not the removal of the thorn” But contrast Paul with the Spirit of God who knows how to pray! He knows what the will of God is. So He makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.

Here is an example to illustrate what Paul is saying: the great Saint Augustine had been a very wicked man in his youth, but he was later converted. Augustine was greatly loved by the mother, Monica who was a Christian and had a very heavy burden in her heart for her son. She learned that he was leaving home for Italy, so she prayed that God would not let him go because she feared he would get into worse sin there. But God did not answer. Augustine went to Italy and he was converted there. His mother did not know how to pray as she ought, so God did not answer her special request in order that He might answer her life-long request. God knows our aspirations and He answers in His own way. The Spirit is our New Help especially in issues of prayers as we do not know how we ought to pray, but He knows what is in the mind of God. A great help indeed!

Our New Knowledge in Christ Jesus

There is one thing we do know “We know that all things work ... glorified” (vv 28-30) 

God foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us. But earlier, in the verse preceding all these is a statement of one thing we know. “We know that all things work together for good! ... to them that are called according to His purpose” His eternal purpose comes first, then foreknowledge, then predestination.

God did all these above before we were created, but then we came: whom He predestinated, He calls (we are on the earth now). He justifies. Now, the believer is ready to swing over into another eternity, but instead of saying, He will glorify them God says, “He glorified” all done and finished and past. These words form the golden links which bind the believer to the two eternities – the eternity that is past in the purpose of God, and the eternity that is future in glory with Him!

Look back to verse 18 and turn forward to verse 30; notice the development of that theme, so that it may be said that Paul has been talking about the glory in contrast with the suffering, until he comes to the last word of verse 30. Our suffering which is temporal is nothing to compare with the wealth of glory. When therefore we are buffeted by any situation let us remember that in God’s eternal purpose, He has destined us to be glorified by all situations. So then, all things together work for good! What a new knowledge! It will change our attitude to situations and things. Let us begin to look at situations in the light of God’s eternal purpose – the glorification of the sons of God. In 1000 things it is not 999 that work together for good but 999 plus one.

Our New Assurance in Christ Jesus

Verse 31 is a conclusion of the first 8 chapters of the Book of Romans and not merely of the chapter. What shall we say to these things? He means everything that has gone before: our Condemnation (Chapters 1-3); our Justification (Chapters 4-5); our Sanctification (Chapters 6-7) and our Glorification (Chapter 8), the last word he used was glorified. Now he says “What are we going to say?” That is a searching question. What are you going to say this day to these things? Shall we say, “Well, that is interesting, I am glad that it is that way; but I am going to go on living as I have always lived; certain things I like to do, and I am going to keep on doing them?” If you do say that, it simply means either of two things: you have not firmly grasped the truth of these discussions or you do not know God. No true Christian can be brought into the presence of these truths without having them grip his heart and lead him in the path of righteousness.

But that is not what Paul intends to talk about now. He introduces his thought with four questions here:

1. If God be for us, who can be against us? The answer – “He that did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He, not also with Him freely give us all things?” (v.32)

2. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? That is, to say, (and he is issuing the challenge to a universe) “If there is any man, any angel, any demon, who can bring forth a charge and lay it at the door of God’s elect, let him stand up?” There is no answer, why? Because, “it is God that justifies” (v. 33) Who is the man that can bring a charge against God’s elect when the very word elect shows that you can never do it? This is a foretaste. God has declared them righteous; no other man can undo it.

3. Who is he that condemns? Anybody can issue a charge; but there is only one who has the authority to condemn. God has committed all judgment into the hand of – whom? The Son of God (John 5:22) there is not a being - not even the Father not the Holy Spirit, no angel or archangel – there is only one person who can condemn any man. That is Jesus Christ! The only person in the world who can condemn you died for you! Even right now He is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. How can He condemn us? It is impossible.

4. Who shall separate us?  He is thinking now of these “present sufferings”. Some say that present sufferings have a tendency to separate us from God. But these things cannot separate the true believer from his God. Paul is talking about his own personal experience here too. He suffered every one of those things except the sword and he was yet to suffer that at the hands of Caesar; for we are told that he lost his head on the Appian Way at the hands of the Roman governor. Not only can these things not separate us from Christ, but that is not all, in every one of them “we are more than conquerors”. Are we that? No, let us finish the sentence –“through Him that loves us” One translation puts it this way; “Nay, we are conquerors and beyond, through Him that loved us!”

He now goes on to his final poem of praise! A Christian may take these words upon his lips without the least shadow of presumption “I am persuaded (convinced) that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God” Now his is going to search the universe for anything that could separate us. He goes to the realm of death; he looks at it, he searches it. He says there is nothing there that can separate us. He turns then to the realm of life, he finds nothing there. He looks to the angelic or spiritual world; he finds nothing there among the good angels. He regards the other side – the principalities, representing Satan and all his hosts, there is nothing there.

He then begins to examine “present things”. In all the vast realm of “things present” he finds nothing. Then he peers out into the future; “things to come”- Who knows what those three words comprehend? Judgment – the ages of eternity! But he says as he looks through the ages of eternity; there is nothing there!

But he does not stop. He scans the entire universe – the heights and depths of the universe; He finds nothing there!

One would have thought that Paul had covered everything; but lest he may have missed something, he says; “There is no creation that is able to separate us from the love of God” Do you know what he means when he says that? He is considering the future, imagining the present creation passed away; he is anticipating that perhaps there will be infinite creations – on and on through the ages of eternity! He says, they all come up as far as the prophetic eye can reach, and there is nothing in all that can possibly separate us. And he closes the passage as he began - “ in Christ Jesus”

So keeping our theme in focus “Kept securely in Christ Jesus” we see our New Position, - no condemnation. Our new Life – life in the Spirit. Our new Relationship – sons, children of God, Heirs and joint Heirs with Christ. Our new Hope – the manifestation of the sons of God. Our new help – the Holy Spirit helps us in our infirmities – we do not know how to pray aright but the Holy Spirit does. Our new Knowledge – All things work according to the eternal purpose of God and are therefore work together for the good of them that love Him and our New Assurance -  nothing can separate us   from the love of  God which is in Christ Jesus. What a trend of thought! What a nail of finality on false doctrine of loss of salvation! We are beyond the reach of all things as long as we are in Christ Jesus.

Weather cock

The story is told of a farmer on whose weather cock Spurgeon read the words “God is Love”. With his masterly wit the great preacher twitted the farmer “Do you think it appropriate to have such words on so changeable a thing?” the farmer answered well; “That means that whichever way the wind blows, God is Love”.

May the Lord help us to know who we are and what we are in Christ Jesus – Kept securely in Him.

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