Now we come into the home stretch of the chapter. These last few verses, as MacArthur puts it, are “a crescendo of questions and answers for the concerns his readers might still have. The result is an almost poetic expression of praise for God's grace in bringing salvation to completion for all who are chosen and believe—a hymn of security.”
The first question Paul asks is “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?” What “things” is he referring to? Well, in context of the rest of the chapter, he’s talking about anything that might cause us to doubt our position in Christ and his love for us. When we face bad things in this fallen world, from minor disappointments to life-shattering tragedies and soul-crushing injustice, how shall we respond?
Like a good rabbi, Paul of course answers the question with another question. Sometimes this can be really annoying, but only when the answerer is dodging the question. Paul’s not doing that here; nothing could be further than the truth. No one had suffered and sacrificed for the Good News of Jesus more than he, and if anyone had an excuse to doubt, it was him. And as a person who’d been walking so closely with Christ, he was very well-aware of his own remaining sin and corruption with which he had to struggle on a daily basis.
But here’s his answer to every problem or doubt in life, both big and small: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Think about it for a moment, please.
This is the God who created everything, who spoke the sun, moon, planets, and stars into existence. He didn’t exert effort into it: He spoke, and they were. This is the God before whom angels dare not expose their faces in the full light of his presence. This is the God before whom demons begged not to send them into the Pit. And. . . this is the God who—in the Person of the Son—defeated Satan, Hell, our sin, and death itself and walked out of his tomb three days after he’d been placed there.
This is the God who is for you.
But we need to be careful of our terminology here. What does it mean that God is “for” you? Does that mean that he agrees with all your politics? Does it mean that he smiles upon everything you do? Does it mean that he fights for you in every battle you find yourself in?
No, but it does mean that he loves you with an everlasting love, that he has chosen you, and that he will never let any real harm come to you. He always has your best interests at heart in all his dealings with you, and any threat that comes against you must get through him first.
I’m reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.” That’s my main concern here as well. It’s nice to think that God fights our battles for us. If he's fighting our battles for us, then obviously we can’t lose. But we need to make sure that we are on our Father’s side. David was known as a man who “[fought] the Lord’s battles,” instead of fighting for his own honor or interests or to avenge his own wounded pride. His primary concern was the Lord’s reputation and honor.
But if we're on his side, then he's on ours, and there’s nothing that can really stop us.
Can Satan truly defeat us? How’s about all the demons of hell under the Devil’s command? What about sickness, or financial disaster, or marital strife? Or even death itself? All of them were defeated by the Magnificent One a long time ago.
That’s a wonderful truth, and here’s another: We're forever united with Christ, and his victories are ours. When he defeated all these foes, he defeated them on our behalf. His victory is ours.
Let those words roll through your mind right now, savor this truth like the finest of foods: If God is for you, then who can prevail against you?
Father God, I thank you that in the truest sense, you are always for me. You always have my very best interests at heart, and as long as I stand behind my Papa, I have nothing to fear.