The Epistle to the Romans has for its chief characteristic the blessed fact that God is for us!
Just as in Luke 15 we find the shepherd in quest of the lost sheep, the woman searching for the lost piece of silver, and the father running to meet and welcome the penitent son—figures of the varied and most gracious activities of the Trinity—so here, in Romans 8:31, we read, “If God be for us”; again, in chapter 5:8, “Christ died for us”; and finally, in Romans 8:26-27, “the Spirit makes intercession for us . . . makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Thus we see both here and there the same activities of love for and interest in us.
And this should not be lightly passed over.
At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established, and such witnesses are these passages to, perhaps, the most precious truth that can touch the heart of man.
Let it once be apprehended, in the grace of God, that He, who is infinitely holy, finds interest in us, then confidence is won. The successful effort of the foe has been to alienate man by a misrepresentation of God to him. The truth of what God is is the only antidote.
There can be nothing so calculated to gain affection as the consciousness that I am loved!
And what dark clouds of despair would be chased from many a bosom did it only know that God cared for us! Yes, He does! and it is the office of the gospel of God, as in Romans, to state that truth in all its fullness.
“If God be for us.” Blessed revelation! What conclusion may be drawn?
Remember it is God! You may remind me that God is love, and a happy reminder it is, but it is God who is so! Love is the nature of Him who is infinite in power and holiness. God is light as well as love.
And yet, blessed be His name, this very God, is for us. The only conclusion is that I need cherish no terror. That at least!
But then, if I am a sinner, and He is holy, is He not bound, by that very holiness, to condemn me on account of what I am?
Quite true; but it is just here that our second great fact bursts upon us, namely, that “Christ died for us.” That death was substitutionary. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He was wholly sinless, and therefore death had no claim on Him. Yet death was necessary, for “without shedding of blood is no remission,” and had we died bearing the penalty of our sins we must have been damned for ever.
But He, the Son of God, died that death and bore that penalty. “He has made Him to be sin for us”; and now, the judgment passed on Him, God has raised Him from the dead and given Him glory on high.
The gospel announces His death as being for others—for us!
The substitution is complete, the atonement perfect, the reconciliation full for all who believe.
But, if He has gone on high, are we left here uncared for and forgotten? Nay, never!
Mark our last fact, viz, that the Spirit maketh intercession for us. This is the deep inward work of the Spirit—this intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered—just as Christ maketh intercession for us at God’s right hand (Rom. 8:34). So here the Spirit, sent down consequent on the ascension of our blessed Lord, maintains in us His own work. The groanings are those of grace and life and liberty, very real and important, but in no wise are they the groanings of terror or of bondage, “for we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Happy groans! Without them the soul were dead; in the daily constant exercise and enjoyment of them there is life and power.
The intercession of the Spirit in us is the reflection of that of Christ for us. We have the double comfort of Christ on high and the Spirit here. Hence our power of joy and holiness. And what a wonderful thing it is to have God for us in such a way that the conscience is purged, the heart won, the confidence gained, the soul filled with thanksgiving, and the body presented to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, our intelligent service!
These are some of the great initial facts of Christianity as given us in the foundation epistle of our faith. If this is the threshold, what must be the centre? If the foundation is so strong and blessed, what the superstructure?
“And all things are of God.”
“Blest our portion thus to be
Glorying in the Trinity.”