What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Paul asked five questions in Romans 8:31-35 to drive home the point that God’s purpose is going to be accomplished in your life. The first question is in verse 31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
The phrase “if God” is a conditional tense in the Greek language that literally means “since God” or “because God.” Since God is for us, who can be against us? You may be saying, “Paul, I can give you a whole list of people who are against me. I have a mate who has turned cold toward me. I have an employer who cannot stand me. I have a friend who has betrayed me. And if that is not enough, 1 Peter 5:8 says I have the adversary, the devil, who is prowling about like a roaring lion seeking to destroy me. There are plenty of people who are against me.” Paul was not denying the reality of our adversaries. He was denying the relative power of our adversaries. He was saying, “Since God is for us, what adversary of any consequence can be against us?”
In Romans 8:18, Paul talked about our suffering in this world. He said, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul was not saying that we do not suffer in this world, but that in comparison to the glory that will be ours forever, the suffering we experience right now is light and momentary. In verse 31, he was saying the same thing about our adversaries. He was saying, “Compared to the power of God, the power of our adversaries is nothing.” It is like comparing the power of a firecracker to the power of a nuclear bomb. Yes, a firecracker can do some damage, but nothing like a nuclear weapon. If God is for us, who can be powerful enough to thwart God’s purpose for us?
Let me give you one word of caution: This is not a promise that we are going to win every game. It is not a promise that we are going to get every job. It is not a promise that we are going to avoid every problem. What Paul was saying is that God’s purpose for your life is not going to be thwarted. No one and no circumstance can interfere with God’s plan for your life.
Not long ago, I shared with a friend who was going through a difficult time the truth that God’s will is going to be accomplished in his life, and nothing can keep that from happening. He said to me, “Robert, I have no doubt God’s will is going to be done. But I also remember that God’s will included the torture and crucifixion of His own Son, the stoning of Stephen, and the martyrdom of those five missionaries in Ecuador. Where is the comfort in that?” I think anytime we talk about the sovereignty of God, in the same breath we need to talk about the goodness and the love of God. Nobody with any sense doubts the sovereignty of God. God is in control. But that is a cold doctrine if it is separated from the goodness and the love of God in our lives.