By Andrew E. Courtis
Paul begins this final section by asking, “What then shall we say to these things?” (8:31a). The reference to “these things” primarily refers to the truths outlined in 8:28-30 concerning God’s purpose and plan to bring His people to glory. Paul answers this by asking additional questions that reveal why God’s people are more than conquerors. The five rhetorical questions asked by Paul also include triumphant answers that reveal why God’s people are more than conquerors. I have classified these questions under two headings – the work of Christ (8:31-34) and the love of Christ (8:35-39).
1. THE WORK OF CHRIST (8:31-34)
Regardless of the opposition and condemnation a Christian may receive from the world, the devil and our own flesh, the Christian can be more than a conqueror because of the work Jesus Christ did on their behalf. In verses 31-34 Paul asks four questions that speak truth into this matter.
Question 1: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31b)
Question 2: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (8:32)
Question 3: “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies” (8:33)
Question 4: “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (8:34)
2. THE LOVE OF CHRIST (8:35-39)
In this final section, Paul asks his final question and takes as much time to answer it as the last four combined. This shows a great emphasis on our need to be persuaded of the love of Christ. The love Christ has for His people is an important reality for us to know and hold onto. It is a comfort for us in hard times and provides us with great assurance. It is important to observe that the love of Christ does not spare us from hardship and hurt, but it will see to it that we make it to glory. In verse 35 Paul lists a number of hardships that can accompany the Christian life. These were not hypothetical, but for him they were biographical.
These five questions are designed to paint a picture of God’s person and His purpose in the life of His people. Such a portrait is one that could provide God’s people with assurance. In conclusion, the words of the great hymn “The Love of God” are apt,
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
- In what way is God for us? See Rom. 8:31; 5:8; 8:1
- What do verses 32-34 tell us about the work of Christ on the cross for us? How is the cross of Christ the answer to the charges brought against us or the doubts we may have?
- How does focusing on what Christ did for us help us when facing opposition or difficulty?
- In Romans 8:35 Paul mentions the “love of Christ”. Look up the following verses and provide some thoughts concerning His love: Rom. 5:8; Eph. 3:17-19, 5:1-2.
- How does God’s love and protection encourage the people of God?