In 1959, I enrolled in Grace Theological Seminary as a biblically illiterate college graduate. My first subject was three classes weekly in the book of Romans. Romans is the greatest course of theology in the Bible, considered the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the Christian faith. Biblical scholars report they have never met anyone ensnared in false religion who understood the book of Romans. Its theme is the Gospel, God’s Good News.
But before we can appreciate this Good News, please read the bad news in Romans, chapters 1-3. To summarize, we humans are in a spiritual hole so deep only God can set us free.
The Good News in Romans chapters 4-5 shows God rescuing sinful humanity through the work of Christ at Calvary. He declares us righteous, freeing us from sin’s penalty by His death, burial and resurrection, a ministry known as justification. Romans, chapters 6-8 pronounce us holy and frees us from the power of sin in a process known as sanctification. God completes His work in us by making it permanent in what is termed preservation. How wonderful that the Triune Godhead has given us a relationship with Him that cannot be ended, and a result that makes us winners, not losers.
1. God’s Presence with us. Romans 8:31-35 MEV reveals what God has done for us: “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, yes, who is risen, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes 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?”
Psalm 139 NLT makes God’s presence unmistakable. Verses 1-6 speak of God’s omniscience, His all-knowing. He knows our thoughts, our words, our actions, our motives, and every move we make. Verses 7-12 picture God as omnipresent, meaning we cannot hide from Him! But we can find Him in the cleft of the Rock, in the hollow of His hand, under His wings, in the depths of His love, till the storm passes by. Verses 13-18 describe Him as omnipotent, all powerful
Vernon McGhee says, “David was a person even before the members of his body were formed. Personhood takes place at conception.” That child within its mother’s womb is not simply a tissue, but a living person. Such is the presence of our wonderful God.
2. Christ’s Petition for Us. “Who will condemn? Christ Jesus, who died, or rather rose again, who is at God’s right hand and intercedes for us?” (Romans 8:34 NCB). Christ is our High Priest interceding for us and our Advocate, our lawyer, standing for us before the throne of God. I John 2:1 GNT states: “My children, I am writing this, so you won’t sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us.” He is not only our Righteous Lawyer, but He pays our “fine,” or “atonement” for our sins as well. Remember the hymn: “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand-new song, ‘Amazing Grace’ all day long. Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.” Aren’t you glad that Jesus paid it all?
3. The Holy Spirit’s Prayer for Us. Warren Wiersbe suggests, “God the Son prays for us in heaven, and God the Spirit prays for us in our hearts. We have fellowship with the Father through the Son, and the Father has fellowship with us through the Spirit.” A worthwhile ministry to us is the Holy Spirit’s groaning. Christians often groan and suffer pain on earth, but Romans 8:23-25 says our groanings can be the birth pangs of anticipation for Christ’s return for us (II Corinthians 5:1-2-). Consider a mother suffering the pains of childbirth. Her reward is a beautiful child of her own! Our groaning for Christ could lead us to sing, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.” Amen!
Romans 8:26 shows the Spirit also groans in prayer for our weakness, our lack of power, our knowledge that without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5) but reassures us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Sometimes our burdens are so heavy, we cannot pray, only groan. That is when the Spirit takes over and groans on our behalf. Numbers 12:3 lists Moses as earth’s meekest man. In weakness, he gave God excuses why he was not useable. However, despite his weakness, Moses led Israel into the Promised Land. When we tell God we are weak, we are strong, because in our weakness, we plug into His strength and power. What is prayer? It is confessing to God that we have birth pangs of anticipation for Christ’s return for us.
Romans 8 gives us the whole scope of what a triune Godhead has given us: A new position in Christ (vv. 1-4); a new life in the Spirit (vv. 5-13); a new relationship by adoption (vv. 14-17); a new hope for the future (vv. 18-25); a new help in prayer (vv. 26-27); a new understanding about all things (vv. 28-30); and a new assurance of salvation (vv. 31-39).
God has made us an offer that sounds too good to be true. But it is true! What really matters is your answer. Beloved, give your heart, your life, your future to God who is with you, to His Son who died for you and intercedes for you, and to the Holy Spirit who is praying for you at this very moment. Study Romans; obey its precepts, accept God’s offer, and I guarantee that you will not be a loser, but a winner both here and throughout eternity!