From "No Condemnation" to "No Separation" (Romans Sermon 48 of 120)

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From "No Condemnation" to "No Separation" (Romans Sermon 48 of 120)

December 09, 2001 | Andrew Davis
Romans 8:1-39
Adoption, Assurance of Salvation

I. “Heaven on Earth”

Would you take your Bibles and open to Romans Chapter 8. This morning, we're going to deviate a little from our ordinary procedure. We're going to look over the entire chapter to get an overview of this majestic chapter, Scripture in Romans, Romans Chapter 8. And the question that we ask as we come to this chapter is, is it possible for a sinner on earth to have a full assurance that when they die they're going to go to heaven? Is it possible to know for sure that you're going to heaven? That is a weighty matter, is it not? Is it possible that you can have a full assurance that you can know today that when you die, you're going to be with God forever in heaven?

I think it is and I think it's more than just possible. I think it's a birthright of a Christian. It is the logical extension of our faith in Jesus Christ, that that very thing he came to do in our lives, he will complete right to its end. God does not speak a word from heaven to earth and have it come back empty. That is true of the written word, it is true of the spoken word through the prophets and it is all the more true of the incarnate Word Jesus Christ. He sent him to earth for a purpose and he will accomplish that purpose, salvation.

And so we come to Romans 8, for me personally, with great expectation, what a chapter, what an incredible chapter of Scripture and what a joy it's going to be to just look over this chapter today. I hope you look on it like a feast the way I do. Is it possible to know that we have eternal life? Thomas Brooks wrote a book called "Heaven on Earth." He was a Puritan pastor and he wrote a book called "Heaven on Earth" and it's about assurance of salvation. This is what he said, he's talking about salvation itself, he said, "To be in a state of true grace" (that is to be saved),  "to be in a state of true grace, is to be miserable no more. It is to be happy forever. A soul in this state is a soul near and dear to God. It is a soul much beloved and very highly valued by God. It is a soul housed in God. It is a soul safe in everlasting arms. It is a soul fully and imminently interested in all the highest and noblest privileges. The being in a state of grace makes a man's condition happy, safe and secure, but the seeing and knowing of himself to be in such a state, as that, is what renders his life sweet and comfortable."

What is he saying? It's possible to be saved and not have a full assurance, but when you have a full assurance of salvation, then is your life sweet and comfortable.  "The being in a state of grace will yield a man a heaven hereafter, but seeing and knowing of himself in this state will yield him both a heaven here and a heaven hereafter. It will render him therefore doubly blessed, blessed in heaven and blessed in his own conscience." Full assurance of salvation, therefore, is an enjoyment of heaven on earth. It is the birthrights of every child of God to enjoy this assurance of salvation. And that's the purpose of Romans Chapter 8.

Brooks wrote this: "It is the very drift and design of Scripture first to bring you to an acquaintance with Christ, then to an acceptance of Christ, and then to a full assurance in Chris."  Acquaintance, acceptance, assurance, that's the purpose of Scripture and so I think it's the purpose of Romans Chapter 8. For this reason Luther said, "I would not trade for all the riches and treasures of the world one page of Holy Writ." That's the value of the promises that we have in Jesus Christ. And many of them are right here in Romans Chapter 8. Now, a life without assurance is a bleak and difficult life, you can be saved and not have assurance.

But I want to ask you this, what good would it be for you to know that there is a promised land, if you did not have an inherited share in that promised land? What good would it be for you to know that there was a remedy to your disease, if you did not or were not able to partake in that remedy? What good would it be for you to know that there are mines of gold, mountains of pearls, a land of milk and honey, and to not know that you could share in those? What good would it be for you to smell the rich aroma coming from a lavish banquet if you're not permitted to sit at the feast and partake of its delicacies? No good at all and actually the knowledge of all those things would be more of a torment than anything. To know that they were out here and you could not partake, you had no share, they were not yours. It would really be a form of torment.

I think it's the assurance therefore that I have a place at the table. The confidence that I have a share in the inheritance, that I can partake in the remedy, that I have a piece of the promised land that makes my life sweet and secure and from that base I do all of my ministry, and that's the purpose I believe of Romans Chapter 8, to give you a full assurance of salvation. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." no condemnation. We're going to plumb the depths of that today. In 1987, as I've mentioned before, I was a missionary in Pakistan, I had a summer there, and I had the privilege of going to one of the most beautiful parts of the world. It's right around where the war is being fought right now, northwest frontier province of Pakistan.

And we were supposed to fly in there and so we were on a small plane and we flew over the Karakoram mountains to get into Gilgit, this little town in the northwest frontier province. And as we're flying over the Karakorams, we flew over Mount Godwin-Austen also known as K2, the second highest mountain in the world. And what a majestic scene it was, this mountain just towers over all of the other surrounding mountains. It's over 28,000 feet high. And to see it from the air, to see all of its majesty, to see how it towers, to see the austerity of it. The fact that it's so far from everything, you have to climb three or four mountains just to get to that mountain, and it's majestic.

And that's about what we're going to do with Romans 8, today, we're going to fly over it and we are just going to look at it and see just the promises and the majesty of this chapter.

II. Basic Proposition: No Condemnation by God! (8:1)

I believe what Paul is doing here is he's making a basic proposition right from the start, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And then he gives a series, manifold proofs, of why this is true, and how you can know for sure that this is true of you personally. I think really in the flow, in context, he's reverting to his argument of Romans Chapter 5. Some have said that Romans 8 is the greatest chapter in the whole Bible. I think the greatest chapter in the whole Bible is whatever one I'm reading at that present time, but I think Romans 8 is a great chapter. I don't know that it is the greatest chapter of the Bible, but it is certainly maybe one of the most assuring and one of the most comforting.

Context: Reverting to Romans 5

And I actually don't think that there's anything doctrinally that's brought up in Romans 8 that the foundation wasn't already laid in Romans 5. It really is just an extension of the things that we have already covered in Romans Chapter 5. There's a relationship therefore between Romans 5 and Romans 8, but what does that make Romans 6 and 7? I think it's a little bit of a parenthesis in which in Romans 6 and 7, he's dealing with an issue he must deal with. He has been talking about salvation by grace through faith alone. Grace, the certainty of grace, the fact that where sin abounds, grace is going to abound all the more. Gives you total assurance, a total sense of security.

But it (grace) brings up a question, doesn't it? If salvation is all by grace, if it's a work of God, and if nothing that we contribute to our salvation other than the sin that makes it necessary, then can't we just sin to beat the band? Aren't we totally secure? Can't we live whatever way we want? He's dealing with the relationship between sin and the justified Christian in Romans 6 and 7. But having completed that, I think that therefore connects back to that theme that he was dealing with earlier. We're back now to understanding salvation or justification by grace alone, and the certainty of our salvation. He goes back to Romans 5:1. Flip back with me if you will, look at Romans 5:1, and there's a connection between Romans 5:1 and Romans 8:1.

Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." You see the word "now" there, isn't that strong? In Romans 5:2, there's this grace in which we now stand, we're standing in grace. It's the thing that Brooks was talking about, a state of grace, it's like a nation of grace that we live in now. It's a kingdom of grace, the place where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, a place of security, a place where we're at peace with God. We're justified. We've been declared not guilty. And I think he's just saying the same thing in slightly different words. There is in Romans 8:1, "Therefore," because of justification by faith, "therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Greater Context: Judgement Day

So that's the context in Romans, but there is a greater context. To go back to Romans 8, there is a greater context overall, and that's the entire biblical issue of the relationship between sinful man and a holy God. The real context of Romans 8:1 is Judgment Day, is it not? Condemnation is a strong word, and it brings up the image of Judgment Day. You remember when we were studying in the Book of Daniel, Daniel Chapter 7, Daniel said this, he saw a vision, "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow, the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him. Ten thousands times the thousand stood before him. The court was seated and books were opened."

What an awesome picture. The court was seated and the books were opened. And what are in those books? The record of everything that we've ever said, everything we've ever done, everything we ever thought. Jesus said, "I tell you, that men will have to give an account on Judgment Day for every careless word they have spoken." Judgment Day is the backdrop, the context here. Paul had already alluded to this in Romans 2:5 and 6, it says, "There because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done." What is this day of wrath in Romans 2? It is Judgment Day. And what is this recompense, this paying back for every careless word, everything we've ever done? It is judgment, it is condemnation, it is the pouring out of wrath on sinners that deserve it.

Full Atonement Provided by Jesus Christ

But there's a deeper context here, isn't there? And that is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, the finished work of Jesus Christ in our place. In Romans Chapter 3, Paul talks about that. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, a propitiation through faith in his blood." God presented him, that's a Christmas verse, isn't it? God sent him into the world to be our atoning sacrifice, he presented him on the cross in our place. He stood in our place at the cross and took the wrath that we deserve, the condemnation. He took the judgment that we deserve. He drank it down like a cup full of bitter wine until it was gone, to the dregs he drank that cup. And he extinguished the wrath of God on our behalf.

Justification by Faith

And so therefore, in Romans 4, if we simply have faith, the faith of Abraham, the faith to just look at a promise and believe it, that anyone that believes in Jesus Christ will have eternal life. Just a simple promise from God. And then in the heart of God's people, springs faith, to believe the promise they respond, they repent, they come and simply believe and trust. And at that moment, they're declared not guilty. And as a result of that, there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. That is the context of this statement. And as a result of that, we have total and complete forgiveness. How sweet is that? Now, what is condemnation? Well, we have to understand there's both a present condemnation and there is a yet future condemnation.

Original Sin: Guilt and Judgement “In Adam”

According to Romans Chapter 5, We are born into a present condemnation in Adam. We're born in Adam, aren't we? Naturally. We are the natural man, the natural woman, and that person, Adam sinned for the whole human race. And so we're born into condemnation.

 And unless we come into the kingdom of Christ through faith, we will continue in that condemnation the rest of our lives. John put it this way in John 3:18, "Whoever believes in Christ is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God's only begotten son." Already condemned. Condemn now, condemn today. I'm speaking now to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you realize that you're walking around people all the time that are under the condemnation of God, because they've not come to faith in Christ. What is your responsibility to them? Have you spoken the Gospel message? It's the only message of salvation. There is no other salvation. There's no other hope. But the people that we're living with they look so healthy, they're busy about their lives, but they're walking under condemnation if they've not come to faith in Christ. They're dead even while they live. Ephesians 2, calls them "dead in their transgressions and sins"  and therefore they're under the wrath of God.

Romans 1:18, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." The wrath of God's already on them. That's condemnation now. What is condemnation in the future? Well, Revelation 20:15 talks about the lake of fire, which is the second death. It says, "If anyone's name is not found written in the Book of Life, is thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 14:10 and following, "He too," it says, "Will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the lamb and the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever, there is no rest day or night from the wrath of God."

Grace, Life, and no Condemnation “In Christ”

How sweet therefore is this promise, in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." We were liable and subject to this. We deserved it. And if you don't think so, I've great fear for your soul, because the work of the Holy Spirit and conviction hasn't happened to you yet. But if you know I deserve this and Jesus took my place, and I'm free, free forever from condemnation. That's what no condemnation means. I'm not going to suffer hell. I'm not going to be condemned on Judgment Day and not because of any works I've done, but because of the work that Jesus did in my place. A future, no condemnation. And presently, now we walk in it, don't we?

The record of our sins has been thrown into the depths of the sea. Micah 7 talks about that, "who is a God like you who pardons sin and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance. You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. Our God is a God who delights in showing mercy." It brings him great pleasure to give us the kingdom. It brings him great joy to declare to us today there is therefore now no condemnation for you, if you're in Christ Jesus. So that brings him joy. It brought Jesus joy, didn't it? For the joy set before him to bring this message, he endured the cross despising its shame. And so now he stands and proclaims to you with joy. There's no condemnation for you, because of what I did in your place. No condemnation, no condemnation now, and no condemnation in the future.

Look at verses 33-34 of Romans 8, "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?" We'll get to that later. February, I'm guessing. "Who is he that condemns?" I would almost want to say, "Who cares who condemns when God justifies?" Does it really matter? If Satan's there accusing you on Judgment Day. Does it matter if your conscience would stand and accuse you of wrongdoing? God has justified you through the blood of his son. Who cares who's left to condemn?

And so we're free, we're free from condemnation. We're free from the wrath of God. We're free from it all. We're free now, and we'll be free forever. And why? Because we believe the Gospel, that's all. We simply heard a message and believed it. Jesus said this, John 5:24, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." You've moved from death to life. That was a great moving day, the day that you came to faith in Christ. You moved it all over into eternal life. That's the weight of the word now, there is now no condemnation. There's been a great change in you, a change in your state from death to life through faith in Jesus Christ. Does this not get you excited? What a joy! I feel like I just want to shout, because I feel myself, I feel the weight of my sins.

And if I have to give an account on Judgment Day for every careless word, who can stand under that? But Jesus stood and took my punishment for me and there's no condemnation for me. Praise God.

III. Manifold Proofs (8:2-34)

But he doesn't stop there. He wants you to understand it, doesn't he? And so he gives you the rest of Romans 8. He gives you the whole chapter to prove it to you. He unfolds proof after proof after proof of why you can be fully assured as a Christian. He's laboring in your soul. He wants you to be assured. And so he brings out these proofs.

Proof #1: Union with Christ (8:2-4)

First proof in Verse 2-4 is union with Christ. He's speaking of those who are in Christ Jesus. Let's be very clear now. There is condemnation for a world of people who are not in Christ Jesus. We know that. We're not universalists. We're not saying that everybody gets saved. There will be some people in the lake of fire. But not those who are in Christ Jesus. That's for whom we can say this to be true. There's no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus. And so therefore, we're talking about union in Jesus Christ, right? Those that are one with Christ spiritually.

Now, the union with Christ, we've already talked about in Romans 5. Remember, we were one spiritually with Adam, and now we are one spiritually with Christ. He is our head now. He is our representative. That person we were in Adam is dead forever. We'll never go back there again. And we're not under Adam's condemnation. But then, it's taught more explicitly in Romans 6:4, look at that, turn back just one page, probably in Romans 6:4. "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life." So, there's this union. We died with Christ and now we're alive with Christ. Dead with Christ spiritually at the cross, alive when he rose from the dead. That's us. Union with Christ. And so he's talking about that.

Now, he dealt with it in Romans 7:6, he says, "We serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." He picks it up here in Verse 2, Romans 8:2, it says, "Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death." You're free from condemnation because you have a new principle in you. The law of the spirit of life. We'll talk about that God willing next time. And so therefore, union with Christ gives you a certain guarantee and assurance. Nobody who is one with Christ will be condemned. It's impossible. The payment cannot be paid twice. He already paid once and it's sufficient.

Proof #2: Holy Spirit’s Sanctifying Work in Us (8:5-13)

The second proof in verses 5-13, is the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work in you, if you're a Christian. Romans 8:5-13. The Holy Spirit comes into the moment you come to faith in Christ. He gives you a new mind, not the mind of the flesh or the sinful nature, but the mind of the spirit. And so your mind is changed so also your heart. You'll love what you used to hate. And you hate what you used to love. And thus begins the war against sin. And the Holy Spirit is the general in that war and he's leading you to put sin to death. And step by step by step, you will slay sin. You will put it to death. The Holy Spirit moving powerfully in you. Put it to death, I hate it. You hate it, too. You put it to death.

And so the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is what it means to be a son or a daughter of God. We keep in step with the Spirit. We follow the leadership of the spirit. Look at verse 9, Romans 8:9, "You, however," in contrast to the people we just talked about, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature, [the flesh], but by the Spirit, if the Spirit lives in you." In other words, if you have the indwelling Holy Spirit in you, he's not going to take a backseat to the flesh. He's not a loser, let's put it that way. He's a winner. He's more than a conqueror. And so if the Spirit's in you, he is going to win in the battle with sin.

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature." Who's in charge of you now? The Holy Spirit, if the Spirit lives in you. Look what he says in Verse 13, "If, by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." The sanctifying work of the Spirit in you is a great assurance. You see yourself putting sin to death, resisting temptation, growing in holiness. And this is a great assurance, this is the very work that the Holy Spirit was given to do.

Proof #3: Holy Spirit’s testimony of our adoption (8:14-17)

The third proof is in verses 14-17. The Holy Spirit's internal testimony to you that you are a child of God. Have you ever felt that? The Spirit testifying with your spirit? That you are a child of God? The spirit within you crying out, "Abba Father." "Daddy?" There's a sense in which God is your father. And he never was before. That sense was never there before you came to Christ. But now, you have an internal beacon, like a homing beacon, pulling you back to God, crying out, "Abba Father." Speaking to you of your adoption, your changed state. And adoption, what a sweet word. How could a child of God be condemned? Is it even possible? We are children of God, we're adopted into his own family. There's one first born son, Jesus Christ, and then he will be first born among many brethren.

And so we are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. How sweet is that? And so "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirits that we are children of God." Isn't that sweet? Romans 8:16. He talks to you. He testifies to you. He speaks to you within. And he says, "You're a child of God and you always will be. I will never leave you and I will never forsake you."

Proof #4: Groaning, yet hopeful of glory (8:18-25)

Proof number four, verses 18-25. Is the plane moving too fast over the mountain? I can't wait to go through each one of these. They're so precious, every one of them. But this is the jet tour. Actually, it was a propeller driven plane I took, so I had a little bit of a chance to look at the mountain as we flew over. But we don't get the depths of it. You have to meditate on each one of these sections. Proof number four, the fact that we are groaning under burdens and yet hopeful of final victory. Groaning under a weight. We feel the groaning. Do you feel it? Some of you groaning more than others. I'm groaning now, more than I used to. Groaning, why? Because this physical world is in bondage to decay. And we have suffering in our life. We have struggles, outwardly we're wasting away. And yet, inwardly, we're renewed day by day, and that gives us assurance, doesn't it?

The fact is, our hope is stronger and surer now than when we first began. We have a growing hope, a sense of confidence that God is working in us, and that someday we will lose these mortal bodies, these bodies of decay, and we will have a resurrection body that will be so glorious. There's a sense of hope, a building hope, and that hope is a strong form of assurance. Look at verses 23-25. It says, "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit…" What a great phrase that is. Firstfruits implies a later harvest of the Spirit. We'll talk about that in due time. "Firstfruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

And so, there's this sense of building hope and confidence. Perseverance. Endurance. And that gives us a greater assurance as well. We already dealt with this in Romans 5:5. It says, "Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Context is of suffering. It's of trial. And yet, despite the trials, persecution, outward persecution, temptations within, the decay of our bodies, weakening, despite all of that, we have this hope that no one can steal from us. And it's a sure and certain hope.

Proof #5: Holy Spirit’s intercession with us and for us (8:26-27)

Proof number five, the Holy Spirit's intercession with us and for us. The Holy Spirit prays with us, and he prays for us. Verse 26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." The spirit's powerful help extends to our prayer life. He cries out, "Abba, Father," within us. We cry with him, but he motivates us to pray. He moves us to pray.

It wasn't long after I became a Christian, just a few weeks, I think, I was on the road, and I was in a darkened hotel room, and suddenly I woke. I don't know what time it was, but I felt a presence in my life that I had never felt before. And I had already come to Christ, but there was something there. And that presence moved me to get out of bed and get down on my knees and just pray. I literally didn't know where I was. I remembered once I was up and a little more alert that I was in a hotel room. But I knew whose I was. That I belonged to Jesus Christ. And the Spirit of Christ within me got me out of bed and down on my knees, praying. The spirit was helping me in my weakness. What weakness? I don't want to pray at that hour. There's nothing in me that wants to do that, but then the Spirit moves and we pray. The Spirit commands and we respond. And he helps us in our weakness. And not only that, but he tells us here in this verse that he's praying for us, on our behalf. He's interceding for us constantly with groans that words cannot express. The Spirit's prayer life in us and for us is a great form of assurance.

Proof #6: God’s character invested in His eternal plan (8:28-34)

And then finally, proof number six. God's character invested in his eternal plan to get each and every one of you saved. All of you who are children of God, he's invested his name. He's linked his very promises to the fact that not one of you will be lost if you're a child of God. God has an eternal plan. Our God is a planning God. He's a meticulous planner, we saw that in the Book of Daniel. And that plan extends to salvation. As a matter of fact, it's centered on salvation. Our God is a planning God.

Look at verses 28-30. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." That's a key phrase, his purpose. Well, what is his purpose? His purpose is salvation. That's his purpose. Those who have been called according to his purpose.

"For those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified." Now, I hope you were reading that in your Bible open on your lap. I want you to see that word, predestined. It's not something your pastor made up. It's something I delight in and rejoice in, but it's printed on the page. If your grandmother gave you a Bible, the day that you were baptized, it's in there. Open it up and look. Romans 8:28-30. And it's sweet. Why is it sweet? Well, think of it this way. When you get on a train, the train has a destination, doesn't it? A destination.

Now, you'll pass many stops along the way, but you're not at your destination until the train stops and you're urged to get off. What is the destination that God has worked out ahead of time for the children of God? Well, look at it. "Those he predestined, he also called." These are stops along the way. "Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." That's the terminal stop. That's where you're going to get off. You're going to get off in glory. And I would take this phrase, "those he" and put instead the words "everyone he". Let's just try that. Even though it's not biblical, but try it out.

It says, "Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son," that's glory by the way, "that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified." Isn't this sweet? Jesus put it this way. John 6:38 and 39, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." We'll talk more about that in due time.

But God has staked his reputation through this. The Son has staked his reputation to being sure that none gets lost. And that gives us great assurance. Look at verse 31 and follow. "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" That's the message of Christmas too, isn't it? God for us. He's on our side. He's put the whole weight of his person and all of his power, and his regal authority and majesty on the side of getting you saved. Who cares who's fighting against that? "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?" Oh, I hate to go over everyone of these phrases. We'll get to them in due time. They're so sweet.

"If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against us? Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Do you have a sense of just a lavish, like an extra double helping? It's Jesus lavishing assurance on us. One verse after another. The Holy Spirit interceding for us. Jesus interceding for us. God himself planned that we have eternal life. He's not adversarial to the intercessions of the Son and the Spirit. He's eager to hear them.

IV. Triumphant Assurance: No Separation from God! (8:35-39)

You're going to heaven if you're a child of God. That's the point. We get nothing else, that's the point. If you're a child of God, you're going to heaven. And nothing can stop it. Look at how he finishes here in verses 35-39. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Do you get Paul's point? Is he not searching for language at the end to say, you should be assured of your salvation. I'm putting it mildly. We go from no condemnation to no separation without a break. If you're a child of God, you cannot be separated from the love of God. And why do we need all that? Because you know something, you are considered sheep to be slaughtered. He's going to put you out in the middle of wolves. He's going to surround you by world that hates your faith. And he's going to try to tear you down and attack you, day after day, after day. He's going to put you out there and then he's going to display his power in you. In your weakness, in your frailty, in your death, the way he did in the Son. The way he did in so many martyrs, the way he did in the apostle Paul and Peter, and so many others. He's going to display his glory in you as you die.

And out of that will come a harvest of more people who love Jesus Christ. And the cycle continues until it's all finished. How glorious is it? So in the context of conflict and suffering and trouble, you are more than a conqueror and nothing can stop you.

V. Applications

Well, what applications can we take from this? If you're a Christian, first, just rejoice in God's forgiveness. You're forgiven. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from every sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And be assured by God's sovereignty. He works everything for your good. He's a ruler over all things. And the weight of his scepter is thrown toward your salvation. His sovereignty is moving in your salvation. Be humbled by God's grace.

What do you contribute to this? Those whom he foreknew, he predestined. Those whom he predestined, he called. Those whom he called, he justified. Those whom he justified, he glorified. You get the point there too? He is the actor. He is the mover. Salvation is from the Lord, be humbled by that. Be humbled by it. Be assured, be comforted but also be humbled.

And fourthly, be realistic about the world you live in. This is not a gravy train up to heaven. It's not some party, one day after other. We are considered sheep to be slaughtered and we have a job to do. We have a mission. Lottie Moon and sacrificial giving is only part of it. We're supposed to be missionaries day after day for Jesus. That's point seven but let's get to it. Zealous to proclaim God's salvation. We have a job to do. We have to proclaim the gospel. Now when you go out to you neighbors, you're standing at the... I was at a checkout line the other day and I started talking about the gospel, and other people started to come and I started to feel that tendency toward that shame reaction. You know what I'm talking about? Are we willing to pay the price in a situation like that? Go on and speak the gospel.

Be zealous to proclaim this gospel message because it's the only one there is in the world for salvation. Be hungry for Christ's holiness, follow the leadership of the Spirit today. When he tells you to put sin to death, do it. Be hungry for his holiness. Be reliant in God's Spirit. Realize when you do put sin to death, you can't boast, the Spirit did it in you. He's powerful and strong.

For the unbeliever, if you've never come to faith in Christ, do you see what you're missing? I want you to be hungry for it. I want you to feel an attraction, a pull. I want you to hear his voice. I want you to hear the Spirit calling you, "Come." "The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’" And let him who hears come, come to Christ today. Come to faith in Christ. Christ's blood is sufficient to cover all your sins. His invitation is wide enough for people from every tribe and language, and people and nation. His power is sufficient enough to transform you from a lost sinner, to a righteous child of God. And his Holy Spirit is ready to come in your life right now, and today. Let today be the day of salvation for you.

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