Chapter 47 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8.31).
Hawkins begins this chapter by reminding us that “a text without a context becomes simply a pretext, or presumption.” So let’s take a closer look at the context so we can properly understand what Paul means when he asks this week’s question.
Let’s first look at all of verse 31 in its entirety:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
In Romans 8: 31 the question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is preceded by the question, “What then shall we say to these things?” Thus, before we can accurately answer the question of our chapter, we must address what “these things” are that Paul mentions.
What things is he referring to? Romans 8.28-30:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Then the apostle asked, “What then shall we say to these things?”— to these amazing truths? And he answered with another question: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” The obvious answer? It doesn’t matter who may be against us when almighty God Himself is for us, for He is always at work watching over us and providing for us.
The author calls verse 28 “the family secret.” The secret is that God is always watching over us. When others try to hurt us, we know the secret. When circumstances seemed stacked against us, we know the secret. As Hawkins says:
Only those who love Him can unlock this truth. It’s a family secret.
Things to remember:
First the family secret is constructive, He’s working everything for our good. Though we can’t always see the good at the time, we can often look back and see God’s purpose and that it was good.
But that’s not all we should remember about this passage:
This truth about God’s good work is also comprehensive. Note that the verse says “all things.” Can I believe this? Had Paul said “some things” or “many things” or even “most things” are working to my good, it would be more palatable. But “all things”? Yes, even unfair things— like Joseph being held in an Egyptian jail. Difficult things? Yes, ask those early Jerusalem believers who had to leave their homes and jobs and were dispersed over the world, resulting in the spread of the gospel. “All things”— not necessarily each as an isolated event, but when woven together by God in the tapestry of the cross in our lives—“ work together for good.”
Hawkins goes on:
Finally, our family secret is conditional. It is given to those of us who are “called according to His purpose.” Is the purpose of God— His will for your life— being accomplished in you? Are you cooperating, seeking to walk according to His guidance, and living confidently as a child of the King?
But verse 28 doesn’t stand alone. It is followed by 29-30. Let’s read them again:
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Hawkins calls this a chain of five strong and interdependent links.
Link one: “He foreknew.”
God has known every intricate detail of my life before any of those details unfolded.
Link two: Those “He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” He has predestined us to be like Christ.
Link three: Those “He predestined, these He also called.” This includes the outward call by a preacher, the words of a book or someone sharing the gospel, but it also includes the inward call of God in our hearts.
Link four: Those “He called, these He also justified.” God has imputed to our account the righteousness of Christ. No one but God can make the guilty righteous!
Link five: Those “He justified, these He also glorified.” Hawkins:
Justification means I have been saved from the penalty of sin by Jesus’ death on the cross on my behalf. Sanctification means I am being saved from the power of sin right now. And glorification means one day I will be saved from the very presence of sin because I will be with my Lord and Savior in heaven.
God is watching over us, and He is working for our good. No wonder Paul asked, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Next week’s question: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6.19).
Last week’s question: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16.30). Read it here.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click HERE to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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