Who Shall Separate Us?
Third and Fourth Question

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 42b of 83

“… 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …” (Romans 8:31-39).

[Anyone who has read the apostle Paul’s writings will agree that he does not have a verbose or repetitious writing style. And yet there are portions in his letters, where we see the apostle speaking with such effusion that words appear to heap upon words and sentences appear to flow over sentences such that if one is not careful to grasp what is said in its fine details, it may appear that like the same thing is being said in a variety of different ways. Such is the case in our present text. The one central thought that the apostle is no doubt seeking to convey is that nothing shall separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. But Paul is not repeating himself. He is actually, demonstrating through a series of rhetoric questions covering differing angles and scenarios that truly nothing shall separate us from the love of God. As we noted: these six questions are like six light bulbs in our heart. Paul is seeking to have them connected to the battery-power of our own conviction. We have already considered the first two questions. In this second installment of our study of the passage, we shall look at the next two questions. —JJL]

3.  “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” (v. 33)

We know that God has appointed nothing but good for us. But the fact remains that we deserve nothing good. We fall short of His glory. Does not the law accuse us? Will not God accuse us for we have transgressed His law? Will not the angels of God who are around us bring an evil report against us?

If they would not, Satan, the accuser of the brethren, has all his cohorts watching every of our moves. They would have seen us falling into sin. Would it not be possible for him or for one of his minions to bring charges against us before God?

Indeed, do not even our loved ones accuse us? Those who are closest to us know our faults most intimately. Will they not accuse us? Does not our own conscience testify against us?

Should we not fear that our failures and sin catches us with us?

But Oh, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

How can anyone bring any charge against us when it is God who justified us? We did not contribute to our own justification. We did not deserve to be justified. God justified us knowing full-well who we are, that we are sinners who will continue to sin against Him at least for a time.

Since it is God who justifies us, He will not condemn us, and neither can anyone effectively bring any charge against us.

Anyone who dares to accuse us before God will have to defend himself against God. We would not have to defend ourselves. God himself will defend us, because it is He who declared us righteous, not us!

It is like: You know a high court judge. You swindled some of his money. You were arrested. You were brought to trial before the judge. You plead guilty. But the judge says: “Case dismiss! I am giving him the money he swindled from me, as a gift. And in addition I am giving him a house to stay in.”

After the court has adjourned, a policeman comes up to you and say: “You are guilty aren’t you? You deserve to go jail. How can you a criminal be walking free?” You say: “Yes, I do, deserve to go to jail. But it I did not free myself. It was the judge whom I swindled who justified me and freed me! Go ask him!”

Beloved, you may be struggling against sin, but know this one thing: if you have repented of your sin, and you know Christ as your Saviour, then anyone who tries to bring a charge against you would be charging God the Judge for unrighteousness! Oh who will dare to do so? Who has the right to do so?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

This is the third bulb. But if it is not bright enough, let us go to the fourth.

4.  “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (v. 34)

This world is filled with people who are quick to point their fingers to condemn others for their sins. As the children of God, we have a fair share of critical stares and condemning fingers.

But who has the right to condemn us? It was Christ alone who suffered for our sin. He alone died for us. And He did so willingly. And His sacrifice for us was accepted by His Father. He was raised from the dead, and He is seated at the right hand of God; and making intercession for us.

Who has the right to condemn us? Christ alone has the right, for He alone suffered for our sin. But He who alone has the right to condemn us, does not condemn us. Instead, He was willingly condemned for our sin. And today, He is praying for us before the throne of God.

Are you, dear child of God, weigh down because you feel that so many people are looking down on you and are thinking judgemental thoughts against you.

Perhaps you know your sins, and you feel that many know it too and are wagging their tongues and their fingers behind your back. You feel discouraged because you know you are striving to live a holy life despite your many failures.

Well, beloved, you do not need to feel weighed down or discouraged. Anyone who points a condemning at you would not only be doing something he has no right to do, but he would also be condemning himself with three other fingers!

No one has the right to condemn you. Christ alone has the right to condemn you, but He died for you, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, interceding for you!

Are you still not convinced of the truth? Is not the 4th bulb lighted up?

Do you see that nothing can hurt you? Nothing can cause your relationship with God to be soured? Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ?

This is the doctrine of the fifth bulb…

…to be Continued Next Issue

—JJ Lim