Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 8:33-34 (NLT)
Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one — for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one — for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Reflection: Romans 8:33-34 (John Stott, The Message of Romoans: God’s Good News for the World)
God’s Spirit in God’s children (8:1–39)
The Christian life is essentially life in the Spirit, that is to say, a life which is animated, sustained, directed and enriched by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit true Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, indeed impossible.
(vs 28–39) The steadfastness of God’s love
The eternal security of God’s people, on account of the eternal unchangeability of God’s purpose, …is itself due to the eternal steadfastness of God’s love.
(vs 31–39) Five unanswerable questions
Question 3: Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies (33).
No prosecution can succeed, since God our judge has already justified us; and we can never be condemned, since Jesus Christ our advocate has died for our sins, was raised from the dead, is seated at God’s right hand, and is interceding for us…. God has chosen us (we are ‘God’s elect’, RSV) and God has justified us. Therefore all accusations fall to the ground. They glance off us like arrows off a shield.
Question 4: Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (34).
Christ rescues us from condemnation, in particular by his death, resurrection, exaltation and intercession.
- Christ has died: Christ died for the very sins for which otherwise we would deservedly be condemned…. and so He has redeemed us from the curse or condemnation of the law ‘by becoming a curse for us’.
- Christ is risen: Christ was raised to life… by the Father, who thus demonstrated his acceptance of the sacrifice of his Son as the only satisfactory basis for our justification.
- Christ will come again: The crucified and resurrected Christ is at the right hand of God, resting from his finished work, occupying the place of supreme honor, exercising his authority to save, and waiting for his final triumph.
- Christ prays for us: Christ is also interceding for us, for he is our heavenly advocate and high priest. His very presence at the Father’s right hand is evidence of his completed work of atonement, and his intercession means that he ‘continues …to secure for his people the benefits of his death’.
With this Christ as our Savior (who died, was raised, has been exalted and is interceding), we know that ‘there is now no condemnation’ for those who are united to him. We can therefore confidently challenge the universe, with all its inhabitants human and demonic: Who is he that condemns? There will never be any answer.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen