Romans 8, Part 7
Nov 23, 2010
The last part of Romans 8:27 (NASB) says that "the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." The Emphatic Diaglott reads, "Because according to God it intercedes on behalf of saints." This thought is the basis of the following verse,
(28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The translator's bias makes it read that things work together for good only for those who love God, and that the rest of humanity are exempted from this blessing. But the Emphatic Diaglott's interlinear translation reads,
(28) We know that to those who love the God, all things work together for good--to those being invited according to a purpose.
In other words, to those who love God (and understand His sovereign plan), all things work together for good. This is their perspective of God and creation. The sons of God know and understand that all things work together for good, not only for themselves but for all of creation. This really takes us back to verse 19, where we are told that the entire creation is in the pains of childbirth, awaiting the birth of the sons of God.
It is as if we are giving comfort to creation, telling them, "Don't worry; it will all be worth it in the end. These pains are not designed to kill you, but to cause you to fulfill your destiny to bring forth the New Creation Man in Christ. We know this, because we are the ones being brought to birth."
(29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; (30) and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
It may be that these words were still being directed toward creation as the sons of God give her comfort, encouragement, and hope. Creation can take hope in the fact that God will indeed fulfill His plan, for those He foreknew, He predestined to be brought forth in the image of Christ. It is, then, a sure thing, an expectation of glory. The sons of God have been predestined to be unveiled as creation gives birth to them. Those predestined are also called, justified, and glorified.
Their birth is their moment of glorification. The glorified sons will then bring this glory to the ends of the earth to fulfill Hab. 2:14,
(14) For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
This is the hope of creation, because creation will benefit from the manifestation of the sons of God. These sons will declare the Jubilee to set creation free from its "slavery to corruption" (8:21). God really does win in the end. He is not a loser. God is not telling us to retreat or to man the life boats and salvage what we can from creation before the ship sinks. No, God is raising up sons so that they will set creation free by the authority of Christ Himself. We are predestined to be victorious.
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things [ta panta]?
How can we fail? If God is on our side, who can stand against us? He who has freely given His own Son for us has also freely given us "all things." In other words, we have been given authority over all of creation. Christ has purchased the entire creation by His blood, and He is raising up sons to oversee His estate. His estate is ta panta, "the all," for all things have been put under His feet (1 Cor. 15:28). "In subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him" (Heb. 2:8).
This is what God has predestined. The predestination is not only a calling for the sons of God, but also for the estate over which they have been given authority. There must of necessity be an estate to rule in order to reign with Christ on the earth (Rev. 5:10). The sons are not called to abandon ship, but to decree life, liberty, and the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2). So continuing in Romans 8,
(33) Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; (34) who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
If God is the great Judge who justifies or condemns according to His sovereign will and law, how can we lose? Who can stop the divine plan? If an adversary disagrees with God's verdict, where is the higher court of appeal? There is none higher. We have found the path to justification, and so there is now no condemnation that might displace the sons of God from their dominion over all things.
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." [quotation from Ps. 44:22]
Though men and earthly governments may persecute or condemn the sons of God, their unjust verdicts carry no weight in the divine court. Just because a government considers a man to be a criminal does not make him a criminal in the sight of God. Men's governments function by the laws of men; God's government functions by the laws of God.
(37) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
The army of God conquers with overwhelming spiritual force, because prayer warriors function according to the laws of God that are backed by the courts of heaven.
(38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is a list of created things. All created things are part of God's estate and are subject to His sovereignty and to the authority of the sons. It goes far beyond the material creation. It includes time and space. Time is expressed in terms of "things present" and "things to come" (future). Space is expressed in terms of "height" and "depth." Even spiritual entities such as "angels" and "principalities" are created beings and are therefore subject to our authority.
Because they are under our authority, they lack the power to separate us from the love of God, by which He has purposed to bring all things into subjection first to Christ Himself, and then to the sons of God under Him.
This is the final part of a series titled "Romans 8." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones