It is an astonishingly wonderful truth that, if are in Christ, God is for us. Imagine. The Creator of the Universe, the One True God, who ordains, rules over and sustains all things is for us. That, in and of itself, is incredible, but how much more amazing that He is for us, not because of our deservedness, but because of His love and grace. 100%. In fact, His choice to be for us is in spite of our rebellion and undeservedness. We have done nothing to earn His love. We have done nothing to cause a relationship with Him. We deserve condemnation, judgment, and separation, and yet God, who is rich in mercy, has set His heart upon us. Furthermore, He has shown us that He is for us in an undeniable and eternal way. Here is Romans 8:31-39:
What then shall we say to these things? 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 with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You, o faithful reader, know this text well. It is an all-time top five favorite of most believers. God has demonstrated His favor (that He is FOR us as opposed to AGAINST us) in this:
•the provision for our salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus
•the promise to continue His work by providing all we need in Christ
•the prayers of the Lord Jesus from the throne of Heaven on our behalf
•the power to secure us in His love against anything and everything that may seek to separate us
I’m not going into a deep exposition because I know you know this and I want to make a further point. I fear that sometimes we think of God in His grace being for us in justification – that is, we know that He saves us by His grace and we don’t do anything to “turn His favor” toward us in order to be justified – but we lose sight of that truth in our sanctification and our daily lives. Sometimes we live with the unspoken idea that God is against us and we have to do things to get Him to be in our favor. I think, “if I want the Lord to bless me, I have to do this or that, and then, that activity will turn His favor in my direction.” This is, of course, foundational to the so-call prosperity Gospel. “If you give to me, then you will, by your action, turn God’s favor to yourself.” What? I know that you, o persevering reader, do not believe the full blown expression of this error seen in the prosperity Gospel, but do you sometime find yourself thinking “if I just try harder, give more, work harder, whatever, then God will bless me.” Ever think like that? Ever think “if I’m just faithful enough, then God will bless me.” I do far more than I want to admit. The truth is we do not have to “turn God’s favor towards us” by doing something. NO. Look around! God is blessing us with more than we can ever imagine RIGHT NOW because He wants to! If we are in Christ, then from all eternity, by His gracious choice, He is for us and He has shown it to us in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
I’ve been reading Sinclair Ferguson’s The Whole Christ. He talks about the lie of Eden being that we think God is against us and we have to somehow convince Him to be for us. Eve thought God was against her because she was prohibited from the tree in the middle of the garden. She blinded herself to the favor of God seen in all the unbelievable splendor of the world He had given her because of His love and favor. Don’t believe the lie. If you are in Christ, your Savior and your God is for you. Even when He withholds one thing, can we even begin to count His blessings? The mere fact that you have a relationship with Him through Christ proves His favor. Trust the Gospel, not just eternal salvation, but in your everyday life.
OK. I have something I’ve been thinking about, but I need to stop. This post is getting long so I am going to give you a homework assignment. What? Stop the presses! Wait, we don’t use presses any more, it’s all digital. Okay, hold your horses. No, we use cars. Whatever. This is the first time I’ve ever given homework. We are taking it up a notch. Think about this: First, God is for us because of His grace, not our performance, deeds, etc. Second (new territory), the Gospel is to shape our lives and relationships. Therefore, shouldn’t we love (favor) our spouse, kids, friends, co-workers, etc. based upon the grace of God in Christ rather than their performance or contribution to our comfort or well-being? Am I acting in a Christ like way if I withhold love until someone does something to earn my attention or favor? Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to think about that and talk to someone about it. This may self-destruct in 60 seconds.
Peace out and thank y