Knowing God, chapter 22: The adequacy of God (2)

This is the 25th and final post on Knowing God and is continued from yesterday.

B. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things?” In other words, no good thing will finally be withheld from us. Paul points of the adequacy of  God as our sovereign benefactor and to the certitude of His redeeming work for us.

In this verse we see:

  • The costliness of our redemption. If the measure of love is what it gives, then there never was such love as shown by God on Calvary (Rom 5:8).
  • The effectiveness of our redemption. The NT writers view the cross as the basis of God’s offer of forgiveness, through which we enter into a right relationship with God.
  • The consequences of our redemption. God, says Paul, will with Christ give us “all things”. What things? In chapter 8, we count calling, justification, glorification, glorification. From the rest of Scripture, we have: material needs (Matt 6:33; Mark 10:30), etc.

Paul in asking this question is countering the thought that following Christ will mean the loss of things worth having, uncompensated by any corresponding gain.

“The meaning of ‘He will give us all things’ can be put thus: one day we shall see that nothing —literally nothing—which could have increased our eternal happiness has been denied us, and that nothing —literally nothing—that could have reduced that happiness has been left with us. What higher assurance do we want than that?”

* * *

C. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” In other words, no accusation can ever disinherit us. Paul points to the adequacy of God as our sovereign champion, and to the decisiveness of His justifying verdict upon us.

In this verse, Paul counters the fear of rejection by God. He isn’t denying the Christian’s falls and failures—he is stating that these cannot endanger our status.

  • Paul brings into play the fact of having been chosen by God. Those whom God justifies (v 30) were chosen from eternity, and if their status was revoked, then God’s plan for them would be in a shambles.
  • Paul reminds us of God’s sovereignty in judgment. “It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” God passed the justifying sentence in full knowledge of the worst in each person. No one can produce any evidence as o my depravity as to make God change His mind.
  • Paul brings in Christ’s effectiveness in mediation. “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.” It is absurd to think that Christ would condemn us. He died to save us from condemnation, and now intervenes on our behalf.

So, we need not fear losing our justification on any of these counts.

* * *

D. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” In other words, no separation from Christ’s love can befall us. Paul points to God, the Father and the Son, as our sovereign keeper; and make plain the decisiveness of divine love in settling our destiny.

It is the Christian’s privilege to know for certain that God loves him, and that nothing can ever separate him form that love. For that reason, Paul is ‘convinced’ (v 38) that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is adequate as our keeper (1 Peter 1:5)—His power keeps Christians safe and keeps them believing.  God is adequate as our end. Human love-relationships are ends in themselves, having their value and joy in themselves. The same is true of our knowledge of God. As Paul wrote: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. … I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. … I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

* * *

And there concludes Knowing God. I’ll close as Packer did, with Psalm 27:8

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”

Your face, LORD, I will seek.