Part of the winning team!
Part of the winning team!
Back in the late 70s and early 80s, I was a big Philly sports fan. I had occasion in 1980 to be at game six of the World Series when the Phillies won their first-ever World Series, beating the Kansas City Royals. I had an occasion in the early 80s to attend a Stanley Cup finals game. I was also at game six of the NBA finals in 1980 when the Lakers came to town, without their star center, needing just one victory to win the NBA championship. With the Lakers playing without Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I was certain the Sixers would win game six and take the series back to LA. Debbie and I saw a historical performance that night, but it wasn’t by anyone on the 76ers. It was by Magic Johnson who filled in at center and put on one of the greatest sports performances in NBA history. Some have called it the greatest game of all time, but that’s not what I wanted to see. Two years later the Sixers traded for Moses Malone who at the time was the premier center in the NBA and had been playing for the Houston Rockets. I remember the headlines the next morning in the newspaper, “Moses to lead Sixers to the promised land”. And sure enough that year the Sixers would go all the way to the NBA finals and win their only championship in my lifetime. But that’s the only one that they would win while Moses was their center.
How different the victory that God promises to us who are His children through faith in Jesus and have been called into the family of God. We have been looking at Paul’s amazing statements in Romans 8 which we continue in verse 31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 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?” (Rom. 8:31-32 NASB). What things is Paul referring to in verse 31? Well, everything that he’s written about – there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, we’re under no obligation to the flesh, we should not have to experience great frustration because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Paul didn’t just believe these truths were “nice” or “interesting”, he believed they should grip our hearts and lead us in the path of righteousness. I wonder as Paul was writing these amazing words if he took time to reflect with awe and adoration the very truths that God was laying on his heart. Are you amazed at what God has done in your life? I sure am.
Paul for a moment envisions the situation in terms of a court of justice, where the believer stands to be judged. The doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on our behalf is in view and the focus is particularly on the security that His atonement brings to those who believe in him. The question is, “Is God on our side?” We may be exposed to the perils and pains of this world, but none of these things can ever endanger our salvation. The question that Paul raises comes from the challenge to the power of God. If anyone were able to rob us of our salvation, they would have to be greater than God Himself. For you see it is God who is both the giver and sustainer of our salvation. Make no mistake about it, there are a lot of forces against us these days. The world, the flesh, and the devil are very active in our day, and they serve as joy stealers coming and trying to rob us of the joy of our salvation. But Scripture constantly urges us to face our problems with a realistic expectation of how God is going to work. There are no shortcuts to victory. Someone has said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried”. But what filled Paul’s mind and should fill ours, is God Himself. When we understand the greatness and majesty and power of our God, we also comprehend the sufficiency of God’s grace that can see us through any difficulty or problem. This is an amazing concept and it should be a source of indescribable joy in the believer’s life.
To deny the security of the believer is to deny the sufficiency of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Denying eternal security misunderstands the heart of God and the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ. The meaning of Jesus’s death on the cross was for all those who would put their trust in His finished work and come to the point of resting in the accomplished fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has done it all and all we have to do is embrace Him in love and grace. This is to embrace the biblical meaning of salvation and to rejoice with Paul this morning, “If God is for us, who is against us?” Are you trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to provide and guide for whatever struggle you may be going through today? Know that He wants to meet you in your pain and that Jesus can direct your steps into a more assuring and confident walk with Him.
Living in His abundant grace,
Pastor Rich Sivo