…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
– Romans 8:31-32
God is for you. It’s one of the most powerful statements you can say to yourself while looking in the mirror.
For means to be on one’s side. It means to favour and further one’s cause, for one’s safety, for one’s benefit and advantage. In fact, the Greek word used, hyper, even gives a connotation of standing or bending ‘over’ the one he would shield or defend (see entry in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
Other meanings of the word include in the place or stead of, on account of, for the sake of, to suffer or do anything for, to avert the death or ruin of one. Interesting, especially when the next verse brings to mind Christ’s work at the cross for us.
The idea of God being for us can never be separated from Jesus’s work at the cross on our behalf.
Jesus’s sacrifice and divine exchange at the cross is the solid proof and basis that God is for you.
God is for you to such an extent that He gave up His own Son to take your place to suffer your punishment, to fulfil the full requirements of the law for your sake, so that you might avert death and ruin.
When we truly understand this, it becomes clear that anything that brings death or ruin – tragedies, accidents, sickness and disease – can never be from God.
Certainly, He can correct and grow us, and He does – but not through those things. Perhaps through His Word, the counsel of others, or even frustrating circumstances. But never through anything that causes death or ruin.
If not from Him, who or what then? The devil and enemy of your soul. A consequence of the fallen world. And sometimes just through our own stubbornness and mistakes.
Some misunderstand strong preaching of this truth that God is for you to mean that your life will be a bed of roses and nothing bad will ever happen to you. We all know that isn’t true – and we’ve already looked at what can cause things to come against you.
And that’s not what the verse is saying.
The same Greek word ‘tis‘ is used for both ‘What’ at the beginning of verse 31 and ‘who’ in the later part. ‘Tis‘ can mean both – hence it’s not just limited to an idea of ‘who can come against you’, but also ‘what can come against you’!
So, what the verse is saying is this: If God is for you, then nothing that happens – to you or around you, whether good or bad – can ever work against you.
God sending His Son Jesus to the cross is the proof and foundation of His promise.
Don’t misread that ‘If’ in the statement as a conditional ‘Perhaps when’.
When you know just how much God loves you, which the subsequent verses reiterate and emphasise (Romans 8:37-39), then it won’t be hard to see that it really means a definite ‘Seeing as’. Thayer’s bears this out, ascribing this indicative ‘If’ as being used argumentatively, to draw a conclusion from something that’s certain.
Be assured that because God is for you, not only no one can come against you, no thing can come against you!
Not any person or being who tries to work trouble against you. Not any distressing circumstances, nor any unforeseeable or uncontrollable world events. And not even your own mistakes and failures. No. Thing.
Yes, things might still happen to us – bad things, things that cause us hurt, pain, wasted years. Things we wish never happened, even tragedies and losses we might’ve experienced.
Yet, by this promise that God is for us, we can rest in the knowledge and assurance that that’s not the end of the story.
He will work and turn every single one of those things for our good, and wondrously so, to the glory of His name (Romans 8:28, Joel 2:26).
He demonstrated it at the cross, where He turned the very worst thing we could’ve possibly done – nailing and killing the Son of God – into the absolutely greatest thing that saves and blesses us perpetually.
As such, how shall He not also freely do the same for us in all other things?
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.