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Forgiven and justified

What, then, shall we say in response 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, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:31-33

Here we come to a section of the most stirring passages of the whole Bible. It accomplishes Paul’s purpose of encouragement in a way that has made it a reference for Christians in times of difficulty throughout the history of the church. It is a proclamation designed to awaken the determination of believers to remain faithful in spite of everything. From the text, Paul builds his case for confidence in a characteristic question-and-answer style. At first, he concentrates on rhetorical questions. These questions are asked in an important order. First, he draws our attention to the power and majesty of God—the Creator, who, as Paul has already established, is on our side. To live a victorious life, one hardly needs more than to know that God is for us but there is more. God has done something that not only shows us that He is for us, but also accomplished what we needed to be done for us. He has redeemed us from sin through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. If He has gone that far, it is hardly sensible to think that He would then ignore us. So both the person of God and the salvation of God are offered to encourage us in what would otherwise be an impossibly hard life. But the third question, a rhetorical question that reminds us of the absurdity of fear and discouragement. If we will allow ourselves to be carried along with what Paul is declaring from these passages, they can offer a profound insight and appreciation for what we have in Christ. “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:5). Since our salvation depends on Him and Him alone, nobody else has the right to bring any charge against us—not even ourselves. It is God who declared us righteous and His own righteousness imputed to us and this is the basis on which God pronounced His verdict, “It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).


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