Romans 8:31-39 Christ’s intercession causes us to persevere and reign over creation.
Romans 8:31-39 Christ’s intercession causes us to persevere and reign over creation
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 over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Even as God predestines us for glory, He sends His Son to intercede for us so that we may be glorified. Predestination and intercession must operate together to bring God’s will to fruition. To intercede is not to appeal but to read and attend to the Father’s will. Hence, Christ’s intercession works in bringing the Father’s will to pass, which is to save and glorify the sons of God. Because of Christ’s intercession, we no longer need to ask God for mercy. Nor do we need to ask for divine authority, for God has given us all things because of Christ’s sacrifice. We only need to focus on reading God’s direction, be courageous and be faithful to attend to His will. Today’s devotion teaches us: Christ’s intercession causes us to persevere and reign over creation.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
“These things” refer to the things that stand in the way of our glorification: the persecutions, temptations and attacks from the agents of darkness. What is the believer’s response to “these things”? Paul asserts, “If God is for us, who is against us?” “God is for us” expresses God’s resolve to sustain us in the face of “these things” so that we may be glorified. Therefore, those who follow God need not fear the agents of darkness.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
The word “own” (His own Son) contrasts between the only-begotten Son and the adopted sons. For it emphasises the cost the Father had to bear for delivering up His dearest and most precious. Indeed, the cost of the sacrifice testifies to His relentless resolve. What does God resolve to accomplish by the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son? To justify and glorify us so that we may rule all things with Christ.
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?
The devil seeks to vilify our identity as God’s sons and therefore obliviate our call and right to rule with Christ. The devil takes occasion to disparage us when we are weak, hopeless and guilty. He attempts to steal our salvation by bringing up our sins and charge us as unworthy to rule with Christ. However, God is the ultimate judge who will have mercy on whom He pleases. And He will justify (adopt as His son) the one who humbles himself and repents. Therefore, we must listen not to the devil’s accusations but to God’s affirmations.
Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
That said, many will yield to the flesh and fall prey to the devil’s lies. Amid the deluge of temptations and tribulations, Jesus intercedes tirelessly to protect humanity from the devil’s attacks. To intercede (entugchano in Greek, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature), is “to read and attend to”. Jesus, in interceding for us, serves as a bridge by reading and attending to the Father’s will. It is hard to imagine Jesus appealing to the Father’s compassion to save humanity when it is the Father who initiated to save humanity in the first place. The Father raised Jesus to His right hand (the highest station of creation) so that He may begin to attend to the Father’s will by interceding for us. How does Jesus’s intercession work? Here are some things that Jesus is actively doing today.
- He converses with us directly so that we may know what we should do in the face of difficulties. He also tells us about the future so that we may be confident when we follow His directives.
- He feeds us with revelations so that we may know Him.
- He prevents temptations and tribulations that are not sanctioned by God from reaching us.
- He facilitates the fulfilment of world events that are predestined for the salvation of mankind. And He prevents events that are not useful for man’s salvation from occurring.
- He actively works to call, justify and glorify each son. In the process, He fields them into His kingdom work according to their respective calling.
- He hears our prayers and fulfils them.
- He sanctifies and strengthens our spirit, heart, mind and body so that we may be blameless and overcome the world.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
It is His love that is driving His intercessory work. Indeed, no amount of tribulation or opposition will stifle Christ’s resolve to save and glorify the sons of God. And by virtue of Christ’s position at the Father’s right hand, He has the Father’s authority and wisdom at His disposal. Therefore, if God is for us, not only will we stand in the face of tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword, we will overwhelmingly overcome.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come…
“Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” are the birth pangs of the last days. They are also the devices that the devil uses to stymied our calling. On the other hand, “Death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing” are not demonic devices but are elements of the created world. These elements, no matter how vast and unsearchable they may be will not escape the rule of God’s sons. Because of Christ’s love, all things will be subject to our rule.
- death, nor life : we will be glorified and will continue to reign beyond this life time.
- nor angels, nor principalities : we will reign over angels and principalities.
- nor things present, nor things to come : we will reign over all things from now to eternity.
- nor height, nor depth : we will reign over every dimension of the universe.
- nor any other created thing : we will reign over all things apart from God Himself.
Indeed, because of Christ’s love we will surely be exalted above angels and reign over creation forever.
Christ’s intercession causes us to persevere and reign over creation.
Christ’s intercession covers two aspects: God’s authority and mercy over us. Because of Christ’s intercession, we will experience the abundance of God’s authority and mercy in increasing measure from one generation to the next. In other words, every generation of believers will experience an aspect of divine authority and mercy past generations consider as unthinkable. Even now, we are seeing an increase in supernatural activities and cooperation between angels and believers. The apostle Paul said concerning Christ’s intercession,
… (God) raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him (God) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He (God) might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:6-7
Christ’s intercession effectively raised us up to sit with God so that we may experience God’s grace (divine authority and mercy). And God’s grace is manifesting itself from generation to generation (in the ages to come) in increasing measure (surpassing).
God has predestined us to acquire Christ’s authority.
All authority is given to Christ who is now seated at God’s right hand. And all who turn from their wrongdoings, who give their lives fully to God will be seated with Him. The apostle Paul said,
Because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-6
And being seated with God (and with Christ) is to acquire the authority that is…
Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. – Ephesians 1:21
Put it simply, God has predestined us to acquire the authority of His Son and to charge over the angels.
How can we acquire Christ’s authority?
By communing with Christ continually, through the Holy Spirit. How do we practice communing with Christ? Not through study alone but through the personal guidance of faithful men and women of God. Who are these faithful men and women? These are those who are already reigning in the power and righteousness of Christ. And they will handhold their disciples to tread the path they themselves are treading.
How do these faithful men and women lead their disciples?
By opening their spiritual senses to commune with God and wield His power. Much like the way God opened Moses’s senses to detect His presence and taught him how to wield divine power using his staff. In the same way, faithful men will open the senses of their disciples and to wield power. The apostle Paul endeavoured to open the spiritual senses of his disciples and wield divine power:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened (spiritual senses), so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ. – Ephesians 1:18-20
We no longer have to ask God for mercy to heal the world.
We experience God’s boundless mercies when we commune with Christ. Moses interceded for God to spare the Israelites. But One who is greater than Moses is here. And He is the Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus (see 1 Timothy 2:5-6a). Jesus interceded for God to forgive the sins of the world and God acceded to Jesus’s request by raising Him from the dead (see Romans 4:25). Because of Christ’s merciful intercession, everything that God did in the world today is born out of divine mercy. Therefore, we do not need to plead God to forgive, to heal or to prosper. We only need to seek clarity concerning what we must do bring about His mercy. It is not always easy to understand how God carries out His mercies for His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore, because of Christ’s intercession, whatever God does is born out of His infinite mercy, and wisdom.
God’s mercy in the last days.
The ultimate display of God’s mercy is the birth of His kingdom. Here, the sons of God will rule over the new heavens and new earth forever. However, the bible speaks of tribulations and birth pangs before the kingdom is fully realised. Jesus said,
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. – Matthew 24:7-14
The apostle Paul said,
… Creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. – Romans 8:20-22
That said, Christ intercedes to protect and preserve the sons of God amid tribulations. Angels put the seal of protection on the faithful before the tribulations come. The apostle John wrote,
And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” – Revelation 7:2-3
And the angels are instructed not to hurt those who possess the seal of God on their foreheads.
Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. – Revelation 9:3-4
That said, the gospel serves as a testimony of God’s mercy to keep all people on the path of righteousness as the end approaches. Jesus said,
Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:12-14
Therefore, we need not fear evil in the face of tribulations because Christ is faithful to intercede for us continually. We do not need to ask God for mercy because He has given His life on the cross. We do not need to ask God for authority for He has predestined us to rule over all things. Hence, we only need to focus on reading God’s direction, be courageous and be faithful to attend to His will.
When we go through difficult circumstances (sicknesses, accidents, relationship and career problems etc.), we must believe that Christ is already interceding for us. Instead of asking God for mercy, we intercede by reading God’s mind and attending to His will.
Read God’s mind.
- What is His purpose in this difficult circumstance?
- What is the outcome?
- What is our role?
Attend to God’s will.
- What is our next step?
- Exercise our authority by sending the angels to do God’s will.
Dear Lord, thank you for interceding for me. I believe all things are under your control. Speak to me clearly things that are on your mind. Reveal to me the future and the role that I will play in my situation. I thank you for the angels that you have placed under my charge. Empower me to attend to your will. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.