What Does the Verse “If God Is for Us, Who Can Be against Us” Mean?
Just about any list of encouraging Bible verses will include Romans 8:31: “What, then, shall we embrace in response to these things? If god be for us who can be against us?”
But what are “these things?” Is the verse actually announcing that we as believers will by no means face opposition or failure? Any experience as a Christian will amply demonstrate that many people may be “against us;” persecution is a totally real hassle for Christians everywhere in the world. So what does this passage actually imply?
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What is the Context in Romans?
Romans is a letter that was written by the apostle Paul to the believers in Rome around A.D. 56-58, according to Got Questions. At that point, Paul had in no way visited Rome, however Christianity seems to have been present there for a number of years. The church was well grounded and well known.
Though the extreme persecution below the emperor Nero had not but all started, just a few years after the writing of Paul’s letter, Christians would be blamed for the burning of Rome. Sentiment towards them was already an issue. Most of the early Roman Christians have been of Jewish descent, and were slowly returning after Jews had been exiled from Rome in A.D. 49 below the emperor Claudius, an edict that didn’t lapse until his death in A.D. 54, writes Kenneth Berding.
Therefore, out of context, the declaration that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” would have seemed just as complicated to the unique readers. They would possibly have responded, “All of Rome is against us!” Luckily, for them and for readers nowadays, there’s context.
“If God is For Us” The Context of This Passage
Romans 8 begin with the assertion, “Therefore, there’s no condemnation for people who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Paul is going on to expound upon life in the Spirit. “But if Christ is in you, then despite the fact that your body is subject to death due to sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness” (Romans eight:10). He explains that we’re God’s kids.
He then transitions to suffering. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if certainly we share his sufferings in order that we might also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17). Paul explains that our modern sufferings pale in contrast to the coming glory. The Spirit will be with us to help us, and God works all things for right. The Christian is destined to be conformed to the image of the Son – called, justified, and glorified (Romans 8:29-30).
This is when the verse in question appears. “What, then, shall we embrace in response to this stuff? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Paul maintains his rhetorical questions after this. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the living nor the future, nor any powers, neither peak nor depth, nor something else in all creation, could be capable of separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38-39).
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What do Other Translations Say?
While often verses look special throughout numerous translations, Romans 8:31 clearly remains by and large the same. From the traditional King James model, to more modern translations like the English Standard Version and the New Living Translation, the verse stays “if God is for us, who can be against us?” Clearly, translators across the generations have seen the same meaning in these words. What then, do they imply for readers?
“Who Shall Be Against Us?” What Romans 8:31 Actually Mean
In context, then, the verse is preceded through Paul’s assertion that God has desirable purposes for the Christian. It is accompanied through an announcement that nobody can bring a charge against the Christian, due to the fact it’s far God who justifies. Paul rounds it out by proclaiming that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Thus, in context, Paul’s quest of “who may be against us” appears to be asking who can deliver condemnation against the Christian. The solution is no one. God has chosen us as His children and heirs. God is the judge. If He is for us, no one can condemn us. And, as Paul demonstrates in Romans 8:35-39, not anything can separate us from that love. Therefore, we’re secure in Christ.
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What Does this Verse Not Mean?
As was mentioned earlier, claiming that no one may be against the Christian makes no meaning. Both human and spiritual forces war are against us. We will face competition and opposition, and many verses warn us of just that. For example, 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “In fact, everybody who hope to stay a godly life in Christ Jesus may be persecuted.”
The verse also does not say that nothing can ever overcome a Christian. Christians can nevertheless lose — sports activities, jobs, even their lives. Losing isn’t a count number of “not having sufficient faith” or “not trusting God enough.” This verse makes no claim that the whole thing will work out in this life if we have confidence.
Rather, in a cosmic court, no evidence may be held against us. God is in the process of sanctifying us. Those who trust in Christ cannot be condemned.
Encouragement for Today
This verse offers us hope, not that we can continually succeed, but that our everlasting future and the love of God are secure. Though we might also suffer, we cannot be destroyed. No matter how bad things appear, we need to understand that “God is for us;” He loves us deeply. We are His children, with Jesus as our oldest brother (Romans 8:29).
The verse is compelling on its own, but in the context of Romans 8, the passage is a powerful reminder of God’s outstanding love and incredible plans for us.
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4 Proofs That If God Is for Us, Nothing Can Be Against Us
When it involves Christian theology, pretty much all roads lead through Romans. Paul’s letter to the Romans is arguably the unmarried most essential piece of literature in the history of the world. And chapter 8 is perhaps its best secession. And Romans 8:31–39 is the climax. It is definitely an inference from the whole thing Paul says in Romans 5:1–8:30 about the wonderful outcomes of our justification.
It’s as though the apostle takes a deep breath as he thinks lower back over Romans 5:1–8:30, and then asks God’s people, “What then let’s say to these items? If God is for us, who may be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
That second question is rhetorical, so it has the force of a proposition: Since God is for us, not anything can be against us. Paul then helps what he asserts with 4 proofs.
Proof 1: God will graciously give us all things (Rom. 8:32).
Paul is arguing from the more to the lesser. If God gave us the finest gift (i.e., he did not spare his personal Son however gave him up for us all), then God will certainly give us the whole thing else we need (i.e., he’s going to also be with Jesus graciously deliver us all things).
That is proof that on the grounds that God is for us, not anything can be against us.
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Proof 2: No one will bring a charge against us (Rom. 8:33).
No one can take us to courtroom before God and win a case against us, because God himself is the one who has declared us righteous.
That is similarly evidence that considering God is for us, not anything can be against us.
Proof 3: No one will condemn us (Rom. 8:34).
No it is easy to condemn us to hell on judgment day because Jesus himself died for us, was raised for us, and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us. We are perpetually secure in Christ.
That is even more evidence that when you consider that God is for us, not anything can be against us.
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Proof 4: Nothing will separate us from the affection of Christ (Rom. 8:35–39).
Christ loves us, and no enemy or weapon or calamity can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What more proof do we need that seeing that God is for us, nothing may be in against to us?