Have you ever had a buddy lead you into a fight with the confidence that they were going to be there to back you up if things went south? How did that turn out? Unless you flipped the switch into “Macho Man” Randy Savage mode you probably got roughed up pretty good.
Too many times someone has tried to encourage me by saying, “Don’t worry! I am here for you.” Likewise, too many times that very same person is nowhere to be found when things actually go down.
I do not put too much confidence in such a statement coming from a mortal man. Why? Because every mortal man is fully capable and gifted in the art of not “coming through.” Most men don’t make that statement with the intentions of letting the other person down… but men can change along with circumstances and situation.
However, I trust that very same statement from God.
Romans 8:31 says,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
So… if I don’t trust that statement from man then what makes it any different coming from God? God alone is unchangeable; therefore, I want to make certain that God is for me. We have great reason for confidence in God for our salvation. What is that reason? God is for us!
But I do think that too often, we can apply that verse a little too quickly, without digging deep into what it really means. We correctly use it as a spiritual weapon, but without understanding how to properly deploy it, kind of like using a rifle as a club. We associate the verse with the blessing hiding right around the corner, instead of the victory on the other side of the battle.
We celebrate the victory before fighting the battle.
Yes, there will still be battles! Yes, you will still have to fight! But we fight alongside the Almighty God! It’s true that if God is for us, nothing can stand against us. But it’s also true that if God is for us, a whole lot of things can, and will, be against us. The enemy is directly opposed to the power of God displayed in and through us.
In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul writes,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
If there were no fight ahead then why do we need armor and weapons of war?
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Therefore, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the whole armor of God and take your stand against the devil’s scheme. Fight the good fight against all defeated enemies and spiritual forces of evil. Pray in the Spirit and stand firm. Fight, and stand in victory.
So… what will stand against us? Everything.
Throughout our lives, many things will stand against us. Right now, I’ve got a lengthy list of things causing distress in my life, including but not limited to:
- Lingering sickness and health issues
- My wife’s Medical School loans
- A work list that never gets smaller
I pray about these things a lot. Pretty much every day… and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. They are still here and I am still fighting the fight.
So what gives? I thought God was for me. What about all those angel armies that Chris Tomlin sings about?
It’s not like I’m the only one. Every Christian I know finds themselves in the same place, beset by trials, enemies, weird health problems, financial hardship, and a lot more. This also seems to be the story throughout Scripture. If Jesus had things stand against Him to the point of execution on a cross, then maybe this verse is a little deeper than it seems on the surface.
We have many enemies, but they are all finite creatures. No power can prevail against the infinite God, who has purposed to save us. Who can resist him? What about the devil and demons? God in Christ has defeated the devil on the cross and liberated us from his clutches. The stronger one, Jesus Christ, defeated the strong one, the devil, and has set us free.
What about the world? In John 16:33 Jesus said,
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Rejoice! The world of Pharaohs and Caesars and dictators and presidents cannot harm us. Jesus Christ has defeated them all.
What about the apostate church? Again, the answer is, no. It cannot harm us. Why is that? In Colossians 2:14-15 Paul writes,
Having canceled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross! And having disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
What about the flesh, that sin still dwells in us? Yes, it is against us, but it is not the only thing in us. God’s Holy Spirit is also in us! Too often we forget that! We have the Sprit of the living God dwelling inside us! He is the Spirit of holiness who gives us victory over sin! Therefore, sin cannot have dominion over us. We are not under sin, law, or death.
Is there any power equal or above God’s power? No! Therefore, if God is for us, who can be against us? The Scriptures emphasize this point throughout.
Jesus Christ by his death has defeated all our enemies and his enemies.
Jesus is still waging war against all our defeated enemies, and it is His business to fight such a war. In Psalm 110:1 the psalmist declares,
The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’
In 1 Corinthians 15:25-27 Paul writes,
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The battles may come and the enemies may rise up, but I don’t need to solve the problem alone. The Holy Spirit himself intercedes on my behalf. What a beautiful thing. The Spirit comes to the Father on my behalf, but unlike me, the Spirit knows exactly what I need. He’ll never pray the wrong thing. The Spirit will ask God to give me what I need and God will always give it to me. Romans 8:26 says,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
The whole world may stand against me, but it can’t destroy me because the Holy Spirit is interceding for me.
Though I may be buffeted by a hurricane of pain, strife, sorrow, temptation, and spiritual attack, God calmly controls every gust of that hurricane. He is orchestrating all things for my good and his purpose, strategically using this trial to build my trust in him, this relationship to increase my joy, and this hurdle to hurdle to give me a deep experience of his love for me.
No matter what stands against me, it can’t thwart God’s purpose. From start to finish, first breath to last, cradle to grave, I’m his. Come hell, high water, or the apocalypse, nothing can stand against me.
I enjoy singing songs that reflect on God’s faithfulness and promises to remind me in times of battle that God is for me and with me. If you are like me there are times you need a reminder that he is God and you aren’t and His timing is much more deliberate than yours. One of those songs goes:
Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
Romans 8:18–19 says,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The suffering I experience right now is going to pale in comparison to the astounding glory that will be soon revealed to me. In fact, the glory that’s coming will be so breathtaking, so glorious, so overwhelmingly valuable, that I’ll look back at what I suffered and say, “That was nothing! It was all worth it! Following Christ through the valley of pain and suffering was nothing compared to this!”
Nothing can stand against the Holy Spirit helping me.
Romans 8:28 promises,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Nothing can stand against God’s purpose for me.
Given all these things, Paul then says in Romans 8:35-39:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If God is for us, there truly is nothing that can stand against us… and many things WILL stand against us. That’s guaranteed. But, we are more than conquerors and nothing can separate us from the love of God!
But our end is sure. We WILL arrive in glory, and when that time comes, we’ll chuckle at how insignificant our sufferings really were. Christ will be all in all, and we’ll be experiencing joy we didn’t know was possible.
Fight the good fight. God is for you.