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. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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. – Romans 8:26-39
Do you love questions? I do! Many years ago I was in class at Fuller Theological Seminary. I was in my first class there and I had a bad case of laryngitis. I love to ask questions. So for three days – until the medicine kicked in – I was a very miserable student: I felt bad physically, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t ask questions.
Here’s a few…“Adam, where are you?” God asks this of Adam after he and Eve had taken the forbidden fruit and eaten it, discovered to their shame that they were naked, and hid themselves in the Garden of Eden. God knew the answer but asked the question nonetheless. “What is this that you have done?” God asked this of Eve right after asking the first question of Adam. God knew the answer. The only one God does not question is the serpent (Satan!). Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” God asks questions of those he wants to reach, draw close, redeem.
Look at these questions!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?
Paul is asking these questions of the Roman readers as well as now of us. He means to draw us closer. He means to embolden our faith. He means to call us back to God’s promises. He means to remind us of God’s faithfulness. These are not test questions, designed to determine if we’ve studied and know the right answers.
These are questions to bring us close. These are questions to invite faith. These are questions to remind us of great eternal truth: God is for us. We have the assurance of his love. We can count on him. We can stand up against any assault on our being.
My questions as Fuller were intended to sharpen my understanding. They were designed to see if I understood the material. They were to test the theological background of the professor. Those are all good things. But the better thing is to be asked by God questions that invite our engagement with him, and bolster our faith, and give us true hope.
How has God drawn you closer to him? Has he convinced you of his love? Are you thankful for his abundant grace?