On Our Side

Romans 8:31-32 “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?”

Have you ever heard of the “new atheists”? They aren’t content to let people believe what they want. They feel the need to proselytize, and to do so aggressively. Men like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris try to convince people that all religion is harmful, that there is no God, no spirits, no life beyond the grave. They write books, host seminars, organize debates to motivate their followers to make new converts.

We should take their movement seriously, because in many ways it is sync with the spirit of our age. But while they may succeed in picking off some Christians on the fringe, I don’t think they will ever become the dominant point of view.

The problem for most is not, “Is there a God?” The problem is: “Is God on our side?” If God is on our side, then why do we suffer so? Why is my health such a mess? Why do my relationships bring me so much grief? Why do I have to deal with issues for which other people seem to get a pass?

These are old, old questions. In Romans chapter 8 the Apostle Paul doesn’t attempt to tell us what God is thinking for every problem we might have with his decisions for our lives. But he does tell us all we need to know to be sure that God is on our side.

If God is on our side (and he is), then we are in a position of absolute safety. We are beyond harm. How can we be so sure? “He…did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.” It’s not that he sent Jesus to be our other-worldly advice columnist. One religious group claiming to follow Jesus never refers to him as “Savior.” On their website they consistently call him their “Way-shower.” In other words, for them Jesus is nothing more than a source for solid advice.

Paul says that God did not spare his own Son. He was fully aware of the sacrifice Jesus was going to have to make. He knew about the suffering, the torture, and the death. It was part of the plan. Do you know how hard that must be? This was his one and only Son, the Son he loves. This was the ultimate demonstration of his love for you and me. This was the gift that has no equal.

Truly, if God would do that, “…how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” After that gift, what could he possibly withhold if he knew it would help us? At various times, he has made the earth turn backwards, sent the angel of death to wipe out invading armies, given life back to those who have died, and worked many other miracles to save his people. After sacrificing his Son to save you, he is not going to let you slip through his fingers over some smaller need. If you truly needed a billion dollars for the good of your soul, what is that compared to the gift of his Son? And if the billion dollars doesn’t show up, we can safely assume it’s not what we truly need.

Do you want to be sure that God is on our side? Look at the gift he gave us. The gift of his Son convinces us it is so.

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