How Secure Are We?
How secure are those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation? The Apostle Paul showed us in Romans 8. He first made a statement of promise and from that promise he asked questions to make us realize how secure we are. First, the promise. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. 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. And those whom He predestined, He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28–30)
The promise itself is sandwiched between two phrases describing believers. Those who genuinely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are the ones who love God and who are the called (by God) according to His purpose. To those God Himself guarantees all things work together for good. This strongly implies God designs everything that comes into the life of a believer. There are no accidents, only divinely appointed events.
The promise continues to tell us how complete this blessing is. God’s promise is not just a momentary provision, it is a commitment spanning our whole lives. Those He foreknew (those whom God set His love upon) He predestinated to be conformed into the very image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. God the Father is at work turning us into the image of our Savior and Lord.
Not only is this a pledge which will be fulfilled in our present lives, it is a process that began in eternity past and will be completed in eternity future. The Apostle Paul takes us by the hand and steps out into eternity and makes us look back on time. “And those whom He predestined, He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30) Each of us He predestinated (He did this before time began), He also called (He called us in salvation when we heard the gospel). This calling happened in time. Those God called in Christ, He justified (this also happened in time). Finally, Paul wrote, those God justified, He also glorified. Glorification will happen in eternity future. These are all in the aorist tense here. As far as God is concerned this process is so sure that in His mind it is already accomplished.
What does this mean? Paul asked the same question in verse 31, “What then shall we say to these things?” He answered his question with a series of three major questions. The first question is in verse 31. “If God is for us, who is against us?” If the all-powerful, all-knowing, always present God is on our side, who can oppose us? Because we are weak and doubt He is for us, Paul gives us evidence. “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?” (Romans 8:32) If Jesus, God’s only Son whom He loved, died for our sin, how will God the Father not give us everything that salvation involves?
Verse 33 asks, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” We want to cry out, “Satan will.” Satan is not the judge. The only One who can bring the charges and condemn us is God Himself. So, Paul wrote, “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.” God the Father, our great Judge, declared us righteous. God the Son, who is our advocate, died to pay the penalty of our sin. He bore our judgment and thus we are saved. He intercedes for us through this present life. Satan cannot condemn what God has already justified.
The third and last question takes the rest of the chapter to answer. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). The possibilities are listed by the Apostle Paul and then denied. “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.’” (Romans 8:35-36) God’s children certainly can endure trials, distress, persecution, famine and even those who hate and want to kill them. To help us understand that Paul is talking about realities in our lives he quotes the Old Testament.
Can these things divide us from God’s love for us in Christ? Hear Paul’s answer. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:27) These things cannot defeat us or divide us from our God. He makes us conquer in the midst of all of these troubles.
Now comes the great answer to Paul’s question in verse 35, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” Verses 38-39, “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.” Did Paul leave out any possibility? Remember the original question. Who (or what) can separate us from the love of Christ? The point of Paul’s list is that no one or nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Some want to say that we ourselves can divide ourselves from the love of Christ. We can choose to sin and lose our eternal salvation. Yet, Paul did not name that option. In fact, he ruled it out when he added no created thing could separate us from God’s love. We were all created. Therefore, we do not qualify as one who can divide us from Christ.
How secure is our salvation? If we have trusted Christ to save us, nothing and no one can ever take our salvation away.