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God’s Love in Christ Jesus

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

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31. What shall we then say to these things?—"We can no farther go, think, wish" [Bengel]. This whole passage, to Ro 8:34, and even to the end of the chapter, strikes all thoughtful interpreters and readers, as transcending almost every thing in language, while Olshausen notices the "profound and colossal" character of the thought.

If God be for us, who can be against us?—If God be resolved and engaged to bring us through, all our enemies must be His; and "Who would set the briers and thorns against Him in battle? He would go through them. He would burn them together" (Isa 27:4). What strong consolation is here! Nay, but the great Pledge of all has already been given; for,

32. He—rather, "He surely." (It is a pity to lose the emphatic particle of the original).

that spared not—"withheld not," "kept not back." This expressive phrase, as well as the whole thought, is suggested by Ge 22:12, where Jehovah's touching commendation of Abraham's conduct regarding his son Isaac seems designed to furnish something like a glimpse into the spirit of His own act in surrendering His own Son. "Take now (said the Lord to Abraham) thy son, thine only, whom thou lovest, and … offer him for a burnt offering" (Ge 22:2); and only when Abraham had all but performed that loftiest act of self-sacrifice, the Lord interposed, saying, "Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou HAST NOT WITHHELD THY SON, THINE ONLY SON, from Me." In the light of this incident, then, and of this language, our apostle can mean to convey nothing less than this, that in "not sparing His own Son, but delivering Him up," or surrendering Him, God exercised, in His Paternal character, a mysterious act of Self-sacrifice, which, though involving none of the pain and none of the loss which are inseparable from the very idea of self-sacrifice on our part, was not less real, but, on the contrary, as far transcended any such acts of ours as His nature is above the creature's. But this is inconceivable if Christ be not God's "own (or proper) Son," partaker of His very nature, as really as Isaac was of his father Abraham's. In that sense, certainly, the Jews charged our Lord with making Himself "equal with God" (see on Joh 5:18), which He in reply forthwith proceeded, not to disown, but to illustrate and confirm. Understand Christ's Sonship thus, and the language of Scripture regarding it is intelligible and harmonious; but take it to be an artificial relationship, ascribed to Him in virtue either of His miraculous birth, or His resurrection from the dead, or the grandeur of His works, or all of these together—and the passages which speak of it neither explain of themselves nor harmonize with each other.

delivered him up—not to death merely (as many take it), for that is too narrow an idea here, but "surrendered Him" in the most comprehensive sense; compare Joh 3:16, "God so loved the world that He GAVE His only-begotten Son."

for us all—that is, for all believers alike; as nearly every good interpreter admits must be the meaning here.

how shall he not—how can we conceive that He should not.

with him also—rather, "also with Him." (The word "also" is often so placed in our version as to obscure the sense; see on Heb 12:1).

freely give us all things?—all other gifts being not only immeasurably less than this Gift of gifts, but virtually included in it.

33, 34. Who shall lay anything to the charge of—or, "bring any charge against."

God's elect?—the first place in this Epistle where believers are styled "the elect." In what sense this is meant will appear in next chapter.

34. yea rather, that is risen again—to make good the purposes of His death. Here, as in some other cases, the apostle delightfully corrects himself (see Ga 4:9; and see on Ro 1:12); not meaning that the resurrection of Christ was of more saving value than His death, but that having "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"—which though precious to us was to Him of unmingled bitterness—it was incomparably more delightful to think that He was again alive, and living to see to the efficacy of His death in our behalf.

who is even—"also"

at the right hand of God—The right hand of the king was anciently the seat of honor (compare 1Sa 20:25; 1Ki 2:19; Ps 45:9), and denoted participation in the royal power and glory (Mt 20:21). The classical writings contain similar allusions. Accordingly Christ's sitting at the right hand of God—predicted in Ps 110:1, and historically referred to in Mr 16:19; Ac 2:33; 7:56; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; 1Pe 3:22; Re 3:21—signifies the glory of the exalted Son of man, and the power in the government of the world in which He participates. Hence it is called "sitting on the right hand of Power" (Mt 26:64), and "sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb 1:3) [Philippi].

who also maketh intercession for us—using all His boundless interest with God in our behalf. This is the top of the climax. "His Session at God's right hand denotes His power to save us; His Intercession, His will to do it" [Bengel]. But how are we to conceive of this intercession? Not certainly as of one pleading "on bended knees and with outstretched arms," to use the expressive language of Calvin. But yet, neither is it merely a figurative intimation that the power of Christ's redemption is continually operative [Tholuck], or merely to show the fervor and vehemence of His love for us [Chrysostom]. It cannot be taken to mean less than this: that the glorified Redeemer, conscious of His claims, expressly signifies His will that the efficacy of His death should be made good to the uttermost, and signifies it in some such royal style as we find Him employing in that wonderful Intercessory Prayer which He spoke as from within the veil (see on Joh 17:11, 12): "Father, I WILL that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am" (see on Joh 17:24). But in what form this will is expressed is as undiscoverable as it is unimportant.