You have likely heard the Bible phrase "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Let's look at the full context of this well-known biblical phrase and its meaning for Christians today!
The Father's Love Triumphs in Christ
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:31-39 NKJV
These verses summarize all that has preceded in the Epistle to the Romans. Because of (1) God's love for us, (2) His victory over sin and death, and (3) our life in His Kingdom, we can withstand all the assaults of the world and the devil and arise from these attacks as "more than conquerors". We conquer sin not by our own strength, but only through God by His mercy and grace.
Angels, principalities, and powers are spirit beings of various angelic ranks who cannot separate us from God. While nothing external can separate us from the love of God, we can choose to reject Him by our own free will. Nevertheless, even those who remain in eternal rebellion against God are still loved by Him.
'If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us' Meaning
This Bible verse is meant as encouragement to not fear the forces and things of this world that are against God and His people.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)
Got Questions gives an explanation of this phrase, saying:
God is “for” us in the sense that He is on our side; He is working on our behalf and for our good. He has proved His benevolence in that He has adopted us (Romans 8:15), He has given us His Spirit (Romans 8:16-17, 8:26-27), and He has determined to save us (8:29-30).
The follow-up question, “who can be against us?” is rhetorical. It’s another way of saying, “There is no one who could possibly be more powerful than God” or “No one can destroy us.” The idea is not that we will never face opposition; it’s simply that our opposition is doomed to failure. They may be against us, but not successfully against us. Since God is on our side, we have nothing to worry about.
Romans 8:31 is a harkening of other similar Bible passages:
“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” ~ Psalm 118:6
“‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” ~ 2 Kings 6:16
“My enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.” ~ Psalm 56:9
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” ~ Hebrews 13:6
Bible Commentary on Romans 8:31
If God be for us;
or, "seeing he is for us", has an affection for us, which appears from the gift of himself, Son, and Spirit, and all the blessings of grace and glory; and is on our side: as that he is on the side of his people, is evident from his preservation of them from the evils of the world and their own corruptions; from the supports, he gives them under afflictions and temptations; from his carrying on the work of grace upon them, notwithstanding all the opposition made unto it; and from their safety and security they enjoy by him, notwithstanding the power of their enemies; he is so for them, and on their side, as that he will certainly save them. This he has determined to do, he has sent his Son to obtain salvation for them, his Spirit to apply it to them, and keeps them by his power to the full enjoyment of it: and since this is the case,
Who can be against us?
None can be against them. There are some that cannot possibly be against them; if Jehovah the Father is not against them, the Son cannot be against them, nor the Spirit; good angels cannot be against them, so far from it, that they rejoice at their good, minister to them, and are a guard about them; the law cannot be against them, because it is fulfilled in them; nor justice, because it is satisfied, and all its demands answered: and though there may be some who may be against them, and oppose themselves to them, yet their opposition is to no purpose; they will never prevail over them to their ruin and destruction; as neither sin, nor Satan, nor the world, nor death itself. (Excerpt from John Gill)
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