“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?”
All things. God will graciously give us all things.
This passage isn’t saying that God will give us a Mercedes, a big house on a hill, and a fat bank account. It’s saying that God will give us all of God’s love in all situations, in spite of our inability to be perfect in our behavior and no matter what happens in life.
Paul says all this after having expressed his struggle with the power of sin in chapter seven, then concluding that even with the power of temptation and the failure to live with perfect behavior, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the Spirit.
When Paul uses the phrases walk according to the Spirit and walk according to the flesh, he is contrasting those who have put on the new mindset of submitting to God’s way of thinking with those who walk in their own worldly mindset. Those who walk according to the Spirit still have temptation from sin, to sin. The temptation is not us — not our darker side — it is sin. Sin is a wild beast with a mind of it’s own, and it lives with us, in our flesh. In modern terms, we might say that our DNA was mutated at the fall of Adam and Eve, and we are less than what we were intended to be. We are genetically predisposed to rebel — and we can even put on a “good face” while doing so, because from Adam we all know both GOOD and EVIL, apart from God. We have our own version, our own mindset now, apart from God. And with that, we suffer the consequences of both pride and shame – the bad things that both good and evil bring.
The sin deficit that lives in our flesh is different for different people and expresses itself differently. The rebellion is shaped, molded and formed into particular expression through upbringing and environment. But whatever the expression, it is rebellion. Whether it is “good” rebellion or “evil” rebellion, it is still rebellion — humans living according to their own way of thinking.
What do we — those of us who walk according to the Spirit, with our new mindsets, thinking and living life God’s way — what do we do when we are tempted and fail? Like Paul shows us by example, we thank God and move on, knowing that there is no condemnation!
“Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24b–25a)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
After telling us that there is now no condemnation for us, in spite of our failings, Paul explains that our weakness is there by God’s design. God Himself intended that we would know Him, love Him and walk with Him in weakness, so that our hope would not be here, but in eternity. God Himself subjected all creation to futility, and the plan is to set creation free when God’s children are revealed in glory (the resurrection).
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
In the resurrection, there will be no more sin housed in our flesh. We will have new bodies with no distortion. But now, at this time, we are saved in hope — meaning in a position of sure hope and confident expectation, looking forward to that time, in the condition of not yet having it.
“For in this hope we were saved…”
But the resurrection is not here yet. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25). We are subjected now to the same futility to which the creation has been subjected, so that we will desire eternity, and look forward to our confident expectation of the resurrection.
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
It would be easy to get discouraged when having a mindset to follow God and honor him with our bodies, with our lives, with everything about ourselves, but seeing this condition of futility where we do what we don’t want to do, and fail to do what we want to do. But friends, this is God’s design. Even our weakness is His plan. We don’t lose heart because of our weakness, but thank God that there is now no condemnation for us. What matters is the heart — that it is subjected to Christ — that the old way of thinking and acting in rebellion to God with our own version of GOOD and EVIL is put away. What matters is that the “general way of doing business” has been changed. “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6 HCSB)
It’s not our perfection of behavior that makes us children of God. What matters is whether or not we are led by God’s Spirit. “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” (Romans 8:14 HCSB)
The fact that our behavior falls short, and we know it, shows that we are aware of God’s way. The fact that we hate it shows that we are led by God’s Spirit. “For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:5–9 HCSB)
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 ESV)
If we have the mind-set of the Spirit, then that proves we have the Spirit. We judge this by comparing our mind-set with the mind-set of God revealed in Scripture. If in anything we have a different mind-set, we submit our thoughts to God’s thoughts. “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:15).
So take comfort! Nothing can bring a charge of condemnation against us who are in Christ. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:33–35)
Nothing, including our weaknesses, can condemn us. And along with “nothing” is everything else that happens in life too: “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)
No! We conquer in everything!
How do we conquer, and what does it mean to conquer? We conquer through God, knowing that He loves us and has accepted us based on Christ’s death.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
“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?” (Romans 8:32)
And “all things” is the love of God in every situation. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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 8:38–39)
Friends, we conquer life — with weaknesses and tribulations — through knowing God’s love for us. To conquer well, we need to be filled up to all fullness with God’s love. This involves the mind and the heart. There is a knowing that is head knowledge, and that’s important to have, very important. But there is also a knowing that is beyond head knowledge, and that is important to know by experience. This knowing of God which is beyond head knowledge comes from encountering God in His glory. This Knowing works in tandem with our thoughts, but it is seated in the heart. This kind of Knowing is the kind that erupts in praise of God spontaneously after revelation of God in the spirit. Paul wrote, “I bow my knees and pray to God that he would grant you, out of the abundance of His glory, to be given power in the Spirit to know God’s love with a knowledge that goes beyond knowledge — so that you may filled up with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19, my summary)
The power to know God’s love comes from God’s glory. If we want to know God, we need to know His love in a way that goes beyond our head knowledge, and the way to get that knowledge is to have a face-to-face encounter with our Creator, to encounter His glory.
Knowing the love of God is knowing God. There is no formula for overwhelmingly conquering life. There are no universal Seven Steps. In all our weaknesses and tribulations, there is only knowing God, in His glory, from His glory and to His glory. This knowing of God invades our hearts with power and conquers us with love. And in this love from God, we overwhelmingly conquer in everything, even with weakness.
God is all about weakness. The eternal Son of God on the cross, dying a shameful death, that is weakness and love. And that is how God wins.
Be filled and conquer life!