God Is For Me, Now Who Are You?

Before we were, God was for us.

As sinful children of the devil, we were fatally flawed. We were spiritually blind and could not see. We were spiritually deaf and could not hear. Our hearts were hard, our wills were wicked; we were all dead in our trespasses and sin. However, God was us. He effectually regenerated and irresistibly drew us to himself. The Holy Spirit instructed our minds, opened our eyes, opened our ears, and softened our hearts. He caused us to loathe Lucifer and encouraged us to “freely will” him and his Gospel. Yes, because God has been for us we heard, believed, repented, and were saved.

 

God has been for us! As the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit entered into their eternal Covenant of Redemption, we were foreordained to be the beneficiaries of their love. Our faces were on their minds, and our names were written in their book. Before we were, God was for us.

God has been for us! As soon as our first parents transgressed God’s Law and allied the entire human race with Lucifer, God showed up and promised Good News. Satan would win his battles, but God would win the war. How would this be? A special son was coming from heaven; he would turn the hearts of Adam’s children away from Satan and towards God. Ultimately, God would have his way, and we — a rescued people — would come forth from the devil’s clan to worship our Creator and Redeemer.

God has been for us! Several thousand years after pronouncing the Good News to Adam and Eve, Jesus came forth born of a virgin. He came to earth in human flesh for a purpose. Jesus was to perfectly keep the Law before the all-seeing eye of the Judge and then become the divinely provided bloody sacrifice and substitute. Jesus would receive God’s condemnation and wrath on behalf of his church. They would then receive his sacred commendation and wealth. All we deserved he endured. All that he deserved we were to receive.

God has been for us! While his labor of redemption had been accomplished, his benefits of redemption were not immediately applied. We were given the opportunity to receive the free gift of salvation by grace through faith. All we had to do was to exercise our “free will” and believe, but therein lay the problem. As sinful children of the devil, we were fatally flawed. We were spiritually blind and could not see. We were spiritually deaf and could not hear. Our hearts were hard, our wills were wicked; we were all dead in our trespasses and sin. However, God was us. He effectually regenerated and irresistibly drew us to himself. The Holy Spirit instructed our minds, opened our eyes, opened our ears, and softened our hearts. He caused us to loathe Lucifer and encouraged us to “freely will” him and his Gospel. Yes, because God has been for us we heard, believed, repented, and were saved.

God has been for us! Jesus perfectly performed his obligations, and the Father followed suit. By divine declaration, without any works on our part, we are perfectly and permanently united with Jesus. By one act for all time, we were justified, positionally sanctified, and adopted. We have been eternally declared to be God’s sons and saints.

God is for us! While Jesus, in his human body, has physically vacated the planet, he has not done so without implanting his Holy Spirit in our hearts. Christian brothers and sisters, we are the Temple of God. We are his Holy of Holies where he chooses to dwell. God is within us, and it is his delight to teach, convict, encourage, inspire, comfort, fruit, gift, and lead us in righteousness.

God is for us! While in heaven, Jesus is preparing a place for us. A celestial city like none other is being constructed. He describes paradise as a house with many rooms. From heaven, Jesus will come with his glory and with his city, and it is there that we will dwell with the Lord.

Therefore friends, this being said, what are we going to say to a whining Lucifer who accuses us before the throne of God? What are we to say to the “Accuser of the Brethren?”

In addition, what are we going to say to the judgmental folk around us who keep reminding us of our ethical failures? What have we to say to the log inspectors about us who are not satisfied with our level of holiness?

Finally, what are we going to say to ourselves? How are we going to respond to our sin-laden consciences that have long memories and will not leave us be?

I am sure we can quote the Apostle Paul. Satan loved to throw his past sins in his face. In addition, there surely were legalistic neighbors could not forgive the madman of Tarsus for his past atrocities. And from Paul’s own words we know of his own wild struggle with the flesh. Therefore, with all this in mind, what did Paul teach that was of great benefit to himself and to us?

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 gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

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? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

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 8:31-39

Christian friends, forget the devil. He has always been full of lies. I am sure it would be appropriate for you to say, “God is for me … now who are you?”

Forget your legalistic neighbors? Who cares what devilish individuals might say? If God is for you, why do you care what mere mortals think.

Finally, forget your own legalistic soul. Right now, preach the Gospel to yourself and conclude by singing “Arise my soul arise.” Follower of Jesus, read the Law, see your sin, and repent again. But then read, re-read, and re-re-read the Gospel. Keep reading the Good News until the good truth sinks in. You are in a perfect relationship with God based upon the perfect work of Jesus. Therefore sabbath, relax, and rest in Jesus. Then go forth confidently to engage in affectionate, lawful worship. You are his priest. You are his son. You are a saint. You are OK, because God is in you. You are OK because God is for you.

Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina.  This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.