The Protection of God
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
“What then are we to say about these things” (v. 31a)? was Paul’s way of introducing five major conclusions based on God’s master plan of salvation (vv. 28-30). In the rhetorical questions of verses 31b and 32, we found the first two conclusions: It is impossible to nullify the power of God, and the provision of God.
Our present text asks a third rhetorical question, which provides Paul’s third conclusion. It is impossible to nullify the protection of God.
Romans 8:33a Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
To press home the assurance that is ours as believers, Paul will now construct a courtroom scene. The court is in session; believers are on trial.
The first step in any legal process is for the prosecution to present an indictment. Therefore, the Judge issues the challenge: “Who can bring a valid accusation against these whom God has chosen?”
The obvious answer to this rhetorical question is, “No one.” Not even the Devil, our chief prosecutor and the “accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12:10), can bring a valid accusation against us.
We know the evil one is very successful in intimidating us and accusing us within our consciences. However, when he tries to nullify our salvation, all his efforts prove futile before God the Judge.
Satan may rant and rave about how undeserving we are and how sinful our lives have been, but this will not be an acceptable argument. For believers, God’s tribunal is a throne of Grace. We do not have to merit salvation in order to have salvation.
Therefore, if Satan says we’re not good enough to be saved, his objection will be overruled by God. The Judge will throw that argument out of court as being immaterial, irrelevant, and not germane to the case.
Yes, we break the Law, but it no longer has anything to do with our everlasting condition. Grace has taken believers out of the realm of Law.
We are finished with regard to the Law. “For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).“My brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
Our salvation is all of grace. As a result, there is nothing to accuse us of, no grounds for a valid indictment. There is no one who can bring a valid accusation, and no one to bring it to…
Romans 8:33b God is the One who justifies.
No accusation against believers could ever succeed because the Judge Himself has already declared us justified. This means He has declared we are acceptable to Him in Christ. The Judge has become our Defender.
If God had so chosen, He could have brought an indictment against us. Our sins are committed directly against Him, and He would have every right to prosecute us. But this He cannot do, because He ordained that all who flee to Jesus for refuge would be counted as just in His sight.
The One to whom we are liable has dropped all charges against us. The Chief Justice exclaims, “Justified!” And since the Judge is God Himself, no one can ever rob us of our verdict.
The rulings of the highest Court of the Universe occur at God’s tribunal. Whatever verdict is rendered there can never be reversed, and the verdict for believers is “Justified!”
Our sin has been imputed to Christ, and His righteousness has been imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are covered with the righteousness of Christ.
“Jesus, Thy robe of righteousness
My beauty is, my glorious dress” (Count Zinzendorf).
We are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. Therefore our everlasting destiny is secure.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; …
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in him be found;Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;All other ground is sinking sand” (Edward Mote).
In Jesus we are safe. We are the elect, picked by God. Who dares to speak against those whom God has chosen? Since we are God’s choice, it would be rash and presumptive to bring a charge against us.
Aaron and Miriam learned the hard way it is dangerous to speak against one of God’s chosen. Miriam was smitten with leprosy, and Aaron begged for mercy. God said of Moses, “I speak with him directly, openly, and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord” (Numbers 12:8).
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me, but whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” (Matthew 18:5-6).Zechariah the prophet saw a vision of Joshua the high priest dressed in filthy rags. It was a pitiful picture of Israel’s polluted and sinful condition.
The accuser, Satan, was there to rail against the downgraded priest. God rebuked Satan and described the priest as a brand plucked from the fire.
The Lord commanded that the dirty garments be taken off Joshua, and that the priest be clothed with clean garments. This pictured the bestowal of righteousness on the high priest. With this accomplished, Satan was totally silenced. He cannot speak against those that God has cleansed (see ZC 3:1-5).
These blessed illustrations provide only a faint shadow of how protected we are in Christ. God’s reputation is wrapped up in our salvation. Our glorification is as sure as His integrity.
A saintly invalid of Scotland was asked, “Suppose that, after all your praying and all your trusting, God should cast you off at last; what then?”
The lady replied, “God would be the great loser. Poor Nanny would lose her soul, to be sure, and that would be a sad loss indeed, but God would lose His character. He knows I’ve just hung up my soul and all my hopes on His own precious promises; and if they should be broken, the whole universe would go to ruin, for God would be a liar.”
Because our salvation is based on God’s gracious dealings, Paul asked, “What then are we to say about these things?” We confidently say it is impossible to nullify the power, provision, and protection of God.