“If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Muhammad Ali, possibly the greatest heavyweight boxing champion of all time, once puzzled over the strong public desire to see him fight Joe Frazier. For Ali this simply made no sense. George Foreman had beaten Frazier decisively and Ali himself had beaten Foreman. If Ali had already defeated the stronger of the two fighters, his victory over the weaker was virtually guaranteed. We see these kinds of comparatives in the Bible also. Once the Lord Jesus pronounced a crippled man forgiven of his sins (Matthew 9:2). When the religious leaders saw this they were indignant. How could the carpenter from Nazareth possibly have authority to forgive sin? That prerogative belongs to God alone (Isaiah 45:23; 44:22). For the religious leaders, this was nothing short of blasphemy (9:3). Knowing their thoughts, the Lord confronted them directly. “For whether is easier,” He demanded, “to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and walk?’” (9:5). The answer is obvious. It is far easier to claim to forgive sin since the claim entails no necessary empirical verification. Commanding a crippled man to rise and walk, however, is something entirely different. Because it does entail empirical verification, the task is almost infinitely more difficult. In healing the crippled man, our Lord accomplished not just what was more difficult, but that which was seemingly impossible! In accomplishing the harder of the two tasks, He showed decisively that He did indeed have power to pronounce sin forgiven (9:6-8). This works the other way also. Oftentimes in the Bible we read that God intervened in miraculous ways to help people with apparently mundane problems. The recovery of a servant’s lost axe-head comes to mind (2 Kings 6:1-7) as does the provision of wine at a wedding (John 2:1-12). If God so cares about these “little things,” we may be very sure He cares about that which is of eternal consequence in our lives. This thought leads us to today’s powerful verse passage. Paul reminds us that God has already given to us that which is infinitely valuable. God has already given us the life of His dear Son. This He did in order to secure our redemption, to grant us every attending blessing and benefit this mysterious transaction entails. Paul asks us to consider these things carefully. “If God be for us,” he asks, “who can be against us?” If the One with supreme power and authority is on our side, supporting and defending us, of what consequence is it that other, infinitely lesser beings, seek to oppose us? Furthermore, if God has already granted to us, for love’s sake (Romans 5:8), that which is most valuable, it is foolish to suppose that He will withhold from us needful things, which are of infinitely lesser value. May these thoughts strengthen and encourage you today.