What does Romans 8:31 mean?
ESV: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
NIV: What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
NASB: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
CSB: What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
NLT: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
KJV: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Verse Commentary:
Paul continues to offer encouragement to Christians on this side of eternity. It's true that we are suffering, as all of creation is, as we wait to be glorified with God forever. The fact that we suffer, though, does not mean that God is not with us or for us. In the previous verses, Paul has shown that God is working to complete a purpose in us that He set out to do before He even formed the world (Ephesians 1:4). That purpose is to make us like Christ, and God is still using "all things" to finish this process (Romans 8:28).

Again, in this passage, Paul speaks from the perspective of saved Christian believers. References here to "us," or "we" are not inclusive of the entire human race, but only those who have accepted Christ in faith (Romans 3:23–26; John 3:16–18).

In light of the fact that God foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and will glorify us (Romans 8:30), Paul comes to an undeniable conclusion: God must be for us. God must be for all of us who are in Christ by faith. What an amazing and life-changing thought. The one, true God, the creator of all things, is for us. With Him for us, who could ever possibly be against us?

Of course, anyone at all might be against us, in literal terms; any person or group might try to oppose us or afflict us. Paul's question is who of any consequence could ever be against us? What could anyone against us ever hope to accomplish against us, if God Himself is for us? What chance is there that someone can thwart God's intent to save those justified by faith in His son?

The question is whether we believe God is truly for us. Paul offers a definitive answer to that question in the following verse.
Verse Context:
Romans 8:31-39 is one of the most encouraging and affirming passages in all of God's Word. Paul has established that God is for all of us who are in Christ; for those who have been saved by their faith. No charge or accusation made against us can stand, because God has provided for our justification and Christ is interceding for us. Paul makes two lists of all of the things in the universe that cannot separate us from God's love for us in Christ. Hard things will happen, indeed. Yet, none of them will cause our Father to stop loving us, nor are any of them signs that He has abandoned us. Our salvation is entirely, absolutely secure on account of His great love.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of the Christian's absolute security before God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ.
Chapter Context:
In Romans 7, Paul revealed his frustration of trying to do good only to be thwarted by his sin. He begins Romans 8, though, with the triumphant statement that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We live in the Spirit, and we relate to God as a child does to a father. The Spirit helps us in this season of suffering along with all of creation while we wait for our adoption to be complete with the redemption of our bodies. We are confident, though, that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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