This and the two following verses contain a string of questions, most appropriately introduced and most powerfully urged, tending to show the safety of the state of those who have believed the Gospel of the grace of God. I shall lay these verses down as they are pointed by the best Greek critics: -
"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? - God who justifieth? Who is he that condemneth? - Christ who died? or, rather, who is risen again? He, who is at the right hand of God? He, who maketh intercession for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? - Tribulation? or distress? or persecution? or famine? or nakedness? or peril? or sword?" In all these questions the apostle intimates that if neither God nor Christ would bring any charge against them who love him, none else could. And as God justifies through Christ who died, consequently no charge can lie against these persons, as God alone could produce any; and He, so far from doing this, has justified them - freely forgiven their trespasses.
For the proper meaning and sense of the terms chosen, elect, called, etc., etc., see the discourse prefixed to this epistle; and especially Section 6, p. 19, etc., and Section 7, p. 23, etc.
Who shall lay anything to the charge - This expression is taken from courts of law, and means, who shall accuse, or condemn, or so charge with crime before the tribunal of God as to cause their condemnation?
God‘s elect - His chosen people. Those who have been chosen according to his eternal purpose; Note, Romans 8:28. As they are the chosen of God, they are dear to him; and as he purposed to save them, he will do it in such a way as that none can bring against them a charge that would condemn them.
It is God that justifieth - That is, who has pardoned them, and admitted them to his favor; and pronounced them just in his sight; Notes, Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24. It would be absurd to suppose that he would again condemn them. The fact that he has justified them is, therefore, a strong proof that they will be saved. This may be read with more force as a question, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God‘s elect? Shall God who justifieth?” The Greek will bear either mode of rendering. The passage implies that there would be a high degree of absurdity in supposing that the same being would both justify and condemn the same individual. The Christian, therefore, is secure.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. Ephesians 2:4, 5. UL 377.1
The heart surrendered to God's wise discipline will trust every working out of His providence.... Temptation will come to discourage, but what is gained by yielding to any such temptations? Is the soul made any better by murmuring and complaining of its only source of strength? Is the anchor cast within the vail? Will it hold in sickness? Will it be the testimony borne in the last closing scenes of life when the lips are becoming palsied with death? The anchor holds! I know that my Redeemer liveth.... UL 377.2Read in context »
Can we not stand in God, let our surroundings be ever so unpleasant and discouraging? “What shall we then say to these things? 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? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2T 517.1
Many ministers have not an undivided interest in the work of God. They have invested but little in His cause, and because they have taken so little stock in the advancement of the truth they are easily tempted in regard to it and moved from it. They are not established, strengthened, settled. He who understands well his own character, who is acquainted with the sin which most easily besets him, and the temptations that will be most likely to overcome him, should not expose himself needlessly and invite temptation by placing himself upon the enemy's ground. If duty calls him where circumstances are not favorable, he will have special help from God, and thus go fully girded for a conflict with the enemy. Self-knowledge will save many from falling into grievous temptations, and prevent many an inglorious defeat. In order to become acquainted with ourselves, it is essential that we faithfully investigate the motives and principles of our conduct, comparing our actions with the standard of duty revealed in God's word. Ministers should encourage and cultivate benevolence. 2T 517.2
I was shown that some who have been engaged in our office of publication, in our Health Institute, and in the ministry have labored simply for wages. There are exceptions; not all are guilty in this respect, but few have seemed to realize that they must give an account of their stewardship. Means that had been consecrated to God to advance His cause has been squandered. Families in poverty, who had experienced the sanctifying influences of the truth and who therefore prized it and felt grateful to God for it, have thought that they could and should deprive themselves of even the necessaries of life in order to bring in their offerings to the treasury of the Lord. Some have deprived themselves of articles of clothing which they really needed to make them comfortable. Others have sold their only cow and have dedicated to God the means thus received. In the sincerity of their souls, with many tears of gratitude because it was their privilege to do this for the cause of God, they have bowed before the Lord with their offering and have invoked His blessing upon it as they sent it forth, praying that it might be the means of bringing the knowledge of the truth to souls in darkness. The means thus dedicated has not always been appropriated as the self-sacrificing donors designed. Covetous, selfish men, having no spirit of self-denial or self-sacrifice themselves, have handled unfaithfully means thus brought into the treasury; and they have robbed the treasury of God by receiving means which they had not justly earned. Their unconsecrated, reckless management has squandered and scattered means that had been consecrated to God with prayers and tears. 2T 518.1Read in context »
Mary had been looked upon as a great sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life. He might have extinguished every spark of hope in her soul, but He did not. It was He who had lifted her from despair and ruin. Seven times she had heard His rebuke of the demons that controlled her heart and mind. She had heard His strong cries to the Father in her behalf. She knew how offensive is sin to His unsullied purity, and in His strength she had overcome. DA 568.1
When to human eyes her case appeared hopeless, Christ saw in Mary capabilities for good. He saw the better traits of her character. The plan of redemption has invested humanity with great possibilities, and in Mary these possibilities were to be realized. Through His grace she became a partaker of the divine nature. The one who had fallen, and whose mind had been a habitation of demons, was brought very near to the Saviour in fellowship and ministry. It was Mary who sat at His feet and learned of Him. It was Mary who poured upon His head the precious anointing oil, and bathed His feet with her tears. Mary stood beside the cross, and followed Him to the sepulcher. Mary was first at the tomb after His resurrection. It was Mary who first proclaimed a risen Saviour. DA 568.2
Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration. DA 568.3Read in context »
The disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a friend at the throne of God, and they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher, with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. And Pentecost brought them fullness of joy in the presence of the Comforter, even as Christ had promised. DA 833.1
All heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As He ascended, He led the way, and the multitude of captives set free at His resurrection followed. The heavenly host, with shouts and acclamations of praise and celestial song, attended the joyous train. DA 833.2
As they drew near to the city of God, the challenge is given by the escorting angels,— DA 833.3Read in context »