Pacifist Lamentations Volume 4
It’s been a while since I wrote a Pacifist Lament. This one has been on my mind for a few weeks. I stems from some bad preaching I heard recently on Romans 8:31.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Taken out of context, as this verse often is, it could seem that Paul is saying that with God on our side we are invincible. And while that may be true, it leads to a violent interpretation of what we are capable of when God is “for” us. Sadly, Romans 8:31 has been mis-quoted in this way from the barricades of revolution and war for hundreds of years.
“God is on our side! Therefore; let us go and slay our enemies!”
But taken in context of the entirety of Romans 8, we begin to form a very different picture of what it means to have God “for” us.
In the first half of Romans 8, Paul lays out a detailed analysis of what happens to us when we believe that Jesus dwells in us and is transforming us from the inside out. Put simply, we have become so deeply like Jesus that we have become children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus himself and co-heirs to the kingdom.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. [Romans 8:16-17]
Provided we suffer with him, not provided we go out and fight for him! Paul goes on to talk about how all believers will be treated and “glorified” with Christ. We will suffer in this world, but we can count it all as nothing in comparison to what awaits us.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. [Romans 8:18-19]
And then we get to the big question that is so often taken out of context – If God is for us, who can be against us?
God for us is an expression of love. Deepest, most profound and all-encompassing LOVE.
If God is for us. If God, who in his very nature is love, expresses that love toward us. If God has made us part of his family. Who can do or say anything that will negate or make any negative impact on that?
No one can stand against that!
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 8:37-39]
We can remain above and outside of violence! Nothing that is done too us can have any impact on our salvation. We therefore transcend violence and remain passive, continuing to love our enemies and work toward reconciliation even in the face of our own death.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. God is for us!
L C Sheil writes regularly about, spirituality, life and business coaching. He is the founder and director of The Matthew 5:5 Society (formerly The Meekonomics Project) where he coaches ministry and business leaders to Live Life to the Fullest in Complete Submission to the Will of God.
Mr. Sheil has authored two books and is available for public speaking and one on one coaching in the areas of work life balance, finding and living your core values and financial literacy. Write to The Matthew 5:5 Society here for more information or follow L C Sheil on twitter and instagram.