Lesson 11 – Freedom of the Children of God

Freedom of the Children of God

Lesson Aim:     To show that God works for the good in all things of those who love Him.

Scripture:         Romans 8: 18-39.


The Apostle Paul presented six rhetorical questions in our lesson text that form a basis for a review of our study of the Roman letter.  Starting in verse 31 they read as follows:

1.  What then shall we say to these things?

2.  If God is for us, who is against us?

3.  Will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

4.  Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?

5.  Who is the one who condemns?

6.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

The text for our lessons in Part III have been taken from Romans 5:12 through 8:39.  We have studied what God did for Christians “in Christ” to give us freedom from the problems “in Adam” in the world.  These problems were sin, death, Law, and the wrath of God.  Now we know how to attain and maintain freedom from each of these domineering factors.  The stimulating effect of our new-found freedom is that God’s power can direct and motivate us in our lives to be “more than conquerors.”  We can live spiritual lives even though we live in a world dominated by Satan and sinful people “in Adam.”

It is for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.     Gal. 5:1


What then shall we say to these things?”  This question opened the door for the other five questions.  Paul set up a panoramic view of time and eternity for his presentation of God’s purpose for mankind’s existence.  This panorama was set forth in chapter eight, verses 28-30.  Please review Part I, Lesson One.  “These things” are about the Almighty and Glorious Creator of all things and His relationship with the people on earth who love Him.  God loves everyone, at least, in their maturing years.  He does not want anyone to be lost from His purpose in creation (II Pet. 3:9).  However, His purposes include only the people who have learned to trust and love Him (I Cor. 2:9, 10).  The sixth rhetorical question is Paul’s challenge for those of us who have decided to accept God’s love and respond to Him in love.  Who could possible separate a Christian from the love of Jesus Christ?  Paul posed this question for each member of the Lord’s church to individually ponder.  Of course, the answer is – I am the only one who could possibly separate me from the love of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.   

These things also involve God’s Son, Jesus Christ as our king and priest.  In His role as king, Jesus is leading Christians against the forces of Satan to bring God’s children back to Him (Isa. 43:6, 7; Rom. 16:20).  Jesus, our high priest is continually interceding for us when we make request to God in prayer (V. 24).  Likewise, the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness.”  V. 26.  All Three Persons of Deity are at this very minute working for Christians who love God “in Christ” (Col. 2:9, 10).  We, who live by faith, are in a program that is now in full operation.  It is a dynamic program to change the personality and character of a sinner to a courageous son of God.  What shall we say to this?  Praise the Lord! 

This program to develop children for God’s eternal kingdom starts for Christians immediately after our reconciliation (Rom. 5:11).  Reconciliation has been translated from the Greek word “katallasso.” It means a change of the relationship between mankind and His Creator.  Sinners are enemies of God (Rom. 5:10).  They are slaves to their sins.  Paul said to the Galatian Christians, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”  Gal. 4:7.  These things are preparing us for eternity with God as His children (Rom. 8:19).  It is a spiritual exercise where Christians are continuously putting to death the deeds of our bodies (Rom. 8:13).  It is developing Christ in us, our hope of glory (Col.  1:27).   God is causing all things, especially our tribulations, to work for our good because we love Him (Rom. 5:3-5). 

What does God desire from all these dynamic activities in Christ?  While Christians are still in our Adam nature “in Christ,” God wants us to be fruit producers for His glorious kingdom by doing His will (Rom. 7:4; 12:2; 14:17).  He wants us to examine ourselves to see if we still have some of the characteristics on Paul’s list in chapter one, verses twenty eight through thirty-one. We may not be murderers but how about envy, strife, deceit and malice.  Do we sometimes gossip about and slander another person whose spirit is “in God’s likeness.”  Jas. 3:9.    God wants us to change all of our unhealthy traits to the healthy ones on Paul’s list in Romans, chapter twelve:

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in seal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Rom. 12:9-13. 

The list continues through verse 20 and ends with:  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Rom. 12:21  

After our time on earth is finished, God desires that we have eternal life as His sons in heaven (Rom. 5:10, 11; 6:23; Rev. 3:21). 

“If God is for us who is against us?” Verse 31.  We know God is not against us because He sent His son to die for us before we repented of being His enemy (Rom. 5:8).  If God loved us while we were His enemy, certainly, He still loves us now that we have decided to love Him.  There is no force greater than God; therefore, the supreme power over all powers is on our side and has offered us a new covenant “in Christ.”  The proof God is still for us is found in the quality of His love (Rom. 5:6-8).  He loved us when we were unlovable.  A way out of both physical and spiritual death was made available to us because of God’s agape (love).  When we live by faith God is for us, we do not fear any other force.  Christians live by faith, not only in the promises made in God’s new covenant; but we, like Abraham, are “being fully persuaded that God had (has) power to do what He had promised.”  Rom. 4:21.

“Will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  Verse 32.  Is there any question left in our minds about what God is willing to give us.  His patience and love has been manifest though out history in so many ways.  Paul and Barnabas reminded the pagans in Lystra:

In the past, He let all nations go their own way.  Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.  Acts 14:16, 17

We were created to be winners, not losers.  God is giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places “in Christ.”  (Eph. 1:3).  We have learned about most of these blessing in our study of the first eight chapters of Romans.  It was not enough for God to give us freedom from the problems in the world realm.  He has given us the new realm with Christ as our king and priest.  We have the Word of God as our guide to life and the Holy Spirit to lead us in applying the laws of life to our “self.”  Rom. 8:13.  He is our assurance that, “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Rom. 8:11.  The Holy Spirit “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”  Rom. 8:16.  We have identity.  God is revealing His righteousness to us and loving us as our Father.  We have the church as our brethren, and yet there is more as we will learn in our study of the remainder of this Spirit inspired document called Romans.

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” Verse 33.  God chose us “in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him in love.”  Eph. 1:4.  By God’s grace, Christians have been given two doctrines “in Christ” that gives us these blessings.  Justification by faith makes us blameless (righteous) and sanctification lets us be holy (saints) in God’s presence now.  Based on a law of works, everybody could bring charges against us, but based on God’s law of faith; no charges from any source are valid.  God is just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom.  3:26).  Faithful Christians live on the “mercy seat” in the holy of holies in God’s presence (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 6:19, 20; Matt. 27:51).  Yes, Christians have weaknesses, yes, we fall short of God’s glory but no one can bring a charge against us, because we are God’s elect (Rom. 9:11, 12, 23, 24: 11:7). 

Who is the one who condemns? Verse 34.  God has given all power over to Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18).  God will judge the world through Jesus (Rom. 2:16).  Will He condemn us for our sins?  Jesus has already proven He is working for people with faith in the cross.  He died for people who maintain faith and repentance until we die, physically.  Was it not because of our justification He was raised?  (Rom. 4:25).  He will not condemn us at judgment for the sins we committed that God promised to “remember no more.”   Heb. 8:12.

What a beautiful thought; the one we will stand before on the Day of Judgment is now working for us as our advocate (I John 2:1; Heb. 9:26-28).  Jesus, as our priest, is now interceding to God on behalf of our “requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.”  I Tim. 2:1.  His “atoning sacrifice” is continually working for us.  Everything Christians claim to be “in Christ” is marked as “justified” from God’s point of view (Rom. 5:18).  We should not think Jesus would ever condemn us, if He finds faith in us. 

Satan is seeking to cause us to be condemned (I Pet. 5:8).  However, God has provided us with “the full armor of God so that you (we) can take a stand against the devil’s schemes.”  Eph. 6:10.  In fact, Christians need every piece of this armor in our struggle “against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Eph. 6:12.  The strength of the armor God provides will depend upon how we accept the theme of this letter.  “The righteous will live by faith.”  Rom. 1:17.  Each protective piece of the armor becomes a part of our life scenario by our faith in the particular piece.  Please read and consider each item in I Peter 5:10-18.  Note how our shield of faith will put the devil on the run (V. 16; I Peter 5:9).  He will not be present on the Day of Judgment to condemn us because God will have already caste him “into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophets had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Rev. 20:10.     

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Verse 35.  Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The following is the scene Paul wanted us, and the Christians in Rome, to be aware of:

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope, that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoptions as sons, the redemption of our bodies.       Rom. 8:18-23

 This block of scripture presents the true reality of what has happened and what is happening today.  It became a reality immediately after Adam and Eve broke covenant with God (Rom. 5:12).  One reason God initiated decay was because they got the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:22). When this scene becomes a Christians “worldview” and we place our faith in it, we will never be separated from the love of Christ.  Faith like love is a choice we must personally make for ourselves.  No one can make it for us.  God has presented this scene to us by the Holy Spirit through Paul’s letter to the Romans.  It is a scene only God could present.  The scene is each Christian’s present hope (Vs. 24, 25). 

God has endowed mankind with the capability of imagination.  Christians attain the content for our imaginative spiritual scenes from God’s word.  We can then choose to erase it from our minds or we can choose to place our faith in the scene.  The spiritual imaginative scenes will be the source of our hope for our future.  Some of our strongest innate drives can be satisfied only by hope.  Our “God given” needs for glory, honor and immortality (security) can be satisfied with hope while we live “in Adam, in Christ.”  A person without hope is a person without the benefit of patience (V. 25).  Patience to wait for our hope is developed by our tribulations.  Paul said our present sufferings are nothing in comparison with the glory they will provide for our innate drive for this glory (Rom. 8:18; Heb. 12:4-8).     

It is easy to love God and Christ when we are being showered with all these many spiritual blessings “in Christ.”  The question we will be called upon to answer at some point in our lives is, “Does God still love me when He is withholding physical blessings?”  In other words, if Christ is so powerful and loving, and if He is on our side, why would He stand by and let us suffer tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and even the sword?  Christians must have faith and hope that God’s “discipline by tribulations” are exercises that will be necessary to develop children for His eternal kingdom.  Human parents understand this principle (Heb. 12:9).  In many situations, preachers fail to include the “discipline by tribulations” principle in their messages of evangelism.  

The Apostle Paul was convinced nothing should separate us from the love of Christ.  He was convinced we would continue to love Christ and receive His love regardless of the situations we encounter.  How can we be so convinced?  The answer is by looking at things through the eyes of Paul and other writers of our Bible who were inspired by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:1-5).  Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17).  The door of faith is opened for people by our study of God’s word (Acts 14:27).  The next step we take is in obedience to our faith (Rom. 1:5).  The result of our obedience encourages our hope of sharing in God’s glory (Rom. 5:3-5; 8:24, 25).  Faith, obedience and hope form the path of life that will keep us in the love of God “in Christ Jesus.”   Rom. 8:39.  

We must live on the “mountain of hope” to be able to see ourselves as “overwhelming conquerors.” (Rom. 8:32).  We win great victories just by continuing to love Christ even under dire physical conditions.  Christians view our tribulations as God’s program to develop us as His sons (Rom. 5:3).  Even Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 5:8).   Faith gives us victory over Satan because we will continue to know God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are these things the Apostle Paul had in mind in verse 31 of our text?
  2. Who is involved with Christians in these things of which Paul speaks?
  3. When a Christian fully realizes God is for him or her, what effect will this realization have on their mental environment?
  4. Who is responsible for a Christian being separated from the love of Christ? 
  5. Define the word reconciliation?
  6. What does God expect from Christians in the category of fruit?
  7. What is our proof God is for us and will always be for those who love Him?
  8. List some things God has freely given us “in Christ.”
  9. How has God proved He cared for people throughout the history of mankind, even though they did not have faith in Him?
  10. List the two doctrines allowing Christians to be holy and blameless.
  11. List some key roles the Holy Spirit has played to help Christians develop as sons of God.
  12. Why is it unreasonable for anyone to bring a charge against God’s elect?
  13. There was a mercy seat in the holy of holies of the tabernacle and temple.  Explain how this was a “foreshadowing” of the mercy seat on which Christians live.
  14. Why should Christians not be concerned about Jesus, our advocate, being our judge when He returns for us?
  15. What determines the strength of the armor God has provided for Christians?
  16. What is the value of a true world view?
  17. Name the endowment humans possess that lets us be able to hope.
  18. Where do Christians get their content in which to have hope?
  19. How is patience developed?
  20. How does a Christians attain the role of “an overwhelming conqueror?”



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