PART 2 –Concluding arguments of Paul from Romans 8:31–35
SCRIPTURE & LOGIC
Victory in Christ
31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, together with him, freely give us all things?
33 Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.
34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ is the one who died, and more than that, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (LEB)
In part two of this passage we will investigate the logic of verses 33-34.
These two verses are an extension of the basic modus ponens of verse 31:
“(P) if God is for the elect, (~Q) then nothing can be against God’s elect.”
In fact, even verse 32 is an extension of this argument. Verse 32 is pinpointing(i.e. deduction) specific information from this argument, in a positive statement about all the good things the Father has given and will give His Elect. That is, (P) if God is for the elect in all the freely given provisions to them, (~Q) then nothing can be against them by limiting their resources and provisions.
Verse 33 pinpoints the information from this argument in a negative and narrow aspect about condemnation. That is, (P) if God is the one who declares believers righteous, (~Q) then no one can be against believers to condemn them.
Next in verse 34 Paul makes explicit from the argument 31 the specific information about if one where to bring a charge against God’s elect. That is, (P) if God is for the elect by having His beloved Son crucified, risen and interceding for them at His right hand, (~Q) then no one can shall bring a charge against God’s elect.
This is a good time to go over a foundational understanding of deductive logic contrasted with inductive logic, which is technically a logical fallacy—that is, all induction is a non-sequitur—even the best abductive logic still commits the fallacy of a non-sequitur. Now, a deductive conclusion is necessarily inferred from the premise(s). It merely, points out and makes explicit, information already contained in the premise(s). This is the essence of deduction. A deduction from doctrine, which is correctly formed by Scripture, is what Scripture asserts. Induction is the opposite, it adds more information into the conclusion. It manufactures new information not found in the premises (i.e. truth claims) and with out logical necessity shoves this addition into the conclusion.
At any rate, when Paul gave the doctrinal affirmation that “God being for us means nothing can be against us,” it was formed by many truth claims both from other scriptures and his own revelation as scripture. (verse 32) First, in the immediate context we are told in Romans that God has freely given us forgiveness; imputed righteousness; adoption as sons; new cause and effects—such as being taken out of the law of sin and death and then placed in the new law of righteous and endless life; and we are even given the Spirit who prays for us when we do not know how to pray for ourselves. God says in chapter 5 that if by Christ’s death we are reconciled to the Father, then how much more does Christ’s life mean abundant provisions for us in relation to the Father. Indeed, in chapter 12 we are told God—though Christ—freely gave gifts to the whole body of Christ. Paul in Galatians tell us that—by Christ—we are freely given the blessings and promise of Abraham. These freely given blessings of Abraham includes healings and miracles. (etc.) A good summary of this is found in the first few verses of Psalm 103. Oh’, the many benefits freely given us through Christ! This understanding is part of the comprehension of the doctrine, “(P) If God is for the Elect, (~Q)then nothing shall be against them.” Thus, it is just a deduction to say, “(P) if God is for the elect in all the freely given provisions to them, (~Q) then nothing can be against them by limiting their resources and provisions.” For it is just selecting a smaller part of what is already included in the doctrine and making it explicit.
The same is with verses 33 and 34. Paul in the immediate context spends a good deal of time showing what it means that we are saved by God’s work and not our own. That is, by Jesus’ freely given bloodshed the Father Himself declares us righteous in His judgment. Faith is merely a freely given empowerment, to mentally accent to these truths.
There is no other court. There is no authority over God. God is not accountable to anyone. There is no law over God, for there is no authority over God. Rather all created things are accountable to Him, and by this are responsible. There is no other metaphysical power in the universe. Evil is not a privation of God, for then evil would be a dualism with God; in fact, it be more basic than God at the metaphysical level. No. God is the sum total of all that is metaphysical on the ultimate level. There is no other causality in the universe. God alone is the direct and absolute controller of all reality. He alone is Judge. He has already judged Satan and demons in Christ’s death. And it is this God who has planned, sent and accepted His Beloved’s bloodshed as payment for all our sins. It is this God who raised Jesus up in endless power of life and has identified us with Him. How righteous is Jesus? We are identified with Him, by this GOD. How many perfect righteous acts did Jesus perform on earth? It is this God who identifies us with Him. How much treasure and glory and endless inheritance does Jesus have while sitting at His Father’s right hand? Yet, it is this God that has identified us with Him! Look at all the extra baskets left over from the feeding of the four and five thousand!
And so, this understanding also formulated the doctrinal statement, “(P) if God is for the elect, (~Q) then nothing shall be against them.” And so, it is just a deduction to say, “(P) if God is the one who justifies the elect, (~Q) then no one can bring a charge against them.”
Whether it trying to limit the blessings for the Elect, or trying to bring a charge against them being reconciled to God, or tying to separate them from God’s love in anyway whatsoever, it is against the doctrine that says, “If God is for the elect, then nothing can be against them.” The passage following this one where Paul hammers on the point about how “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ,” is a rehashed statement from verse 31. “(~P) If nothing can separate us from God’s love, (~Q) then nothing can be against us.” And so, the exhortation here is to notice how long Paul stays on this point and says it repeatedly. Oh believer’, do you really assent to the truth of this passage, and that it is for you?
What about persecutions and troubles? Yes, even in these we gain a surpassing victory.
Psalm 34:17, 19 (NLT)
The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)
The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
John 16:33, World English Bible
I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.”
This passage is similar to how the Scripture likes to moralize itself. Vincent speaks on moralizing a text saying, “Several verses later, James writes, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18). Now he is moralizing like there is no tomorrow. Elijah? The context is first about praying for healing. James says that when we pray for the sick, God will heal them. Then he broadens the lesson to prayer in general. He says that the prayer of a righteous man is effective. If you are going by your own righteousness, you will never make it, and your prayers will fail. I am not going by my own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ. I am righteous because Jesus is righteous, and I am righteous in him. So when I pray in the name of Jesus, I pray as a righteous man. God hears me just like he hears Jesus, and my prayer is effective. In any case, James finds it appropriate to directly apply Elijah’s example to the Christian.” Elijah prayed for rain (natural weather) to be used completely out of context for a believer to pray for healing(supernatural for the body) and forgiveness (spiritual)? For people who know the Scriptures and logic they know the reason. The context of being a Christian makes it a deductive application for them in their context. However, the unspiritual, illogical and unbelieving have no way to make since of such Scriptures.
R.1. (P) If God is the one who declares believers righteous, (~Q) then necessarily no one can condemn believers.
R.2. (P) It is true that God is the one who declares believers righteous.
R.3. (~Q) Therefore, no one can condemn believers.
This argument “T,” would best be seen in a Natural Deduction argument to compensate for all the conjunctions, but because we know a basic Truth Table will demonstrate the validity of multiple conjuncts, we will just proceed with a basic, but wordy Modus ponens.
T.1. (P) if God is for the elect by having His beloved Son crucified, risen and interceding for them at His right hand, (~Q) then necessarily no one can bring a charge against God’s elect.
T.2. (P) It is true that God is for the elect by having His beloved Son crucified, risen and interceding for them at His right hand.
T.3. (~Q) Therefore, no one can bring a charge against God’s elect.
W.1. (~P) If nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ, (~Q) then necessarily nothing can be against us.”
W.2. (~P) It is true that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.
W.3. (~Q) Therefore, nothing can be against us.