It Is Not An Iffy If

Bible Book: Romans  8 : 31-32
Subject: Promises of God; Assurance

Romans 8:31-32, ”What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? NKJV

About 35 years ago, Christa and I were called down by the IRS people. It was the third year in a row that we had been called down to give further evidence of our deductions that we claimed when we filled out our tax forms. With this being the third time, I was a little aggravated because we had ample records and we had proven the correctness of our forms each time we had been down. And I told the man up front, I said, "Sir, I want to tell you that this is the third time we've been called down and I want to just reaffirm if there is anything wrong in our form, it was done by mistake or out of ignorance. We are not trying to pay less taxes than what is legally owed." And the man put up one finger and said, "Well, there are just several things, Mr. McCullen, that look rather iffy." And he used the word "iffy" several times during our interview.

At the conclusion of the interview, we had proven to him that we could had actually not taken more deductions than we were supposed to take and he was happy to let us go because we said, "Well, we won't file this and we won't ask for any more returns.” But he said, "Well, Mr. McCullen it just looked kinda "iffy – just kinda iffy." I don't know that I've ever had an experience in life where somebody used the word 'iffy' as much as this man did.

Our text says, "If God be for us, who can be against us." It is not an “iffy” if. It is not an iffy if is the thesis of this verse. It is not an iffy if in the test of this verse. Look with me further at Romans 8:31-32.

I. The Thesis is not an IF

“If God {is} for us, who {is} against us?"

A. Notice the Premise of the Thesis


John Phillips said, "The ‘if’ in this statement in no way implies a doubt.[1] J.P. McBeth said, "’Since’” God be for us…."[2] Barnhouse wrote, "This is not the ‘if’ of questioning doubt, but the ‘if’ of dominant faith because God is for us…."[3]

The Greek language quite precisely indicates the degree of certainty or the "iffiness" of some occurrence by the uses of three different grammatical constructions. The "if" here is a first class condition indicating certainty.[4]

It is like Mark McGwire saying, "If I ever hit another home run."

It is like Tiger Woods saying, "If I ever have another par round of golf."

B. Notice the Presence of the Thesis

"God Is"

The words "God Is" are in the present tense. It is like Psalms 23:1, "The Lord Is my shepherd…."

I read of a Children’s Sunday School teacher asking her class, "How many of you can recite the 23 Psalm?” One little girl really waved her hand indicating she knew. The teacher said, "Okay, stand and say it.” The little girl stood and said, "The Lord is my Shepherd I don't need anything else."

It is like Philippians 1:6, “{For I am} confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” NAS

We believe in an eternal salvation. Some called it “once saved always saved.” Why do we believe that? Because He began it, continues it, and will conclude it.

Contrast these two words: (1) God is for us 5228 huper; over us;.(2) Who can be against 2596 kata; down under us.

Do you understand what I have just said? Place God up here where He is and all else in life below or under Him, then ask who can be against me?

C. Notice the People of the Thesis

"For us"

It is like 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” NAS

The "us" are those talked about in this entire chapter. The "us" are those who are "in Christ."

"A few weeks ago at a meeting, Barney Brogan was telling us about his grandson. His daughter has moved to Missouri with the boys. As some of you know, their father is Chicano, and the children look like their dad. Their 13-year-old ran into a tremendous nest of White Supremacy at school. Because of the prejudice against blacks and Chicanos, that little innocent lad began to suffer very unjust torment and persecution. He didn't understand it; he came home weeping, beaten up because of his looks. His mother didn't know what to do, and so she wrote and asked us to pray for this situation, and we did.

"A week or so later a letter came back and described how one night the biggest kid in school appeared at their door and said that he was a Christian, that he knew they were Christians, and that he had come to tell them that he had gone to every kid in school who had beat up on the boy and told them that if they ever did anything like that again, they would answer to him. I don't know what that boy's name was, but let's call him Mike. I can imagine this little boy going back to school, walking in the shadow of Mike, with all his tormentors looking at him. He probably would be saying to himself, 'If Mike is for me, who can be against me?'"[5]

I had a similar experience when I was in elementary school. I had not really started growing and I was younger than most of the boys in my class. Like most boys I had figured out who was tougher than me and watched out for them. One of them picked on me. Then my parents rented an apartment to Harry Mason's brother. Harry was in class at school and he was 6'2” tall and weighed over 200 Lbs. Harry became a good buddy and no one bother me.

One author reports: One of my favorite movies, "The Bear," has in the final scenes a little grizzly cub being attacked by a mountain lion. The life of the little cub seems to be in great danger as the mountain lion moves in for the kill. Suddenly, the baby bear rears up on its hind legs letting out the fiercest growl it can muster. Amazingly, the mountain lion shrinks back! The camera then slowly draws back to reveal just behind the cub a massive grizzly, reared on his hind legs, delivering a fierce warning to the mountain lion. The cub's enemy was great. But in the protective shadow of the great grizzly, that mountain lion was nothing. With the giant grizzly as its protection, who was this mere mountain lion?

With God on our side, who could possibly be an opponent who would cause us to shrink back in fear? The sovereignty of a God who is "for us" provides a new perspective on anyone or anything which threatens to oppose or destroy us.[6]

The father of our country, retiring from the camp at Valley Forge to a secluded grove, that he might commune with the heavenly Father in private prayer and obtain from Him strength and guidance in that trying hour, was mightier than the armies of his enemies.

One who sided with the British, knowing the reason why the Commander-in-chief so frequently visited that grove, exclaimed, "Our cause is lost; George Washington is asking the help of the Almighty!"[7]

In Isaiah 37:17-37 Hezekiah, alone in the Temple on his knees with the boastful, blasphemous letter of Sennacherib spread out before the mercy-seat, was stronger than the Assyrians, for the Lord God of hosts was on his side.

Sennacherib's army lost 185,000 men and he fled God said in Isaiah 37:35, “’For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'" NAS

II. The Test is not an IF

Note verses 31b-32. “If God {is} for us, who {is} against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” NAS

In reality the question is, "Who will be able to press charges against God's elect that will stick at judgment?"

Dr. Carl Bates was pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been president of the Southern Baptist Convention and I've had the privilege of hearing him preach on a number of occasions. On one occasion he told the story of a new preacher coming into town and wanting to debate with Dr. Bates. The new preacher was with the church known as The Church of Christ.

This particular man was very antagonistic. Now many people who are in the church that is called The Church of Christ are not antagonistic. But this man was very antagonistic and thought you had to be baptized in The Church of Christ in order to go to heaven. He wanted to debate that with Dr. Bates.

Dr. Bates refused the debate on many occasions.

One night this man knew that FBC, Charlotte, North Carolina would be meeting to practice for a large musical event that they were going to be presenting later. He came into the worship area and found Dr. Bates and very loudly said, "Dr. Bates, I challenge you to a debate."

Dr. Bates said, "I've told you on several occasions that I am not going to debate with you."

The man got rather heated in his comments and Dr. Bates just very firmly said, "Sir, I am not now nor will I ever debate you." Dr. Bates said that this man was just trying to gain some notoriety by using Dr. Bates. The man from The Church of Christ left the worship area. As he did, he hollered, "Dr. Bates I will meet you at the judgment.” Dr. Bates wisely responded, "Sir, I'll not see you at the judgment, because my case with my Lord was settled out of court.”

Now friend, that's what this verse is getting at. Who will be against us if God is for us?

A. The Test is not Iffy in Light of God's Accomplishments

Verse 32a. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, . . . "

B. The Test is not Iffy in Light of God's Abundance

Verse 32b. "…how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

Most men can recall giving their girl friend an engagement ring. What if you held back the box the ring came in and said you can have the ring but not the box. Paul argues from the greater to the lesser.

God has not spared His own Son so why would he not give us all things?

Question - How Can the "If" apply to you? You make a commitment of your life to Jesus Christ.

[1] John Phillips p 137 Exploring Romans, Loizeaux Bros. Neptune New Jersey [2] J. P. McBeth p 200 Exegetical and practical commentary on Romans. Revell
[3] Barnhouse p 178 Expositions on Romans Vol. 3, God's Heirs Scripture Truth Book Company
[4] Footnote # 218 Robert Deffinbaugh 27.htm#TopOfPage
[5] From a sermon on this text by Dave Redoick
[6] From a study on this text by Robert Deffinbaugh htttp// 27.htm#TopOfPage