If God is For Us
Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was tempted by Satan. It happened at a time when he had been in the wilderness, fasting for forty days and nights (Matt. 4:1-2). During that time, he faced three most difficult tests involving his humanity. In each instance, Jesus countered Satan’s temptations with Scripture and confidence in the will of God. It must have been a difficult time for our Lord, as after Satan left him, “angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matt. 4:11).
Near the end of Jesus’ ministry, in the shadow of the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Following this, Luke tells us, “Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43). The intensity of this time is seen with his sweat being like drops of blood. He would leave here to be betrayed, arrested, tried, and die for our sins.
We understand Jesus experienced humanity in its fullness; there was nothing held back, as it was necessary for him to be tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin, if he was to be our perfect sacrifice (Heb. 4:15). No one would deny how deep and difficult those trials and temptations were he endured, so we could be free from the consequence of our sins. This doesn’t mean, however, that our trials and temptations mean nothing to God. God wants us to succeed, not to fail (Psa. 55:22).
Paul reminds us God understands our weaknesses, so with our temptations, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, and offers us a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We can cast our cares on him, because he cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). No, God will not send angels to us as he did our Lord. But he offers us help more than adequate to help us through life. As Jesus had access to God through prayer, so do we. We can pour our hearts out before God and know he hears, that he will do what is right and best for us. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Jas. 5:16). As Jesus countered Satan with Scripture, so we also have God’s word to speak to us and direct our paths. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psa. 119:11). We have hope; as Jesus had confidence in what was on the other side of cross, so we know God will be faithful to fulfill his promises to us (Heb. 12:2-3).
Paul offers us these assurances so we will not give up, so we can trust in God working on our behalf, as surely as he was regarding Christ’s purpose in fulfilling his will. In Romans 8, through a series of questions, we are encouraged not to give up, but to press on. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (8:31). “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (8:33). “Who is the one who condemns?” (8:34). Since we will face God for eternity, his assessment is what really matters. This is why Paul can conclude we are more than conquerors through Christ (8:37), and that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:38-39).
God works all things for good, even though all things that happen are not always good (Rom. 8:28). God’s plan was fulfilled in Christ, who is at the right hand of the throne of God; it will be fulfilled in us if live faithfully for him, to be gathered around his throne. He offers us all the help, strength, and encouragement we need to fulfill his will for us, as he did for his Son. May we find our trust in God as Christ did, knowing what he has prepared for us. “If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”