by John MacArthur
Someone has said that God plus one equals a majority. The truth is that God alone makes a majority. If every creature in the material and immaterial universe combined to oppose God together, still He would not be defeated. He is infinitely greater, and holier, and wiser, and more powerful than the aggregate of all His creation.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31). The argument is simple: If God is working to save us, nothing will thwart that work. Whatever God undertakes will most certainly be accomplished. And if God is on our side, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side. God’s side will be victorious. If God is for us, no one can stand against us.
So the fact that He is working to save me makes the outcome certain. If my salvation were ultimately up to me, I would have much to fear. If my redemption hinged in any way on my abilities, I would be lost. Like any sinner, I’m prone to disobedience, unbelief, and weakness. If it were up to me alone to keep myself in the love of God, I would surely fail.
Someone might point out that Jude 21 does say, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” Does that mean we’re dependent on our own staying power to remain within the purview of God’s love? Of course not. Jude acknowledges just three verses later that only God “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).
With God on our side, Paul says, no one can stand against us. This echoes a recurring theme of the psalms. David wrote, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1). Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear . . . . The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psalm 46:1–2, 11). And the repeated refrain of Psalm 80 suggests that when the Lord causes His face to shine upon us, “we will be saved” (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19, emphasis added). No doubt about it. When the Lord sets out to accomplish something, who can oppose Him?
If anyone could rob us of our salvation, that person would have to be greater than God Himself. God is for us. He has set His love on us. No human, no angel, not even Satan himself can alter that. So if God is for us, it matters not who is against us.
Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit abominable sins? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God?
Certainly not. That kind of thinking posits an impossible situation. Remember that we did not gain salvation by our own efforts, so it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it by anything we do. We did not choose God in the first place; He chose us (John 15:16). We are drawn to Christ only by God’s redeeming love (Jeremiah 31:3). His love continues to draw us and hold us. This is Paul’s very point in Romans 8. God’s love guarantees our security. That same love also guarantees our perseverance. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, KJV). “The love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). And we continue in the faith because we are protected by His power (1 Peter 1:5). Thus, His own love ensures that we cannot do anything to remove ourselves from His grace.
We can no more forfeit the love of God than the prodigal son could destroy his father’s love for him. Like the father of the prodigal son, God loves us constantly. He forgives eagerly, loves lavishly, and does not deal with us according to our sins, or reward us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10). Moreover, He does something the prodigal son’s father could not do: He sovereignly draws us to Himself. His love is like a cord that draws us inexorably to Him (Hosea 11:4).
He chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. (Ephesians 1:4–5)
And “whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). He sees the process through to the end.
Our salvation is the work of God. God is “for us,” and no one can deter Him from accomplishing what He has determined to do.
(Adapted from The God Who Loves)