“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34 ESV)
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” The answer? Lots of people bring charges against God’s people. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Satan the accuser
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” (Revelation 12:10)
Satan slandered Job. Satan slandered God in the garden temptation. Satan is a slanderer. Could it be that Satan has slandered you by name to God Almighty? It’s possible. Does the accusation of the highest demon alter our status before God? No.
“There is never the danger that Satan with all his cleverness and wiliness will be able to come forward one day and produce a clause that brings me under condemnation. God knows it all infinitely better than even Satan does. God knows all about the Law in its every detail, comma and jot and tittle, so nothing and no one shall ever be able to bring this charge against God’s elect.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
The law of God
Sin is any violation of God’s law in action or intent. The law condemns us, and it should because we violate it all day long. We sin. We are sinners by nature and action. Do the accusations of the law stick? No.
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
Through union with Christ we are under a new jurisdiction. A new law. The law of the Spirit under which we are free from condemnation.
I think this is a huge problem, particularly if you struggle with perfectionism or legalism. Our consciences will scream at us that we are guilty, and apart from God’s grace, our conscience is right. Or a weak conscience will tell us we are guilty for doing something that violates our conscience even if God doesn’t care about it. This is the struggle of the legalist who is not only trying to obey God’s law but man-made laws too. The result is living like we are perpetually losing when we are by grace winning in God’s eyes. What do we say to this?
“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:20–21)
If we escape Satan, the law, and our conscience, there is no escaping the accusations of others. If we live any resemblance to a Christian life, other people will condemn us. It may be our beliefs which are out of step with societal beliefs, it may be our lifestyle which is at odds with the moral choices of people around us, it may be our inconsistencies which family and those close to us see. This all results in condemnations that sound like, you are a hypocrite, you are a bigot, you are holier than thou, you are a Bible thumper, who are you to tell me what’s right? etc.
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” Lots of humans, demons, laws, and conscience. They can, and they will.
What do we do when they do? Like Paul, we appeal to Caesar. We appeal to the highest authority and the only opinion that matters forever, God’s. God, who do you say that I am? What is my status? Is what they are saying how you see me?
“It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33) God declares us innocent. If God’s judgment is for us, whose charges can stand against us? Here is the Bible’s answer to our worry that we may get to heaven and find out that something went awry, something was missed, something is brought up at the last second and we are judged guilty and sentenced to hell. Can that happen to God’s elect? Can that happen to God’s justified? Unequivocally no!
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2019 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, p. 410.
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