Romans 8 has long been one of my favorite passages of Scripture, both in happy and hard times. As I read the incredible truths all throughout Romans 8 in happy times, it only adds to my happiness and praise of what God has done and is doing for me and those He loves–and in hard times it adds to my joy in and worship of our good and sovereign God, even if that joy is not a feeling at the moment.
I remember my wife and I reading Romans 8:31-35 with a high school girl in our youthgroup years ago who was struggling with depression over an abortion she had had before she was a believer: “…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer, of course, was that since she was now in Christ, even in the face of great regret, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1)
Romans 8 has been the solid rock that the Holy Spirit has been using in my heart this week as our church goes through a time of great mourning. The same chapter that comforts the repentant sinner also comforts the bereaved. Romans 8:10-11 teaches that our resurrection and the hope of our eternal life is just as sure as the resurrection of Christ, because of the work of the Holy Spirit. For those who are in Christ, for those who have the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9), we have this blessed assurance: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:11)
When God saves you, He gives you His Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9-10a). We usually think of the Holy Spirit as being the agent of our regeneration and sanctification. In other words, He is the member of the Trinity that gives us a new heart at salvation and brings us from spiritual death to spiritual life (Rom. 8:2). The Holy Spirit continually works in the lives of those He has saved to transform them more and more in practice into who they are spiritually–children of God (Romans 8:29; 8:16-17). But don’t forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, that the Holy Spirit does not leave us when we die. The Holy Spirit who actually resides in you not only is with you to the brink of eternity, He continues the spiritual life He had begun in you (2 Cor. 5:4-5) and ushers you right into Heaven! Those who had God dwelling in them on earth will then dwell with God in His home (Rev. 21:3)–through the power of the Holy Spirit. God will never forsake His own, just as He would not and cannot forsake Himself (2 Tim. 2:13).
Your resurrection–and the resurrection of those brothers and sisters in Christ whom we love–is just as sure as Jesus’ bodily resurrection. The Spirit of Christ has united us to Jesus so closely that we cannot fully comprehend it this side of Glory: “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” (Rom. 6:5) What a joy that brings, even through tears.