A Proper and Astounding Exegetical Hermeneutic of Romans 8:31 and Some Consequences of Choosing the Wrong Adversary

This video is what a Teacher/Exhorter combo looks like leading worship.


I think one of the best hermeneutical expressions of Romans 8:31 is found in the Amanda Cook cut, “You Make Me Brave”, from the CD of the same name.

You are for us.

You are not against us.

Rather than drawing the focus to “the big, evil others out there who could be against us”, this simple line maintains the focus on the L-rd, who is definitely in our corner, as at a boxing match, or race, cheering us on.  It focuses on the relationship between the Father and His sons, us.

We have so many expressions of “G-d is on our side” that often let the focus drift to the idea or implication that those enemies of the moment that we have are also His enemies, while failing to realize that “if our enemy has a drivers’ license and a Social Security Number, we have the wrong enemy” (Ed Silvoso).

It is completely needful that we have an understanding that our enemies, as in the demonic forces, are not a match for G-d’s surpassing power.  But if we assume a victim mentality or enshroud ourselves in a victim spirit, and assume that people we don’t like are people that G-d is against, when the L-rd Yeshua died for them, in the same fashion He died for us (while we were yet sinners-Romans 5:8), and we assume that G-d is going to hurt those who hurt us, and we behave as spoiled brats when He does not get them back for hurting us, then we might need to reevaluate Romans 8:31.

Cook, a worship leader in Redding, California, on the other hand, does not have our enemies in view, but rather our relationship with G-d, which is transformed from an adversarial relationship in Romans 5:6-9 to a relationship that is affectionate in Romans 8.

Provided we walk in the spirit….

There is a multifaceted dynamic present in Romans 8 that I covered in brief in my previous post that shows the reality of being “in the Spirit” as opposed to “in the flesh”.

We are transformed from adversaries to friends.  And it is not our adversaries in the natural realm that G-d is against, but rather our adversaries in the spiritual realm.

Let me also put a second spin on it. Repeating from above, G-d is not against our natural adversaries, but our spiritual adversaries.

Further, G-d is against HIS adversaries in the natural realm.

And we should exercise caution in assuming we know who His adversaries are in the natural realm, given He died for all of us while we were against Him.  The handing out of labels is something that G-d takes very, very seriously, and we should exercise caution when considering the option of labeling others when He has not labeled them.

This dynamic right here is one specific reason why developing a hard heart keeps us from seeing clearly.   Hard hearts can clearly see their rights, but they often cannot see the subtleties of G-d in a situation.

Look at the context of Matthew 19:1-10.  The text of Matthew 19:1-10 is in dealing with divorce because of adultery.

Looking at the context, which is Matthew 18:21-35 (and add to this the parallel topic passage of Luke 17:1-5), Yeshua dealt with unforgiveness in interpersonal relationships. This segment that covers offended hearts that have grown crunchy toward the Gracious King leads into the discussion on divorce, and is tied to that passage in Matthew 19 by way of Matthew 19:1’s transition; Matthew 18:21-35 is the frame for Matthew 19:1-10.

The issue is not whether we can divorce those who have cheated on us and remarry, there is no question that we can.  The more sensitive and subtle issue in this passage is making sure our hearts are in a soft and tender place.

Consider this, which formed the basis for our discussion in home group this past Sunday on the Bait of Satan.

Abishai, in 1 Samuel 26, was ready to run Saul through with the spear.  The L-rd had put Saul, Abner, and the entire army with Saul into a deep sleep from the L-rd (1 Sam. 26:12). He was poised with Saul’s spear over the king.  And at this time the L-rd had departed from Saul.

Why did the L-rd put this army, and this wicked king, into a deep sleep?

“Answer: to test David.”

“To see if David is going to be another Saul.  Is he going to remain a man after the heart of G-d, or is he going to take matters into his own hands?” (John Bevere: The Bait of Satan Lesson 3, “My Father, My Father”).

The L-rd never spoke during this passage, and David, who knew the heart of G-d because of all of those years with the sheep getting close to G-d, understood what the silences of G-d meant, and what a deep sleep means.  He had the opportunity to be delivered from this wicked man, and yet, he chose to honor him as the L-rd’s anointed.

As a matter of fact, when Saul was slain, David commanded all Israel to learn a song that said, “SAUL and Johnathan, beloved and lovely…”.

Now, does that sound like the heart of a man who was offended (knowing Mercies the way we do, no one usually takes up an offense faster for another party than a Mercy)?  Not at all.

David still treated Saul with an above-and-beyond attitude even when Saul pursued him.

And his heart remained soft.

Our hearts as well, in dealing with our enemies, should not grow dull.  But remain soft and pliable.  Tears, weeping, mourning, brokenness are what help that process.  When we turn from our adversaries and turn to G-d, then in that moment we can receive clarity as we are laying in Papa’s lap dealing with our strong emotions (Psalm 39:12, 56:8).  This is how we transform pain into productive pain, by asking G-d to step into the midst of our pain and helping us to process it in order to see where He is at work in it.

If we can step away from a betrayal or from an adversary with a heart that seeks G-d and what He is doing in the midst of a painful process, then we can grow, and that process will help to ensure our hearts stay soft.   But so many people get wound up in their rights as believers, that the heart suffers, which is a major reason why subsequent relationships falter beyond the first.  And this is not just in marriage, but also in friendships with college roommates, brothers, best friends, family members, etc.

This that I have written is the one hand.  On the other hand, I will concede there is a time and a place for sarcasm, for mocking, for responding with a sharp response to those who have hurt us.  But these responses should not come at the expense of our hearts hardening.  It was a hard heart that decimated the nation of Egypt.

Thus, as we are engaging with the L-rd being for us, let us remember to keep the focus more on our interaction with Him rather than focusing on how vile is the person who wounded us, and lest we turn someone into G-d’s adversary that G-d does not treat that way.



5 thoughts on “A Proper and Astounding Exegetical Hermeneutic of Romans 8:31 and Some Consequences of Choosing the Wrong Adversary

  1. Oh, wow! Again, my spirit so rejoices. Perhaps not the words themselves, at least not entirely, but the treasure God has placed within you brings me to weeping at His beauty! Thank you again, David.

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