Read together, Romans 8:26-31 and 31-39 are wondrously pastoral. A suffering people don’t know what to pray but have the immediate aid of the Spirit, and are gifted with the knowledge that God is working out His sovereign plan for our good in the midst of our circumstances. “What, then,” Paul continues in verse 31, “will we say about these things?” These sufferings, these difficulties, these birth pangs, these subjections to frustration and dissolution along with the creation while we await our own resurrection which are ultimately for our good but still hurt in the present? What do we say about these painful events?
The answer is that we take stock of our God. And we remember, if He is for us, then who, or what, is really against us? Paul has already reckoned, in verse 18, that the sufferings of the present moment are unworthy of the glory to come—now he lays it on the balance sheet. God, God’s justification, and the love of Christ in column A. Accusations, tribulations, sufferings, and pain in column B. And then there’s a note at the bottom of the page which reads, “Given A and B, can anything separate me from God’s love in Christ? No. Nothing whatsoever. Case closed.”