33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
We now come to another of the seven rhetorical questions. This and the next question deal with forensic or legal truth. Paul was still answering the issue of verse 31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The central theme running from verse 31 to the end of the chapter is the eternal security of the believer in God’s eyes.
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect [chosen-out ones]?
The Greek word “charge” is a legal technical term meaning to lodge a formal accusation in court. Satan makes formal accusation against believers (Re 12:10). In one sense his accusations are valid because we step out of fellowship with God by sinning. The devil attempts to summon Christians before a bar of justice and bring our sins before God.
Christians need to view themselves as characterized as “God’s elect.” There is no definite article before “elect”; that is, we are not “the elect” in quantity, as though there were a certain number of elect. Rather, we are elect in the sense of quality. Our quality comes from being vindicated or justified before God.
It is God who justifies [vindicates].
The immediate repetition of the name “God” places emphasis on it. God throws out Satan’s accusation against us because He justifies sinners who believe in His solution to sin. Justification is something that has ongoing effect (present tense in the gnomic sense—God the justifier).
God cannot both accuse and justify at the same time.
No one will point a finger of accusation against Christians, because they stand justified before God. God throws Satan’s accusations out of court because the sin issue was dealt with by the blood of Christ on the cross. Satan cannot impeach a believer. It is God with whom we have to deal, not Satan.
God is now free to declare a believer as right as He is right because the sin matter is no longer a problem. The Father prosecuted the Son on the cross for our sins. Therefore, no accusation against Christians will stick. Christians possess eternal security because of something God did—justify. When we stand before God, we will claim what He did for us, not what we did for ourselves. Therefore, God Himself satisfied all claims against us. We are arrayed in His righteousness. No self-justification will do, either. Jesus paid our debt; therefore, He is our defense attorney. Salvation is by justice and grace.