This past Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. Following their win, Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis was interviewed. When asked about the Ravens' win, he stated (if not directly quoted, it's pretty close), "It's quite simple, if God is for you, who can be against you?"
Lewis was referring to Romans 8:31 which, I assure you, had nothing to do with who wins the Super Bowl, a football game, or any kind of earthly endeavor. Lewis ripped this verse from its contact so badly that it hurts. It is misleading. It is wrong.
Contrary to Lewis' opinion, God does not care who wins Super Bowls. To be fair, Lewis is not the first athlete to make such a ridiculous use of Scripture. Nor will he be the last.
If we take Lewis' claim at face value, what shall we conclude? That the Ravens are God's chosen people and the 49er's are not? That God loves Baltimore and despises San Francisco? Or does it extend to Maryland vs. California? Does it mean that there are more of God's people on the Ravens' squad than the 49er's? Or is it the whole organization that is under God's blessing/judgment? Or is it that God loves Ray Lewis so much that Ray had to be rewarded? Or maybe God prefers one Harbaugh over another? You see the idiocy in making such a claim as Lewis did. (And, Packer fans, Reggie White made similar comments after Super Bowl XXXI. Apparently, God did not love Reggie as much in Super Bowl XXXII.)
Earthly success and prosperity are NO evidence of God's love or favoritism. If so, I guess God is really steamed at the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For as much as people in Baltimore will be celebrating, and for as excited as Lewis is to end his career with a championship ring, none of this is any evidence that God loves them. I am willing to bet that the Ravens have some heathens in their organization. Does God suspend his wrath and judgment upon them because they are champions now? Again, idiocy. Or as I stated in the title, "ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!"
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) This has to do with our salvation. Jesus suffered and died to pay for our sins and to reconcile us to God the Father. If God loves us so much that he would suffer and die to save us, there is no one and nothing which can remove God's favor from us. God's favor is revealed through Jesus Christ. It was secured through Jesus' sufferings, death, and resurrection. It is delivered to us through the word and sacraments. Our verdict is, "Forgiven." Our salvation is certain. Our home is heaven. God has promised it with a blood-oath. If God is for us in this way, who could possibly overrule him? Who would dare correct him? Since nothing can undo Jesus' sufferings, death, and resurrection, nothing can undo God's favor and salvation for us. Therefore, who can stand against us?
Lions' fans, as exciting as it would be to see your team hoist a Super Bowl trophy, it is no evidence of God's love or favor. Your crucified and risen Savior is the only evidence you have of God being for you. It is also the only evidence you need. God IS for you -- for your forgiveness, for your salvation, for your eternal well-being, and for all time. And nothing stands in the way of that.