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And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (NKJV)
Paul opens this treasure trove of truth with that astounding declaration in Romans 8:28-29. But do we really believe that? Ironically, we do not really believe much of what we know. When our faith is on trial, we find ourselves struggling to believe the truth we know.
There are times when the devil has a field day with us! He suckers us into believing lies, which we know are not true, and to doubting glorious liberating realities, which we know are true.
A few observations can be made about views of Romans 8:28 held by great numbers of people who hold the Bible in high regard as good literature, pregnant with high philosophy and wisdom but do not recognize it as the infallible word of God. The pessimist puts a nascent evil into everything. Nothing “good” ever happens to him. Everything is working together for evil to him. The optimistic atheist is hardly any better. He thinks there is a nascent good in all things which will work out for good to him. Both are looking at things rather than God.
There is no such thing as good or bad luck. There is only God, Who is the first cause of all things, and He is not working things out for good to anyone but those who love Him. You may either love God, be blessed by everything that happens, and go to heaven when you die; or you may hate God, be cursed, and go to hell when you die. Nothing works out for good for the unbeliever...even when he likes what is happening, his so-called blessings are naught but veiled curses.
But let us consider the larger context of Romans 8:28-39 and six poignant questions one by one.
I. What shall we say to these things?
Is it incumbent upon us to say something to these things? Do they demand a response? Yes they do! We may not simply put them out of our heads and forget about them. God will hold us accountable for them. We have heard these things and are conscious of them. We may not now live our lives as if these things were not true. We must make them a factor in every decision and our response to every eventuality. Let us now consider.
II. If God be for us who can be against us?
A. The world. Jesus warned His disciples that they would have trouble in the world. Shall we be cowed by the world? Our response? He has overcome the world.
B. The Flesh. Big problem! Our bodies are constituted by flesh and blood. Our response? If you by the Spirit do mortify the flesh, you shall live. Sin shall not have dominion over you.
C. The devil. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. End of discussion.
III. He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?
God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, the Crown jewel of the universe, has been sacrificed to redeem us from death and hell. If God would not spare Him, what lesser power or treasure needed to secure us would He withhold? Nothing! All God’s treasure, all His arsenal, all in heaven, hell and earth are at His disposal to save us, meet our needs, and bless us. All, all, ALL!
IV. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?
An evil conscience, ignorance and unbelief and impotent flesh may join the accuser of the brethren and answer, “I can!”, “I will,” “I do.” But none of these have any voice in the court of Heaven. His accusations, even though they may be true, will not be heard! Why? It is Christ Who has died, paid the full penalty for our sins, and risen again! He ever lives to prove that His sacrifice has obliterated our guilt in the court of Heaven. He stands at the Throne. He stands at the Throne as our Representative, spotless and blameless.
V. Who is he that condemns?
Jesus Christ has been appointed the Just Judge of all the earth. There is no court beyond Him. Not Him! He Who satisfied Justice by His suffering and death condemn us? Impossible! Was His death effectual? Did it get the job done? YES!Its witness thunders through the universe! The proof? He is risen! He lives. So where is He? I do not see Him. He is at the Throne making intercession for us. His Father will not say Him nay!
VI. Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ?
Seven more impotent assaults: Tribulation? Tribulation is the Lord’s refining fire to purify His beloved. Rather than separate, it drives us closer to Him. Distress? Distress drives us to our knees. It bids us flee to our prayer closet to counsel and entreat the King. Persecution? Persecution comes from adversaries. Shall it not cause us to cling more desperately to the safe refuge in Christ? Famine? Lack of food may lean our fleshy bodies and make spiritual realities more vivid. Nakedness? Lack of luxurious and fine raiment can mortify our fleshy pride and help humble us. Peril? Are there dark and fearsome storm clouds arising, threatening us with loss and destruction? The Master of earth and wind and stormy seas need only speak, “Peace! Be still!” All will meekly lie down at His feet! Sword? Excepting that small remnant that survive standing when the Lord returns, we shall all depart from this earth through some means of death. If it be an incurable illness that takes us from a sick bed, or the quick violence of a deadly weapon, it will only be a moment; and we will be resting in our Savior’s bosom. No, we shall never, ever, ever be separated from the love of Christ!