If the bottom has fallen out of your world, if you are heart broken, if you are standing at wits end corner wondering what tomorrow will bring – this text is for you.
Justification and Assurance
(g) If God Be For Us Who Can Be Against Us
All Things For Good
We are now entering the final section of this great chapter of assurance. While the entire passage is a unit, and should be viewed as such, it’s content is too complex to be generalised in one session.
Suggested Outline of Romans 8:28-39
All Things For Good v28
Conformed to the Image of His Son v29-30
He that Spared not His Own Son v31-32
Who is he that Condemneth? V33-34
More that Conquerors v35-39
The text at the centre of this study is surely one of the most blessed in the entire Bible and is often quoted in seasons of trial. Our assurance rests upon the fact that God is in control of our lives and we are totally dependent upon Him. If the central words of this closing section “If God be for us who can be against us” then v28 is a dramatic and powerful opener – God is for us in that he works all things out for the good of his people.
This text is in many ways a response to the trials and sufferings of life. The often asked question, “Where is God when things go wrong?” is answered in this verse, certainly in so far as it relates to the Christian. Therefore these words naturally follow on from the trials set forth in the previous passage which cause us to feel empty as we seek the Lord in prayer. If the bottom has fallen out of your world, if you are heart broken, if you are standing at wits end corner wondering what tomorrow will bring – this text is for you.
2: The Restrictions
This text is limited in a 4 fold manner:
Those who derive benefit from these words are Christians only, those who love God and those who are “called according to His purpose.” Paul will later define what what that purpose is what it means to be called – suffice to say at this stage that those who love God are loved firstly of all by God.
Good must be defined. The good which God designs for his people has nothing to do with health or wealth. His intention is to make us like Jesus Christ (v29). Therefore He plans our lives with this game-plan.
God plans to bring good out of things that are bad. There is nothing intrinsically good about pain, illness or death. The sin and evil with the hatred and strife that exists in this world is very bad. Yet God plans to use that which is wicked for the spiritual good of his children.
Paul wrote “We know”. He did not say “We feel”. This is what assurance is – knowing rather than feeling. We can feel pain, heartbreak, embarrassment and shame while knowing that God is overruling all things (2nd Corinthians 4:8-9).
3: The Range
While this text has certain restrictions, there is an unrestricted infinite scope in the words “all things”.
Joseph experienced good through the evil murderous intent of his brothers.
Job experienced good through the cruel onslaught of the devil.
Peter experienced God’s good through his own personal failure.
(A) We submit to God’s plan.
(B) We prayer for spiritual growth and Christ likeness.
(C) We accept that every conceivable situation is being used by God for a noble purpose.
(D) We do not become bitter or angry.
(E) We are charitable towards the faults of others because God is even using their flaws to work out his plan in their lives.