and I will be his God and he shall be My son


Book of ROMANS
A Study of Chapter 8
Part 15
Romans 8:28-30


“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. 29 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. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
– Rom 8:28-30 NKJV

Although one oft-quoted, Verse 28 can also sometimes be one of the hardest verses in Scripture to believe… “How can God be in this situation?”, we ask ourselves in difficult circumstances, or when horrible things happen. “How could He let this happen to me?”, “How can God bring good out of what this person did to me or my family?”

‘I love God’, we say. ‘I know He has called me’, we declare. And we stand on Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Yet we may feel at times that He has abandoned us.

We know the promises of the Word -
“The Lord is far from the wicked;
But He hears the pr
ayer of the righteous.”
- Prov 15:29 NKJV

We check ourselves. Is there some known sin or bad habit we are still practicing? Our conscience is clear, yet it seems God is not hearing our supplications and requests.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.”

- Psalm 145:18-19 NKJV

Has He not heard my prayer? I’ve been doing my best to serve Him faithfully and to follow Him.
My guess is that most, if not all, of us could relate to the cry of the Psalmist as he cried out -

“How long? Lord, will You forget me forever?
    How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I struggle in my soul at night
    and have sorrow in my heart during the day?
        How long will my enemy rise up against me?”

- Psalm 13:1-2 ISV

Part of our Adamic nature is to quickly forget the Lord’s blessings, and then feel like our problems will never end when He allows us to go through some trying times.

Like Elijah in 1Kings 18-19 - who immediately after a great victory, in which God gave him incredible boldness, faith and triumph, fled in fear of his life because of the threats of one woman – we tend to focus on the physical here & now, only what we see & feel at the moment.

“As for me, I cry out to You Lord,
    and in the morning my prayer greets You.
14 Why, Lord, have You rejected me?
    Why have You hidden Your face from me?
15 Since my youth I have been oppressed
    and in danger of death.
I bear Your dread
    and am overwhelmed.
16 Your burning anger overwhelms me;
    Your terrors destroy me.
17 Like waters, they engulf me all day long;
    they surround me on all sides.
18 You caused my friend and neighbor to shun me;
    and my acquaintances are confused.”

- Psalm 88:13-18 ISV

A passage that often comes to mind when pondering this in my own life, or when trying to help others going through a rough time is from God’s prophetic word to Isaiah -
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.”

- Isaiah 55:8 NKJV

God has a purpose for all He does and allows to happen in our lives. I have found the answer to such questions of “why” in the verse which follows God’s promise of Rom 8:28.

“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.” – Rom 8:29 NKJV

That purpose of God, our Abba Father, is to have many sons. And those sons must follow in the steps of the first Son, Jesus. We must be tested as He was tested, we must endure as He endured, if we are to “appear with Him as He is” when He returns. So, we fix our eyes on Him above our troubles.

“In the Messiah we were also chosen when we were predestined according to the purpose of the One who does everything that He wills to do, 12 so that we who had already fixed our hope on the Messiah might live for His praise and glory.”
 – Eph 1:11-12 ISV

So we hold on to His promises. In the calm and in the storm.

“The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek Him, and the power of His wrath is against all that forsake Him.” – Ezra 8:22 RSV

And as we’ve read before, we have the exhortation from Peter -

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”
– 1Pet 4:12-13 NKJV

And he is speaking to the “beloved.” These are those called by God, even as Jesus is many times called the “Beloved” by His Father, and our Father.

So, all we go through is for God’s purpose, and ultimately to bring us Life.

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
– Rev 2:10 NKJV

The good, and bad, the ugly… all God sends our way, really is for our good. Our place is to accept what He deems necessary to purify us, mold us and shape us into His sons and daughters. The Spirit tells us through Paul’s letter -
“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life.”
– Phil 2:12b-16a NKJV

 As Job told his wife, when she saw his terrible afflictions & tragedies brought upon him without a cause, and told him to curse God - “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10)

Job didn’t like what he was going through, yet he recognized that God was sovereign, and righteous in all He does, even when we don’t understand it.

“Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?”

- Lam 3:38 NASB

No study of this topic would be complete without looking at the life of Joseph. Betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused by his boss’s wife, and forgotten by a man he helped, Joseph would seem to have many reasons to complain and doubt God’s goodness. When he was going through it, it may have seemed as though there was no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel. But we know the end of the story. When Joseph had risen to power in Egypt, a great famine was upon the known world, and he revealed his identity to his brothers, he tells them -

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” – Gen 50:20 NKJV

Oh, there was a great reason for why things transpired the way they did. And in the end, after much grieving and sorrow and anguish, God’s purpose was revealed.

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
– Gen 45:3-8 NKJV

And of course beyond this even, God’s greater purpose of establishing the nation of Israel through much trouble, persecution and deliverance was lurking in the shadows.
Now, the True Church, having been grafted into the Vine, is experiencing like trouble, and persecution, and testing, that they (we) may come forth as gold, in the image of Christ, sons of God, through which deliverance of creation will come, which is His ultimate purpose.
In our misguided zeal and misunderstanding of God’s purpose, we attempt to “save” everyone, believing that our initial salvation from bondage to the world is our goal and God’s end. So rather than discipling those whom God has called, and who have indeed begun to follow the Lord, we attempt just to get everyone to convert. This may be done with good intentions, but it fails to fully serve God’s purpose. Thankfully we have the Word -

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.”

- Prov 19:21 RSV

Indeed His purpose will be established. And all will work for the good of those who love Him. Our job is to love Him. Jesus taught a little about that in John 14:15-28. Our love for Him will be proven by our obedience. To these “all things work together for good.”

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren. 30 And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.”
– Rom 8:28-30 RSV

And the “good” that God is working all things for is the enlarging of His family. This we will look at next.


Next… God’s Purpose continued


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