“Don’t worry, I’m sure it will work out.”
People often say that, with good intentions, but in and of itself, it’s an empty assurance. It might make you feel better for a moment, until you realize, “But what if it doesn’t work out?!” The “it” could be anything- coronavirus upheaval, school shutdowns, work stress, marital troubles, financial strain. Will it really all work out?
When we look to a loving, sovereign God, we don’t have to lean on empty assurances. We can stand on rock-solid promises! Romans 8:28-39 is a passage filled with the certain promise of God’s plan, his love, and his presence.
We know, we have certainty, we are convinced – that all things work together for good. This is not an unconditional promise – all things work together for good, for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. These are not two separate conditions – this is two ways of saying the same thing. If you love God, that means he has called you to himself. And if he has called you to be a part of his purposes, then you will love God. So, no matter what circumstances and hardships you face, all things will work together for good. This doesn’t mean everything is always easy and pleasurable. No, it means that in our Creator’s all-powerful, wise sovereignty, he works sin, suffering, and hardship together for a good end.
See, those people who God foreknew, he predestined to be his children. Even before we were formed in the womb, we were known and chosen by God. He predestined us to be transformed into the image of his Son Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn Son, but he has many brothers and sisters. We have been chosen by God to become like our older brother Jesus. And those who God has predestined, he also called to respond in faith and join the family. And those who he called, he also justified. Christ died for our wrongs, we are pardoned, forgiven, and declared righteous. And those who he justified, he also glorified. We have become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pt. 1:4). And one day, we will receive a resurrection body and walk in glory with Jesus in eternity.
It is because of this unbreakable chain of salvation that we know all things will work together for good. Even suffering, even sin, even evil…every hardship…global viruses, racial tension, national instability, and personal hardship.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” – Romans 8:31-34
So, what are we to say about these wonderful things? If God is for us, then who could possibly be against us? If God didn’t spare his own Son, but sacrificed him for us all, how will he not also graciously and freely give us everything else we need?! What a promise! This doesn’t mean we get anything we think is good for us, it means we get everything he knows is good for us.
Who can bring any charge or accusation against God’s elect, the ones he has chosen for himself? God is the one who justifies us. Who is going to condemn us if God has declared us righteous?! Christ Jesus died as a substitute for our sins, we are forgiven. More than that- he was raised from the dead, conquering death and bringing us with him into new life. He is now seated at the right hand of God in victory over sin, death, the devil. And he is our Mediator interceding for us.
We all face those internal accusations: “You’re not good enough. You’re a fake, a failure. You don’t live out what you say you believe.” The devil is called the accuser, but don’t listen to the devil, your enemies, or even your own voice. Your wrongs have been paid for on the cross, the Judge has pardoned you, and literally not God himself or anyone else can condemn you any longer.
Christ loves us with a deep affection, an unquenchable passion, an enduring commitment. What could possibly separate us from this love?! Can tribulation, affliction, trouble, distress, hardship? How about persecution, being oppressed for our faith? What about famine, or nakedness, or physical danger, or violence? Is there anything that can separate us from the love of God?
No! No, through all these hardships and trails we will conquer, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave his life for us! We will conquer because all things work together for good, because there is an unbreakable chain of salvation that leads to glory.
We can be sure – we are convinced – that nothing can separate us from the love of God! Nothing in this life, not even death itself. Not angels or rulers, not any power – whether demonic or earthly. Nothing that happened in our past and nothing that could be imagined in our future. Not the highest height or the deepest depth, there is nowhere you can go away from God’s love. Not anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
That is no empty assurance…that is a certain promise!