by Lareau Linquist
It’s time to take a fresh look at Romans 8:28-39. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “ For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The phrase, all things, appears three times in this extended paragraph of Scripture . . . in verses 28, 32. and 37. In each case it refers to tough times. It is partially though not exhaustively explained in verse 35 in specifically mentioning trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword, defining sword as death in verse 36.
Again each of these three verses mentions this phrase “all things” referring to tough times, as clearly and obviously understood throughout the paragraph. Each of these verses also talks of what God will do IN and THROUGH us as we walk through tough times. Amazingly and certainly, huge promises come from Him to us as we study these three verses. Here’s what He will do . . .
HE WILL GIVE CONFIDENCE IN OUR TOUGH TIMES.
We know that in all things . . . God works (8:28). Underscore these two words, we know and also underscore two more words . . . God works. We can have absolute assurance that He is at work. Whether we see it or not . . . whether we feel it or not . . . we can have the settled confidence, that He is at work in all things. That’s right, in all things, not a few things, not some things, not many things, not most things but in all things. Believe it and live it with confidence because God says so. Right now . . . in your situation, God is at work. You ask “at this time and in this situation?”, and He says a resounding YES.
HE WILL GIVE GRACE IN OUR TOUGH TIMES.
God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all —- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously, give us all things? (8:32) God didn’t even keep His only Son, the Lord Jesus, from tough times. Eight hundred years before Jesus came to earth, Isaiah said . . . It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer (Isaiah 53:10). All four gospel writers confirm the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. There were tough times for Jesus . . . really tough times. Paul says that . . . He will graciously give us tough times. Graciously? Too often in our shallowness, we think that He would be gracious if He would keep them away from us . . . or, at least, if He would quickly take them away from us. But no . . . God will graciously give us tough times. Paul, from his own experience and testimony, struggled with a thorn in the flesh, and he prayed three times that God would remove it. No doubt, Paul thought that he would be freed up for better life and ministry if only God would remove it from his life. He asked God to do it and God’s answer to him was . . . My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Paul’s response was . . . Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me . . . I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:7-10).
HE WILL GIVE VICTORY IN OUR TOUGH TIMES.
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (8:37). Three times in this paragraph Paul talks about God’s love . . . past, present, and future.
In tough times, we are more than conquerors. That’s God will for us . . . to be Conquerors, that is Victors. Please read this verse carefully. It does not tell us that we, in ourselves are conquerors. It does not tell us that we can do it in our own strength . . . not in our own will-power . . . not through flesh-generated positive thinking. NO. NO. NO. Underscore these words . . . we are conquerors through Christ. The indwelling Christ is the Victor. He is the One and Only Conqueror. The same truth is expressed by Paul in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Him, the Conqueror.
Come with me to Romans 8 again and again. Remember these three summary words:
CONFIDENCE IN TOUGH TIMES
GRACE IN TOUGH TIMES
VICTORY IN TOUGH TIMES