Questions for Littles: Which things do we know work together for good (v28)? To whom do they work together for good? What did God also do to those whom He foreknew (29a)? To what did He predestine them (29b)? For what reason (29c)? What did He do for those whom He predestined (30a)? What did He do for those whom He called (30b)? What did he do for those whom He justified (30c)? Who is for us (31)? Who can (successfully) be against us? What (Whom!) did God not spare (32a)? What did God do with His Son for us? What will God give to us together with Him? What does God do instead of bringing a charge against His elect (33)? What does Jesus do, instead of condemning us (34)? What are some of the things that are not able to separate us from the love of Christ (35, 38-39)? What is one of the reasons that such things happen (36)? So, what is going on in the midst of these things (37)?In this week’s Epistle reading, we come to what is a favorite Scripture for many, many believers. All things must work together for our good. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. These are the things that make hearts swell up with joy and praise.
And we see here what wonderfully sure things they are.
God’s love is sure, because it goes back before time. God “foreknowing” His elect is not some form of divine cheating by sneaking a peek at the end. It’s talking about knowing in terms of a relationship: He loved us before the world began (cf. Eph 1:3-6). It was this love, that He simply decided to set upon us, that led to our being predestined.
God’s love is sure, because it is in Christ and for His sake. God loves the glory of His Son, and He has determined that for the Son’s great glory, He would be displayed as the firstborn of many brothers and sisters who have been shaped to look like Him. We’re predestined to bring Christ glory!
God’s love is sure, because His law now demands that it continue. We have been justified with Christ’s righteousness. The One who makes the charges at the judgment is the One who has justified us (33). The One who condemns at the judgment is the One who has taken our condemnation and is continually pleading our case (34).
God’s love is sure, because its most infinite gift has already been given, and it is irrational to think that anything else could possibly be held back (32).
There are many things that come into our lives that threaten to shake our joy in God’s love. But, when we consider them in the light of the teaching in these verses, that threat quickly dissolves.
We realize, instead, that even if we are like sheep being slaughtered, it is for His sake. It is because we are joined to Him in that love from which we can never be separated. It is most certain that this love will prevail with us, and that we will prevail in the trial. Even before the trial ends, we can know already that we are more than conquerors!
Election and predestination are not dry, dusty doctrines for theological fuddy-duddies. They are the foundation of sure, victorious love!
In what current circumstance do you most need to cling to the cross and God’s electing love?Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or HB402 “I Sought the Lord, and Afterward I Knew”