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Monday, July 23, 2012

A Beautiful Collision

Romans 8:28-32 says

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.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?

What then shall we say to these thing? What can be said? Paul is asking what the implications of calling, foreknowledge, predestination, justification, and glorification are. What do all these things mean. Paul tells us that God is for us. He ends his argument with God being for us and NO ONE being against us. If God was for Paul, it was other Christians too. It is a promise that holds for all opposed Paul. It held for the Jewish leaders of the day. It held for the Romans that opposed Paul. It applies to me. It applies to you. It applies to everyone who loves God.

So often this is the reminder that I need. So often I forget who is in charge. I forget that all things must work for my good. All things is not some things. It is ALL things. It is those things that seem great and good, it is also those trials and struggles that come into my life. God did not spare his own Son, God gave Christ over to suffer and die. If God allowed Christ to suffer I can expect all things to work for my good. Knowing this allows one to face life and the trials it brings with confidence. It allows you to approach the hardships and problems with joy knowing that it is for good.

We see Paul draw out the logic between the death of Christ and all things being given us. Paul starts with telling us that God did not even spare his own Son. God allowed his Son to die. God sacrifice Christ for the sins of the world. God did what we cannot. God offered up his own Son. This was not an easy act. While we sometimes hear of a father killing a son, it is not something that takes place often. Fathers dont kill sons. They care for sons. They raise and love sons. Yet God sacrificed his own Son. If God can offer up his own Son, giving us all things is not a hard task. Nor is it a task that he will take lightly. He offered up Christ so that we might have all things. This is also the reason that no one can oppose us. How can they? What can they do to us? How can they stand in the way of Gods plans. Only fools oppose a Fathers love for his Son.

But one might ask, What does Paul mean by All Things? What is Paul talking about? We get clues to the all things in verses 28-30. Some of the things that we have been given are our calling and election. God has freely called us into his purpose. He has called us into his kingdom. He has predestined to be made like Christ. We are going to be made into people who act, and love, and care like Christ does. We shall be firstborn sons of God with all the rights of inheritance that comes with being a firstborn son. We have been declared right before God. He has granted us more than pardon. He has taken away the very sin that has required a pardon. He has taken away the crimes that have put us in prison. He has placed those crimes on another. We have been graciously called to be glorified. We shall be made perfect. We shall be given new bodies. We shall reign with Christ.

Yet there are other things that the All Things include. We have been given suffering. We suffer so that we might be molded and made into the image of Christ. We have been given sorrow. We have been given sorrow so that we might understand and know what Christ has gone through. W have been given trials so that we might know the trials of Christ. But make no mistake. This is not a case of taking the good with the bad. It is all good. All of it is grace. The guilt and the glory. The suffering and the saving. The calling and the crimes. All is good. All of it. It all works for our good. It is all grace.

Yet again we get another amazing look into the greatness and goodness of God. In his wisdom he has allowed all to work for our good. There is a great hymn called How Firm a Foundation. The first stanza reads 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,?Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!?What more can He say than to you He hath said,?You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

What more? What else can be said? Jesus. Jesus has allowed all things to work for our good. This is the solid logic of Paul that places all trials and tears into a proper frame of reference.

That is what has led Piper to to call Romans 8:32 the most precious verse in the most precious chapter in the Bible. Christ is precious. Christ is to be treasured. He has secured our lives and ordered our lives so that we will given all things. Christ death is linked to everything we have, His death has given us all we need. There has never been and there will never be a time in my life when this verse does not apply.

This passage in Romans also demonstrates how Paul often orders his arguments. He starts with the hard and heads to the easy. He starts with the greats and hardest things to do. He starts with a Father killing his Son. He then moves onto the easy. Giving us all things. Keep your eyes pealed as you read the scripture. You will start to notice this type of logic is everywhere in the scripture.

While this passage offers hope and a solid promise of God the application to our, and my, hardened hearts is a much different matter. As I look back on the past few weeks and months of my life I stand with my head low as I recall how often I have doubted that God has given me all things. I think of the fights and arguments I have had with those around me. I see how I got upset because I did not get my way. I see how doubts and fears have crept in when trials have come. I think of all the temptations in my life and see just how little I actually believe that God is for me, gives me all things, and allows no one to oppose me. I see how often I fail in spite of the great and wonderful victory that Christ has obtained. I see that I stand before a holy God damned for my failure. And that leaves me in the greatest of conditions.

All things work for my good. My utter inability to perfectly obey God leaves me before him asking for mercy. It drives me back to the foot of the cross. It takes my eyes off my failure and puts them on Christ. My failing are the saviors victory. My depravity is Gods glory. Crowder puts it this way It is the divine and the depraved interacting and it seems our feet lift from the ground for a second. We rise from our condition. When our depravity meets his divinity it is a beautiful collision. That is All Things working for our good.

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