The great assurance

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Romans 8:26-39; Psalms 97:1-98:9

READ (Verses chosen for meditation)
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 and the surrounding verses is a good passage to meditate upon when we are in deep trouble. It provides the great assurance that God is like the Great Weaver of the threads in our lives; that all things work together for His glory as we walk in Him. The “good” is not so much as what we see as “good” but the goodness that is found in God’s purpose and will. Therefore, even if the Christian should suffer many evils in this world, all things will work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. Therefore, as the subsequent verses said, that those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words, those whom God foreknew would love Him, He had destined them in advance to be conformed to the image of His Son, and their destinies will be the future glory to come.

These few verses in the Bible had been central to the great debate between Calvinists and Arminians on the issue of election (whether people are “elected” to eternal life or eternal damnation). However, I really wonder if the Apostle had in mind the doctrine of election when he wrote these words as an encouragement to a church in persecution. I think not. I think these verses are more to tell suffering Christians that as long as we do not cease in our love for the Lord i.e. to follow Christ; our destinies are secured in God’s promise of future glory. Of course, such following of Christ certainly does not deny that God’s grace is always at work in the believer. The point we should be more concerned about I believe, is whether we really understood His love for us and whether we truly love the Lord.

So am I really in tune to His purposes for my life? Or am I merely wanting the glory but disdain the life in Christ now on this earth? I cannot have it both ways. If I am really an adopted child of God, then I should not shy away from God’s work in me to conform to the image of His Son (which literally means the obedience of His Word and possibly even the resurrection on the last day) even as I wait patiently for the glory that is to come.

Thank you Lord for this great assurance of Your foreknowledge and predestination. Help me to live out Your love that is already in me for the purpose of Your glory. Amen.