Happy July 4th! Do people start looking like their pets? Do spouses start to resemble each other after so many years together? Some pictures definitely lead you to believe this. The point is: You start looking like the people you spend time with. Paul seems to have this truth in mind when he wrote Romans 8:28-30. After reading it, you want to say “Lord make me like you!”
Romans 8 is one of the great chapters of the Bible. It begins with “no condemnation” (v. 1) and ends with “no separation” (v. 38-39). 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8 is all about living in a world of brokenness. A little bit after our theme verses, Paul is talking about trouble and persecution and nakedness and poverty and danger. He is talking about how we live in a world like that.
John Stott points out that there are five truths in Romans 8:28 about God which, Paul writes, we know. We do not always understand what God is doing, let alone welcome it. Nor are we told that he is at work for our comfort. But we know that in all things he is working towards our supreme good.
First, we know that God works, or is at work, in our lives.
Secondly, God is at work for the good of his people.
Thirdly, God works for our good in all things.
Fourthly, God works in all things for the good of those who love him.
Fifthly, those who love God are also described as those who have been called according to his purpose.
This is just verse 28. The other two verses – Romans 8:29-30 - are God’s character reference. If you’re going to make it through “the hard” of life you need to know God’s character reference. No one or thing can hinder His plan for you – to make you like Jesus.
You might say, “You mean even evil and sin and false accusations and injustice and failure and broken relationships and cruelty and betrayal and pain and suffering and hatred and jealousy and abandonment – you mean even that?” Everything in that list was a part of the last few hours in the life of Jesus Christ. And it all worked into God’s plan for your good and His glory.
I think it was Charles Spurgeon who said, “Jesus Christ was up on the cross, nailed, bleeding, dying, looking down at the people betraying him and forsaking him and denying him, and in the greatest act of love in the history of the universe, he stayed.
Let me ask some questions for you to answer quietly in your heart. In light of what we have learned: Do you know Christ personally? Have you ever received Him into your heart? Are you ready to place your faith in His work on the cross for you? Are you willing, even when He does not provide the most favorable experiences, to obey Him? Are you willing, even when His timetable is not even close to matching yours, to trust Him?