John Brackenbury spoke this morning on perhaps one of the most famous and most loved verses in the Bible, Romans 8:28, which tells us that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. God is working for our good in everything!
That begs the question, of course, as to what God’s purposes are. 1 John 3:8 tells us that ‘the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.‘ God in Christ has worked to defeat the enemy so that we may be saved and brought into a relationship with Him. This purpose has been God’s plan from before the beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9) and Christ is the fulfilment of the purpose of God. If we have been restored to a relationship with God, then Rom 8:28 applies to us.
God calls us all; His call goes to the ends of the earth (Is 45:22), a call that has been extended to Gentiles and Jews alike (Rom 9:24), but we need to respond to that call, all the while knowing that we did not ultimately choose God, but He chose us. (John 15:6) Our calling has been planned by God, but the aim for us then is that we become like Christ (Rom 8:29) and live a life of love which is like God’s love (see 1 John 4:8-5:3)
Our love must therefore be…
- reactionary (we love because God has first loved us, as John tells us in 1 John 4:19)
- reflective (affecting our relationships with all people, for God loves all people)
- responsible (for we are called to love as God loves, which means loving our enemies and blessing those who seek to harm us)
- revolutionary (going above and beyond the ‘duty’ calls of love)
- restorative (for Christ restored Peter even after his denials and shows us mercy and compassion, not judgment and condemnation)
Not everything that happens to us in life is good. When bad things happen, we can easily wonder where God is and why He has allowed these things into our lives. Job discovered that faith has to be tested, but the truth is that every single set of circumstances that conspire against us can be worked together for good by God. Paul is confident in saying we know this. We do not simply hope this is the case or imagine this to be true. Instead, we are aware of this truth and can trust God’s good plans for us even in the midst of difficulties (Jer 29:11). Our circumstances can be transformed by God, but even more amazing, we can be transformed by Him.