More Than Conquerors, Rom. 8:28-39
Romans is a treasured part of the New Testament. Chapter 8 is the crown jewel of its chapters, and verses 28-39 shine especially bright. If we grasp this information about our security in Christ, we will allow nothing to separate us from the love of God. The closing section of this chapter begins with a verse that stands close to John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 in importance and popularity. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). The verse does not state that everything that happens is good. Neither does it state that God causes everything that happens to us. We live in a world filled with people of free will, and Satan is certainly in the mix. Bad things happen. Bad things even happen to good people. Does God care when such is the case? Yes he does. Why then does God not always intervene and stop bad things from happening to us? It is not because he is unable or uncaring. He frequently allows things to play out according to nature and according to human decisions and actions. Knowing this, Paul says God works in all things for the good of those who love him, the called, Christians. God can use any circumstance for our spiritual and eternal benefit. He brings good from the bad. We can learn lessons, meet people, and end up in places that work to our benefit.
Having made the sublime statement of verse 28, Paul launches into God’s scheme of redemption. Paul uses theologically loaded terms to explain how God planned and carried out his effort to save us in Jesus Christ. These words explain the plan of salvation from the divine side. We know that we must hear the gospel, believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, confess our faith in Jesus, and be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. That is the human side of the plan. But all this would count for nothing apart from the divine plan and action.
Paul uses the past tense since God’s plan is certain to succeed. God foreknew that mankind would have need of salvation. God predestined or determined the way of salvation before the need arose. God did not pick individuals to be saved without their choice or knowledge. He did determine to save us in Christ. He also decreed that we must live in the image of his Son. God invited or called us through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13-14). The gospel is for all (Mark 16:15-16), so the call is extended to all who hear. God justified those who obeyed Christ. He forgives our sins and makes us right with himself when we obey the gospel (Acts 2:38). God glorified those who are saved. We are privileged to be children of God now, people who reflect his glory (1 John 3:1-2). But the best is yet to come. When life here has ended, we will inherit eternal life (Titus 1:2). The steps described above are God’s business, but we are responsible to believe and obey (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Have you obeyed the gospel, my friend?
The last few verses of the chapter tell us that no one can prevent the salvation of one who is determined to be saved. If we remain faithful to God, no trouble or hardship can separate us from the love of God. No power can overcome God’s ability and willingness to save us. Satan wages war against us, but we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of the book of Acts. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.