September 20, 2014
""And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."" (Romans 8:28)
Just one more of God’s 7,000 promises. But this one is of epic proportions because it stands at 20,000 feet looking over the whole course of a believer's life. It explains the correlation of good and evil. It gives hope for the Divine weaving that is going on in the complete tapestry of our existence....a tapestry with both dark threads and light.
""And we know that God causes""
This is self-evident, but ponder it for a moment. Let it slide up into your mind and down into your heart so that you “know” what Paul knew. Stay with this verse, meditating upon it until it is digested and becomes a literal part of the fabric of your life.
Paul does not say ""Man causes"" and there's a reason. Man is absolutely incapable of causing ""all things to work together for good."" It is beyond his ability, way above his pay grade. Only God can do what Paul is about to explain.
""And we know that God causes all things""
Sit on these two descriptive words for a moment. Not “some” or “most,” but “all.” There is not one thing in the loving, believer’s life that escapes these two words. Scan the entirety of your earthly existence and you will see both good and evil, light and dark, frequent, expected things, and occasional, random things. Hard things and easy things.
You will see people in that list. Those who have loved you and those who have terribly hurt you. Every person in the timeline of your life falls under the category of ""all things.""
Look further and you will notice the dark things that attack you in our sin-wrecked and sin-damaged world. They too are not missed in these two words.
And do not let your own sin escape your view. The constant wrestling with temptation. The defeats that bring such momentary death. They too, come under the category of “all things.”
If you are tempted, when beset by a moment or season of some of the hardest things of life or the most evil, to doubt that “all things” means “all things,” remember that every word of God's Scripture is inspired. Nothing is in His Word by chance. Bolstered with that understanding, let these two words sink in about your current and past circumstances.
""All things,"" the Promiser says. All.
""And we know that God causes all things to work together for good""
Here is the genius of the promise. This is the place where we fall on our face in worship before our Sovereign God. In His Godness and goodness He weaves all things together for those who love Him into a one-word conclusion: ""good."" Nothing can frustrate this for no one and no thing has power beyond the One who created all things. Everything and everyone is under His feet. And so, for those who are ""loving God and called according to His purpose"" He unites multiple forces—both good and evil, light and dark—and brings them together to a beneficial result.
He does NOT say that all things are good in the believer’s life. He does not say that He is the cause of all things. He cannot be, because He is not the author of evil and cannot (should not) be accused of such.
What this DOES promise is Divine synergy. God takes the evil that assaults you and combines it with His working, His weaving, His Divine manipulating hand, and joins good alongside the evil in such ways that the end result for the loving, believer is always good.
As I write, young believers in Northern Iraq are being beheaded for their faith in Christ. If seen from just a manward view, we think that this does NOT seem to work for ""good"" in their lives. But be careful before you answer. Here is the Sovereign synergy.
He takes the worst evil we can imagine, weaves it with His promise and the reality of eternal life and rewards. What is grotesquely evil God works together with breathtaking goodness. These faithful martyrs enter instantly into the presence of God and receive the highest rewards for all of eternity in heaven. The enemy’s supposed victory becomes the believer’s assured and glorious victory. Death has lost its sting and the grave its triumph. The wild-eyed killer lifts his sword in supposed victory, but the beheaded believer looks from the other side of death at the puny silliness of man’s evil and basks in the overwhelming glory of heaven.
Go on. Think of any and every evil that is thrown upon believers if you will. But then, if you know your Bible, notice that there are always bigger promises. God has made provision with corresponding power to overcome the evil and cause the end to be glorious for His trusting children.
""And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these who He called, He also justified; and these who He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things: If God is for us, who is against us? (verses 28-31)
God is leading somewhere for those who follow Him. He has called them out on purpose and nothing will thwart His ultimate agenda. He is making them like His Son and chipping away everything that does not look like Him. This world is the oven where this baking occurs. The melting pot where the dross is sloughed off and the sanctifying happens. And God causes all things to accomplish this glorious result.
Even death does not interrupt this process, but rather, completes it! It is the ultimate fear of most men, but the ultimate good for the believer. At death, the believer sheds the sin-weakened earth-suit and takes on the glorious clothing of heaven...soon to get a completely glorified body, impervious to sin and decay and death.
Nothing can overcome us, nothing can stop us. God is with us and His Divine synergy is at work in all things for our good.
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August 07, 2020
August 06, 2020
There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who believe they are Christians who will never enter heaven. This is not my evaluation, but the clear teaching of Christ Himself.
Christ spoke of false prophets who "come to you in sheep clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matt 7:15). It is not the outward clothing, but the inward heart that indicates a true believer.
What is the only way to know the difference between a professing believer and a real believer?
August 05, 2020
Of all the things Jesus could have addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, it's fascinating that He spends a good bit of time addressing worry. In fact, He commands us not to be worried: "Do not be worried about your life."
We are champion worriers. God knows that worry is so counterproductive. Not only is it useless, but it ties us up, destroys our faith, is a poor witness to those who are watching, and dishonors God. So, to help us He gives His true followers multiple reasons why worry is so useless.