HOW DO WE KNOW IF ROMANS 8:28 APPLIES TO US
Charles e Whisnant
August 19, 2012
How can we know that Paul’s statement , “All things work together for good…” is true with respect to us, as to how I may know that this is true of us.
Now I do like to teach with a theological intent, so did the Apostle Paul, but really most of the time Paul was interest was primarily pastoral.
Sometimes many deal with theory of something rather than how is it practice. But you need to combine them, there is always a practical intention. The intent of course is to help you in a practical way, with your problems and struggles.]
The message should not be only for the mind and understanding, but also for the heart and will. One needs to have understanding yes, but also the will to accomplish what he knows to be true.
So how do we know this promise is applied to us? We certainly as Christians often quote this verse.
First we need to know whether all this applies to us, and if we conform to the description that is given of the people to whom this does apply, because it does apply to a certain people.
WHO DOES THIS PROMISE APPLY TO:
1A THOSE WHO LOVE GOD
So we can ask the question why does Paul describe Christian folks in this manner. “ Why did he not just say “All things work together for good to them who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’? Of course that is just as true of Christians. So why does he instead say those who love God?
Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 2:9 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I would say, to a degree in order to contrast the Christian with the non-Christian. Romans 8:7 says 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Here Paul gives a disparity between those who say they are Christians and those who really are. Some believe that been a Christian is simply those who have in their mind regarded that they are saved by it been a matter of intellectual acceptance of truth only. They have in their mind just said they are Christians. There is really no real love relationship experiences with Jesus Christ.
The problem with unbelievers or non Christians is not that in reality do hate God. Here is the only two alternatives in the Scriptures about who is and who is not a Christians. Either you love God or you hate God. The non believer hates God (in God’s terms) and the Believer “loves God.”
In other words the Believer goes beyond just believing in God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the term Lordship does not bother him, and the idea that God saved Him does not bother him. To say as a Believer you believe that your salvation was by the sovereign will of God and for His pleasure is not offensive to you.
James 2:19b “The devils also believe, and tremble.” And devils are not Christians so there need to something added to the description of a Christians. “They love God.”
For this verse to apply, “Are you a Christian…that loves God?”
“Well” you might say, “I have always believed in God” but that belief may be of no value whatsoever: it is not of necessity Christian belief.
A person could be a theist., I mean he could have the belief that one God created and rules humans and the world, and not necessarily accompanied by belief in divine revelation such as through the Bible. And not be a Christian. You can have an intellectual assent to the truth about God and have certain belief about the truth about God and still not be a Christian.
Isn’t it true that not every one who says they are a Christians are indeed one.
So Paul is going to help us know who is a Christian and who is not one.
So what is the test to know who is really a Christian? What assurance do I have that this promise is for me?
Well one is that you are going to love God, with all your heart, soul, and mind Matthew 22:37
Love is here all all-encompassing. I am going to love the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior, Prophet, Priest and King. I am going to live Him, with my whole personality – soul, mind, heart, body, all my strength. The test of my salvation is do I love the Lord.
What then does it mean to love God?
Some people’s definition of love certainly is different than any kind of love I know. There is certainly a lot of illustration that we could give about how love in some people’s mind would be hate in other persons mind when they say they love them.
Some people think that they love God or Christ because they have some emotional experience feelings. You know they felt something at the end of one of Johnny Edwards songs. I would say one of my sermons, but then I know better. That is not love.
You will and do experience emotions for sure, Love does include emotions, but its more than emotions.
I Google image “God and your emotions”
Yes there is an emotional feeling when one things about how much we are blessed, and have been graced. But our love is action, and we are driven by an inward desire to please the Lord with all our being. Our feelings are real, our emotions are real, and that leads us to love the Lord in the way that God wants us to love Him.
Yes I love the bible, but I love it to the point I am going to read it, and obey it.
Ray Anderson 1934-2011 said “For those who think business exists to make a profit, I suggest that they think again. Business makes a profit to exist. Surely it must exist for some higher, nobler purpose than that.” Interface Co.
What is so loudly perpetuated is just the opposite. What we have is a marketing machine which only serves as a short-term needs of shareholders; to make more money next year than the year prior. We are mesmerized by the illusion but disinterested in the reality.
Steve Jobs understood that, as human beings, our first relationship with anything is an emotional one. “A device isn’t just a sum of its functions, it’s something that should make you smile, you should cradle, you should love, you should have an emotional relationship with.”
There is a difference between hardware and software. Digital and physical are vastly different things to bring to life. The point with Stephen Fry is have an emotional relationship with the way it works, not the device itself. And if it gets wet or the display shatters into a million pieces, we don’t skip a beat when a brank new one magically appears from behind the counter. What Steve Jobs led Apple to develop was elaborate, delicate, and over engineered hardward as pedantically designed as the software itself.
Hardware is tools and implements, the equipment and devices that make up a computer system as oppoed to the programs used on it.
Software is the applications and programs for the computer.
Goodness how did I get on this topic. What is the point?
Maybe there is a difference between having that hardware (the Bible) and using the software (the Word of God). I wonder if that is a stretch in application.
Back on the topic at hand.
Are we to have an emotional love for the local church? When I say that I love the hearing of the Word of God? Does it bring emotional feeling? Do I undergo an emotional feeling when I am in a church service? Hope so, but that is not all love is. Love of God is much deeper than emotional feelings.
You certainly can experience emotion, and believe that you are loving God and yet show later that you do not love God at all. That certainly happens all the time. Tears at the altar does not compute in the reality of life outside this bulding.
The Lord makes it quite clear that you do not love God at all. John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
There is no value in talking about love unless we keep the commandments.
Well theoretical I love the Lord, really. Love is practical. Here is true love of God, you will have a desire to please the Lord, and to live to his glory and to keep His commandments, and to be like Jesus.
Love like Jesus
So do you belong in this group of those who “love God?”
The writer Paul, I put forward to you chose the term because it is all-inclusive and leaves no uncertainty. He does take us right to the heart of the matter, so that we may be quite sure as to where we stand.
So why did Paul use the “love” rather than “believers?”
One of the best way we can know if we love God or not, is our reaction to life. There are many who say at first that they love the Lord, (at a church altar, or in their home with someone who invites them to be saved) only to find themselves in living life and say where is God?
There are those who at first seem to have believed the gospel and to be enjoying the Christian life. But when the trails and difficulty of life comes upon they, they give up on the gospel.
They cannot face that test, they feel they have been let down. They entertained the thought that to be a Christian meant that you would never have any troubles and problems, so the moment of trials come they say, “There is nothing in Christianity after all.” And turn their backs upon it. They do not love God.
Here is who you know in one way that you love God. You lose everything you have in a forest fire. You are told that you are no longer needed in your position at work. You just learn that you have one month to live. You learned that your child was shot at school today.
Are you going to be like Job or Job’s wife. Remember the story of Job. “The reason Job is happy and loves you is because he is so blessed.” The devil said. You know the story, tell it.
Job 1:21-23 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charge God foolishly.
Job 13: 15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
I might not understand, but I know that God is love. Then you have stood the test.
Notice that Paul introduces it here in the context of trials and troubles, and problems, when we are in the state and conditions in which we “know not what we should pray for as we ought.” But we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God’ to those who can go on loving Him when everything seems to be against them, and everything seems to testify against the face that God loves them. They still love Him.
The greatest proof of God’s love to us is in the fact that we love Him
First John 4: 19 We love him, because he first loved us.
We would not love him if He had not first loved us. So if I find myself in love with the Lord, with all my heart, should, mind, and life, I then have an absolute proof that He loves me.
That is the very thing that Apostle Paul is telling these Christians . So it is wise for us to put it in terms of our love to God. No man would ever have loved God unless God first of all loved Him. Therefore if we can prove by our love to god that God loves us, we can be absolutely certain that everything will be overruled by God for our good, and for our benefit, and for our ultimate glory.
If in the light of these things we can say that we love God, then the promise that “all things work together for good to them that love God’ applies to us.