Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
As we’ve seen in Chapter Eight, the believer is free to subject himself to the condemnation of his flesh, by offering God a dead sacrifice (religious works), or, the believer can submit himself to life and peace, by offering God a living sacrifice (that which is of the Spirit). Paul writes that we can never please God in the flesh but thankfully, those who are IN Christ are not IN the flesh. Despite this, we also know that the physical condemnation of the flesh causes the entirety of creation to groan over the suffering it is subjected to, however, we live in confidence that the Spirit of God is always making intercession for us and always according to the Will of God.
Therefore, in verse 28, we can be assured that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Despite the circumstance, God is at work to bring good of it – and this is good from His perspective. We may still live in suffering, but God’s work is bringing about good at every turn.
This promise is made to those whom Paul says are the “called according to his purpose.” As we saw in Chapter One, being “called” is being “titled.”
Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We noted that in Chapter One, Paul clearly identifies these Romans as already of mutual faith with Paul. Verse 7 is not Paul’s invitation for these Romans to become saints, but rather Paul is referring to them by the very title they’ve been given. In other words, these Roman believers already maintained a few titles – beloved of God and saints – and these titles were an immediate product, not of a lifetime of religious performance, but of faith.
God is working all things together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose. What this demonstrates is that there is a calling that every believer has – it is not a special, circumstantial invitation, but rather a reality of everyone of faith. Each believer has been called into the grace of God, by being titled with the very Savior Himself. These whom God already knew would be titled as such, God predetermined to conform those of faith to the image of His Son. God did not predetermine who would get the invitation, but predetermined what would happen to those who responded to said invitation – He would conform them to the image of His Son. These who are conformed to the image of His Son stand justified and glorified, forever.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Despite your neighbor’s best efforts and despite your best efforts, the reality of being justified before God is a declaration of God Himself. No one can lay anything to our charge to attempt to deny us our justified standing – for it wasn’t any of them who justifies an individual, but that rests solely upon God. Regardless of how we stand in our neighbor’s eyes, Jesus Christ nevertheless makes intercession for us, something an unbeliever does not enjoy.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hopefully we’ve seen through Chapters Six, Seven and Eight that who we are in Christ is not a product of the flesh, whether it is of good intentions or bad. As Paul said in Chapter Seven, it is no more I that sins, but the sin that dwells in me that sins. There is literally nothing that separates us from the love of Christ, for by being in Christ, His love is shed abroad in our hearts–not can be shed abroad, so long as we walk the straight and narrow, but IS shed abroad because HE WALKED the straight and narrow. That love is inseparable. God would have to separate the believer from Christ to separate the believer from His love – and we just read the promise that nothing can be laid to our charge because it is God who has justified us.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
With all of this being true – that whether Jew or Gentile – anyone in Christ enjoys all of these things, what does it mean for the nation of Israel? As Paul wrote in Romans 3, what advantage hath the Jew? As Paul said, they have a chief advantage because unto them were committed the Oracles of God. Paul is going to expound upon this in the next few chapters. If there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, then what would that mean in relation to bearing the Oracles of God?
Our story continues in Chapter Nine…