This past week I have been reading a book a book written in the 1600’s
by Thomas Watson entitled “A Divine Cordial.” It is an exposition of Romans
8:28. It never ceases to amaze me how much truth and practical use
is contained in just one or two verses of Scripture.
If you have never read this book, I suggest you get a copy as soon as possible and read through it. It has really been a blessing to me. Romans 8:28 reads; “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” What a great verse of Scripture this is. For just a few moments today let’s examine some of things which it teaches.
First of all it says “we know”. There is a branch of philosophy which says that we can know nothing for a certainty. It says that nothing is black or white, true or false. It says that all things are relative to all other things. This is the essence of situation ethics. What is right to do at one time may not be the right thing to do at another time and place. Any act may be justifiable by the circumstances surrounding it.
This is of course, in contrast to the Bible and to what it says in our text for it says “We know”! We know that there are certain things which we can know for a fact. So many religions of the world present a groping after truth. Their whole structure is built upon a seeking after truth for one’s whole life. The Bible says “we know” There is no doubt whatsoever, we know. Not we think, nor we hope, not we wish, but we know.
But it is not everyone that knows. Remember Paul is writing this book as he tells us in the first chapter and the seventh verse, “to all that be in Rome, beloved of God called to be saints.” Only those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ can know, only they can have a certainty.
An unredeemed man or woman knows nothing. They know not where they came from, nor do they know where they are headed. They do not know what their purpose is here on earth.
Those who have been redeemed know. They know that God is their Father. They know that heaven is their destination. They know that they are here on earth to give honor and glory to God their Father and to Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. There is so much that we can learn from those two words “we know”.
The next thing that we notice is what we know. “We know that all things work together for good”. This means all things. Sometimes we cannot tell how all things work together but we rest content in the knowledge that they do. Even such unlikely things as other men’s sins work together for our good. How so? Well, first of all when we see others sin we ought to be humbled by the knowledge in times past we were as they are, but God intervened to save us from our sins. This ought to make us so humble knowing that any sin is not forgotten to our way of thinking or even doing, but if God had not stopped us we would be committing the very sin that people all around us commit every day. It ought to make us humble and thankful.
Thankful to God that even though we were in the depths of sin, as depraved and wicked as we could be, yet He had love and mercy for us and gave his son Jesus Christ to take our sins upon Himself and to bear the punishment that was due to us. When we see others sin we ought to be most thankful to God for His wonderful salvation, which has been wrought through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Then also seeing others sin ought to be a spur to gospel witnessing. It ought to remind us of how much they need the Saviour also. Every time we see someone sin it ought to convince us the more of the need of spreading the gospel.
Then even our own sins work together for good. Now every Christian sins. John tells us that; “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Now then, how does our sin work for good? If nothing else, it reminds us of whom we are. We get awfully swelled headed sometimes. We think that we are so good, and so important, and O so indispensable. Each time that we sin ought to remind us of our real nature.
We are depraved human beings. It ought to remind us how far short of the mark of perfection that we fall. Now that, of course, does not give us a license to sin. No one ought to sin for any reason. Yet, when we do sin God works it out for good.
This sought to remind us also of the sovereignty of God. We could never take our sins, our failings, our short-comings and work them out for good. If left to us our lives would be an impossible mess. God is such a high sovereign, such a great ruler, that He can work out all our imperfections for good. God is the only one who can take a group of bad happenings, at least bad to our human understanding, and turn them around in such a way that they will work out for good.
Job is a good example of this. We could never see any way that all the sufferings that Job went through could work for good. None of us could say, however, that Job was not better off, both spiritually and materially, after his afflictions than he was before them. Beyond that Job’s story has served as an example and inspiration for countless millions of believers down through the ages.
All things work together for good because we serve a good God. Lucifer the great deceiver who wanted to be God has never worked things out for good for anybody. He desires only their hurt and injury. He desires only their rebellion against their sovereign Lord. The Lord God Jehovah is greatly different from Lucifer isn’t He? He desires good for His people and He brings that good to pass. Yes, all things work together for good thanks to our sovereign God who rules all the universe with wisdom and righteousness.
We have seen that we know that these things work together for good and we have seen a little it of how they work together for good, now let us notice to whom they work together for good.
This verse cannot be applied to everyone’s life and circumstances but it is for a particular group of people.
Our verse says that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to Hs purpose. The question might be asked do things work together for good to every man? We would simply ask the question; do all men love God? The obvious answer is, of course, that all men do not love God. Certainly they do not obey his commandments. They lie, cheat, steal, take his name in vain and persecute His churches and His people. It is plain that all men do not love God. According to our verse, however, all things work together for good to those that love God.
Some people will take for their philosophy of life that things will all work out for good in the end, somehow. That is a vain, deceitful philosophy if someone does not love God. Hell is not a good place, but for those who love not God every action they take, everything that happens in their lives, even though they may think of them as good things does nothing but leads them closer to the fiery pits of hell.
All things work together for good to those that love God. We should not be ashamed of our love for God and it should grow every day. After all, does He not provide us with food, clothing, shelter, a job, a family, and any other good thing that we have. Does he not work out all things for our good? God is a working God. He is not indifferent to our needs. He is not passive in the events of our daily lives but He is constantly working. Every thing that happens to us is a work of God.
Do you wake up in the morning? You did not wake yourself up. God woke you up! You do not have any power to arise out of sleep. Only God can waken you. Do you go to sleep at night? That is not of your own power either. Most people have had a time or two during their lives when they wanted desperately to get some sleep but for one reason or another just could not go to sleep. You see, you do not have the power to sleep whenever you want to. Sleep is a gift from God. Everything that we have or are able to do is a gift from God.
We ought to be so thankful that we have a God who works out all things for our good. Should this not make us to love God all the more? I am reminded of the Chorus of the song “Oh how I love Jesus.” “Oh how I love Jesus! Oh how I love Jesus, because he first loved me!” God loved us while we were yet sinners. His only begotten son Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for us. How much love ought we to give to God? How much worship, and praise, and glory?
Now then notice also that these things work together for good to those that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Now, nobody ever loved God without being called by God. We are, as human beings, in a natural state of total depravity. We have no love for God. We have no yearning after the things of the Lord. We have no desire to serve God in the manner that we ought to serve Him. We are dead in trespasses and sin, alienated from God and a stranger to Him. There is nothing that we can do to approach God. God must approach us. So many people use the expression; “I found the Lord.” I didn’t even know that He was lost. I did not find God. God found me.
The Holy Spirit revealed the Gospel to me and took out that heart of stone which I had possessed all of my life and placed within me a new heart. A heart which had love to God and respect and fear of Him in it. The Lord showed me how Jesus Christ had died for my sins, and paid the penalty that was due to me. You might say if that is true God made you go against your will. No, God did not make me go against my will. He just made me willing to go. Where before I had not wanted God, or His Son Jesus Christ, or the blessed Holy Spirit, now all three persons of the trinity were my great desire. God sought me and because He sought me then and only then did I begin to seek after God. I hear so much talk today of how people are searching after something. Yes, they are searching after something. They are searching after sin. When they go into religion they are searching for an easy way out, an easy way to soothe their troubled minds. They are searching for a way to attain happiness by their works and their deeds. They are not searching for the real Christ, and the real gospel, and the real God. They want a God that they can control rather than a God that controls them.
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no man that comes unto the Father but by Him. It is only through the work of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary that we gain acceptance with God. It is not through baptism, church membership, our works, our prayers, or even our belief. It is only through Jesus Christ and His finished work. If you are trusting in anything else to get you to heaven besides Jesus Christ, you are trusting in the wrong thing. Your trust is the wrong place and your hope is false.
We urge you today to believe in Jesus Christ and to repent of your sins. Romans 8:1 tells us that, there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Elsewhere we are told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
It is about time for us to go now.
Until the next time this is Medford Caudill saying: “We are not ready to live until we are prepared to die.”
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