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May 2, 2018, 10:12 AM

God is for us!



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31b)

It has often been said that when it comes to the Bible, a text without a context becomes simply a pretext. In Romans 8:31 the question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is preceded by the question, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?” Thus, before we can accurately answer the question of Romans 8:31b, we must address what “these things” are that Paul mentions. The wonderful news just preceding Romans 8:28-30 is that we have a God who is watching over us and who is also at work for our good. Paul prefaced the questions of v. 31 by saying: “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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son...”

Then the apostle asked, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?” And he answered with another question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The obvious answer? It doesn’t matter who may be against us when Almighty God himself is for us, for he is always at work watching over us and providing for us. We find this wonderful truth wrapped in the package of one of the most quoted verses in all the Bible: “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.” We do not wish, or think, or hope. We know that God is watching over us and working on our behalf! Not only that, but we also know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. God’s Word does not say “some things” or “many things” or even “most things.” The Bible says, “in all things.” Yes, even unfair things – like Joseph being held in an Egyptian prison – and awful things – like persecution and martyrdom.

Now, I can already hear the question from us Wesleyan-Arminian Nazarene folks, but what about that word predestination in the text? Are we predestined? Well, Yes AND No. Predestination is not only about what God does behind the scenes to draw us to Christ but also about the free grace that gives us the freedom to make responsible choices. And it is about the keeping grace in which we stand as those justified by faith (Rom. 5:1-2). Renowned Nazarene theologian William Greathouse writes, “Pauline predestination is not an abstract concept. It concerns God’s decision to take the initiative: to love us before we even had a thought about him, to remain faithful to the faithless, to offer forgiveness to the unrepentant, to justify the ungodly, and to sanctify the unholy. Such relentless grace will prevail; God’s love will not let us down. Predestination affirms that God plans in advance and that he acts purposefully to achieve these plans. God knows where he wants his creation to go and how he wants it to get there. He has assured the success of his plans by taking the initiative in Christ to provide the more-than-sufficient means to the final destination he has in mind: Christlikeness.” God has a glorious plan. He has predestined us for great things! The question is, will we put our faith and trust in him? Will we work with him or against him? His glorious promise is for those who choose, with their free will, to love him.” The Lord Almighty is for us? Are we for him?

Let us join in prayer: Father, I’m yours! Accomplish your great plans in and through me. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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