Romans 8:24-25 ESV
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
God’s plan of salvation for us is that we should die with Christ to sin and live with him to righteousness, and that we should suffer in these bodies so that we might be glorified with him for eternity. We who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, must now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to our sinful flesh, but not of our own accord, but empowered by the Spirit of God now living within us (Rom. 8:1-17).
Yet, we are not saved from our sins just so we can escape hell and just so we can go to heaven when we die. When Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. When he died on that cross he bought us back for God with his blood so that we should now glorify God with our lives.
But, this salvation is not a one-time event in our lives. Daily we must deny self and take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. Daily, by the Spirit, we must be putting to death the misdeeds of our sinful flesh and putting on Christ and his armor. Daily we must walk with the Lord in his righteousness and follow him wherever he leads us (Lu. 9:23-25).
And, we must accept that suffering with him is part of his plan for our lives, too, but that one day he will return for us and our suffering will be no more. When he returns for us, and he takes us to be with him for eternity, our salvation will be complete, and no longer will we be tempted by this sinful flesh of ours. And, although we don’t now see this hope physically, we believe that this day is coming, and so we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:26-30 ESV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
But, again, we are not on our own here. We don’t have to do this in our own strength and willpower or according to our own thinking and reasoning. For, the Spirit of God living within us helps us in our weaknesses. He strengthens and empowers us to do the will of God for our lives. He counsels us and he directs us in what to do, and in how to do it. We just have to be listening to his voice, and we have to follow his lead. And, we must let him work, not only in our lives but out through our lives for his honor, praise and glory.
Our God is with us, in other words. He is for us, if we are for him. And, he is interceding for us according to his will. And, for those of us who love God, who are walking in obedience to his commands, in his power and strength, he is working all things for good, for those of us who have been called according to his purpose.
And, his purpose for us is that we should walk in his love and in his righteousness, and that we should forsake our sins and do his will. And, the good that he will do in us and for us is what is best for us according to his will and purposes for our lives, i.e. what is beneficial for us spiritually. For, his purpose for us is that we should all be conformed to the image of Christ our Lord, no longer yielding to the passions of our sinful flesh, but now walking in lifestyle according to the Spirit of God.
Romans 8:31-36 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
So, we must understand these things so that when we do go through suffering, and when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we will know that it doesn’t mean God is against us. He is still for us.
Yet, if we are not listening to him, and we are going our own way, despite him, he will discipline us, but not because he is against us, but because he is for us, and he wants what is best for us, which is for us to live for him and for his praise and glory. For, he prunes us so that we might grow in him and become more fruitful for his eternal kingdom.
So, the things he graciously gives us here are not the desires of our sinful flesh, for that would not be according to his will and purposes for our lives. He is not a genie in the sky there to comply with our every request. What he will give us is all that we need to live righteously and to walk in his love, and to follow him in his ways, because we are weakened by our flesh, and we need his help.
We must understand, as well, that when we do suffer, and we go through difficulties, it doesn’t mean God has abandoned us or that he doesn’t care about our suffering. He does! But, he knows suffering is for our good, to mature us in Christ and to make us more like Jesus. For, in our suffering he is making us holy, set apart from the world and unto God.
Romans 8:37-39 ESV
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Again, Jesus doesn’t save us from our sins and then abandon us to figure things out on our own. It is through him that we are able to conquer sin in our lives and that we are able to live righteously. It is through him that we are able to go through times of great suffering and that we are able to remain strong in our faith and not cave to the pressures of this world.
So, we should be encouraged! Our God is with us. He has not forsaken us. And, he has a plan for everything that we are going through. We just need to seek his face in prayer, and be in his Word daily, asking him for his help and guidance to follow him and to do his will.
Even when we don’t see what lies ahead, and we don’t understand why things are happening to us the way that they are, we need to trust him. And, we need to submit to his will. For, he will work all things out for good in our lives, but “good” by his definition and according to his will and purposes. We just must believe that he has a plan and then let him work his plan.
Bow the Knee
Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father
when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven
and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand
the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.