I have the privilege of contributing to He Reads Truth, a website of whose purpose is “To help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ.” They do this by providing scripture reading plans accompanied by reflections that can be accessed for free online or purchased as print books. For those of you looking to engage scripture in a fresh way – either because you are dried up or have been away from it, these studies/plans will refresh your soul and engage your mind.
What follows is one of the pieces I wrote for the plan on Romans. You can find the full plan HERE.
“If God loves me, He will _____.”
What words would you use to fill in that blank? Most often when we answer this question, whether privately in our hearts or more boldly, we limit the love of God. We attach His love to the circumstances or results we want. We draw a straight line between God’s love and our comfort.
Romans 8 paints an altogether different picture of a love so much bigger, richer, deeper, and more complete than anything we are even capable of imagining. It isn’t a contingent love or one designed to dole out creature comforts. It cannot be cheapened by our color-by-number effort to depict it. Romans 8 is a masterpiece of God’s love, which is intended for our good.
In Jesus we live loved. We breathe love and exist each moment ensconced in it. No one can condemn us. No one can judge us. No enemy can assail us. Yes, we will be condemned, judged, and assailed in this world, but no one can remove us from Christ’s love. Our own fears and insecurities, even our own death, cannot remove us from the love of God.
This profound love of God was ours before we were conscious of it, and will be ours for all eternity to the fullness of our joy and glorification. God promised to complete the good work He started in us (Philippians 1:6), and He will—through the transformative power of His love.
When Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good,” this is what it means: not that every painful or confusing moment will pay out in happiness, but that God’s love will not fail. We will reap its benefits throughout infinite time.
In this single passage we see the fullness of God—Father, Son, and Spirit—offer the fullness of His love to those who believe. The Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we lack the words or ability. The Son sacrifices Himself as the means—the access—to this rich love. The Father is the ordainer, author, and giver of the eternal plan of love. And we are part of it, in it for all time.
We may never get what we filled in the blank with above—that thing we attached to God’s love, that trite and limiting expected sign of His goodness. Instead we will be more than conquerors in eternal glory, no matter what we face in this temporal life.