“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
This text is part of a New Testament song.
Oh, I know it, I know it, it is not a song in the accepted, mechanical and technical sense of the word. But it is a song nevertheless.
Let us see.
A song is an expression of happiness and great joy.
A song is sung by those who are contented, by those who are at peace with everything. You sing when you have no care in the whole wide world.
That is exactly the fact of the matter here.
Go with me to the head of the chapter out of which this verse is taken. There we read that there is no hell, no curse, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
If you are in Christ Jesus, you are at peace with everything, and I would have no limit to that word.
Paul had outlined to the Roman Christians that they are justified before God, that they are clothed with the clothes of righteousness so that there is nothing against them before the tribunal of God. For this righteousness is His, is thought out by Him and brought about by Him, realized by Him and centrally fulfilled by Him.
And all this realizing, fulfilling and working of this righteousness is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you are in Him, you can begin to sing your song of utter contentment.
Paul had finally done so in the eighth chapter. He sang of that righteous estate when singing of the walk according to the Spirit of God. The Triune God thought out this justification, planned it, revealed it and had begun to realize it in the hearts and lives of the happy beings who are to be partakers of it.
And the realization, the fulfilling of this great redemption is by the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit of God is the Divine Agent through Whom you become partaker of the bounties of justification. It is the living God, dwelling in the depth of your heart, and praying there is that heart if you do not know anymore what or how to pray because of your infirmities.
And we know, says Paul, that all things work together for good to them that love God.
Let us begin with that last statement: to them that love God.
That statement makes for distinction, for separation. There are just two kinds of people in the world: those that love God and those that hate Him.
We all hate Him by nature, and are children of wrath.
But when the Holy Ghost comes into the depth of our heart, He changes that heart and spreads abroad the love of God (Rom. 5).
To love God. What does it mean? It means that your deepest heart, and that is the real you, is knit together with God in the bond of His covenant. It means that His life is yours. It means that you really have only one interest in life, and that interest is God! For that interest you will sacrifice everything, and again I would not see a limit put to that word. If they would offer a man all the goods of his house for that love he would be utterly contemned. To love God means that you are united with God in the bond of perfection.
And that is wrought by the Spirit of God.
When you have the love of God in your heart it is the proof that God loves you. And His love is from all eternity and to everlasting.
To express that love He made the world, counseled it to fall again in darkness so that He might show to the sons of glory how utterly lovely He is in Christ Jesus that died on the accursed tree, which Son raised the world to untold glory and beauty.
Can you now understand that all things must work together for good unto you? Of course, they must work together for your good. He made all things for the revelation and manifestation of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord.
And the Holy Ghost will enumerate here. Death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, nor any other creature can harm us.
What is the only and real harm that can come to the sons of glory?
This: that they would be found outside of the loving arms of God!
I ask you: can you think of a greater evil than that?
Of course, there is no greater evil than that. All other evils are as nothing. Paul calls all the evils that visit us here below “our light affliction” and he adds to it: “which is but for a moment.”
Ask it of the man who is so often mentioned when we talk of evil that comes over us in this sorry earth. Ask it of Lazarus, and he will smile. He will tell you: Attend to my name: Lazarus! He whom the Lord aids! The miserable wretch he was, lying in all kinds of weather at the gate of the rich man, the rags, the sores, the licking dogs, the hunger, the gnawing hunger! And his only answer is: God helps me! God loves me. What else do I want?
I know it, I know it! Some of us have given our lives on the battlefields of the world. There are sorrowing parents and brothers and wives. But I would ask all of them this question: Do you love God? And if your answer is in the affirmative I will preach the Gospel to you, and I will tell you in God’s name that you do not sorrow even as the world sorroweth, but that you are blessed even in your bereavement. Your son and sweetheart went to his death so that God might be good to you. That is the message of the text! The death of our beloved is a message of love of God for us. They had to die when they did die. It is all ordained. Their deaths and your sorrow were so many links in the chain of eternal salvation of the church of God.
It did not bring separation between you and the love of God as it is in Christ Jesus, did it? Of course, it did not. It strengthened that love, if anything.
And so it is with all things.
If you are safe in the arms of God, the eternal God is your Refuge. And He has never suffered that anyone or anything really did you wrong. All the things that made you cry and groan were so many tokens of His love for you. They were the necessary way to His heart.
For we are the called according to His purpose.
His purpose is realized when all are safe in heaven and time ended. The way to that fulfillment is called His Counsel. Say this: He will lead me with His counsel and afterwards He will take me up in glory.
Just suffer a little longer, and He will finally come to relieve you.
Then He will wipe all tears from off all faces.
Then you will be satisfied. You will see there that all things were for His praises and glory and that your place in that scheme is utmost happiness.
Methinks, I hear the strains of the heavenly melody!
THE GOOD FIGHT
(I Timothy 6:11, 12)
Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
“To those who fall, how kind Thou art,
How good to those who seek.”