Column: Assurance For Christians
Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023
By April J. Buchanan | Community Columnist
The Sovereignty of God is comfort to the child of God. We are not promised that we will not endure sufferings or trials, adversities or hardships. In fact, we are told that we will. But knowing that God is sovereign over all things gives assurance in His promises because of who He is.
If we suffer, let us suffer well. If we endure hardships, let us endure them well. Let us know that God is sovereign over it and that He works all things together for good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Roman’s 8:28 LSB
I know that verse is poorly used by many – new agers, word of faith, prosperity teachers and more – but just because some have hijacked it and tried to make it mean what it never meant, (bringing false assurance based on false promises that tickles itching ears), they don’t get to change its true meaning. It doesn’t get to be isolated from its context, strung together with other isolated passages/verses to then promise that whatever we desire in our hearts (second half of Psalm 37:4), whatever dreams we have (misappropriating story of Joseph), that we are David (no we’re not) and whatever our perceived giants are that we are going to defeat them (1 Samuel 17) and God is going to give us what we long for if we will just keep speaking it into existence (second half of Roman’s 4:17 falsely inserting self) because all this is going to work together for our good (with our definition of good). Pull the string of that bad theology and watch it unravel. There’s no real assurance there.
This method makes all of scripture about us, our dreams and where we are always the hero or victim. It completely turns on its head what good is, what suffering is and makes everything about us. With this method, God then is simply there to make our dreams come true and we lose focus of who He truly is and what He has really assured us of and promised us.
This verse is for those “who love God” and are “called according to His purpose”. This verse is for truly born-again Christians.
If we do not desire its true meaning, then we fail to see the real assurance that this verse offers children of God. True assurance must come from the truth.
In context, this verse is not promising whatever we desire, and we just need to get past this pesky moment of perceived suffering (whatever we see in the way of what we desire) and overcome these perceived giants (usually something or someone we see as in our way of what we want) so we can fulfill “our purpose”, “our dreams”. No! This verse is in the context of suffering for Christ, as Christian’s. It’s assuring Christian’s that even in suffering or whatever we may endure in this world, that Gods good plan, His good purpose, will prevail. We do not need to fear, doubt or be uncertain because we know that we are secure in Him, come what may. It’s in the context of assurance for true believers who endure temporal sufferings as Christian’s, and of our being conformed to the image of Christ and of future glory. Let us be assured and comforted in that no matter what we endure in this world it cannot compare to the glory that awaits us.
If we interpret the text based on our desires then we make suffering take on a different meaning, the good that is promised to mean what we want it to mean and we make promises that the text is not saying. But if we look at what it says in context and what it truly means, then we can rightly apply that to our lives, and have the real assurance from the beautiful promise we see in this text, that God truly does work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose and we will not be tossed about no matter what happens in this life.