A Blanket Promise from God

This week we continue examining some of God’s promises to Christians. Last week, we looked at what I call an “if/then” promise. God promised that if we would do this, then He would do that. Today, we are going to examine a blanket promise—one in which God promises to do something without requiring anything of us.

If you have not read the earlier posts on this subject, find the “Categories” list in the right-hand column of this page and click on “Christianity 101.” This will pull up all the previous posts so you can read through them in order.

Our text for today is Romans 8:28 & 29, which read as follows in the New American Standard Bible:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

This is one of those passages people love to misuse for their own purposes. How often have you heard someone say, “God causes all things to work together for good” without finishing the quote? The feel-good preachers would have us believe God is some kind of Santa Claus or sugar-daddy just handing out candy to us regardless of who we are or what we do.

It’s always dangerous to pick certain parts of a scripture to quote without considering its context. God is not speaking to all people here. He’s speaking to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. In other words, to Christians—or to those He, in His foreknowledge, knows will become Christians.

Say what? People who will become Christians?

Yes. That’s what verse 29 is saying. God foreknew before the foundation of the world who would and who would not accept His Son as Savior. He doesn’t spend His time and energy on those He knows will never accept Jesus. He concentrates His effort on those He knows will. He knows exactly what set of circumstances will cause each individual to come to Jesus, and He works in that person’s life to bring about that set of circumstances.

In my case, He knew He had to overcome an enormous pride and glibness to get my attention. Although He is not a fan of divorce and He doesn’t desire financial ruin for His people, He knew I had to suffer through both before I would surrender myself to the saving grace offered by Jesus. Some forty years ago, He allowed me to screw up badly enough in both my personal life and my finances to come to that point. Then He saved me.

He knew before I was born what it would take to get me to come to Jesus, and He worked to lead me into that set of circumstances. He brought me to salvation so He could begin the life-long process of conforming me to the image of His Son. By doing this for me and countless others throughout history, He made Jesus the first-born among many brethren.

But verse 28 doesn’t cease operating just because we accept Jesus. Our Salvation is the first step. It’s the door-opener that begins the process of perfecting us, conforming us to the image of His Son. Just as He causes all things to work together for good to get us saved, He also causes all things to work together for good to perfect us.

We will not attain that perfection in this life, but He is constantly at work leading us toward it. When things happen in our lives that seem to be bad, we need to remember that God is using those very things for our good. Joseph’s brothers intended ill to him when they sold him into slavery, but God took that and used it to bring about good for Jacob’s family and their descendants. He is still doing that today—in my life and that of every other person who either is or will become a Christian.

What things have happened to you that seemed bad at the time but which, in retrospect, you can see as good?

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If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

 

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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14 Responses to A Blanket Promise from God

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  6. I had read this post previously but came back and reread it while at my computer so I could share the reply that is in my heart. It’s rather long (as I’m sure you suspect already). While you’re debating whether to create a book of these posts, think about this.

    It took me almost 30 years to realize that my abusive childhood was a part of God’s great plan for me. Non-believers would probably roll their eyes but I know it to be true because He showed me. In a moment of divine grace four years ago, God opened my mind and heart up and gave me the knowledge that He was there with me through it all. Those trials, that pain, all of it made me into the person I am today and without it, I would not be the leader, mother, wife, sister, and friend that I am. I would not have been capable of making an impact on others around me or of fully using the God-given talents he blessed me with.

    I’m grateful for having been through that pain because now that I have been abused, I never abuse others. Now that I have known hate, I don’t spread it. I try every day to live up to my name, love, by sharing it with as many people as I can, through my actions, my writing, my relationships. I teach my children these same values. I overcame the cycle of abuse in my family and use that to create inspiration and hope for others. Because I have been homeless, I do not judge the homeless but instead seek to help.

    I hope one day to impact abused children by providing a foster home that is safe and nurturing for them to find themselves. I try to spread good will through my writing as well. I seek to serve as an ambassador for the homeless, the abused, and the lost.

    And I didn’t know it, but all those years where I wrote journals about my pain, my fear, my anger, and my horrible situations, I was talking to God. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was using writing to pray to God, something I still do today. So as horrible as it was, for me it is clear what the purpose was in God’s plan. And He knew it would take something drastic to reach me – that first it would drive me away, but in time would bring me back to His love. I still have a lot to learn but one thing I can trust is God is with me always. Now that I’ve seen that truth, nothing and no one can convince me otherwise.

    Beautiful post David!

    Like

  7. David – I’ve been absent for awhile. A couple days before Christmas my computer’s mother board blew and in the meantime I’m making do with three different operating systems. I’m unable to do twitter, etc. but at least I have the blog back up although I had to post it 3 separate times tonight before it actually stayed. I didn’t really get upset until all of my photographs disappeared after I hit the post button and everything was gone again – and this was after saving everything over and over. My new system is on order and I’m so looking forward to it’s arrival.
    One of the toughest life choices God placed in my life was when Fort Ord, CA came down on the closure list and although I had great offers in the civilian sector for continued employment, no one could offer me health insurance for Tom due to pre-existing conditions. Not only was I angry about For Ord closing but I’d come to think of Monterey as home. We had wonderful friends, a church we really liked, my team at work and I had been together for 13 years and although I traveled all over the world from that location for work, I always knew I was going home to Monterey.
    I made the decision to stay with government and it was a tough adjustment leaving Monterey, CA and going to DC and other less desirable locations but the positive was that the timing was perfect. I happened to see an announcement in the Washington Post one day that stated the VA would be the only federal agency offering early outs at 20 years with full benefits the coming year. I applied for every VA position I could find. I was willing to go to Bull Frog, Utah — I didn’t care. I only had 18 months left to do. I already had my ‘high count years in that would be my retirement earnings basis’ and I landed a position in Roseburg, OR. Just a sleepy little town on the banks of one of the most beautiful rivers in the US. When my time was up, I retired at 54 along with full benefits and by then Tom really needed me full time. God really did have my best interest at heart. If I had stayed at Fort Ord and it were still operational, I’d still be working.

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  8. As I move forward in my healing, I can honestly say it has been a rebirth of every kind for me, especially spiritually. I know I am a much more compassionate person now – and, as I move forward, I will be a better person for what I have learned while in the throes of my own pain and suffering. I literally want to love everyone and help everyone because so many people have shown me so much love and compassion along the way. Hopefully, eventually, all this suffering will pass and I’ll understand more fully what my purpose is here on Earth. But I know it will involve being present for people whenever they need help.

    Thank you for this post & thank you for continuing to be there for me.

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  9. Sharon Walker says:

    My divorce of over 40 years ago was most painful, but much good has followed, especially having found the love of a good and godly man.

    Like

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