During the school year…on most Saturday nights you will find me working on my Bible Study Fellowship lesson. Tonight is no different. This year is my most favorite because we are studying the book of Romans. If one can say that they have a favorite book of the Bible…I would say Romans is my favorite…and this week’s chapter, chapter 8 is my favorite. But to narrow it down ever further…we studied vs. 28-39.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? 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, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
‘For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:28-39
I do believe that out of the entire Bible…if I could fully lay hold of these verses, comprehend them and live by them…they would transform my life. I’d say that this last year has taught me more about the truth of these verses in a more personal way…than ever before. As I reflect back…I now know God in a more personal way…as He stood with me and walked with me through every trepid and lonely step.
I must confess that many a time during this process…I did not feel His presence or His ever present help in times of trouble. But looking back at the wake my ship that sailed…I can see God’s presence and help along the way.
At times…the seas I sailed on were stormy and tumultuous and at other times peaceful and smooth as glass. There were many days…that felt like torpedoes…one after another were coming my way. Little did I know it but my lifeboat was at hand. Many a time…I was resting comfortably and safely in it as the storm assailed my tiny boat. But the Master was at the helm.
I found two questions in this week’s lesson most compelling. 1) We were to read through chapter 8 of Romans and tell which two statements we most wanted to remember and why? 2) What difficulty has Christ’s love helped us to conquer this year?
Reviewing chapter 8 and writing my responses…was both moving and difficult in the fact that it brought back painful times in my very recent past.
To the first question…there were two scripture verses that stood out to me the most.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b
The obvious answer is that if God is for us…it is insignificant and it pales in comparison who stand against us…because God and His love is so powerful. In essence their opposition amounts to nothing. As much as some stood against me…more so, there were those people who did not stand with me. Even in that…I had the one Person…the One who matters most that stood and remains standing in my corner. He never left me, nor forsook me.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18
It surprised me that this scripture verse meant a lot to me when reading chapter 8 this year. Normally vs. 8:28 is my favorite. In fact I consider it my life verse:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
But right now…verse 18 means a lot to me. To know that even though my present burdens seem very heavy that one day…I will look back and see that they were very light indeed. That God will repay me more than I can ever imagine or deserve for the troubles I’ve endured.
To the second question…what has Christ’s love helped me to conquer this year? Well…I guess all of the above is what He helped me to conquer. That which a year ago…I could never have imagined and I am most grateful to have not known beforehand was coming my way.
In some respects…it kind of scares me…because I know today is preparation for tomorrow. These recent difficulties were meant to help me grow stronger and prepare me for tomorrow.
That is why it is essential that I be rooted and grounded in the Word of God and be ever mindful of His work and presence in my life.
If any of you are in need of a good, strong, foundational Bible study…I would highly recommend Bible Study Fellowship. You will grow in wisdom and knowledge through God’s Word…and you will know God in a more personal way through the study of His word.
“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” – Hebrews 11:6 Amplified Bible