Amazing Love pt. 1 - Romans 8:28 - 39

Dr. Steve Viars August 7, 1990 Romans 8:28-39

- tonight is our 5th study of favorite Bible verses

- let's do something different tonight - let's see if you can

quote one of the favorite verses we've studied

- Zech. 4:6 - Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,

saith the Lord

- John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave his

only begotten Son, that...

- Gal. 2:20 - I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer

live, but Christ lives in me, and the life that

I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the

Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me

- Isa. 40:31 - But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew

their strength, they shall mount up with wings

as eagles; they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint

- tonight we're going to look at a passage that I don't think

our church could pass up in a series on favorite Bible


- I say it that way because this verse is especially

important to our church's philosophy of ministry and I know

ts been a special challenge and blessing to many who are

here tonight

- thinking about Rom. 8:28-39

- While you turning, let me tell you that we obviously can't

look at each of these verses in detail tonight

- instead, I'd like us to concentrate on verses 28-29, and


- let me read those verses - and lets do the same thing we

did last week - that is - brainstorm the various questions

that come up in this passage - especially in verses 28-29,


- read Rom. 8:28-39

- Input - what questions do we need to answer in order to

have a better understanding of these favorite Bible

verses? (varied answers including:)

- what is the context?

- how does the love of God in verse 39 fit in

with what Paul has already said in verses 28-


Introduction - the context of Rom. 8:28-39

- you know that the book of Romans is the most comprehensive

treatment of the Christian life where the chapters 1-11 are

primarily doctrinal, and chapters 12-18 talk about what

changes ought to be occuring in our lives as a result of

that doctrine

- our verses tonight are part of an extended section

beginning in chap. 6

- so chaps. 6-8 fit together and one of these days, if the

Lord doesn't return first, we'll study those verses


- for our purposes tonight, here are some things that have

been said in chapters 6-8 that we need to know to

understand our passage better

1) Believers are engaged in a great war. - 7:24

- Rom. 7:24 - "O, wretched man that I am, who can

deliver me from the body of this death"

- Paul said earlier in this chapter that he's wrestles

with the fact that sometimes he does things that he

doesn't want to do - he doesn't do things that he

wants to do

- he says - who will deliver me from the body of this

death - that is this physiacl body that is so

habituated to sin

- Paul wanted us to know that as believers we're

fighting against habits

- sinful habits of thinking called lusts of the


- sinful habits of behaving called deeds of the


- his cry and the cry of every believer is - who will

deliver me from this struggle? from this body of


- praise the Lord that there is an answer to that question -

answer is:

2) There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ

Jesus. - 8:1-2

read vs.2

- in other words, a believer is delivered from the body

of this death by the Spirit of God who has freed him -

the person is no longer a slave to those habits

- in other words - verses 1-2 are the emancipation


- Believers are free - they are no longer slaves

- but not only that:

3) God has adopted us as His children. - 8:15

- the great news about this struggle withy sin that Paul

has been describing is that there's hope - not only

because we've gone from being slaves to being free men

- but because we've gone from being slaves - to being

free men - to being the children of God

- he adopted us - we're part of his family and now

have all the benefits of a son

- I might just point out that in verse 15, Paul uses the

word for son which purposely communicates the idea of

a mature adult son

- we're not just talking about being adopted as a child

- we're talking about being adopted as a full adult,

with all the benefits that would come with that


- it would be just like you adopting a little baby, and

on the way home, he reaches in the diaper bag and

pulls out his bank card, and says dad, would you mind

stopping at the bank, I need to get some cash

- he already has the privleges of an adult

point - yes there's a great struggle going on - but there's

hope because you're no longer a slave, and God has

adopted you into his family, giving you access to

the resources of heaven for your struggle

- chapter 8 takes a radical shift in verses 17-18 (READ)

4) Sons must experience suffering.

- that leads to this question - what kind of suffering?

- answer from the context has to be:

1) Suffering inherent in this fight with our own

sin (that Paul talked about earlier)

2) Suffering that comes from living in a sinful


- we don't have time to discuss this in detail,

but living in this sinful world is filled with

problems - people are mean, they'll take

advantage of you - they'll steal from you -

they'll hurt you - even those who are close to

you will let you down

- living in this sinful world is filled with


- he even goes so far as to point out - everything in

this present world is suffering because of sin.

1. creation is suffering - vs. 19-22 (read 22)

2. we are suffering - vs. 23-25 (read 23)

3. the Holy Spirit is suffering - vs. 26-27 (read

vs. 26)

- point of the context is this - we are in a tremendous

struggle with sinful habits of thinking and behaving

- but we have hope because we're no longer slaves to

that sin, and because we've been adopted as sons

- but, this side of heaven there will be great

suffering for the believer

- suffering because of his struggle with his own


- suffering because of the struggle with a sinful


- see, you come away from those passages scratching your


- you almost want to say - that didn't come out right

- that should have said - I wrestle with sin, but I'm no

longer a slave, I'm adopted as a Son, so everything's

going to be rosy

- my problems will go away

- my heartache will be erased

- my checkbook will be balanced

- my wardrobe will be replentished

- its exactly at that point that many believers falter

- because they get discourgaed that even as believers they

are still wrestling with sin, and sometimes falling

- they get discouraged that living in a sinful world means

they have to face the same problems that unbelievers have

to and sometimes worse

- the bottom line of all this is - What do I need to tell

myself when I'm suffering?

- I want to say, "just give up", "There's no hope", "God

doesn't care", "this is senseless".

- God would say - Here's what you need to tell yourself:

"All things work together for good to them that love

God, to them who are the called according to his

purpose. For whom he did forknow, them he also did

predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son,

that he might be the firstborn amoung many brethren."

- let's go to work on this verse:

I. God Can Work All Things For My Good

A. Meaning of "good"

- when Paul talks about an event being good - he's

talking about it being useful, or fit, or capable

- same word as in Matt. 25:21 - "well done, thou good

and faithful servant"

- why was the servant good - because he was useful,

fit, capable

- Paul is saying the exact same thing about trials

- not that they are intrinsically good, but that God

can use those situations in a beneficial way in your

life and mine

- we need to argue with ourselves about that

- think of it this way - what's the one circumstance

in your life that you'd really like to change?

- My life would be easier if:

- I had a different job

- we had more money

- we had a nicer house

- my spouse would be more loving

- my health wasn't so bad

- what corcumstance would you really like to change?

- now let me ask you this - what kind of things have been

thinking about that circumstance?

- is it possible that you have been violating this passage

of Scripture?

- when's the last time you said, Lord, thank you for this

situation because I know this situation can be good - it

can be profitable, it can be useful in my life

- thank you for this situation, Lord

- see, what do I need to tell myself when I'm suffering?

- God can work this for my good.

- notice also that there are:

B. Conditions on this promise

1. for those who love God

- this statement is not universally true

- all situations won't turn out for good for every


- its only for those who love God

- the person who loves himself more than he loves

God won't be able to handle suffering

- the person who loves his things more than he

loves God won't be able to handle it when that

thing breaks

- lets pause here for a moment and factor the parking lot

situation into these verses

- Many of us had hoped that we could get the job done for

less money than it looks like its going to cost

- let me ask you this - can God work that for good?

(could we say - and we know that God can work an

expensive parking lot for the good of the people of

Faith Baptist Church?)

- we're not talking about being foolish with God's money

- we're going to do all we can to get the best price


- but its possible that even at the end of that process,

the price is still more than we would have wanted

- can God work that for good?

- lets talk about person X for a minute? (surely I wouldn't

have done this or you wouldn't have done this)

- let's say that person X, when he or she heard the news

about the parking lot, started thinking thoughts or

making statements like this:

- oh, this is terrible

- we'll never be able to get it done

- thats way too high

- this is bad, bad, bad

- Question - did person X sin? (yes - he/she did not allow

the truth of this verse to affect his/her thinking and


- let's take it one step further - let's talk about why

person X might have responded the way he/she did

- is it possible that his/her love for God was deficient in

that situation?

- is it possible that that person was loving something else

more than loving God?

- maybe they were loving:

- that new fall wardrobe

- that new gadget

- that new whatever

- maybe person X needs to think about the words of the hymn

based on John 21

- lovest thou me, more than than these, my child

- what will your answer be?

- my precious Lord, I love thee more, than all of these

- more than wealth, more than fame, more than the world

- you understand, this is not a drummed up appeal for the

parking lot

- we teach these subjects in the context with everything

else thats been taught about stewardship

- I'm simply using the parking lot situation as a

contemporary example to ask this question - Is it

possible that while Romans 8:28 is a favorite Bible

verse, you or I don't always do a very good job applying

it, and sometimes that reveals a deficient love for the

things of God?

- so the promise is conditioned on those who love

God - its also conditioned on:

2. for those who are living for his purpose

- Paul does something we have to notice here - he tells us

there is a purpose but he doesn't tell us what it is yet

- because there's something else we have to have in place

- see, a person might read verse 28 and say "no way"

- my spouse left me - that can't work together for good

- I lost my job, that can't work together for good

- my parent is dying, that can't work together for good

- no way - "God forgot me", "God let me down", "God didn't


- Paul says, wait a minute - before I tell you God's purpose

- let me tell you something else you need to factor in here:

II. God "Foreknew" Me

- Now I realize that thats not a word we're used to saying

- sometimes we quote this verse and kind of skip over this


- we want to get to the "predestined us to be conformed

to the image of his son because thats more understandable

- but I would present to you that this concept is critical

to believing the concept Paul just stated

- it also explains why Paul finishes verses 38-39 the way he


A. Meaning

- when Paul talks about God foreknowing us - he's not

talking about God's ability to look down the

corridors of time and know exactly what we were

going to do

- God has that ability, but that has nothing to do

with what Paul is talking about

- when Paul speaks of foreknowledge, he's talking

about God entering into a loving relationship with

us before the foundation of the world

B. Other passages

- you find the same idea in Amos 3:2 - where God says

of Israel "You only have I known of all the families

of the earth"

- did that mean that God didn't know about other

nations? - no, but Isreal is the only one he had

entered into a loving, covenant relationship with

- David said the same thing in Psalm 139:16-18 -

-"Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance,

- And in thy book they were all written, the days

that were ordained for me

- When as yet there were not one of them

- How precious also are thy thoughts to me, O God

- How vast is the sum of them

- If I should count them, they would outnumber the


- When I awake, I am still with thee

- Paul says - listen - every time you start wrestling with

how unfair things are for you, or how life would be great

if your circumstances were different, or how God has let

you done by allowing this trial

- you need to remember this - God forknew you

- He entered into a loving relationship with you before the

foundation of the earth

- He didn't just start loving you yesterday

- you better believe that he can work all things out for

your good

- why else would he have loved you for all these years

(- the amazing thing is - he did that knowing the kind of

people we'd be - baseball illus.) - he chose us because of

his love for us

- see when I start questioning an event that God has

allowed to come into my life

- I'm not just questioning his sovereignty - (his

ability to control the events)

- I'm not just questioning his omnipotence (his ability

to do anything about the events)

- I'm questioning his love

- In essence we're shaking our fingers at God and saying,

you don't love me

- So What do I need to tell myself when I'm suffering?

- God can work this situation for good

- God foreknew me - he entered into a loving relationship

with me

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video