All Things Work Together
"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."
This statement was a matter of profound conviction with Paul. "We know." He had unwavering confidence in the overruling providence of God.
What a profound statement in light of our present day opinions and uncertainties. The belief of many is that we are as tumble weeds blowing aimlessly across the desert of life.
It was the practical embracing of this truth that made him able to sing in the jail. It was this conviction that kept him calm after the shipwreck, and after being bitten by a snake.
This was not a truth that he held mentally and discarded experientially. It was a truth that wrapped around his life experience. Paul believed that everything, whether adverse or advantageous, would certainly turn out for the best.
If this statement were less dogmatic it might be easier to take or accept. However to understand and claim this truth we must neither isolate it from its context, nor divorce it from its two conditional clauses.
The first clause is "to them that love God." I have heard unbelievers claim this passage of scripture. Sorry, it is not for you.
The second clause is "to them who are called according to his purpose." This means you are linked up with God's plan and purpose for your life. If you are not moving along with the plan of God in history, you have no right to claim this truth. These two clauses limit and determine its application.
As a veteran minister of the gospel, I have witnessed some bad things. I have tried to minister in adverse circumstances that defy rational explanation. But I know this; it is inconceivable that God's perfect plan can be thwarted to those who love God and to those who are his partners.
In Paul's day there were four reactions to adverse situations. The Epicurean philosophy was "eat, drink, and ...
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