This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Romans 8:38-39 ‘For I am persuaded.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: Romans 8:38-39

‘For I am persuaded.’

Paul, in that wonderfully glorious eighth chapter of his epistle to the church in Rome, climaxes with a glowing statement of anticipated faith, even unto the end;

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The ‘for’ that begins this most precious expression of faith, in itself begins Paul’s expression of that with the words following the ‘for.’ He has advised his readers that, Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Yea, we are not just, or simply, conquerors, but more, much more, than conquerors. In his wonderful persuasion, through faith, of the preservation promised us by God, he has enumerated nine different things that cannot separate one of His own, blood-bought, redeemed sinners, from the love of Him who gave His only-begotten Son, that this Son, denominated the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world, should bear, in His own body, all the sins of all His people. Yea, we are ‘more than conquerors; yet ever bear in mind, and in heart, that this is addressed to a certain people; not all mankind indiscriminately. 

Without question, the twenty-eighth verse of this eighth chapter of Paul’s epistle to the church of Rome, is one of the best-known, if not THE best-known, verses from God’s Word. Unhappily, it may also be one of the most misused verses. This verse may be considered to be ‘the heart of the chapter.’ Paul penned those very famous words, that the people of God might have their faith strengthened, and their confidence enlarged, when he declared, And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. There are, of course, a goodly number of statements which follow; statements that qualify exactly to whom Paul is here referring. The very first qualifying statement is found in the words, even to them that are called according to his purpose. He has defined further those words, them that are called according to his purpose. Now, many see in these words, a demonstration of the truth of God’s Sovereign, electing grace, when they read, and utter, called according to his purpose. This, they will insist, speaks of those called, having been placed in Christ from before the foundation of the world. 

    And that is certainly the truth. Those whom the Father will enable to respond to the Gospel call, are surely those very ones whom He gave unto His Son. This, not surprisingly, perfectly corresponds to the teaching of Jesus in John 10, when the Christ spoke, unto His hearers, the parable of the sheep-fold. In that blessed parable, He informed His hearers that it was His sheep, given unto Him by the Father, that alone could hear the voice of the Shepherd. Those who could not hear that voice, were not His sheep. They might all hear His voice, but were not able to recognize that it was the voice of THEIR SHEPHERD, because they were not truly His sheep. The language of Paul, here in Romans eight, is an utterance of that same truth. When Paul has written, to them that are called according to his purpose, he has pronounced the very same reality. ‘Called according to the purpose of God,’ are none other than the sheep that the Father has given unto the Son; the Son is the Good Shepherd, the voice of whom the sheep hear AND recognize as their Shepherd. And these are they for whom all things work together for good. 

    They are also those of whom Paul has written in the next verse, verse 29, as those, not only foreknown, and foreordained, but foreknown and foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son. These challenging words delineate a portrait of the elect, the chosen of God, the sheep given to the Good Shepherd. They are given that we might look upon this portrait to see and understand just what we are. Paul has written of this, we believe, in his second epistle to the church in Corinth. 

Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.      

Paul also reminded his Ephesian readers, that the doctrine of election precluded any and all boasting. We may freely, yea happily, embrace the doctrines surrounding the absolute sovereignty of God in election; yet [to cite Paul again], God forbid that we should make that any ground of boasting. Indeed, the doctrine of election should promote humility in every child of God. Additionally, the reminder in Romans eight, that our heavenly Father’s design, at least His foreordination is that His chosen will be, being conformed to the image of his Son. In the room of any boasting, let us be humbled by the knowledge and understanding that we contributed nothing to our salvation, apart from our sin, and needing to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. Paul has added the necessity of sanctification, being an integral and essential aspect of the eternal and gracious plan of our Father for our redemption. Surely, we must confess that Paul has taught, in Romans 8:28-29, that included in His eternal design, His predetermined counsel, His foreordination, His foreknowledge, His everlasting love, His lovingkindness through which He made us willing in the day of His power, to return to Him through the blood of the everlasting Covenant, the blood of His only-begotten Son, blood of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. 

    Paul iterated these very same truths in his 2nd epistle to Thessalonica:

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you through our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.—2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at