The Basis of Prayer (Romans 8:12-39)
CrossWay Community Church
October 24th, 2021
God is sovereign (in control) of our suffering and the evils of this world. This casts a deep hue of divine meaning and purpose over our experience of suffering. … But it does not necessarily diminish the actual experience of suffering itself, nor do theological explanations of suffering necessarily decrease the pain.
This is an important (precious) distinction for anyone who has gone through a severe experience of pain, suffering, abuse, or sorrow. Do not conflate “God works all things (even evil and suffering) together FOR good” (Rom 8:28 — a promise that believers can take to the bank) into “Everything that is being worked out by God IS itself good” (not the case; not in the Bible).
In your good intentions, do not validate someone’s abuse; neither diminish their pain. Own evil as evil. No need not to. We have a God who is sovereign enough for that.
You may be familiar with the lyrics, “this world is not my home; I’m just a passing through.” But despite its popularity, these words are not theologically accurate. Rather, as Doug Wilson suggests, we would be better off saying something along the lines of “heaven is not my home; I’ll just be passing through.”
Josh Wilson presents some great truths regarding present suffering, trials, and pain that believers may and will experience. Much of what his song, “Before the Morning,” says comes from the truths of Romans 8.
Romans 8:16-18 – The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The Bible explicitly speaks about predestination, and therefore, the doctrine is undeniable. However, many disagree on how to interpret its meaning. One view in particular believes that God predestines to salvation all He foreknows will believe on Him. This view is commonly called conditional election because it states God chooses (elects) individuals to be saved based upon (conditioned upon) their foreknown future belief. It makes election conditional on man’s will in essence. The main text used to support this view is Romans 8:29.
Romans 8:29 – For those whom He [speaking of God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
From simply reading this verse, it is very possible to make the assumption that God’s predestining is based on His foreknowledge of people’s future faith in Him. However, I feel that the very next verse (v. 30) is vital to a proper understanding of what verse 29 is truly saying. Verse 29 by itself is an unfinished thought in many senses.