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Troubles Prove Christ’s Love

Good Wednesday morning to you! The apostle Paul said that God justifies us when we put our faith and trust in Jesus alone for salvation. He also said that because of our faith, no one can condemn us. He then continues by talking about the love of Jesus. He wrote:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” – Romans 8:35-36 (NIV)

Who can separate you from Christ’s love? Even though we face many different kinds of trials and troubles, we are still loved by Jesus. The proof of His love is found in His grace. When we go through trials and tests, it may seem like we’re unloved. If God loved us wouldn’t He protect us from trials and troubles? Not necessarily. God can work these things out for our good by growing our faith. God never promises a trouble-free existence here on earth. It is the love of Jesus that helps strengthen our faith and learn to rely on Him.

God Justifies

Paul builds to an amazing climax toward the end of Romans 8. He uses a wonderful word – justification – to define what God has done for us in Christ. In the spiritual court of judgment, God has dismissed all of the charges against those who trust in Jesus for forgiveness. Paul wrote:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns.  No one. 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. – Romans 8:33-34 (NIV)

Jesus Christ, who died and was raised to life on the 3rd day, is pleading our case against the accuser. Satan accuses us and attempts to bring charges of sin against us. God, in His great grace and mercy, has dismissed those charges and has rendered His verdict – innocent of all charges! No one can condemn you if you are in Christ. No one! Praise God for His justification of you!

God Is On Team You

Paul says in Romans 8 that God is working for the good of those who love Him. These are the ones who have responded to His call to salvation and following Christ. He promises forgiveness and eternal life to those who will answer the call in the affirmative. All of this demonstrates one thing – God is on our side. Paul wrote:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 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? – Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

God is on your side! He is on team YOU! He proved it by sending His Son to die for our sins. This is the evidence that God loves you and not only that, He likes you, too. He, along with Jesus, will provide everything you need. He knows what you need and is willing and able to provide it. So trust Him because He is on your side. With God on your side, nothing and no one can come against you. So as you move about your day today, remember that God is on team you and that means that you will win in the end.

To Look Like Jesus

God, in His perfect foreknowledge, had a plan all along. He would predestine anyone who loves Him and puts their faith and trust in Jesus to have forgiveness and eternal life with Him. This is how God works everything out for the ultimate good as it says in Romans 8:28. Paul wrote:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. – Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)

God wants His people to look like Jesus. How do we do that? Does it mean sinless perfection? That’s not possible because if it were, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. Rather than being sinless, we need to look like Jesus in the way that we love, serve and forgive. Who can you love today? Who can you serve today? Who can you forgive today? That’s what it means to look like Jesus.

God Is Working For Our Good

There are certain verses in Scripture that get used over and over and over again. They become quite familiar to us and people love them. Typically they are promises made from God to us for our benefit. Romans 8:28 is one of those verses. Paul wrote:

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. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

It is a wonderful promise that God will work all things, including trials, suffering and persecution, out for good in the end. Notice, however, that there is a qualifier to receive this promise. God is working in the lives of those who love Him. These are the ones who have responded to His call that He purposed from the very beginning. Jesus tied love to obedience. We cannot earn God’s love for us. It is unconditional. We do demonstrate our love for Jesus by obeying His command to love God and love people. Remember this – God will everything out for good in the end for His people. Someone once said that if it isn’t good yet, it isn’t the end.

The Spirit Helps Us Pray

Do you ever have trouble praying? When you’re not sure how to pray or what to say, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us pray. In our human weakness, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Paul said:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

We’re told how to pray throughout Scripture, but prayer can be hard. Aligning our wills with the will of God in prayer is even harder. That’s where the Holy Spirit helps us pray. God wants to hear from His children, but like children, we usually don’t understand the bigger picture. God’s Spirit sees that bigger picture and brings our prayers into alignment with God’s will and teaches us how to see the picture better throughout our lives. Keep praying, “Thy will be done” and know that God will always do what is best.

The Hope That We Have

Paul says that we are eagerly awaiting our full adoption into God’s family as sons and daughters of the King. He said that we groan inwardly as though we are in pain while we wait for Jesus to return. This is our hope! Paul then writes:

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

Our hope is one that is not seen, but unseen. This is where faith and hope intersect. We cannot see what we hope for, but we have faith that it is true and it is real. We cannot see Jesus, but we have faith that He is the Son of God and He can save us from our many sins. We cannot see Heaven, but we have faith that Jesus is there now and will be returning someday soon. In our hearts and in our souls, we believe and we have hope. Now we patiently wait for faith to be made sight and for hope to be revealed.

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