“All Things” – Do We Really Believe It?

In despair, I look not to my own heart or to the world around me. I look to Christ.

Has God kept these promises? Yes, in Christ! So, if God has kept every promise in Christ, He will keep every promise made in Christ. Some days, life seems unbearably painful and confusing. Some days the world seems to be spinning out of control. Some days, I wonder how the sin in my own heart will ever truly be vanquished. 

 

Last week, our small group studied Romans 8:28-32, which has two stunning references to “all things” –

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

1. God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

2. God will graciously give us all things, along with His Son, Jesus. (In other words, we really are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ of everything.)

God says some things in the Bible that are just absolutely stunning. What’s even more stunning is that, most of the time, we gloss right over them in our daily Bible reading or in our small group, as if we did not read them, did not understand them or don’t really believe them. These two “all things” statements, coming at the heart of Romans, are chief among these kinds of often-overlooked, mind-blowing statements.

Do we really believe them?

“All things” must be truly all-inclusive or else the promises are empty.

Consider #1: If there were some things in the universe and in our lives that God was not working for good, those out-of-control things could destroy us, sabotage God’s plan, wreck the plan of salvation, overthrow the kingdom of God. Ephesians 1:11 says that God “works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Again, that’s either truly “all things” or else some other entity is in control of some aspects of the universe and God is not truly God and we cannot fully trust Him.

Now consider #2: In the future, Christ returns and fully vanquishes and eliminates evil, defeating the last enemy, and turns the kingdom over to God the Father (see 1 Cor. 15). Then, God gives the nations to Christ as His inheritance, giving Jesus the kingdom and inviting us to share in the inheritance of “all things.” (If you do read 1 Cor. 15, notice the same “all things” language there, too.) If some part of the universe is left out, some corner where evil is allowed to reign, if something is left out of the kingdom inheritance, then what? Again, that corner of the universe could foment a rebellion to threaten the whole.

So, God must be supremely ruling and overruling all things and Christ’s kingdom inheritance  must include all things. But does God really work all things for our good? And does He really give us all things, along with Christ?

Well, for us to doubt this personal aspect of “all things” is to doubt the trustworthiness of the promises of God. Does God make promises and not keep them, not really mean them? That would make God less-than-perfect and what then? Which promises could we believe? Would we say that the God who supremely rules all things is not perfect, not truly good, not reliable? What do we say to this frightening thought? After all, just because it’s frightening doesn’t mean it’s not true.

2 Cor. 1:20 says that all the promises of God find their “Yes” in Christ. So, we look to Christ, and what do we see?

God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Again and again, He promised many things –

  • that through Abraham’s seed all the nations would be blessed
  • that David’s heir would reign on the throne of God’s kingdom forever
  • that a suffering servant would bear our sins and pay for our transgressions
  • that a royal Son would reign forever as mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
  • that the great ruler over God’s kingdom would be born in Bethlehem

Has God kept these promises? Yes, in Christ! So, if God has kept every promise in Christ, He will keep every promise made in Christ.

Some days, life seems unbearably painful and confusing. Some days the world seems to be spinning out of control. Some days, I wonder how the sin in my own heart will ever truly be vanquished.

In despair, I look not to my own heart or to the world around me. I look to Christ. I see in Him every promise of God fulfilled, and so I can say “Amen,” so be it, “Yes, Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.”

Jason A. Van Bemmel is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. This article appeared on his blog Ponderings of a Pilgrim Pastor and is used with permission.